April 23, 2017

How many emotions fit into one day?

The first thought that crossed my mind this morning was: "Has there been a sequel to the shooting of last night at the Champs Elysées?" Luckily the answer was no. RELIEF

I could not resist the beautiful sunshine and braved the low temperatures to have a stroll around the Trocadero. CURIOSITY

Walking towards the square I was wondering if I'd find tourist defying last night's violence and the media frenzy. Sure enough tourist buses were buzzing around, people were taking selfies with the Eiffel tower as a backdrop, a bike tour whizzed by, wedding couples were having their portrait taken, food stalls were flourishing and the street vendors lingered waiting for easy prey. THANKFULNESS

Life seemed nearly back to normal albeit the eerie yet respectful feeling when crossing a few policemen's path. ADMIRATION

Next, I took myself off to the kids' school where my husband was to give a presentation for Career Day. What better occasion to see my hubby in action. TEMPTATION

At one point all four of us were in the classroom which made me giggle and happy for it confirms our closeness as a family and support of each other. HAPPINESS

Today is also Expat boy's last day of school. Yep! He is about to graduate. This is great news for him and I am thrilled for his sake but it also makes me feel a bit sad and rather old. NOSTALGIA

To top off the day a close friend of mine has popped the news that they will be moving on to a new destination just when I thought she'd be by my side forever! DISAPPOINTMENT

But, all in all, it has been a good day. Dare I say it's just another regular day in the city of Lights! Paris le jour, Paris la nuit, sous soleil ou sous la pluie, Paris sera toujours… Paris! LOVE

April 21, 2017

The morning after...

I awoke this morning wondering if terrorism would become the new normal? One life lost is tragic! This cannot be considered the new normal. Last night's cowardly attack on a policeman was yet again a reminder that the world in which I grew up in is a complete different reality in which my kids are advancing.

The panic that follows a rattle of gunfire is contagious and it is amplified a million times by the media which tend to blow it out of all proportions in pursuit of high ratings. Given the upcoming French Presidential elections emotions are running high and the armed forces are extremely nervous. No need to aggravate an already fragile situation.

The worst part, however, is that you don't know where it will stop. Is it an isolated incident or will more reports of heinous attacks be broadcasted in the coming minutes? Every time this kind of episode - because it has unfortunately turned into episodes - happens you hold your breath and pray that there aren't more simultaneous acts in other parts of the city about to unfold. The uncertainty is what is so unsettling.

If you are lucky you are at home with your family close but more often than not you need to reach out quickly to make sure your loved ones are safe. The Champs Elysées is VERY close to home in our case which makes me think twice before letting my kids take off to see their friends in the neighbourhood after school today. But then again... today is another day and life goes on.

Defiance has set in and the determination of not letting this violence take over our lives. And in a promising sign, many of the tourists in Paris today weren't afraid to head to the Champs-Elysées the morning after the attack. Vive Paris!

A Japanese couple taking their wedding shots at the Trocadero.

The tourists are back in force accompanied by beautiful sunshine this morning.

Of course, it is eerie seeing all the policemen and women with their guns.

The street vendors are going about their business without interruption.

April 19, 2017

Italian flavours in St. Germain des Prés

Who said all the Italian restaurants have been replaced
by sushi take-aways in St. Germain de Prés?

April 14, 2017

What a fridge door can tell you...

Enjoying my breakfast and a quiet moment all to myself this morning my gaze came to rest upon our fridge. Every time I look at the door covered with magnets, I think of the architect who once told me how ugly a fridge looks when it is covered by these whimsical ornaments.

Well, theoretically I would agree with him, HOWEVER, come to think of it, it is difficult to find such a little space throughout a home which will tell you more about a household than a refrigerator door covered in trinkets.

So, let's take a look at mine:

I am clearly a pizza-eating, fondue-loving Chocaholic. The family's Italian and Swiss background cannot be denied. Love plays a major part in our family. It might be cliché but we believe in it!

My penchant for expensive taste is undeniable and although I am very adamant about playing by the rules sometimes you need to step beyond your boundaries and accept a challenge in order to explore and grow which is my concept of fun.

I don't take myself too seriously, a trait I have inherited from my Dad and appreciate a good sense of humour.

A Paris magnet managed to snuck its way onto the fridge in Madrid but purely because I like the colours and felt we needed at least one token of our current residence country. Greece is the frivolous addition... but also because we love to travel there in the summer.

Thanks to Expat Boy the entire family is football savy and Expat Girl is a Mini-Me therefore most of the above would be a fairly accurate description of her as well.

My husband's contribution comes in the form of an Italian car... how else could it be? I will let him be the judge if I can kiss better than I cook...

April 9, 2017

Today's the day, we'll say "I do"

It's a party!!! Not just any party!!!! A wedding party... a Spanish-Mexican fiesta. Our Nutricionista con buena onda of the Sex and the City girls has decided to take the big step. What a superb occasion to get ten of us back together to celebrate in Madrid?

Gathering in the hotel lobby waiting for the ceremony to start, we were all checking if we had our tissues ready and making sure our better halves had all connected so we could pow-wow, for some of us have not seen each other in years.

This is where I discovered that ALL my girlfriends had bought a second pair of shoes along. Seriously?!?

Walking down the aisle that the guests had formed the bride was beautiful, emotional and shaking with nerves reaching a very flushed and emotional Spaniard standing in wait for her. The bilingual ceremony (Spanish/Mexican) was short and sweet culminating with a Frida Khalo poem our friend had dedicated to her love. At this point the Sex and the City girls all started pulling out their handkerchiefs and smiling at each other. We were all so happy for her... simply over the moon to see she had found such happiness and complicity!

We all let the warm spring evening embrace us on the terrasse overlooking the pool while sipping our cocktails. The palm trees added to the exotic, festive feeling. The Spaniards connected with the Mexicans, the Dutch with the Venezuelan, the Italians with the British, the Portuguese with Lebanese and the Cuban with the Swiss.

The food and the music set the ambiance for a perfect Latino evening and of course the Tequilla shots served by the bride and groom helped along a great deal.

We danced, laughed and cheered into the wee hours of the night and I started to understand the need for flat shoes although none of the girls did part with their sexy heels in the end.

The bride was not just radiant and in love but truly beautiful with her white boat neck dress which showed off her lovely long legs and accentuated her slim waist with an intricate red&green flower motive in honour of her Mexican heritage. The 3/4 sleeves allowed for an incredibly elegant touch and the red peep-toe high heels gave her the ultimate suave and sensual style.

She was the queen of the evening and she certainly pulled it off... because she was the most stunning and exquisite lady of them all! Oh, and did I mention... the happiest one as well!

Spring is here, the sky is blue
Birds will sing as if they knew
Today's the day, we'll say "I do"
And we'll never be lonely any more
Because we're going to the chapel
And we're gonna to get married!

When the bride wasn't looking

When your Mexican friend gets married... it's a serious party!

Mexican bonbonniere to thank all the guests!

April 7, 2017

Lugano in pictures

View onto Lugano and Monte Bré from Sorengo

Tempted to take a dip. If I swam to the other side I'd be in Italy!

Stepping out of the train station and into a picture perfect decor

Muzzano has a population of 821 inhabitants 
and the entire village is designated as part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites

If walls could speak I am sure their stories would be breathtaking.
Muzzano is first mentioned in 1189.

Palmtrees are common in this part of the world

A lovely iron gate from the past

A hidden garden with friendly hosts

A touch of colour is always good

The statue of San Francesco d'Assisi looking down onto the lake of Lugano.
The church of Santa Maria Assunta in Sorengo dates back to 1298.

A pink blast of spring

April 5, 2017

Feeling at home

Once again we are back in Lugano and although it has been six years since we left - what was suppose to be our home for ever and ever - we remain attached to this magical place.

A town embedded by green hills with snowy peaks cascading into a crystal clear lake dotted with villages clinging close to the steep slopes. The stone buildings tightly aligned - dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries - embellished with frescoes and stucco decorations.

An area where - when the sun sets - the bird twitter is still more present than the traffic and the air quality is measured in terms of pollen not pollution.

A community that still greets you with a "Bun Dì" even though they don't know you. Cars stop for pedestrians with a smile and a hand gesture, the odd old boy cheers you on when you jog past and the postman leaves packages on your doorstep not worrying about them being stolen.

A town where you can still spot cows when you look out of the window and hear the church bells chime every hour.

It is a peaceful world where the stress of Paris dissolves in an instant. Where aggressiveness is replaced by courtesy and arrogance by discipline.

It is easy to slither into this comfortable lifestyle but ... then again ... I would miss the vibes of a bustling metropole.

March 31, 2017

Enchanted by the Eiffel Tower

I never get tired of seeing the Eiffle tower. never! La Grand Dame is truly iconic. A symbol of Paris and of France, she is one of the best known monuments in the world and the one whose silhouette has been most depicted... so let me just add my shots to that list.

La Tour Eiffel is truly an architectural eye-candy and who knows it might just be the chocolaty colour piercing the sky at 324 meters that causes my addiction?

A spectacular view from the restaurant at Musée de l'Homme

Paris in the springtime is pure romance 

Unfortunately, one cannot wander underneath the structure anymore 
without a ticket due to security reasons.

Fashion photographers' favourite spot

The silver lining of the city of lights

 But then again... it often looks like this!

A glimpse from the Wall of Peace

Every time I whizz around the Place de Trocadero, I salute her!

La Grande Dame by night

 Spotting her even through the rooftops of Paris

March 29, 2017

It's not all about tea and keeping calm!

After a weekend in Switzerland visiting universities with Expat boy, it was time this weekend to hop over the channel to celebrate my Godmother's 80th Birthday and celebrate Mothering Sunday with my Mum who flew down from Scotland. What can I say, we are a jet-setting family!

Arriving at the smashing St Pancras International railway station just in the for a romantic dinner.

For years I have been admiring photos on Pinterest of this pink restaurant. 
Sketch is an experience from start to finish. 

A quirky, 18th-century townhouse with funky artwork 
which will keep your eyes wandering the whole meal.

The food ranges from strange dishes to classics to re-inventions with a cheeky addition of something you would never add but sort of works.

I tried to find a name for its style but haven't succeeded! 

The individual cubicles shaped like eggs at the top of the staircase are space pod toilets.

The Royal Arcade, built in 1879, is an elegant, Victorian space housing retail outlets selling fine silverware, art, bespoke shoes and high-end chocolate. 
So, who came up with the idea of covered galleries first, London or Paris? 

During my window shopping, I fell in love with D&G's ice cream dresses.

Yet another delicious dinner with friends at Yoshino. 
Down a quiet alleyway off Piccadilly, a neon sign announces ‘sushi’ 
but it is soo much more than it seems.

A shopping spree at Harvey Nichols, the British department store founded in 1831 provided great inspiration.

A London icon: London Underground's history dates back to 1863 when the world's first underground railway, the Metropolitan Railway, opened between Paddington and Farringdon serving six intermediate stations. Since then the Underground network, affectionately nicknamed the Tube by generations of Londoners, has grown to 270 stations and 11 lines stretching deep into the Capital's suburbs, and beyond.

A lovely lunch celebration at the Royal Automobile Club. Founded in 1897 with the aim of encouraging the development of motoring in Britain, today the Royal Automobile Club is one of London’s finest private members'​ clubs, combining over 100 years of luxury and tradition with exceptional facilities and outstanding service.

A beautiful art-deco bar serving signature cocktails such as Fig and Almond Martini (Havana, 7-year old rhum shaken with Mozart black chocolate liqueur. Amaretto, apricot liqueur, lemon bitters and figue purée) .   

It's Mothering Sunday, so let's celebrate!

March 23, 2017

Weekend escapade to Geneva

Known both as the "smallest of big cities", or the "city of peace", Geneva, lies at the southern tip of expansive Lac Léman. Surrounded by the Alps and Jura mountains, the city has views of dramatic Mont Blanc. Headquarters of Europe’s United Nations and the Red Cross, it’s a global hub for diplomacy and banking.

To me it was home for nearly a decade. It is where I started my career, where I realised for the first time that there were many other Swiss TCK just like me, it is where I met the love of my life and where we got married!

It is nice to return once in a while to see some things never change.

Good ol' Jet d'Eau with the Taxi boat crossing the lake

Bains de Paquis were many a weekend's suntanning session was spent.
I won't mention the quantities of Dole Blanche consumed!

The expansive Lake of Geneva

Spot the Swiss touch. A clock is never far away. 

My favourite teatime treats

A romantic lakeside dinner

 Even some funky pink night scene can be found nowadays! 
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