Friday, February 25, 2011


A few photos from a recent cocktail night on the town & at our place. We have been in the mood for cocktails, evidently! And dressing up pretty. Unfortunately you can't see my gorgeous red super-high heels that my parents brought over (for house wear only, seriously those babies are high!)

In da club with some random dude

Géraldine, Sara and me

Homemade mojito time! Géraldine, Liz, me and Laetitia

Liz, me and Laetitia. Géraldine had to be cropped out on account of having her mouth full!

Something funny happened, I can't remember what! This is before the mojitos - Bellinis.

Bonus cats!

Seriously, whose bed is this guys? Maya and Chaussettes stake their claim.

Okay, probably no-one else will find this amusing... Kitten making funny noises :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Signs of Venice

I have been promising more photos of Venice for a while, I went through a lot of them today and there really are tons, so will have to continue staggering things. Anyway, one thing I noticed pretty early on in Venice was the large number and variety of signs pointing your way through the city to the major tourist sites. It amused me that these could be crudely daubed or professionally-made, on the sides of churches or in back alleys, so I started taking some photos of them. Of course, in common with signs just about everywhere, they mostly direct you halfway there and then leave you lost in the maze that is Venice.

But if you're lucky, they can take you to :
Saint Mark's :

Or to the Rialto :

Or sometimes, either :

Lost French refugee from the '70s can get directions to L'Academie :

And on some special Venetian nights, you can even find...

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Gluck, another awful French book

"Paris was ours", a collection of 32 essays from people who have spent a bit of time in Paris, apparently in the pursuit of cliché.
I should note that I have not actually read this book, but the Amazon review suffices, I think.

The first (or perhaps not the first, but hey) thing one notices is that it is produced in a paperback 'Deckle Edge' edition. How exciting, what could that be? Turns out 'Deckle Edge' is 'A book with uneven page edges cut to resemble handmade papers.' Well, that may be your first clue that this book has been produced for morons.

But of course it's in the essays that the book really shines. We learn that 'Stacy Schiff finds that picking up the dry cleaning was less of a chore when done on ground Ben Franklin and John Adams trod before her'. If only I could sustain myself while accomplishing mundane tasks with thoughts of which famous Americans might have been hanging around my drycleaners'too. Then we have Janine di Giovanni, who 'saw French mothers hit their children to enforce good manners' - is this supposed to be a particularly French trait? French chic tip - beat your children! Perhaps the French don't mind hitting kids because of their Nazi-loving past : 'Alicia Drake muses on the disconcerting ability of the French to accept human faults as she visits sites from which the Nazis, aided by French police, deported Jews to their deaths'. I'm not quite sure if Alicia Drake is calling the Holocaust 'a human fault' there, if so, she almost makes the Nazis seem merely careless. But my favourite is Diane Johnson's esssay, who in the process of 'evaluating French stereotypes', 'was surprised that French hostesses serve store-bought entrees'. Sacré bleu, someone call les flics!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Christmas & New Year pics

Finally getting around to putting up the photos from my Christmas/New Year trip to the UK and my parents' subsequent visit back here. Have been a bit tired/lazy since I've been back. It's hard to get up the energy to blog when you're just living your pretty mundane life, even if it is in a foreign country. However, no excuse when I have lots of travelling pics to share!

Liz and I kicked off the (much longer than expected, as it turned out) wait at the airport in style, with a bottle of Vouvray sparkling wine. (This resulted in a puddle on the floor and a disapproving look from the cleaners). Having packed my handbag into my carry-on luggage, I have most of its contents in my coat pockets and hence look like I'm wearing a crinoline under there... I assure you that's only for Sunday use.

The impressive amount of snow that delayed the plane for 6 hours or whatever it was

De-icing the wing just before we finally got going

As I think I said at the time, I got to the hotel at about 5 UK time, 6 France time, and finally got some sleep, until about 11 am or so. Then it was up and out with my Mum, Dad, cousin Kaelyn & one of her friends, on what was a glorious winter's day (by far the best we had in England or in France, unfortunately). I forget the name of the hill we walked up, Dad will be bound to fill us in, but anyway, it's up in the Lake District overlooking Lake Windermere. So, the UK can be just as stunning as anywhere else in the world eh

Me & Kaelyn

Me & a Lake District horsey

Mum rocking out with me on New Year's Eve

In my glad rags (some of the fruits of my epic shopping expeditions)

Inside the White Scar caves in Yorkshire that I visited with my Dad

Me on our visit to Amboise, with Amboise Castle in the background. This was a really bitterly cold day!

The Chateau de Clos Lucé, where Leonardo da Vinci lived out his final days. It was interesting to see models of some of his inventions etc., but unfortunately the whole upstairs, with the rooms where he actually slept and hung out, was closed (same pricey entrance fee though) and we didn't get to see the special exhibition on Leonardo and France because they shut it for lunch and it was far too cold to wait around in the grounds. I generally prefer the off-season because there's fewer tourists, but it has its disadvantages too (comme on dit tout le temps en français, il y a des avantages et des inconvenients! I swear I hear someone say that about once a week, it's like the French mantra...)

A cave-house built into the side of a hill in Amboise

Ooh, snapped!

We made quite a pilgrimage after seeing a sign pointing towards 'the house of the unknown philosopher'. Here's a picture of me, once we finally found it, trying to look philosophical. Turns out the philosopher in question is *not* unknown, he's Louis Claude de Saint-Martin, born in Amboise and the founder of a mystical school of thought known as Martinism.

The chateau at Blois - we really enjoyed this chateau. It was really nicely restored and had a lot of interesting stuff in it, like art and statues that got taken down off the walls

Pretty staircase at the Blois chateau

One of the colourfully-restored chateau rooms

A tense-looking me in the grand medieval hall of the chateau - the chateau had parts from the medieval period, the Renaissance and maybe beyond, I forget now

Me and mum in the courtyard

Me & Dad

Gargoyles that got taken down from the façade during the restoration works. Pretty cool!

Dad in the chateau library - apparently this is the only library/study from this period in Europe to have remained intact

Statue above the chateau entrance

Me and mum on the ramparts

Queen Gwan on her throne

My crepe getting flambéed in Tours

Me, Mum and Géraldine in the crepe restaurant

A nice family shot for once! Flash off this time, which helps

Ha, I love this ox! From the nativity scene in Tours cathedral

Mmm, raped carrots

Looking a bit stern outside the Louvre - didn't go in due to crowds

Having photos taken by Dad doesn't bring out my best expressions!

Pretty shot of the golden dome of Les Invalides through the trees

The Tour something

In the Tuileries

Pont Alexandre III and the tower

Hazy shot through the rain on the windows of the ferris wheel

View from the wheel across the Place de la Concorde and down the Champs-Élysées, with the Musée d'Orsay on the left and the Arc de Triomphe visible at the end of the road

Me on la Grande Roue

Another grumpy shot in front of the Pont Alexandre III

View of the Tuileries gardens on the other side of the ferris wheel