Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Versailles // Marché Notre Dame

I was very lucky to be staying with A in southern Paris, only a half an hour bus ride from the beautiful town of Versailles. With such beautiful weather forecast, we spent our Sunday exploring the gardens of the Palace of Versailles in the glorious sunshine. Of course, any sunny day must be accompanied by a picnic so when we hopped off the bus, we followed a man carrying a wicker basket to the Marché Notre Dame. Here we let smells and potential photographs guide us, and ended up with a neat little (read BIG) lunch for the two of us.

The place was bustling with families, couples, older people with their dogs, food enthusiasts, cheese experts and friends catching up (like us!). It is predominantly a food market, although as you can see in the last photo, there were flowers aplenty too.

On a Sunday, the market is open until 2pm and although we arrived about an hour before this, many stalls were already packing up and I think we bought the last punnet of strawberries in the entire square, so head there earlier rather than later.

Address: Halles de Versailles, 78000 Versailles

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

52 Lists // Seventeen

To name but a few. 

I think I could probably fill pages and pages of my notebook with things I am grateful for. Indeed perhaps that is what I shall do from here on in. I'm always inspired to look to the things that I am thankful for, having seen the wonderful Leona and Lisette set such moving examples. 

Feeling thankful, recognising the value of what you are surrounded by, can be a healing process. Being in a muddled state and then making a list like this firmly plonks my feet back on the ground, reminding me that actually whatever troubles or heartbreak might consume my mind the majority of the time, I should expend more energy focussing on the hundreds of things I am incredibly lucky to be able to feel, see, use and experience. 

Do you think gratitude has a role to play in feeling happy?


This is list #17 in the 52 Lists project, run by Emma over at Made in Hunters. Feel free to leave me your 52 Lists link below

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Paris // Amorino ice cream

After delicious falafel and feeling so full we had to ask ourselves whether dessert was still on the cards (ridiculous, I know), a trip to the best ice cream place I have found outside of Italy was in order. Step in, Amorino. M and I discovered this gem late one evening in Soho after I had been to some comedy by myself (laughing alone is not as fun as laughing with another when everyone else is laughing with another) and M had had a doubly long train journey (many thanks rail companies) to join me for Pizza Pilgrims (quite nice, better than Fire and Stone), and we decided to Google "dessert in London" and go to the nearest place it threw at us. By a wonderful stroke of luck, that place was Amorino - home of the beautiful, beautiful gelato. So of course A and I had to go in Paris too. 

There are more flavours than you could possibly contemplate at once but you are able to ask for as many as you like and the staff will arrange as much as they can in the cone/cup you choose. In the shape of a rose as well!

Ignore where my cat scratched me!
I chose one of the many chocolate varieties, tiramisu and mango sorbet. I hadn't expected the mango to complement the chocolate and coffee that well, but it was an excellent match and I'm thrilled with my discovery! 

There are a few in London now, THANK GOODNESS, and others scattered across the globe, including 56 in France so off you go! (Seriously, why are you still reading this? Go!)

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

52 Lists // Sixteen

The irony being that I didn't manage to do most of these things this weekend. Even though it has been longer than usual. I'm looking at you, tomorrow.

Things I have done so far instead :: worked, studied, went car-hunting, paid a visit to family in hospital, listened to Chvrches, read my book, spent time with my parents.

Lesson learnt :: whether or not something is on a to-do list, if you don't feel a gut instinct to do it then wherever you are and whatever you're doing is exactly where you're supposed to be at that time.


This is List #16 in the 52 Lists project, run by Emma at Made in Hunters.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Paris // L'as du Fallafel

Wandering around Parisian streets with a bundle of THIS in my hand and learning from A about the Jewish quarter was quite possibly my favourite part of the trip. The deliciousness you see above was a L'as du Fallafel creation, dubbed by the New York Times as "the falafel destination in Europe". 

I like chickpeas just as much as everyone else, but I'd never really tried falafel before and remembered it. That makes it sound like I've only ever eaten it on hazily-recollected nights, but what I mean is that if I've ever eaten if before, I can't remember. It just can't have been that good. However, served out of a window and subject to creative adjustments, the falafel here is not only memorable, but also simply delicious.

Mine featured shawarma kebab whereas A opted for the vegetarian option. They were bloomin' marvellous and I would eat one every day if I could!

Obviously walking around wearing the lightest coloured clothing was the perfect equation for making a salsa and aubergine related mess, so we headed to some gardens a few streets away to sit in the sunshine and attempt to eat these gracefully. By the time we perched ourselves by a chess table (why on earth do we not have these in London?!) I had devoured most of mine anyway (completely stain free I might add) and we pondered whether we had room for dessert (answer: always.)

Marks out of ten = 9. A point being docked only for having more pieces of aubergine than falafel itself. 

The Jewish Quarter is, by the way, awesome. 

Now, what I would like to know is (a) falafel or hummus? and (b) do I get a prize for the lack of spillage?

Address: 32-34 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris


Challenge Eight of the 2014 Blogger Challenge is an outfit post. I think sharing this outfit (H&M, Zara, New Look, Longchamp combination) should suffice! 

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Taking Stock #7

T A K I N G // S T O C K

Making :: time for reading fiction
Cooking :: curry
Drinking :: probably too little water given the headaches 
Reading :: "White Teeth" by Zadie Smith, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" having last read it aged seven or eight, and "Bossypants" by Tina Fey.
Wanting :: more good results
Looking :: for a car
Playing :: Guess Who (much faster game as a grown up and definitely not as exciting I'm sorry to report)
Deciding :: to act more impulsively when stuck
Wishing :: I had more energy for exercise
Enjoying :: lighter evenings
Waiting :: for exam results
Liking :: that some things never get old
Wondering :: how things will turn out, as always, but rationalising that whatever will be will be
Loving :: my Votes for Women pin badge from the British Library
Pondering :: effective time management systems as there's just too much stuff I want to do and not enough hours
Considering :: summer plans
Watching :: Gravity in 3D and Silk
Hoping :: for plans to fall into place

Marvelling :: at how simple changes can help a lot
Needing :: endless supplies of money, ha!
Smelling :: Vanilla Chai Yankee Candle as I read and study
Wearing :: more patterns than in winter, hooray! And my new hat.
Following :: morning routines involving stretching before getting up, hanging out with the kitten, train journeys with M and listening to the Glastonbury set of Arctic Monkeys as I print things before class.
Noticing :: differences in conversation
Knowing :: that worrying doesn't solve much
Thinking :: overtime, as always
Feeling :: okay
Admiring :: Malala Yousafzai and beautiful Paris sights 
Sorting :: out admin
Buying :: presents and comfy shoes
Getting :: to know what actually makes my heart sing and what makes me cross
Bookmarking :: potential summer destinations 
Disliking :: unsolvable problems
Opening :: things I'm sure, but nothing that springs to mind
Giggling :: with M
Snacking :: as per
Coveting :: nothing interesting
Helping :: myself more
Hearing :: new things recommended by M most days

This one was tricky. I think I've been gliding along without thinking too deeply about much, which has given me a fairly care-free approach in the last few weeks. Sometimes it is good to let go a little, I suppose. Also, how do you all fit everything you want to do into your days?

As ever, let me know if you're also taking stock (as discovered here). 

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Friday, April 11, 2014

52 Lists // Fifteen

And Pilates.

I've been paying attention to my "soul" a lot recently. Referring to it as though it's a thing that needs healing through paying it care and attention. I can't remember exactly when my little personal journey began but since I started feeding my soul things which nurture it it seems to be seeping into the cracks in my heart, making me feel a new level of energy and contentment. 

How much of the stuff we feed our brains and souls daily is a waste of time, poison, unhealthy, just plain rubbish? Are you aware of what you spend most of your time reading? Is it something that benefits you at all or is it just habit driving you to expend energy on things that don't mean anything to you? Things that don't motivate or educate or soothe you. 

A lot of this ties in with ideas of decluttering. I suppose I have been aiming to declutter the circle of things which I allow to influence me. I keep thinking of that Oscar Wilde quotation I included in a previous list - "What you read when you don't have to determines what you will be when you can't help it". 

Stop reading those destructive and degrading Daily Mail articles - try The Philosopher's Mail instead. If there are too many people feeding you negative thoughts on your social media pages, stop following them. Surround yourself with people who inspire you and encourage you to pursue your interests and passions, not those who make you feel bad about yourself.  Oh and stop listening to that voice that constantly tells you that you don't have enough time to do things for yourself. You absolutely do. Put it in your diary - Wednesday evenings "me time". Do it, do it, do it. Arrange a date with yourself to do something that you know you will feel better for doing, whether that's exercise, crafting, reading, having a bath, listening to music or turning off your phone. I promise your soul with thank you afterwards.

What do you reckon? What kick-starts your soul? 

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Paris // Musée d'Orsay

What's this?! An outfit of the day?!

Anything or anywhere I am willing to queue for is backed by a real need for me to be there. It's the same for you I'm sure. So if I'm willing to queue despite poor outer garment choice on a windy day, with a mere cereal bar for sustenance, you know it had to be at the top of my list for places to visit. I am pleased to report that the Musée d'Orsay was absolutely worth the wait. 

In some ways it is wonderful that you aren't allowed to take photographs of the actual exhibits. I definitely fall into the category of snap happy shutterbug, especially when roaming a beautiful city, but I have been left to question whether this sucks the fun out of everything slightly. M is the opposite to me in that he has never owned a camera, only has about 3 photos on his phone and prefers to store all the memories in his head instead, he says. He feels that if you capture your holiday through photographs, you will have a tendency each time you think about the holiday to only think of it through photographs, therefore potentially missing out the little moments that reallllyyyyy make a holiday. Is it true that when you remember something you are only remembering the last time you thought of it? I read that somewhere and ought to check its accuracy, but it is an interesting concept. How much of what we think is organic and how much is a rehash of the thoughts we put there last time?

On an aside, how lovely is my friend A and how pretty is her outfit? I can't say this is going to become a space for fashion observations but you know, Paris, A and the weather were all so lovely, we had to put them all together.

Address: 1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007 Paris

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Sunday, April 06, 2014

2014 Blogger Challenge // Seven

Dear readers,

Topic Seven of the Challenge was a photo diary, so here is a sample of recent experiences of Beeta's (now broken) iPhone camera.

Love from, London x

P.S. The third from last photograph has an excellent story attached, but before I tell you, I'd like to hear your guessed version of events.

P.P.S. Those of you who know me IRL will know that I'm somewhat notorious for my patterned trouser collection. This week the weather was lovely so they resurfaced from the depths of my wardrobe and now I am excited for spring, and picnic season in particular. To that end, pop over to Lost Arrows, where I have guest-posted for Chloe about picnic essentials this evening. I plan to have my first one next week :)


Part of the #2014BloggerChallenge.

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Friday, April 04, 2014

52 Lists // Fourteen

And failing that, nearly everything.


This is list #14 in the 52 Lists project, run by Emma over at Made in Hunters.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Paris // Lessons Learnt in Paris

Lessons Learnt in Paris

1. People will pose next to anything. A light in the crypt of the Pantheon next to the tomb of great writer, Voltaire? No flipping problem. The only rule was to be quiet and respect the building anyway. Hmmm.

2. You will almost get run over at least twice a day and therefore appreciate your ability to cross roads expertly in England.

3. There are lines on the metro which will remind you of specific ones on the London Underground. The seats are less cushioned but the stops are much closer together so I've not figured out which the better deal is.

4. Visiting when under 25 is fab because you get free entry into most of the top tourist attractions.

5. Brie and baguette works perfectly with breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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