Monday, 30 September 2013

His New Favourite

Little P has been asking if we can go for sushi again for a little while. We've been practising with chopsticks at home each time we have noodles or rice, and he was desperate to test out his skills in public! So at the weekend we took a trip to Yen Sushi on Bartlett Street - the best place for sushi around these parts. 
  He loved watching the chefs at work, and impressed me with his enthusiasm for salmon sashimi and my favourite, the prawn tempura hand roll. He even helped himself to some tuna mini rolls from the conveyor belt! Oh, and his chopstick skills? Pretty good. I'll give him an A for effort, at least. He firmly declared it 'his new favourite place to eat' - which is fine by me! Have you introduced your little ones to sushi yet? 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

With Love From Paris...Day Three

Zut alors! I almost forgot to conclude our Paris for those of you wondering, here's what we got up to on our final day. We had stayed in the north of the city on our first night due to work commitments, but for our second night were able to choose our own hotel. Keen to get a bargain, we didn't book anything until a few days before. Of course that risky strategy could have gone terribly wrong, but we were lucky enough to find a bargain at the Hotel Chateaubriand just off the Champs Elysee. 


We wanted to explore some more of the Marais district, having been last year and loved it. So we dragged ourselves away from our gorgeous hotel and, after a brief stop at the Trocadero fountains for an Eiffel Tower photo opportunity, hopped on the Metro to the east of the city. 

We tracked down a store that had been recommended to us by a friend - Merci on the Boulevard Beaumarchais. It's certainly one of the coolest department stores I've ever visited, filled with contemporary clothing and homewares, and a stationery range that almost made me weep with delight. It also has a cafe serving fresh salads and juices, and includes a wall entirely lined with books (cue more weeping). Always a sucker for good packaging, I spent more money on pretty notebooks than any sensible student ought to.

We spent a happy afternoon strolling around the streets and shops of the area, stopping for a delicious lunch in the sunshine opposite the Marche des Enfants Rouges, which was sadly shut that day. The streets eventually lead you to the Centre de Pomidou, a hotspot for cafes and vintage shops.

After a stroll along the river, it was sadly time to head back to our hotel, and to bid Paris a fond farewell.
Until next time, Paris mon amour! xxx

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Pssst...did I tell you that I cut all my hair off?
I feel totally different, liberated even.
Everyone keeps telling me it's not that short.
But it definitely is...for me, anyway.

Monday, 9 September 2013


Friends who blog together, stay together. Love a night in with my girl Rene Humphrey x

With Love From Paris...Day Two


Sunday in Paris. We spent most of the day in Montmartre, a quirky area of the city once home to artists such as Picasso and Monet, and the bohemian heart of Paris. We walked up the steep streets heading towards the Sacré Coeur, getting distracted along the way by patisseries, little vintage shops, or restaurants and cafés with people sat outside enjoying a leisurely brunch.

Seeing as it's one of my favourite movies, we had to do the touristy thing and visit Les Deux Moulins, the café from Amelié. It's exactly how it looks in the movie, minus the cigarette machine which they removed to make room for more seating. It's not exactly the nicest place of the many to choose from in the area - so we stopped for a quick beer and a photo opportunity. The Amelié memorabilia shrine in the toilets is pretty cool though.

When we reached the top of the streets and the Sacré Coeur, we were rewarded with some amazing views of the city. It was the first time we saw Paris from such a height, and it was worth the climb. Below, people lay on the grass soaking up the sun and the atmosphere.

On the way back down, more culinary distractions and more beers in the sunshine...

The Rue des Martyrs is a great street for specialist foodie shops, including a salmon and caviar shop, and an adorably named fromagerie - The Gourmet Mouse. We also found the very pretty (and pricey) Sebastien Gaudard, a haven of handmade patisseries, chocolates, confectionery and even ice cream. 

We continued to walk down the hills of Montmarte, following our feet (and our trusty map) and for some reason ended up walking all the way to the Louvre. It was such a lovely day that riding the Metro just seemed like a waste.

On my list of things to see in Paris was the Ponts des Arts, or 'Lover's Bridge' - so we headed there and of course, attached our own padlock. It had to be done!

Having rested our feet at our gorgeous hotel just off the Champs Elysee, we tried to find somewhere for dinner that wasn't going to break the bank - not the easiest of tasks when you've chosen to stay in the most expensive part of Paris. Luckily we read a tip about the Rue de Marbeuf having some great places to eat so headed there, and were almost tempted to join the round-the block queue for Le Relais de l'Entrecôte. What is it about a queue for a restaurant that makes you think you have to go there? 

We were far too tired and hungry to stand around watching other people eat though, so found ourselves spending the evening across the street at Chéz Andre, happily working our way through Chateaubriand steak frites and a bottle of Côtes du Rhône. Although perhaps a little old school (you've got to smile when a place has black and white photos of Richard Gere and Frank Sinatra on the wall), we found the food to be excellent and the service more than charming. The waitress even came to say goodnight to us at the end of her shift! 

A perfect evening after a hard day of walking (and eating...and drinking).

Day Three coming soon, folks!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

A New Season.

Today we took a walk through park, noting that the trees were changing colour and leaves starting to fall. It reminded me how much I love this time of year, when it's still sunny but there's a crispness to the air. We fed the ducks, had a play and what may well be one of the last sunny picnics of the year. Then we went to the library to get some books, by which point the Little One was exhausted so we called it a day and headed home. We ended the day under a blanket watching The Chronicles of Narnia, eating BBQ ribs. Perfect!

Friday, 6 September 2013


Today has been mostly spent at my desk, getting work done and generally just trying to get on top of my life. It's not long now until I start my final year of uni, and this time organisation is going to be my middle name!
(That's silly).

Thursday, 5 September 2013

With Love From Paris...Day One

We just got back from another wonderful few days in Paris. Honestly, I love this place so much. Having been twice now, packing in places that were either on our 'to do' list or recommended by friends to visit, I still feel like I've barely scratched the surface of this fascinating, diverse and inspirational city.

Ask around and you're bound to get a million different tips of places to go...but for what it's worth, I'm going to share some of our discoveries with you so you can add to them to your own list.

On Saturday I was left to while away a few hours in the North of the city, while my partner had a work event to attend. In my head I'd be all Carrie Bradshaw about it and skip around wistfully, then sit in a grand tea room and gorge on petits fours. In reality I got a little bit lost, took a few wrong turns, messed up my French, and ended up looking like a complete tourist with a map held in front of me and looking around for street signs. But that's all part of the fun of travelling, non? 

In fact, it was wondering from my chosen path near the Canal Saint Martin that caused me to stumble upon a bustling brocante market lining both sides of  Avenue Secretan (nearest Metro stop: Bolivar). Over 100 vendors make up this weekend market, and it really was an amazing experience, packed with locals and so many unusual things grabbing my attention. Of course with flea markets like this you have to search through a lot of tat to find the gems, but for a magpie like me there's nothing better, and it means you can find some great bargains. I bought a vintage striped sweater for just one euro!

In need of a drink after my trawl through the market, I set off in search of Rachel Khoo territory (being a huge, and slightly envious, fan). She recommended a stroll down Boulevard La Villette to the unmistakable Cafe Cherie, so like any dutiful fan I obliged. The cafe felt like a real hangout for the well-dressed locals of the area, so I tried to blend in and enjoyed a coffee outside on their old school-desk tables. It's also open in the evening, hosting gigs and live acts, so I'm sure it'd be a worth a late night visit.

I didn't bump into Khoo, incidentally. I'm sure we'd have really hit it off though.

I have quite a serious biro chewing habit.

A little weary but happy to be re-united in the evening, we took a few metro stops from our hotel to the Canal Saint Martin and enjoyed an evening walk. It's a very laid back vibe there, with locals sitting beside the river, or sat outside bars and restaurants. 

We ate some very good cheeseburgers at the rather charming Hotel du Nord.

Then stopped for some more beers at this place we stumbled across, Le Cinquante...which took us a little too long to figure out meant 'fifty', it's position on the Rue De Lancry (just off the canal). I loved this little bar with its scruffily retro interior, formica chairs and tables, shabby shelves of bottles behind the bar and the fact that it was packed far beyond its capacity. Go if you want to be where the cool kids go.

Stay tuned for more Paris tips from the rest of our stay!


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