Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Gold 'n Shoes

There is something special about metallic shoes, especially if they are golden. No surprise then, that my wedding shoes were golden. A few years later, I am the proud owner of four pairs of metallic shoes. Unfortunately, one pair of golden ballerinas ended in the dustbin this spring (too worn...) and a pair of flat sandals in silver are sadly going to follow the same path at latest at the end of this summer. Which basically means I only have two pairs of golden sandals left - my wedding ones and a pair I bought in January 2011 (when I went out to buy a pair of boots). I guess you've already been in the same situation, sometimes things just don't go as planned and you might accidentally end up with a pair of golden high heeled sandals instead of flat winter leather riding boots. My excuse is that I had a broken thumb and that particular Saturday it was very warm for January (15'C if I remember it well).

Last Saturday, I received a gift voucher for a pair from Dessine-moi un soulier. This is a concept launched in Paris by two beautiful and stylish girls, who couldn't really find the shoes they wanted in the stores. You can basically choose the form of your shoes (ballerinas, stilettos, booties...), if you want them open toed or not, the height of your heel, a platform or not, the material, the colour, the accessories and you basically get the shoes you spent your time daydreaming about. With bows and glitter if you wish.

The made to measure (they even call you when you order online to be sure you are buying the right size and don't require any specific treatment like one feet bigger than the other) "dreamshoes" are in the higher prize end (approx 150-320euros). Since my gift was nice but definitely not enough so I could offer myself a brand new dream pair of shoes, I decided to go to the showroom and see for myself if I wanted to start saving for a nice pair of booties or just wait a bit and buy myself a pair of ballerinas in a few months. Actually, in the showroom, you can try the showroom shoes on to see how different styles fit, you can see (and touch) the materials and colours by yourself and you can get wise advice from Alma and Juliette the girls behind Dessine-moi un soulier. These try-on-in-the-showroom shoes are also for sale. Since many people have had them on before you and some might be a little bit "damaged", their prices are much lower (about 50%). I decided to opt for a showroom pair. In the end, I was hesitating between beautiful open-toed shimmering white platform stilettos on a 12cm heel and a pair of 6cm heeled old pink open toed suede shoes with a bow and a - wait-for-it - golden glitter heel. I loved the high heeled ones. But my other half justly pointed out that I have several pairs of high heeled stilettos and these are white. I opted out for the 6cm golden glitter heel and pink. They are soooo comfortable (I didn't even put in the gel cushion I got with them) and oh so very cute.

These shoes are
  • made in France
  • beautiful
  • comfortable
  • classic yet different
And the customer service is just great.

It just means I have another pair of (partly) golden shoes. Go figure why I can't resist them.


Shoes: Dessine-moi un soulier, thanks for the gift Anna, Antoine, Klara, Lucie and Martin!
Skirt: Agnès b., thanks Stepan!
Top: Etam, thanks JuLor for the gift!
Cardigan: George Hogg
OK, this definitely looks like a birthday gifts outfit to me...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Cake(s), the Liquid Grenades and the Party

I realised recently I haven't thrown a birthday party for myself since my 21st birthday. Which, I must sadly admit, was 6 years ago. Let's throw a party, then.

Red green and white theme.

The original idea (and hope) was to do it outside, like a big evening picnic in a park. End of June, why not. Well, not because of the cold and the rain. The weather looked more like March than June this weekend. 1st day of summer, huh... Home party then. In the end, I was happy we did it at home, because of the amount of food we cooked and baked. I don't think it would have been possible to carry it all to the park.

And there was more...

We had
  • four layers Red Velvet Cake (Mangolia Bakery in NYC recipe), mmmh so sweet, cookbook here
  • Lemon Drizzle Cake (The Londoner), best lemon cake ever, recipe here
  • crunchy Bacon&Comté Potato Cake inspired by the Bacon&Cheese Potato Muffins from the Diary of Dita P. cookbook (sorry, only in Czech)
  • Garlic and Chives Spread with radishes and italian breadsticks (bought those, both the radishes and the breadsticks but the chives were homegrown)
  • Red Hot Chilli Peppers with melting cheese from Dita P. as well. It's supposed to be an "After Sex" recipe, but suits a birthday party quite as well. You just need to like spicy stuff (and be careful not to put your hands in your eyes when preparing it).
  • to drink, along with a few beers and some wine, we had Basil Lemonade Grenades, thank you The Londoner for another simple yet delicious recipe! (I did simple Basil Lemonade, too)
  • and amazing Chocolate & Berries muffins from Jana, thanks!
My Red Velvet.

Muffins that became a cake.
Basil Lemonade Grenades = Basil Lemonade + Vodka.

Tip: If you have a small flat and especially if your living room is smaller than your bedroom, it's a good idea to use all the space you have (and people can sit on the bed = much more seating space). The problem we had is that during all other parties we did at home, people didn't want to go to the bedroom and the living room got really crammed. If you want to have people everywhere, put most of your food and drinks in the bedroom. It works.

Birthday girl.

It was a very nice party. I had great fun and people looked to have fun too. My friends know me too well, I got different flowers, nice tea with a cup, voucher for shoes and a lipstick... I drank the tea for breakfast on Sunday, wore the lipstick on Monday and now it's Tuesday and the shoes are on my feet. I guess the shoes will have their own post but for now, just a few pictures.

Thanks guys! My new Dessine-moi un soulier shoes.

Wore the lipstick right away to work on monday.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Coral Elegance and the New Bag

In Paris, I like many things. Among them, I love the Marais. Because of
  • The best falafels at As du Falafel
  • The Swedish Institute and it's Café 
  • The shirt shops. There are so many of them there (especially in rue de Turenne), that every man can find the shape, colour and material he's looking for. Stepan's wedding shirt comes from a small shop in rue de Turenne (as well as half of the shirts he actually wears). You can find plain shirts as well as crazy ones. If you want to try some, Coton Doux might be a good option. 
  • Marché des Enfants Rouges. There is no denying I like this place, my second post after the renewal of this blog back in April was about it. You can find it here
  • Espace des Blanc Manteaux. Check out the design fairs, street art fairs, vintage fairs and more, there is something happening almost every time we pass by. 
  • The fact that most shops are open on Sunday. My favourites: Muji behind the Espaces des Blancs Manteaux, the design shop Fleux (love that they are constantly expanding) and...
  • ... Ted Baker. 
I cannot pass by the Ted Baker store in the Marais, without entering. I love the design of the shop itself, the layout and of course, the clothes and shoes and bags. Most of the things they have, I'd buy in a minute if I could (which rarely happens with a single brand). So I just go there, look at the clothes and then go back out. I haven't even actually tried anything on (ever), mostly because of the prices and because I am too afraid that if I try something on and love it, I'd be sad I can't buy it. Ted Baker is my daydream.

A dream that became reality the other week, when we celebrated my birthday. I came home and a bouquet of peonies, along with a violet cake (I am a flower girl...) were waiting for me on the table. Along with them, a little parcel. My excitement grew the moment I saw it had "Ted Baker" logos on the paper. And even more when I unwrapped my new pink and white (my husband knows me too well) handbag. I danced like mad and was one happy girl.

Last weekend, I wore my bag in Lille, along with another gift I got that very morning from my friends (a nice coral top). Thanks guys! In my opinion, white trousers can look very classy, especially when paired with "expensive" colours like marine blue or coral red + gold. 

Wind problems.


Wrap: Uniqlo, several years back
Top: Etam, gift from my friends, S/S13
Jeans: Lacoste Live S/S12
Shoes: from a little shop in Paris
Bag: Ted Baker, S/S13

Monday, June 17, 2013

One Modern Railway Station

Every time I come to Lille, there is a new building being built, a new bike station, a new project. You can say many things about this city, but one of them is sure, it's a city in perpetual movement an evolution. 

One great example is the Gare Saint Sauveur. An old railway station transformed into temporary exhibition area during 2004 when Lille was one of the "European Capital of Culture" cities of that year. If in 2000, Prague hasn't really been able to keep the dynamic of this special year, Lille was. Gare Saint Sauveur grew into one of the hip spots in town, merging old industrial architecture, modern art, cinema, Café and a very interesting cultural programme with plenty of interactive actions, giving all its importance to interpretation and work with the public. 

You want your children to enjoy themselves playing games in the yard and building lego cities the same afternoon as you see a modern art exhibition and drink a local beer? This is the place you need to try. 

I have a little something for 

  • brick buildings
  • reconverted spaces
  • multifunctional and multigenerational areas
  • lively cities
  • refreshing ideas
= I like Gare Saint Sauveur.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Making My Own Blue Sky

This morning, there was no sunshine, no blue sky in view. Just a grey sky and a not so good weather forecast. I decided not to be sad about it and to create my own little summer thanks to my wardrobe. I pulled out blue trousers for the blue sky - no clouds touch, a coral top and coral ballerinas to add a hint of colour and "heat".


Trousers: Uniqlo, last year, gift from my husband (I didn't even have to try them on and they fit perfectly!)
T-shirt: Monoprix
Cardigan: Uniqlo, a few years back
Shoes: Studio Paloma from a little shop in Paris, bought at 30€ instead of 75€ because one had slightly faded colour
Bag: Longchamp Pliage

This "my own blue sky and summer" idea worked perfectly during all the morning when I was inside, sitting at my desk and working. It fell to pieces like a house of cards when I had to get out to buy myself lunch. It was pouring rain and cold. I was very lucky

  • there was one big sweater in the office I could borrow for my time outside
  • I could take of my wet shoes upon coming back and donning my woolen socks.
So much for the "sunny" outfit...

And then came the evening, and the rain stopped and even some sun came back with it. Lucky outfit, I'd say...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sweet Roses

The other day, I had a meeting in the morning. A meeting I could go to through the Palais Royal gardens. I didn't expect anything special, just to walk through an area without cars, see some trees, maybe some people chilling on the benches and a nice fountain. I didn't expect the roses at all. 

The cream ones.

Last time we went there, there were no roses. It was raining and cold (nothing strange since it was this spring) and all the flowers looked tired and uninspiring. This time, it was different. There were a few occasional drops from the sky, but the day was warm. I still can't believe I could smell the roses before I saw them. That sweet powdery smell. I looked around to see where it came from. And then I saw them. All pink and white and some of them deep purple. So full and beautiful and plenty of them all around the park. 

The only photo of the purples (back there).
If I told you I got a birthday present from my husband that matches these roses exactly, what would you say? It's a bag. You'll get to see it in a post soon.

One day, if we ever have a house with a garden, it will be full of cherry trees, peonies, lilacs and those roses. I should probably have asked for the gardener to know what kind of roses these were. I should have told him what a beautiful work he did with them!

So many beautiful roses.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunshine and Dots

I am under the impression that we somehow skipped spring here in Paris. We just went from winter directly into summer. On saturday, in Burgundy, it was 8 degrees and oh so cold. Now it's over 27. Finally a weather for dresses, for sunglasses and for polka dots.

Since I had a plane in the evening, I opted out for an inspiration by the crew. Air Polka Dots...


Blazer - Uniqlo, four years back
Dress - Agnes b., gift
Scarf - my grandmother's
Shoes - Christian Louboutin

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Those Things I Love and Am Thankful For

Since this blog is also supposed to inspire me (and you?), here are some of my current inspirations/aspirations/thing that make me happy:
One of those sunsets.
  • Sunrises and sunsets. I must admit I have seen more sunsets than sunrises in my life. What I love about sunsets, is that you can't anticipate a really beautiful sunset. It just turns up like this, a nice big surprise (unless you live in the Caribbean or such kind of place and have beautiful sunsets everyday).
  • Cherry blossoms. No surprise here, you already knew about that one.
  • Peonies (preferably pink and white). My thanks here go mostly to one of my grandmothers here. She always used to grow them in her garden and while living back in Prague, I always got a big beautiful bouquet for my birthday. If I tried to buy a bouquet of peonies this size here in Paris, I would have to pay around 80€ for it... Peonies, such sweet memories.
  • Walking in the rain. This is probably not the best time to talk about this, with the floods happening right now in the Czech Rep. Maybe next time... Reminder: need to buy wellies.
  • Warm woolen plaid, crackling fire and a big mug of chai tea after that walk in the rain. I always dream about a fireplace on the days I come back home cold and wet.
  • Mineral sparkling water. Those little bubbles...
  • Several English Things: the Lake District, London, big umbrellas, green parks, tea time (porcelain teacups, hot tea, scones and clotted cream!), poached eggs, long breakfasts (oxymoron??) and bow windows. Don't you just love bow windows?
  • White and pastel interiors. They just soothe me and make me happy. Preferably with bow windows.
  • Celebrations and the decorations that go with them. Chrismas, birthdays, parties and weddings. I love them mostly because I love to see happy people and they are a great excuse to dress up, create a decor and a scene a put flowers everywhere.
  • Cakes. Eating them, baking them. Especially if they look and taste fresh and colourful and beautiful. The next up on my list is the Red Velvet Three layers Cake (from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook).
  • Hopefully summer is just around the corner. Cross your fingers, we're going to need it.
  • My husband. Best husband ever. At least for me. Not to be shared.

All dressed up for Cluny's Grand Gala 2013.
Me: 12 year old homemade evening gown, beautiful earrings I got as a Christmas present from my parents in law
My other half: Lanvin bow tie, LePremier made to measure shirt, Hugo Boss suit

And what are your favourite things right now?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Cake Anyone?

All this cold weather and rain makes me wish I was at Chester's by the River again... Sitting in a heated room with the rain pouring outside and with a cup of hot chocolate and a big fat slice of one their amazing cakes.

Chester's is one of those great places where food is great, serving staff nice and the decor is just right. + it's in the Lake District (major plus, you got it). 

It's in Skelwith Bridge, about 10min drive west from Ambleside. 

I am not going to forget soon those cakes displayed on the counter. I hope to be able to bake such nice looking and good tasting cakes one day. And have a glass cake-stand to display them on...

If you need some nice stationery, or plates and Cumbria crystal glasses, or gift-wrap paper or silly games for children, it's all right there, in the shop.