Instagram (@lelalondon) – left to right, top to bottom:
1. Editing photos from Paris and these little girls – picking flowers from around the Eiffel Tower – have become my favourite thing in the world.
2. Paris and kissing and cops on Rollerblades.
3. Brunch report. Hunger Magazine. Eat it.
4. BBQ Whisky Beer. Oh, baby.
5. Went to see Paloma Faith at Sherwood Pines Forest. This is the pre-Paloma picnic.
6. American takeover.
7. Home away from home for the Charles Fish Hidden Hallmark event!
8. Countryside excursion face.
9. Not gonna lie, writing up food reviews is cruel dietary bullying.
10. Mannequin time.
11. Sky Sports.
12. Bus reflection selfie.
13. Handsome men love them some Lavazza.
“Living with integrity means not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.”
- Barbara De Angelis
A weekend in Paris might be the height of romantic cliches but it is also something you would be crazy to turn down. Thanks to an invitation from the guys at idBus, Monsieur Manfriend and I took the overnight London to Paris coach last Friday and settled in for a Parisian adventure.
After arriving at the Hotel Le Nouvel Orleans (directly across from the Mouton-Duvernet Metro station), we were recommended to walk down the street to Café Daguerre for breakfast. Appearing a little too tourist-friendly from the street, we followed the chattering of French accents and joined a large local crowd – only around the corner – at Café du Rendez-Vous.
Filled to the brim on eggs and Lavazza, we hopped on the Metro and walked the streets around Metro Abbesses for a short time before deciding to have lunch at the Amelie cafe (Café des Deux Moulins) on Rue Lepic. As a huge fan of film it was wonderful to see, but not wonderful enough to waste an afternoon on their painstakingly slow service. Instead, we made a pit stop at the Moulin Rouge, stopped for an apricot macaron (standard), and danced back up towards Montmartre’s Rictus Square. Surrounded by children with sunshine smiles, we met up with Mario Cacciottolo and spent a few hours taking photos and behaving unlike your typical Brits abroad. Hopefully. (That gag-inducing kissing photo below? Lensed by Mario in front of ‘Le mur des je t’aime‘.)
In the afternoon, Manfriend and I bounced up the many many steps of Square Louise Michel (stopping every now and then to people watch and play in the fountain) to visit – hands down – the most phenomenal spot to take Paris in; the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur. After getting lost in the skyline, we were surprised to witness the fitness that is Iya Traore – of Youtube fame – performing casually outside the religious landmark and drawing a fan club over to him in no time at all.
Though our original dinner plans fell through, we pulled our boots up, headed into the closest restaurant that piqued foodie intuition, gorged on wine and bread, then ran back to the hotel in the middle of the night through a rather romantic stretch of empty tree-lined streets. It was a perfect day.
After a lazy Sunday morning in bed a slight fault in my navigational abilities led us to the Jardin du Luxembourg when we were aiming for the Pont des Arts. After taking an hour to sing Franglais praises to a torrent of runners and explore the gardens (the picture-perfect Medici Fountain is a must-see), we found our way North to the aforementioned pedestrian bridge – also known as Lover’s Bridge – to attach our own love lock to its new home on the River Seine.
Gliding past the Louvre and the Facebook-famous Pyramid (you know, the Pyramid everyone ‘pinches’ from afar), we only really stopped at any point to take 1000 photos of a gun-toting policeman on rollerblades. Much of the rest of the day was spent exploring the area of the 8th arrondissement, consuming as much caffeine and brunch as our bodies would allow, and taking baby steps towards the Eiffel Tower to film a Blurred Lines dance off (we’ll see if that surfaces).
When the sun began to set we headed back to grab our bags, a very important final steak hache and frites, then took our seats at Bercy and fell asleep on each other before the idBus was able to switch its engine on. Paris je t’aime.
If you want to pique interest in your restaurant chain, I believe building build a branch out of eight shipping containers and setting it next to the River Thames will get the job done. London’s Wahaca – who have done exactly that – may serve the closest thing to the midwest Mexican that I grew up on but their location at the Southbank Centre is a world apart.
On a sunny day, Wahaca’s Southbank Experiment practically sizzles with that Good Time Feeling; even the waitstaff (hi, Dan!) seem to be hosting a party, rather than running themselves ragged to cater to all areas of the bustling shipping containers.
To do Wahaca justice, you have to start with a Bloody Maria (Tequila, Orange, pomegranate & tomato sangrita) or Hibiscus Mojito (Tequila, Mint, lime & hibiscus) cocktail, get your inner fiesta on, and choose all of the tapas-style dishes your heart desires.
On last week’s escapade, we settled on burritos, tacos, taquitos, and crispy fried chunks of sweet potato dressed with smoky caramelised mojo de ajo (a must). Though every plate was close o being licked clean, the overall highlights were the pork pibil tacos (slow cooked in their special Yucatecan marinade with fiery pickled onions) and a cactus and courgette burrito (sautéed courgette, cactus and new potato, layered with feta, a double dose of red salsa, frijoles, cabbage, and green rice).
Foolishly opting for dessert, we tried to share a caramel blondie tart (a dream for anyone who loves a little dulce de leche) and a brownie-esque chocolate tres leches cake topped with a scoop of peanut butter ice-cream. We failed. Our bellies thanked us.
Si ya no te ama Wahaca, le encantará Wahaca.
Last week Dulux took over a rather stunning London townhouse and created an immersive ‘Ultra White experience’ within it to celebrate their latest product, a tougher and brighter white paint (compared to standard Dulux white emulsions) called Ultra White.
Naturally, it called for a photo shoot. Joining fellow bloggers from The Apartment collective, we mixed some of our favourite white pieces with a curated collection of Spring/Summer & Autumn/Winter 2013′s best ultra white garments and set off around Dulux’s apartment to get generally snap happy.
…I should note that no stuffed dogs were harmed in the making of this photo shoot.
(If you want to get your hands on an Ultra White tester, head to Dulux.co.uk/UltraWhite!)
What I Wore:
Coat – Alberta Ferretti
Shoes – Russell & Bromley
Dress – Boden