Monday, June 21, 2010

this charming girl...episode 15

paris ~ la ville de l'amour ♥

15. ~ the eiffel tower

the iconic symbol of the city of love.
the breath-taking views from this beautiful & intricate lattice of ironwork, somehow perfectly encapsulate the dizzying, light-headed joy of a new romance...
my very own tiny 'tour eiffel' holds so many dear memories of a family trip to the historic & very fabulous French capital city.

memories of Parisian 'se sentir bien' neighbourhoods which inspired this beautifully romantic & luxurious handmade soap ...

rose water, sparkling blush champagne and pink grapefruit luxe soap adorned with a tiny rosebud & glistening Himalayan pink salts

...and Etsy rose-tinted treasury, Paris ~ la ville d'amour

so, throw on a soft cashmere scarf, pop on some cute kitten heels & grab your rose tinted sunglasses ~ here's a mini trip of the Parisian style & must-sees that inspired the treasury & the soap...

a perfect marriage of the 12th century Louvre Palace & modern glass pyramid house, an astounding collection of art & archeological finds including ~

an ancient Greek sculpture believed to depict Aphrodite, the goddess of love & beauty. 

arguably, the most famous painting in the world, Renaissance turned Hollywood star thanks to Dan Brown's classic novel / movie - along with that enigmatic smile...

this imposing monument to honour those that fought for France and resting place of the unknown soldier, is at the west end of the wonderful  Champs-Élysées, and at the centre of the infamous Place Charles de Gaulle ~ the meeting place of 12 avenues & a traffic junction best not approached by the faint-hearted! the fast & furiously fearless french drivers produce a cacophony of honking car horns! ooh la, la!

Notre Dame cathedral

thankfully, this beautiful example of French Gothic architecture and Roman Catholic place of worship was fully restored after it's desecration during the French Revolution in the 1790s.

there is a small sculpture on the cathedrals' exterior, of a fictional former lodger,  physically deformed but kind-hearted bell-ringer Quasimodo from Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame.

bold & brightly coloured hi-tech architecture housing Europe's largest modern art museum.

the world's most visited cemetry ~ serenely beautiful resting place of Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Bizet, Moliere & Jim Morrison (the Doors) amongst many other esteemed painters, poets, writers, actors & statesman.

 the mesmerizing, white church at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city ~ offers spectacular views from it's hauntingly romantic domes.

the infamous cabaret, spiritual home of the 'can-can' in the bustling heart of the red-light district.

notable past performers include Josephine Baker, Liza Minelli, Elton John & Frank Sinatra to name but a few!

wondering the best way to travel around all these wonderful locations?

1906 Steel Engraved Map Of Paris ~ picture courtesy of Veronica at Surrender Dorothy.
check out her amazing Etsy shop ~ full of seriously cool vintage & supplies.

the paris metro of course,

with it's fabulous stations,  
full of their signature art nouveau architecture,

and weird & wonderful surprises!

but if you feel it's all just too much, and the city's a blur...

relax & unwind à la française, by joining the café culture at one of the quintessential pavement cafés - the best seat in the house when it comes to watching all Parisian life go by - from the effortlessly stylish to the mal logés, from the frantic & expressive to the frowning intellectuals, lost in deep thought, philosophy & a сafetière à piston.

La Vie En Rose © Marisa Allegra Williams
see more of Marisa's outstanding work at her Etsy shop, risamay ~ a wonderful treasure trove of travel photography.

of course, you cannot leave Paris until you experience  the eiffel tower at night ~ a beacon of glistening gold, bringing a warm glow to lovers & loved ones everywhere.

pour inhaler Paris conserve l'âme
to inhale Paris preserves the soul 

rien ne se peut comparer à Paris 
nothing can compare to Paris 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

this charming (dad)...episode 14

Happy Father's Day 

14. ~ a rose (& tiny model umbrella)
I guess it's not often you see a rose as a symbol of Father's Day, but for me it's a powerful connection to my late dad.
He chose 'Rose' for my middle name - when I was a little girl he told me I was a precious rosebud, in later years he relayed how he was inspired by the enigmatic last words ('rosebud') of Orson Welles playing the role of Citizen Kane,  often considered the greatest movie of all time.

The theatrical link between roses & Orson Welles does not end there....but more of that & the umbrella, later.

my dad was many things. Of Italian descent, he was raised by his devout Catholic family who ran sweet shops & a cafe in East London.

From an early age he showed a great interest in the theatre, 
here he is in a school production of Hiawatha, aged about 7.

He joined the Royal Navy as a teenager and served in World War II
on the battleship, HMS Duke of York.

He then began a long, love affair with the world of theatrical design & production.

He was considered a genius by some who worked along side him.

He is pictured here as assistant to the great Orson Welles, on the 1952 Roland Petit ballet - Lady In the Ice.

He was a founding member of the renowned Royal Exchange Theatre Company in Manchester, England.
His finest moment is without doubt,  the conception & design of the breath-taking Royal Exchange Theatre itself, an astounding 7 sided glass & steel structured 'theatre in the round', which sits flooded by light from the beautiful domed wondows in the wonderfully restored old Exchange building. 

At the beginning of the project, when he first walked into the then derelict space, he was immediately reminded of Citizen Kane & wrote 'rosebud' in the dust on the parquet flooring...

This electric moment recalled by his fellow company members, led to a theatre module inspired by nature's perfect design of the unfolding petals of a rose. 

He also taught theatrical design at Wimbledon School Of Art.
His model-making skills were legendary - miniature set designs always completed with a painstaking attention to detail.
On his retirement, his students presented him with a cake, adorned with a perfect little model of him!

In 2009, a former student David Burrows 
put on a brilliant exhibition of his amazing work.

You can see a gallery of photos from this exhibition here,
also please visit to learn more about my dad's theatre work & his legacy.

On a more personal note, he was a loving & devoted husband to my mum...

...a funny & caring dad to 8 kids!
the best bedtime story teller - silly voices & actions a plenty, not to mention how a quick ruffle of his hair transformed him into 'stig of the dump' so completely.

( and a long suffering taxi driver in our later years, lol)

skills he repeated so enthusiastically as a grandad,

including his brilliant model-making

there were grand doll's houses for little princesses...

and work-shops 
with maticulous 
detail for the boys!

another example of this talent is that little umbrella - I must have had him make me hundreds of those growing up! 

to me, he was just funny old dad - (the best)

for dad ♥ x

Saturday, June 12, 2010

kick off....

FIFA World Cup - South Africa 2010

for those of you that know me well, it'll be no surprise that I may be a tad 'missing in action' for the next month - only to be found glued to a screen, losing my voice through screaming at 22 footy players  and a football  (soccer ball to my Canadian friends).

England kick off their first group match against the States, today at 2.30pm EST.
Come on, England!!

Join the footy festival - a carnival of talent, colour & noise...
party at your local bar showing the games or try out a few tricks at the beach - make Pele proud ☺

I'm singing already..."three lions on a shirt..."