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Tuesday, 17 November 2015


This evening 17th November,  2015 the sky is a grey/purple in colour behind the Eiffel Tower which stands out in its "steely grey" relief.  It makes a surrealistic picture, sombre, sad. 

I thought I was far enough away at the Ecole Militaire end of the Champs de Mars (the park that surrounds the Eiffel Tower) but a soldier with a sub-machine gun "shooed" me away.  I went, no need to be asked twice and I relayed the message to a young couple, perhaps they were tourists, who were about to enter the park.  They subsequently asked me where was the nearest metro station, they were indeed tourists their notions of a romantic holiday altered.

The atmosphere is heavy, people look at each other with expressions of, what could be described as "we are in this together" or suspicion and vigilance as recommended.
I want my old Paris back, but meanwhile I shall continue my daily life as though nothing has changed.
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Saturday, 25 July 2015


I have been spending a wonderful Summer this year and together with the weather in the high temperatures, it feels stable and endless.  The month of May started with an unusual invitation.

Imagine coming all the way over from Australia to France in order to celebrate a significant birthday !!  Yes - a good friend of mine came over from Sydney, Australia and rented a lovely country house for a month and invited all her friends to join her. For the love of France and for celebrating serious birthdays, there is no point in shying away from the facts, so why not celebrate and have fun for a whole month ?!  

She certainly didn’t have to ask me twice to come and join the party, I was ready to go almost immediately. She gave us plenty of time to organise ourselves in advance and as I already live in France, it was a very easy decision.

 We entered the very attractive "town house" aptly named "Au Coin des Amies" and after the "whoooo's and ahhhh's and the sorting out of our bedrooms,  we came back downstairs and into the charming sitting room.

There, the celebrations began with our first "apero".  Gracious hostess, Joanne, poured us each a glass of chilled Rosé before we all went to the only hotel for dinner. The food was very fresh and in the style of the local cuisine.  Delicious !!

Jan and I found Vicki Archer's beautiful book French Essence which is also the name of her blog

There was lavender

We lived the life of Provencal Princesses, which is the title Joanne gave us, and delighted in what this very attractive part of France has to offer.

There were the Ochre quarries

There were markets

There were stone villages

Celebrations also took place in the candlelit Cave which served us well for, hopefully, tuneful singing

Most of all there was Joanne whose dream of "A month in Provence" had come true 

Congratulations Joanne and for many birthdays to come !!

Thursday, 2 July 2015


Now that we are in the Summer months we can see the renewal of nature which is also be found in jewellery, fashion, theatrical  presentations and museum collections and it is happening now in full swing.  

During the dark winter months all kinds of creativity has been going on and artists of all mediums have worked their magic under the cover of the winter months and the creations of their work and imagination is on display for us to see and enjoy.

Today, whilst sitting in a cafe between my Pilates classes I happened upon a notice inviting people to view a collection of jewellery in the private apartment of the artisan jeweller Stephan Somogyi.  The notice was also offering............ 

Champagne !  - tick
There is a reduction of 20% % - tick
 It was taking place very near to where I live ! - tick 
I was free to go at the appointed time ! - tick

What’s to lose?

I shall go to see and what’s on offer.  

Far from being a struggling artisan Stephan Somogyi has been in the business of designing jewellery for  Swarosvski for over 50 years and has travelled the world, especially Asia.  

The evening went something like this.  I arrived at an elegant apartment where the clientele were beautifully dressed and were obviously faithful clients of Monsieur le creature for a long time.  
I wished I had given a little more thought to my attire.  

However, the people were warm and welcoming and I made my way to the principal collection displayed on the grand piano which was draped with a beautiful cloth and where the pieces of jewellery had been placed.  These were designed to represent a large group of sparkling bugs, butterflies and other small insects and animals which were artfully perched on an assortment of vegetables !  

Such a witty and original idea and it immediately reminded me of the spirit of Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvadore Dali in their hey day of haute couture.  I had only just finished reading the recently written biography of Elsa Schiaparelli and still had the images in my mind.  

I mentioned this to the jeweller who replied that he might have been influenced by the couturier but he was now being copied by the house of Christian Dior.  
Such is the world of art, fashion and life.  

In case you missed the exhibition sale this time around there is another one happening now.   

Details below :-   Dates - 1st - 10th July

What completed that particular evening for me was that whilst sipping the welcome champagne and nibbling delicious canapés, the dramatic opening chords of a piano concerto by Rachmaninoff came from behind the display of glittering bugs. 

So pleasing was the whole setting that I came away with three little pieces of “bug” jewellery in dark red on black.  Only someone from Hungary, such as Monsier Somogi, can capture this colour duo so effectively and I am so glad to now own a few pieces and the memories of a wonderful evening.  

Yes Paris is full of surprises !!

Wednesday, 10 June 2015


 Jean-Paul Gaultier, exhibition at the Grand Palais

from Wednesday 01 April 2015 to Monday 03 August 2015

Fashion on tour. The fashion world of Jean Paul Gaultier, from the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is a real phenomenon that won over more than a million visitors during its international tour. Now in Paris, its home, bigger and better and what's more, also entertaining. This must-see exhibit will be on its tenth stop after Montreal, Dallas, San Francisco, Madrid, Rotterdam, Stockholm, New York, London, and Victoria, Australia. The exhibition marks an important moment in the career of Jean Paul Gaultier. 

The fashion world of Jean Paul Gaultier comes to the Grand Palais in Paris, and will present pieces of haute couture and ready-to-wear created between 1970 and 2013 most of which have never been exhibited in public before. This multimedia exhibition also presents sketches, archives, stage costumes, film clips, shows, concerts, music videos, dance performances, and even snippets of television programs.

This looks almost like an Impressionist painting - the mounting of J-P G exhibition


Exhibition Yves Saint Laurent 1971 - La collection du scandale from March 19th to July 19th, 2015.

There's a love affair between me and the street. 1971 is a great year because fashion is finally hitting the streets. - Yves Saint Laurent

In the exhibition, you will discover the 1971 collection ‘Libération’ also known as ‘Quarante’, inspired by the fashion of those years affected by the war. Short dresses, wedge heels, square shoulders, nude make-up : references to the Occupation of Paris which made scandal. Violently criticized by the press, the collection gave width over the retro vein which quickly invaded the streets.

 07/1976 The Russian Ballet and Opera Collection.  For the first time in the history of fashion shows, the Russian Ballet and Opera Collection was presented as a staged performance in the gilded salons of the InterContinental Hotel.

 It may not be the best, but it's certainly the most beautiful.
- Yves Saint Laurent

Below a brief and a little blurred examples of the shapes and moods of YSL's revolutionary part in Paris Fashion

Finally, and I think this is my favourite. 


The logo - Mme. Lanvin & her daughter

The Palais Galliera, in close collaboration with Alber Elbaz, artistic director of Lanvin, is honouring the oldest French fashion house still in business. This first Paris exhibition devoted to Jeanne Lanvin (1867-1946) features over a hundred models from the amazing collections of the Palais Galliera. 

For me it was an emotional journey as I remember my parents talking about this designer as a great artist and they admired her work and style.  The garments were beautifully displayed with many mirrored show cases which facilitated close viewing, even with a small crowd of people at the same time. 

If you only see one of these exhibitions Fashionistas and fashion students should choose this one for its purity.

So there are three of the best amongst the hundreds of exhibitions in Paris at any one time.  It is worth booking your place by internet thus avoiding the long queues that you could encounter at a lot of exhibitions.

Sunday, 8 February 2015


It's a beautiful girl
What a special time we are having as after the tension of the last ten days baby was eventually born.   We live in France and baby with lives in England.  We are all quite mature,in age that is, although very young at heart.  At one time I never thought it would happen. I never thought we would arrive at the honourable status of being grandparents and now we have, we feel very Grand indeed and she is only on day two.  
 The scary , yet wonderful thing about babies is the way they can completely take over your life, you wouldn’t dare go against all the courses that my son and his darling wife have attended, they know everything and I admire their dedicated study.  However, they will probably find out that baby knows best.  I remember too when my babies were born that a new level of perfectionism entered my aspirations and life, everything had to be absolutely correct.  Baby is oblivious and I envied the way that babies could just let go and relax like a rag doll into dreamless sleep no matter where they were. 

Super Study
They seem to have real personalities even before birth.  Baby really put her parents through the hoops she just grew and grew.    We held a lottery to guess the baby's weight.  However, tests said she would be a normal sized baby but was luxuriating in the extra space big bump provided.

Sweet Dreams Baby

   Eventually she staged her debut as a real live baby on 6th February at 6.16am weighing 3.4K and 54cm long.  

Welcome to the world and let the adventures begin. 



Some say they arrive by balloon
Some may believe they arrive in the post on Dad's bicycle




all pictures by courtesy of the internet

Sunday, 25 January 2015


Antique look scarf, chunky lacy knit dress, wedge heeled boots


 I think I like shopping for Vintage clothes  best.  Really it’s the easiest way to find something different, mostly below budget restrictions and usually of quality.  I cannot resist charity shops and I also cannot pass a swap shop.

 OK , so I've added modern accessories ie the scarf, boots, leggings.  Well you have to be of your own generation, even younger if it suits youActually I wouldn't recommend  vintage underwear unless it comes with a government warning or to be the foundation of a truly period piece.

The picture on the right is pretty standard attire of a vintage black top but this one has lovely little "mother-of-pearl" buttons, at the wrist.  The jeans are the current skinny type, another cheat, sorry, but I found it a flattering and practical look and if worn with nice jewellery could take me nearly everywhere. 

 Here are a few of my favourites

With modern accessories and an imaginative way to assemble an ensemble one can almost be considered chic, even in France !!   
There are little flowers embroidered at neckline

 This outfit is from Portobello Road Market in London.  It is a knitted dress that fits flatteringly around the hips and is probably circa 1969. 

I teamed it with a flame coloured silk pashmina.
                                                                Boots, as before, they remind me of  high heeled sports shoes.

Below is a blue suede shirt-waister dress which I found in the new(ish)Vintage Clothes Department of Galleries Layfayette, Paris.  I've added an Ungaro belt of three colours which has been in my own wardrobe for a very long time.  I couldn't part with it.   Hmm - worrying when one finds"vintage" in one's own wardrobe! Oh well!

Another thing is to be prepared to alter garments, either you are handy with a needle or else you have found a tame alterations dress maker to re-create and re-fit.  I don't mind the effort as the result is most satisfying.  At least you can be assured of having an outfit unique to you.

I shortened the dress and opened up slits on both sides.  The dress is teamed with wine coloured tights and navy blue suede booties with stacked heel.
You will find a Vintage shop that is of your standard acceptable, but mostly the garments are lovingly restored to their former glory.  I have also noticed that the owners and their helpers are usually cheerful and helpful, even in Paris.  They tend to be pretty chic too and certainly creative.  

As for the chic part, in Paris, if you happen to have spent time in a vintage clothes shop near closing time, the staff are often quaffing champagne out of stylish champagne flutes, certainly of the vintage variety.  I thought I might have been offered a "coupe", but perhaps I hadn't spent enough money that day to merit even one glass. Maybe next time.

Come Vintage Clothes Shopping with me in Paris -

Sunday, 11 January 2015


JANUARY started all crisp and cold and with the sun shining at its sparkling best.  The frost during the night gave plants the look of precious jewellery in the morning.  The fashion houses of Yves St. Laurent, Christian Dior, Coco Chanel et al might be inspired to look at such arrangements for their fine jewellery collections.

In this hard frost trees took on a magnificent and ethereal splendour


CHRISTMAS, however, is another story.  Having indulged in all the delicious traditions of food and good cheer during the Festivities and celebrations and having the family all together from different parts of the world, some of us are feeling, literally, the food excesses around the waist line and the "abdominals" feel somewhat slack. 

Some people head straight for the gym and onto the elliptical machines and various presses, hm....not for me.  If you too feel the same way how about trying Pilates, the mind/body method of "Bien-Etre" and a better silhouette  ?!

These cute pictures show that the conditions are quite private and those who take up this wonderful form of exercise, I mean this, become stronger, more supple and.............


.......their posture improves.  Clothes look so much better being draped around your newly-found or newly restored elegance.

"shall we dance?"  

Now we have started the New Year 2015 with a feast for the eyes and will shortly remove the feast from the waistline

All is well with the world, or so we thought until January 7th in Paris……….

In spite of the atrocities on two days last week and the threats for January we will have -


Photographs courtesy of dear friends Sylvaine and Fay.  Thank you.