August 26, 2016

Close your eyes and listen

This is it. Time to close up our family house in Madrid and head back to Paris. We've spent yet another wonderful summer full of action as well as plenty of R&R. We blinked and the summer has come to an end. It is time to say goodby to friends and neighbours when it seems like we have just arrived.

Today, lying at the pool (yes, life is tough around here) I closed my eyes and listened to all the familiar sounds that remind me of summer and that I will miss back in France.

I will miss the scrap dealer driving past with his rattling truck shouting out Chatarrerooooo. Only in Spain!
The Spanish workers - because there is always something to repair in the neighbourhood - banging away while they argue which way is best, will be missed a little less.
Will I miss the gardner with his leaf blowing machine that wakes me up early on Friday mornings like clockwork? Yes, I will miss his kind smile when he wishes me Good Morning in his Moroccan lilt.
I will miss the birds chirping VERY loudly in the trees as if they were having an argument every morning. Spanish style!
I will miss listening to another neighbour's regular swimming strokes in the communal pool every morning and late at night from my bedroom.
Not sure I will miss the little Irish kid the other side of the gardens who is always yelling rather than talking!
I will miss one of my neighbours extremely cool jazz music which he plays during lunchtime when I am suntanning making the most of the deserted pool area.
I will remember the silence and absolute peace I treasure while hanging by the pool when everybody else is behind closed shutters enjoying their siesta time.
I will miss the trees swaying in the summer breeze.
I'll miss the clinking of plates and glasses while tables are being set on neighbouring terrasses and hearing the laughter from afar affirming their fun gatherings.
I will miss the automatic water irrigation going off at night telling me it is time for bed.

But most of all my neighbours are going to miss MY entertainment, for my Sex-and-the-City girlfriends and I have provided them with pow-wow lunches full of juicy, fun, creative, thoughtful, sad and sometimes profound conversations over past two months that they without a doubt have listened into.

August 24, 2016

Greek rhapsody

What can I say... I am in love with Greece...


the food


the sea


the history


the chilling


the beaches


the hospitality



the nature


the smells 


the time out


the sunsets


the little harbours


the cobblestones


the attitude 


the architecture


the views


 the alphabet

August 13, 2016

August 7, 2016

Registered to vote

I did it. I FINALLY did it! I registered to vote and requested an absentee ballot. This is a huge deal for me.

For months most of us have been following the Trump saga... thanks to extensive media coverage the entire world now knows that the US holds presidential nominating conventions to field nominees in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. It has been an incredible reality show for all of us to follow.

But enough is enough! Usually, I avoid talking politics, it's just not my thing!

However, as one of my Swiss friend's father once told me: "We are lucky enough to live in a free country therefore we must vote to defend that right." His words have stuck with me for decades.

Swiss are world champion voters and go to the polls on average every 6 weeks. Switzerland's voting system is unique among modern democratic nations in that Switzerland practices direct democracy in parallel with representative democracy, which is why the Swiss system is known as a semi-direct democracy.

I have never voted in the US but a certain Facebook post by a dear American friend got me thinking. My friends know that I am never the one to stay still and do nothing.

So, here I am - standing to defend what I believe in - knowing my Dad would be incredibly proud of me.

August 5, 2016

Best Expat Blog in Paris: Last call

The 2016 Best of Paris is a campaign running until tomorrow with the objective of identifying the Best of Paris companies, services and experiences.

Only 18 more hours to go before Expatriates Magazines closes the polls. There are 18 of us competing for Best Expat Blog... and I am one of them.

Feeling very proud and thankful for all the recognition. I am humbled to be considered as one of the best representative of Paris' Expat blogging community.

I might be small but I'm on the map!!! Thanking my readers for all your support.



The vote is still on, so go ahead and make my day!

August 4, 2016

A very busy summer...

So, do I dare to say it? Something no blogger is ever allowed to admit out loud... but why not? The truth is I am on holiday and just too busy to blog.

The summer holiday is suppose to give me time to read all those articles I have pinned, bookmarked and messaged even e-mailed to myself over the past months and never have time to read. Part of my holiday planning was to finally order a printed version of my blogs as a future keepsake. I have a booklist a mile long and my playlists have not been updated in over a year.

Instead I am spending my time running back and forth to the giant Carrefour down the road stocking up on food and drinks.... and you know what? I am loving every minute of it. Why?

Because since our arrival in Madrid we have had a constant full house of family and friends with many mouths to feed, many beds to be made, many dinners to host, many giggles to share, some tears to dry but most of all many unforgettable memories to hold the day we drive back to Paris.

So, please excuse me if my blogging is lagging behind a bit...


July 29, 2016

Very busy in Spain...


Yeahhhhh, finally after a very long drive from Paris... 
we have reached the Mediterranean... 
and we're soo ready to have a dip!


Barcelona's basilica is a never ending construction... since 1882!


Happy Hour along the beach... make it exotic, please!


The Osborne bull... 
initially a billboard, it has exceeded its advertising sense 
and has been integrated into the landscape.


Heading towards Madrid and it seems we are hit by a sand storm from Northern Africa, really!


Viva l'España!


15 hours of guaranteed sunshine a day


Average temperature 38°C... and loving it!

July 27, 2016

Best of Paris: Expat Blog Nomination

I am totally excited and feel immensely honoured to have made it to Expatriates Magazine's list of "Best Expat blog in Paris" nomination. I am competing with sixteen other Parisian bloggers some of which are seriously heavyweight such as David Leibovitz, Inspirelle, Mama loves Paris and Les Lolos.

My best score two weeks ago was 14% honing in at No.2. In the meantime I have slipped down to 2% just ahead of Thank you Paris and Best Adventure but it doesn't matter.

What matters is the confirmation that people out there are reading my blog and I am on the radar of the Parisian Expat blog scene! A fact I still have difficulty in believing for some reason but I do not know why!

Maybe from now on I will start answering that I AM a blogger next time someone asks me what I do! After nearly six years of blogging it has still not quite entered my mind that I might actually be a real blogger after all rather than just blogging!!!

http://www.best-in.paris/best-expat-blog/

The vote is still on, so go ahead and make my day!

July 26, 2016

Going behind the scenes...

Another invitation I could not refuse... it was over a month ago but nevertheless a story worth sharing.

Back in 2014, the first editions of "Les Journées Particulières" showcased the amazing diversity of profession and expertise at LVMH companies. The third edition invited visitors for a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most emblematic sites of the finest French craftsmanship.

I was lucky enough to take a peak at Christian Dior's rich heritage normally inaccessible to the public in its haute couture salons on Avenue Montaigne. The LVMH Group was proud to showcase its savoir-faire, reveal its creations and allow its people to share their passion for excellence with a wider audience. 

The event unveiled an impressive wealth of heritage, know-how and perfectionism that is passed on from one generation to the next. Strolling through the salons I enjoyed demonstrations of artisanal skills, stimulated talks as well as interactive itineraries. During the evening I admired expertise and talent that were unmatched and truly unique, craftsmanship delicate and precious, and extreme attention to detail...

... and closing my eyes for a moment I truly felt like Lady Dior!


Catching an Uber feeling like a filmstar


The staircase of the Haute Couture salons


The two ladies have been working for Christian Dior for over 30 years!


Exquisite, delicate and enchanting!



Devilishly glamorous!


Every creation has its mini model...



... exposed on a mini mannequin.


A close-up of the delicate needlework


Mr. Christian Dior' passion and trademark: flowers

July 21, 2016

This is for my girls

The following video is just too cool not to share on my blog. It is not about Paris or Expats but should get you smiling or even moving to the groove. It is linked to an initiative I feel very passionate about: Education.

In March 2015, the First Lady Michelle Obama launched Let Girls Learn to address the range of challenges preventing adolescent girls across the globe from attaining a quality education that empowers them to reach their full potential.


But Michelle Obama did not stop there, this spring she enlisted a major girl squad to sing the power anthem "This Is For My Girls." The song, which was inspired by the Let Girls Learn initiative and the 62 million girls around the world who do not have access to education, features Kelly Clarkson, Missy Elliott, Jangle Monáe, Kelly Rowland, Zendaya, Lea Michele, Chloe x Halle, and Jadagrace.

While the First Lady is not featured on "This Is For My Girls," it was a natural fit for her to join James Corden for a Carpool Karaoke segment to sing the song and celebrate the power of musical activism.

Now, I don't know about you, but my vote definitely goes to the current first lady!

July 19, 2016

Some like it hot...

Why is it the one time we are not in Paris the city is sizzling with temperatures up to 38°C? Two weeks ago we were all still wearing our winter coats!!!

And while some are complaining... the Parisians are good at that ... others are just jumping into the nearest fountain to cool down. Department stores are in high demand but not due to summer sales but for the instant relief that the air-conditioning provides.

Now would be a good time to catch up with all the movies you have been wanting to see. France's cinemas are freezing in summer and a fool-proof way to escape the sunshine for a while.

When all else fails head for one of the places selling Berthillon ice cream. They're not hard to spot, there's usually a queue out the front. Amorino stores are also pretty good.

As for me, I am happy to sit out the 40°C in Madrid under the scorching sunshine and bright blue sky and work on my suntan... because some like it HOT!


Worth the wait!


Finally... Summer has hit Paris!


The perfect place in the shade to enjoy an ice cream!

July 17, 2016

It's a full house!

It is Saturday evening and I am off for a run under the scorching heat... just to be by myself for half an hour. 30 minutes to recoup and regroup myself... and to step out of the action for a moment in order to appreciate all the good things in life.

Summer holidays are undeniably linked to Spain in our family. We left a piece of our heart in Madrid when we moved on to Lugano in December of 2006 and have been coming back here every year since.

The Expat Exodus is when you travel back to your home town/country for the long summer holidays which in our case happens to be Spain. Full house would be the most appropriate definition of our life-style here but I like to call it home.

The kids' friends come for sleepovers the day we arrive, the neighbours turn up at our doorstep with margaritas in hand to welcome us home (yes, they know me well!), birthdays are celebrated and girlfriends' reunion lunches organized (with lots of pink cava flowing!), friends and family come to visit from Switzerland, Italy, Sweden and England. Even the gardner was happy to see us again and brought us a big platter of his wife's home-made couscous yesterday! We were ten people at the table and camp beds were pulled out later that day to accommodate all the friends who wanted to stay into the wee hours of the night. My Italian mother-in-law tells me it feels like a family hotel.

Kids know that the breakfast buffet is open between 10am and 1pm, however, no one is allowed to sleep past midday. Lunch is light and home-made and served around 3pm. True to Spanish style dinner is not before 10pm. We all gather the chairs around the wooden table on the terrace at the end of the day when the heat decreases and temperatures invite us to stay up late enjoying good company, scrumptious food and refreshing drinks.

So, when I go off for a run before dinner it not just for the exercise, it is to give thanks for all the lovely moments in life I have been blessed with. 


July 10, 2016

Ode to Life

Tonight I received one of the most touching farewell messages I have ever received from a fellow Expat. It was not a personal note but nevertheless went straight to my heart. What a beautiful way describe one's emotions that are so difficult to explain when asked why do you keep on moving homes if it makes you cry every time?

Here is the answer:

Slowly dies he who becomes a slave to habit, 
repeating the same journey every day, 
he who doesn't change his march,
he who doesn't risk to change the colour of his clothes,
he who doesn't speak to he whom he doesn't know. 

Slowly dies he who shuns passion, 
he who prefers black on white and dots on i's rather than a bundle of emotions,
the kind that make your eyes glimmer,
that turn a yawn into a smile, 
that make the heart pound in the face of mistakes and feelings.

Slowly dies he who doesn't overturn the table, 
he who is unhappy in his work, 
he who doesn't risk certainty for uncertainty, 
to thus follow a dream, 
those who do not forego sound advice at least once in their lives.

Slowly dies he who doesn't travel, he who doesn't read, 
he who doesn't listen to music, 
he who doesn't find grace in himself,   
He who slowly destroys his own self-esteem, 
who does not allow himself to be helped, 
who spends days on end complaining about his own bad luck, about the rain that never stops.

Slowly dies he who abandons a project before even starting it,
who fails to ask questions on subjects he doesn't know, 
he who doesn't answer when he is asked something that he knows. 

Let's avoid death by small doses, 
remembering always that being alive requires an effort far greater than the simple fact of breathing.

Only a burning patience will lead to the attainment of a splendid happiness...

By Pablo Neruda



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