Wednesday, 25 November 2015


Last week I went to Paris to see an exhibition and the ballet La Bayadere.  I cannot say I was not a little nervous before my trip after the troubles the week before, but once I was on my train I was fine.  I found Paris to be the same as usual with very little outward sign of security - bags were checked in museums, the theatre and shops but that was it.  The Metro was fine and the only armed Police I saw were in the UK on my return.  I very much believe that if anything is going to happen you can do little about it so I carry on regardless - carpe diem!  So let's see Paris.

My first stop was the Palais Galliera Museum to the see their latest exhibition about Proust's muse the Comtesse Greffulhe and you can watch a short video in French about the exhibition here and see some nice photos of the dresses on show here on the museum's website.  I really loved seeing the dresses and also the photographs and documents as well as accessories such as hats and shoes - the Comtesse had big feet!!

After visiting the Galliera I then wanted to indulge my foodie passions and I took the Metro to Sentier to find Rue Montorgueil as I wanted to visit the Stohrer patisserie - the oldest one in Paris.

It turned out that Rue Montorgueil is full of patisserie shops and food shops and I understand the shops in the surrounding streets sell the supplies for the patisserie craft...more of that later!  Above you can see a cheese shop and a green grocer who had those tiny little grapes that are in season at this time of year.  The patisserie nearby had these cute pink piggies complete with eyelashes or glasses iced on them LOL!

I found the Stohrer Patisserie and the photos above show the delights they sell!  They sell cakes, of course, but also savoury food (the top right photo in the collage below) and the most amazing lunch trays!  Sadly the rain never stopped all day and with having bags and an umbrella I was beginning to feel really tired from the effort - I detest cities in the rain I really do.  So with a heavy heart I headed back to my hotel for a rest and to dry out! 
All Le Notre except top right which is Stohrer's savouries.  
Those Autumn cakes at Le Notre are so pretty!

At the Metro by my hotel there is a lovely Le Notre Patisserie so I headed there to buy a treat.  
Here you can see my Paris Brest Eclair - it even 
came is a special eclair shaped box!  Delicious wasn't 
in it this was cake heaven!  You can see some of the 
other beautiful cakes that were inside the shop!

I visited the Place de la Concorde in the early evening and the lights of Paris were lovely to see and all sporting the colours of the tricolour for obvious reasons:-
The ferris wheel looked great and reflected beautifully in the puddles - left  
The central colours of the wheel changed as you can see on the right.
TL  - National Assembly and TR - Looking towards the Madeleine
BL - Champs Elysees and BR The US Embassy lit up red/white/blue

TL - the ferris wheel and Cleopatra's Needle
BL - the beautiful fountains on Place de la Concorde
Right - The Eiffel Tower - you can just see the blue and white 
illumination but the red was hidden by buildings.
And here a scarf-less Hermes Horseman - I have 
never seen this before and maybe it was out of respect 
for the victims of the attacks in Paris.
In the evening I went to the Opera Bastille to see Nureyev's version of the ballet La Bayadere (The Temple Dancer).  This is a lovely ballet and whilst I have seen it before in Paris I was so disappointed last time because I had a terrible seat at the much older Opera Garnier.  Since then the ballet company now performs this ballet at the Bastille, as it is a big ballet and extremely popular, so this theatre can fit more people in.  It has taken me a few years to be able to get to go again so I was very happy to go last week.  I was then delighted to find that the leading role of Nikiya would be danced by Dorothee Gilbert along with Mathias Heymann as Solor.  Hannah O'Neill danced Gamzatti the rival to Nikiya.  I have seen the Etoiles (Principals) Dorothee and Mathias before but was interested to see Hannah who has been newly promoted to First Soloist - I was not disappointed she was a fabulous dancer AND she had the most beautiful purple dresses!!  I also feel that her role had the best choreography full of fireworks and she danced it perfectly.  Of course the other dancers were wonderful as well and not least the 32 members of the corps de ballet (seen above) for they performed The Kingdom of Shades for which La Bayadere is so famous.  You can see the whole ballet if you wish on You Tube here with Aurelie Dupont as Nikiya but if you just want to see The Kingdom of the Shades scoot along to 1:28:30. 

On my last day ( I was in Paris for only 2 nights) I had booked myself onto a cookery class with Patisserie a la Carte learning how to make proper macarons - those made by the Italian Meringue method.  I learned that Laduree only make their with the French Meringue method - which is not regarded as quite so good and the macarons made that way are much sweeter too, but Pierre Herme do theirs with Italian Meringue which is not so sweet.  It turned out to be only me on the class as no one else had booked so I had private tuition!
In the collage you can see top left my macarons after baking, then below this the cassis chocolate ganache I made to fill the macarons with after it had been cooled in the fridge.  Next job was to pipe the ganache onto the macaron shells and then assemble the macarons - the bottom picture shows the macarons safely arrived at home - no breaks at all - I had taken a strong klik lock box with me!!  I was told that it is best to leave the macarons a day or so to allow the flavour from the ganache to pervade the macaron shells and I have to say they taste delicious!  I definitely can't wait to get back to Paris to do more cookery classes as it is such fun.  I did another one earlier this year too and I'm hooked!  After my class I was so close to Gare du Nord that I was able to walk to the station for my Eurostar home!

I'm afraid that the Gare du Nord is just not as glamorous as St Pancras in London - St Pancras is just fabulous and at the moment it also has a wonderful Disney Christmas tree made of toys!
I missed out on travelling on this brand new train 
(seen at Gare du Nord here) by 1 hour - lucky people!

My "normal" old Eurostar train at St Pancras.

The beautiful St Pancras Station
in London.

The Disney Christmas Tree

Hey Mickey!!  He has the best spot!
Next time on the blog - the Hermes windows!


Palais Galliera -
Stohrer -
Le Notre -
Patisserie a la carte -

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Bandanna Forray

Last year when I visited Brussels to see the bi-annual Floral Carpet I made a visit to the Hermes boutique on Avenue Louise and made a little purchase, as you can see from the orange box below:-
A new box for the new format scarf:-)

A little peek inside...

Ooooh it's something PINK!

"Peuple du Vent" -  Bandanna
The design is full of little animals and people.
I love this little owl in the middle!

A lovely intricate border surrounds the critters.

And lots of flowers adorn the outer edges - really sweet.
So not having had a bandanna to play with before I was looking forward to seeing just what I could do with it - well I am happy to report it was fairly easy - obviously the scarf is smaller so some things do not work e.g. Equestrian looks or knots such as Cossack,Friendship and Half Ascot will not work because the length is too short, but much of what else we can usually do works with this format as well:-
Here is a simple bias fold with a ring slipped up to hold.

Here I have used a moyenne scarf ring 
with a bias fold.

This is as before but I just turned the scarf 
to one side - quite a simple/effective look.

Here I have made the half bow 
knot with moyenne ring

Here is the slip knot using 
the moyenne ring.

For this you a really skinny neck! I only just 
managed this wrap around bias fold secured 
with petite ring.

I like this look - a single knot in the middle
of a bias fold and then tie the ends behind 
the neck.

A very straight forward half fold on
the diagonal and tie behind the 
neck for a classic Cowboy look.

And the same knot just pulled round to one side.
I hope the ideas above give you some inspiration and maybe a reason to look at bandannas next time you are in a Hermes boutique.  They are only made using 3 colours but I think I quite like that idea!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Plisse Playtime

Some time ago I acquired this beautiful cerise plisse version of Aux Pays d'Epices.  I had been looking for one in a brighter colourway and this fitted the bill, although I would still like a flat one really;-) Anyway as today was a slow autumnal day I decided to hunt this plisse out and have a play with it:-

The full scarf.

Circles containing  details of spices etc..
encircle the design.

Lots of dried spices and nuts (nutmeg?)
make up the design.

I think it's a pretty colourway.
Just wrapped around with the tails
tucked inside.

Butterfly knot with scarf ring.

Butterfly knot with scarf ring and a
single knot.

A single knot tied using only the very edges 
of the hem to get this effect

Scarf ring used to loop the scarf 
ends through to make a bow.

Here I slightly lengthened the bows 
by pulling them out a bit more - and 
you can just see the ring here too.

Half bow knot with scarf ring.

Just playing here to see what works I folded 
the scarf across the middle and tied as per a 
Cossack - it felt a bit bulky but if you want a 
warm neck or cowl collar look this would 
work well!!

Again purely playing - this is folded as if you had a 
90cm folded in half on the square (not diagonal) 
then I put it round my neck and pulled the ends 
through a ring - just like the a-symmetrcial knot the 
only difference being I didn't fold opposite corners 
to make a diagonal before putting round my neck.  
A bit flouncy but if that's a look you want it works.

Friendship Knot

This is a single knot tied in the front of the scarf 
before putting round the neck.  I have hidden the 
ends inside the roll and tied them together inside 
the roll to stop them falling out

The 2 ring slide which works well.

Hope you like some of the ideas here!