So much has happened since our last (and first) column! The weeks that followed went by so quickly, and we were especially deeply affected by the sudden loss of our cat Mimi. It’s still painful to talk about today, but I try to remember the many happy moments we spent with her, and she will always be in my heart.
As spring begins to set in, everything seems to speed up, and we’re quickly caught off guard by the time that passes at breakneck speed! We need to repot young tomato plants, plant dahlias in pots to strengthen them and give them a chance to flower sooner, and take the time to cook good seasonal produce (asparagus and strawberries are starting to appear on the market stalls). The tulips are almost all out of the ground and I can finally enjoy making different bouquets and thinking about my future tables and the lunches/dinners that will serve as an excuse… it’s birthday season at our house, so don’t waste another minute!
Discover these new April chronicles…
A tribute to Mimi
It was very difficult to leave and see our little treasure go so suddenly. She was a family member in her own right, and we enjoyed (almost) fifteen happy years with her. With her beautiful personality and strong character, Mimi meant so much to us… She was my first cat and, above all, it was she who made me love felines. She’s gone now, but I still see her all over the house. I always have the impression that she’s here somewhere, until I realize that she’s not.
Mimi, my sweet friend, my little darling, you’ll always be in my thoughts and in my heart.
A coffee break in Senlis while waiting for the rain to stop...
The March sleet decided to settle in and finally made it through April. It’s impossible to go out without risking being caught in a downpour. So, between two rays of sunshine, we settle down at the café, taking the time to discover new teas from Mariage Frères at Comptoir Senlisien. They redid the decor not so long ago (I preferred the more cosy old one, but this one’s not too bad). This tea room is ideally located in the center of town, and is a great place to take a break if you’re a regular or just visiting the town.
Beware, it can get crowded on market days!
Le Comptoir Senlisien
2 impasse de la Chaufferette à Senlis
We weren’t in the mood to celebrate Easter at all this year with Mimi’s passing, but we wanted to do something for my nephews so they could still enjoy it.
Easter breakfast is a big deal in our house, and we enjoyed it just the same. It’s important for me to set a table with a poetic touch for every important event, and even though last year’s Easter table was more elaborate, I added a few small bouquets and decorations to make the mood more festive this year.
Every year, I look forward to April when the first tulips appear in the garden. I always plant them too late in the autumn, after buying bulbs in England (where they sell beautiful varieties that we don’t have in France, by the kilo). This year, I’m not very happy with the flowering, but I did manage to get some beautiful tulips, which I’ll tell you about soon in a dedicated article. I’m in the process of putting together a little dossier with the different varieties I use for my bouquets, so I can finally answer your questions. 🙂
In the meantime, you can discover (by clicking on the links below) how to make different types of bouquets with tulips.
Paris by night
It’s very pleasant to stroll along the banks of the Seine in Paris at dusk. I particularly like these walks in spring, when there aren’t too many tourists and you can enjoy the city (which has become complicated to live in). On my last walk, I passed by the Samaritaine and came across a giant representation of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, who is signing a collaboration with Louis Vuitton.
Quite impressive. You can see another of the artist’s (more humorous) stagings on the Champs-Élysées if you get the chance.
Then I continued along the Seine, enjoying what I call the « little Parisian doll’s houses » – those delightful old buildings that follow one another and make Paris so charming. Finally, I ended my journey in the Marais district, where each time I discovered small shops with colorful storefronts that have retained a very Parisian spirit.
Savoring seasonal produce
It’s been a real pleasure to go to the market for the last two-three weeks. The stalls are full of tasty seasonal produce, and I buy two bunches of beautiful white asparagus for lunch with a mousseline sauce, as well as round, fragrant strawberries for a simple dessert with meringue or Victoria Sponge Cake. Well, well, if it isn’t King Charles’ coronation soon! Perhaps it would be a nice opportunity to make one?
There’s also a lot of wild garlic in the garden, so we make omelettes, although honestly, I prefer the peppers and cebette version. I find that wild garlic doesn’t add much to this type of dish.
Au fil du temps, j’ai planté beaucoup de dahlias car ce sont des fleurs magnifiques qui présentent de nombreux avantages. Elles existent dans des formes, des tailles et des couleurs tellement variées que c’est même très difficile de les choisir au printemps lorsque je dois les planter. Une de leur qualité principale, outre leur beauté, est qu’elles fleurissent vraiment longtemps dans le jardin (de la mi-juillet jusqu’à début octobre chez nous). Et autre point à ne pas négliger, elles tiennent très bien en bouquet. Elles font partie, comme les hortensias, de mes fleurs préférées et je prends beaucoup de plaisir à réaliser des bouquets aussi différents les uns des autres. C’est une belle façon d’exploiter sa créativité !
Every year, the Fête des Plantes de Saint-Jean is the place to be for passionate gardeners, but it’s also a very pleasant place for anyone wishing to take a break and enjoy the friendly, country atmosphere of this festival dedicated to the plant world.
I did prefer previous editions, however, as the rest tables provided for visitors have been removed for some time now… but it’s still one of the best plant festivals since Courson. The one in Chantilly has improved a little, so I’m waiting to see how this year’s edition will turn out.
I discovered this book when I took my nephews to the library on a Saturday morning in September. I knew right away that I was going to like this book, so I didn’t borrow it, I bought it. And I was right to do so! Because Miss Charity is a little gem that I still keep in the pile of books next to my bedside table (the one I can reach by stretching out my arm while still in bed). It’s a book that we love to reread with immense pleasure, and above all to pass on to our younger readers.
The story follows the daily life of a child / young girl from a good family, Miss Charity, in 19th-century English society. A charming, mischievous heroine whose adventures we follow with great tenderness!
The novel has been transposed into a comic strip (only two volumes have been published to date).
Spring is a season synonymous with impulse, motivation and creativity. I take advantage of the few weeks leading up to March to fill my inspiration notebooks with a multitude of photos, images and notes that I’ll use in my various projects.
I’ve sorted them by category: flowers and gardening, interior design, cooking and design. I strongly encourage you to do the same, as it’s a very simple activity that does a lot of good. All you need is a big notebook, scissors, glue and a stack of old books or magazines (preferably Anglo-Saxon!).
Paper is an integral part of my daily life. I take lots of notes and have lots of notebooks full of ideas, inspirations and collages… I keep coming back to them to find decoration ideas or to help me draw the composition of a flower bed or a vegetable garden plan, for example. Not to mention the ones I use every day in my professional life! Here’s one of my country notebooks, made in the Paris region, which you can find at Artisan Paper.
other notes from April
- Monoprix is launching a collaboration with Liberty in London. The selection for children is more interesting than that for adults, but you can still find coupons. Read more about this London institution here.
- Season 3 of Sanditon (BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel) resumes on Saturday April 29. A must-see.
- As soon as I’ve got a bit of time, I’m off to see The Three Musketeers in the cinema. I recently finished reading The Count of Monte Cristo, and can’t wait to discover this other literary masterpiece!