It really was March madness!! I had a busy month after a relatively quiet January and February. First came the snow which was a bit of shock, I know we’ve had snow before but really, so much at the beginning of March? All we’re really thinking about is spring, long days and of warm sunshine. It really seemed that spring was this elusive far-away dream that was never going to happen especially after the second dumping of snow that the Beast from the East delivered little more than 2 weeks later. While my son was sending me photos of his South East Asia travels, basking in 30-degree heat on a beach in Vietnam, I had thermals on and sending him photos of snow. Still, that didn’t stop me from getting out and about and getting on with life.
The highlight of March was our trip to Paris, so the last couple of weeks, I was out shopping just getting last minute bits and pieces, I was happy the flooding in Paris had subsided although they too were trapped in a blizzard. I was sure it was going to be fine weather for our short trip. I was mega excited to be going to my beloved city again, I even did a post on what I was packing which you can read here. I touched on what you should be packing for Paris in the spring, its easy for us as the weather is similar to London but for anyone else travelling to Paris, its important to know what to pack for unpredictable usually showery weather but we were really lucky, it was sunny even though there was a chill in the air in the morning and at night.
For our one-night stay meal, it had to be somewhere special and there could only be one place that I had in mind, Les 110 de Taillevent Paris. It’s the sister restaurant to Les 110 Taillevent London where I celebrated my birthday last September, I was curious to see how it compared, it was simply wonderful, similar in décor and ambience and with food to match. You can read my Paris Taillevent review here, I’ll be posting more about our trip to Paris over the next coming weeks.
This month, I had the most exquisite Afternoon Tea ever, with a title of An English Country Garden Afternoon Tea and the most enchanting poem by Cecil Lees, I was really intrigued to find out more. Let me tell you, it was stunning, I was completely blown away by the detail and how unusual this Tea was, I was so well looked after by everyone and my waiter Andrei. You can read more by clicking here, make your way to 108 Brasserie at the Marylebone Hotel to try this immaculate Afternoon Tea for yourself before it’s replaced as I’m told it’s a spring special. I’ll be visiting their sister hotel, The Kensington for a very special Beauty and the Beast themed Afternoon Tea called “Tale as Old as Time” all will be revealed in next month’s update plus it’ll be on the blog in a couple of weeks.
Continuing my culinary journey this month, I took my sushi loving daughter to Sakagura for a bottomless brunch. I’ve yet to review the restaurant but aside from the brunch being good value, we were both disappointed, the service was poor and there wasn’t enough sushi but I guess it’s not really their fault, they want the diner to experience a varied menu but some things like the salad had no place in the giant bento box we were served, look out for my review coming next week and I’ll also add a link in April update.
In my updates I wanted to include something new and I’ve been toying with the idea of including either a separate book club post or include it in my monthly update. Simply because my favourite Francophile Parisian blogger has a book club on her blog, but not wanting to replicate anyone else’s blog, that goes against everything I believe in, it did however give me the idea of just adding a small paragraph in my updates about my current reads. I’ll also feature my favourite French/Parisian books in my “Beyond Paris” category and I promise I’ll bring you that soon. I’ve got some fantastic books in my collection, some are recipe books, others Paris lifestyle books and some good Paris travel guides but they’re so much more than your typical guide books, watch this space!
For now, I am currently reading The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, it’s part three of the excellent Shadow of the Wind trilogy and continues the same edgy atmosphere as his previous two. Shadow of the Wind is based on the Cemetery of Forgotten Books in old Barcelona, it tells the story of the life of Daniel Sempere, his father’s bookshop, Sempere & Sons and the mysterious Julian Carax, I’ve read the book twice, it’s so good!
In Angel’s Game, the story is told through the eyes of author Daniel Martin, it’s quite a mysterious spooky book but I found them both enthralling. Shadow of the Wind consumed my life the first time I read it, I couldn’t put it down, it’s a book that I was a bit obsessed with so naturally I would read the final part of the trilogy, The Prisoner of Heaven which continues the story of Daniel and his unlikely but very humorous friend Fermin Romero de Torres who befriends David Martin (the character in Angel’s Game) in Prison, it tells the story of Fermin’s time in prison before he met Daniel Sempere in Shadow of the Wind…are you still with me!! I hope I haven’t confused you 😊 The enchanting city of Barcelona is brought to life again through Zafon’s books although not as in great a detail as in Shadow of the Wind, they make you feel you’re walking the streets of Barcelona and since I was travelling to the city during the time I first read the book, it’s funny how I am now reading the final book and I’m visiting Barcelona again in November. I’m told there will be a fourth and final book in the series, so excited for that. Zafon’s Shadow series of books have been translated into 40 different languages, a testament not just to the story but to the brilliance of the author.
After dinner and after all the necessary chores have been seen to, I like to take a half hour walk especially if I haven’t been able to go on my morning hour long powerwalk. Then, you’ll find me falling asleep in front of the telly nursing a cup of tea but if there’s something really good on TV then, I’m wide awake and something that I’m currently really enjoying (apart from the Walking Dead, Masterchef and Eastenders) is the story of Gianni Versace in American Crime Story – The Assassination of Gianni Versace, I’m totally hooked it’s a bit gruesome in places but it has a way of drawing you into the story so you immediately want to watch the next episode. I’ve searched for it on iplayer but can’t seem to find the previous episodes which is weird but I’m hoping when it finishes, it will be available to download as a series so if any of you haven’t seen it, keep an eye on iplayer. Some of you may not remember when the assassination of this iconic Italian designer happened which was in July 1997 just before Princess Diana was tragically killed but I promise you, you’ll really enjoy this nine-part series, the acting is superb especially the actor who plays his killer, the former Glee star Darren Criss.
That’s it for March Madness, I’m looking forward to April, will spring make an appearance? I hope so! But failing that, I will be enjoying Beauty and the Beast Afternoon Tea with my daughter and Afternoon Tea at Lanes of London which is inside the London Marriot Hotel in Park Lane. I’ll be going to a restaurant that I first visited in Paris, they’ve now opened one in London – that’s all I’m saying, tell you more next month! I’m also finally going to visit some very instagrammable coffee shops – I seem to be the only blogger who hasn’t been to Peggy Porchen or Saint Aymes in Mayfair, but I will be visiting somewhere else first, somewhere I’ve yet to see anyone post about on Instagram…. watch this space! I’m also going to take a trip to Islington to search out a French deli I’ve heard so much about, I can’t wait to tell you all about this deli which will be featured on my “Beyond Paris” category, the aim is to bring you a little bit of Paris right here in London. Enjoy April.
Love Helen XxX