Rue d’Alsace Lorraine

We alighted the metro at Capitole and walked up the stairs to a street level.

Square Charles de Gaulle was basking in the late afternoon sunshine.

I needed to buy some light summery tops because the weather was too warm for all the stuffs I brought with me from UK.

Conveniently, ZARA was right in front of the square, therefore, I started my clothes hunting from there.

After rifling through their clothes rails, I opted for a sleeveless top with a lace detail around the neck.

Then, I spotted a pair of cute Capri sandals in the shop window on Rue d’Alsace Lorraine and decided to try them on. ‘Est-ce que vous avez taille 35?’ I asked one of very friendly vendeuses.

One thing I really loved about shopping in France was most of the shops I visited carried small sizes. For example, I hardly had found any shoe smaller than 36 in UK but in France, I witnessed many models of shoes on the shop floor did start from 35.

Mum encouraged me to take time to choose a pair since we would be moving on to Avignon the next day, therefore, I wouldn’t be able to return them if I changed my mind overnight.

Eventually, I decided on a pair of flat sandals with gold and tan leather and walked out of the shop as a one very satisfied customer.

‘Shall we buy our grocery at Monoprix?’

We bought some fruits and yoghurt at the supermarket and strolled back to the metro station.

Mum posing in front of Mairie de Toulouse…

Now, let’s find a restaurant for well-deserved beer and snack!!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

BOB Best of Britannia @ Clerkenwell

When my best friend, Fei Wang, invited me to join her at an exhibition, Best of Britannia on St John Street near the Smithfield Market, I was a little sceptical. Wouldn’t it be another trade show alike of 100% Design? I had possessed more than enough home-making paraphernalia at home, therefore, I didn’t have much interest nor enthusiasm for whatever the show in that kind of nature.
Then, my another best chum, Letizia, endorsed the show as a must visit. Therefore, there I was, meeting up with Fei at Barbican Underground…

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The earlier rain was cleared and the sun came out to greet the London commuters on their way home.

The venue was on St John Street – a stone’s throw from the restaurant St John which was celebrated for their hedonistically carnivorous cuisines.
We received wristbands at the registry and proceeded along the exhibits.

The first one we encountered was a speed boat…

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A sleek James Bond-esque craft was an exhibit by Fletcher Boat.
I didn’t know much about speed boats (or any boat!) but this vessel looked like an ultimate boy’s toy.
With this “Stop me if you dare” kind of bodywork, I could imagine an aging multimillionaire rock star sitting in the cockpit with a scandalously young blond hot chick sitting next to him looking nonchalant and bored.

The boat was followed by wheels of all forms and sizes…

Old Empire Motorcycles

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And Moulton Bicycles

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Irresistibly glamorous offerings by Morgan Motor Cars

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Being a tom boy, I used to make model cars and the Morgan 4-4 was one of them.
I painted my Morgan with British racing green and was mightily pleased with it.

Wow, this is their famous three-wheeler…

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Morgan Super Sports.
This 3 wheelers is not considered to be a car but a “cyclecar” – classified as a motorcycle. Whereby, the owner is exempted from paying the British tax on cars!
Then, how about the notorious Congestion Charge? Will it be exempted because it’s not a car?

Being a self- confessed brogue mania, I couldn’t resist visiting a stall of  Joseph Cheaney & Sons

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Amongst mainly men’s shoes, I found three pairs of ladies brogues…

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I did love the pair with  Co-respondent style.
I must try one at their shop in the Piccadilly Arcade soon.

Then, we stopped by a stall of Harry Brompton’s Alcoholic Iced Tea

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I was handed a glass of the iced tea with a piece of lime in by a friendly exhibitor. The tea was incredibly moreish.

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It was sweet but was delicately flavoured, therefore, it wouldn’t spoil any food if they were to be consumed together. I would prefer this iced tea to the Pimms in the summer. Or I would love to drink it with my gourmet burger any day.

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I loved their logo too. The air of nostalgia, that was what I was impressed with.
Don’t you agree that we are surrounded by too many mediocre & vulgar logos nowadays? Let’s try bringing back happiness & beauty back into our life by supporting good products and honest manufacturers.

Another exhibit I was impressed was by Michaux

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They produce well-designed cyclist bags targeting female cyclists.
The bags are made with water-proofed canvas with leather trimmings. A clever use of leather straps secures the bag on the cyclist’s back whereby she / he is allowed to focus on the traffic.

The exhibitor demonstrated how it would work…

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The dots on the bag would work as reflectors. How clever!

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I would definitely want one for myself! I loved the black one she was wearing.
Before that, I would have to dust off my Brompton and put some air in the tyres  however. I had been a reluctant cyclist ever since I was hit by a careless black cab. Stop being a chicken and get back to a saddle, shouldn’t I?

The bands in the courtyard offered non-stop entertainment to the visitors and exhibitors alike…

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While wandering around the venue, Fei & I came across a trio of striking looking gentlemen…

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Their relaxed yet observant demeanour impressed us and eventually, Fei approached them to introduce ourselves.
It turned out that the three of them were artists / designers and their installation was exhibited at the venue.
Learning insights from creative minds like them would be always fascinating and rewarding and I asked them to keep in touch when we exchanged our name cards.

Best of Britannia was one of the best creative events I had visited so far.
The venue size was perfect for an in-depth interaction between exhibitors and visitors. And the exhibits were fairly diverse and interesting.
Even though I had no chance to sample them, yummy looking artisan foods & drinks were on offer in the courtyard and even well-behaved dogs were allowed in too.

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Therefore, why don’t you visit the exhibition tomorrow? It will be a fab day out, I promise…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Magic Touch

One early afternoon, I receive an e-mail from Church’s informing me that the brogues I left with them the other day was ready for collection. How did they sort out the grain of my Burwood which was smeared with too much shoe polish, I was curious.

When I walked into their Old Bond Street shop,a dapper looking chap was on the phone. He motioned to me, miming that he would come off from the phone shortly.

This place is my heaven, I thought. My eyes performed a 360 degree scan quickly. These oxfords, Chelsea boots and plain-toes were faithful copies of their men’s shoes. They were irrefutably sexy. Like Le Smoking by Yves Saint Laurent.
– Church’s does make less masculine kinds – ballet pumps with wing-chip toe caps. However, I don’t find them very flattering. Dare say, a bit matronly?

Eventually, the shop assistant came off the phone and asked me how he could help.
So I explained to him that I was there to pick up my shoes and he disappeared to the downstairs with my receipt.

Look what they’ve done to my brogues! Beautiful!!

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The toes were polished to perfection. Oh, I was ecstatic.
He advised me to use beeswax to achieve a high gloss finish and placed the individual shoe into a fabric shoe case.
I was truly thankful for their TLC.

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This shop is the most comfortable place to shop for shoes.
Once I get used to their way of doing things, I can never go back to department stores to buy shoes…

On my way home, I bought the shoe polish I was recommended.
Pate de Luxe Saphir Medaille d’Or…

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Can’t wait to achieve a mirror finish without elbow waxing…

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