Tag Archives: Vacation

Lunch at Ottolenghi in Notting Hill

Lunch at Ottolenghi, Notting Hill

Lunch at Ottolenghi, Notting Hill

Did I ever tell you about the first time I had lunch at Ottolenghi in Notting Hill?

Probably not, it’s one of those “I’ve been meaning to blog about…” moments I never seem to get around to, but with these too-tempting-not-to-share photos, I guess it’s better late than never.

It does feel like a lifetime ago, but it’s a good memory to have – it’s the kind you think back on fondly when you’re stuck eating a boring lunch at your desk.

Lunch at Ottolenghi, Notting Hill

Lunch at Ottolenghi, Notting Hill

Lunch at Ottolenghi, Notting Hill

While in Paris on vacation, we caught the first train into London and spent a day traipsing London; we went from exploring Bankside to joining little friends for playtime at Regent’s Park.

We wound up in Notting Hill later on and it just felt like kismet that we’d have a late lunch at Ottolenghi.

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Herbed Garlic Butter Pasta

Herbed Garlic Butter Pasta

One of the things I love about staying in an apartment while on vacation is having access to a kitchen.

It’s particularly wonderful if you love to cook, and are in a city like Paris where colourful markets are filled with stalls of tempting produce, cheeses, breads, specialty foods and other sundry goods.

We didn’t cook much on this trip; the few meals we prepared were fast and simple like this herbed garlic butter pasta.

From the market, we got garlic and fragrant dried herbs; I should mention here that a mix of freshly chopped spinach, basil and parsley would work superbly in this pasta, we just went with dried herbs for the sake of ease.

Herbed Garlic Butter Pasta

Herbed Garlic Butter Pasta Herbed Garlic Butter Pasta

I make little dietary exceptions when I’m on vacation… creamy delicate Échiré butter, smooth and luxurious Beurre Bordier, and pastries are some of my indulgences when I’m in Paris.

What we have with this pasta is the ultimate holiday comfort meal, pasta tossed in an aromatic herby garlic butter sauce, it’s rich and deeply satisfying, a simple indulgence.

It boasts a handful of ingredients only and it comes together quickly, this is particularly important when you’re on vacation, the last thing you want is to be standing over a stove.

Herbed Garlic Butter Pasta

Herbed Garlic Butter Pasta

On this particular day we spent the day exploring Jardin des Plantes and the Grande Mosquée where we drank mint tea, we roamed Rue Mouffetard and when it started raining we picked up fluffy angel cakes from Patisserie Ciel on Rue Monge for later.

We ate this pasta watching the rain fall down those iconic rooftops; rain is always a good reason to have pasta.

And now that I’m home and it’s raining… I want to make this pasta again on a soggy lazy evening; perhaps with fresh basil and Herbes de Provence with my favourite dairy-free butter and a ton of garlic.

Herbed Garlic Butter Pasta

Herbed Garlic Butter Pasta

Merci Shop, Paris


I’m a dreamer; my mind is always wandering of to far off places I’d rather be… sundrenched fields of wild flowers and breezy huts shaded by mango trees. Sometimes I’d wish myself back to the memorable places I’ve loved, and moments when I’ve felt truly content.

I took a short trip to Portland this past weekend, a long scenic train ride that didn’t feel long at all.
I brought my laptop along, finally ready to tackle photos from my vacation last year Рand unearthed these photos of our final day browsing the enchanting Merci store and stealing a quick breakfast at the Used Book caf̩.

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Processing these pictures on the train amidst the spectacular landscapes of Pacific Northwest made for such a perfect moment – almost as if I was in two of my favourite places at once, and at that instant there was no need to dream.

I’d heard and read many good things about Merci and I knew I’d like it even before I set foot there.

From the café, we ate hot delicate scones slathered with thick smooth echire butter, and zesty fromage blanc with nuts and honey. And lots of café au lait


And then we lingered, as one would in a store that carries a little bit of their favorite things, all delightful and covetable – understated and stylish clothes, functional and elegant furnishings and household wares, and dreamy eclectic products that you didn’t even know you needed.

You could wander here and never tire, the displays are beautiful, alluring, they change with the season; artsy and cultural with a dash of whimsy – Ideal for browsing and garnering design inspiration even if priced a little out of range.


And the staff; attentive and informed, with all sorts of tips – from cute gift ideas to suggestions to check out a chic optical store on rue de Turenne.

The store is a little bit like the city it inhabits, cozy, original and conceptually stimulating.

The Fiat 500 at the entrance is adorable, a theme of minimalist elegance and cheeriness carries throughout the store.

There’s also a unique philanthropy facet to this already awesome store, profits are used to ‘finance acts of human development’

~Hope you enjoy the pictures…

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Merci Shop, Paris
111 boulevard Beaumarchais
75003 Paris

Click through for more photos!

A Parisian Apartment

Appartement Parisien

In the very few weeks that I briefly get to live my dream of living in Paris, the tiny apartment is the one thing that truly makes me feel Parisian.

Sure, I tirelessly wander markets and flea market stalls, eat amazingly good food, people-watch from outdoor cafés, and visit museums and gardens and everything else in between, but nothing makes me feel more a part of this dazzling city than coming home to a welcoming little apartment and waking up to the sun streaming through the giant windows, or the views from the window while I sip my morning coffee, or running to the boulangerie for bread. It all feels so natural and exceptional.

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Last October, our apartment was tucked deep behind a second courtyard of Renaissance era building in the 4th arrondissements on a narrow Le Marais street.

We stayed in a beautiful little third floor apartment with lots of natural light and ceilings with exposed beams; outside the cobblestoned courtyards were little green gardens and ivy plants creeping up the building and around giant doors and windows.

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And while it felt like a little countryside cottage inside, outside was bustling with activity Рthe main gates opened on to Place du March̩ Sainte Catherine, a delightful pedestrian-only plaza filled with people, greenery, benches and outdoor restaurants.

Also close were wonderful busy Le Marais streets like Rue des Francs Bourgeois, Rue Vielle du Temple and Rue des Rosiers, and just a minute away from Place des Vosges.

On dull rainy days, I daydream longingly about a Parisian apartment, seemingly more perfect than I remember.


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Other Paris Apartment Posts

Scenes From Atop l’Arc de Triomphe


My first visit to Paris was a spontaneous day trip from London; I took the Air France bus from Roissy and got off at the Arc de Triomphe without a map, guide, plan or agenda, I had no idea where I was going.

I walked as far as my feet could carry me, taking few breaks in between – it was exciting and freeing, unlike anything I’d done before.
I spent hours strolling and window-shopping along the Champs-Élysées, explored the Grand and Petit Palais, walked along the Seine and discovered the Louvre.

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I walked and walked, crossing awe-inspiring bridges, found beautiful historic monuments and fountains, and grandiose palaces and mansions.

The one thing I wanted to do was see the city from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
By the time I made my way back, I was exhausted and out of time, “next time” I said.

It did take a while, but I climbed up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe… all 284 steps, took in the city, and remembered that very first time in Paris…

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