At Home With Editor of The Other Art of Living, Sophie Trem

I discovered Sophie a little while ago through Instagram. She oozes positive energy and by the photos on her feed, I could see that her home reflected her personality. So I reached out and ventured down to the 13th. It's not an area I go to very often, so I was a little out of my comfort zone and admittedly got a bit lost. But I finally found her building and she opened her door with a big smile. We immediately clicked and I spent a few hours there, chatting, snapping photos and munching on a delicious breakfast that she kindly laid out - obviously just how any photo shoot should go. 

She’s been in her home for 5 years, and it’s the kind of space that you want to curl up in with a good magazine. It’s bright and cosy, and filled with personality and warmth, with touches of colour and pattern - in other words, a real home.  

Paris born and bread, of Cambodian descent, she grew up in Paris’ China Town and has remained in the area, where she lives with her husband and two small boys. She works as a freelance web and fashion consultant, as well as working part-time for Qwant, looking after their communications. Her blog, The Other Art of Living is full of positive vibes, inspiration and tips for mastering the art of living well! 

Scroll down to read the interview.

What inspired you to start your blog?

It was a time in my life when I wanted to change direction. I went back to school because I needed to learn new things. That’s how I started, but it was not supposed to be a blog, just a website showing what I could do as a freelance creative consultant…  I was so surprised when I was invited to an event for bloggers the very first time!

What words of advice do you have for someone following their own career path and freelancing?

Listen to yourself; try to feel it. Do things you want to, not only because you have to. That makes a huge difference.

Any projects in the pipeline?  

Don’t get me started! ;)  I think I have as many dreams as there are stars in the sky, so I always have a project on the go! But seriously, I’m currently really excited about my first collaboration with K-Swiss. We are launching an exclusive style of the Classic tennis shoe this Thursday at Colette. I still can’t believe it’s real; it’s a dream come true!

I was also a part of the jury for Maison & Objet last week and of course my (almost) full-time job at Qwant is full of new adventures everyday, that’s a startup lifestyle both ways.

What do you like most about the area you live in?

There’s such a great energy here, which I guess is because of the mixture of cultures. We are near Chinatown where I grew up, and this is one of those new areas mixed with old, with a real family spirit. On top of that there are also a lot of green spaces, which is so important when you have kids.

What were the biggest decorating challenges you faced when you moved in?

Our apartment is a former medical office, so renovating that into a home was the biggest challenge. But as soon as I got there, I had the image of what our home would be, I could totally visualise it, then it had to be!

How would you describe your interior style?

I guess it’s a mix of modern, Scandinavian & boho, we like to mix everything together.

Favourite piece(s) of furniture/treasures?

I never know how to answer that one as I like everything, but more as an ensemble. Although I do love the buffet we’ve had for years because there’s a funny story behind it, and I love when things have their own story!

Favourite places/shops to buy for your home?

Recently I just went nuts at my friends store Jamini! I love the designer, the products – I just can’t get enough of those pillows, they really add some flavour to the spirit of my home. I also really like Bloomingville and Bxxlight. 

Interiors/style that have inspired you?

L’Eclaireur, Merci, Maison & Objet

Favourite sources for inspiration?

Travel and blogs, such as blogger & instagrammer, Jesus Sauvage.

Favourite three lifestyle blogs?

Inside Closet, Apartment Therapy, Anna G, Beautyarchi

Last good book you read? 

I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m really enjoying: Le jour ou j’ai appris à vivre from Gounelle (the day I learned to live.)

What’s in your magazine pile?

Home magazine, Le M Monde, Les Inrocks, Society, Happinez, Vogue and MPA.

What’s in your fridge?

Organic fruits and veggies and some easy stuffs for kids like ham & cheese and a lot of different condiments & juices

Go-to alcoholic beverage?

None!

Tea or coffee?

Tea!

Handbag essentials?

Lipsticks, money, pressed powder, earplugs, kleenex and something to rinse your hands.

What do you do to relax?

I play with my kids, I sleep, I play music with my friends, and I love spending hours in my bathroom and having a home spa!

Paris favourites:

Café: Le Bonaparte is around the corner from my office, it's super convenient. It's a tourist trap, but I still love being amazed by my city.  

Restaurant: there are so many I love, but one of my all time favourite cantines is New Hoa Khoan, 15 Avenue de Choisy, 75013. It does the best dim sum in Paris, trust me!

Shop: Colette for its crazy selection from street to high end, Merci as most of the fashion designers I love are there, Heimstone, Le Bon Marché, L’Eclaireur, Jamini and…. Monoprix for everything!

For kids: Maralex, Little Michel & Noel online and Womb.

Words & photos by Marissa Cox. 

 

Winter Wardrobe

I am not built for cold weather. My hands are the first to freeze, then my feet, then nose and before I know it I need to be thawed out. I know that 'chilled to the bone' feeling oh so well - when they invent wearable hot water bottles, I will be the first to buy one. So this year, I vowed I'd be prepared for the first sign of frost. I bought my winter coat when it was still warm, having spied this

dressing gown

navy number in COS. It's over-sized, snuggly and keeps me warm. Better yet, it slots into my wardrobe.

Since moving to Paris and in my quest to live better, I've been trying to streamline said wardrobe and throw out the clothes that I don't wear, with the aim of building a uniform (note irony when you scroll and see the grey jumper/navy skirt schoolgirl combo) of items that are stylish, timeless and made to last. It's an ongoing task, this shopping better and only trying to spend money where it counts, (it helps to keep a list) and I am constantly on the search for classics that will last longer than a season. My taste is pretty minimal and varies between shades of black, navy, grey and white, with the odd shot of colour, usually in the form of lipstick. This winter, I have been literally living in a variation of the following looks, switching it up with a pair of jeans, white tee and navy cardigan  (I have a thing for navy right now). And thinking I perhaps needed a little more colour in my life, I bought the trainers to match my lipstick, yep not the other way around.

How much thought goes into your wardrobe? 

Photos by

Hana Pedajnianska

, edited by me.

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. 

Seeing things clearly

I was one of those geeky kids with the glasses. I became a little four eyes aged 5, with a pair of My Little Pony glasses. Remember those? I had all four colours. Aged six I had to wear a patch over my right eye because it was lazy. Not a look that endears you to other kids. As I got older I hated wearing glasses and throughout my teenage years, I would only wear them during class for lectures, so I could see the whiteboard. During breaks I would walk around half blind, totally oblivious if someone was trying to make eye contact with me or trying to catch my attention. Walking down the high street on the weekend was an obstacle course. University was the same. I'm quite sure I missed a few winks and sneaky looks from fellow male students (I wish), because I just couldn't see them. As soon as class was over off came the glasses, which made walking around campus a little tricky, if not dangerous.

Thank goodness for contact lenses. In my last year of university I finally got my first pair. I remember looking in the mirror, whilst standing in the lift on the way up to my room in the university halls, mesmerised at how big my eyes were. I'd never seen them in focus except behind a pair of frames. It took me six months to get used to putting them in and taking them out (they still make me cry today). But I was determined to look 'cool' and 'normal' - I used to wear my contacts 7 days a week for a minimum of 14 hours a day. Sometimes I even slept in them and in the morning when I woke up, they'd literally be stuck to my eyeballs. (I can envisage opticians shaking their heads as I write this). But as I've gotten older, I've started wearing glasses again, it might have something to do with a little thing called fashion. Glasses are trendy, and people look cool in them. Geek is good. So when I was looking around for a pair of new specs that I'd happily be seen walking down the street in,

Oscar Wylee

 caught my eye, not just for their vintage-inspired designs, but also because when you buy a pair of glasses, they give a pair to someone in need. I love a good deed. And they don't take long to arrive. I chose the

Stafford style in Ivory Tortoise

 as I wanted a bold frame that would stand out and match my usual monochrome look, sent off my prescription they made them for me in their factory, and I received them in just a few weeks. Fuss free, et voila. 

I hope you enjoy the little story that was shot in the

Used Book Cafe at Merci

, with the help of my friend and talented photographer,

Carin

. I wanted somewhere a little darker and moodier, and well bookish. Sadly I don't have much time to sit around drinking coffee, eating scones, reading books and staring out of the window contemplating life, but if I did this is where I'd do it, and with a good friend like Carin. I'd love to know what you think.

Photos by

Carin Olsson

, edited by me. 

Jumper from

& Other Stories

, lipstick 'All Fired Up' by

Mac

.

Margaret Howell



I just came back from another weekend in London to celebrate a friend's engagement party - so thought it apt to post a few photos of Margaret Howell's beautiful central London store that I took last time I was in the Big Smoke. I have a bit of a penchant for clean, modern clothing that supports a palette of grey, navy, white, black, and I particularly like wearing structured lines with minimal fuss that can be spiced up with a slick of bright lipstick. (And let's be honest, I neither have the inclination or time to spend faffing around trying to figure out what to wear in the mornings, so opt for a personal uniform of sorts). So I wandered off Wigmore Street and into the eponymous Margaret Howell shop to peruse a spectrum of greys, neutrals, browns and army greens, peppered with the odd pop of colour, checks and tartan. It's a lovely space flooded with light that streams in from the glass ceiling to showcase the collections, as well as the vintage furniture and homewares. It's more concept store, than clothes shop, creating a lifestyle rather than just offering apparel for the average clotheshorse. And boy, could I have happily bought everything in there. Or moved in. Luckily I had a meeting, otherwise I would have camped out for the rest of the day, in that grey armchair, asking the sales staff to bring me cups of tea in those pretty ceramics. 


Stylish Living: Stéphanie from White Bird

WHITE bIRD

 is tucked just behind Rue de Rivoli, only a few minutes from the Jardin de Tuileries in the 1st arrondissement, in an ideal location for locals, as well as tourists wandering just off the tourist track. I headed over there on a particularly warm September day to photograph and chat to the owner, 

Stéphanie

 - purveyor of fine, pretty jewels - in collaboration with my good friend Kate who runs the London-based jewellery blog

The Cut London

. If you're ever looking for an engagement ring, she's your girl!

Stéphanie

 opened WHITE bIRD a few years ago after the plug was pulled on an exciting project to launch a fine jewellery collection at Chloe because of the economic crisis. After putting a year of hard work into the project, only to see it cancelled, 

Stéphanie

 decided the timing was right to go solo - and it was the push she needed to set up on her own. 

She always wanted to work with luxury products and has spent most of her working life in jewellery or watches, starting at Cartier: "I had no special jewellery training. I just did some business studies, but I knew one thing when I was young - I lived with my parents in Bordeaux and I knew that I wanted to live in Paris. I also knew that I wanted to work with fashion or in the luxury industry." She later worked for Chaumet, and it was during her time there, whilst travelling to the US that she started exploring other jewellery designers. "I went to Barney’s when they'd just opened their little department of fine jewellery. It was just a tiny room in the beginning and they only had one or two brands. But every year it’s grown and grown, and it’s now a huge floor where they have a fantastic range of designers. One of the designers was

Cathy Waterman

and I loved her designs. So I started to think about what I wanted to do for myself. I didn’t want to work for brands anymore, so I decided that in France, there was a real need for a space to showcase new designers." So she opened WHITE bIRD, which is very different to most high end jewellery shops - she wanted to create a space that was cool and cosy, a place where kids could come, and where husbands could happily sit on a couch answering emails while their wives perused the designs. She's done just that - it's warm, welcoming, cosy and beautifully designed to show off the pretty jewels, without being too stiff or strict; it doesn't have the stuffy air of a place like Cartier, where you feel afraid to go in.

Scroll down to read the rest of the interview! 

Earliest fashion or jewellery moment? 

The first collection I directed at Dinh Van with a freelance designer. Jewellery is a small piece of art that involves a lot of emotion from the designer to the wearer. It’s on your skin. It’s like perfume, it’s very sensual and personal.

Describe a typical working day… 

When I’m in Paris, I take my youngest daughter to school, sometimes have a coffee with other parents, walk to the office which is half in the shop, half in a small office nearby and work non stop until 7pm, usually without lunch. I often meet and chat with some customers of the shop, which are delicious breaks 

What do you do to relax? 

Read and garden at our seaside house.

What piece of advice would you give someone who wants to launch their own jewellery brand or boutique? 

Have faith in what your doing, don’t let people discourage you and when there are tough days always think: "tomorrow will be a better day".

Who are your clients? 

People that come here are looking for something more personal – they are investing more of themselves into the piece, rather than buying it because it’s a particular brand.

What was the inspiration behind the boutique’s interior style? 

I wanted natural and rough materials to contrast with the jewellery, which is precious and delicate. I wanted people to feel relaxed, finding a cool sofa was key and authentic 50’s furniture to make it a bit like a home.

Where did you source the furniture? 

Vintage markets and online

Interior styles that have inspired you?

English homes, the Isabel Marant shop in Le Marais, Astier de Villatte, APC in Soho New York

, the decorator Ilse Crawford.

How would you describe your personal style? 

Unsophisticated..

Last good book you read? 

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

– it's quite dark, but I love historical books – this one takes place in Iceland in the 19th century.

What’s in your magazine pile at home? 

ELLE and the rest is online.

Evening drink of choice?  

Champagne and Chablis white wine.

Bedside table essentials?

My Aesop hand cream and my book

Favourite Paris places for coffee, clothes shopping, dinner? 

Le Telegraphe coffee shop,

Toraya

for lunch,

Septime

restaurant, Acne, Pierre Hardy,

Journal Standard

(Palais Royal) and Stouls for leather clothes.

Words and photography by Marissa Cox. 

London Calling

I lived in London for a long time before I moved to Paris (I used to be an East London girl and spent 4 years in Dalston & Hackney), so it's quite refreshing coming back as a tourist and staying in a different area to my old stomping ground. I didn't have much time to explore this trip and seek out new places, so I snapped a few shots near where I was staying, at a friend's in West London. I literally hot-footed it to Portobello Road in Notting Hill yesterday morning, to capture a few of the cute buildings and vintage teapots - apologies for the lack, but I'll be back next month (and quickly next weekend for said friend's engagement party), and will actually plan my stay properly next time. 

For more London, check out

Park & Cube

,

Liberty London Girl

 and 

What Katie Does

.

Cheeky new purchase - grey jumper from & Other Stories and previous blue clutch from COS

Provence: Roussillon

It doesn't get much prettier than this place. The Provence village of

Roussillon

is built atop an old ochre quarry, which is where most of the buildings and cobbled streets get their beautiful rust colour from. Pair that with blue, green and yellow shutters and you've got a fairy tale of a place filled with ice-cream colours - the houses do look good enough to eat. 

Our trusty Lonely Planet recommended we get there early or late to avoid the midday crowds, so we arrived around 5pm, which was spot on. The main streets were still quite filled, but when we wandered off into the hidden streets and alleyways, we almost felt alone. We didn't venture into the quarry as I stupidly wore a white vintage skirt and espadrilles, but for a nominal fee you can explore it on foot; the shortest track is around half an hour.  

Market Day in Gordes

Perched on top of a hill in Luberon, Provence, Gordes is by far one of the prettiest villages I've ever visited. I've been wanting to go ever since I saw Russell Crowe trying to woo Marion Cotillard in her cafe, in

A Good Year

(yes I'm a sucker for romance, especially in the French countryside). Luckily we arrived just in time for market day, which is every Tuesday. 

We had the loveliest meal at

Marianna's

 on Monday night. (A little Italian restaurant owned by a Sicilian native - all the food is cooked by her in a tiny kitchen and is the tastiest Italian food I've eaten outside of Italy.) The restaurants are pricey in Gordes and generally very touristy looking, we chanced upon this one and got lucky - there are only a few tables so I'd suggest booking! We woke up early-ish on Tuesday and walked over to the village where the market was already heaving with people. As expected the main customers were tourists and a lot of stalls cater for them, but there are still some traditional stalls selling handmade soap, herbs, peppers, jams, cured meats and bread. We bought some herbs, jam and a string of red peppers for our future kitchen in Paris. Have you been to Gordes? Hope you like the photos! 

At Home with Lauren

Lauren makes up the other half of The House that Jack Built along with Alison, whose flat I visited previously this month. Lauren's apartment came with her boyfriend Jeff, and she moved in Christmas 2012. It's fair to say she hit the jackpot with Jeff - I only met him briefly, but judging by his flat he's quite the catch. The apartment is unusually large for Paris - I could have easily cart-wheeled around the open living space (had I been so inclined), and on top of that it's located over looking Canal Saint Martin, possibly one of the best positions in Paris.

Situated on the fourth floor it's a light-filled space with three floor-to-ceiling windows, wooden floors and the furniture is a mix of modernist and vintage design pieces, such as an Eames lounge chair and ottoman, Knoll chairs, a vintage traffic light, an old stage light and a beautiful cream Krauss piano. Unsurprisingly it's been used before for various photo shoots, so I was glad to get in there and have a good nose around.

Scroll down for the full interview! 

How would you describe your interior style?

Eclectic, verging on schizophrenic. I love it all.

Favourite piece of furniture?

Jeff’s childhood piano. Especially when it’s being played – this week’s soundtrack has been Hey Jude.

Favourite places/shops to buy for your home?

Every Sunday growing up, my parents would drag my brother and I begrudgingly all over town to find antiques, we used to hate it with a passion. Now, it’s one of my favourite things to do. Going to St Ouen is an endless swoon. 

I also often pop into gallery and bookshop, OFR. They have ever-changing exhibitions and all the fashion, art, design books you could dream of. That’s where Jeff and I bought our first artwork together, a photograph by Mark Borthwick. For house plants, Bleuet Coquelicot in the 10th. And for organising the ‘behind closed doors’ side to our lives, I swear by Muji.

Interiors/style that have inspired you?

Born in Australia, growing up in South-East Asia, with an English father, now living in Paris – in some way or another, I’m inspired by a plethora of styles, eras, materials, textures & designs from these different cultures.

If your flat was burning down, what three things would you take with you?

We have a safety rope in case of a fire, so living on the 4th floor, I guess that would be useful. Then, I would take Jeff, because that’s the only way I would know how to use the rope. 3rd thing? Irreplaceable family photos.

Favourite sources for inspiration?

I am a sucker for Pinterest, I could spend hours dreaming my life away on that thing.

Last good book you read?

Cat’s Cradle by KurtVonnegut.

Breakfast or dinner?

Before going to sleep, I’m already excited for breakfast. I love breakfast so much that I sometimes eat it for dinner.

Evening drink of choice?

Tonight, an Aperol Spritz. But mostly, an Amaretto Sour.

Tea or coffee?

Coffee all the way!!! A single shot quartado. I can never win with tea - it’s always too scorching hot to drink, and then by the time I remember to drink it, it’s too cold.

Bedside table essentials?

A good book, papaw lip balm, hotel slippers, body cream.

How did you find your flat? Any advice for people searching for a flat in Paris?

The flat came with the boy! So find a boy/girl? If all else fails, spread the word. Word of mouth is the best way to find the best secret deals in Paris.

And finally you favourite places in Paris? 

Favourite Cafe :The BrokenArm, place to drink :L’Avant Comptoir in the 6th. I’m still thinking about the Rosé, croquette jambon & porc caramelisé I had there 3 weeks ago and I think the best brunch spot in Paris is: Le Marché des Enfants Rouges.

Giverny: Fondation Monet

Last weekend, as you might have seen on

Instagram

, I ticked something off my bucket list. We drove with a couple of friends (who were over from Holland) to Giverny, the home of

Monet

. I'm a big art buff - my parents used to drag me to galleries when I was little - so a lot of knowledge went in by osmosis, but I also studied the impressionists at university, as well as various history of art courses while on my Erasmus year abroad in Valencia, Spain. So visiting Giverny has been on my to do list for a while. Luckily the weather stayed sunny (it's been rather schizophrenic lately) and the place was everything I thought it might be and more. I do recollect jumping up and down a few times and beaming from ear to ear like a kid when we arrived...

We got there around 11am on Saturday to try and avoid the crowds, which was pretty futile as there were already tourists from all over queuing to get in. But we did manage to jump the queue with our pre-bought tickets (recommended). We also packed a little picnic which we ate outside of the foundation by the river, again rather idyllic! And went in for a second look after lunch. 

Admittedly I might have gone a little overboard with photos here, but I just couldn't help myself. With every step I took there was something photo worthy. Giverny is one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited and I would happily go back again and again. Private tour anyone, please?

What's on your bucket list?

Couldn't resist the cringe couple moment!

Jessica doing her thing

At Home With Alison

I was put in contact with Alison and Lauren from

The House that Jack Built

earlier this year by my friend 

Lauren

, as I was told they both had rather lovely apartments in Paris. She was not wrong. Last Friday I visited Alison at her home in the 11th to take some snaps. 

After working in the fashion industry for a few years in London, Newcastle native Alison came to Paris six years ago for 'a change'. She met Lauren while working at the Rose Bakery. They then began working 

spontaneously

 together after organising a

fundraising party

for the Tsunami in Japan in 2011 at

Candelaria

(part owned by her boyfriend, Josh) using the theme of Hanami - the Japanese cherry blossom celebration. They have since worked for Colette, Stella McCartney, Coca Cola and Gap, among others.

Alison's apartment is spacious and light and set back from a main street through a large courtyard - a rare find in Paris. It's filled with plants, vintage finds, knick knacks and Ercol furniture which all beautifully suit Alison's personal style.  

Scroll down to read the full interview!

How would you describe your interior style?

1970s school teacher

/indoor greenhouse

Favourite piece of furniture?

The vintage wicker coffee table that I bought on Ebay.

Favourite places/shops to buy for your home?

Ebay or brocantes for furniture. 

Labour and Wait

in London for kitchen & home.

Interiors/style that have inspired you?

Maybe subconsciously my Grandma's house and my parents house - they both have Ercol furniture (as do I) and lots of plants and books - my mum's favourite colour is green.

If your flat was burning down, what three things would you take with you?

My boyfriend, m

y favourite photography book, Farm by

Jackie Nickerson

- I bought it new more than 10 years ago when it was first published and it is now selling for more than 10 times the original price on Amazon (= over 500€), so it feels almost irreplaceable - I never get bored of looking at it.

And thirdly the collage that my boyfriend and I made on our second date (!)

Where do you look for inspiration?

I try to find inspiration offline as much as possible - going to exhibitions, browsing bookshops and magazines.

Favourite social media mavens?

@louisphilippedegagoue /

http://www.louisphilippedegagoue.blogspot.fr/

@susiebubble /

www.stylebubble.co.uk

Online reading material?

Wide Eyed Glass

,

Into the Gloss

 and

This Rawsome Vegan Life

.

What was the last good book you read?

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

.

What’s on your magazine pile?

Acne Paper, System Magazine, Metal Magazine

Breakfast or dinner?

Breakfast

Evening drink of choice?

A Curado at Le Mary Celeste

Tea or coffee?

Tea

Bedside table essentials?

Hand cream and almond oil

How did you find your flat?

On Facebook - through a friend, after 6 months of looking.

Any advice for people searching for a flat in Paris?

Be persistent!

And finally your favourite places in Paris!

The Broken Arm

for tea,

Le Mary Celeste

for a drink and

Bob's BakeShop

, or at home

 for juice. I also really like

Juice It

- a new cold press juice bar in the 2nd.

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

At Home With Meg

Meg is the Denverite behind De quelle planete es-tu?, where she blogs about Paris life, café culture and beer (lots of it). After completing her master’s degree at the French business school, INSEEC she landed the job of Digital Content Editor at Dior. I met her a few months ago in her apartment, when she invited a few of us over for drinks and nibbles. Her vintage style and memorabilia instantly caught my eye, and I thought her colourful cosy apartment in the 16eme filled with knick knacks, photos, books and vinyls would be a good place to start my new series.

So last Saturday I snooped around her apartment, which was obviously just a poor excuse to spend some quality cat time with her seriously cute three month old kitten, Jefferson. I don’t like to boast, but I think he liked me – just look at him posing for photos.

Scroll down to read the full interview!

Note: The questions are a work in progress, so the format will probably morph and change, but hope you like it!

What brought you to Paris?

I moved to Paris in 2008 for university. Having previously spent my Junior year of high school abroad in a French high school in Normandy (where I learned French), I was itching to get back to complete my studies in France. I obviously fell in love with the city and over the years it has become my home.

How long have you lived in your apartment?

A little over 2 ½ years.

How would you describe your interior style?

Flea market and retro goodness, with pops of color and memories all over the walls.

Favourite piece of furniture?

My 1950s formica red cabinet with drawers that I found at the Centre des Objets Perdus near Canal Saint Martin. It is perfect in every way.

Go-to shops/places to buy for your home?

By far I prefer to find my treasures at flea markets or brocante shops (I’ve got favorites in both Paris and in Denver)… I also love finding things from my parents’ house that they don’t use anymore. While traveling I also love finding things… not too long ago on a trip to Istanbul I found the most beautiful rug.

Interiors/style that have inspired you?

Mostly retro, minimalist décor with lots of crowded table tops and shelves where I can put little knick knacks. I love wooden furniture and random bursts of color. 

My main inspiration is when I see homes (or photos of homes, ha) that really reflect the person that lives there… you see the apartment and you think to yourself, “this is so that person”.

I was raised in a house that really reflected my mom’s taste and everything that she liked: our home was filled with trinkets and pieces of furniture from travels in the Middle East, with also a Native American flare given her Arizona roots and love for Santa Fe. Our walls were covered with her artwork and that of her mother or other artists, mixed with photographs and other hanging things like rugs and baskets. She was so good at mixing together different styles, modern and ethnic, colourful and shades of browns and tans…

All of this inspired me so much growing up, and made me realise that I want my apartment/home to reflect who I am and be filled with all of the things that I like - and that of my chéri. It also has to be filled with memories.

If your flat was on fire (touch wood), what three things would you take with you?

I would immediately grab my vintage green metal toolbox that is filled with everything I deem awesome and close to my heart, my cigar box filled with favorite photos old and new, and my kitten, Jefferson. But if Louis grabs the cat, I’d probably also grab my metal filing box filled with all my important files (being a foreigner in France helps to build up quite the collection of important and irreplaceable documents!).

Sources for inspiration?

I just love Pinterest and Instagram for drooling over interior design and decoration ideas. I usually get a bit jealous when I see big open spaces as most places in Paris are quite small, but I must say that I love discovering how to arrange random things and maximise space with things like shelving or hooks on walls, for example. It’s pure eye candy for me, I just love it, it gives me so many decoration ideas.

The other main inspiration of mine are my in-laws. I just love the way they have decorated their countryside house (and everywhere they have lived).

Top three instagrammers?

I’m going to go with @westelm@ohladycakes and @ohhappyday

Online reading material?

Note to SelfSF Girl by BayHello Sandwich. Although I must say I am always so thrilled when I find new lovely blogs to follow.

Last good book you read?

Bossy Pants by TinaFey

.What's on your magazine pile?

Vanity Fair, Vogue… whatever catches my eye at a random magazine shop or museum.

Breakfast or dinner?

Breakfast, à l’américaine, savoury all the way. 

Wine or beer?

Beer forever and ever… IPAs and stouts, preferably. I like wine though, too. 

Tea or coffee?

Oh, this is a toughy. I do like both…. I like my espressos with sugar and tea with heaps of honey. Coffee vs. tea depends on the time of day, where I am and the mood! 

Bedside table essentials?

Little containers for random things, a ring stand, hooks for necklaces, my jewellery box, a big glass of water, phone charger and chapstick.

And finally your favourite Paris places!

Pain & Chocolat +Pain Et Chocolat for breakfast, , Le Trois 8 +Les Trois 8 for a craft beer, Cafe Loustic for coffee, and I love wandering around Belleville and Montmartre. Oh and my favourite sweet treats are chouquettes.

A Jaunt around Jardin du Luxembourg

After some serious sugar intake at Laduree on Saturday, I was in need of a little walk. I said bye to Carin and trotted off to meet my man for a little jaunt around Jardin du Luxembourg. I'm not usually south of the river (sounding like a typical Londoner here), so wanted to take advantage of our location and see the park. While he found a seat in the sun (watching me take photos can get pretty laborious, I presume), I wandered around the gardens to capture a few shots. Of course the park was packed - people were sunbathing, roaming around and families were sailing boats on the pond, but it was good to be outside. The weather was lovely - a respite from the constant rain we've been having recently, and the atmosphere was warm and relaxed. 

I'd love to know what you think of the photos - and what's your favourite park in Paris?

Lately

I’m not usually so personal in this space, but the pros of having a personal blog is that you can be ‘personal’. So I will admit that the last few weeks have been tough. I got food poisoning from the wedding I went to in Porto, which put me out for two days and generally helped upset my balance. Not just because I was sick, but because Porto was also meant to be a holiday and a time to rest - I haven't done much of that in a long time, and am in some need of switching off (something I am terrible at). Being bed-bound because you're sick is obviously not very restful. And then (without trying to sound like every woman blighted by her body once a month, although I don’t feel so bad mentioning this after reading Garance’s brilliantly honest post), my hormones have been wreaking havoc (I came off the pill, to try and balance my moods, but it is currently having the opposite effect) which in turn has made me tired, grumpy, moody, low, sensitive and generally lethargic and lazy (did I miss anything?) And when I am all of these things (bit of a toxic combo) I retreat into myself, doubt myself, let those little gremlins in my head get louder and nastier, and I don’t get much done. So despite having a backlog of blog posts, I haven’t posted them and have been generally putting things off. They say procrastination is the thief of time, I'm going to add PMS to that equation. 

It’s hard to get out of slumps like this, which I’ve been trying to do by not drinking too much, listening to happy music (Pharrell’s 'Happy' is obviously high on the list), spending time with friends, organising my summer holiday, hopefully doing more exercise like yoga in the coming weeks and watching videos like this. But despite my grumps, I’ve had a couple of good things happen over the last few days  – my interview with Paris interior designer, Dorothee Meilichzon can now be read in this month’s Eurostar Metropolitan magazine (read it here and here). And the nice people over at Made With Map featured a few of my favourite places in Paris on their Instagram feed this weekend. Thought I'd end this post on a positive note!

I'd love to know what you do to feel better when you're caught in a slump or your body drags you down!? 

[I took this photo in the Jardin du Palais Royal back when my mum was visiting.]

Month of May

The month of May was a little crazy to say the least. I turned one year older, I settled into my new studio, my mum came to visit - which involved some serious sightseeing around Paris (some in the torrential rain) and one too many ice creams - I took on more freelance work, which included interviewing Paris interior design darling Dorothee Meilichzon

 for the Eurostar's Metropolitan magazine (she designed the decor for Cafe PinsonBeef Club, Hotel Paradis and Prescription Cocktail Club among others), a good friend from London visited me and I generally ran around like a headless chicken. Who needs the gym when you can burn off calories pounding the Parisian streets?! 

So on Sunday over a nice cup of tea, as we Brits like to do, I sat down (in between a brunch with a lovely group of girls and a bbq) to go over a few of my favourite images from my

Instagram feed that I had taken during said crazy month. I printed them out with Polagram, a brilliant app that allows you to print your Instagram photos from your phone. I'm a big believer in the tangible - I like books over the kindle, I love receiving cards (now you know the way to my heart) and I collect magazines. I like to hold things in my hand. So after so many months uploading images into the online world, it's great to be able to print out the physical versions. I think this might become a monthly ritual. 

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. 

Coffee at Caféothèque


You'd be forgiven for thinking this space had somehow morphed into a coffee blog, what with all the close ups of coffee cups lately. The thing is with the cafes in Paris, so many of them have such good-looking interiors that I just can't resist. Oh and it might have something to do with my current coffee addiction. Look at that cup, teasing me with its perfectly formed frothy latte art. I'm even making my own at home. I blame the recent rain.

Now I'm no coffee connoisseur - I usually just go for a bog-standard cappuccino or café creme as they like to call it here in France - but the coffee at Caféothèque is particularly good. These guys know their beans. They even have an in-house roasting machine to prove it. But of course, being the interiors girl that I am, I wasn't so interested in the beans or the machine, it was the room at the back that resembles a tropical jungle, furnished with colourful rustic tables and raffia bags that got me. Oh and that delicious cup of coffee. 


Thanks Carin for modelling the coffee cup

Centre Pompidou


My blog has been getting a bit girly of late. Don't get me wrong, I love flowers, cakes and pastels like the next, but my personal style is a lot more minimal and I rarely wear a lot of colour (unless it's on my lips and nails) or pattern. So on Saturday, which started out as one of those slightly failed mornings - I had planned to go to the Rodin Museum, but what with the torrential rain, my plan was literally a wash out - so not wanting to stay cooped up indoors, I walked over to my nearest gallery, Centre Pompidou. I wanted to take some snaps (no easy feat whilst trying to balance an umbrella) and to take this otherwise very flowery blog, down a tone or two with the geometrical greys, whites and blacks of this very brutal-looking modern structure. It's by far the most interesting building in Paris, because it sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the old white and beige Parisian buildings, breaking up the homogenous skyline. 

It's currently showing photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson and if there hadn't been a one hour wait, and I hadn't been hungover from the previous night spent at Braisenville in the 9th (a must-go, they do the tastiest tapas plates of meat) with friends over from Sweden, I would have happily queued up.