Browsing Posts published in January, 2012

Some Style To Her

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That’s Newfounese for ‘My, my she’s looking well put together indeed’. Now I’ve shared my fascinating perspective on French style before. But I’ve been studying les femmes for over a year now and much like the language I still have no inkling whatsoever how it works, that effortless chic that 99% of the women here display on a regular basis. I remain the poster girl for the other 1%. But then a golden opportunity arose.

France has a unique retail practice. Twice a year everything on French soil goes on sale and I mean SALE. Les Soldes are serious business, 50-80 % off is common and not just the ugly crap that’s been gathering dust. The really good stuff is priced to move. Anyway, Mademoiselle Elodie invited me to Dijon (aka the big city) with her for a day of shopping. Mais oui mon amie! 

I was beyond excited with this prospect, the thrill to watch a French woman shop. I knew at long last all secrets would be revealed. I would carefully observe her, taking note of every twist and turn. What colors? What fabrics? What stores? Oh yes, IT IS ON. I would come home sans boxes and bags but with a PhD in chic.

Ah well, the best laid plans. Sadly by the time the day rolled around I was a tad under the weather, nothing serious but enough to prevent a day of power shopping. Oh how disappointing. The next round of sales isn’t until June. I spent the day watching Downton Abbey marveling at the costumes and jewelry while cursing my fate. As the moon rose I ambled out of bed and traded flannel pajamas for trusty sweats. And just as I’d accepted my fate as the dowdy mistress of my little manor, the doorbell rang.

There was Mademoiselle loaded down with bags. In she came and laid all her treasures before me. Black ankle boots, a supple grey handbag du jour, blouses, dresses, sweaters, Chanel perfume (of course) and finally the staple of the French woman, les foulards- scarves. It is indeed the scarf that separates the women from the girls in France (and the men from the boys for that matter). It had been my plan to buy one thing and one thing only on this excursion, a scarf.

Naturally I’d have Elodie teach me that dark art of how to make it seem as if a breeze had tossed it around my neck. As I was admiring her clever purchases she handed me this …

And inside was this …

I hadn’t even told her of my foulard master plan. That’s how good they are, they just know exactly what to buy. She said it was the perfect colour for my hair and that if I couldn’t go to the sales then the sales would just have to come to me. Now that’s style.


Cover Girl

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Well, this giraffe has been a busy beaver (now there’s a visual for you). This week has been all about the blook. As things move along I’m becoming more and more aware that this is actually happening. The big news is that the cover design has been finalized and now just needs some minor tweaking here and there. I must say it’s not at all what I first imagined but I think it’s a winner. And no, I’m not showing you yet so stop looking at me like that. You crowd have already read most of the book so I have to keep a few surprises in store.

It’s all so surreal. I talk to my editor (she’s a sweetheart) on the phone and we hammer out this detail and that detail but I still have no concept of this coming to pass, a theme that has emerged in my life ever since I turned it upside down. I haven’t read the book since early December and for all I know it’s a nightmare. But I don’t care. If I start reading it now I know I’ll go all medieval on it, plundering and pillaging it from start to finish. It’s a sickness this compulsive need to change. So it’s best that I leave that file untouched. It is what it is. Continue reading “Cover Girl” »


Love-Hate Relationship

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Ye crowd know I’m all about the joy and god knows I can flap my gums with the best of them but I have nothing to say today because a bookstore in Toronto called Type says it much better than I ever could.

I love language …

And just in case you’re wondering how the French is coming along I’ve decided to take a new approach.

I hate language …



Don’t Fence Me In

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Robert Frost once wrote that good fences make good neighbours. Well, today I say au contraire. I have decided that good gifts are all it takes. Monsieur Jean-Claude and Madame Jacqueline have finally returned to the Rue after their long sojourn in Morocco. And they came bearing this …

This is an authentic tagine, the original slow cooker used to make all kinds of exotic and aromatic dishes all throughout North Africa. I’m waiting for that husband of mine to get busy with the hundreds of meals I’ve already carefully planned in my head.

And as if that wasn’t enough to drag back all the way to France for the two Canadians across the street, Madame et Monsieur presented Neil with these …

Oh yes, Rusty of Arabia. Handmade right in their Moroccan village. And if you think these can’t be outdone just feast your eyes upon the ones I got…

I’m thinking I’ll have to get a whole new wardrobe for these. I mean I ask you, how sweet are these people? As they were walking out the door JC reached into his pocket and said, “Oh I almost forgot,” as he pulled out a bag of Moroccan cinnamon, Neil’s favourite addition to his morning oatmeal. Sweet indeed.



Sometimes I think the entire country of France is obsessed with pastry. No wait, that’s just me. Any day of the year one can satisfy even the most severe of cravings but on January 6, known to religious types as The Epiphany, the French roll out a special one. It’s called the galette des rois, or king cake and there’s no escaping them. The other day there must have been hundreds of them steaming on trays at the entrance of the grocery store.

So of course my better two thirds decided this was a vital element of cultural assimilation and brought one home.

Mmmm, puff pastry stuffed with frangipane (roughly the size of a North American pie). The tradition is that hidden somewhere inside is a tiny ceramic trinket. Whoever happens to find it becomes king for a day and gets to wear that gorgeous golden paper crown so conveniently provided. Of course His Highness Garbage Guts didn’t know about this piece of French folklore and he almost choked to death on a miniature figurine before he could even take his seat on the throne.

Well, that’s what you get for inhaling an entire galette without offering a single crumb to the royal taster. King for a day my arse, the odds of his coronation were exactly 100%. But this is the second galette, the great equalizer, and my friends this time he’s agreed to give me a shot at the title. If I move fast enough and find the trinket that makes me queen for the day. My decree will involve a back massage, a solid hour of him listing all the reasons why he loves me followed by a three hour discussion of the emotional dynamic of our marriage. Someone call the Guinness Book Of World Records. We’re about to see a man eat an entire cake in one bite.


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