Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

Flying Visit

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Sincere apologies everyone. I have been particularly slack with my entries lately due to many factors – mostly just laziness. But I have been very busy with weddings, family visits, trips to Spain and then packing my bag once again to fly home to Australia. I am currently filling in time before I venture to the airport to stand in lines and wait and wait and wait until I can then get on a plane and wait and wait and wait some more. What fun awaits!!

I am heading home for two and a half weeks to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday. It isn’t every day that someone special turns the big Nine-Zero so a plane flight across the world is worth it. However I am currently wishing teleportation had been developed to a much greater extent so that I could avoid the next 24 hours. I should probably stop complaining and be grateful that it is possible for me to fly home… Nar.

So a quick catch up on things I promised I’d write to you about but never have.

Did I find a dress?

The answer to whether or not my shopping adventures before my cousin’s wedding resulted in the WORLD’S BEST DRESS is both yes and no. No, I didn’t find an amazing dress that was stylish, sexy and slightly ‘unique’ which was quite disappointing. None of the general fashion stores in Paris seemed to have ‘wedding appropriate dresses’. However, at the wedding I discovered that most of the Parisian attendees were less formally dressed than the foreign guests.

I did, however, find a dress that was ON SALE at Esprit (Esprit never fails me) that I wore on the Friday to Freya and Mark’s civil ceremony. It wasn’t what I was looking for but it filled a need that I didn’t even know existed. Clearly it was some sort of sign that I what I really needed was a new dress for the civil ceremony and that I should wear my trusty blue (and super cool) dress to the wedding. And so I did.

The wedding was wonderful with the catholic ceremony held in St Clothilde basilica. The basilica was just astonishing – a huge space with beautiful stained glass windows and light grey stone. The sun came at the end of the ceremony, just in time for photos and an apero in the garden of the Maison d’Amerique Latine. The reception was a lot of fun and absolutely delicious with great food and matching wines and it was so lovely to spend time with my Dutch family. A wonderful, wonderful evening.

For those of you who are interested, you can see photographs of the wedding (and my dresses) on my flickr site.

Did my new printer cartridge work?

Yes, thank goodness.

Was the Guggenheim as awesome as I hoped it would be?

Yes. It sure was. In fact, it was beyond amazing. There have been a few moments in my life where I have felt my jaw drop and then a big, tooth-filled smile spread across my face as I realise what I am seeing. Seeing Times Square for the first time at dusk was one of those moments, and now I can add driving into Bilbao and seeing Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim museum as another. I spent the weekend in Spain and most of Saturday wandering around and through the Guggenheim museum and was completely overwhelmed at how much I loved the space. And then to discover that one of my favourite installations – work by Richard Serra – filled the largest gallery in the building made me literally jump for joy. It was an eye opening and inspirational experience and I came away from it full of excitement about how maybe one day I will be somehow working in a space like that – either as an artist or as part of the gallery staff.

Did I eat good food and drink good wine in Spain?

You bet I did. I was a little disappointed with some of the things I ate but I put this down to my inability to communicate, my dislike for mushed up seafood (lots of the pintxos included this in some form), and my lack of confidence at entering very busy and clearly social places on my own. Eating in Spain is a very communal thing and I felt quite alone when it came to dinner time. However, I got by and managed to have a few conversations and was offered some fried peppers from one friendly couple. But my memories of the food in Madrid are still calling to me and Bilbao didn’t quite match up. That’s ok – it just means I need to go back and try again.

And for those of you with some time on your hands, why not look at my 341 photos of Bilbao and San Sebastian? I can promise you lots of images of the Guggenheim, food and Jesus.

Have I finished packing? 

Not quite. I should do this. And then get some lunch and then go to the airport. So next time you hear from me I will be upside down in the southern hemisphere, joining my fellow Perthians complaining about the weather. Oh, meanwhile yesterday in Paris it reached a rather impressive 33 degrees. It was hot. Everyone was complaining.

L’Amour à Paris

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

I have exciting days ahead of me full of family, food and most likely lots of fun. Saturday is the wedding of my mum’s cousin’s daughter (still with me?) and so lots of my dutch family are heading to Paris from Holland. Luckily for me, the wedding is in Paris so I don’t have to go anywhere. Hoorah!

I am also honoured to have been invited to Freya and Mark’s civil ceremony on Friday, because just like everything in France, one wedding isn’t enough and you HAVE to have two. Ok, that’s not completely true, but you must go through the boring, administrative civil wedding at your local town hall and it is up to you whether or not you want to have a nice party and/or a church service. Seeing as most people like an excuse to eat food, drink wine and dance the night away, most couples fork out money for two events. Suddenly the single life is looking deliciously inexpensive.

Anyway, over the next few days random people from my extended family will be arriving in Paris, something that makes me very happy as I love family and these are some of the members that I don’t get to see very often. There will be my mum’s cousins, their children, my Grandma’s sister, and my great-half-uncle and my almost-great-half-aunt-in-law. This makes for very complicated introductions when you have to try and explain how we are all related.

The other thing I am excited about is the food (WHAT A SURPRISE!). Knowing Freya and Mark the food at the wedding is going to be fantastic and plus there are additional family dinner gatherings on the days before and after the wedding that will involve more food consumption. I am preparing my stomach in advance. Last night was the first of these dinners at a restaurant that is on a barge on the Seine – Café Barge. The exterior of the boat could do with a lick of paint but clearly they spent all of their money doing up the inside. There were fluorescent pink lights, plastic pink and silver glitter chairs and on the walls were murals with images of Marilyn Munro and Elvis. At one end of the boat was a ‘dance’ zone with disco lights that was being occupied by a group of international business people, clearly all trying to network while surrounded by mirror balls. Amusing.

Café Barge chair

It’s… pink.

However, despite all of this I have realised this morning that I have disastrously overlooked a very important fact. This will most likely be the single wedding that I will ever have the occasion of attending in Paris – the city of fashion and style – and therefore my one opportunity to wear a dress that is down-right FANTASTIC. Up until this morning I had been planning on wearing one of the two dresses I own, depending on the weather and my mood for the day but I realise this could be a wasted opportunity! How can I settle for a dress I already own when I could go and buy a new one? Sure, money. But as I mentioned before, the wedding is in Paris and I therefore don’t have to travel to Holland OR Australia and I am therefore saving money! I should really spend that on a new dress. And a new bag (this one is a necessity. My current plastic, water proof, go anywhere, fit anything bag isn’t really wedding-friendly.) And potentially a hat (I made a new friend last night who is wearing a hat to the wedding. This sounds like a GREAT idea.) So to the shops it is! Luckily, whenever I am searching for something in particular I can never find it and therefore I will return home this evening empty handed and I will wear one of my two perfectly nice dresses. But in the words of Daryl Somers, you never ever know if you never ever go (to the shops).

Are My Eyes Deceiving Me?

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Are you seeing what I’m seeing, J1?
I think I am J2.

IT’S A PACKET OF TIMTAMS!

TimTams

Now THAT'S a biscuit.

TimTams in Paris?! Surely I was hallucinating. Yet as I reached out and touched them I discovered they were as real as the Oreos on the shelf next to them. It appears that TimTams have finally broken through the tough French market and have made their way into the supermarket near me. I checked to see they were definitely made in Australia and yes – they have been sent to me from my good friends at Arnotts in New South Wales.

I made this discovery on Friday night while at my local Monop’ (a small version of a big supermarket chain in France) and almost had a heart attack. I then came back to life and died once again when I saw the price. Three Euros and 15 cents for a packet of TimTams. That equates to AUD$4.30. I haven’t bought a packet of TimTams in Australia for quite sometime but I would be horrified if they cost more than that. Still, I bought a packet and shared it with my fellow residents at the usual Friday night gathering, proudly declaring that I had discovered some Australian biscuits in France. They were all very impressed and eager to know more about Australia’s baked goods and deadly animals. Now all I need is for Arnotts to start exporting the dark chocolate versions because they are so much better.

Disappointment.

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

Every now and then I have intense, over-powering, unstoppable desires to spend money and to shop, shop, shop! The other day I was speaking to my brother on Skype and saw a new purchase he had made and realised that he owns more clothes than I do and I am supposed to be living in one of the world’s most fashionable cities. What was I thinking by trying to save money and not buying overpriced designer goods?! So to the shops I went!

Galleries Lafayette

Shops. Precious shops.

France has this very weird thing of only allowing shops to have sales (or ‘soldes’) twice a year. This is both annoying and great because it means you can’t find bargains all year round BUT when things do go on sale, they REALLY go on sale. None of this “Everything is on sale except for things that you actually want” business. Entire product ranges are reduced and by decent percentages. One of those soldes happens to be on right now and today I grabbed a Velib and rode down to Galleries Lafayette with my brain set in “Shopping Mode.” I knew it would be busy and I even managed to stay relatively smiley for most of the time. I tried on many things, found many bargains, but do you think I bought anything? Nothing. Not even half a thing. The closest I got was contemplating a Le Crueset pot which was ridiculously cheap when compared to Australian prices, but the thought of shipping a very heavy pot back to Australia scared me away. I don’t know what happened. I came home feeling quite depressed, tired, sore and wanting a beer. I still have until mid-July to make use of the sales. I think I need my shopping buddy, Pip, to come with me. Then we’ll do some real damage.

Venture Right

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

I fell in love with Paris again today. I do most days (sometimes I want to divorce it) but I have just returned home from a walk to find a shop called The Collection and feel I need to tell you about my experience. I had found this store via random website clicks and vowed to find it. I was particularly happy to note that it is within a not-so-distance walk from my place and so this afternoon I ventured out into the sunshine to try and find it.

To get there I had to take a route which Tom and I have taken on various occasions to get down to the Marais district. According to my map, the shop I was looking for was slightly to the right of where we usually go and so when I came across an intersection with various exits, I chose the road to the right of the one I would usually take. The usual road is lined with wholesale stores selling fairly ordinary clothes. This new road I had discovered was something else.

My eyes bulged and my chin dropped at the number of COOL designer stores selling homewares, clothes, jewellery, bags, linens, vintage. I even found a shop selling beautiful felt bowls/mats/balls. All over priced but WOW. Some of the stores required you to be the son of a rich man, but others were reasonably priced and just generally interesting. Unlike Perth, they weren’t selling all of the same products that you see in every other ‘designer’ store.

I found The Collection and spoke to a lovely lady who told me about the products available. They sell wall paper which is designed to be used in single pieces – ie. you just have one strip of wall paper on the wall and it blends into the room. The wall paper either had images of chairs, bookshelves, vases etc or were really unique and would make an impressive statement. I wish I had my own house to decorate. Maybe that should be my new profession… Interior designer. No. I don’t think that’s a good idea. I would be terrible at it. All of my room designs would be very ‘eclectic’ – aka. lots of stuff just thrown together.

On my walk I also found a market called Marche des Enfants Rouges which smelt DELICIOUS. I think I need to go there for lunch… It had stalls selling food from various parts of the world. Pity it was about 4pm when I got there.

The street was full of ultra stylish people but not in an evil snooty Claremont sort of a way. Such a great afternoon walk. I didn’t buy anything though… the egg cups that I wanted to buy from The Collection were out of stock. So I have to go back. What a pity.

The Latest

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

So long, grey skies! Hello sunshine and blue! The last few days have brought glorious weather – although the wind is still biting and has a habit of getting through all layers of clothing. It’s bloody cold, really. I’m used to consecutive days of sunshine equalling warmer temperatures but so far this hasn’t happened. They forecast some higher numbers for the rest of the week which is a bit of a relief. Every time I try and put on a skirt the wind suggests otherwise.

But sunshine does bring general happiness – my mood seems to lift greatly when the sun is out. Paris looks so beautiful when it isn’t contending with grey clouds – the buildings shine, the trees seem to instantly fill with new buds, birds flutter and Parisians make out on park benches. The past weekend was particularly glorious. Saturday was Tom and my two-years-and-six-months-versary which we celebrate just for the excuse of going out to eat food. We had had a rather late one the night before (getting home at 3am is apparently early in Paris) so we didn’t get up until almost lunch time. We headed to Les Enfants Perdus – a cosy little restaurant in the next street. We treated ourselves to a fancy lunch – I had lamb, Tom had prawns, we both had chocolate cake. The restaurant was a delight – amazing food beautifully presented, lovely staff and a very cosy place to sit. Definitely one to go back to.

Lamb lunch

My lamb – so good.

Prawns

Tom's prawns – apparently also so good

Chocolate pudding

Chocolate cake with delicious, gooey innards. So so so good - although the menu said it had chilli in it. I couldn't find it... Clearly French "chilli"

After lunch we walked in the sunshine along the canal to Parc de la Villette – a large space with parkland, museums, giant glass domes, kids’ play equipment, concert halls… Tom described a conference hall located in the park as “Like the Perth Convention Centre, but with style and it actually works.” It’s nice to discover new places and to find places we want to go back to. So much to see.

Parc de la Villette

Parc de la Villette

Sunday was the first Sunday of the month so all of the art galleries were open for free. We caught three trains on the metro to get to Musee Rodin and wandered through the gallery and gardens looking at Rodin’s work. I had seen many replicas of The Thinker so it was amazing to finally see the real thing. Sundays are always ‘days out with the family’ for Parisians and they were all out in full swing, enjoying the rays of sunlight. People had clearly come to the Musee Rodin to simply sit in the sun in the garden. Poor French people with their lack of sunshine. That said, France gets heaps of sun compared to England. Give me Paris over London any day.

The Thinker

He's a thinker.

We walked back home through Saint Germain which was completely closed and made me think about everyone complaining about Perth’s lack of Sunday trading. Paris is just as bad. Everything closes on Sundays. Bakeries close at lunch time, just when you want some bread. Tom and I walked for miles trying to find a baguette – we ended up having lebanese.

Today I went shopping with my friend Pip (a fellow Perthian who has moved to Paris at the same time as me) and bought a lot. I went shopping with a list of necessities and came home with some added bonuses. I bought:

  1. Moisturiser for my excessively dry skin due to France’s stupidly cold air (necessity)
  2. Jeans (necessity as I only have one pair and my other pair of pants are too big)
  3. A tshirt (You always need tshirts)
  4. A grey skirt that has cool angles and is just great (it was half price so it would have been wrong not to buy it)
  5. Books (Books are educational (and these are beautiful) which means they are a necessity)
  6. A statue of a pig (added bonus)

The pig needs a name and I am currently undecided. I will post a photo of him soon so that everyone can meet my new pet. Maurice is a possibility – all I know is that he is a French cochon.

Ok well it is my bed time and I am going to post this sans-photos. My internet can’t handle uploading photos at this time of the day so I will add them later. So you can read this post TWICE. Lucky you!

Vot a dae!

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Mon dieu… quel jour! It is currently 9.16pm and I am finally sitting and trying to wind down. We have had quite a day and my brain is mush. Pure mush. Possibly delicious but most likely not.

This morning Tom and I caught the metro to the Grand Arche in La Defense – a newish commercial area on the perimetre of Paris. Having spent a lot of yesterday wandering around trying to find a large supermarket (a hypermarche – pronounced ee-pur-mar-shay) and failing, I realised that I had visited an Auchan at La Defense with my mum some years ago where she had stocked up on espadrilles. So off we headed, illegally taking an RER train instead of a metro which meant our ticket was declined as we tried to pass through the exit. Luckily a kind Frenchman let us slip through the gates on his ticket. Merci, monsieur! Our shopping adventures resulted in some GREAT buys – a clothes horse, pegs, wine glasses, tea towels, a pair of scissors and in a 1 Euro bargain bin section we scored ourselves a broom (which has already broken but is still good.) Very exciting! I just said to Tom that our house finally feels a bit more ‘homely’ and lived in. I like it.

Grande Arche

That's one big arche

Unfortunately we had to hurry back to the city in order to get to our 3pm appointment at the bank where a very friendly bank lady helped up set up accounts. Les Recollets has a relationship with BNP Paribas – supporters of the French Open. This relationship allowed us to set up fee-free accounts for the next year! BRILLIANT! We’ll be saving over 100 Euros each a year. That’s a whole trip to Budapest.

The bank experience was another showcase of French bureaucracy and their love for paperwork. For each of us there were piles of papers that we now get to keep as souvenirs. All quite ridiculous and unnecessary. But amusing. So in about a week we will have bank cards that will allow us to use our money without being charged ridiculous Australian bank fees. HOORAY!

One of the greatest things about the bank trip was that last time I went and opened a bank account in France, I had one of the teachers from the school I was working at in Custines come with me and I sat and couldn’t understand a word that was being said. This time I was in charge and translated between our bank lady and Tom. Rather pleasing to know that my French has improved enough for me to open bank accounts and discuss fees and insurance.

On a final note, today out at La Defense, Tom and I went to a Paul Cafe where we both consumed chocolat chauds and I had a tarte aux mrytilles and Tom had a tarte au chocolat (which I sampled of course.) So good. So very good. I’ll have another one soon.

Paul patisserie

Deliciousness.

Melbourne Styles

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

I got dressed this morning in one of my Melbourne purchases – a giant, comfy jumper-dress with an embroidered tree on the front. I found it in a Design A Space store – wonderful retail shops that Australian designers can hire shelves and hanging space in to sell their wares. A fantastic concept that I wish would come to Perth.

This dress is a Gyegi design, a Melbourne based designer whose clothes are a great mix between cutesy Korean and simpler western styles. I checked out the Gyegi website to see what else is on offer and am now back in saving mode so that I can make some more purchases.

Red top

Red.

Dress

Grey.

Jumper

Black.

Just Call Me Captain Planet

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

What can I say? I care about our environment. That’s why I feel a-okay about just having spent a little too much money on Elroy Apparel clothes. I stumbled across them and fell instantly in love. So much so, I had to go downstairs, into the cold, grab my purse and buy some things. Their clothes are made from organic, sustainable products and look quite beautiful (in the pictures anyway). Fingers crossed I haven’t just wasted a whole lot of money but I’ll be sure to let you know when my new coat arrives.

Elroy Coat

This will be me in 7-21 days. Except my cheeks will be naturally flushed due to excess excitement.

Hold Me Back – Bargains Galore

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

I have been introduced to the phenomenon of ‘Deal of the Day’ websites that offer a product that you never knew you needed at such a low price that you discover you have to buy it. My favourite is Catch of the Day that releases a new product every day at midday. The products range from kids toys to cooking appliances to food and are often sold in bulk. At one stage you could buy nine Colgate toothbrushes at money saving prices. As I do not have a family of nine I decided to let this deal pass but I thought about it! Oh boy, did I think about it…

Toothbrushes

Toothbrushes for the whole family

I thought I would share some Catch of the Day highlights to tempt your tastebuds. At the moment there is a $15 cap on delivery charges, making this process even more of a bargain! How can you look past these:

I feel too guilty to actually purchase something from this site because I know it is waste of money and I really don’t need any of it! So I am opening up the challenge to you all! Go on! You know you want that six piece pink kitchen knife set! Spoil the wife with a new dustbuster! Or solve those bad breath issues with 30 packs of chewing gum. All I ask is that you let me know how it goes.

Pet bed

I bet you never realised you needed this! It's great for cats, dogs and bonuses!

And on another note, for all you alcoholics, every Wednesday you can go to Wine Catch of the Day and purchase yourself a lot of wine for not much money! Who knows what it will taste like, but you can sleep easy knowing it was a bargain.