December 30, 2020

Napoli in B&W

Napoli is a city rich with colorful street scenes and vibrant characters. However, the city shines just as much when you view photos in Black and White.

December 29, 2020

Napoli's Golden Boy

Making nearly 200 appearances in a golden era for Serie A side Napoli, Diego Maradona was affectionately named "El Pibe del Oro" or "The Golden Boy" and it's not hard to see why. With 81 goals for the Italian giants, garnering two titles and a Coppa Italia, Maradona shone with Partenopei, becoming one of the greatest players in the club's history. It was in Naples that Maradona’s status as a footballing deity, at least as far as the inhabitants of this gritty southern Italian city were concerned, was confirmed.

Nowhere was Maradona's hypnotic talent and personality more adored than in Naples helping the unfancied club to usurp Milan and Juventus. It really was a match made in heaven, the diminutive street urchin from the wrong side of the tracks in partnership with a dramatic, chaotic city in southern Italy that felt undervalued and looked down upon from the great cultural cities further north, of Rome, Turin and Milan.

"Napoli non e Italia" (Napoli is not Italy), Maradona used to say. He felt right at home in a city where wealth, poverty, violence and football all co-existed on a daily basis.

He might have partied hard and with the wrong people, but the good memories are stronger and here Diego Armando Maradona will forever take his seat next to God under the "cielo azzurro" of Napoli.

It took Napoli mayor only 24 hours after Maradona's death to rename the San Paolo's football stadium in his honour: Diego Armando Maradona stadium.

Forza Napoli SEMPRE!

Curva B, in infamous fan club area of the stadium turned into an improvised Christmas shrine.

This mural dating from 1990 by Argentine artist Francisco Bosoletti has turned into a shrine since his death on Nov 25th, 2020.

The adoration is plastered across the city.... literally!

Little does it matter that Maradona played for Napoli over 30 years ago... he is still omnipresent...

... in every nook and cranny of this city...

... where even Japanese Napoli fans welcome!

This mural by street artist tvboy lasted only a few days back in 2018.

Souvenirs, souvenirs!!!

December 28, 2020

The spirit of Haute Couture

Honour where honour is due. Prestigious names that the whole world dreams of. Whether it be for a monogram or simply for a spot of window shopping, usually Avenue Montaigne is bustling with tourists and locals enjoying an extraordinary day among the grand hotels and luxury brands.

Last week, I was pretty much on my own strolling down the most sophisticated avenue of Haute Couture savouring the fashion paradise offering window after window of high-class prêt-à-porter and luxury labels. Obviously, luxury does not rank high on priorities these days albeit the holiday season, nevertheless is was a sad sight peeping through the windows and seeing empty shops with bored staff waiting in vain for clients. 

The Avenue Montaigne, at the very heart of the Golden Triangle, is punctuated with world-class boutiques, from French brands to Italian designers.

The iconic Chanel store encompasses 400 square meters of sleek interior mirroring the brand’s signature aesthetics with tweed sofas and an elegant palette of beige, white and gold. 

The Dior boutique is known for its eclectic changing façades. It was built in 1865 by the illegitimate son of Napoleon. In 1947, Christian Dior, presented an impressive 90-piece collection to magazine editors at his recently acquired Parisian townhouse on Avenue Montaigne. 

The Christian Dior shop at 30 Avenue Montaigne is currently closed for large works. The reopening is planned in 2021 with 3,000 m² of sales space, a "Galerie Dior" and a garden restaurant.

The Théâtre des Champs-Elysées was made famous by the creation of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” in 1913. Today's Parisian reality looks quite different!

A dreamy festive window by Repetto.

Fendi’s Paris flagship is known for its Baguette Wall, dedicated to the house’s cult handbag style – perfect for those who are looking for a one-of-a-kind item.

This is Paris. This is the avenue. This is Dior, Dietrich and diamonds. This is where icons and trends are born and love stories have played out since 1913: the Hotel Plaza Athéenée!

December 27, 2020

Christmas spirit

"May you never be too grown up to search the skies on Christmas Eve."

Best X-mas gift this year. 

A Swiss touch in the kitchen

X-mas table decorations: simple, traditional and festive

We cannot go without the Italian Panettone 

Busy baking with Expat Girl

In remembrance of Nonna... struffoli fatti in casa!

Babà au rhum à la napolitaine.

December 24, 2020

X-mas plans have changed...

Change of plans... our Christmas in Naples has been cancelled due to Italy going into lockdown as of Dec 24th. Before we knew it, our family of four were on the last plane back to Paris transiting through a completely deserted airport.

Long gone are the days of pre-Christmas holiday travel stress when easyjet canceled flights at midnight on Dec 23rd or Alitalia doesn't deliver your suitcase until 4 days after Christmas and you've been wearing the same clothes throughout the all the festivities... yes, we've had our fair share of Christmas travel adventures!

This morning I was out and about early to avoid the Parisian crowds... orata, gamberi, tortellini, panettone, dolcetti for the Italian tradition... turkey, cranberry sauce, mince pies, christmas pudding, mistletoe, poinsettia and lots of Christmas glitter for the Anglo saxon celebration. 

Luckily I had secretly popped out to buy a proper Christmas tree the week before... all it took was Expat Girl expressing a wish to have a tree that reaches the ceiling... how could I refuse... I know, it is not really sustainable... but then again we have been stuck inside for most of this year. This was my treat!

So, we are now in business for Neapolitan Natale tonight and British Christmas tomorrow! I'm just wondering if I can sneak in a French "Bûche de Noël" into the menu.

Tanti Auguri di Buon Natale! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

First time we'll be spending Christmas in Paris

Deserted Napoli airport on Dec 23rd

Woman on a mission early morning Dec 24th

A little culinary indulgence at La Grande Epicerie

Our local market in full swing

Thank Goodness for Marks & Sparks, where else would I find all the British Christmas goodies?

Who knew that Mistletoe was called Gui in French?

December 21, 2020

Paris' Christmas windows

Every December many Parisians stroll down to the 9th arrondissement to admire the Christmas windows of the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, glittering and shining even at 10 am in the morning. Much to the childrens' delight many mechanical figurines make the windows even more exciting. 

I must be honest, despite Covid restriction I did venture out an hour to take a quick peak, it is a tradition I just cannot skip... especially during current times when the Christmas cheer is hard to come by.

I did not dare enter the department stores thinking I might be pushing my luck but it was a real treat to watch the toddlers standing in awe in front of the colourful windows... a true breath of fresh air for the lungs, for the mind and for the soul.

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