Monday, 17 December 2012

how many ways to eat a crepe?

For those of you who doubted that this sadistic mother had some compassion, here is proof - photos of the crepes being eaten and playdate in action.

No prize for guessing who's behind the crepey mask.  And in case we run out of crepes, a brioche is sitting at attention, all ready to be eaten.

The girls and I did some simple Christmas craft.  We made some dot garlands.  When our friend Mok came to visit, he bought the girls some origami sets (thanks uncle Mok!).  So we made pretty wreaths which the girls brought to school to put up on in their classrooms.  And, we've been making all sorts of decorations for the tree. Look out for photos in the next post.

We're ready for Christmas!  Well, almost...

Thursday, 6 December 2012

jeudi de paris

Okay, its not 25 days to Christmas.  Its now down to 19 I think (panic panic!!) The girls were super excited when December arrived.  They were disappointed that our advent calandar is in an unidentified carton somewhere in storage.  So I made an easy countdown-to-Christmas calendar with whatever I had.  Behind the number is a little note where I've written the treat or the service they are to perform for the day.  This sadistic mother also planned a dentist's visit yesterday, strategically so you may say, to justify the lack of candy for the season.   

But to usher in the festive season on a more festive note, we went to the Marché de Noël on the Champs Elysées.  

It was a very cold morning, but the girls couldn't care less.  Candy floss (one little treat before the dental letdown), a super luge amongst other things, kept them well distracted.

I was about to compare this market to our Ramadhan markets back home, because offerings vary from food to scarves and toys and socks.  But then I thought some might take offence.  Because at this market, there is a whole lot of seriously non halal stuff.

To market, to market to buy a pig... or a wild boar...

An ice skating rink which we're not ready to try yet.  Which I'm not ready to try yet.

At the eastern end of the Champs Elysées is the Place de la Concorde, which is the largest square in the city.  In the centre of the square is a 3,300 year old Luxor Obelisk which was offered by the Ottoman viceroy of Egypt to France in 1829.  King Louis Philippe had it placed where a guillotine once stood during the Revolution.

I'm off now to make some crepes.  Because this sadistic mother has her moments.  Today's treat: a friend over to play after school and crepes for gouter (afternoon tea time snack which is a very critical part of the day for all French children)!  Hope you have a fun weekend getting ready for Christmas.  I confess its not my favourite time of the year, but I have friends coming to visit, and we may have a white Christmas, and its our first in France (probably not any less stressful...).

Monday, 3 December 2012

you can take the malaysian out of malaysia, but...

When its wet and cold outside, as it is now in Paris, a bowl of hot soup or in my case, hot spicy curry laksa, is what I would call comfort food.

In a little Asian grocer down the road, the owner points out the Malaysian curry powder to me and shares with me some Vietnamese recipes.  I find bean sprouts, fish cake, tofu puffs, mint and coconut milk.  I'm sure if I looked hard enough I would even have found blood jelly...

I made this a few weeks ago, and I do crave a bowl right now!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

jeudi de paris

The girls wanted me to do a fashion blog.  I had to break it to them that supermum wasn't so super, and that they would just have to accept a post on vol de vie.

Getting the girls to wear warm clothes was a challenge.  They want to wear whatever strikes their fancy, and never consider the weather.  I now have Anais look at the weather report every morning and they are a little more conscious of dressing appropriately for the cold.

Towards the end of summer, my friend Ouzrie was here.  See Tea, still in her light summer dress.

Leggings, stockings are making their debut here but shorts and summer skirts still rule the playground.

Tea, impatient to grow up...

Anais in her favourite mustard cardigan.

My cousin Karen was just here recently.  A cold grey day calling for warm boots, and furry jackets.

Keeping warm...a cuddle always helps.

The girls are almost similar in height, and I often get asked if they are twins.  Being so close in age and size means they can share their clothes.  Here Anais has her sister's coat on, but adds her own grey woollen top and a necklace she bought in Africa.

Being fashionable in Paris means having the right accessory. Here Anais has the ultimate: her scooter.

Tea dreams of one day having a horse in her back yard.  For now, she has to pretend that her scooter is one.  Notice how she dresses the part.  She just forgot her cravache (riding whip) today.

Have a good weekend dear friends, see you back here next week!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

jeudi de paris

Before we left Sturget, I just had to take a few more photos.  Its just one of those places where you want to carry your camera with you all the time as you want to capture all these beautiful images; the vineyards, the pigeonnier, the house, the garden...

This was the foggy morning we left which put me in a melancholic mood.

When we returned to Paris, I had something to do (will tell you soon what it is...) near the famous avenue of Champs Elysees. The girls were thrilled to come with me, loving and having heard the song  by Joe Dassin a million times...

Au soleil, sous la pluie
a midi ou a minuit
Il ya tout ce que vous voulez aux Champs Elysees

One of the most familiar landmarks of Paris is the Arc de Triomphe.  Completed in 1836, it stands at the heart of Place Charles de Gaulle which was originally known as Place de l'Etoile, or Star Square, as twelve avenues converge upon it (one of them of course being Champs Elysees).  The Tour de France competition ends at the Arc de Triomphe every year.  More significantly, it honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars.  Beneath it also lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.  

The cityscape of Paris is dramatically different from Sturget.  The trees along the Seine, all bare, brave themselves for the winter fast approaching.  

Over the weekend, we went to a watch the movie version of The Gruffalo's Child and then went walkabout in the Marais.  There is always a little playground we chance upon and always some photo opportunities...

I don't always remember to bring my camera with me when I go out.  But when I do, its always worth it.

Friday, 16 November 2012

horse mad

What, its Friday already?  Quite right.  Its been a crazy busy few days so it will just be this short little post today.  But hey, great things come in small packages.  And these drawings are GREAT.  I may be biased but I think these drawings that Tea did are amazing.  Don't you?  Don't you?

Monday, 12 November 2012

autumn continues

Its still autumn.  Could have fooled me.  The other day we woke up to the grass covered in white frost. At 8.30 in the morning I had to drive the girls to their riding club.  It was zero degrees.  Well, could have been worse.  When I was living in Toronto, zero degrees was a reason to cheer and bring out the flip flops.

We have a dovecote, or pigeonnier  as it is known in French, at the end of the garden.  Meant for pigeons to roust in, they have a special significance in France, maybe because the pigeon acquired an important place in French cuisine!  Prior to the Revolution,  only the nobility had the privilege of constrcuting pigeonniers on their property.  They were a status symbol.  So like other status symbols, the bigger and the more elaborately decorated they were, the more wealthy and powerful its owner was.  By the 19th century, keeping of pigeons became universally permitted in France.  They were then built into domestic dwellings, often at the end of a compound.  Pigeons are still eaten today, but they are bought at the market and our pigeonnier now has a stash of chopped wood.  

The living room has a new piece of furniture - our couch from Kuala Lumpur!  Two actually, count the coffee table too.
The all-time favourite activity for the girls in St Gervais is riding.  Here they are all ready and rearing to go!
Chateau Sirac is our closest neighbour.  They are practically family.  We all feel the loss of Annick, who passed away early this year. Andre continues to host friends and family with great hospitality and warmth.  We walk through the vineyards for a chat, or to pick some fruits.  Not seeing Annick in her apron standing at the door waiting to greet us takes some getting used to.
The little cabane in the garden that Andre built for his granddaughter.
We left Sturget yesterday.  Alternating between foggy and clear weather, the landscape was often beautiful with bursts of autumn colours.  I was overcome by gratitude.  For this beauty, and for the life we have and for the people we have the privilege to know, whose kindness and generosity touch our lives in countless meaningful ways.  Thank you.

This morning I am in Paris, sitting down with a cup of coffee and an almond croissant, a scrumptious treat that I really try to abstain from.  But this morning I deserve it, having walked to the supermarket and done my grocery by 9am and walked back to a dozen load of laundry waiting.  Well, it can wait a little more while I add some inches to my waist with this croissant.  Have a great week ahead and I will try to be more disciplined about my Thursday postings!