May 1st in France: Lily of the Valley

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On May 1st in France, it’s a tradition to offer a mini-bouquet of Lily of the valley to your loved ones. According to legend, while Charles IX and Catherine de Medicis were travelling in the Rhône-Alps, the knight Louis de Girard de Maisonforte offered the young king a sprig of Lily of the valley from his garden as a good-luck charm. Charmed by the flower, the king ordered its distribution to the ladies of the court every May 1st. However this is the traditional flower of the Parisian region/Ile-de-France since the beginning of the 20th century, thanks to the famous fashion designers who offered a small bouquet to all their seamstresses on May 1st. The working population was inspired by this ritual and in 1907, they replaced the symbolic dog rose with the Lily of the valley.

FR On offre le Muguet, un rituel convivial qui remonte à la Renaissance quand le chevalier Louis de Girard de Maisonforte offre au jeune Charles IX offre en gage de bonheur, un brin de muguet cueilli dans son jardin. Au début du XXème siècle, la fleur devint la fleur traditionnelle de l’ile de France, quand le jour du 1er mai, les grands couturiers parisiens offraient un brin de muguet aux petites mains des ateliers comme un porte-bonheur. Inspirée par cette pratique, en 1907, la population ouvrière remplaça la fleur d’églantine par le brin de muguet à l’occasion de la fête du travail. Merci à #actuelflors pour ce joli bouquet parfumé.

A spring balloon

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I made my spring balloon because I think we should measure a good life in the amount of balloons we collect. We need to fill each one with good memories, good deeds, things that make you happy and hold on to them. More the balloons you have in life, the higher you go! ;)

FR Voici mon ballon de printemps. Je crois que que le bonheur doit se mesurer par le nombre de ballons qu’on accumule. Dans chaque ballon, on devrait mettre nos bons souvenirs, nos bonnes actions, les choses qui nous rendent heureux et les garder précieusement. Car vous savez, plus il y a de ballons, plus on s’élève! ;)

Nepal and the last cherry blossoms

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My mum called to tell me of the moment she knew something was amiss. The birds and the animals went beserk for a good fifteen minutes and then everything went silent. That’s when they felt the first tremors. This was in Delhi. The earthquake hit Nepal and parts of India. As we enjoy the last of the beautiful cherry blossoms please don’t forget this beautiful country and its people right now. Nepal needs our help. Kindly donate to the Red Cross or UNICEF who are working so hard to provide humanitarian relief our Nepali brothers.
FR On profite des dernières belles fleurs de cérisier mais n’oublions pas le beau pays de Népal et son peuple anéantis par le tremblement de terre. Veuillez faire vos dons à l’UNICEF ou à la croix rouge pour faciliter leurs opérations de secours à travers tout le pays. Un grand merci.

Delhi Details: Tomb of Safdarjung

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Soon one will see Delhi again. It’s not my home but I have an obligation that needs me to be in the city before heading to the real home by the sea. Nearly everyone who’s been and hasn’t been here, hates this city and it has a bad reputation for women’s safety too. Delhi is frustrating and chaotic yes but it’s also the city of a little magic. This moment in front of the Tomb of Safdarjung is etched in my memory. It’s difficult to explain in print. The sight of a dazzling but clearly neglected landmark, bus loads of tourists and school children rushing past the stone walls, some asking me to click their pictures, I comply. I watch the children scramble on the tomb of the vizier, disrespectful and oblivious to the sanctity of the space. Elsewhere they engrave their names into the stonewalls with sharp stones or a permanent marker suffices to stamp the monument with their devnagri names. First-world foreigners are dumbfound and document the disgrace with their cameras. Strange I thought. Shouldn’t the tomb of a be part of the art and architectural framework we need to preserve? I try to ignore the selfie-taking marker-using students and continue my study of the few flower motifs left on the floor, the rare imperfect symmetry and the stunning ceiling that have been spared from the wrath of time and markers. The tomb of the vizier is still surrounded by cackling and turns into a theme park. I stop one of the children running around the tomb and ask him if he knows anything about the vizier. Sure enough he knows nothing. He points to my camera and asks for a photo. “Only if you let me tell you about the vizier”, I said. He agrees. I rapidly show him my sketches and before long I’m surrounded by these young neat uniformed children all ears about the Emperors. They immediately ask the others to stop the cacophony. Pleased, I continue and they seem entranced by my story and the details of my sketchbook. Afterwards I spend a good fifteen minutes taking pictures that I’ll never be able to send. But it makes them happy and keeps them away from destroying the monument, so I continue. 4 or 5 overburdened teaches come to call it a day. Least bothered about the learning experience of the excursion. Then they all jump into the dozens of rented buses and drive off. All alone at the monument is thrilling, a thousand birds fly overhead, the floral motifs and stucco work seems fresh as ever and the anti-chambers that lead to the tomb are radiant. A brief respite for him and me I thought. It was difficult to pull away.
Present day: I taught a class on the Emperors, thousands of miles away from Delhi. I was dubious of the reaction. Would they be as interested as the boisterous uniformed children? Would they stop the random and trivial and listen to my story? Well, most gave me the attention required for a good grade. And a handful seemed entranced. For that I was thankful. Wonderful I thought, all the inspiration that came out of that one moment could be bottle up and used to make other terrific moment.
It’s been six months now and I reflect on the number of buses that brought more boisterous children to see the “tomb”. How many markers and stones attacked the monument? All this I’ll know soon enough on my next visit to the city of Emperors.

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Weekend pleasures: Fairtrade roses+Paris

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No filter used here because these beauties are just naturally amazing. If only there was a way to bottle up the magic from these roses.. so dreamy!

 

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Fresh roses + organic farm goodies: authentic macarons (this is what real French macarons look like!), heart-shaped fresh cheese on a coulis of berries😍 and red berry tea then spent the whole afternoon on my first still life. Birds and landscapes are my favourite subjects to draw and paint. But this Fado rose was calling out to me. The finished piece lacks any kind of chiaroscuro but I suppose creativity means focusing on the fun you have rather than the completion! Hopefully practice will make perfect!

FR Les plaisirs du weekend: stop inévitable pour mes roses chez actuelflors, du bio du ferme de saint-thibault: les authentiques macarons + du fromage frais en forme de coeur sur un coulis de baies rouges. Miam. Et n’oublions pas un thé aux fruits rouges pour bien entamer le weekend, ensuite passé le dimanche aprèm-midi à faire mon premier dessin de nature morte. J’ai l’habitude de dessiner plutôt les oiseaux ou les paysages, mais cette rose fado méritait d’être immortalisée. Lol. Alors, le dessin final je trouve est dénué de chiaroscuro mais j’estime que c’est un bon début et je me suis bien amusée! L’exercise amènera à la perfection, non? ;)

Hand made with love

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As you grow older you realize the importance of handmade goods. They’re the ones made with love and passion. You start to look for the quality of few things rather than quantity of stuff you’ll just dispose of in some time. I’m starting to see my Mum’s point of “investment pieces”. I didn’t break the bank for this scarf but the quality of the silk is admirable, handblocked and dyed in one of my favorite colours. And my BFF gave me those amazing handmade journals made from handmade paper :) Love you M. |FR. Ce n’est qu’en grandissant qu’on se rend compte de la valeur de l’artisanat. Ce sont ces objets qui sont faits avec l’amour et la passion. On commence à chercher pour la qualité dans peu de choses plutôt que la quantité des objets d’une courte durée. Je commence à comprendre le point de vue de ma mère qui dit mieux investir qu’acheter. Cet écharpe ne coûte pas chère mais la qualité de soie est formidable, les dessins sont faits par une technique d’impression ancestrale de l’Inde (l’impression par bloc de bois/hand blocking) et elle est teintée en bleu (avec un côté fané que j’aime). Les 3 carnets sont un cadeau de ma meilleure amie, aussi fait mains avec du papier fait mains :D

Fresh Stationery

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Decided to upgrade my stationery collection with this gorgeous set of botanical notecards from The Peony Press UK. And of course gorgeous fresh flowers from Actuelflors | Un nouvel ajout à la collection de papeterie. Ces cartes botaniques de chez Peony Press en Angleterre, vues ici avec les fleurs magnifiques de Actuelflors.

For Bombay

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Bombay is an emotion. You either love it or hate it. I’ve tried to draw that in my little postcard and only one place comes to mind and that’s the South Bombay area. And the most amazing spring peony is from our florists Actuelflors :)

Spring things

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Happy Saturday among the flowers. Spent an amazing spring day in Paris with the bestie and the beau at #jardindesplantes and managed to slip in a moodboard with a beautiful bouquet of the loveliest roses + peony (for tomorrow) |🇫🇷 Passé une journée printanière merveilleuse dans Paris avec la meilleure amie et le chéri. Et le point culminant du jour est ce magnifique bouquet de @actuelflors composé de roses + pivoine (pour demain).

Tea Time with Elyx

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I have a surprise guest at tea time today! The Epic Elyx has stopped by to try some of my goodies!😍 | Je ne suis pas la seule gourmande à table! L’adorable Elyx est l’invité d’honneur au goûter! 💕 Mille mercis à Yak d’avoir intégré son personnage Elyx dans mon monde et d’une manière sublime!

Sea of Poppies | Un océan de pavots

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One of my favourite books, Sea of Poppies, styled here with the most magnificent poppy offered by our dear florist actuelflors. | ‘Un océan de pavots’ par Amitav Ghosh, un de mes livres préférés, vu ici avec un magnifique pavot de actuelflors. Revue et livre à découvrir ici