December 31, 2016

Happy New Year 2017

I'm in the Top 50 Parisian bloggers

Waking up this morning reaching for my phone, a little notification is telling me my blog has been mentioned. Curious I tap the link and to my surprise I find my blog listed amongst the top 60 Parisian blogs published by who choose the best ones from thousands of top Paris blogs using search and social metrics.

These blogs and websites are ranked based on following criteria:
- Google reputation and Google search ranking
- Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites
- Quality and consistency of posts
- Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review

It is the most comprehensive list of best Paris blogs on the internet. I am totally chuffed. I still have not quite come around to calling myself a blogger despite my many published posts and constant viewers' increase over the years. I am still convinced that only my friends follow me but I guess my Parisian adventures are being read by many more given that this is the second time I made into a top Parisian blogger list this year. Paris is after all the biggest blogger community outside of the US.

Thank you to every single one of you who have enjoyed having Expat with Kids in Paris on your daily feed via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Mille mercis to for listing me in the Top 60 Paris Blogs and Websites for 2016 and Bonne Année 2017 à vous tous!

December 28, 2016

Having myself a Merry little Christmas...

For years I have been wanting to decorate the tree in front of our terrasse. A previous homeowner - not knowing how to dispose of the tree that are sold inside their own pots of earth in this part of the world - had planted his Christmas tree on the communal garden grounds at the end of the festivities.

When we moved in it was a tiny little thing. Over the years I have watched it grow and wished that one year we would spend the holiday season in Spain so I could have my wish come true.

Well, this year we have come to celebrate Christmas in Madrid and I went to town... literally. The house is filled with greenery and red poinsettias, candles and Christmas lights AND my little, big tree has become the extension of our home decor...

December 22, 2016

Window shopping at Faubourg St. Honoré

The aristocratic Rue du Faubourg Saint Honore in Paris is lined with an impressive number of Haute Couture boutiques and art galleries and are recognised as the Mecca of luxury and fashion. A little stroll before Christmas allows for great window shopping.

A lovely romantic Parisian window display

Moschino keeping true to his style

500.- Euro sneakers... anybody?

A Fendi handbag to go with the sneakers?

What was Ermenegildo Zegna's creative director thinking?

Roger Vivier in chaos

A musical touch

Cartier's jewellery display looks familiar. 
A French Haute Couture designer creates very similar jewellery displays!

Lagerfeld is the king of Parisian fashion

Not dressed to impress today!

A lovely break at WH Smith.
Too bad they did not have any clotted cream left to go with the scones.

December 20, 2016

Napoli at Christmas

A little pre-Christmas celebration with the in-laws is just the medicine to avoid holiday stress.

Every year we used to frantically try to reach Southern Italy on the December 23rd to celebrate Christmas Eve with my husband's family. We've had many pretty memorable adventures over the last decade until one Christmas we had survived four days in the Neapolitan countryside wearing the same clothes having arrived empty-handed. Our suitcases had never made it onto that plane let alone out to the back-of-beyond Campania.

Enough was enough... since then we have moved up our Italian family Christmas and things run much smoother. We are all more relaxed enjoying every minute of our visit.

Napoli is full of special places and moments to photograph. Here are just a few...

A beautiful view over the city

Cuore sportivo

Coffee break à la napolitaine 

A peek though the metal grid

A sea of pirate antennas

A typical Napolitan Christmas dessert: gli struffoli

The most famous Neapolitan dessert: o' babà

The streets of Napoli... just like walking into a Fellini film 

Napoli forever

Forza Napoli... football is a very serious matter in this part of the world!

Spaccanapoli is the straight and narrow main street that traverses the old, historic center of the city.

Sometimes called "Christmas Alley" the narrow cobblestone alley of via San Gregorio Armeno is where Christmas lives year round.

There, small workshops sell hand-crafted nativity scenes or presepi made from terracotta and wood... 

...depicting not only biblical characters but also statues 
of famous Italian stars and International politicians.

Neapolitans are famous for their washing lines everywhere.

Fast food Neapolitan style

Touch Pulcinella's nose for good luck!

Superstition is part of everyday life

"If you love Naples, you love tourist!"
Napoli's latest tourist slogan.

December 11, 2016

Getting into the Christmas spirit...

Lots of little hands rummaging through glitter and gold. Eyes wide open not quite knowing how to take it all in. Worried looks about not being able to communicate their wishes properly. Little frowned foreheads feverishly trying to calculate if the note in their hand is worth one of those Euros or more?

I am standing behind a gift stall at the Holiday Bazaar that some very active parent organize every year at Primary School. My kids have long graduated from 5th Grade but I have a big soft spot for this place. 

It is priceless watching all those little kids run around from stall to stall with their tiny fingers tightly wrapped around a bag of coins trying to take decisions on what Christmas present to buy for their loved ones. Many of them are allowed to take this decision by themselves for the first time without Mummy hovering over them. This, however, comes with the responsibility of having to choose by yourself as well... and, ohh, this is such a hard task when everything is sparkling and shining plus there are chocolate and sweeties at offer as well.

The Kindergarteners - gently guided by their teachers - immediately head for the glittery objects offering their hands full of coins to you while you try to explain that their desired object only cost 50 cents. The realization that they actually have money left to spend on something else is priceless. 

The older ones are more savvy and go straight for the valuable items with a mental list in their heads whom they need to buy gifts for. The really audacious ones even start negotiating the price with you. You gotta love that sparkle in their eyes when they struck a deal.

It has been a rewarding day reminding me how precious those few years are when children are still in total awe in front of a sparkling star or a jar of candy. How their emotions are written all over their faces and their little cheeks turn red with excitement of seeing the wonder of Christmas.

Love is definitely in the air

My offerings... the glittery the better!

Christmas tree decorations are always popular

The Japanese team spent weeks making Origamy 

Delicate Origamy boxes

Paris themes are always fun... no matter what shape or form

How many M&M can fit in a jar?

The Scandinavian contribution

A Brazilian mum is our Pompom specialist

Simple but effective

The Indian community came up with the best homemade display

Straight from the US with love

The Santa stand was the first one to sell out

The wonders you can make with old, melted crayons

A Turkish lady made wonderful smelling soaps in all sorts of colours and shapes

The Dutch-Swiss contingency supplied vitamines and biscuits

All in the name of charity

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