I spy with my little eye... a new Hat!

So pitchouns, I've been talking about thriftshopping during the whole summer, it's about time I give you a glimpse of my new additions. Posing for the sake of posing is not really my thing so as you can imagine, there will be more than just a look. I've been playing around them for quite a while, I finally found a way to use them as a background: the fabric wall covering in our family flat in Paris. They were installed in 1978 when my grandfather bought the flat and had it redecorated: each one of my aunts chose the design in their respective rooms and I can't remember ever seeing fabric covering again anywhere. I always admired them, so here is the first one, this is my favourite room.
Now about the outfit: the pleated skirt is vintage, as well as the straw hat. I found both in Paris and thought they would be perfect for Dubai.

I spy with my little eye... singing raccons.

You know it by now, I have a soft spot for thriftshops and brocantes. This one was probably one of the most surprising of all: singing raccoons, a collection of unused Balmain tights and one of the most beautiful 1900's trunks I have seen in a long time. I left the place with a glasses case from the 70's for 1 euro. Oh happy day!

Raccons piano bar.

A trunk in perfect condition. Had to resist really hard.

Unexpected stock of Balmain tights.

Letters from nobodys to nobodys. How romantic.

I spy with my little eye... "Have some more if you liked it".

When I was younger, my family and I used to visit an old lady friend who would cook gorgeous french dinners when she hosted. Beautiful house, delightful host and amazing generous food. When you were finished with your generous serving (and seriously proud of it), she would look at you with this grandma smile you can't say no to and say "Have some more if you liked it.", standing, the spoon in one hand, the plate in the other hand, ready to serve. It was such a good motto! How could you refuse without giving the impression you didn't like it. Mado was famous for the way she would subtly get you to overeat (and no, she wasn't Lebanese for those wondering). This sentence stuck with us and we still use it a lot. Each time we do, we have a little thought for this refined lady.
The reason why I'm telling you this story is that I went to visit Laurent Cazottes's fief in Villeneuve sur Vère, and this is typically the place where you would use this "Have some more if you liked it" motto. Laurent's father was a traveling distiller. He would travel from city to city with his portable still, offering his services to owners of fruit trees, vines... who wanted to get liquor out of their fruits. Now when Laurent took part in the family business, he traveled for one year and then decided to give an other dimension to the art of distillation. He wanted the purest alcohol possible so he started taking out all the seeds, pips, stones and stalks of all the fruits. Can you imagine he was the very first to do it! As a result, his liquors and eaux de vie lost a little bit of that "nut" taste some might like but it is pure fruit. They have a huge selection of fruits now: grapes, plums, cherries, even tomatoes and lavender! Everything is organic, the process is simple: they wait for all fruits to be overripe, they don't even pick them from the trees, they wait for them to fall. Then they take out all the non-fruit and all the damaged parts, and then only they distil. Obviously, it does take more human resources than usual, which explains that the price is higher, but trust my palate, it is worth it! And apparently, I am not the only one thinking like this since he is now working with the most prestigious French restaurants. I could not not share this great product and story with you pitchouns!
Have a look at his website here, and please "Have some more if you liked it".

Liquors and eaux de vie, better not get mixed up: the level of alcohol is doubled between one and the other.

The old portable still. A whole other era.

Having fun with their work material...

Drying lavender before distilling it.

Fruits from ground to ceiling.

I spy with my little eye... baby showers ideas.

There are some things you're used to seeing at flea markets: china, glasses, brooches, cafetieres, radios... and there are things that are rare. Now prams are definitively to be put in the rare section, but for some reason, it seems like the South of France was able to preserve them better than anywhere else: I kept on spotting them everywhere I went. It certainly gave me a few baby showers ideas. I'm talking about design here, not actual use obviously.

I spy with my little eye... Haute Couture in Albi.

A little bit more of Mr. Miraille's fashion collection. Thanks to this man, I am now excited to go back to Albi every summer to get my yearly dose of vintage treasures. Here's a little eye candy for you pitchouns: Balmain, Chanel, Dior, Guy Larroche...
For those who haven't done it yet, have a look at the Musée de la Mode in Albi here.

I spy with my little eye... Fashion is everywhere.

Those following me on Facebook already know I visited the Fashion Museum of Albi a few days ago. I would have never expected to find such thing in my father's countryside but I was amazed by the quality of this little gem when I discovered it last year right after it opened (remember this post?). I couldn't resist going back this year and visiting the brand new exhibition based on regional donors. Oh what a joy to learn that fashion travels and is to be found everywhere. True to it's founder's philosophy, Mr. Dominique Miraille, the museum is as small and cosy as it used to be, there is no logic between the pieces but they are all in perfect condition. I was lucky enough to meet Mr. Miraille: he is a former singer who started collecting fashion pieces when he was 16 years old. When he decided to quit singing, he bought a town house in Albi to host his collection. He refused official help and assistance and persisted in staying completely independent. He is passionate about material and texture and fiercely devoted to his museum. 
Despite the fact that the space is constituted of 3 rooms only, I have so many pictures I might have to spread them in 2 parts... Have a look at the museum website here.


Winter is coming. (I wish!)

Hello 1930's cloche hats!

A little bit of Courrèges for the road.

I spy with my little eye... rock'n roll Baby!

M. and I went to Gaillac. I have great memories of this tiny village since my father used to take us there to perfect our oenological education. This time we didn't taste wine, instead we walked around the flea market and ended up surrounded by old classical cars. It was the monthly meeting of the Classic Cars Club and we had no idea! Now let's make something straight: I know nothing about cars. It took me years, several instructors and 2 countries to get my driving licence and I still feel like I have clueless behind a steering wheel (better put your seat-belts on when I'm driving!), but I appreciate retro classical things, all things, cars included. We ended up having a very vintage and fun day in Gaillac.

Back to the 1920's...

M: "I HAVE to pose with this bee!"

M: "Come on Flo, I want this pic, I'm already collecting pics for your next birthday and this one will be perfect!"

Now this is my kind of picnic!

M: "Ouf (Thank God) I didn't get married!"

I spy with my little eye... up in the air.

Cordes sur Ciel, little Bastide built in 1222 on top of a hill, amazing medieval city, where you have a view of the full 360° panorama. A lot of climbing, good exercise and plenty of gardens to explore. M. kept on opening doors and climbing walls with her heels, yes we can! While I kept on  rummaging through thriftshops...

More mess!

Video killed the radio star...

Alice in wonderland.

Walking the streets of Cordes...

I spy with my little eye... a coffee with photographer Heather Finnecy.

If you are following me, you've already heard about Heather Finnecy and her photo-coverage of Middle Eastern Women From What I Can See, remember this post? For those you skipped this post: Heather is an American photographer who decided to explore the Middle East on her own (well, with her camera), and more specifically the women of the Middle East. She is a modern lady who reads the news and travels but she realised it was tricky to actually understand the concept of being a woman in the Middle East because of the variety of backgrounds, cultures and the fact that even if their voices are louder and louder everyday, it's not easy to get the full picture. One day she packed her bag and flew to Kuwait, than Jordan, the UAE, and Lebanon. I met her and instantly liked her energy and curiosity. She is fun, easy-going, adventurous, full of questions and her mind works very fast. We spent an afternoon at mine, munching and talking, I like it when you get to meet people and end up leaving them full of new ideas and projects. I liked her, liked her project and decided to introduce her to you all!

HOB:  If you could live in a painting, which one would it be?
H.F.: I am going to answer with two paintings. The painting that has always resonated with me the most is The Scream by Munch. Being a photographer, I have a hard time being absorbed in paintings, which can be much more fantastical than the "real life" I tend to like to photograph. I think The Scream is one of the most honest and accurate paintings I have seen, though it is impressionistic. I don't think you would blame me for not wanting to live in it though. My other favorite painting is Picasso's "Three Musicians," and I find this one funny and silly and creepy and serious all at the same time. I don't know why, but I can spend a lot of time looking at it and in a way think it feels like a reflection of real life. So I guess really I am kind of boring and just want to live in real life.

HOB: If you could live in a different era, which one would you pick and why?
H.F.: I think I would want to live in 1968 in America. There was so much going on then, there was this sense of fighting for things in this country that just seemed to make so much sense to fight for. I wish I could have been involved in the Civil Rights movement, ridden on the Freedom Rides, been thrown into jail for fighting for the absurdly obvious ideas of racial equality. Also, it would have been sweet to have super long hair and wear leather everything and I really like the music. 

HOB: What piece of clothing reminds you of your mother/father?
H.F.: My Dad passed away in 2000 when I was 18, and though I have 3 older brothers, I got his wedding ring. It is this awesome thick gold band that has tons of irregularly shaped holes. It's like a gold Swiss cheese ring. I love it, and it reminds me of the incredibly strong and healthy love that my parents had for each other, something that is rare these days.

HOB: What scent takes you right back to your childhood?
H.F.: My answer is threefold. 
One- Fresh cut grass. It is a Saturday straight out of my childhood for me. Saturdays were all about soccer games and little league on lawns with early morning dew and the remnants of grass clippings staining my socks and legs. Then it was back home for Saturday chores, lawn mowing when I was older (for $7!) and when I was younger, my Dad would push the mower around our big back lawn in his yellow Garfield t-shirt, knee-high tube socks and khaki shorts while I played on the swing and ate cherries out of our tree.
Two- Smoke. Camping was our families go to vacation.
Three- Hot air smelling of dryer sheets coming out of the laundry exhaust vent on the side of the house. We had 2 very wooded side yards in which I would build forts, and pretend to escape to magical lands. I would walk by the vent while my Mom was doing laundry and remember that warm, cleans smelling air creating small patches of moisture on my skin as I passed.

HOB: When do you feel on holidays?
H.F.: When I am alone or with friends and family somewhere outdoors. When I am in the woods, hiking by myself, or camping with people I love. Somewhere outside, preferably where there are trees and water, and where I have a comfy chair, a book, and a fire. 

HOB: What designer would you take with you on a camel ride?
H.F.: I am not fashionable enough to have an answer to this. Seriously, I buy a lot of my clothes at Target and thrift stores.

HOB: Your favourite recipe to make?
H.F.: Ooh, another doozy. Busted again, I don't cook much. But there is a great and simple veggie bake with feta that has been passed to me from my sister-in-law. Whenever I make it I appear to know how to cook when in fact, I don't.

HOB: Best piece of advice you were ever given?
H.F.: Don't settle. My Mom has always said that, and continues to say it. 

HOB: What book changed your life?
H.F.: "Living with Your Heart Wide Open" by Bob Stahl. He is my mindfulness an meditation teacher, which in of itself has changed my life, but this book he wrote just completely shifted the way I saw my experience in this world, and how as humans we really all do struggle with the same fears about ourselves and life. I think it was just a right time right place experience with that book, but I literally wrote and snail mailed him a card after I read it that said "your book changed my life."

HOB: The movie you've watched already 30 times but might watch again tonight?
H.F.: Groundhog Day

HOB: Three favourite spots in California?
H.F.: 1- The Redwoods in the hills above my home on the way to Santa Cruz. 
2- The orchards around the Buttes in the Sacramento Valley area. 
3- The snow in Lake Tahoe with skis attached to my feet, snow drifting down my collar that I can't quite zip high enough, and a smile permanently plastered to my face. 

I spy with my little eye... to market, to market...

Not saying anything new when telling you one of the greatest pleasures in France is to go to the market. Local meat and cheese, singing accents, the smells, the colours, the imperfection of home grown veggies and slow queues, I had time to look around, take pictures and enjoy the moment. "Eat, pray, love" morning to you pitchouns!

I spy with my little eye... getting ready for the Prom!

M. and I drove to Toulouse the other day to visit one of her favourite vintage shops called Groucho. I remember the first time she talked about it, I decided to check it online: the prices were still in francs! Even the website is vintage. So it was a given they were not great with technology and communication (which, usually is a good thing for thriftshops), so I was very much looking forward to this mysterious shop. Turns out they have 2 locations in Toulouse: one is 1900's-1950's, the other one specialises in 1960's-1980's stuff as the owner explained. I have to say, it was a real pleasure to chit-chat with a guy who took time to explain where he sources tons of treasures and how he manages to fix them before selling them. All the items were in perfect condition and that makes SUCH a difference! M. and I spent hours playing dress-up in these shops and I came back with a new hat and a dress (pictures to come), in the mean time, I can't resist showing you some of my favourite pieces! Enjoy les pitchouns!

Such a cute tea dress! Please note the bow down the dress...

Back to the 50's.

Fell for this one, unfortunately wool isn't realistic when living in Dubai.

Had to resist bying this gorgeous black taffetas dress. 
M.: "Oh you should take it, it's your 30's birthday after all!"
Me: "As much as I like it, I cannot buy a funeral dress for my 30's!"

I spy with my little eye... a trip back to the Middle Ages.

Those following me on Facebook know I recently drove from Paris to the South of France. Now Albi is not the typical glamourous destination and I like it like that. It is a hidden gem of France heritage, one of the many medieval cities of the Tarn (talk about going vintage, I'm going for older than vintage these days!), full of little paved streets, terraces, sunny afternoons by the pool, flea markets, brocantes, cats, and family. Here is a glimpse of the famous painter Toulouse-Lautrec's city, and my daily scenery... Sending you all lots of medieval kisses my pitchouns!

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