Photographing · Travelling

To get lost in Paris

When visiting cities, there is nothing I like best than walking idly, no knowing where I intend to go. Paris, is not exception.

I do not spend as much time as I’d like in Paris since we moved away in the West. But I wanted to share some pictures taken during my last visits. Here are some of the areas I really like…

 

Why not strolling along the Seine, wandering in the Ile de la Cité, discovering little streets behind the Louvre, getting amazed at the Place des Vosges…

 

Isn’t the best view of the Eiffel Tower from the Le Pont de Bir-Hakeim.

And after all that, if you feel hungry, I’d advise a stop at Noglu (the shop in le Passage des Panoramas is my favorite).

Looking forward to going back again, maybe this Spring…

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Just a word

The boundaries of seduction

France pretty women

Rose McGowan was invited on French tv yesterday night to speak about her ordeals and  of the @metoo phenomenon. rose-mcgowan-person-of-year-2017-time-magazine-2

As she was explaining what happened to her, why she cut her hair, why she decided to dress like  a cheap tart for 1998 MTV awards, why the world was changing for women… we started a family debate with our 13 year-old daughter on the subject. We focused on Catherine Deneuve’s letter which she signed with more than 100 other Frenchwomen denouncing the #MeToo movement and its French counterpart, #Balancetonporc, or “Expose Your Pig.”

I wanted to put things into perspective for my girl so that she understood things better. France and the U.S. are worlds apart on the matter! McGowan explained she had been advised at the beginning of her career not to cut her hair – “if you do that, men won’t want to fuck you. If they don’t want to fuck you, you won’t get any jobs”, she was told.

The sentence was pretty shocking – on many levels. But I won’t go into that. Nor do I want to start a fight with what that subject.

More than anything, I wanted my daughter to think about what it is like to be feel pretty. Because, sexual harassment apart, this new feminist trend is about the boundaries of seduction, isn’t it? What it is like to be pretty, to be sexy, to be elegant… Many different levels.

I thought of all those French celebraties I personally found attractive. I searched Pinterest for pictures. And it struck me what the ” je ne sais quoi ” meant!

 

Look at these ladies! Formidably sexy, pretty and elegant all at the same time! Isn’t feminism a definition for being an attractive woman for whom sexiness doesn’t necessarily means cleavage, long hair, fake nails and cleft tight dress.

No matter the country you’re from, could you feel attractive in a crisp white shirt, in flat shoes, in a pair of trousers, with short hair, with small breast…? Is your feminine power centered between your bosom or elsewhere? Let me know…

 

 

Blogging

Why blogging?

I was listening to the radio a couple of days ago and listen with fascination to the guest Carlo Strenger, philosophy professor (amongst other qualities!). The debate that day was on “Are we free”?

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So yesterday, as Saturday is library day in our family, I checked if there was any of his essays. I found this book:

The Fear of Insignificance:
Searching for Meaning in the Twenty-First Century

The back covers says: “… In a society that exhorts to always be better, where everyone is frantically seeking to live his hour of celebrity, where the personal value is judged by the yardstick of material wealth and the number of followers on social networks, what place for each individual?…”

These simple lines make me wonder why blogging? Shouldn’t I focus on reading and educate myself? Why spending so much time of this selfish activity where you expect “likes” and “comments” – preferably positive ones and numerous!

I do not have all the answer so far. But what the objective I really want to keep in mind here is the pursuit of creativity! Let’s not cloud the issue… I am very happy to get new followers and get a childish excitement at new comments. But what I really love is trying to make better pictures, using a more elaborate vocabulary, improving the blog lay-out… And that is exactly what I expect the blogging community will teach me. I don’t feel an ounce of jealousy at an inviting banner or a recipe illustration.

But I also feel a great pleasure at sharing my love for France. That is a bonus!

So no! I am not insignificant! And even if I were, I’ll keep on targeting improvement. Not to get more famous. But because new skills make me a happy individual.

I cannot wait to read more from this author and get stimulated!

What makes YOU blog? What is your goal? What do you get from it?

Cooking

Heaven Madeleines

I am so happy with this after school treat! I’ve modified slightly the recipe of traditional madeleines and voilà…

My gluten free (but full fat!!) madeleines with a spicy frosting

gluten free madeleines

I don’t want to brag but they are fabulous! We have obviously left the healthy skinny zone here. Even though it is made with organic semi-whole rice flour, I have not used guilt-free substitutes for the butter or sugar it contains!! I will let you do that if you’re tempted by a lighter version…

Otherwise, the recipe is super easy. As I told you before, I have problems with instructions. But if cooking does not require precision to guarantee a successful result (all you have to do is taste and adjust), baking demands the right formula!

Here it is:

  1. mix 4 eggs with 180grs of brown sugar
  2. add 250grs of flour and 1o gas of fresh baking powder
  3. add 225grs of melted butter

Leave it to rest for 1 hour then bake it for about 8mns in a 200°C oven (you will have to adjust the time if you do not have a madeleine tray)

ready to go in the oven

Then the frosting…

I used some icing sugar mixed with a homemade carrot, lemon, cardamome and ginger marmelade. There again, fell free to do it your style!

I would be thrilled to see what ideas you came up with. Please let me know in the comments box if you try.

Bon appétit!

hot French madeleines

Photographing

PHOTO CHALLENGE: Sweet

As I was checking my “reader” section this morning I discovered thanks to Thoughts of Sheryl there was a weekly photo challenge happening on WordPress.

My first attempt for this week challenge is…

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I am usually not a sweet person. But my little summer pleasure when I go and visit my Mum in Marseille (South of France), is to have a lemon and basil ice-cream.

Want to participate? Each Wednesday, we’ll provide a theme. Publish a new post with a photo interpreting the weekly theme.

More info here.

Sweet

Photographing

I am going to Japan!!!

2017 was faraway travel free unfortunatelly.

I should not complain. We are a pretty well-travelled family considering our usual budgets.

Anyway, Autumn 2018, Japan. We’ve been dreaming of this destination for years! Kyoto has always been one of my fantasy destination. My daughter was watching Ghibli animes  instead of Disneys (arbitrary parental decision!). And I consider sushis the only way fish should be eaten!

Japan

So bring on advices ans stories. I am ready!

We are planning to spend time in Tokyo, Kyoto (where we have Japanese friends), Nara, and Kawaguchiko.

We have booked our plane tickets, and our first four night-accommodation in Tokyo. We found a practical apartment on Airbnb and the communication with the owner has been smoothly easy so far!

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I received a little PDF booklet to download with all the explanations necessary for our arrival. The instructions for how to use the toilets are obviously the cherry on the cake!

Do not hesitate to use this airbnb link if you are planning a trip. You’ll get a discount thanks to it!

Fear not! We’ll post dozens of pictures.

Cooking

Çılbır for lunch.

I was looking for a lunch idea the other day and discovered – thank you Pinterest – the sturdy but fresh Çılbır. It is a Turkish dish of poached eggs with yogurt (often with garlic mixed in).

How come I had never heard of this beauty before?

So today, as I came back from the gym – I’ve just enrolled – I mixed garlic and chili in a Greek yogurt. Then I prepared a little salsa with garlic (yes some more!!), coriander, chives, and cherry tomatoes. There was one avocado left in the fridge and also some leftover sweet red cabbage cooked with buckwheat. Just before serving, I poached my eggs. And voilà ! Talk about a healthy filling lunch!

If you usually do things properly – unlike me – you might want to check the REAL recipe! I can never follow instructions and always end up with something not 100% like it should be! So really, this is my version of çilbir…

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This new dish has given me the opportunity to discover a new blog. The pictures are crafty and ravishing. The tone of the author is unique and makes quite a change from what one would usually read. I laughed unwomanly at this particular line:

“Is there anything, seriously, more depressing than reading Mimi Thorisson?  I feel like a hairless goat in a bad dress who has mistaken herself as a human…”

I recommand with all my heart the wonderfull “lady and Pups”. I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I do.

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(this photo is from the “Lady and Pups” blog post that made me crave for it!)

 

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You can now follow me on Bloglovin’

 

Decorating

Friday Upcycling

Refurbishing a house is a fun and creative activity – especially if the money aspect of things is not a problem!

shelves
Driftwood board shelves

When we bought this old house, we knew we had years of work ahead of us. Our budget is tiny. Our skills are rather basic. But my imagination is endless!

Things will take time and surely by the time the renovations are done, we’ll be ready to move away! But this quote about travelling suits refurbishing just as well:

“it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”

 

Here is what our kitchen looked like once we started boning it…

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I am not a big fan of plasterboard and wanted to keep these walls as rough as possible. Unfortunately these stones are not meant to be exposed. So I thought a simple coating and paint will do.

I like what it is turning into. It is not perfect. It doesn’t look professional! But it has the bohemian vibe I love. I found a driftwood board on the beach. Now my dishcloths, mugs and handmade pots have a place where they can show off!

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thriftshop egg cups

exposed-stone wall

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handmade pottery

Still… So much more to do!

Cooking · Travelling

Blissful sunny afternoon

palmiers

“Sunny, thank you for the sunshine bouquet
Sunny, thank you for the love you brought my way
You gave to me your all and all
Now I feel ten feet tall
Sunny one so true, I love you”

High on sunshine

After weeks of grey sky and rainy days we’ve had ONE bright day! It is just priceless. When I think of Paris covered in snow… But here in the far West, it was certainly windy but ahhh the sun is still alive! It is the best drug. And my favorite luxury.

We ended the afternoon on the Ile de Sieck (a small island perfect for refreshing walks) with a warming cup of tea and homemade “palmiers”.

Peace.

Ile de SieckPlaying with my selfie stick!

Blogging · Travelling

So, vlogging?

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I was reading an article this morning that got me interested in vlogging – a trend I know little about. I’m not from the Youtube generation! Filming myself doing a non-extraordinary activity and then sharing it with the world has never appealed to me. I guess I don’t see blogging the same way.

Written words vs face-to-face blabla?

I’ve never followed any vlog, never really looked at any, so I thought it was a good opportunity to check on Youtube what it was all about. We’re going to Japan next autumn so it could be a fun family activity! I could imagine our little trio playing hipster video artisans, the 40-something parents niche in focus…

The first video I tested was in English. The author (do you say author for vlogs??) was a young ungraceful Brit who used to film make-up tutorials and then moved to Australia so started a vlog to share her experience. It was painful to watch. Insipid. It was like listening to a boring friend who had no vocabulary whatsoever and nothing interesting to tell .

Then I tried a couple of Vlogs in French ( which is my mother tongue language !). There again I wondered how it was possible to have 120.000 views??! I wondered if I could post a twenty-six-minute long video of my first day in Tokyo never-ending collection of impressions? Have I mentioned the grand finale of the video took place at Starbucks ?!

Views vs quality?

Personally, I do not feel like watching/listening to a girl equipped with three basic expressions (no matter the language used, it always comes down to “awesome”, “that’s mad”, and “so cool”) and who seemed to have been dropped on a far away planet that she hasn’t chosen.

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I can certainly imagine how complicated it is to be interesting for at least 10 minutes.
  • You need to produce a dynamic videos with effects and a catching music.
  • You have to be very efficient on the technical side of things.
  • You need a content: anecdotes, tips…
  • Your face has to be bearable!

That is a lot of qualities! But strangely enough, some very shitty succinct material seem to generate thousands and thousands of views on YouTube as well as very positive comments! How is that that possible?

So tell me: is there any blog that you are addicted to and why this one in particular. Can you recommend any that you’ve been following for awhile and that you find really inspiring. And do you reckon it is possible to produce a decent eloquent vlog with a graphic original content unless you are a professional?

 

Genealogy

How I became hooked on genealogy

French Family – part 1

I don’t even remember how it all started. It was 2 years ago. Winter time. I wanted to gather all the stories I had told my 10 year-old daughter about my family. It was supposed to be a little booklet first. It is now a big family tree, filled with stories, people from different countries, aunts, cousins… Thinking that, me and my partner had less than 20 people all together if we gathered both sides!

where I grew-up

What I knew when I started

On my mother’s side, it was people from the Tourraine area in France. My grand-mother’s father was wealthy and nasty. My Grand-father’s family were simple people, working in the fields. There are vineyards in this area.

Pocé sur Cisse - Route de Limeray BB

On my fathers’s side, it was people from Poland. My grandparents were immigrants who arrived after the 2nd world war. They died before I was born so I never met them. My Father was born in France. He never talked about Poland because it did not interest him. So I was left with a massive gap.

My Dad as a child.

And finally, on my partner’s side, it was people from Bourgogne. And maybe Spain but he wasn’t sure. Full stop.

For the love of pretty wedding dresses

What I know now (in a nutshell)

I downloaded an app to gather all the information I stared to accumulate. I asked for copies of old family pictures to my mother. The pictures led me to stories. I tried to keep this sort of communication via email so I could keep all this written anecdotes and add them to the rest. I ask to my aunt for her side of the stories. It led to more stories.

Then I stared to search the local archives. Thank God transcripts and microfilm copies of the archives are now online and you can look for most of the data from home! Birth and wedding certificates… as long as it is 100 years old. There is also a fabulous French site (and the free version gives you loads!)  which has been extremely helpful. Also, the app I’m using has a direct link to Family Search. It is a good way to compare the data you have with the one which have been uploaded by others.  Québec makes it easy too so I discovered one of my ancestor left for Canada.

 

But this was only the beginning of it…