Tuesday, April 30, 2013

London, I Love You

No offense to my wonderful husband, to the beautiful city of Paris or to anyone or anywhere else, but I just LOVE London.

The excitement usually starts when we buy Eurostar tickets. Then it dies for quite some time when I realise we're not going for another few months (since you have to buy your tickets several months in advance to pay a reasonable price). Then, a few days before going, when you call, text and email your friends to set up meetings, lunches and dinners, the excitement comes back. 

And on the day of the trip, it's always this "first date" feeling, I get butterflies in my stomach. That's to tell you how excited I am every time I get the chance to go to London. Once out from the Eurostar at St Pancras, my heart (and stomach) fills with joy and I can't keep from smiling. It's like those first-days-of-a-relationship kind of excitement over and over again. I just can't wipe the smile of my face. I love the houses, the windows, the parks, the rain and the sun (oh the April showers!), the cafés and tea rooms, the shops, the hustle and bustle of the city, those distinguished old ladies walking their dogs, old gentlemen in their hats, young men in crisp tight Paul Smith suits and red socks, girls with pink hair and dresses that are way too shorter than I would ever wear in public, the fact that no one judges you no matter what you wear, how thin or fat and what colour is your hair. I think you got it, I love London.

We were so grateful to spend this weekends with friends we love and miss so much. Thank you guys for having us over, spending time with us, sipping tea, walking around, eating lobsters (yep), drinking cocktails, dancing and having fun. Thank you London, we will be back, you recharge my batteries 100%.

The rest of this post is an "I love you, London" photo-story: 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Club it out!

It's been since forever that we last went dancing to a proper club. In Paris, clubs are either very selective (they can even control the brands you're wearing) or very expensive (you have to buy a 200€ worth bottle of vodka/whiskey/rum... to enter). Or both.

This Friday, in London, we just went for drinks with friends, then decided to go for a bit of dancing to Sway, near Holborn. I was excited like a little kid. The bouncers even let us enter with our huge bags for the weekend. We left them in the cloakroom of course, but I am not sure elsewhere (ie in Paris), you could have entered with weekend bags.

I was like Alice in Wonderland - lights everywhere, disco balls, several different types of music, a colour-changing floor a few dozens of drunk Brits. The best thing was definitely the toilet. I went to the ladies room and when I got in, there was a lady who asked me "Are you alright, darling?". First I didn't really get the question, why shouldn't I be alright ? Then I realised, she was checking on the too-drunk-to-pie-on-their-own girls. Upon washing my hands, she handed my paper towels. If I needed to freshen myself with deodorant or perfume, I could have. I could actually have chosen among Thierry Mugler's Angel, Dior's Mademoiselle, Chloé and a few more. This bathroom reminded me of one in a café in Berlin, which contained not only a toilet but also a glass of red wine and piece of chocolate cake.

One of the DJs was probably in his own strange wonderland, he kept switching between songs in a crazy way (too quick, mostly no connexion between the songs whatsoever)... I had fun anyway.

Need to come back soon to one o London's clubs, to try the famous and trendy lychee martini.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Taking Polka Dots to Meetings

How to twist a classic shirt & blazer outfit when you are off for a meeting? If you're not meeting the prime minister (I still went to the National Assembly, in this outfit though), you can have some fun with polka dots to make your look shout "spring is here"! Keep it very classy and simple with the rest of your outfit and don't forget a nice lipstick.

Ready in the morning.

If you want to keep it more "classic", polka dot skirts, dresses or shirts are an option as well, of course. But the pants are somehow more of a statement since you don't see polka dot pants that often. That's why I love them so much.

The state I came back home in the evening.

Glasses (both) - Paul Smith
Jacket - Grain de Malice A/W 2012
Shirt - Zara several years back
Belt - a leather one my grandmother gave me when I was about 10
Trousers - Vero Moda
Shoes - Fées de Bengale
Lipstick - YSL Rouge Pur Couture n°13 Le Orange

What is your twist/unexpected touch on a work/meeting uniform?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


There is one slight problem with most Parisian cafés. Those teeny tiny tables are so crammed together, you feel like eating or having a glass with strangers most of the time, sharing your personal space and intimate conversations. That's exactly the moment when speaking a different language than people around you is a huge advantage. English usually doesn't do the trick but Czech does. And that's probably the only moment the ability to speak Czech can be useful in Paris.

The café's space problem is not pleasant inside, but it is nothing compared to the terraces when the nice weather comes back to town. EVERYBODY wants his own spot in the sun. We are no exception.

The "speak Czech" part fortunately works outside as nicely as inside.

Since everybody wants to sip their drinks outside, with beautiful weather comes the problem of finding a spot on a terrace. It's no exception to queue a bit.

There is this one place that is different. Well, you usually queue a few minutes as well. Sometimes even waiting doesn't help. That's how great and different this place is. It's the Swedish Institute's (Si.) café. In winter, it's one small room with steam covered windows, cosy tables, hot chocolate and great homemade cakes an sandwiches.

The inside.

In summer, that little "winter" room is still there, plus you have tables in the courtyard, a Parisian palace courtyard.

Not an ordinary courtyard.

You can have a refreshing cup of a cranberry drink or lemonade, a slice of caramel covered cake or if you're more hungry, a bowl of soup or a sandwich witch delicious salmon. And you can actually do all that sitting at a regular size table, which also means chatting with friends without having twenty strangers listening to you conversation. Thank you, Swedish Institute.

This little piece of our joie de vivre lies just around the corner from one of the busiest streets in Paris on Sundays, in the Marais. Go and give it a try if you're around. But I've warned you, you might have to leave disappointed if you're not willing to wait for a table.

And of course, there is much more to the Svenska Institutet than just a mundane café: exhibitions, festivals, classes, concerts... The last big event we went to a few months back was a foodie festival. Four big chefs from the Swedish culinary landscape came to the Si.'s garden and you could taste their twist on Swedish specialities. Very tasty. Go give the Si. a try.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

"Our" Restaurant & the Samaritaine

Way back, when we were still students, our friends lived above a restaurant close to Bastille. I didn't really understand, why they went there several times a week even though the food there was amazing (best foie gras in Paris). Man, there are so many great restaurants in Paris.

"Our" Restaurant

Now I get it. When we moved to our flat two and a half years ago, there was a shabby old cafe close by. I never went inside and since it was almost always empty, I guess I wasn't the only one who found it weird. Then, about two years ago, the owner changed, the place changed and we went in to give it a try. Since then, we keep going back.
To eat great bavettes.
Drink nice cocktails (cocktail du jour for 6,5 euros during happy hour, changes every day, usually very yummy).
Sit in the sun. In the mornings, during the day, in the evenings.
Drink tea and other warm things during dark winter afternoons.
Stuff ourselves with amazing deserts, especially the crumble with Berthillon's salted butter caramel icecream.
Today we went again.

Sun was there, good food and wine too.
It's so nice to have a good restaurant close to your place.


On our first romantic trip to Paris in June 2006 we didn't know we'd be living in this beautiful city one day. My favourite photo from trip was one I took on Pont Neuf of the beautiful building of the Samaritaine. This 19th century department store is a gem of steel and glass architecture. Unfortunately, it has been closed since 2005 because of its state.

Samaritaine today.
Could I even think of picking another word?

After many years, several projects and a few problems, it finally looks like the Samaritaine should open again in 2016, more beautiful than ever. The project is by SANAA. If you haven't heard of these amazing architects, go check this website to see some of their beautiful achievements. They got the Pritzker Prize in 2010. I think for the Samaritaine, they just managed to create a nice link between old and new, with respect to the heritage and innovative ideas for our future. You can see the project on the city of Paris website. Sorry, it's in French.
What do you think about the project?

Samaritaine project. ©SANAA

Saturday, April 20, 2013

On Posing

I wasn't joking when I said I needed to get the knack of posing. It took 150 pictures (15 times on 10 frames timer) to get these two outfit pictures that are presentable. And the first one, with just half of me on it, was a picture taken only to measure the luminosity of the room and find the right position for my camera...
Taking tips from my model and fashionista friends, thanks!

The least awkward pose of all, still awkward...
T-Shirt - Zara S/S2012
Jeans - Levi's S/S2010 similar here
Shoes - Massimo Dutti F/W2012
Glasses - Paul Smith
Earrings - Jablonex a few years back to see more earrings from the Czech brand Jablonex
Scarf - little shop in rue Tiquetonne . This scarf was 45 euros but 70% off so I got it for 15 euros. I saw the exact same scarf in a museum shop for 149 euros! No kidding.
Watch - vintage, gift from my grandmother
Lipstick - Giorgio Armani Rouge 400

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Moment You Hear The Seasons Click

The Series Part

As a teenager I never really watched any of those "great TV series" everyone was talking about at school - Ally Mc Beal was just too late on schoolnights and all those like Heartbreak High were broadcasted on afternoons when I wasn't home or when I was supposed to do something else. There was only one I watched whenever I could. That was JAG, which luckily happened to air around 2:45PM on Wednesdays. Which left me just enough time to watch one episode before running of to our outdoor club's meeting at 4PM. Now if any of my old friends from Stopaři read this, they'll know why I was sometimes late... Sorry guys, but come on, some episodes were longer than others and I couldn't leave before the man I loved resolved all the problems, saved all the innocents, won all the battles and smiled his crooked smile. I loved that incredibly charismatic pilot Harmon Rabb. And you? Anyone?

Lime trees leafing out in Cluny.

You're probably wondering what JAG and series in general have to do with "The Moment You Hear The Seasons Click". Some girls might already know. It's a quote from Sex and The City (season 4, episode 18). I first borrowed the series during my studies here in Paris from a friend. She had the complete collection in a nice box. I watched them all, tried to iron at the same time sometimes and loved it (not the ironing). I gave the complete collection back. Then I hesitated, but a few months later, I bought season 1 on iTunes. Then season 2. and 3. Then I waited for season 4 to get to 15 euros as well. Then 5. and 6 (in two parts = 30 euros, bastards). I just like it. It might be a bit late in my "series" education, but I don't care. I learnt many things. For example that most guys in the US are circumcised.

The Seasons Part

In that season 4, episode 18m Carrie actually talks about summer clicking into autumn, but you'll have to wait a few months for this. Anyway, last weekend you could hear the seasons click that exact same way here in Paris. I love those moments, I love seasons. I don't think I could live in a country with no seasons. That never ending merry-go-round of seasons on this hemisphere. This time it clicked into spring. Want a proof?

Gare de Lyon, 7:30 PM.
This tree grows in a parking lot!
Spring sun in Cluny.

I even got sunburnt (a bit) during the 30 minutes I spent outside when eating my lunch on Wednesday. And don't tell me it's going to be cold this weekend, I don't (want to) belive you anyway...

Monday, April 15, 2013

First Picnic of the Year

Sunday morning picnic with nobody around.

The outfit

I really need to get the knack of posing. Any tips?

Hat - H&M last year
Sunglasses - Paul Smith
T-Shirt - Monoprix
Cardigan - George Hogg
Skirt - Zara, 4 years ago
Belt - came with another Zara skirt
Shoes - Les fées de Bengale, unfortunately, this brand is disappearing from the market
Lipstick - YSL Rouge Pur Couture n°13 Le Orange

Two Years Ago

In 2011, spring was long and hot and nice. We started picknicking in March. I got my first sunburn during Easter (in the two hours it took our friend to do grocery shopping and bring back some sunscreen). While in Paris, we went picnicking a lot. And when I say a lot, I really mean a lot. Most of our dinners after work happened outside, on the lawn in front of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs or on the banks of the Seine. On the weekends we were in Paris we always spent at least a few hours there. Eating, reading, playing cards or simply laying in the sun. La dolce vita. I didn't count how many times we went but let's say 3 times a week for four months... about 50 times. How silly was I to believe this would happen every year.

Last Year

Last year's spring was cold and wet. We only went pickicking about 3 times. In total. Including summer. I don't have to tell you, how disappointed I was. Nothing more to say. It was sad.

This Year

You all know how long winter was this year. And that spring came only recently. But last Sunday in Paris, it was more of a summer than a spring. Saturday was still a bit cold and windy as you can see here. Sunday was not. It was warm since the morning. Everybody in Paris knew, that this would be the first really nice and warm day of the year. We expected all parks to be packed most of the day. Which was why we went picknicking for breakfast. On our usual spot in front of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, almost in the Jardin des Tuileries but right before the real garden starts, in that place you are still allowed to sit on the ground. At 10 AM, there were just a few people there - old ladies with their over-shampooed dogs, boxers having a morning workout, one yogi, two fathers with their kids playing football, two american girls who sat down for 10 minutes with their McCafé breakfast and us: with our plaid, our plates and glasses, some freshly made orange juice and cofee, fresh strawberries and pastries.

We had a blast. Thank you again, Eliška and Vojta for the very practical picnic backpack you gave us as a wedding gift!

I can only hope 2013 will be as "picnicfull" as 2011. Let's get the season started!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blue Jeans with a Twist @ Market Lunch

In my "first" introductory post, I promised you some posts about my outfits. Here is the first one. It's actually more about food and a nice place where to get it but...

Spring finally made it to Paris. It's not only the cherry blossoms by now (I don't know how they can bloom in such low temperatures!), the temperatures are getting higher (around 13°C all last week), trees are leafing out and even sun showed up for a few moments between showers.

Yesterday, we met with friends for lunch at the Marché des Enfants Rouges. This little market just off rue de Bretagne in the 3rd Arrondissement is just precious.


That flower shop where I once got 25 beautiful peonies for 10 euros because they were closing for the day. Lucky me, peonies are one of my favorite flowers. 

It's a market when you can buy nice flowers, fresh fish and organic veggies, but it's mostly famous for its various delis. All of them have tables (even though at lunch hour, you'll have to wait a bit to get one), and you can eat your heart out.

Special menu: accras and rhum. Welcome to the Carribean.

For mint tea lovers.

Whatever pleases you is there: Italian Pasta, Japanese Bento, juicy Burgers from organic farm grown meat, Lebanese Mezze, Morrocan Couscous and Tajines, Carribean Accras (oh how I love those, so fresh, crispy and tasty) and much more. Just pick your style.

And talking about style. Here is what I wore yesterday. 
Blue jeans with a twist.
Polka dot with a twist. 
And this year's first day with my nude pumps on (no socks!) = spring is here, I'm telling you.

Glasses - Paul Smith
Scarf - gift several years ago
T-shirt - Victoria's Secret, 2 years ago, similar here
Cardigan - George Hogg
Coat - GAP, bought in NYC in September 2007
Jeans - Vero Moda

We need to get better at this "outfit photography" thing...

Oh, and now, let's go CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY cause I saw the sun (no infringement to 1D's copyrights intended) and the weatherman (ie my phone) announces beautiful 23°C for today.

PS.: For the outift posts, could you tell me in the comments if just the photo is enough or if you want more photos (details or from the back for example) or more info about the pieces composing the outfits etc? Thanks a million.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Two Amazing Bears, One Missing Paw

Yesterday in Dijon, I met my favorite bear.

I can't really remember the moment when I first saw this perfect polar bear. Probably during my first visit to the Musée d'Orsay back in June 2006. I don't remember much from that first visit since we queued for two hours in the rain before getting in.
But not remebering my first encounter with that bear doesn't really matter, I love him anyway. And his little black friend the "Brown Bear" as well.

I met the bear in Dijon.

Would you believe François Pompon created the "Polar Bear" between 1923 and 1933? And that he got to sculpting animals because he had had enough of Rodin? It looks so modern to me.

Over a year ago we were visiting friends in Lille and went for an exhibition called Babel in the Palais des Beaux Arts. This exhibition about how humanity has always wanted to build and live higher, bigger and more and how tragicaly this always ends was very interesting (even though extremely crowded). I liked it. I was happy we went. And then, we went to the boutique. I always go to the museum boutiques to buy a pencil (I have a pretty nice collection of about 100 pencils by now!). I got my pencil, admired the Polar Bear statuette they had in the shop (about 300€, maybe another time) and went to pay my pencil. Then, next to the cashier, I saw HIM, Pompon's little "Brown Bear"! He was a key case and less than 5€. I bought him, put him on my keys and spent every day of last year with him.  What a nice thing to see every time you take your keys and leave your house. Thank you Palais des Beaux Arts de Lille.

 The little bear is now black and white since having him on the keys somehow removed his coloring. 

Unfortunately, this Christmas, the key case broke and my little brown bear fell on the ground. Two of his paws broke. I found one of them and glued it back. One paw is still missing but the little bear now spends his time as a statuette on our working table. He has company, a handmade little red horse from Rožnov pod Radhoštěm my mum gave me many years ago. They look good together, don't you think?

 Pompon's Brown Bear and one Red Horse from the Czech Republic.

It was so nice, randomly meeting the Polar Bear in a park yesterday when going back to Dijon's train station. Pompon was born in Burgundy, not far from Dijon. If you visit the city one day, the statue is in the park on Place Darcy, quite close to the train station and they have some of Pompon's work in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon as well.

Have a great Saturday!