Brittany: At the beach

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We’ve finally made it to the beach, Little Miss’ first time! She’s not yet loving the cold Atlantic water but she adores and is fascinated by the sand. It’s wonderful to be here with the fresh ocean air! C’est que du bonheur!

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La canicule

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There’s finally a canicule in France — the dreaded, elusive heatwave! I love it since I thrive on hot, humid weather in the summertime but DH and Little Miss are having a much harder time. DH doesn’t support humidity very well and Little Miss is just a baby, so obviously she’s miserable (even though she was born in last year’s canicule). Maybe in time she’ll come to love the heat as much as I do! We’re doing our best to keep her well-hydrated but bedtimes have been tricky as it’s 30°C+ in our bedroom on the second floor and small fans don’t do much for the humidity.

In France, complaining about the weather is almost a national past time. Complaining when it’s cold that it’s too cold and not warm enough. Complaining when it’s hot that it’s too hot and not cool enough. But I can’t bring myself to complain this time around. I’m enjoying the summer weather far too much! Vive l’été! Long live summer!

#MommyMonday links:

Royal baby mania. How Kate Middleton is preparing her natural birth via The Daily Mail

$55 Billion. The cost of summer via The New York Times

Haha. No need to be bald any longer. Baby bangs via The New York Times

What do you do? A dreaded question for stay-at-home Moms via The Atlantic

Tee hee. 5 tips for mess-free eating via Babble.com

Can women choose baby sex *naturally*? via Babble.com

Bill Rancic says the US is raising a country of wimps. Discuss. Via Babble.com

Playing outdoors makes for higher-functioning children. Amazing. Discuss. Via Babble.com

What Little Miss is wearing to the beach this summer from Splash About

A post you may have missed: Shoes: What are Parisian children wearing?

My little bug

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Little Miss had her first bought of vomitting sickness yesterday. It was 34°C yesterday in the Loire Valley and, we think, it was brought on by the heat and perhaps dehydration. She was feeling better after a nap in the late afternoon and a visit to the local GP so we don’t have to worry anymore but I didn’t have time to prepare anything since she was so fussy, so see you back on Monday! Bon weekend!

No pictures please

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The Sunday before we left Paris we celebrated DH’s birthday with a family lunch at his sister’s flat and I was responsible for dessert. I wanted to get a large Paris-Brest (here’s a link to the small version) from Sébastien Gaudard, since I know that DH had been dreaming of it ever since Gaudard first opened.

We went en famille to pick it up and I decided to take a few snaps in the (beautiful) boutique to share the deliciousness with you, dear readers, but sadly they don’t allow photos inside. This is obviously some kind of brand directive since their website only has one landing page and no images as well.

I’ve shared pictures from his shop before, on my Twitter account, but only images taken from outside the window. And even then, I had a scowling sales clerk shaking their head at me from inside the shop!

I completely understand protecting someone’s right to contain information about themselves and restrain the sharing of their personal image — I’ve made a conscious decision not to share images of Little Miss’ face on this blog, because I don’t want the internet to be flooded with pictures when people one day Google her name (can you imagine how uncomfortable that would be when she’s job-hunting?) — but this control over images of patisseries seems a bit much.

We consume sweet confections with our eyes first, so shouldn’t Gaudard be happy that people share the images of his patisseries? His desserts are delicious but it’s not like he’s reinventing the wheel either, there’s nothing that I could say needed be top secret or protected from competitors.

Does it create cachet? I don’t think so. For me, patisseries and sweets are something that should be shared and generously. It gives me a slightly negative feeling to know that my iPhone and Instagram aren’t welcome in his shop.

What do you think?

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P.S. These are the two images I took before I was asked to stop. And the top image is a picture of Little Miss’ foot and the floor of the boutique after I was cautioned.

P.S.S. The Paris-Brest was à tomber par terre as the French would say. It was very, very good!

Sébastien Gaudard, 22 rue des Martyrs, 75009, Paris. M° Notre-Dame-de-Lorette. Tél: 01 71 18 24 70.

Our 2nd wedding anniversary

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Yesterday, for our second wedding anniversary DH brought me (and Little Miss, thankfully asleep in her stroller) to La Table de Mestré for a delicious lunch.

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It was unfortunately too hot to sit outside, but isn’t this garden so tempting? It must be heaven in the lazy Loire evenings.

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The Domaine de Mestré is owned by family friends — they have a maison d’hotes/hotel and also a beautiful soap company with a shop on the domaine, called Martin de Candes. The savonnerie sells high-quality artisanale products especially known by the soap-loving cognescenti.

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DH started with an entrée of escargots in an oseille cream sauce.

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While I took a salad of confit gesiers de canard. Delicieux.

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We both took the seared Sandre as our main course and it did not disappoint. The Sandre is very delicate and savoury, I discovered that you can also eat the skin, which is very tasty and would make a nice fish chip apart from the filet.

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We enjoyed some Château de Brézé Clos David, which worked perfectly throughout the meal, but especially with the fish. Obviously I only had a small amount since I am still breastfeeding and DH was driving, but we were able to take the bottle home with us (tacky I know, but when wine is this good you don’t want it to go to waste).

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I took a vacharin for dessert, which gave the perfect fruity finish to my meal.

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But I was jealous of DH’s amazing choice: the Cremet d’Anjou with red fruit. The cremet was fresh goat cheese with whipped egg yolks. It was stunning.

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Isn’t the salle elegant? They’ve done such an excellent job bringing it together. It’s excellent quality for money, as our entrée+plat+dessert was only 20 euros. Wine not included though, obviously. Only in the countryside can you dine this well and so affordably.

Little Miss did wake up in the middle of our lunch, but luckily she was quite quiet and well-behaved. A little tip: they also have high-chairs available for small children.

Happy 2 year wedding anniversary Dear Husband. I loved our lunch!

La Table de Mestré, Domaine de Mestré, 49590 Fontevraud L’Abbaye. Tél: 02 41 51 72 32.

On Bastille Day

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We had a low-key Bastille Day in the Loire Valley. I was slightly tempted at some point to bring Little Miss out for her first fireworks display but in the end rest and relaxation won out.

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In the afternoon we visited Fontevraud L’Abbaye, a town that’s 5 minutes from us, and home to a magnificent old Royal Abbey, where Eleonore of Aquitane and her son Richard-the-Lionheart are buried. But we didn’t visit the abbey, which we’ve seen quite a few times already. Instead we walked around the town and had a ice cream.

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DH paid a visit to Le Comptoir des Vins, a new wine shop that overlooks the centre place. It’s a bit pricey but you can enjoy a selection of local wines and also play jukebox with their record collection.

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After that we paid a visit to the Château de Targé in Parnay, a château dating from 1655 with troglodyte habitations built into the side of the hill. It’s a fascinating spot and of course, DH was keen to taste their wines.

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When we got home we ate cherries (a first for Little Miss) and watched the Tour de France. It was the laziest Bastille Day ever but a nice charge for the run-down batteries.

The Impossible Little Miss

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Little Miss is becoming a little terror (above in full fit). Since arriving in the countryside on Thursday (she and I came a day late, DH had to go the day before as I had a work obligation) she has been very needy, she only wants Mommy and will start screaming as soon as I leave the room. Several headaches and impossible bedtimes later, I really hope that this bout of neediness is just something temporary brought on by the change of home, because I am drop-dead exhausted!

Sorry, few #MommyMonday links again:

The benefits in delaying clamping the umbilical cord via The New York Times

Teaching and learning the meaning of consequences via The New York Times

What parents mean when they say they want to work part-time via The New York Times

Oooh, babies exposed to stress in the womb could be more likely to suffer depression via The Daily Mail

Deadlines

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This is super quick post, so I apologise in advance. I have a deadline today that’s got me quite busy and we’re leaving in two days for the countryside! In other news it’s officially summer in Paris. This weekend we had great weather and today is an absolutely sweltering 28°C! At last!

#MommyMonday links:

Very scary. The American way of birth is the costliest in the world via The New York Times

The fertility test which could revolutionise IVF via The Daily Mail

The Brits are getting excited! The Royal Baby is almost here and The Duchess of Cambridge isn’t too posh to push via The Daily Mail

Another royal baby is on the way. Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall announce pregnancy via The Daily Mail

North West’s first family outing via The Daily Mail

A post you may have missed: The Tales of street art in Paris

The grown ups celebrate Independence Day

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Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, the designers at Kenzo, invited fashion friends last night to cerebrate the 4th of July with them and to reveal their new advertising campaign, at a cozy gathering in the Jardin d’Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne.

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The music was rocking and people were in the mood for a celebration, obviously keen to let their hair down at the end of men’s and haute couture fashion weeks.

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The catering was done by Big Fernand and Little Fernand. Needless to say it was perfect for an Independence Day BBQ.

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My chic Kenzo burger.

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I brought my cousin as my date and DH stayed home to babysit Little Miss. Lil’ Cuz’ and I had a fab time digging into our 4th of July cupcakes after the burgers.

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People were dancing, swinging on the swings, waving sparklers, and drinking champagne from magnums of Moët et Chandon.

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It was a merry evening celebrating a little bit of America in France.

Walking in Paris: Some Recent Instagrams

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At least two famous fashion designers and one French starlet live here… A starry way to start our walk.

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Le Barbe à Papa “Papa’s beard,” the restaurant, has the cutest sign.

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We spotted more street art...

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…as well as Waldo, who’s called “Charlie” in France.

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Mushroom spotting is going on our list. One day when Little Miss learns which mushrooms are safe to eat we can join in the French national past-time of mushroom hunting…

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The carrousel was closed that day.

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Fermé.

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Luckily some things were open…

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And we went home on a sweet note… Mmmm.

Sale shopping on So-Small.com

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I’ve discovered a new addictive website. This private sale site dedicated to everything for children!

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They have brands that I love, like April Showers. Here are some items I was looking at this morning!

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Of course you need to get online early, as sizes go quickly. They carry other designers like Oscar et Valentine, Little Paul & Joe, Isabel Marant, Louis Louise, Stella McCartney, Zef, Hartford, Bellrose, Milk on the Rocks, Lalé, Pom d’Api, etc. Très bobo.

I love finding deals on cute kids clothes. Love doing it from the comfort of my sofa even more!

http://www.so-small.com

Mr. and Mrs. James Bond

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This weekend has been a whirlwind of activity! My Saturday and Sunday was like an intense marathon: awake at 6:30 AM to feed Little Miss, up for a shower at 7:30, out the door at 8:30 to get to a Paris Fashion Week show as I had to shadow a designer for a fashion feature, back at home by midday to feed Little Miss, eat lunch and write up my notes, head out the door in the afternoon to pick out costumes (Mr. and Mrs. James Bond), getting costumes ready and out the door at 7PM to meet our friends at the hire bus to take us to the countryside where we found this beautiful dinner setting (above) at a friend’s leaving party: a farewell before they move to South America. At home at 3 AM and up first thing to feed Little Miss, clean the flat, buy groceries, cook and welcome DH’s family for his father’s birthday. Eat. Clean. Work. Feed Little Miss. Get ready and welcome the babysitter. Out for a lovely dinner in Saint Germain des Prés with friends. Back and craaaash. We won’t forget this weekend for a while. It was very fun but I can’t remember when I was last so tired! Welcome to parenthood I guess!

#MommyMonday links (only a few sorry!)

Mappy children’s chances via BBC News

10 types of irritating parenting advice LOL via BBC News

Ha! Funny. Don’t deny the super power of your breasts via The Analytical Amadillo

Babies know when their mothers are going to hug them via The Daily Mail

A cute miniature projector for your Instagrams. Cute. via Design Mom

A post you may have missed: Cute Parisian kids boutique alert: Les Enfants d’Abord

Repetto: The other perfect “Mom” shoe

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A little while ago I blogged about Ferragamo being one of my favourite “Mom” shoe collections, meaning that they’re easy to wear and always look chic. My other favourite “Mom” shoe brand is Repetto: you can never have too many, they’re so easy to wear and they go with everything. Plus you can slip them on in a second and they always look so stylish.

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DH, Little Miss and I ventured into sales land last night at Printemps and I was pleased to discover that Repetto now make customizable ballet flats!

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You can choose the colour of your shoe.

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…the trim (above) and laces (below).

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These are one of the happy finished products. Wouldn’t it be sweet to customise the pair of your dreams?

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With the sales in full swing, the colours are a bit limited at the moment.

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But you can still “think pink”…

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…or get the blues, like I did, with my new pair of ballerine Cendrillon flats in vernis bleu classique.

Repetto, chez Printemps, 64 boulevard Haussman, 75009, Paris. Metro° Havre-Caumartin. Tél: 01 42 82 50 00.

Decorating: Little Miss’ Room

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Little Miss’ bedroom is a work-in-progress. She’s still sleeping in our room for the moment but we’re hoping that her room will be ready before we leave Paris for the summer. 

I’ve been wondering what to put up on the walls, until yesterday, when I remembered that I have some old Paris Fashion Week catwalk show invitations that would be perfect as decoration for a child’s room! I unearthed this Muppets one, along with another Mickey Mouse-themed invitation, both from French fashion designer, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, who had partnered in the past with The Walt Disney Company to create several ready-to-wear collections.

We’re sending these off to our local photo shop to be ironed and placed on a backing and then they’re off to the framers. Watch this space to see them when they’re back and ready for hanging!

There are just so many cute sources for artwork in children’s rooms. Before remembering these invitations I was considering buying some of these posters from the English Muffin shop or one of these super girlie prints from Emma Kisstina, both on Etsy.

Where is your favourite source for artwork in your children’s room?

Shopping in Paris: A sweet dépôt-vente

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Gently-used brands like Bonpoint, Jacadi, Tartine et Chocolat, and Zef for children 0-8 years old, in addition to toys, books, DVDs and furniture. Plus new designer children’s jewellery and French creators. A local Mum who has opened the first resale kids shop/dépôt-vente in the Canal St. Martin area.

Anaïs et Martin, 13 rue des Récollets, 75010, Paris. M° Jacques Bonsergent contact@anaisetmartin.com

I’ll take some sleep on the side…

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We’ve had another rocky weekend, Little Miss caught a bug on Thursday evening and has been fighting a fever for the last few days. I’m completely exhausted from night wakings and she’s been so difficult to get to sleep in general — we’ve been spending hours trying to get her calm in the evenings. We were supposed to have a babysitter on Saturday evening but I decided to cancel because I didn’t want Little Miss to have any additional stress on top of her sickness. Thankfully on Sunday the fever finally broke and in the afternoon I managed to get her down for a nap — it was a much needed moment of blissful rest… for both of us! Oh sleep, how I missed you!

#MommyMonday links:

I believe in family dinners via The New York Times

How long can you wait to have a baby? Some hope via The Atlantic

Uh-oh, watching TV can improve your child’s school work via The Daily Mail

Ewww… fork to farm, what our children are eating via Column Five

25 historic paintings depicting breastfeeding via Babble.com

Seriously, symptoms and treatment of “Mom Brain” via Babble.com

Another mini fashionista… Rachel Zoe is expecting baby number two via Babble.com

Leaving behind bottles via The Healthy Tipping Point Blog

I want everything, home shopping via Maison Nordik

Bobo chic for the kiddies from Antik Batik

A post you may have missed: Jean-Philippe Delhomme’s “New York” Comes to Paris

In store: Petit Bateau + Claude Ponti

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French children’s favourite, Blaise the chick, has hit Petit Bateau stores.

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Claude Ponti is the famous illustrator and author of Mille Secrets de Poussins (below) and Blaise is the name of the character his chicks take on when they wear a red mask for being naughty.

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I didn’t know these stories before receiving an email from Petit Bateau the other day, but while I was standing in front of my local PB boutique yesterday afternoon I heard a French maman raving about the stories and telling her daughter that they would have to come back to the shop on the weekend to buy her a t-shirt. IMG_0834

I find the collection quite sweet…

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Especially the onesie and these little knickers.

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I also love the boxes for the collection.

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Having never heard of these stories before, it’s obvious that I need to brush up on my French children’s culture. Did you know about Blaise, the naughty chick?

An interactive iPad app is coming soon as well.

Petit Bateau & Claude Ponti from June 11th.