Thursday, June 28, 2007


I really need to start paying more attention to what's going on here in London, instead of moaning about it all the time.

There was an *intimate* White Stripes gig at the Rivoli Ballroom, erm, about a ten minute walk from my house a couple of weeks ago. And funnily enough, no I didn't find out about it beforehand. Youtube is no consolation.


For any Lyell lovers in Paris:

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


...these Tsumori Chisato dresses to be reduced by 50%, preferably 70% in the summer sales. Eyes peeled, elbows sharpened, overdraft facility extended, go.

image source

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I was flicking through my French dictionary last night, as one might when one has just returned from France and has no idea when they might next go. Why does it always open on the page where the first word I see is redhibitoire? Always. According to my dictionary which I've had since GCSE French days, the translation of this is irretrievable flaw - the internet would beg to differ. One of my irretrievable flaws (who has ever used that phrase in English I'd like to know) may be that I never use the dictionary; another might be the frequent times I enter a restaurant alone in Paris and ask for a table for just myself, careful to construct an entire sentence, when in English I would probably just say "one" or even "table for one". "Une table pour une personne!" Why do I not say this?
According to good old Collins Gem, the phrase I have been using actually means:

I am lonely.

Hello. I am lonely. Yes, for lunch. Thank you.


Well you know what? Nobody ever came over to keep me company in all that time, but they do always ask if I want an aperatif. Booze: my trusty companion.

As far as I can tell, "je suis seule" could also be construed as "I am alone". So, after the waiter does that wincing head turning thing and I have to repeat myself loudly - carefully enunciating each syllable and rolling my eyes, I might as well be saying, "It is I, Michelle of ze resistance. I am alone. Listen very carefully I shall say zis only once."

Help me.

It's still not as bad as when my Italian friend thought the English word for ashtray was hamster.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


If anyone ever asked me what I would absolutely never, ever be seen dead wearing I always said shorts or dungarees.

I can see that shorts could look good if you have amazing legs. When shorts are continually proposed/rammed down the consumer's throat for two summers running I have no problem with the people who look good in them, known as models, wearing them occasionally. Dungarees I find heinous without exception.

People with legs like mine should never ever wear shorts, mini skirts or even a skirt/dress just above the knee unless thick black tights are provided. This makes shopping at the moment a teensy bit tricky. I apologise for having boobs, a small waist, curvy hips and not very nice legs. Apparently there are no clothes available for freaks like me this summer. It is the summer for those with spindly legs, flat chests and pot bellies to rejoice.

Even though French style can be a little conservative, some say boring, there's one thing I wholeheartedly agree with and that's that if a trend doesn't suit you or enhance your best features, avoid it. I saw no one in Paris wearing white or red Rayban Wayfarers recently, but plenty wearing black ones. I don't think that's boring, I think it's always a good idea to veer away from the Timmy Mallett look. I generally manage to take my own advice on such matters.

But today hell froze over and I purchased this pair of dungaree shorts.
But they're really cute!
But they don't suit me.
But they're so cute!

I succumbed to the I Want It Too Why Can't I Have It Too school of dressing, last seen during summer 2006 of the smock dress. I rationalised this purchase thus so: I will not subject Londoners to my legs, I will only wear the dungaree shorts when visiting my father (who, in a cruel twist of genetic fate, has fabulous legs at the age of 65) on the south coast, in a small seaside town where frankly, if you're not morbidly obese and are under the age of 85 then you are pretty hot stuff.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


We (by which I mean Lola and I) are most perturbed - disturbed even. Since 7.30am there has been a Polish plumber and his mate ripping pipes out from under the floor in the flat upstairs, which was supposed to happen at the weekend when . I . will . not . be . here. How, I ask you, are you supposed to eat the VERY LAST of your eurostar smuggled Pierre Herme macarons with all that racket going on? (If you want to see what all the fuss is about re: PH there are some good pics here.)
And I was saving the Abricot Pistache until last.

This week we have been mostly: 1: Hating London. 2: Doing that annoying and completely futile comparison thing where you compare everything in London to the way it would be in Paris. 3: Blaming all ills, petty annoyances and problems on London/England. 4: Not helping: Walking (yes walking! Being in Paris cured my foot somehow) through the city at lunchtime watching investment bankers rush in droves clutching sad plastic bags with plastic sandwiches in, talking on mobiles saying, "re-mortgaging's the only option..blah blah...terms of contract..blah...shall be instructing my solicitor.." and realising with absolute certainty that I have nothing in common with these people, and even if they earn 100 times more than I do, their quality of life sucks and I think they are all insane.

We, well I (since Loly has never been to Paris and is only grumpy if you try to pick her up) have been very busy with the above - moaning, complaining, being generally grumpy and so have not lavished this space with the attention it deserves. For this we apologise and make amends with this picture of cuteness.

Monday, June 11, 2007


It was annoying me that the first thing you saw when you clicked on this page was a photo of A.A. So here's B.B. instead (in the window of Les Archives de la Presse). Something about it made me think instantly of Kate Moss and the media's obsession with her. Nothing much changes does it? Except the camera isn't right in her face/up her skirt.

And p.s: I admit it, I bought a vest in A.A. - and a bandeau top. Grr.

Friday, June 08, 2007


And so, the gentrification of the north Marais is complete.
The End.

But! Where to now?
Northwards friends, ever northwards...and er, left a bit...

Ooh, that looks more like it. Where's that?
The haut haut Marais I believe some estate agents are referring to it as. Well, it's Temple really. Behind the Carreau du Temple (often used for shows at fashion week) is a very lovely area, and one that I wouldn't really know well if it weren't for the rumour I heard that there was a Lyell shop up there. It's the kind of place people really live and work - go down the cobbled Cite dupetit Thouars and you'll find children on bicycles, homes with windowboxes spilling geraniums, arty looking offices with doors open to let in the breeze and a sleepy dog lying on the mat. Wander round a bit in the quiet, quiet streets - once in a while you get spewed out into the crazy crazy of rue or boulevard du Temple then back in to the cool quiet streets.

In rue Charles Francois Dupuis there is this charming shop opened by a charming Australian girl. It is the Lyell shop but it's actually even better than that. Marie Louise de Monterey is a vintage clothes shop as well. Shoes line the floor around the entire shop, bags hang on one wall and vintage sundresses, white broderie slips and evening dresses hang on the rails. There are (I'm not typing the word vintage again) bakelite belt buckles and jewellery and such and there's a children's (oh bugger it) vintage clothing section. Then one half of the shop is given over to Lyell - their only Paris stockist as far as I know.

I'm really quite obsessed with those tiles.

After much dithering, I bought a snakeskin bag.

It did not cost ninety euros and no one felt the need to have a hissy fit.

{EDIT: Marie Louise de Monterey closed down after about a year, sadly. AA is, at the time of writing, still there, still selling neon headbands.}

Thursday, June 07, 2007



Over tired. Extenuated would be a perfect English word too.

Feeling like why have we made London so ugly, harsh, crazy, expensive and almost impossible for anyone to live well in? But it contains my little Loly, lovely friends and neighbours, my just the way I want it flat. It's home. My own bed - heaven.

So why do I always feel like crying when I get off the Eurostar at Waterloo? It's not just the length of the taxi queue.

Why is Paris so wonderful, soul nourishing and designed in every sense for living? But what are the people there so pissed off about?

Round and round I go again...

Now . must . sleep.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


What do you call that little wire where you put one end in your camera and one end in the computer, thus allowing you to upload photos? It doesn't really matter does it, since I forgot to bring it with me. So: Words now, pictures later...

The latest in the series of Parisian shopkeeper vs. me hostilities was really the pinnacle - one hopes anyway. I had hobbled down to the K.Jacques shop, which is tiny, late in the afternoon. It was jumping with customers and I couldn't even get in the door, so I resolved to go back early the next morning. Wandering along to rue Malher I was looking at this shop I've often passed but never felt compelled to go in, called Gavilane. There are gothic looking lycra clothes and skull pendants in the window - sort of Ozzy Osbourne meets Flashdance. Could be someone's cup of tea but not mine. Incongruously there were some really lovely vintage handbags in the window, and never one to pass up a possible shopping coup, I decided to have a look. You could drop me off in the most unappealing retail location ever and I will always unearth something worth buying.

Anyway in I went to the shop - first commiting the unforgivable sin of forgetting to say bonjour. I was only interested in the bags and what a choice - I could've bought them all and immediately saw the one I wanted. A burgundy leather frame bag with a cool stainless steel clasp and a really thin shoulder strap - it had been re lined at some point and there was no label. The man in the shop said it was "good leather." I would say it was Spanish leather and had not been an expensive bag when new. Then I noticed there was a water stain on one side. If it had been 15 or twenty euros I would've bought it in a second. Fifty and I would have thought twice. In fact I've never paid more than fifteen pounds for a vintage bag so that would have been stretching it. But it - and all the other bags were ninety euros. Ninety! I could've bought it but why pay such a hefty commission to someone for their good luck in finding it? It's the thrill of the hunt and the bargain that makes it all the more satisfying.

Since in Paris I feel I must always give a reason for not buying something, I said quite honestly that I thought it was lovely but it was too expensive. The man started saying, "Yes you can go out there and buy lots of bad cheap bags. You go! You go and buy bad bags out there! You will find many bad bags for ten euros. Me, I have good bags!" I had to agree with him and said so, again praising the loveliness of his bags. I kind of thought we were having a bit of light hearted banter but before I knew what was happening I was being physically ejected from the shop and found myself standing confused on the pavement outside. Then - did he just slam the door and lock it behind me? Yes he did. I looked down at the floor for answers and saw only a dead pigeon in the gutter - possibly the only previous customer that day. This only heightened the sense of surrealness.

How curious, I thought. Then I thought actually that's quite sweet that he cares so much about his bags. It's absolutely true that you could rifle through the depots ventes of Paris all day and find loads of faux leather '80s clutch bags for ten euros, but never a really nice one. I almost thought of going back in the next day but when I walked past on my way to K.Jacques my man must've seen me approaching because - again - he closed and locked the door! I mean whatever next? Customers wanting to spend money in your shop? Disgraceful. Anyway I had a little chuckle to myself then went on my way to buy sandals, or as I now say: Tropeziennes.

The girls working in the K.Jacques shop were SUPER NICE, even cooing in sympathy and I think a little admiration over the impressive bluey purpleness of my broken foot. They patiently let me try on every sandal in the shop and I ended up buying the Orion ones and being seriously tempted to get another pair as well. Oh yes, I do believe I have a new obsession.

Friday, June 01, 2007


In the parallel universe where my right foot would not win first prize in a special effects make up competition for Most Gruesome Looking Toe Tagged Corpse Foot Sticking Out Of Sheet In Morgue, I would buy some K.Jacques sandals in Paris. Or should I say I was planning to buy some K.Jacques sandals in Paris. I was planning to trot down to rue Pavee and quite simply, buy some K.Jacques sandals. (Please don't hold their website against them.) And then I was going to buy a falafel sandwich. It seemed so simple. And this - again! is why I hate planning anything. Unforseen freak wedding accidents aside, I can still dream. It's between these:

 Maybe I should still go and horrify the shop assistants when I take my sock off.