lundi, octobre 31, 2011

Birthday Surprises!!!

My birthday was last Thursday, I knew things were planned for the day (it was a milestone birthday if you will... ) but I didn't know what. We had a delicious lunch at the creperie, drove over to the cookie store to show the family around and then had a relaxing afternoon at home (with presents, I was WAY too spoiled!) before some friends surprised me when they dropped by for a champagne apero before we headed off to have dinner in a castle.

It was a great birthday, all of my favorite things wrapped up in a day! Plus on Friday we had our faux-Thanksgiving, a great way to finish the week and my family's time here. Friday evening after dinner I we were talking about the week and how quickly it went by when Mystery Guest asked what time we should leave for Paris Saturday.


Yes, we.

You can imagine my shock because I knew my family had to leave on Saturday to catch flights home on Sunday but we weren't planning on going because I thought they were just going to crash at an airport hotel. Instead I packed Friday night and we left Saturday morning at 7am for a day in Paris! Those secret people organized the whole day without me having any clue!!! We dropped the rental car off and took a cab into the city where there we rooms reserved at a hotel in the 5th for MG, myself and my sister. I called Ksam as we were getting hungry for lunch and asked for a recommendation.


El Sol et La Luna.

Speechless - but here's a picture.

Then we had a whirlwind guided tour of Paris (courtesy of yours truly) to see the main monuments starting with Notre Dame.

The Eiffel Tower

The Arc de Triomphe

 We also walked around the outside of the Louvre and tried to go to the Orangerie but even though on their website they said they were open until 7pm when we got there they were closing at 6pm.. 

Here are a couple of other shots from the afternoon and Sunday morning.


I knew there were plans for dinner but I had no idea what. We walked over to île de la cité where Mystery Guest had reserved the coolest restaurant. Not only that but he surprised me by inviting some wonderful friends to celebrate with us! So much fun!!!

My feet were killing me by the end of the day but it gave everyone a good taste of Paris and probably an excuse to come back :)

dimanche, octobre 30, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

I haven't celebrated Thanksgiving with any of my family members since I moved to France (8 years ago!!!) so a few weeks ago I thought it would be fun to do a faux-Thanksgiving! Chicken instead of turkey but otherwise all the other fixins were there and with the grey weather that day you wouldn't have known it was October and not November :)

I just can't get enough of my iPhone app so here's a 60's version of our dinner...

mercredi, octobre 26, 2011

sharing Normandy

Part of my family is in Normandy visiting for a week. My little sister flew in all the way from Australia! We've mostly been hanging out around here and I'll go through my pictures later but I wanted to take my sister down to Mont Saint Michel just because it really shouldn't be missed! The weather was beautiful today so we jumped in the car this morning and drove down.

It was a little crowded because of the school vacation but we got to visit the abbey in relative calm and I got to use my new app - AutoStitch to do some panoramas!

 And of course I played around with the video app again too... Makes a boring video a little more fun :)

lundi, octobre 24, 2011

just a little laugh

We ate with some friends a few weeks ago and their son who is not yet two got served his pasta and ham. But what amazed me was the fact that he had his own little knife and fork and as you can see he's really mastering them! How many kids do you know that at two years old are taught how to use a knife and fork? 

(I used an app to add a little fun to the video :) and to take out all the random conversations happening around the table)

mercredi, octobre 19, 2011

Day Trippin'

 Today I went to Caen for the day. When I left the hardware store there was a huge menacing black cloud but by the time I reached downtown the sun came out and everything was glistening.

 I parked down by my old haunts and got a twinge of nostalgia walking down my old street where I had my first (tiny!) studio. The sun is shining on the front door on the left side of the street.
 The view I used to have looking out the front door of the building. I always thought this alley had a certain mystique about it and with the bright October sun and the wet cobblestone it sure did!
 I made my way over to Greedy Guts which opened this summer. It is a 100% homemade 100% vegetarian cafe with totally yummy lunches and to die for desserts!

My last stop of the day was in Bayeux where I met up with the lovely LouLou for a tea and hot chocolate. She is just as beautiful and as delightful in person as she is on her blog and the afternoon flew by as we chatted about anything and everything.

dimanche, octobre 16, 2011


 Fall is officially in the air. We've had several sunny days but not the hot sun that we randomly had the beginning of October but a crisp autumn sun - we've even had frost the last 2 mornings!

All this makes me want to pick up my knitting needles - so I finally finished a project that I started back in April, my first attempt at a linen stitch and it turned out beautiful if I do say so myself!
 We've also started eating all the fall squashes, here are a few that are just dying to be turned into soup or pureed... (the one in the back is from MY garden!!! little mini jack 'o lantern!)
 Last night we went out with some friends to dinner at an amazing restaurant in Bricquebec. The old castle has been turned into a hotel and the restaurant is downstairs. I think they've really beefed up their menu and everything was just perfect! I had an appetizer of sautéed shrimp with a spicy mango dipping sauce, main course was duck breast with an orange sauce, a mushroom cap stuffed with carrot puree and a stuffed baked apple. YUM. Then there was of course the local cheese plate (some of which LouLou is going to be tasting soon!) and then dessert... oh my god dessert... It was the most fantastic chocolate cake. The crust was a sort of marzipan base and then there were layers and layers of different chocolate mousses topped with a silky chocolate ganache. I'm drooling just thinking about it! The best thing is that out here we don't have big city prices and the whole menu ran for 29 euros - not bad me thinks!

When we arrived the last bit of sunlight was fading away... you'll have to excuse the iPhone camera but it didn't do such a bad job of capturing the moment. :)
I've got to get back to getting things ready... the family invades in a week!

vendredi, octobre 14, 2011


I bought purple carrots at the market today. They are more expensive than the normal carrots but I just couldn't resist...

I also planted all the bulbs I bought last week. I always told myself that if I were to put money into gardening that I would first buy things that were actually productive, that you could eat. But this spring I found myself pining for some color with all the dreary grey skies we were having.

So this year I bought 3 bags of bulbs for 14 euros; narcissus, hyacinths and irises and planted them down by the mailbox. It was totally worth the 5 euros for the hand bulb planter. Now I just need to wait for the spring to see if they bloom!

mercredi, octobre 12, 2011

fall harvest

I harvested a few things from the garden this afternoon. The zucchini are still producing but the little zucks are rotting before they reach maturity so I figured why not harvest the tender zucchini babies? (did that sound as violent to you as it did to me? 

I also pulled an ear of corn to give it a test run tonight. I read that if the top kernels don't mature it's a problem with fertilization. Given that I planted my corn over 6 weeks late I think the little mini corn doesn't look half bad!

I'll let you know how it all tastes though!

samedi, octobre 08, 2011

out of the oven

saturday morning baking

This afternoon we're headed over to a friend's family summer home where they are staying for the weekend. We'll go in the afternoon and stay for dinner. 
I said I'd bring dessert. 

I don't think they'll be disappointed....
 Unfortunately I've started a tradition whereas everytime we go visit them (or crash at their house outside of Paris before catching a flight) I bring my double chocolate chunk cookies. There is now an expectation (and addiction!) to uphold!

I've been dying to try a new recipe that my friend Aimee keeps putting up amazing pictures of and if I lived in Paris I'd probably live IN her teahouse where I'd eat cake and knit all day.

Here's a  before shot of my version of her tart.


mercredi, octobre 05, 2011

summer's over...

What really cracked me up when I was in Paris last weekend was all the bloggers asking how my garden was going! So I'm happy to report that even though we were basking in the summer sun last week the weather has decidedly turned to autumn. But my garden isn't done yet! I've picked over 2kg of wild blackberries that grow EVERYWHERE! Every other day I go out and pick a small handful of raspberries.
Nothing is better than raspberries still cool in the morning.
My spaghetti squash is starting to change color with a yellow hue slowly replacing the green.

And my pumpkins! I've got 3 that are starting to turn orange! They won't win any contests for the biggest pumpkin but I'm hoping they'll cook up nice 'n tasty :)

I also have a little mini forest of wax beans that I planted the beginning of August. I've snacked on a few while touring around the garden and they are tasty even raw.
(Mystery Guest thinks I'm nuts for eating raw beans...)
My mini harvest of wax beans! Last night when I got home there was a big bag of green beans on our doorstep (love the neighbors) so I think we'll be eating some beans tonight!

Other than that the corn is slowly coming along. I had a peak inside one husk and the kernels haven't quite plumped up yet - I'm hoping they will before long!

mardi, octobre 04, 2011

Dreaming of Wicked...

Just dreaming of how cool it would be to go to London for a weekend in December, see the Christmas lights and a show... 

Anyone know of fabulous internet deals? :)

dimanche, octobre 02, 2011


This weekend Mystery Guest and I jetted off to Paris to be a part of a wonderful celebration - Miss KSam's wedding!

We had a fantastic time! I got to finally meet in person some wonderful people and see some other friends that I have not seen in several years who came in from all corners the world. I know the bride and groom where probably a little stressed but it didn't show; everything was so seamless! The bride was radiant, the groom all smiles... The weather couldn't be better, especially for an October day, even the evening walk home was warm and summery. Champagne in the park was lovely and then the dinner and the afterparty were just a fantastic way of getting to know people and celebrating the happy couple!

The weekend went by too quickly - all I want to say is congratulations to the happy couple and may your future be very sweet!