Saturday, May 29, 2010

Nature Capitale

So I thought I should probably explain yesterday's photo - last Saturday night, the Champs Elysées was shut down for something called Nature Capitale, which took place on the Sunday and Monday.  It was part art installation, part eco-awareness event and it was very concept.  In reality, it was the hottest day of the year (30 Celcius) and about 50 bajillion people showed up.

Seriously, it was PACKED - I had gone down there to meet my journalist friend Miss A, who had been covering the event and we managed to get about halfway up the street before giving up and going for a well-deserved frosty beverage.  I don't think they had any idea so many people were going to show up, and it was made worse by the fact that there were metal barricades down both sides of the street, causing far more congestion and crowding than necessary.  But it's Paris - god forbid there not be barricades, I mean, people might just wander from the sidewalk onto the street and back again.  It could be chaos, people, chaos!  I personally think the barricades were just there so the security guys would have something to sit on - what else were they doing?  Was someone going to try to steal a leaf?

Oops, sorry, I think my snark was showing a little bit there.  There were nice parts to it and, as I said, it was a cool concept - bringing nature and agriculture to the city was an interesting idea and there were volunteers to explain and educate on all the exhibits.  However, I felt sorry for the sheep (and that goes in at number 5 on my list of Top Ten Sentences I Never Thought I Would Utter: "I felt sorry for the sheep") as they had a bunch of them penned up in the middle of the street with no shade whatsoever.  Hey, wearing a full-body fuzzy wool suit when it's 30C degrees?  Not good times... (And you just know all the other sheep on the farm were super-jealous beforehand that these ones got to go to Paris, right?  "Dude, I am BUMMED, those guys are going to the city, I'll bet they go clubbing and see the dancing girls at the Moulin Rouge, and here we are, stuck back on the farm.  Dang!")

Ahem.  Anyway, I'm glad I went just for the experience of it, but considering that I grew up in the country, it wasn't really all that exciting to me.  Although watching the Parisians looking at the grass displays cracked me up - there they were, nodding sagely and looking wise, like they knew what the hell they were looking at, other than it being, you know, grass. And I forgot to mention that the grass wasn't underfoot, it was in  raised boxes placed at intervals all along the street - what, are you kidding?  It's Paris, you never get to walk on the grass...

Friday, May 28, 2010


Well, believe it or not, this is my 100th post - in light of that, should I try to say something interesting?  Naaaah.  I've already yapped way too much this week, so I think it's time for me to shut up and just show you a pretty picture of something you don't see too often - the awesomeness of the  Champs Elysées shut to traffic:

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Damn, I was going to post every day this week, wasn't I?  Sorry about missing yesterday, but one of the truly wonderful things about living in Paris is that it's such a spontaneous place - I really found in London that people plan things waaaaay in advance and it's only occasionally that you meet up with friends on the spur of the moment.  It's partly due to the geography as well - London is so huge and sprawling that it can take forever to get to and from your social engagements, whereas you can get pretty much anywhere in Paris in less than 20 minutes on the Metro. 

So, yesterday afternoon when Miss M and Miss J called me up to see if I wanted to meet them for cocktails, pizza and wine?  Hell yeah!  So we had a delightful evening at Miss M's place - oh, the fun that girls can get up to with too much wine, a camera and playing dress-up (No, not like that!  God, you people are perverts - but that's why I like you...).  I'm not saying there were Charlie's Angels poses, but I'm not necessarily denying it, either - and no, before you ask, I will not be posting a photo!  Spontaneous fun on a random Wednesday night - that's what I'm talking about...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Quote of the day

I was on the Metro last week with my friend Miss RA, who is sweet and ladylike and from South Carolina, hence still has a bit of a southern accent (all of which is important for you to know before reading this quote in order for you to picture it correctly).  

Anyway, it was about 29 degrees Celcius in Paris that day and it was very hot and unpleasant on the train.  And out of the blue, my sweet, ladylike friend turns to me and drawls: "You know what I hate about the Metro?  Every so often, you just get a whiff of ass."   Hee!  I don't believe I've ever heard it put it like that (especially with the southern accent, which just makes it more awesome), but she's not wrong, unfortunately, the Metro can be a rather smelly place...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Picnic, Paris-style

Summer is finally here in Paris and I decided to celebrate the great weather with some expat friends and a picnic in the Parc Montsouris (a lovely park a little off the beaten track, highly recommended).  The photo below is of our picnic spread, which was all very lovely and even moderately healthy.  This, however, does not show you all the factors involved:

a) our picnic was only for four girls
b) there were four bottles of wine (only three are pictured because we remembered the last bottle just before we left and knocked it back faster than Romans at an orgy.  Oh yes, we're a classy bunch.)
c) the lovely Miss M also brought along a delightful little apero that very closely tasted like a mango smoothie, unless of course you factor in that about half of it was vodka 
d) the lovely Miss M lives very near the park and although one of our group sensibly departed after the picnic, the other three of us went to Miss M's house and drank another blenderful of the mango vodka smoothie things as well as two or three more bottles of wine

And that, gentle readers, is why you haven't heard from me for a few days - the picnic was on Friday and my subsequent ruin lasted all the way through Saturday and a little bit of yesterday.  It didn't stop me from attending three more social occasions this weekend but it did stop me from being able to string a coherent sentence together!  My apologies, but I will try to post every single day this week to make it up to you.  Just as long as there isn't another picnic, I should be fine...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Awesome outfit of the week

It's been a while since I did one of these, and as I am going to try to start doing it more regularly, I thought I'd kick things off with something a bit different.  You may notice that our photo this week is not geared toward women's fashion, but Miss K does not discriminate when it comes to awesomeness, so this chap is  my awesome outfit of the week.  

Yes, I know that with the jewellery and the hat, it's all verging a bit on pimptastic, but I don't care, I like it.  I like a man who can accessorize and I loooove a straight man who isn't afraid to have a bit of style.  I could possibly do without the satchel strap across the chest, but that's a minor glitch in an otherwise great outfit.  The sun was shining and he was rocking a good summer look - well done, monsieur...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tiger head

I know that title sounds like it might refer to Mr Woods and something he might have done with his 847 alleged mistresses, but no, it's nothing that exciting.  It merely refers to the abomination that I used to refer to as my hair.

Let me start again:  I needed a haircut and I also wanted to start heading back to blonde from my current dark colour, so I made an appointment at Toni & Guy (oh yes, I am naming names in this little tale of shame) for a cut and highlights, thinking that I couldn't go too far wrong at a salon from London.  Well, let's just put it this way - the colourist said she couldn't do blonde highlights because they "wouldn't look natural" and proceeded to give me highlights which are....ORANGE.  Not only that, but she also dyed my roots to match my ends, so I'm now super-dark brunette with chunky ORANGE stripes all over my head.  Yes, I look like a freakin' tiger - hence the blog post title.  So glad  she didn't go with the blonde, because the ORANGE is really so much more natural - and also, I'd  like to thank her for starting the highlights about two inches away from my roots so that I not only look like a tiger, but some trampy trailer-trash tiger who can't be bothered to get her regrowth dyed and all the other tigers laugh at her for being so slovenly.

Oh, and did I mention the cut?  Well, ladies, when Victoria Beckham got that cute pixie cut a couple of years ago, did any of you wonder how that might look on you?  Me too - but since I am built like a lumberjack, I quickly realized that a pixie cut would make my head look like a peanut compared to my broad shoulders.  And that's okay, because that's not exactly the cut I got.  Noooo.  The girl gave me a pixie cut in the front (a short fringe didn't suit me when I was 10 and guess what? It still doesn't) and then, in spite of me telling her that I am growing out my hair and to just trim my layers, she essentially scalped me.  So the back of my head still has long hair, but because she cut so much of it away and it is already very fine, it has certain wispy characteristics in common with, god help me, a mullet.  So, could this be the next big thing in hairdressing circles?  What would one call the ungodly mixture of a mullet and a pixie cut?  A mullie?  A pixlet?  Well, whatever it is, I have one and it is loathsome

So until I can get back to London next month and visit a proper salon, there's not much to be done to fix the colour, and I will just have to wear my hair up all summer until it grows a bit.  How delightful.  But if you're in Paris in the meantime and you happen to see a tallish woman with a tiger-striped head?  That will be me, feel free to come and say hi - although if you don't want to be seen with me at the moment, I completely understand...

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Okay, I know I've posted about this before, but I couldn't resist adding an action shot of these guys.  I don't know why it amuses me quite so much - maybe because I can imagine rollerblading cops somewhere more modern, like Toronto, but in Paris it's so incongruous that it cracks me up every time I see it. (I hasten to add that I have no desire to visit the inside of a French jail cell, so I don't actually let them see me giggling at them.)  Anyway, there they are, rolling off to solve crime.....hee!!! I'm sorry, I can't help it - heeheeheeheehee!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010


Just a few of the faces adorning the sides of the Pont Neuf, one of my favourite bridges.  Note that they're all different?  Again, you've got to respect that French attention to detail...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

From busy to bored

Okay, I know you're not allowed to be bored when you live in Paris.  I know.  It's a wonderland of art, culture, beauty, cuisine, wine, architecture, urban planning, fashion, etc, etc, and people would sell their right kidney to be living here and I don't know how lucky I am, blahblahblah.  Okay, really:  I freakin' KNOW, people!

However, what I didn't know when I moved here is about the plethora of public holidays - today is the third one this month and as it falls on a Thursday, many people have taken the entire week off.  And in addition to nearly everything being shut today, most things are shut tomorrow as well, as a "bridge" to the weekend.  So, to recap: pretty much everyone I know is out of town, everything is closed and the weather is CRAP.  

So forgive me my boredom - yes, even here in Paris.  There is no one to call as they're all away, there's nothing to do as everything is shut, and I have already spent all goddamn winter walking all over this city, so forgive me if the thought of yet another ramble in the freezing cold (in MAY, no less!) doesn't thrill me to my very marrow.  I suppose I could have spent a productive day catching up on things, but instead I have chosen to sulk, eat, sulk, read, sulk, and drink wine.  Remember how I said that once you open the bottle, the temptation is to just go ahead and finish it?  Well, I stand by that and I must add that it also really helps the sulking process, in case you were wondering.   Let's all just pray for some sun tomorrow, that's all I ask...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


And yet again I have recently been heavy on the yammering and light on the photos, so here's another for your viewing pleasure (and I very nearly got run over taking it, so I hope you like it!)...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wait, what day is it?

Really?  It's the 11th of May?  How are we nearly halfway through the month already??  Well, I guess I didn't notice because I've been so damn busy; I have finished working at the bar as they don't need me now that the weather is horrible, and the sale goes through next Monday so things are winding down anyway.  It's too bad, because I really enjoyed it - the experience was very valuable and I definitely miss my awesome boss and his delicious cooking, but c'est la vie...

It's been quite nice to get my life back, though - I basically put my entire social life on hold while I was there because I really needed to get that bar experience, but now I'm fluttering about like a little social butterfly again.  Since the 1st of May, this is what I've been up to:
  • out dancing until 5am (will post more re this another time)
  • a dinner party with a glamorous international crowd at a diplomat's house
  • a cheesy-80s-movie-night party (Flashdance+lots of wine=embarrassing photos!)
  • an afternoon of cocktails which led to an evening of cocktails
  • girly lunch, visit to Catacombs and another evening of cocktails
  • another girly lunch (amazingly, this one was without cocktails)
  • had one of my best London friends over to visit for three days
  • hosted my first real Paris party (will post more re this another time)
 Whew!  No wonder I didn't notice the month flying by so quickly...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Thoughts on wine

I like wine.  There are just no two ways about it: I like wine.  But as a single person, sometimes you just want to have a glass of wine at home (I particularly enjoy it when I am writing, for example, and I can totally understand why so many writers are alcoholics), but if you get a whole bottle the temptation is always to have a second glass.  Maybe a third.  Oh hell, might as well just finish the bottle. Not good.

It seems that in most countries, wine bottles come in either the single-glass size, which is always expensive for 250ml, or the normal bottle, which always works out to be cheaper.  But in France, you can buy wine in any possible size variation and price point you can possibly think of.  Genius.  I truly thought I had seen it all, but the 250ml size packaged like juice boxes?  Genius!!!  I am just waiting for the weather to get better again to try those out and I will report back.  In the meantime, let me just share this little gem with you (something I discovered two weeks ago when the weather here was fantastic).  You can buy this little bottle of white for €0.75 and it's plastic - so you can put it in the freezer and take it with you frozen solid to drink with your little picnic.  I wouldn't really drink it otherwise (I'm not saying it tastes like drain cleaner, but then again I have never drunk drain cleaner), but on a hot day, drinking it as an icy-cold wine slushie is completely fantastic.  Don't judge me - I work part-time, sometimes I have to make my own fun at lunchtime!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lunch. Bones. Cocktails.

Today was a lot of fun: I met my lovely friends Miss RA and Miss A for a nice girly lunch and then we went to hang out underground with a whole bunch of human remains.  Ahhh, good times.  I am, of course, referring to visiting the Catacombs.  An extremely interesting place and one that I have meant to visit for ages but have somehow never quite gotten around to it...and that was in no way because I am a big scaredy-cat with a vivid imagination and was too afraid to go on my own.  Ahem.  Anyway, it was really fascinating and you should definitely try to take a look if you are visiting Paris.  (Don't be alarmed when you see the defibrillator by the front entrance - you are far more likely to have a heart attack from climbing the many, many stairs than from fright...)
Not only was it historically interesting, but you have got to hand it to the French.  Not only did they neatly stack the bones of six million people, but they also went to the trouble to make things pretty:
And in case you're not clear on what you're seeing, that is indeed a heart shape.  Made. Of. Human. Skulls. Set into a wall of human bones.  Creeeeeeeeeeeeepy.  No wonder we needed to go for a cocktail afterwards.  (Admittedly, we probably didn't need to go for four cocktails each, but jeez, if ever there was a time for happy hour...)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Feel free to skip it...

Sort of a strange day for me.  The 5th of May is the anniversary of my mother's death and I take pride in somehow managing to avoid thinking about it every year.  Somewhere around the 8th, I usually think "Whew, 'forgot' about it again this year, woohoo!"  But this year?  Have had it on my mind for the past couple of weeks, and I don't know why - I don't WANT to think about it because she wouldn't approve.  Every year on her birthday in November I get dressed up and go drink posh cocktails in her memory, which she would be totally on board with, but the anniversary of her death?  No way - she would want me to 'forget' every year.  We're Scottish Presbyterians, we're all about the denial!

Anyway, this year I couldn't quite get it out of my head and I don't know if it's because I haven't yet built up the support network that I have in both London and Toronto, but today was nevertheless okay.  My lovely friend Mr V advised me to to go to church and light a candle, which I did (risking getting my pagan ass blown to smithereens by a righteous thunderbolt from the heavens - luckily that didn't happen), sobbed my eyes out and then went out and had cocktails.  But that?  My Ma would approve of.  Anyway, my sweet friend Miss RA was free this afternoon and we managed to find a bar that started happy hour at 3pm (ahhhhhhhh!) so we stayed there for a couple of hours before moving on and finding another spot where her boyfriend, the adorable Monsieur P could join us.

So it was a crappy day, there's no way around it.  But I got through it with a little help from my friends, and let me tell you -  as an expat, when you realize that you have made good friends like that?  You're doing pretty well...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Well, I've noticed that once again I've been a bit stingy with the pretty pictures recently, so here's a little something from one of my favourite places in Paris: the gardens of the Rodin museum.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Paris on 5 euros per day - done!

So it's now May and you may wonder if I did, in fact, manage to get through April on my insane budget of €5 per day?  Well, the answer to that is a resounding oui!!!  It was pretty difficult the first couple of weeks, but working at the bar was the key - not only did I spend all my time there (thereby not going out and spending elsewhere), but they fed me exceedingly well (my 6'2" macho Italian boss gets really irked that I call him my Italian mama - hee!  But really, that's how he feeds me - I've eaten enough pasta to sink a battleship), which meant I hardly had to buy any food at all.  So the end result of this was that I ended the month not only on budget but actually €30 ahead - woohoo!!!  

So now I can relax and have a bit more fun this month, but it was an extremely useful exercise; I know articles advising on budgeting always tell you how much we waste on unnecessary things but it's not until you really buckle down and try to live on a tiny amount of money that you realize how much just gets frittered away - a magazine, a coffee, a pair of Christian Louboutins (okay, that one might just be me - but that was in the past when I was more gainfully employed).  Ahem.  Anyway, the point is this: even if you don't need to do it, give it a try for maybe a week on whatever daily sum looks reasonable to you and see if you can do it, it's a pretty interesting experience.