My pregnancy essentials

Being pregnant in Paris and France can be quite daunting when you’re not at all familiar with the health care system or which resources are available to you. Even finding normal, or rather, “Anglo” pregnancy items can be a challenge. 11 months later with a healthy and gorgeous baby in our lives, I’m happy to share my 7 pregnancy essentials with you!


1. My morning sickness wasn’t terrible but it was still very present. As long as I was kept fed I seemed to be ok. A friend visiting from London put together a pregnancy kit for me and these cookies were in them — apparently ginger is a wonderful remedy to morning sickness? All I know is these cookies helped me get through several waves or nausea and for that I will be eternally grateful!

Sold in Paris at W.H. Smith, 248 rue de Rivoli, 75001.


2. Another ginger-y item that saved the day! Especially since it’s caffeine free. I bought box loads of these at a time and always had sachets in my handbag for whenever I was out for tea with friends.

Sold at La Grande Epicerie du Bon Marché, 38 rue de Sèvres, 75007, Paris.


3. I will be eternally grateful to my friend Zack for my Snoogle Total Body Pillow. Near the beginning of my pregnancy I wasn’t sure I would be able to exclusively sleep on my left side as recommended for the baby (I’d trained myself to be a back sleeper years ago — less wrinkles!) so I knew I had to get some kind of body pillow. Unfortunately it seemed almost  impossible to find in France so mine came from BuyBuyBaby in Manhatten. It’s, without a doubt, the best pregnancy item I bought or received. I love, L-O-V-E, my Snoogle. Like sleeping on a cloud!


4. My Moleskine red journal was a timely gift during Paris Fashion Week in January. Although I wish I had used it more, the stories and moments that I did recount during my pregnancy are precious. I can’t wait to relive them in the years to come.


5. As I mentioned, navigating the French healthcare system was at times totally bewildering. Luckily a friend of mine had given me a copy of Pamela Druckerman’s French Children Don’t Throw Food — an excellent read in itself, but also referred to Message, an organization for English-speaking families in Paris. Their forums were a wealth of information for the gazillion questions I had and they also publish an excellent guide, the ABCs of Parenting in Paris.


6. After reading Ina May Gaskin’s Guide To Childbirth and seeing The Business of Being Born I was absolutely positive that I wanted a natural birth. I discovered Hypnobirthing through the blog The Healthy Tipping Point and was intrigued by the idea of a painless natural birth. After visiting their site I discovered that they had a practitioner in Paris, Elizabeth Echlin. My husband and I took three sessions with Elizabeth, which were great for releasing fears and learning visualization and breathing techniques. Without these sessions I don’t know whether I would have had the brilliant birth that I did, all natural, with our DD arriving one and a half hours after we arrived at the hospital. I can’t recommend these sessions enough!


7. On a more superficial note, I discovered BB creams during my pregnancy and when I was completely exhausted with dark circles under my eyes and no energy to even think about make up, this cream was a lifesaver! Throughout my pregnancy everyone kept complementing me on my skin, little did they know it was thanks to a miracle tube from Bobbi Brown.

Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35


*Note* I didn’t include clothing or accessories in this list as I didn’t really add much to my wardrobe, except some leggings and camisoles. In fact I was decidedly “unfashion” about this pregnancy. If you have any pregnancy essentials yourselves, I would love to hear them! I may even adopt a few when pregnancy number two comes along (in the future!) ;-)


Braquenie Wallpaper preview at Pierre Frey Paris

The Maison Pierre Frey welcomed journalists in Paris this week to preview their new Spring 2012 wallpaper collection for label Braquenie. Prints are classic Pierre Frey — oh so French — do you like?

Images courtesy of Pierre Frey

A Parisian Dream in Matchbook Magazine

My collaborator and friend, Elisa Camus, and I were pleased to take part in the newest issue of Katie Armour’s Matchbook Magazine with our shoot/interview of scarf designer and all-around fabulously chic Parisienne, Ashley Ashoff. Our shoot with Ashley took place earlier this year in her apartment near the Champs de Mars. We love Matchbook Magazine and we’re very happy to be included in the same issue that also featured a cover story with Andy and Kate Spade. Chic!

Some images from our story with Ashley:

To view the whole article, view the November issue here!

Luxurious morning and lunch at L’Hotel Paris

Hubby and I took advantage of one of our wedding gifts on Friday morning. A gift certificate for a morning swim and massage at L’Hotel, followed by lunch in their 1-star Michelin restaurant.

L’Hotel is famously the hotel where Oscar Wilde passed away. It was restored in the 1950’s and quickly became a haunt of the rich and famous: Grace Kelly and The Rolling Stones are just a few of the famous names that have stayed as guests. Carine Roitfeld also loves the bar and apparently Tilda Swinton always stays here whenever she has to come to Paris.

We arrived at 10:30 am to find the pool area all prepared for us. Robes and slippers were waiting — the pool gate was closed behind us and the floor-to-ceiling curtains were drawn, for the ultimate privacy. We splashed about, going from the sauna to the pool, it was divine to have the whole place for ourselves. Soon after the masseuse arrived and we took turns to get pool-side massages. Needless to say, we were in 7th heaven.

Note the lovely Green & Spring bath products.

The morning was over too soon and we took showers and walked up stairs, totally blissed out, for the second part of our treat: a lunch in their Michelin star restaurant.

An airy skylight greets guests, in this Jacques Garcia designed Empire dining room. I probably could have easily fallen asleep at the table, but luckily I had worked up an appetite in the pool and my tastebuds were calling out!

The avocado and crab starter

Foie gras starter — note the flecks of gold

Bar main course — topped with herring eggs

Rabbit with seasonal vegetables

Saint Nicolas cheese with thyme emulsion

Finished by my pear and sorbet dessert.

This package was called “L’Hotel Indulge” in case anyone else is inspired to offer a gift such as this. Let me tell you, your friends will be very, very happy to receive this! It was the perfect relaxing wedding gift! Merci M & M!!

L’Hotel, 13 rue des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 75006. Tel. 01 44 41 99 00.

All images © Mrs. Châtelaine

The Art Fund

Vera Wang for Wedgwood Piggy Bank

How do you save to build an art collection? That’s one of the recurrent conversations the Hubby and I have had over the last few years. We both love art and we both agreed we wanted to put money aside in order to build our own collection. We even jokingly discussed getting our own piggy bank in order to penalize bad habits: he was supposed to put €20 in whenever he said, “shiiiiiiiiit” — a terrible habit he had picked up after watching 5 seasons of HBO’s The Wire back-to-back — and I was supposed to contribute whenever he discovered any discarded cups of tea around the house, a bad habit I have instead of immediately putting them into the dishwasher. So imagine my surprise when he came home this weekend with this adorable little piggy bank! A precious silverplate baby piggy bank from the Vera Wang Wedgwood collection. I guess we have no excuse to not start saving now!

Paris Dream Table: Le restaurant de Jean-François Piège au Thoumieux

I’ve been a fan of chef Jean-François Piège ever since passing an exceptional evening, almost five years ago, at his previous two-star Michelin establishment, Les Ambassadeurs at the Hôtel Crillon. It was one of those evenings where you left just blown away by the beauty of the place (a majestic Louis XV ballroom overlooking the lights of the place de la Concorde), the selection of wines, and above all, the delicious and meticulously prepared plats.

So my current dream table is at the Thoumieux, where Jean-Francois Piège landed in 2009 after being lured by Thierry Costes, eventually opening this second restaurant in 2010 on the 1st floor to entice diners (there are only twenty places) with a more gastronomique experience. I also love the retro décor, which would look perfect in any episode of Mad Men.

Hoping that the Hubby will surprise me with a visit soon! (*hint hint*) xox

Le Restaurant de Jean-François Piège, 79 Rue Saint Dominique, 75007, Paris.

Tel. 01-47-05-79-00. M° La Tour Maubourg.

Image via Alexander Lobrano’s Hungry for Paris

The Vespa Parade Paris

Last year at this time the Hubby and I were walking around shopping and were surprised to be overtaken by a large group of vintage and classic Vespas! It was definitely a sight to see! This year the 3rd annual Vespa Parade for France is on again, for September 17th, 2011 at 6PM to be exact.

I have a friend who has an amazing pink 1950’s Vespa with accompanying sidecar — I’m hoping he’ll be participating too! I just have to get some pictures of this hilarious and joyous event!

In the meantime, here are some images from the French Vespa website:

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