Thursday, 24 January 2013

Gay Paris Part 2

Hello lovely readers.  I left you the last post on my pastry and chocolate tour.  Like I said before, the instructions were a little confusing (either that or my friend and I are a bit retarded), so we went off map for most of it.  We did however make a concerted effort to find one particular shop on the tour.

Described as the best macaroon shop in the whole of Paris, we knew we had to see what all the fuss was about.  After getting lost a lot, and a lot of "Parlez-vous Anglaise?" we found it!  And there was a huge queue going right out of the shop and along the street........EXCELLENT, we thought, it must be good!  Well where is this AMAZING macaroon shop I hear you ask, well here it is:

Alex pronounced it "Pie-ree Her-mmm" which had me in stitches, I love her Franglaise! (of course you should pronounce it "Pe-air Er-may")  I made her say it a few times just for my amusement.
Once inside there was a team of ladies and gents all working very hard to get peoples orders to them quickly.  What was nice is that they payed attention to their customers and spoke to them in their language if the weren't French.  The tour informed us that the Rose macaroons were particularly good, so Alex bought just one little rose one.  I opted for more of the luxurious little macaroons and bought a box of 7, all different flavours, so I could take them home for my parents.
This is the lady helping me to my fab little box of treasures.  I did speak to her in French, but she replied in English :( I so wanted to try out my little French but oh well!  For the huge queue out the door, the whole process was very quick and very professionally done; I think they are used to long queues!  Again local Parisians were shopping here, another sign that this is a pukka place to go!  It was again expensive, but the packaging was beautiful and the service excellent.  I shall tell you how they taste a little further on in this post.

Now we had finished our walking tours we headed to the Metro (which is incredibly difficult to find btw!  Not like huge light up London underground signs) to head to the Place de la Concorde - a must go place for tourists.  By now it was starting to get darker and it was bloody freezing!  This meant only one thing............CREPE TIME!!!!

Alex likes to take photos, hence the how to make a crepe montage ;)
They were just what we needed to warm us up and keep us going until dinner.  Look how happy it made us!
I'm afraid the crepe was so amazing this happened to me
There was some sort of German Christmas Market type set up with a Ferris wheel right outside the metro stop, where we bought our crepes from.  We walked around it taking in the sights then headed to the bridge over the river to look at the Eiffel Tower.

That cute white and yellow bag is the Pierre Herme bag for Alex's Rose macaroon
A lovely couple took Alex and my photo, ironic really that we were in the most romantic city in the world - Alex's other half will regret not taking her first ;) teehee.  You can just about see the Eiffel tower in the background.

After freezing our butts off on the bridge with the wind coming off the river, we started to walk again to keep warm.  Onwards up the Champs Elysees to spy a view of the L'Arc de Triomphe.  About halfway up the road is a perfect view point for taking photos...............in the middle of a VERY busy road.  The last time I went to Paris I had done this exact same walk so I wasn't too worried about taking photos, but Alex being a Paris virgin, braved the busy road to stand in the middle and snap the L'Arc de Triomphe.

This picture of course is not the L'Arc de Triomphe but I liked it so had to include it, I think it sums up how magical Paris is in the snow.  Alex took this piccy and I just love it, it's just like the perfect Paris postcard!

Once we reached the viewing point of L'Arc de Triomphe it was getting pretty late (and even more cold!) so we decided to head to Gare du Nord to find a restaurant in the area to have our dinner before heading back to the Eurostar.  I guess by now you're guessing it was pretty much a day trip to eat yummy food.  So I shall not disappoint!  This was our lovely dinner at a cafe just over the road from the train station.  I think it was called something like Gare du Nord Cafe, or something equally as original.
A scrummy cheese board!  I enjoyed an Earl Grey tea, which I have to say was very welcome by that point, and Alex being the wine fan she is had another small glass of red wine.  We shared the cheese board and had it with fresh French bread.  Deeeeeeesquishous!  I'm not sure what type of cheese it was, but my favourite was the one on the far left at the bottom of the pic (next to the one with holes in).  There was a scrummy blue cheese, good old Camembert, a goats cheese, Emmental and some sort of hard cheddar cheese which was most probably French.  Again a little pricey, but as we were sharing, it kept the costs down.  Alex then made a little faux pas by asking for the bill in Spanish, but I think the waiter was used to our poor French by that point and just laughed.  We big fat failed in our French attempts!  Next time I'm not going to wing it and actually take a phrasebook with me!

After dinner we took a stroll around the block to find a supermarket to get a bottle of fizz to have with our macaroons on the Eurostar home.  We just so happened to walk past the apartment block where three women had been executed a few weeks previously, in an attack on Kurdish activists.....................scary!!!!!!  We wondered why there were so many flowers outside the building eeeeek.  Anyway scariness over we bought our champers and headed to the Eurostar.  A lovely end to a lovely day we enjoyed a glass of bubbly and ate our macaroons.

Alex had her Pierre Herme Rose macaroon and I had my raspberry macaroon from La Grande Epicerie (on the right).  I have to say now that I am back in England and have eaten my macaroons from Pierre Herme, they are in fact THE BEST MACAROONS IN THE WORLD not just in Paris!  The flavours are incredible for such a tiny little thing and totally worth every penny of their price tag.  Don't believe me?  You will just have to try them for yourself.  Heaven in a bite!  I recommend all 7 flavours I tried which were: Rose, Cassis, Hazelnut, Dark Chocolate, Passion fruit and chocolate, some sort of citrussy one and coffee.  Don't be put off by the price as you will thank me for trying them :).

I hope you enjoyed my pictures from my trip to Paris.  Pretty awesome for a business trip haha.  I think next time I go I will save up some spending money so I can hit the antique and vintage clothing markets that I didn't have time to do this time around.

Lots of Love
Betty xxx

Monday, 21 January 2013

Gay Paris (said without pronouncing the 's') Part 1

Last Saturday myself, and almost everyone in the lingerie trade in the whole wide world, visited Paris.  I went along with my very good school friend Alex.  The purpose of my trip was to visit a fabric trade show, Interfillier, to try and find some new fabric suppliers to use in my creations.  I'm kidding myself really that this was the main reason for going to Paris.

It was in fact mainly to wonder around the beautiful city and go into pastry and chocolate shops!  What made the day even more magical was the blanket of fluffy white snow that covered the buildings, trees and pavements.  Whilst I was at the fabric show, my friend Alex wondered around and took pictures of the beautiful scenery.

As you can see, the snow meant that she couldn't get a good picture of the Eiffel Tower, but we did manage to snap it later in the day when it had stopped snowing.
Alex did however manage to get some pretty good snaps from her view point.  She couldn't remember which building it was, but it was only around £5 to go to the top, a lot less than, and much less crowded than the usual tourist viewpoint the Eiffel Tower!
We met up again around midday.  Alex had had a FAB morning investigating Paris, whilst I had walked around the exhibition site getting crosser and crosser before FINALLY finding it and choosing a few fabrics to have samples sent to me.  So I was a little grumpy, but my mood was soon to change as we embarked on our walking tour of Paris.

I had downloaded two tours in advance of our trip from the A Girls Guide To Paris website.  One was called, "Exploring Rue du Cherche Midi", and the other, "Pastry and Chocolate Tour".  I had been to Paris previously so knew of a few places we could go for a walking tour, so we started at my favourite foodie type shop La Grande Epicerie.  La Grande Epicerie is a little like the food halls in London's Harrods or Selfridges.  It is filled with the most amazing counters of food.  Everything from pastries, chocolates, cheeses, meats, pies and salads.  They all look AMAZING and you just know they are going to taste delicious!




I bought a giant raspberry macaroon (the big pink on in the second picture down), and might I add I spoke completely in French, and Alex bought an apple tart for her parents mainly by pointing and saying oui when they got to the right one ;) teehee.

As we were near, we walked to the start of our first diy walking tour that started on Rue du Cherche Midi.  The website sold it to us by telling us:

"We wind you through Cherche-Midi’s fantastic antique shops, secondhand stores, tea salons and caf├ęs"

What's not to love about that!  We didn't get very far before stopping for a bite to eat at a recommended cafe on the tour, Le Nemrod.


You just know  somewhere is going to be good when the locals eat there, instead of all the touristy types.  Paris is clearly not for people of a certain size.  Inside all the tables are tightly packed together and you practically sit on top of the person on the table next to you.  We ordered a classic French dish, a Croque Monsieur!  Alex decided to be all Parisian and ordered a glass of red wine with her meal whilst I opted for a caffeine fix in a cafe ou lait.


Deeeeesquishous!  If not a tad pricey.  Well that is the general theme of Paris, it is not a cheap city to be in.  Basically don't bother going if you want to shop till you drop for bargains.  Anyway it was a lovely meal and rest stop so I recommend trying it if you ever happen to walk past Le Nemrod, for a slice of authentic Paris hospitality.

On to the rest of the tour.  We followed it as far as we could, but there was something "going down" in Paris that day as the Police were blockading the rest of the road that we wanted to walk along.  So we didn't get to visit all of the places on the tour, but we had a good go.  Here are the highlights of the quirky and antique shops we did spot.
I really want that giant book!


The second two pictures were of my favourite shop of the lot, a gorgeous Vintage shop selling all manor of beautiful fur coats, handbags and jewellery.  Look at how happy my face is!  You know I was saying Paris is expensive?  Well those beautiful crocodile skin handbags (in pristine condition) were marked as 350euros and 495euros...............dream on Betty!
I couldn't resist snapping this hair salon, complete with retro drying hoods!  So cute!

Alex and I then headed to the starting place of our second tour, the pastry and chocolate tour!!!  I must admit we went a little "off piste" at this point as the instructions were a little confusing.  Basically if it said turn left on the instructions to find such and such, if we actually turned right we would find it.  So we improvised, and turns out, there are A LOT of beautiful pastry and chocolate shops in Paris.  Here are some of the highlights:
Amazing Choclatiere that looked way too posh and expensive to enter, but beautiful chocolate creations in the window!

There is something about this that makes me want to smoosh my face in all the cakey goodness


With all those scrummy pastry and chocolate shops it is hard to see how the French are so slim!  I guess, however, it is because we didn't see a single chain junk food shop in this area, so they must eat fresh and locally produced food.

Anyway I think that is enough visual stimulus for one post.  In my next post I shall take you on the remainder of our walking tour of Paris which includes the best macaroon shop in Paris, more scrummy food stops and a spot of being a tourist.

Lots of Love
Betty

Thursday, 10 January 2013

NEW PRODUCT ALERT! The Bettie Robe


I am very excited about this new product!  I LOVE it and I am hoping you will too.  When I found the fabric, I just knew I had to make something in it.  But let's not get ahead of ourselves here.  Let's take it back to the inspiration for the beauty that is The Bettie Robe.

When I think of leopard print, Bettie Page immediately springs to my mind.  Many a Bettie photoshoot sees her clad in some sort of leopard print outfit.  Perhaps this is where I got my love of leopard print from?  And perhaps this is why current pin-up girls have a love affair with leopard print?  All I know is that there is something very alluring and exciting about a beautiful little leopard print outfit.


Leopard print also has a very luxurious feel to it.  Imagine draping yourself in nothing but a fur stole (fake of course as Leopards are an endangered species!).  Our dear Ms Page does an excellent job of draping herself luxuriously in leopard print in the picture to our left here.

Don't get me wrong though, there are some horrible crimes against leopard print.  If done the wrong way it can look cheap and nasty, like something a woman of the night may wear.  That is why I was so excited when I stumbled upon the PERFECT leopard print fabric.  A crepe de chine that drapes perfectly around ones curves and feels oh so soft to the touch.

So without further ado, may I introduce the Bettie Robe

There's a reason I look so smug in this picture.  You see that, my friends, is the PERFECT leopard print fabric.  So perfect that I made the shop I bought it from recall all the rolls of it from their shops around the country, because I had to have it all!!  Unfortunately this does mean that I can only do one run of production of this robe in this certain fabric.  So if it sells well, which I am hoping it will, I can't have any more made.
So I am smug because this robe in the picture, is mine :D yaaaaay!!  These pictures were shot at the same time as the new Cotton Candy Tempset Set, at Iberian Black Arts.  The delectable Morgana, doing a fantastic job of my hair and make-up.  And in the above picture I was joined by her adorable kitty cat Onyx.  Obviously Onyx thought I was a giant cat in all that leopard print ;).  I think Onyx has modelling potential!  What do you think ;) teehee.
So now a little description of this beauty.  This is a floor length robe, in a beautiful crepe de chine fabric (a little like satin).  It is a wrap around style so you can cinch it in for an hourglass figure, or let it out if you've eaten a little too much cake ;).  The sleeves are fabulously poofy, giving you the perfect 1940's aesthetic.  Slink around in style in this little delight!  And what will it set you back?  A mere £175!  Cheap for the luxury and scarcity of this perfect leopard print robe!

I am already scouring the world for a similar fabric at a similar price, so that if this does sell well (which I'm hoping it will!), I can have more made.  My search is taking me to Paris in a few day's time, to an international fabric show.  At least one country in the whole wide world must have something similar, right?!?!  

I cannot describe to you how fabulous this robe makes you feel.  If you loved the Black Nell Robe, you will love this Bettie Robe!  You may thank me when it drops on your doormat, but I'm just doing my job - bringing glamorous loungewear to the people of the world.  And when will I be getting these in?  Well my factory will have completed them by tomorrow (11th Jan), but realistically I will have them at the beginning of next week (14th Jan onwards as I have to arrange pick up of said robes).  Keep checking your inboxes for the newsletter and my website for further details of when you can get your hands on one ;).

Lots of Love
Betty xxx

P.S in my research of Bettie Page leopard print photos I found this picture......
Spookily like my new Cotton Candy Tempest Bed Jacket non?!  Must be something in the name 'Betty' that exudes good taste ;) teehee

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Complete Knit!

I have been waiting nearly a year now to post about my first completed knitting project.  The problem being that it was a Birthday present for my sister.  This time last year I thought enough is enough!  I MUST complete my sisters present that I had been knitting for the past 2 years but never quite completing.  It was meant to be her Christmas present in 2010 when she had just moved into her first grown up house (mortgage and everything!).  But the excitement of starting my own business took over and I never quite got round to finishing it.  Well three years later and I finally gave it to her!

Like I say I actually finished it about this time last year - but her Birthday is 3rd of January so I had to wait a whooooole year to give it to her; and indeed post it up here in case she saw the blog post!  Well here it is!

A draft excluder in the shape of a sausage dog!  All knitted of course.
It looks a little short for this particular door but I assure you it does fit on a normal door.........not sure what happened here, looks like my sisters door is massive.  It fits at the bottom of her bedroom door though.
I embroidered on a little black nose and two little eyes.  It's a bit rustic, but I feel adds character ;)
The final touch was a sparkly collar that used to be my little doggies collar, Tess.  I did however call this draft excluder Percy as it just seemed to fit his face, but boys can have sparkly pink collars right!?

The main body has been half stuffed with soft toy stuffing and half with a drinks bottle filled with dry rice to give it some weight (that's why it looks a little shiny in the top picture).  The toughest part to knit was the main body.  It was done all in stocking stitch and was really boring as it was all the same and really really long!!  But I got there in the end!

Hope you enjoy my knit and maybe try it yourself!  Bare with it, it takes an age to do but is totally satisfying (and quite useful to keep out the drafts this winter!) when you finish it.

Lots of Love
Betty

P.S. Frank, my sausage dog, totally wanted to get in on the photos

P.P.S. I get my delivery of Cotton Candy Tempest Sets tomorrow (7th Jan) so pre order yours NOW to have it in your hands by Tuesday 8th Jan!!!!  Get it here.