Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ile Saint Louis

Last day of our trip in Paris was spend wandering around Ile Saint Louis and Ile de la Cite. We dump our bags at the left luggage at Gare du Nord which I would recommend if you have time to spare in Paris before catching the train back to London as it is fairly cheap (I think it was 7 euros for a hold that would fit a trolley bag + bagpack) and allows us to wander more easily

bird market, Paris
First stop is Ile de la Cite. There is a flower market on most days (I think) but on Sunday the bird market adds another dimension of colour and sound! Locals (mainly older men!) are out and about checking out the birds and a few stall owners also sell other house pets - we saw rats for sale and I am not sure I would classify that as pets...yuck!

Then moving on to Ile St Louis...ahhh...one of our favourite bits in Paris. Very very touristy but it is still possible to find a nook somewhere to enjoy the view (of the many bridges / Notre Dame / Parisians / tourists). The first apartment we rented was on this island and we still reminisces about 'that apartment'

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One final look of the grand Notre Dame.

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St Regis cafe
The pub that serve the dark beer is closed - bit of a bummer as it is the perfect spot to watch the world go by and listen to the street musicians and the sun was out! dang! So we ended up at the cafe opposite - pricey brunch but you get what you paid for - tasty wholesome food + the view

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Love padlock - we saw this in Puglia too! Very much an 'awwww' moment....but at the back of your mind your evil twin just thinks....I wonder how many of these couples are still together (bad thoughts!)

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au revoir Pareeeeeee.....

Friday, March 16, 2012

My weekly World Wide Web treasures




Love the pretty colours and food connection - so clever!
Check out more pictures here.  Found via design mom


learn something new this week



new (new to me!) blog love. She won the Homies Best Family Blog award! -

le temple Art Print

le snack Art Print

le pain Art Print

les mains Art Print

la fa├žade Art Print

la romantique Art Print

Keeping the best to last - I love these series of print (find them here! There are a few more different prints which just tickles me). My fav is Amelie vs Carrie. They have been making the rounds in blog world and I would love love love to buy the full set....maybe I should just bite the bullet and do it. What do you think?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cycling again

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I am writing this at work which is not the norm but work has been a bit blah recently. I don't really want to talk about work here as this is my outlet away from it but sometimes it just creeps in. Just a short post to break this feeling now....I started cycling to work again and boy it felt good. Misty morning and quiet London streets makes it ideal for cycling.

We are deep in wedding card prep hence the silence...more tonight and fingers cross it will be done!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekend

This weekend ends with a satisfying high:
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- We finally finished repainting bits of the flat that are due a fresh coat. Wear and tear in an old Victorian house definately show up much faster vs a purpose-built flat.

- I lost the shed key (ok - I think I might have left it outside and the fox nicked it!) and managed to hack-saw the Made in China padlock open after 10 minutes...boy that was a good feeling as I thought we had to break the shed door down. So learning for the week is don't rely too much on a padlock for safety....10 minutes with a cheap hacksaw and voila - goodies!

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- We tackled the plum tree - pruning it back to give it some shape.

- Friends came to visit and we had a good Saturday night off home-improvement tasks!

- Our wedding invitation cards finally arrived from the printers - Yay...looking forward to paper cuts and repetitive tasks for the next few nights.

- Sunday night dinner is a feast of Tau Yew Bak as the star dish and Earl Grey Chocolate cake to finish. I was inspired by this but used this recipe instead
Tau Yew Bak

earl grey chocolate cake

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Bring on next week...

Friday, March 9, 2012

6 months anniversary

Morito, London

We celebrated our 6 months anniversary last night! Dang the old saying time flies really does apply. This is a one-off celebration and I doubt we will celebrate every 6 months from now onwards!

We ended up in our local restaurant Morito, an all-time favourite of ours as it served amazing Spanish/Middle Eastern food. Kebab have no place in this restaurant! You know you are on to a winner if your next door diner is Angela Hartnett

The TicTac was a little surprise present from me to Scott - surprises doesn't need to be expensive...as long as it puts a smile on his face I think it is a success. There is significance to the TicTac....it is not completely random

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Paris - food

Berthillon ice cream, Ile St Loius
Berthillon

Picnik collage
Friday's weather was ice-cream perfect (or as perfect as it could be for February) and we slowly ambled down to Ile St Loius from Marais and joined the queue (there is always a queue) for Berthillon ice cream. Scott went for salted caramel and I zoomed in on pistachios. The salted caramel won the taste test hands down this time - it is the perfect combination of creaminess and sweet from the caramel before the hint of salt jolts you back (in a very nice way!). I sweetly requested to try his ice cream a second time but judging from the look he gave me, I stuck to my pistachio - another perfectly made ice cream but nothing compares to the salted caramel. Scott: 1, Kelly: 0

L'Escargot, Rue Montorgueil
L'Escargot Montorgueil

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As the name suggest, I went for the snails for lunch and was not disappointed. Lunch deal is the way to go with this restaurant. Dinner prices are a little steep. Rue Montorgueil is definately worth a visit again - a pedestrianised foodie area. There is a horse butcher on the street but it was closed when we were there.

Mariage Freres, Marais
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Picnik collage

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Scott was on his best behaviour on Saturday. I wanted to check this tea place out (i.e. go in the shop, touch a few items, leave, in most cases empty handed) but he suggested we have a sit down afternoon tea instead. The choices of tea available are mind-boggling. You are provided with 2 booklets - one listing all the teas available, another offering a brief explantion of each. You can be there all day trying to choose but the pressure would be on with the queues waiting for a table, their eyes pouring into your back, willing you to order, drink up and go so they can do the same! His real motives for being up for tea (vs booze) was clear later that night when he dragged me to watch rugby...but like all good ol marriage advice goes - give and take...
The pound cake is nothing to shout about but the green tea macaroons is definately something to go back for seconds

Verjus
Verjus, Paris

Verjus, Paris
We pop in here based on David's review of the place and we were not disappointed - dim lit rooms are perfect for a romantic dinner but not for photography so limited pictures but trust me when I say the butter chicken is GOOD - glad we took David's advice and order it
String fries - I love the way food are serve here! Picnic style napkins, plastic cocktail forks for your nibbles, a towering mess of fries...a refreshing change to the norm. Sitting in the 'basement cave' adds to the 'something different' vibe.

Brasserie Bofinger, Bastille
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We spend Saturday morning in the Bastille market (the market I originally wanted to go is not open on a Saturday - boo!), stocking up on cheese, fruits and meats - had a nosy around the junk market around it. Nothing caught out eye this time so moving on... we pop into this institution for lunch. This restaurant has been around long enough that there is a good mix of locals and a sprinkling of tourists who made the trek to Bastille. Scott went for the steak tartare (fresh and tasty) but check out my whooper lunch deal meat feast for 19 euros. I saw the mountain of sauerkraut on my neighbours plate and decided that is what I will have. I was sold on preserved veg! Soo good value and most locals were having it. I managed to finish everything on the plate - Scott was impressed and so was I

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Jewish quarter in Paris

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We stayed close to the Marais area in Paris this trip, an area that has been getting loads of good press, good vibe, amazing shops and unbeknown to us...it is also the Jewish quarter of Paris. The thing that strikes us is the numerous patisserie / boulangerie in the area - most are brightly coloured and stands out from the other shops and they are all crowded with the weekend crowds selecting their sweet treats.

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This bakery somehow caught out attention, we walked in...

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and we struggle to decide what to have but eventually settle on a slice of cheesecake - fairly non-descript looking, it lacks the flair and pom of the other desserts screaming for our attention but we took a chance. I am not a big cheesecake fan but this is definately my type - not too dense, fairly light with just the right about of crumbliness about it - yum! Scott, the boy who loves all form of cheesecake has nothing further to add - happiness in a bite (and another bite and another...)

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We passed this crepe shop in the Jewish quarter...totally random and obviously nothing Jewish about its look but it tickled us. We didn't go in but I wanted to have my picture taken with me posing a'la Japanese style - all cute and innocent with butter can't melt eyes but Scott clicked the camera button 2 seconds too fast and this is what we end up with! I still love it!

Since we are discussing areas, check out our apartment, booked via Special Apartment Paris.View of the living area

View of the mezzanine from the living area
(pictures from Special Apartment website)

2nd time lucky - totally recommended! Staying in an apartment vs hotel is definately the way to do it in Paris. We arrived late on Thursday, stocked up on the nearby Monoprix supermarket on cheese, butter and Poilane bread (OMG yes they carry Poilane bread!) and had it for our late night supper with the complimentary wine. Really....this is the only way to start one's holiday in Paris

Friday, March 2, 2012

My weekly World Wide Web treasures

Tasty...

Orange flower pavlova with coconut cream, pistachio and meyer lemon - recipe here

Cute...
Assorted French Cards
I am still dreaming of Paris - you can buy these here

Beauty...

Salvaged wood handmade headboard. Check out the bedside lamp too - ingenious and to die for. Design like these really makes me want to jack in the job and take up carpentry - she is selling these beauties here. She did up a restaurant last year using salvaged materials and if that sorta thing is like sugar to your cup of tea, I suggest you keep reading her old blog posts and start salivating

Funny...
- love food? love talking about food? love taking pictures about food? love reading about food blogs? own a food blog? then read this! - 10 things you should know about food bloggers...cracks me up BIG time

I figured I spend enough time online reading other people's blogs and scouring the big world wide web for treasures that it is time to log some of these down here so I have a record of all the things I stumble upon and love. More often than not, I find something that really catches my eye and forget about it and spend a good amount of frustrating time searching for it again - be it recipe, design, DIY, pictures etc. So here goes...my list of things that I keep recalling days after reading about it - enjoy!

Happy weekend!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hello Mona Lisa

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At last we met...hello love....

OK lets start from the beginning, the Louvre deserves a blog post on its own, soo good, good is an understatement

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French are not big on breakfast - funny really considering they have such amazing food but when it comes to breakfast, they tend to stick to a 'basic' croissant + espresso. Never mind, it is the first meal of our trip and we popped into our nearest patisserie and ordered our pastries selection. Scott likes his croissant plain while I am more of a pain au chocolat person. One bite into my pain au chocolat and I was on cloud 9. This one is smoothered with chocolate sauce similar to Nutella with choco bits - oh la la. Scott caught on and wolfed down half of it. Cheeky bugger!

Louvre
There are 4 entrances to the Louvre and the busiest entrance is the one via the glass pyramide. The queue is notorious and in high season you can expect to queue for at least an hour. Well a late lie-in and only 3 days in Paris meant queueing is not an option. We decided on the entrance directly from the Metro and kept our fingers cross. No queue at the ticket office (yes!) and we saw the scale model of the Louvre (surprise score!) on the way in.

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One obligatory tourist picture with the inverted pyramide before we get in - I have a picture with the pyramide outside and now the inverted bit, finally, my life is complete
(check out the guy behind me! - haha)

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Before we go on any further, tip of the day: If you do not speak French, then pay up and get the headphones in English (6 euros - don't be a cheapskate!). Everything is in French including the exhibit description so it is worth getting the headphones to better understand what you are looking at and make it more interesting, otherwise everything will eventually get mesh up into one and be a blur (everything except Mona Lisa obviously as the crowd surrounding it differentiates it from others - you will never forget that!). Scott modelling how you should be using the audio device...ok moving on...

Louvre
The Louvre is too big to cover everything in a day - our aim was to see Mona Lisa but we ended up in the Greek sculptures room and Egyptian room before the 'big one'. Not a big fan of Greek sculptures, I think they are amazing (ok, everything is amazing in the Louvre) but it doesn't rock my booty. Please do not judge...

Louvre

Picnik collage

Picnik collage
Moving on to my favourite section! The Egyptian room is jaw-droppingly interesting and so so good! It reminds me of the British Musuem Collection which is equally as intriguing. I will not miss this if you ever visit either the British Museum or Louvre. Controversial but I enjoyed this more than Mona Lisa...Mona is so precious and heavily guarded and a good distance away that I can't press my nose on the glass and observe every brush stroke. (Yes unfortunately I am one of those annoying people with no museum etiquette.If you see a big nose mark on the glass in the museum, you know I have been there, again...please do not judge)

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Largest painting in the Louvre - H-U-G-E...can you see Jesus?

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Another tip of the day: Don't focus on eye-level million-dollar arts only, the Lourve have some of the nicest parquet flooring. Love the geometric design!

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Happy customer...till next time