The Marais district of Paris is known for its cool and quirky shops, bars and eateries, and Alma the Chimney Cake Factory is a perfect example of the latter.
This cool cafe serves great coffee and sweet and savoury versions of Hungarian treat kurtos kalacs, aka chimney cake.
I had the soup and a mini herb chimney cake (because I’d been to a spinning class and had developed notions of becoming a fitness fanatic and starting a healthy eating regime), and my friend had a tomato, mozzarella and pesto chimney cone. We sat on the table you have to climb a ladder to reach, which is not for the fainthearted but affords a great view of the chimney cakes being prepared and a sense of superiority as you look down on people.
We’ll definitely be back to sample the sweet versions–options include cinnamon, almonds or praline.
And apparently you can make chimney cakes at home, so I might just have to give it a go.
Alma the Chimney Cake Factory
59 boulevard Beaumarchais
My short story, HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT, is available for FREE worldwide on Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iTunes, so go and grab yourselves a copy!
Bella Hunt thought the nanny quitting was the worst life got. Until she lost her job, that is. Going from a high-flying fashion PR consultant to a stay-at-home mother of three turns out to be a rather rude awakening, and Bella finds she’s coming up short in a few too many areas. But with a dash of ingenuity, a spoonful of friendship, and a sprinkling of love, Bella manages to not only have her cake, but eat it, too.
~ One of five finalists in a Chick Lit short story contest judged by Marian Keyes, Have Your Cake and Eat It is a novella about family, friendships, and making lemon cake out of lemons. A reader’s delight that will warm the heart and maybe even inspire some cake making. Or some eating, at the very least! ~
French classifieds website Leboncoin has created an apartment in Paris, furnished entirely with things bought on the site.
Open until 19 November, it features different animations each day, including DIY workshops and “job-dating”.
Today was a vide dressing, with bloggers selling clothes, shoes and accessories-perfect for me as I can never resist a fashion bargain!
And on the last day-19 November, everything in the apartment will be up for sale.
So whether its a cushion, lamp or even a sofa you’re after (there’s a bed, too), be sure to pay it a visit.
L’appartement Leboncoin is at 3 Rue Française, 75001 Paris.
There’s no shortage of places to go for coffee and cake in Paris, but the Used Book Cafe at the Merci concept store is one of my favourites.
Located at 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, it’s the perfect place to refuel after a Saturday spent (window) shopping in the Marais.
I opted for a cappuccino and a slice of chocolate cake, but if you’re feeling flush there’s an organic salmon and cream cheese bagel on the menu for €18–for that price it can only be fabulous.
Merci was set up in 2009 by the founders of children’s clothing label Bonpoint, who spotted a gap in the market for a place that combines fashion, design, household goods and refreshments. Each year the company contributes to a foundation that funds educational projects and development in south-west Madagascar.
This weekend in Paris was the 33rd edition of Journées Européenes du patrimoine (European Heritage Days), where sites open to the public across the capital included ministries, embassies and Hôtel Matignon, the official residence of the French Prime Minister.
Being a bit of a fashionista, I opted to visit the new head offices of French group Kering, which owns brands including Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci and Alexander McQueen.
Located at 40 rue de Sèvres in Paris’ 7th arrondissement, the new head offices of Kering and Balenciaga is the site of the former Hôpital Laennec and is classified as a ‘monument historique’.
In the chapel there was a contemporary art exhibition from the Pinault Collection, while in the Balenciaga showroom some iconic pieces from the fashion designer were on display.
We also got to peek at the office waiting area, which was as luxurious as you might expect.
All in all, a great visit that made me want to indulge in a bit of retail therapy-lucky then, that the Le Bon Marché department store is just up the road!
Ever wondered about the craftsmanship behind designer handbags, haute couture gowns and men’s tailoring?
Well, today I got to find out thanks to a behind the scenes visit at LVMH-owned Dior in Paris as part of the group’s Journées particulières open days.
(If the Dior haute couture gown to the left looks familiar, it’s because it’s Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar’s dress).
From men’s tailoring to embroidery, haute couture to Baby Dior, the visit shone the spotlight on the materials, skills and time needed to create some of Dior’s most emblematic and eye-catching pieces.
To create the iconic Lady Dior handbag above, it takes 140 components, one full day and four people (once all the pieces are ready). A Baby Dior dress can take 30 hours to make, a haute couture gown 250, and there was even a one-of-a-kind bracelet that represented a year and a half of work.
The visit continued with a gallery of miniature Dior dresses, then down to the perfumes where we could smell the scents in Dior’s Collection Privée and admire a model of Dior’s La Colle Noire chateau near Grasse in France (La Colle Noire is also the name of the latest fragrance in Collection Privée).
And as if it wasn’t amazing enough to get a sneak peak behind the scenes of one of the world’s most coveted luxury brands, we were presented with a gift in a beribboned Dior bag on the way out.
Today I met the fabulous Sophie Kinsella at a book signing in Paris, and it was a bit like how I imagine meeting royalty to be.
Having rushed there from work (hence the ‘just been dragged through a bush backwards’ look), I was alarmed to be told that the queue for signed copies had closed 15 minutes earlier. After seeing my crestfallen face, someone kindly took pity on me and I was mercifully allowed on the other side of the gilded rope.
Half an hour later and I was in front of the Queen of chick lit.
I think I finally understand how One Direction fans feel when they see Harry Styles – I have been a huge fan of Sophie’s books for as long as I can remember, and meeting her in person induced a level of excitement in me that I hadn’t felt since Christmas day 1999.
In person, Sophie is as witty and warm as the characters in her books.
I love all of Sophie’s books – they are guaranteed to put a smile on your face and I’ve re-read them all more times than I care to remember. I’m a massive fan of the Shopaholic series in particular, and can’t wait to curl up with the kitty to read my signed copy of Shopaholic to the Rescue.