26 November 2013

PARIS TRAVEL GUIDE

MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES 

it's difficult to imagine being in paris without going to the louvre, but if you've been once or twice before don't feel compelled to go back just because it's the place to go. there's way too much to see, the miles of walking completely tires you out and time just gets eaten in that massive black-hole of a gallery. i quite like going to the grounds, hanging near the tuileries and maybe looking in on musée des arts décoratifs beside it. but i can do without the thousands of tourists nowadays. it's a bit more pleasant in winter when it's quiet, but there's so much to do and see in paris that i'd just avoid it competely. the following places are museums i would recommend going to, that me and my sister have seemed to enjoy the most. i haven't discovered any wonderful little independent galleries, most of these you will find in any travel guide. but i have sieved through the ones that aren't so good and have left the best. here are my top six:

1. POMPIDOU CENTRE
it took us a few trips to paris before going to see the permanent collection at the pompidou centre, but i wish we had gone sooner. they have an amazing collection of modern art, lots of it american such as warhol, rothko (which made me and tasha really happy), jackson pollock and robert rauschenberg. they also have some really good temporary exhibitions on, this is where we saw 'munch: the modern eye' a couple of years back before it went to the tate in london. i'm also gonna rate these places on the café and shop because these are obviously very important aspects of any museum or gallery, i feel i can say that with some authority after having done a degree in history of art. the café ain't great, i'm not gonna lie, but they have a great shop and this is one of the best places to get your postcards from to send home. they have a massive collection.




2. RODIN MUSEUM 
this is another newcomer, we only went for the first time on our last trip. i'm not sure if it's because we were skint and the cashier waved tasha's entrance fee but we really enjoyed ourselves here. the gardens are sort of the main thing with rodin's statues just kind of dotted around the place. it provides many great photo opportunities and it's definitely a more relaxed place to go in the centre of paris. you can just kind of sit down for an hour in the gardens or get a coffee and feel content. there's an indoor museum, it was okay, nothing extremely interesting but that may have just been because i was tired. it's quite small so it doesn't take up much time anyway. i'd say the main point about this place is that if it's a warm day and you want a cheap picnic lunch, you can have it here and it makes for very nice surroundings. the café(s?) and shop are nothing to write home about. 


3. MUSEE D'ORSAY 
yeah obviously. way better than the louvre, there's less to see so you're not as overwhelmed, and they've got all the good stuff here. all the impressionism and post-impressionism, the masterpieces by renoir and manet, but other good ones like toulouse-lautrec. the good thing about all these places is that they are free for people under twenty six which is a great opportunity to take advantage of. i like it because it makes you feel like you're not compelled to see everything like you would if you were paying. the café on the ground floor is rubbish. i'm not sure what it is with paris and big galleries, but they always serve coffee in paper cups out of the machine and then charge you four euros for it. they need to sort it out! i know there's another one on the top floor, maybe it's a restaurant, i have a feeling that one would be better. the shop is fairly good, you can get postcards of your favourites. 

     (photo credit: tasha rouse)

4. SWEDISH INSTITUTE
i mentioned this place in my previous post on places to eat, but the gallery itself is also really good. it's just a couple of rooms, you can quickly pop in and pop out after you've gone to the café. it's worth your while to see what they have on as we once saw a small jockum nordström exhibition. i think it's good to find a balance between large galleries that will take up a morning or afternoon, and then smaller ones that will only take twenty minutes. this is one of those smaller places, and it's really near rue vielle du temple so there's plenty of other things to do in the area. 


    (photo credit: tasha rouse)

5. DEYROLLE
crossed between a taxidermy museum and a shop, in deyrolle you can buy all the pieces on show. it feels a bit like walking into a natural history museum full of glass cabinets and strange skeletons and i'm always amazed by the range of animals they have, from life-sized tigers to the smallest butterflies. i love imagining the sorts of people who buy the animals from deyrolle and what kinds of homes they end up in. they also sell some cool posters and notebooks that make great gifts to bring back for people. tasha took me here on our first trip and we have went back every single time. deyrolle appears in the woody allen film 'midnight in paris', so i'd recommend watching that before your trip and then coming here. 


6. MUSEE DES ARTS DECORATIFS 
this museum has put on some of my favourite exhibitions that i've ever been to. last year i went just in time, literally i think the last day it was on, to see the marc jacobs and louis vuitton exhibiton. and it was wonderful! i love seeing the most extravagent and beautiful clothing in museums, it really gives you the time to look as long as you want and examine every aspect from the fabric to the jewels or netting or whatever else the embellishment may be. we also saw a free babar exhibition that was full of original drawings and paraphernalia about the children's books, although i remember babar as a tv programme. it was a great insight to learn the history of babar that i didn't know existed at all, and some of the old books (like the one you see below) were so pretty. it really did feel like a very unique exhibition. 






24 November 2013

CHRISTMAS FAIR









i got some free tickets from mathew's mum for the country living christmas fair in glasgow, which i went to on friday with janis. we were ready for it to be totally posh and a bit unbearable, but actually that didn't bother me too much. we just took it with a pinch of salt because i think we were both far more concerned with feeling christmassy anyway, and i actually really enjoyed it! the stalls were a lot better than i expected, i left with a couple of cute things that i never thought i'd have been able to get. my favourite stall was the polish pottery stall (third photo down), i could have literally spent all of my money there. it was a bit annoying because every design i liked the most was a "master design" so those pieces were more expensive than everything else (around seventeen pounds for a bowl.) but actually that isn't too steep considering the amount of hand-painted decoration which makes it more than reasonable, but i just couldn't afford it anyway. instead i bought a couple of little christmas tree decorations. this is my first year of having a christmas tree that's just mine (i mean, mine and mathew's, ahem) so i'm trying to build up a little decoration collection in time for the first of december which is when i have decided the tree will be going up. there were lots of clothes and homeware shops that specialised in alpaca wool and i was pining over a pair of these slippers made by samantha holmes and some sheepskin mittens by skyeskyns. it's this kind of stuff that's quite pricey but worth every penny! they might just have to go on my christmas list.

22 November 2013

MEADHAM KIRCHOFF



i've always been aware of meadham kirchoff, but i've never been bothered to check them out out properly until their recent collection for topshop got me curious. and then i realised that the label is actually really good! they're quite eccentric and the past couple of collections have been a bit marie antoinette meets alice in wonderland, but underneath all the craziness is some very pretty and elegant pieces. and the little picture of the designers, they look so sweet! the topshop stuff is a bit hit and miss, but i really like some of the patterned tights. i think they'd work really well with just a really simple outfit or just peeking out at the bottom of a plain coat. 





                                     

20 November 2013

CATHY CULLIS





a couple of years ago my sister bought me a zine and postcard by cathy cullis for christmas (the top two photos). i had never heard of her before but since then i have become a big fan of her work and would like to make a more significant purchase sometime soon. i really like the way she uses watercolour and embroidery, media which in the past has been associated with "female art" (and therefore considered lesser forms- more like accomplishments) and reclaims these as fine art. i'm trying not to use words like "pretty" to describe them, but i can't deny how aesthetically pleasing her prints look and there's no reason why delicate art can't be serious art anyway (tracey emin does it i suppose ( im not comparing cathy cullis to tracey emin)). 

17 November 2013

A FEW RECENT FINDS




i've got really into scouring around charity shops at the moment. i've always liked looking but now I try to make it more of a regular thing so i have a better chance of finding something special. some of my favourite things I have bought recently:
a purple flecked woolen jumper that made my heart leap when i saw it. i always find old jumpers fit kind of weird, this one fits around my body but is really short on the arms. i think it was shrunk in the wash or maybe that's just the style but i'll go with it anyway cause the fabric is so nice i couldn't leave it in the shop.
a pretty ceramic mug that has the nicest speckled oatmeal, brown and dark blue tones, and a little bowl made up of so many different shades of pink. think i'll probably use that for jewellery.

15 November 2013

AROUND THE HOUSE








i've enjoyed spending lots of time at home recently, taking advantage of the morning light which i normally miss
1. things on the wall
2. a special new teapot
3. michelle and natalie
4. one of my mum's favourite plants. i'm going to press some of the stems and use them for making christmas presents
5. glittery socks
6. the view from my bed
7. i like how the reflection from the lampshade looks like a full moon in the sky

13 November 2013

BRONCIA KOLLER

silvia koller with a birdcage, 1907-1908
a really nice painting i came across yesterday by broncia koller of her daughter. she uses such nice colours in her work. broncia exhibited with the gustav klimt group in vienna but is one of the lesser-known artists. the painting is currently on display at the 'facing the modern' exhibition in london.

12 November 2013

SUMMER DAYS

PART ONE/ OSLO 







PART TWO/ THE LAKE DISTRICT







i have only recently developed the photos from the two weeks i had off during summer. the time was halved between norway with my sister simone and camping in the lake district with mathew. we went to olso specifically to see the 'munch 150' exhibition, the largest exhibition of munch's work ever to be in one place. it was really good, especially because they re-assembled his 'frieze of life' for the first time since 1902. some paintings were absent and there were replicas in place, but you really got a sense of why his work is so important to be seen as a whole and within the cycle he intended. i can't say i had any particularly memorable cinnamon buns which was disappointing, but oslo is a very lovely place, especially the outer parts of the city where the munch museum and botanical gardens are. there is actually a really nice cafe in the botanical gardens which i would recommend visiting to anyone going there. this is also when my love affair with acne began.
 as soon as i got back to scotland i had plans with mathew to go camping in the lake district for a couple of nights. the campsite was really idyllic, just at the foot of some fells about fifteen minutes outside of keswick. it was glorious to wake up early in the morning and see the sun shining on the hills behind us, and to be so immediately in nature. i would love to go back again next year, but with a waterproof (!) tent and better equipped for the outdoors in general. i got some serious tent envy, we were all "look how big their tent is" and "ugh, look, those people have chairs." there were lamas in the field next to us aswell which got me really excited, and the campsite was right next to a pub too. so a really perfect spot!

10 November 2013

WINTER DRESSING: NOUVELLE VAGUE


i used to be way more into clothes and fashion a few years ago than i am now, although i don't think that's true exactly. i used to spend more on clothes, in fact i didn't have any sense about the value of money at all. also i used to be quite a lot more daring and wear things when i was eighteen that i would never be brave enough to wear now, or even be bothered to. i would go through clothes so fast, buying things one week and hating them the next. my style is definitely more focused on simplicity and comfort now, because i'm really concerned with buying things that i will like for a long time. basically, investment buying. unless it's really well done, the more things going on in an item, the more likely I will tire of looking at it sooner.
i've put together a winter dressing collage based on two of my favourite new wave girls- anna karina in bande-à-part, and catherine deneuve in les parapluies de cherbourg. i love the tomboyish school-girl look of odile as well as the prim and highly polished style of geneviève. both these looks are very much based on investment buying; simple, timeless, well-designed and made out of really good materials. i can't afford many of these items, not many people can. but they're nice to look at and inspire me nonetheless

Odile's look:
1. socks by chloe sevigny for opening ceremony. these are so cute and perfect, i know they're not exactly simple but they'd work really well with classic items and mixing up prints looks good when done right. the perfect length is just below the knee, go above it and you're in completely different territory. 
2. perfect pink jumper by ymc. just perfect. because, it's simple and it's made out of good-quality wool. 
3. this is a great tartan kilt/skirt by margaret howell, it would look great with all of those items, especially the socks!
4. a timeless turtle-neck jumper by cos. slouchy perfection.
5. houndstooth coat by cos. this really channels odile's androgynous, tomboy look. she would definitely wear it. 

Genviève's look: 
1. a prim and proper dolly coat by jaeger boutique. the pockets make it interesting and the bold colour makes it very 60's. 
2. russell and bromley elegant flats. i suppose this is more of an evening winter look because you're feet would freeze if you just wore those during the day. 
3. pink velvet ribbon! this one is from etsy. i would really like to start wearing ribbon in my hair more often. it's so elegant and feminine. 
4. scarf/collar with ribbon tie by peter jensen. i think it would be quite easy to make one of these. 
5. silk sailor-inspired top by jaeger boutique. très geneviève. 

7 November 2013

PARIS TRAVEL GUIDE

PLACES TO EAT/PART TWO

1. SWEDISH INSTITUTE
when you're getting to the end of your trip and need to save some money, head to the café at the swedish institute cause man, this place is cheap! in paris terms, anyway. not only that, but it's one of the loveliest and most relaxing places to enjoy a coffee or have lunch that i have ever been to. they have the nicest outside terrace and on a sunny day it's just wonderful. it always feels like you have managed to find somewhere special and a bit secret, although i'm sure most people know about it. last time we got an apple and cinnamon cake and i've been trying to re-create it ever since, with no luck! so if they have it, make sure you get a piece. also, they have tea for two euros. this might not sound like the best thing ever, but i'm british and i really start to miss tea after a few days of not having it, though i never want to shell out the five euros most places charge for it in paris (rose bakery, for instance). so this really is amazing. the institute itself is also worth checking out, as they put on some really great art exhibitions, such as jockum nordström which we were lucky enough to see the first time we visited paris. 





2. SESAME 
this is a really cool café located on the qaui de valmy and it's open all day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. they do this really good breakfast meal type-thing for about ten euros a person, where you get a hot drink, a smoothie, some toast and spreads like jam and nutella, and a bolied egg. pretty darn good! hopefully they still do it now. this place also has some good exhibitions, and one time we went they had a gini helie portrait exhibition going on, with lots of her works just dotted around the place. it gets very "cool" in the evening, with lots of hipsters hanging out on the canal (a bit too cool, if you know what i mean). this is the area that the well-known "bobo" hangout chez prune is located after all, so prepare yourself.




3. SADAHARU AOKI 
this is a classic french patisserie but with a japanese influence, so there's lots of macaroons and eclairs but with matcha (green tea) and black sesame fillings. if you're bored to death of ladurée, this place is a good alternative, and the violet-flavoured macaroon is better than any of the ones i've had from ladurée anyway (well maybe not orange blossom but it's still good). the branch we always go to is the one round the corner from the jardin du luxembourg, and this is so we can take our cakes and scoff them in the park straight after.



4. LA PATISSERIE VIENNOISE
this cute little viennese café is also near the jardin du luxembourg, on the rue de l'ecole de médecine. it's a nice place to get a coffee and a cake, nothing exceptional but more normal-priced and it really is charming. sometimes you do just want a normal coffee and you don't care how photogenic the place is, and when we get to this stage this is where we go. i don't have photos of the food but here's some photos i took last time we were there.