Absolutely Nothing To Worry About : Pinterest and The Etiquette of Pinning

I wouldn’t say I’m at the obsessive stage of my Pinning, but I’m getting close. I only joined Pinterest a few weeks ago but have been an onlooker  for some time. Every day it seems I see another (often unlikely) person has joined the world of Pinning. Some haven’t taken the Pin plunge yet but they have their boards and they’re following furiously. I know I’m quite a late comer to the party, I wasn’t sure I could cope with yet another social media, file sharing, naval gazing outlet but actually I really do love it and have gained more in a few weeks of Pinterest than in years of having a Facebook profile – which I still consider deleting on a daily basis but can’t quite do it. Now that, I’m pretty sure, constitutes a social media addiction.

So now that everyone seems to be getting the Pinning bug, the question of etiquette has to surely be asked. A Repin is a little like a Retweet (Twitter) or a Like or Share (FB). It’s a way of sharing something you have enjoyed, be it in words or pictures, allows you to show your appreciation publicly (rather than keep it to yourself, which lets be honest, hardly anyone does these days) and keeps the passing on element of social media alive and well. I’ve always tried as much as possible to use my Twitter, Facebook etc primarily for work purposes. As an important vehicle to spread the word about the brands I work with, all of which are online based. You can’t do one without the other, it simply doesn’t work, so very quickly you find yourself sucked in to a whole load of platforms which need updating ALL THE TIME so you don’t get forgotten. There’s nothing worse than watching “followers” falling or “likes” being undone. You may as well commit social media suicide right there and not bother.

And this is where Repinning and Retweeting becomes so valuable – essentially when you haven’t got anything of great interest to say or show, you can just steal someone else’s. It shows you’re still there, you’re still looking and reading and you’re endorsing this bit of information because you whole heartedly agree. But this is also where it gets blurry. When does the RT or RP cross the line?

I had a conversation with a friend the other day who was incredulous that one of her followers on Pinterest not only kept Repinning her lovely finds but didn’t even bother changing the captions to something which reflected her own thoughts.  It had happened to me the day before too, someone had pinned one of my very own pictures and claimed it as their own, no Repin, no link, no nothing. We decided bravely to “report the pins” but neither of us dared press the button to see what happened. We just had a really good Skype chat bitch about it instead. As I typed, I quietly thought about all the Repins I’d committed in the past weeks. Had I changed the captions? Had I Repinned too many things from the same person? Was I a Pinterest pest? Where were the rules? We need to know the dos and don’ts before we all fall out with each other and are labelled social media stalkers and thieves.

Luckily one of the people I follow and Repin a lot, is a very dear friend so I called her to see what she thought. She found it funny – on the outside – and we laughed about Pinterest etiquette for a while and praised each others Pinning cleverness. I bet the moment she put down the phone she too had a little Repin panic. I bet you anything.

My Pinterest - a few too many Repins perhaps

And one more thing, is it correct to use capital letters when writing “Repin” and “Pin” and “Pinning”? Oh who knows, I’ll just keep looking at the pictures.


Absolutely Nothing To Smile About : My mint green teapot

It would be criminal not to share a few photos of this absolutely beautiful teapot. It’s a birthday present from my Mother-In-Law and is making me smile very much indeed on this foggy Monday morning. So much so, I’ve photographed it from every angle. The best bit, aside from the shape, colour and its simple Art Deco beauty, is the genius of the felt lined cover – a tea cosy and teapot in one.

 

 


 



Absolutely Nothing To Write Home About : Brunch at Cafe Francoeur, Paris

This time last week (this day last week….I started writing this morning) we were enjoying a very local and very delicious brunch in Paris, courtesy of the wonderful Cafe Francoeur. With just two hours to while away before the Eurostar Sunday mayhem, we decided that breakfast and a walk around the Sacre Coeur would be a pretty good way to end the weekend. Cafe Francoeur looks like just another one of those corner cafe restaurants which litter the streets and which, more often than not, are full of tourists, laminate table tops and pretty mediocre fare. Thinking it was probably just that, we took a table by the window planning to stay for a quick coffee before we went on somewhere else. It wasn’t until we sat down and looked at the menu and then the interior and then the people sitting at the bar reading their Sunday papers, that we realised we might actually have stumbled on a little neighbourhood gem. Of course I’ll probably find it’s hugely well known, in all the tourist guide books and been featured in every blog on the net, but for now I’ll just enjoy the discovery.

 

Cafe Francoeur

 

Sunday Brunch

 

Most importantly it feels about as French as you can get and we could have happily sat there for hours. The dining salon is absolutely beautiful and although we didn’t have the chance to try the lunch or dinner menu, I hope it wouldn’t disappoint. We’ll certainly be going back.

 

Cafe Francoeur interior and salon

 

Cafe Francoeur

129 Caulaincourt

75018 Paris

 


Absolutely Nothing To Smile About : Happy Fiorucci (circa 1980s)

Last week was my birthday and amongst the presents I very luckily received, were a stick and two rocks (from my 3 year old), the most delicious Urban Apothecary candle and a weekend in Paris. Spoilt? Very. But the biggest surprise of all was from my very clever husband who it would seem knows me a little bit better than I’d thought.

In my formative fashion teenage years there was one brand which I was truly obsessed by, Fiorucci. The store on the Kings Road was my very favourite place to visit and, having a pretty fashionable Mum, I was taken there quite frequently. It was full of the kind of Pop 80s style I most loved. Bright, brash and painfully hip. I would rifle through the rails for ages and ages, holding on to the things I most liked for just a little too long until Mum noticed.  Sometimes this worked but mostly it didn’t so I’d impatiently lie in wait for her Fiorucci hand me downs which were even better. What I did buy though, every single time we visited, was a pack of stickers, which I could afford with my pocket money and allowed me my very own little bit of Fiorucci cool.

Over the years I lost or swapped or gave away most of my sticky treasure but I held on to a small collection which I framed in later years and have kept to this day. They make me smile like you wouldn’t believe. The colours, the imagery, the language all still make me feel like they did when I bought them. I’ve always been insistent that they hang on a wall where everyone can see them, at the moment that’s the family bathroom, just above my husband’s collection of bright yellow National Geographics. What could be cheerier!

Anyway, having thought for years that my husband didn’t listen to anything I said nor did he care about any of my things (that could still be a little bit true), I was presented on my birthday morning with a FULL SET OF FIORUCCI PANINI STICKERS. I’m still not entirely sure how or where he found them but he did and I now own them, all of them, beautifully mounted on the official Panini cards and protected in their very own Fiorucci folder. I want to run back to school and show everyone, but I’m showing my blog instead.

There are way too many to photograph and show in one post so I’m going to drip feed them slowly over the next few weeks. For now, here’s the folder and a couple of the special collection mounts.

 

 


 

 

So much more to come. Hopefully my photography will get a bit better as I go along too. You get the idea anyway. Happy Fiorucci.


The Drunk Shop

By popular demand, here are some more photos from inside the wonderful Drunk Shop.

 

 


 


Absolutely Nothing To Smile About : A Weekend in Paris – part II

And so on to Paris part two : where we stayed,  where we shopped and where we enjoyed our departing Sunday brunch.

In days gone by – before children and when I had a proper job – we always stayed in a friend’s little appartment in Montmartre whether I was there for work or play. We called it the Pigeon House, simply because it was right at the very top of the building where the pigeons of Montmartre perched and preyed. It has since been sold to new owners so we decided that rather than staying in a big, impersonal chain hotel or a very lovely but very pricey boutique hotel, we’d chance a B&B and hope for some Parisian hospitality.

Through the powers of Google and various blog reviews, I came across Sourire De Montmartre. A family owned, 5 bedroom B&B in the heart of Montmartre on Rue De Mont Cenis, just a few minutes walk from the Metro and within a 10 minute bracing accent of the Sacre Coeur.  It was the ideal mix between hotel and home. No awkward late night conversations with the owners and no silly hotel added extras or noisy neighbours to navigate. The 5 story house is scattered with bedrooms and en-suites on each level with a sitting room and kitchen at the very top where breakfast is served – although we didn’t actually make it on either morning. We stayed in the Josephine room which was beautifully furnished with family antiques and complete with cast iron bath under the bedroom window. Plus, amongst all the french finery, was a brand spanking new iMac to use and peruse as we wished. Clever people.

Josephine

When it comes to shopping, I’m not a huge fan, which is odd for someone who loves clothes, things and most forms of purchasing. Fashiony shops annoy me a bit, or maybe it’s just the other shoppers who annoy me, I’m not sure but either way it’s not my favourite thing to do and so I don’t. I do, however love a junk or curiosity shop and Paris has some of the very best. You have to be a bit careful not to be sucked in to buying over priced junk just because it looks pretty in the display. Here are two places to make my point, the first is the pretty one which can easily trip you up and the other is the real deal – or at least I think so. If we’re completely honest you’re not really going to find a real life junk bargain in a city like Paris unless of course your my husband who finds all kinds of treasure on street corners. More about that later.

Au Petit Bonheur La Chance : a  veritable haven for treasure and peculiar things but very very pricey. On first glance we thought we’d found the best shop in the world and it really is a wonderful place to look..and knock things over…but you could find pretty much everything in here on ebay or in a car boot sale if you looked hard enough.  Saying this, I did buy a wire egg basket, one which stays flat until you add something weighty, but only because I’ve been wanting one for ages and never found the right one, until now. Au Petit Bonheur is part of the Village St Paul which is a well loved collection of shops and stalls all selling antiques and bric a brac. Situated in the cobbled streets of the Marais district, it’s a very acceptable way to spend a hour or two and well worth the visit.

So on to our favourite shop in Paris, L’Objet Qui Parle or as we call it, the “Drunk Shop”. We discovered it a few years ago when we first stayed in Montmartre, tucked away on a hilly side street and owned by a charming man who – as all good French men do – enjoys a glass or three on a lunch time and so is much more prone to haggling if you visit mid afternoon. We have found some of our most loved and well used treasure in this little shop. From full dinner sets and silverware to desert bowls and my very favourite butter dish (which is actually a soap dish but who cares), all have hailed from the drunk shop and it’s our first port of call whenever we visit. This time we came home with 2 yellow Viandox coffee cups and the most wonderful antique coat hook to hang on our bedroom door.

L’Objet Qui Parle
L’Objet Qui Parle interior
L’Objet Qui Parle glasses

But the find of the weekend – or so says my husband – was a metre long, framed jigsaw puzzle of a quintessential French chateau which had been rather sadly discarded in a pile of rubbish on a street corner. He pounced on it as if it were gold and almost skipped off down the street to find a black sack in which to carry it. So that will grace the wall of the downstairs bathroom alongside other visual treats such as a Johnny Halliday needlepoint and a poster from a (legal) midget bull fight. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all.

I’ll save our departing brunch for tomorrow’s post. It may get lost amongst all this and that would be a shame as it really was the perfect end to a very lovely weekend.


Absolutely Nothing To Write Home About : A Weekend (eating) in Paris

I’m not really sure how to approach a post about Paris without it sounding terribly self gratifying and a bit “look at me” which are two of the things I hate most about blogging. So, I’ll get this bit over with quickly and then cut straight to the important stuff. We went for a weekend, sans children, as a celebration of birthdays and anniversaries which would basically cover us for the year. Just two nights, staying in Montmartre where I booked the loveliest B&B. We enjoyed some of the most delicious food I’ve tasted in years, found yet more treasure to add to our rather overflowing collection of car boot / junk shop finds and generally had a really nice time.

I know Paris pretty well. After London, I’ve probably spent more time there than anywhere else and I love it. Every trip lends itself to new experiences and new adventures and it’s all just a couple of hours away by train….no airports, no flying, heaven!

So now to the important stuff – firstly, where we ate.

Frenchie : we were told on good authority that Frenchie is the restaurant of the moment. Tucked away on Rue De Nil in the 2nd, it’s small, unassuming, packed to the beams and completely delicious. After enjoying an aperitif in the tapas / wine bar opposite the main restaurant, we were treated to a 7 course taster menu cooked by head chef and owner Gregory Marchand and his perfectly formed team. It would be nothing short of boring to list the food so lets just say this, after some of the most incredible flavours I have ever experienced, the desert (number 2) was topped with white chocolate snow….a taste I shall be trying to recreate for a very very long time. That’s all you need to know. Go, if you can, it really is wonderful. And if you can’t get a table in the main restaurant, Frenchie’s Wine Bar serves some of the best tapas you’ll find in Paris. It gets crazy busy and queues quickly stretch all the way down the cobbles, so get there early – closed weekends.

 

Frenchie Restaurant

 

Frenchie food

 

Frenchie Restaurant, 5-6, rue du Nil – 75002 Paris – 01 40 39 96 19

 

And now for something completely different……

Le Dauphin : If we’re really honest, what we actually fancied after a full day of walking and looking and a little bit of buying, was red wine and frites, but we decided to be adventurous and found ourselves in the 11th in Le Dauphin. Resembling more of a shrine to marble and mirrors than your usual Parisian cool interior, Le Dauphin comes from reknowned chef Inaki Aizpitarte and is located just a few doors down from his better known Le Chateaubriand on Avenue Parmentier.  They serve small plate food and nothing is quite what you expect. If you’re looking for traditional french then this isn’t the restaurant for you but if you’re keen to try something a bit different then it works on all levels. We shared 6 plates, my favourite being the escargots with celery risotto which sounds awful but was actually delicious and not like any risotto I’ve ever tasted before, mainly because there wasn’t a grain of rice present in the whole dish. Maybe this was the french version of Heston’s snail porridge…..who knows. Jay Jay would have happily eaten platefuls of the ricotta with honey and almonds which really was a lovely way to end a meal.

If there was anything vaguely intimidating about Le Dauphin, it would be the clientele, who were all a little bit too cool for school and possibly came for the mirrors as much as the food. The place itself was perfectly charming, as was our waiter who seemed strangely aware of the image it was accidentally portraying…it was almost as if the food and service was apologising for the rather cold Rem Koolhaas interior. At the time I wasn’t sure how much I liked it but I’ve found myself thinking about it rather fondly ever since and would certainly recommend it. If you do go, sit in the far right corner. There’s a table for 2 surrounded by mirrors and it makes for very entertaining photographic interludes between courses.

 

Le Dauphin - interior

 

Ricotta with honey and almonds

 

Le Dauphin

131, avenue Parmentier
75011 Paris
Métro: Goncourt
01 55 28 78 88

 

It’s almost more exhausting writing about it all than it was eating it all. That’s as much as I can manage for now, next post tomorrow : B&B, Brunch and Bric a Brac.