Tea? Lots of tea!

If anybody out there is super-duper cool enough to know that the title of this post comes from the film Drop Dead Fred, the mud-pie-cornflake-disease part, I salute you (a firm childhood favourite for everyone in my family!)

I am a bit late in posting my lovely Christmas present that I received from The Boy, but I’ve just been enjoying the holiday season so much! He bought me something I’d been wanting for a long time, une boîte de thé, which is basically a tea box! I’d never seen one of these in households before I came to France and as a tea-lover I just had to be part of the club. I was so so happy with my present!

Combining two of my greatest loves, books and tea, he managed to find a tea box in the shape of a book (this boy’s a genius I tell you). I adore the fabric exterior and how the the sides really imitate the look of a book. Along with it came a selection box of tisanes or infusion teas from English Tea Shop, a selection of black and green teas with a handy tea-ball from Dammann Frères AND another Dammann Frères variety box of Christmas teas from his mum! I’m in tea heaven.

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Above is the Christmas Tea selection where the combination of flavours and perfumes is limitless – pink peppercorns, orange peel, gingerbread, apple, almond, pineapple, cherry, vanilla… you get the idea!

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The prettiest colours in all the land! I honestly felt so sad throwing away the pack on the left because it’s already so neat and pretty! But I’m delighted all the sachets fit neatly into my lovely new box and the bright colours are still there. January never tasted so delicious.

Bisous!

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Season Greetings: Thanksgiving in Paris and getting ready for Christmas!

Happy 1st December! I love when the first of the month starts on a Monday, everything feels logical and in the right place (just a glimpse of the OCD-person living inside of me haha.)

Last week really felt the like the holiday season was beginning, as I celebrated my first home-made Thanksgiving at my friend Caitlin’s apartment in Paris and I can safely say I’m officially a convert! She made an amazingggg glazed ham and everyone brought a homemade dish with them (my contribution was a warm salad made of roasted sweet potato and aubergine mixed with rocket, diced apple, beetroot and sliced almonds with a lemon and olive oil dressing, so yummy!) The Boy and I also raided his parent’s attic for Christmas decorations and fixed their house up in style. All I need now are a few more mugfuls of vin chaud and my Christmas playlist on the iPod to keep the festive spirit going!

I’d always heard and read a lot about the Thanksgiving shop in Paris, just around the corner from St Paul metro stop in the heart of the Marais district. Given I’ve never had reason to celebrate this coma-inducing holiday I’d never frequented the shop and hadn’t really understood what the big deal was beyond Monica shoving a turkey over her head to regain Chandler’s affection. This year was different because a real Thanksgiving dinner was being planned by real Americans who know the deal. Plus, who doesn’t love food?!

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My friend Hannah and I spent a Saturday around the Marais, obligatory red Starbucks cup in hand of course, and popped over to the shop. It was amazing! Tiny as hell and packed to the hilt, we squeezed between other patrons looking for goodies. I was surprised to hear French more than English as I couldn’t see the attraction of American goods to the people of Paris – all that sugar, c’est pas vrai!

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It was of course quite pricey and many items were foreign even to me as an English person more familiar with American cooking than maybe the average Frenchie, so I would only really go again for a special occasion!

Now I do admit, putting up Christmas decorations at the end of November was abit early but there’s nothing better than being surrounded with all that festive cheer. It’s the first time I’ve helped decorate a house that wasn’t my family’s so it was lovely seeing all the little items they have and their own traditions.

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Obsessed with these super slim candles and the packaging

Busy Santa!

Busy Santa!

Having lived in Denmark for a few years when The Boy was a very little boy, his family still has various decorations from during their time. These ‘scary Santas’ below are similar to the German Krampus, the evil/demonic/generally-not-very-nice character that punishes bad children over Christmas. (I can’t find the name for them in Danish, anybody out there have an idea?)

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These gold-plated ornaments are so beautiful! They come from the Danish craftshop Georg Jensen where each year they create a special edition Christmas ornament with the year stamped on a ribbon used for hanging it up. I think these date back to about 15-20 years ago and are still in great condition!

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This one on the left is a traditional julehjerte or pleated heart, a very typical Danish decoration. Apparently their creation goes back to Hans Christian Andersen’s time!

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There’ll be lots more festive posts coming up, I hope everyone is having a great start to the month!

Bisous!

October Appreciation

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sunday came and we turned our clocks back. In two days, October will be over. For me, the beginning of autumn has always seemed like the real beginning of the new year – children go to back to school, summer holidays are over and the world starts functioning again, refreshed after all that R&R. But as soon as it jumped up on us, it’s now barely within our grasp anymore as we buy the last of our pumpkins, look for Christmas-themed lattes at Starbucks and start making wish lists for Santa. I say, there’s only two days left so let’s make it count.

Today we went to the supermarket and saw piles of winter squash just waiting to be picked. So we did!

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These little fellas below were just too cute to resist! The photo below shows two Jack-be-Little’s, I’m having a hard time finding a name for the big, pale orange squash however. Can anyone help me out? In the end we bought one Jack-be-Little, one Sweet Dumpling (top-right, cream and green stripes) and the nameless pumpkin!

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Between them I’ll be making some special cupcakes which I’ll be blogging about later, and The Boy wants to do another soup, though I think it will be a very small amount! I just love these rich colours which are so warming and remind you why this time of the year is the best: steaming soups, wrapped to the hilt in scarves and jumpers, watching it get dark outside at 5pm! I’m just as eager for Christmas as the next person, I also want to show my appreciation for the Orange Month. Until next year!

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Kitchen Staples

Bonjour mes amis! The weather in Paris is getting decidedly worse by the day and the flat gets absolutely freezing sometimes, so to cheer myself up I’m going to tell you about a few of my coup de couer, (meaning favourite) kitchen items. Not only are they extremely handy and practical, I think they’re lovely to look at too!

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Monsieur Mixer

Living on a budget, I definitely could not afford one of these trendy blenders like a Vitamix, and even the cheapest brands in Paris are still really expensive, so I used to use a hand-held pulverizer to make all my smoothies and soups. It still worked a dream but I was limited with how many ingredients I could use and the quantity I was able to make. Then it broke. So when the unofficial-in-laws asked us what we would like for Christmas I immediately knew what to suggest, and guess what? Joyeux Noel to me because they bought it for us early! The boy came home with the blender in one hand and patisseries in the other on the weekend, what a doll. Christened it with a melon and banana smoothie, yum!

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Lady Shaker

About a month ago, we did a big shop at a Zodio, which is a French home decoration store/warehouse with an amaaazing array of items for every domestic need. I wasn’t too keen on this little cocktail shaker at first, preferring the classic silver type but now I absolutely love it. It includes 4 recipes on the sides with all the measurements so you’ll never get lost whilst shaking up a storm, unless you’ve had a few too many…

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Madame Théière

When I was working for a family and teaching English to their two little girls here in France, I always admired their théière, a cast-iron teapot with a large, deep strainer set within for tea leaves. They originate from Japan where they are called tetsubin or kyūsu , and are traditionally hung over a fire to boil water. They come with tiny handle-less cups to drink from which are very efficient at burning your fingertips so be careful! As a tea lover, there’s nothing better than sipping in style.

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Papa Pestle (& Mortar)

The Boy was sooo keen to get this and when someone is that adorable you just can’t say no. Pestle and mortars have an ancient, apothecarial feel to them, (yes I’m making up words now, feel free to join me) which should really make no sense anymore in our modern world. However our porcelain pal was a cracker at smashing up M&M’s when we made our crêpes last week. Modern medicine at its best!

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I know these names are so silly, but once I started I was on a roll!

Bisous!