Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Strange day...

I had a bit of an odd day.  First of all, there was the weather - it alternated between pouring rain and blazing sunshine all day long.  Seriously.  Rain, sun, rain, sun, rain, sun.  Ridiculous!

Secondly, I was horrified to realize that I had forgotten to mail my form to reclaim the excess UK tax I paid last year before I moved, and that the tax year ends on 5th April - eek!!!  So I immediately ran to the post office to send it on their quickest service to the UK - and guess how much it cost?  44 frickin' euros!!!  I could have bought a one-way Eurostar ticket and taken it there my damn self for that much.  But since I am desperately hoping to get a couple of grand back and since I really had no choice, I reluctantly paid it.  (Well, technically, the nice people at Mastercard paid it, but I suppose I will have to pay them back at some point.)  And it may all be for nothing - did I fill out the form correctly?   Will it get there in time?  Will they actually give me the money?  Who the hell knows??

Then I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a couple of things, and since I was still  freaking  out over the tax thing, I thought I might cheer myself up with a chocolate bar.  So I was at the checkout, the man was scanning my items, he set the chocolate bar aside and said it was no good.  I thought he meant the code on that particular bar was no good, but nooooo, he was making a little joke that I perhaps shouldn't have all that chocolate.  Ohhh ha ha, sir, how verrrry amusing.  And perhaps you're right, monsieur.  Maybe my jeans are getting to be a bit on the snug side because I have made one or two too many trips to the pâtisserie of late, but really?  Do you think it's wise to joke about these things with the very stressed woman with the scary eyes?  Really???

And then I went to the bank, where my one simple request made them look at me like an escaped mental patient, but I am not even going to tell you that story today.  Because right now I am far too busy eating chocolate - and the snarky man at the grocery store and my too-snug jeans can both just go to hell because today I. Don't. Care.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Awesome outfit of the week

Well, it's been a while since I featured one of these, so I thought it was high time.   At first glance, you may not think this outfit is all that awesome, but I love it.  Just a simple palette of black and grey with the red belt as an accent - but of course the true genius is accessorizing with a monochromatic dog.  Fantastique!  (Oh come on, you think it's an accident that the dog and the outfit work together?  Honey, please.  This is Paris - I will bet you her entire wardrobe is planned to look good with le chien...)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Favourite Paris photos - 10

Tenth photo:

Okay, technically this isn't Paris, it's Versailles.  But whatever, it's close enough and I want to include it.  So this wraps up my personal Top 10 Paris photos for the moment, I now return you to normal blogging.  Tune in tomorrow for....well, I don't know what, but I am sure I'll find something to write about.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Favourite Paris photos - 9

Ninth photo:

But Miss K, I hear you say - what's so Parisian about that photo?  Those could be any flowers, anywhere.  But they're not.  They're my tulips, bought in the Marché St Honoré, sitting on my dining table in my flat in the centre of Paris, bathed in Parisian sunshine.  And I therefore deem this shot worthy to go in my Paris favourites.  So there.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Favourite Paris photos - 8

Eighth photo:

The only good thing about moving to Paris in November (thereby freezing my arse off) is that the crappy weather occasionally scares off the tourists and you can get a shot like this without anyone in it.  

Friday, March 26, 2010

Favourite Paris photos - 7

Seventh photo:

Okay, the sun was so bright that I literally couldn't see exactly what I was shooting so my composition kinda sucks, but considering I was temporarily blinded and I took this on my phone, it's not too shabby.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Favourite Paris photos - 6

Sixth photo:

Do I really need to say anything about this? 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Favourite Paris photos - 5

Fifth photo:

Just some home comforts on your Metro journey, provided by our friends at IKEA.  Hee!  Cracks me up every time I see it...  (Also, it's a testament to how civilized Parisians are - on the London Tube, those sofas would have been ripped up, grafittied, urinated on and stolen within a week; don't hate me for saying that, Londoners, you know it's true!)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Favourite Paris photos - 4

Fourth photo:

Okay, I know there are 40 bajillion photos of the Eiffel Tower out there and I may have one or two more coming in this little collection, but this shot is probably my favourite.  Taken over the rooftops of Montmartre in a hazy sunset - just fabulous, if I do say so myself.  And it's my damn blog, so I do.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Favourite Paris photos - 3

Third photo:

And this is what the stairs in yesterday's photo led to - magical views of Sacre-Coeur and Montmartre.  So gorgeous (just ignore the stupid modern building in the foreground - grrr!).  I immediately went home and watched Moulin Rouge on dvd -  remember back when Nicole Kidman could actually move her face?  Yeah, good times.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Favourite Paris photos - 2

Second photo:
This is from the wonderful Parc des Buttes-Chaumont (I highly recommend it), which is up a verrrrry long uphill climb (something my guidebook neglected to mention but then again, I don't suppose they thought anyone would be stupid enough to walk there from the centre of Paris), so I was already exhausted when I got there, but just look at these stairs - who could possibly resist going up them to see where they lead?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Favourite Paris photos - 1

My sister-in-law is visiting from Canada this week (my first time showing Paris to someone who's never been here, it's quite exciting) and I probably won't have time to write much, but I don't want to neglect you so I am going to share some of the photos I've taken here but not yet posted.  These are all personal faves, I hope you like them.

First photo:
I love this because it's soooo not "Paris".  But should you be in town and absolutely, positively be in dire need of a feather boa in any colour of the rainbow, you just let me know and I'll tell you where to find this place...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Totally crap outfit of the week

Oh, you didn't think I was going to neglect you this week, did you?  I'm afraid there is always a crap outfit to be mocked, and here is today's little offering.  The sad thing is that the top half is actually okay - the hat is cute and the little faux-fur jacket is kinda fun, but below the waist?  It's like a hooker from the docks of Marseille trying out for the lead in a techno version of Flashdance.  Because, yes, look closely - those are bright blue legwarmers  you see before you.   So very painful...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I still can't believe there was reggae

Okay, I am reporting back about St Patrick's Day in Paris and the news ain't good.  There may have been good celebrations of this holiday somewhere in this city, but not where I was.  You might think that an Irish pub would be a good place in which to celebrate such an event, correct?  Well, not if you are in the worst Irish pub in the world (and I have been in Irish pubs everywhere from Sligo to Singapore to  San Francisco, so trust me, I have a pretty comprehensive basis for comparison). 

I still had a good time, because I was with a really fun group of people, but really, an Irish pub which wasn't even playing Irish music on St Patrick's Day?  Disgraceful.  Personally, I think the real high point was when the band (who were all as French as beret-wearing poodles) played a reggae version of "Englishman in New York".   Let's just think about that for a moment, shall we?   FRENCH band playing a song written by an ENGLISHMAN about another ENGLISHMAN in NEW YORK.   Played REGGAE-STYLE.   On St Patrick's Day!!!  I just, I.... really, there are just no words, so I will  just leave you to imagine the horror of it. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

To be sure, to be sure...

Ahhh, sure and 'tis the 17th of March, the day when St Patrick drove all the snakes out of...erm...Paris?  Wait, something's not right there...  

Anyway, yes, it's good old St Paddy's day here in Paris and I am wondering what to expect (and for those of you thinking "Miss K, you're an idiot, why would there be anything in Paris to celebrate St Patrick's day?" I would respond that I wouldn't have expected much here regarding Burns night, either, but scroll backwards to find that post, should you feel so inclined.).  So I feel that it behooves me to go forth and check into it for you - I'm going to an expat party tonight and I will report back.  Unfortunately, as much as I like to get in the spirit of the day, my great Moving-Countries-Wardrobe-Cull of 09 means that I will no longer be clad in green from head to toe as in previous years (which is probably a good thing as I looked like an oversized and slightly deranged leprechaun).  So I will make do with green earrings, and hell, my eyes are pretty damn green, that will just have to be good enough.   I'm afraid I won't be able to tell you about the green beer here (I can't stand beer, regardless of what colour it is), but if there's green wine, I will be all over that action.  Only so that I can report back to you - honestly, the things I do for you, gentle readers... 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


This morning I walked past the editor of French Vogue on my way to work (at least, I am 99% sure it was her, any self-respecting fashion lover such as myself should recognize Carine Roitfeld from five feet away and if it wasn't her, it was an extraordinary resemblance) and let me tell you, that's a moment of "Holy crap, what am I wearing? Do I look okay???"  It must have been all right, though, as I am sure I would have been reduced to a pile of rubble on the sidewalk had she unleashed her withering gaze of scorn upon me.  Whew!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wait - how did I get to Tokyo?

So there I was, sitting in a café on the rue de Rivoli, having a glass of wine and reading.  I looked up and saw this group of about a dozen Japanese ladies walking past in the full garb - kimonos, obis, sandals.  Huh.  You just never know what you're going to see when you're passing the time in Paris...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Zany! Just zany!

I'm a pretty well-traveled, cosmopolitan person - I have been to a lot of places, some of them not particularly pedestrian-friendly (yeah, Bangkok, I'm lookin' at you) or especially easy to find your way around (take a bow, Istanbul) and I have managed just fine, all by myself.  But the wonders of the street systems in parts of Europe continue to surprise me.  I thought that I had seen every variant of weird numbering when I lived in London, but today was truly excellent.  I had to drop off some government documents on a particular street, so I started walking along when I noticed that it seemed to have the same numbers on either side of the street.  Let me repeat that - the same goddamn numbers on each side of the street.  Huh???  I particularly clued into this when I looked across the road and saw number 47, my destination, and discovered it to be a garage.  Now, this may be hard to believe, but I do occasionally have more brain power than a peanut, and I quickly deduced that the  guy in the greasy coveralls was not the person to see and the garage was not the correct place for me to drop off my documents.  Hmmm...what to do?  Well, I noticed that on my side of the street I was at number 35 and decided, in a fit of optimism, to see if those wacky city planners had another number 47 up their sleeves further along.  And guess what?  They did! And it was an actual government office and everything.  Man, I had heard that French bureaucracy was tough, but no one ever told me they actually hide the offices - jeez!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Is it just me?

Or do the words "totally random" spring to mind for anyone else?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I have a new hairstyle - my landlady saw it and said (approvingly) that it made me look like a dancer at the Crazy Horse (if you don't know what that is, look it up - but not on your work computer, I hasten to add).  Later this evening, someone else told me it made me look like Bettie Page.  Sooooo...if my new look has me being compared to both a risqué French cabaret dancer and a 1950s burlesque icon, that can't be a bad thing, can it?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Totally crap outfit of the week

Okay, my fashion-themed week didn't really work out and I was going to take a break from that topic, but really?  This ensemble was so horrifying that I had to share it with you immediately.  I am hard-pressed to work out what the worst part is (mostly because I am afraid of burning my retinas if I look at the photo too long), but let's start with the hair.  Okay, that may very well be her real hair (in which case, honey, I am so sorry but buy some product and back away from the dye).  And then there's the sleeveless pleather biker vest (somewhere a biker gang is feeling pretty damn smug that even they have higher fashion standards than to wear a monstrosity like that).   Then there are those socks and shoes - unless there is a big red nose in your handbag, and you are on your way to entertain sick children in a hospital, there is NO excuse for them.  But the skirt.  God. Almighty.  I mean, I am a big fan of vintage and second-hand, I am a big fan of customizing your clothes, I am a big fan of looking quirky and individual BUT there are limits. Honey, if it's too ugly for Goodwill, you really need to re-think wearing it out in public.  Gah!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dull, dull, dull

I had a plan, which was to continue my fashion theme right through Paris Fashion Week, but I did nothing of the sort - you may have noticed I didn't post at all for the past couple of days, which was entirely due to being grouchy and out of sorts. Sorry, my bad.

So instead I had one of those weekends where you stay home and Get. Stuff. Done.  It was quite possibly the most boring weekend that any person not currently being held in solitary confinement has ever spent, but talk about productive: huge pile of laundry done, huge pile of mending done, room tidied to within an inch of its life, bathroom cleaned, floor vacuumed, books and DVDs organized and paperwork sorted.  I even tackled my huge music collection and managed to classify all 6194 songs into various playlists.  (Admittedly, I classified 5198 of them into an "Undecided" playlist for the time being, but nonetheless, a good effort.)

Anyway, so now that absolutely every single thing I own is in its proper place (possibly for the first time in my entire life), I feel much more relaxed and cheerful.  So, what's up this week?  Well, I have to go and deal with French bureaucracy for the first time (which, from what I've heard, is terrifying, but I am sure the experience will give me some material to rant about), and go to an expat drinks thing, and do some more exploring.  Sun is shining, weather is crisp and cold, let's see what's out there... 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Awesome outfit of the week

Absolute Paris winter-chic perfection. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Paris Fashion Week

After yesterday's bitchfest about that outfit, I thought I'd just continue with the fashion theme in honour of Paris Fashion Week kicking off today.  Although, I have to be honest, I can't really imagine how Paris could possibly have any more focus on fashion this week than any other - the pressure to look good here is brutal. I don't know if it's because Paris itself is so beautiful, or because Parisians are innately stylish, but make no mistake, you are expected to make an effort here, even if you are just dashing out to  the corner store.  If people have to look at you, they expect it to be a pleasant aesthetic experience - if not, prepare yourself for scorn.  It's subtle Parisian scorn, but it's there, trust me. 

I have spent time in New York and I lived in London for many years (both very stylish cities) but it's different in Paris. For one thing, the city is chock-full of dainty little Amelie-lookalikes, and I am a tall, broad-shouldered Canadian - there's not much I can do about being built like a lumberjack, but damned if I'll be a poorly dressed lumberjack. Luckily, I moved here at the beginning of November and I've been able to hide under my very nice winter coat (which covers me from neck to ankle) ever since.  However, spring is coming and I am terrified at the thought of displaying my wardrobe to the withering gaze of the locals.  After my great Moving-Countries-Wardrobe-Cull of 09, I don't have all that much left in my closet, so on my recent trip to London, I picked up a few items for spring/summer (thank you, nice people at Amex, I'll pay you back soon.  Honest.) because in London, unlike Paris, I know where to find the bargains.  So I think I am all set now - I will let you know how it goes once the weather is nice enough to ditch the coat.  Until then, stay tuned for either the Awesome or Totally Crap Outfit of the Week as I continue to judge others.  What?  I live here, it's what we do!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Totally crap outfit of the week

Normally I reserve this regular feature for the awesome outfit of the week, but I just couldn't let this crime against style go unreported; I can tell that I am becoming a local because I am starting to be genuinely offended by terrible taste in fashion.  Madame, it's bad enough that your jacket was vile even in the style hell of 1985, but what is that thing you have draped over it?  It appears to be a Bolivian tablecloth covered in technicolour clown vomit.  Hmmm, now what goes with clown vomit?  Oh, of course - a red and yellow kilt and completely unforgivable fuschia shoes.  Madame, if you are going to sport this monstrosity of an outfit, kindly keep to the backstreets and don't go strolling past the Louvre where all the tourists can see you and get the wrong idea about what the locals wear.  We Parisians have our standards, you know...

Monday, March 1, 2010

How I spent my afternoon

Okay, I might whine sometimes about my part-time salary, but I do know exactly how lucky I am to be living here, and my part-time hours enabled me to spend a balmy afternoon (sorry, bad lighting in the photo but it was a beautiful sunny day) hanging with the ducks at the Tuileries gardens, so no whining today...