A Weekend in Montargis

I do love a good weekend getaway, and August is the best month for it, especially if you're one of the last souls who has been left behind in the city, while what seems like every last Parisian has deserted the capital in search of sun, sand and sea.. Luckily my friend

Meg

invited us (along with a few other friends), to her boyfriend's parents' ridiculously beautiful, film set-worthy house in Montargis. Although the weather didn't quite play fair and it remained cloudy most of Saturday, it didn't stop us frolicking in a

sunflower field

, picking fruit and vegetables from the amazing garden (serious life goals right there), BBQ-ing, eating outside and generally enjoying a couple of days of not breathing in Paris' car fumes or other ripe, unpleasant smells that emanate from the streets in summer - dubbed by many as 'eau de Paris'. Having felt lethargic as of late, it was the perfect weekend away to rejuvenate, enjoy nature and leave my cares behind for a couple of days. 

Following My Nature

I've been having one of those moments of late, which surface every now and again. With summer firmly set in Paris these past weeks, the heat getting up to an almost unmanageable temperature and my (what seems like) incessant travelling backwards and forwards to the UK recently (I go again in a week!), I've felt lethargic at best and not so willing to conjure up new posts, or feel confident with the ones that are a work in progress. I know I'm in need of a rest. Freelance is wonderful, but it takes its toll, especially when I'm juggling so many things at once, or hustling for new projects. Luckily we're flying off to Santorini in a couple weeks, which I cannot wait for. The only downside being that our summer holiday this year, like the last, will be based around weddings - one in Santorini and the following in Biarritz. Not that I don't love a good wedding, and both I know, will be beautiful. But I could do with one whole week on a beach doing nada. Another project that is a work in progress. But enough of my first world problems, as I wanted to share a collaboration that I worked on earlier this year, with Marc O'Polo for their #FollowMyNature campaign. I love the photos and this is the type of project that I would love to do more of. 

The task entailed picking of few of my favourite items from their collection and wearing them around Paris - a bit like a day in the life of.. I purposely chose places that at first glance might not appear very 'Parisian' - places with darker tones and natural materials - wood, concrete etc... because I don't count myself a typical Paris blogger. It was a campaign I was happy to get involved with as I like to think that I tend to follow my nature. I followed my heart to Paris and have followed my gut to change career direction towards things that I personally enjoy and find more rewarding, even if I have in the past been warned against it by the more cautious. 

For the project I picked

Fragments

, a lovely minimalistic cafe in the 3rd and one of my go-to galleries in Paris,

Yvon Lambert

, which is located just off one of favourite streets - rue Vieille du Temple.  I felt that both complemented the clothes, and also reflected my personality and style tastes which are usually quite minimal. You can read the full feature + interview with me on their blog

here

. I'd love to know what you think! 

Photos by

Ylenia Cuéllar

, edited by me. 

Pickled

I ventured over the the 11th on Friday lunchtime with Cindy - an arrondissement I'm migrating to more and more these days - to check out the recently opened

Pickled

. A canteen/culinary agency, Pickled (cute name by the way), was set up by two friends: food designer, Myrtille and chef, Amandine. I'm all for women teaming up and doing business together and they seem to make quite a pair. They've created a welcoming, beautifully thought out space with an equally aesthetically pleasing menu - as you might expect from a food designer and chef duo. I took my camera along just in case and couldn't help but snap a few shots of the food and interior. If you're looking for kitchen storage solution inspiration, this is the place - I love that white wire wall. 

Amandine and Myrtille serve a daily changing menu with seasonal ingredients. We tried the pickled yellow pepper and coriander cream 'le Plat revisté en sandwich' - basically their dish of the day made into a burrito, cauliflower soup and cheesecake to finish. I like to count myself as a bit of a cheesecake connoisseur. Unless there's salted caramel on the menu, it's my go-to dessert, with my favourite being Rachel's blueberry cheesecake (that you can find at her eponymous cafe and in The Broken Arm), but Myrtille and Amandine's offering with sesame crust, drizzled with a refreshing citrusy lemon coulis, might just be my new favourite. 

Pickled

54 rue Basfroi

Paris 75011

Myrtille and Amandine

Bastille Day

Here are a few photos from Bastille Day last week. After jumping on a couple of Velibs, we cycled down to the 5th to lunch at one of my favourite burger joints,

Loulou

. We wandered the streets of Saint Germaine, as it's not an area I often get down to, being south of the river an' all. As it was with my London days, I'm a north of the river girl, or Right Bank as it's called in Paris. We walked all the way to

Coutume Café

, where we stopped for one of

Rachel's

irresistible cheesecakes and iced lattes. 

Having a packed a blanket, just in case - we then headed over to Champ de Mars to check out the crowd situation in front of the Eiffel Tower. At 5pm it was already heaving, but we managed to find a small spot so decided to camp out and wait for the fireworks. While fighting others off we managed to hold the fort for 5 other friends who joined us armed with rosé, baguettes, cheese and cold meats, so we could enjoy the evening with full bellies. The crowd got gradually bigger (if that was possible) as we waited in anticipation for the firework display. As the sun set against a backdrop of the iron lady and to a soundtrack of classical music ranging from Gershwin to Tchaikovsky, the clock finally struck eleven and the light display began, lighting up the sky for an intoxicating 40 minutes, in what was the best firework show I've ever seen in my life. You can see a snippet of the show on my Instagram

here

.  If you haven't seen them, I urge you to coincide a trip to Paris on Bastille Day, it truly is a feast for the eyes and ears! 

The Parisian Kitchen

I’m a big foodie. I love to try different foods, discover restaurants and generally eat until my heart’s content, but I’m not a very inventive or well-practised cook. And I'm not one of those people who can just throw things together et voila! I have my go-to dishes that I return to time and time again, such as chili, or I consult one of my many cookbooks (25 at last count - which are admittedly more for decoration) and try to recreate a recipe, but often fail as I'll be missing a quarter of the ingredients.

So being invited to

The Parisian Kitchen

was a chance to get a little more creative in the kitchen and learn to cook some typically French dishes. Run by the lovely Bénédicte, she launched the venture earlier this year out of her love of cooking - a passion she'd inherited from her mother. Having worked in the luxury goods industry, Bénédicte wanted to do something a little more personal. Located in her gorgeous apartment in the 17th, she welcomed my friend

Rachelle

and I with tea and coffee on a Tuesday morning a couple of weeks ago. The first part of the morning was taken up by a trip to her local market and cheese shop to buy fresh produce (along with explanations from Bénédicte - who knew there were so many different types of onions!) that would be used for the three course menu that she'd planned for us to make together. We then spent the next couple of hours cooking (or they did, while I snapped away) before sitting down to the most delicious feast! 

We cooked & ate the following:

Cream of asparagus soup, foie gras froth and truffle oil 

Coley with a citrus dressing

Vegetable pie pastry 

Chocolate soufflé

O Coffeeshop

As you may know by now, I'm a sucker for a good looking coffee.

O Coffeeshop

- a pop-up cafe on rue du Sentier in the 2ème that's open every morning from 7:30 to 11:30am - ticks all the boxes. Not only is the coffee good and the latte art spot on (as is the toasted banana bread), but the interior surroundings are also beautiful. O Coffeeshop has parked its coffee cart in the dark and moody space of La Conserverie, a speakeasy-style cocktail bar that's been decked out in rich marine blues and forest greens - colours I couldn't help but capture, when I visited the space with

Joann

 of

Acorn magazine

 last week. 

O Coffeeshop at La Conserverie

37 rue du Sentir

Monday - Friday, 7:30-11:30am

London Happenings

Every time I go back to London, my experience of the city seems to get better and better, probably because now having lived away for two years, I enjoy the city with fresh eyes and can appreciate, as well as take full advantage of the city. Here are a few of the things I got up to during my week: 

+ I purchased a few spring wardrobe updates from

COS

, including these tees. It's by far my favourite brand for well-designed basics and wardrobe essentials. 

+ I breakfasted at new Spitalfields restaurant

Blixen

 which is guaranteed to become a summer hotspot, with its outside terrace. Try the smoked trout, pouched eggs and avocado and I went with

Clerkenwell Boy

- following him on Instagram for London culinary goings on is a must. 

+ I went to Hackney based shoe brand

Miista's

pop-up

shop

launch in Shoreditch with the talented designer

Brooke Roberts

and walked away with these beautiful powder blue sandals, which I'm sure will be making many an appearance over the summer. 

+ I enjoyed breakfast at the delicious

Honey and Co

with my friend

Ruth

from

Vintage Books

- go for the fig toast! 

+ Tried and tested tasty cocktails at new Shoreditch bar

Joyeux Bordel

, which opened just last week on Curtain Road - part of the Experimental Cocktail Group crew.

+ Ate pizzas from my favourite London pizza restaurant

Franca Manca

Better Living Interview: Miranda York, Editor of TOAST

I know Miranda from when I edited an arts and culture website back in London - she came to an event I was helping to organise and we clicked. After working as a freelance food journalist for various publications, she launched her magazine,

TOAST

, at the end of last year. What began as a conversation about food with a friend, quickly became a turning point and the start of a life changing project. First they launched TOAST food festival - inviting some of the UK's best food journalists, writers and chefs to talk. Off the back of that they continued to organise food events, but felt the need for something more tangible. A magazine was the best solution. It's a beautiful publication aesthetically, as well as beautifully-written, interesting, intriguing and inspiring. Instead of covering food trends, she (along with Assistant Editor,

Sophie Dening

), chose a carefully selected number of contributors to write what they wanted about food - there was no brief, it just had to be interesting. It's a celebration of food and ideas, and articles range from one in praise of crisps, a conversation about wine between Sager & Wilde owners, Michael and Charlotte Sager-Wilde, to a photo essay on the South West of England. It comes in the wake of a burgeoning British food revolution that is not only changing the face of food in Britain - putting fresh, locally-grown, organic products at the front of people's mind - but also altering its reputation on a global scale. I shot Miranda a couple of days after the magazine's launch, at a great French restaurant,

Casse-Croute

in Bermondsey, South London, just around the corner from where she lives and works. 

Scroll down to read the interview!

What inspired you to work with the food industry?

I stumbled upon the food world accidentally. After working at the BBC in current affairs I started writing for an indie food mag and became fascinated by the people I was interviewing and writing about. Everyone I met was so passionate about what they were doing, and so generous – I just wanted to be part of that world. I then worked for various travel and lifestyle magazines before going freelance and starting TOAST – which came about after of one of those crazy conversations with my good friend Sarah Chamberlain. We were longing for food events which delved deeper into food culture – and after speaking to a few people with encouraging words we decided to go for it and create our own!

How did the idea of a magazine come about?

The events we produce at TOAST are fun but fleeting. We wanted a way to gather our values, interests and ideas into something more permanent. With my background as an editor, a magazine seemed the obvious choice. Plus, after speaking to so many talented friends and colleagues frustrated with the industry, I wanted to create a space where people could write/photograph/talk about what really interested them – no restrictions, no subject off limits – if it’s a good story, we’ll print it.

They say Britain is going through a food revolution, how do you think the food landscape has changed in London in the last 5 years?

London is a really exciting city for food right now. There’s so much innovation, so many talented chefs opening restaurants and entrepreneurs starting new businesses. I’ve lost count of the number of restaurants opening each year (or each week!) but there’s no doubt London is a better city to dine out in. I love all the food markets popping up all over the city too – it’s an indication that people want to eat better at home as well as in restaurants.

The restaurant business is often fuelled by the next big trend, what made you steer away from the hype in favour of ideas?

For a long time I got caught up in the whirlwind of new openings and the latest up-and-coming chef, but after a while it became tiring. I stepped away from the hype and started to seek out genuine, talented, creative people who are striving to make something the best it can be – whether that’s a restaurant, bar, event, or a beautiful handmade ceramic bowl. Nowadays I’m much more likely to be looking around a tiny factory in Bermondsey where they’ve made stylish anodised metal trays since the 1930s, or searching for a railway arch in Peckham where they make fresh Mexican cheese, than trying to attend five launch parties in an evening. Though that’s still fun every now and then ;)

What piece of advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business or launch their own magazine?

Do it! It’s hard work and it’s a little bit crazy but if you have a great idea, then go for it. Surround yourself with people who support and believe in you and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

What was the inspiration behind the magazine’s design/front cover?

We wanted to steer away from the perfect shots of food you see on most front covers – food is messy, fun, communal, everyday – so we asked illustrator, Lara Harwood to create something that represented a meal just eaten, a conversation shared: the leftovers. Also, as we publish independently we weren’t tied to current magazine conventions – so there are no taglines, not even a barcode or price (we hid them inside the back cover), to allow the beautiful illustration to shine. I also liked the idea of the main image being on the back cover, just creeping onto the front – a reason to pick up the magazine and feel the thick, tactile GF Smith paper and discover what’s inside.

Foodies, chefs etc.. who inspire you?

My friends. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some truly talented people while creating this magazine and they have all encouraged and inspired me.

Last cookbook you cooked from?

Made in India by Meera Sodha. I’ve always been a little apprehensive about cooking Indian food at home (so many ingredients, such a long time cooking onions!) but Meera’s recipes are wonderful and never intimidating. The Keralan fish curry is my current favourite.

Last good book you read?

Ask the Dust

by John Fante. Brilliant. Read it.

What’s in your magazine pile at home?

So many! There are magazines EVERYWHERE in my flat. I’m a little obsessed. At the moment I’m loving Cherry Bombe, an American food mag focused on women. Also, Cereal, Noble Rot, Lucky Peach, Vogue, Elle Decoration, Ernest, Lagom, Alquimie…I could go on forever!

Evening drink of choice?

Champagne. Or anything with dark rum in it.

Bedside table essentials?

Kiehls Crème de Corps, Plush Balm from & Other Stories, a good book and a glass of water.

Favourite London places for coffee, lunch, dinner, drinks?

Where to start… I live in Bermondsey and my favourite locals are Jose for tapas, Casse Croute for divine French comfort food, 40 Maltby Street for wine and sharing plates, and Bar Tozino for jamon. I also love Lyle’s, Som Saa, Quo Vadis, Tonkotsu, Sager + Wilde, Gymkhana… I’m very much looking forward to Bao opening in Soho (I’m obsessed with Gua Bao) and I’ve just joined Blacks members club – the perfect place for cocktails by the fire.

And finally, what is your definition of living better?

Eating good food with the people you love.

Taste of Paris

Forgive me if this is beginning to look a lot like a food blog, but I couldn't not write about the lovely welcome back to Paris I had on Monday in the shape of an invitation to the launch of

Taste of Paris

. It's a new food festival that will be held in Paris in May, featuring the French capital's finest restaurants. An export from London, established in 2004, it has grown into a foodie super-power, having setting up camp in cities all around the world, including Sydney, Dubai and Amsterdam. Paris is its latest conquest. 

Installed in the patio of the lavish

Prince de Galles Hotel

near th

Champs

-

Élysées

, were cooking stations manned by the likes of top chef,

Alain Ducasse

(ok I didn't actually see him cooking, but I was assured he was there, probably being harassed by paparazzi, journos and food fans),

Joel Robuchon

 and

Stephanie Le Quellec

, the hotel's in house chef, who was serving up tasty little bowls of 

sautéed langoustines. This isn't your average food festival, forget stalls and food 

trucks, this is a festival for food connoisseurs, who know their Bertrand Grebauds from their Christian Constants. Nonetheless, if you like fancy food and want to sample dishes from some of the city's most renowned restaurants, mark your diaries!

Notes from the Weekend

This weekend was rather special as we celebrated our new apartment on Saturday, just before the arrival of the couch. Much fun was had and dancing done by all and admittedly I didn’t set foot outside yesterday.

Instead I spent the day cocooning at home, cleaning and watching films – lucky too as the temperature has dropped about 10 degrees in the last few days. Winter is finally here. Anyway this one’s short and sweet, so here are a few links and current favourite things from the last week. 

+ The new

Le Fooding

guide came out last week – it’s essential reading material for any Parisian foodie. I've already ear-marked a few places. 

+ Friday night I attended a lovely soiree hosted by

La Maison du Chocolat

and drank chocolat chaud, ate macarons and trotted off with a tasty box of chocs. 

+ Chocolates were followed by tacos at the newly opened

Death by Burrito

. I went to the one in London when it was a pop up in Shoreditch. So to see it in Paris was a real treat, especially with it being so close to my new place.

+ The ceramic dish pictured was made by my mum, who has been making pots on and off for years. Every time I go to visit her back in the UK, I return to Paris with at least 3 more.

+ I found the perfect wooden

fruit bowl

from Muji (ok it says 'salad', but I think it works for fruit too!)

+ I finally watched

Interstellar

last week. Incredible film and it had me getting a little philosophical and pondering about life...It also satisfied my inner Sci-fi geek. Don’t get me started on the new Star Wars trailer..

+ And I purchased this

top

from COS – it’s perfect for winter layering

Lyle's London

Not to be confused with the golden syrup manufacturers, Tate & Lyle (or maybe that was just me that thought of that one), 

Lyle's

is a lovely new restaurant in Shoreditch that I've been itching to visit since its opening, and since a friend told me her housemate, James was opening a new restaurant. (I've also just written about it for

Trotter Mag's London

restaurant guide that's soon to go up). I went whilst in London last week with said friend, 

Sophie

, for lunch (the best time to go), along with

Toast

editor, Miranda to celebrate the launch of her new magazine, catch up and eat our way through the delicious menu. So delicious that I didn't take any decent photos of the food, so you'll have to be satisfied with the iPhone snap I took for my

Instagram

...

The new space is just off Shoreditch highstreet, nestled in between Shoreditch House and Pizza East on the ground floor of the Tea Building. It's big, airy and bright with light flooding in through the large, loft-style windows. The interior is minimal, with scandi-style tables and chairs, white walls, high ceilings, concrete flooring, grey industrial lighting and an open kitchen and bar. The mix could have easily created a cold atmosphere, but instead it feels welcoming. I like these kind of interiors and the light makes a big difference. We ordered a mix of tapas-style plates, such as Game Liver Toast, Cured Ling and Crab and Artichoke, each as tasty as the next, but there are also larger mains available, which I'm sure I'll be tucking into next time. And one of the best things about the place (as someone living in Paris, who has waited in far too many lines to be seated), is that you can book and take as long as you want. There's no one trying to jostle you out so they can seat the next customer, like so many new hot-spots that have popped up in Paris recently. So we had a nice leisurely lunch. Perhaps a little too leisurely, but I left feeling satisfied and content.

Lyle's

Tea Building,56 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JJ

+44 20 3011 5911

Opening hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 - 23:00 & Saturday 18:00 - 23:00 

An Italian Affair

After a warm bout over the weekend, the weather in Paris has suddenly turned colder. (Luckily I bought

these

, much to the amusement of the boy). Winter is certainly coming, which has had me reminiscing about our summer holiday that feels like an age away. So rather belatedly, here's another post from my travels. 

Now I'm no wedding photographer, I leave that up to experts like my dear friend

Katie

(if you need a great wedding photographer, she's your woman), but I couldn't help but document this beautiful Italian wedding in Abruzzo of our friends Catherine and Georgio. It was everything you might imagine an Italian wedding to be and more. 

The ceremony took place in a charming medieval church in a little village in the hills, with the most incredible stone flooring and crumbling wall paintings. Catherine wore a beautiful Grecian style, draped, but very modern one-shouldered dress, paired with bronze gold sandals and just a simple bouquet of baby's breath - the epitome of elegance. 

For the reception we drove through the winding roads to Georgio's sister Giulia's house,

Casale Centurione

- a guest house and restaurant, where Giulia also runs cookery courses - located on a hill in the countryside, surrounded by vines and olive trees. It's set amongst the most beautiful scenery - truly an Italian dream. And at the edge of the property you can look down into the valley below and catch incredible sun sets. Visiting places like this, reminds me that there's a big wide world outside of city living. I think I'll always be an urbanite, but it does make me think how amazing it would be to live in a house in the countryside,

Mimi Thorisson

style. The food was unsurprisingly amazing. Just look at that buffet spread! Have you ever seen anything so delicious? And that was just the warm-up (which muggins here didn't realise so stuffed her face, leaving less room for the mains.) Post buffet, came pasta, lots of it. I lost count after the third dish.. then there was focaccia, hog roast, beef, cold meats, cheese, fresh figs, oh and of course the obligatory wedding cake. I think I must have put on 3 kilos in one evening. And felt happier for it. 

Wined & Dined in Bordeaux

The last few weeks have been hectic to say the least. Flat-hunting, moving (more on that to come), a ton of work and a trip to Bordeaux. I started this blog when I moved to Paris, because I wanted to not only document my time discovering, getting to know the new city, and my personal style, but also how I and others can and are living better, whether that be through food, fashion, travel or interiors. It's been happening slowly but surely - often a case of one step forward and two steps back, but I'm heading in the right direction. Visiting Bordeaux was definitely one of those steps in the right direction. 

I've been wanting to visit this beautiful city and its surroundings for a while now, not only to take in the architecture and ambience, but also to discover the food and of course the wine. Let's just say I may have developed a bit of a taste for French wine since I moved to France. Hard not to. Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited by

Bordeaux Wines UK

on a fun-filled four days literally chateau-hopping my way around the region. I visited six chateaux, got wined and dined for lunch and dinner, and generally had the most amazing time learning as much as I could. The sun was shining, the weather hot, people lovely, food incredible and then there was the wine. I tasted around 70 different wines in total, and got to have a wine-tasting class at the

L'Ecole du Vin

, which I really recommend if you stay in Bordeaux as it'll give you a great overview. Although I do still feel a little weird spitting wine out in front of others, especially when it kept dribbling down my chin - not a good look (I'm sure this is just something I have to perfect with practise, which of course I'm not adverse to), but if I'd drunk everything that had been put in front of me, I would have been under the table by 11am! I'm admittedly a terrible lightweight.

We not only learnt about the wines, the different regions - Saint-Emilion, Graves and Medoc to name a few, the grapes - Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, but also the 'terroir' (the soil and land). It's just one region, but the land is so diverse - wine produced on Bordeaux's Left Bank is so very different from wine on the Right Bank because of the type of soil. Luckily every chateau owner gave us a tour of their property and talked us through their vineyards and how they make their wine. It was fascinating and eye-opening, and above all delicious. I left a little fried from trying to retain so much information, but I do now feel that if I see a Bordeaux wine on the menu I would be able to order it with confidence. The parents would be proud. Anyway enough of the chat, I will let the images do the rest of the talking.  

Saint-Emilion

Le Bristol

 Chef Sommelier, Marco Pelletier, telling us about the vines

Chateau Candale

owner, Jean-Louis Vinter talking about his wines

Harvest in progress at Chateau

Pichon-Longueville in Pauillac

Bordeaux

Sur la Seine with Vins de Bordeaux

Last Tuesday I was invited along with four other bloggers and journalists, to sample wines from 

Vins de Bordeaux

 on a little boat on the Seine. Naively I thought it was going to be a big event - the last one was at le Perchoir in the 11

é

me, one of Paris' largest rooftop bars. I was looking for a big boat to board, but was pleasantly surprised when I looked down to the water and saw a little boat with wine, charcuterie and various snacks being laid out, and just a few passengers. So more of a private boat tour. 

Our driver took us on a round-trip from les Docks up the river to the Eiffel Tower, while we sampled different bordeaux wines; a claret, 

rosé

 and whites - a Pessac-Leognan from

Le Dada de Rouillac

and Graves de Vayres from

Chateau Goudichaud

- and heard from Nathalie of

Chateau Bortinet

 about each variety. I'm no expert, although I do know my favourites (the alvarinho grape and wines from the Sancerre, Chablis, Bordeaux and Douro regions), but my favourite was the rose - it was crisp and refreshing, perfect for a warm summer evening on the water!

Thanks to Ylenia at

Ambitieuse

for taking the photo of me!

Ylenia from

Ambitieuse

Lunch at Ladurée

I had one of the loveliest Saturday's this long weekend, which helped kick me out of my slump. I met

Carin at Caféotheque for coffee to help her with a photography assignment. After taking a few snaps of the pretty turquoise tables, we then meandered over to Ladurée

, wandering through the winding cobbled streets of Saint Germain, which in the sun is a real treat, especially when we chose to walk down tiny streets we hadn't discovered before. This is one of the best things about Paris, you can stray off the beaten tourist track, without ever really getting lost. Of course, we did walk down a few dead ends, but sometimes these are the best for a good photo op. 

At Ladurée we shared a chicken club sandwich, which I highly recommend as they come big - with chunky fries - followed by a few macarons (the caramel salé is a personal favourite), which we gobbled up (in the daintiest possible way, of course) in the booth by the window for all passer-bys to see! 

Brussels | Eats

I've had busy couple of weeks after flying to Porto for a wedding last weekend and Brussels before that. I haven't had the time to post, but all this travelling means that I have a nice backlog of posts! I've finally gotten around to posting more of my Brussels trip which will hopefully give you a little idea of places to visit when you get over there! Below are a couple of my favourite spots for lunch. 

Le Perroquet

:

This was a great find. A menu full with different fillings for pitta breads. Simples. We went for a chicken and a beef one. Both were delicious and came with a selection of sauces. The space is interesting too - a great example of art deco, a chequer board floor and pink marble tables. 

Rue Watteeu 31, 1000 Brussels.

Gaudron:

Gaudron has become my favourite Brussels brunch place, admittedly for the clean and minimal interior with its creamy white tiles, caramel coloured booths and raspberry pink floor, oh and of course the pastry counter...It's a little further out from the centre, but that's what makes it even better - there are no tourists, only locals. Apparently we were sat next to a famous Belgium actor. We had the eggs benedict and chicken burger, which we washed down with the house lemonade. Do you have any favourite places in Brussels? 

3 Place G.Brugmann, 

1050 Brussels.

Boot Café

I ventured into the pint-sized (or should I say shoe-sized) Boot Café a few weeks ago with the lovely Carin. It's housed inside a former cobbler's, hence the name. As Paris' smallest cafe, it is petit but perfectly formed, with three tiny tables, a little bar for tempting sweet treats and a wall of shelves displaying fashion magazines (one of the owners works in the industry). We popped in for coffee (they serve Belleville) and cake one saturday to escape the rain. 

What it lacks in size, it makes up for in style. There are little green geometric stools, white tiles, posters and art covering one wall, old wooden floors, plants and a pretty blue front. I also love the little wooden crate filled with coconuts (they serve coconut juice - not your usual offering in Paris!) But the best thing? It's just a short walk from my studio. 

What's your favourite cafe in Paris? 

Boot Café 

19 Rue du Pont aux Choux

Paris, 75003

Le Marché des Enfants Rouges

I love living in le Marais as I'm right around the corner from so many lovely places and

le Marché des Enfants Rouges

is one of them. It's the oldest undercover market in Paris, dating back to the 1600s. Besides the staple market finds (flowers, fruit, veg, fish, bread, cheese) there are also a plethora of stalls serving up all kinds of street food. My favourite is the moroccan, where you can pick up a terracotta plate of lamb tagine for €10. I had a friend visiting on Friday from London so we popped in for lunch and ordered said tagine. After we wandered around oogling the rich colours of the fruit and veg. 

Blackburn Coffee


Another day, another cafe post. I've got a lot going on at the moment, what with all this flat-hunting, so need all the caffeine I can get my mitts on. On Friday I visited the newly opened Blackburn Coffee (no, I didn't see the UK connection - town & football club - until my foodie journalist friend Sophie pointed it out to me) in the 10th. The coffee's good, but even better is the interior. I'm sure you've figured out by now that I have a thing for interior decor, and the Danish design magazines piled up on the back table, which looks like a large slab of driftwood fashioned into a work bench, immediately won me over. The space is a mix of scandinavian design (a big trend in Paris right now) with white round tables, white walls, mixed in with some cosy, rustic touches such as a log cabin-esque wood-panelled wall at the back and colourful cushions and knick knacks that give it that lived in feel.

The owners, Sofiane and Sarah are friendly and welcoming, making you feel like you've just stepped into their living room. Sofiane makes the coffee and Sarah cooks a range of tartes, quiches, open sandwiches with avocado and salad, which I'll definitely be coming back for. 

Blackburn Coffee, 52 Rue Faubourg Saint-Martin.

The man behind the machine, Sofiane
Sarah getting culinary 

La Trésorerie


I had a brilliant start to the new month yesterday. Lauren, who is pretty clued up on all things Paris, found out about a new cafe/shop opening, called La Trésorerie (it used to be the old treasury and you can still see the bars on the windows) so invited a few of us along. It was so new we got a good whiff of fresh paint as we walked into the cafe, and while we sat and drank our coffee we could see the staff still buzzing around and making the final finishing touches to the shop next door. 

The cafe serves good filter coffee, fresh orange juice and Swedish food - Carin (our favourite Swede) ordered a smörgås, better known as an open sandwich, for us all to try. 

At 11:30 they opened the doors to the store and we quickly piled in to get the first look at the space. It's a mecca for all things home, aka my kind of heaven. They sell crockery, furniture, linen, pots, pans, glassware, Turkish towels and even paint, by some of the best brands from all over the world. So of course there were Swedish brands, as well as the famous English brand, Denby who make beautiful crockery. 

La Trésorerie, 11 rue du Chateau d'eau, Paris 10th.
Carin cutting the smörgås so we could all taste a bite


Katie and Carin perusing the crockery
One of the owners in his lovely yellow apron