Xmas spirit

· Decoration, Fashion, Food

The Christmas spirit has been more present in my house every single year since 2015, which was the first time I decorated a Christmas tree in our apartment! (Here are 2016 (here and there), 2017 et 2018 if you wanna look at the evolution!)

The Christmas magic has been here since January as with 3 friends and my SO, we’ve challenged each other to create DIY Advent calendars : so here is why I’ve had Christmas in mind very early ! (… even though I haven’t had the time to make or buy my Christmas crowns, so I wonder when I should start next year?!)

 

My (fake) Christmas tree

Vermont White Spruce Tree Balsam Hill

 

This year I took the decision to invest in an artificial Christmas tree because I was fed up seeing my tree dying as the D-Day was approaching, to throw it away at the end. So I ordered this artificial Christmas tree last August, during special sales on the Balsam Hill website and I absolutely do not regret this choice. .

We might have put it up a bit early (mid-November when we came back from Alsace!) but we really wanted to enjoy it as much as possible. As I already said on Instagram, it really looks like a really one : we’ve actually kept the habit to double check if the branches were not bending, like the previous years, but then we reminded ourselves that it will stay straight up and strong no matter what: amazing!

The light garland is integrated in the branches, which is very convenient: once the tree is up, the lights are on right away without the need to waste time to unravel the garland! My plan is to keep it for the next years so I hope the quality will remain the same.

 

The Christmas decoration

We’ve been trying to bring back Christmas decorations from all our trips in order to remind us good memories every time we admire our Christmas tree. This royal corgi comes from the Queen’s souvenir shop at the Buckingham Palace, purchased during my last “Take That” trip in London last May.

From our trip to Alsace, to the famous “Féerie de Noël” shop, we brought back this elegant white nutcracker and Christian Ulbricht wood decorations to complete our collection.

Tree decorations from Alsace, Japan, London, USA,
Germany, IKEA and Villeroy & Boch
(Thanks Lili !)

Nutcrackers Christian Ulbricht

 

I also received a few other decorations from my Advent calendars: my friends really know my tastes!

Tree star Ferm Living
Decorations Swarovski, Disneyland, Japan, London, Stuttgart
nutcracker decoration : goft from my advent calendar (Thanks Noémie !)

 

I changed the star at the top because I felt like the old one wasn’t matching anymore the interior decoration: so I chose this golden star from Ferm Living: it decorates the tree with simplicity and elegance.

 

The Advent Calendar

Calendrier made with a few accessories from Cultura
Moon wooden decoration brought from Alsace
Nutcrackers Christian Ulbricht from Hamburg, Stuttgart and Riquewihr

 

As said above, I will prepare a full article about the Advent Calendars created by my friends and myself. All I can tell you is that my December has been perfectly brightened up by opening of my calendars everyday (I didn’t get one last year but I got spoiled this one!).

I don’t regret at all the time spent during this year to find ideas (I wish I had created more things by myself but with 4 calendars to prepare, at some point, I had to make a choice!). Anyway, I am proud of the wooden calendar offered to my SO, full of sweets and other yummy things.

I wanted a more traditional one in raw wood, without paint or coating: my only regret was to not find some wooden characters to place inside but I can try to find that for the next year!

 

Gifts and Christmas cookies

Gift wrap and accessories from Cultura
Pajamas La Redoute

 

I also decided to create more “natural” and recyclable gift wrapping : therefore I chose kraft paper that I decorated with white and gold Posca pens. And for the final touch, natural rope with small sprigs (fir, eucalyptus, holly leafs…).

I found these small wooden decorations to add with the gift wrapping so that it can be used next year as decoration for a Christmas tree. Nothing is lost, everything is transformed!

 

For a workshop organized at Le BHV Marais, I imagined these gift packs with a shape of deer that can be used for food product or gifts that are difficult to wrap up. Easy to make, I hope they will have some success!

Souvenir from the “Xmas afternoon and DIY” wworkshop at Le BHV Marais

 

This year I also took the time to bake Christmas cookies: I need to improve the drawing of the icing but it’s an activity very pleasant to do with family and friends.

 

My Christmas outfit

PantsCaroll (from 90/2000?)
Blouse La Redoute 2016 (already seen here)
Shoes Repetto (already seen here)

 

This year, since I’ve drastically decreased my fashion consumption and I’ve mostly lived with what I’ve had, I didn’t buy any festive clothes and imagined an outfit with what I already have in my wardrobe.

Earrings Eloïse Fiorentino

 

While I was sorting out my clothes, I actually found these tartan pants that I’ve owned since 2000 (maybe even from the end of the 90’s?). The Christmas miracle is actually that it still fits me (not sure this will be true after the festive season).

The brand is Caroll and on the tag – rare enough to be pointed out – it’s said that it was made in France and 100% wool, explaining the longevity and quality of the fabric!

 

Christmas table

Exclusive Yule log Le BHV Marais x Jean-François Foucher
Crackers & log plate found atBHV Marais
Glasses La Redoute Intérieurs

 

I am proud that I was able to share nice yummy moments with my friends during the month of December (we still have Christmas Eve!): Christmas afternoon tea, raclette night, Yule log…

I wanted to really enjoy this season and its cocooning spirit with friends at home… always with an everlasting wood fire fireplace on YouTube (Netflix might have the same but (I might be an alien) I haven’t subscribed to Netflix yet!).

Linnen towels La Redoute intérieurs
Napkin ring Casa
Sugar bowl and tea service Absolument Maison (already seen here)

 

A good occasion to start the table decoration: this being said, I’ve kept the same style year after year, plant vegetal based.

A Xmas raclette night

 

I’ve also tried to reuse the same tableware (even though some festive models could worth the investment= but not enough space requires to be more minimalist and compose with what we already have).

Bûche ultime from Pierre Hermé
Candlesticks Maison Sarah Lavoine
Olive oil bottle recycled in holly vase:-)

 

So here was an overview of my 2019 Christmas decoration. If you want to bounce to the rhythm of my Christmas playlist, I’ve been adding new pop songs over the years: you can listen it here.

It’s now time for me to leave you here in order to enjoy the last friendly (and resting) moments of the year: I wish you a happy holiday season, surrounded by your loved ones.

And if it’s a complicated period for you, I am sending all my thoughts and hope you will find some peaceful moments. In any case, be happy, that’s all we want for Christmas. (English translation by Quiterie)

Colmar before Christmas

· Fashion, Food, Travel

Almost a month ago, we had the good idea to go to Alsace in order to rest, and we were very happy about it. On one hand, because of the calm and serenity of Les Vosges but also because we discovered the city of Colmar and its surrounding.

So here are a few pictures of this short trip and a few address recommendations at the end of this article (I haven’t tried some of them so feel free to comment below if you know the city well) so it can be useful for those who might have the chance to be there, during the Christmas market season.

 

Colmar before the festivities

We went to Colmar a week before the beginning of the Christmas market and even though the Christmas ambiance was not totally there yet (and the streets rather empty), I have to admit that we appreciated the peaceful spirit.

I can imagine that Christmas booths and streets must be even more magical but just looking at everyone getting ready was already very pleasant.

 

Visit Colmar

The city can be visited by walk, and going from one small street to another already worth the detour. So here is the reason why we didn’t visit any museum during our stay, we were already pretty busy to visit the city itself. Here are a few remarkable places to visit.

 

LA MAISON DES TÊTES : This Renaissance architecture building built in 1609, and adorned with 105 carved heads, used to be an exchange place for wines and became a Relais & Châteaux hotel with a brasserie and a Michelin star restaurant.

We had the chance to admire in details this facade as we had booked 2 nights at this place and by chance, we had a room with balcony (that tourists were photoshooting every morning, which gave us the feeling to be celebrities waking up with paparazzi ahah).

The bedroom and the decoration of the refurbished hotel seemed a bit disappointing as well as the service (the breakfast was not as good as what we had at the Vosges Cheneaudière hotel and spa) but the location was just perfect.

At least we can say that we stayed in a historical building and the gastronomic restaurant Girardin – tested and approved – really deserves its one-star prize!

 

LA MAISON PFISTER : the facade of this bourgeois house can be admired from the streets of Colmar.

 

LITTLE VENICE and THE FISHMONGER’S DISTRICT : Wandering along the Lauch (or on a boat if you don’t mind the cold) allowed us to discover this beautiful neighborhood with multicolor houses, looking like an Alsatian version of our Crémieux street or Notting Hill.

 

THE INDOOR MARKET : We got inside to buy bretzels (the sauerkraut one was very good especially when just out of the oven) but you can also find fruits and vegetables stalls as well as local products.

 

COLLEGIATE CHURCH OF SAINT-MARTIN : We didn’t take the time to get inside and visit but this collegiate could be a cathedral considering its size.

 

MUSEUMS : We had planned to visit the museum of toys, or the contemporary art museum, but we got drown by the Christmas decoration shops. Here is anyway a to-do list for the next time!

    • Museum of Natural History
    • Toys museum
    • Bartholdi museum: the creator of the Statue of Liberty in NYC was born in Colmar!
    • Unterlinden museum
    • Hansi museum
    • André Malraux contemporary art gallery

 

Eat in Colmar

We didn’t stay long enough to try more places but here is a short list (if you know any other address, feel free to add them in the comment area below).

 

BRASSERIE LA MAISON DES TÊTES : We ate a yummy sauerkraut in a woody historical ambiance.

 

RESTAURANT GIRARDIN : This Michelin star gastronomic restaurant with white and minimalistic decoration was all about tasting and sophistication. I didn’t take photos as I wanted to fully enjoy the moment but if you want to treat yourself, it’s the perfect place (the service is really smooth almost like a choreography but remains warm)

 

MAISON ALSACIENNE DE BISCUITERIE : A few shops of this brand can be found in Alsace and Colmar, we can almost see them at every corner.

It’s almost impossible to not buy anything especially as they offer a cookie every single time you pass by. I made a stock to bring back for the festive season (cookies can be kept quite some time).

Then, here are a few addresses we couldn’t try:

SCHWENDI : a typical Alsatian brasserie (winstub) that serves rosti and other “tarte flambées” (flammenkuche)

BIZKÖT : Organic bakery.

RESTAURANT of LE MARECHAL HOTEL (recommended by a local we met = let’s see if he was right! :-))

 

An afternoon in Riquewihr

The city of Riquewihr is located 20mn away from Colmar by car: it would have been a shame not to go especially as there is a wonderful shop for Christmas decorations called: “La féerie de Noël”/“Magic of Christmas” or “Käthe Wohlfahrt”.

It’s the giant alternative of the little Christmas market houses in Germany (I bought my first Nutcracker in “Käthe Wohlfahrt” stalls in Hamburg and Stuttgart Christmas markets).

Two floors dedicated to all kind of Christmas decorations (I love the Christian Ulbricht woody ones for our Christmas tree).

As we went before the Christmas markets it was not too crowded in the shop and with no waiting line outside (apparently it seems to be overcrowded during the festive season). A must-go for Christmas lovers… and the cute town also worth the detour.

 

So here was a quick overlook at my short trip to Colmar: I hope it will help you if you go there for the first time. Anyway, I can assure you that Alsatians know how to truly celebrate Christmas: I. AM. A. HUGE. FAN. (English translation by Quiterie)

Autumn pleasures

· Fashion, Travel

I understood how to appreciate the autumn season only a few years ago (my travel to Japan in 2015 might have helped a bit, as well as my interior refurbishing and the influence of Instagram).

Before, I didn’t find any interest: random weather, rain, cold, less light and shorter days, mood down… but! There are actually a few sides balancing these drawbacks.

As we’d better see the glass half full, here is a lit of advantages in Autumn that you will be free to complete if you want.

 

The beauty of the colors of nature

You might need to get outside the city to really find it out but the yellowing and reddening of the leaves remains a fascinating event.

 

The advantage of walk in the forest

I used to go hiking quite often when I was younger in Auvergne but I lost this habit when I moved to Paris.What a pleasure to go back at it during our holidays in the Vosges last week.

Walking with full consciousness in the forest seems to have stress relieving virtues and benefits for our global wellness: so why do without?

 

Go to rest in the mountain

Sauna with a view, at La Cheneaudière Spa-hotel in the Vosges

 

Before, I was always tempted to choose a sunny destination when the weather was not good or cold but I now actually think that it’s as pleasant to enjoy the current season.

We are lucky enough to have 4 real seasons in France. So when it’s cold, why don’t we choose to go where it’s colder? (…of course, if you can find a cosy and cocooning place).

Henceforth, I enjoy a mountain trip almost more as doing nothing on a Thaï beach (good point for the carbone footprint!).

 

Find advantages to the rain

When it rains, going out requires much more effort and does not feel as confortable: so why don’t we stay home? (I’m talking about weekends: I know it’s more complicated to stay home when we work (although… remote working might be an option)

When it’s rainy outside, staying at home is a real pleasure: hot herbal tea, baking a cake, reading a book or doing nothing, it became priceless.

So as I was telling you, it’s important to be able to arrange out interior: to create a cosy space, no matter the size and the budget, it really has a positive impact on your mental health during the gloomy weather periods (at least it has helped me a lot!).

 

The pleasure to wear warm clothes

In Autumn, it might be a more exciting challenge to decide what to wear compared to summer days: to match colors, thicknesses and textures, it’s a real pleasure… especially when, like me, you’ve been trying to keep only the essentials in your wardrobe.

 

To start manual activities

To echo the « rain » section. To keep yourself busy, nothing better than create something with your hands: drawing, preparing Christmas decoration, trying new artistic activities. Not long ago, my SO and I went to a Japanese ceramic workshop and it was just perfect for a Sunday afternoon (and what a satisfaction to see our masterpiece to come alive, even though it was not perfect).

You don’t think you have an artistic fiber? The result is actually not the most important but it’s the time spent to create that is the most satisfying.

 

To Light the candles

I barely use candles during summer season: so it’s a real pleasure to smell the woody scent when autumn is back. It adds up some warmness to our cocoon, but you are not learning anything here.

 

Enjoy seasonal veggies and fruits

This year I’ve been cooking squash and butternut a lot (gratin, tart, stir fry) (I actually pinned some recipes on my Pinterest) and I’ve been enjoying the large diversity of the recipes. I’ve also started cooking the fennel that I like baking as gratin.

And to simmer apples with cinnamon allows me to spend a comforting and yummy moment!

 

I could have also mentioned Halloween but I don’t have a huge passion for it and do not really celebrate it. I hope anyways these propositions will inspire you to fully enjoy this season that will end quite soon! (English translation by Quiterie)


My Outfit

Beanie Etam (already seen here)
Coat Urban Outfitters (already seen here)
Cashmere SweaterLa Redoute (already seen here)
Pants Leon & Harper (already seen here)
Hiking boots “Mountain Pass” Danner
Backpack Sanpak Japan

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