Introducing French Blossom: Celebrating French Fashion For Children

Do you have children? Do you love fashion? Do you love Paris and anything French? Then you will love French Blossom!

frenchblossom

French Blossom is an online boutique which showcases 100% French designers for children’s clothing, toys and decoration. Everything they have in store is pretty and elegant!

I tell my family and friends that I miss French fashion all the time. I have to stock up on French clothes, books, toys (anything really) every time I go home so imagine how happy I was when I heard about them! My children are going to look so stylish and it won’t cost me a flight to Paris and back! Yes, they ship worldwide!

Check out my wishlist and tell me what you love! I may as well have copy pasted the whole website! 🙂

Top 3 Clothing items
Sixtine would rock these! I especially love the Vichy scarf!
Clothes

Top 3 Little Somethings
I think the puzzle would make a really nice gift! It contains three monuments of Paris including the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Sacre Coeur.

bitsandpieces

Top 3 Nursery Decor
Ohh dear, I LOVE the mini-piano. WANT. IT. My daughters have to have it!

Decor

Top 3 Toys
Well-known Sophie and bilingual Flashcards!

toys

Visit French Blossom if you would like to add some French flair to your life! Follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and stay tuned for a little surprise-surprise!

[Paris 1] The Eiffel Tower: With and Sans Baby

Sixtine and Papa looking in the same direction – cruise on the river Seine, Paris.

Paris wouldn’t be Paris without the Eiffel Tower. I waited for my husband to arrive to visit it as we had promised each other to do it as a family. I always made sure to check things out on line before going anywhere, and oh no…:

“Access to the Eiffel Tower is currently very difficult due to a technical incident on a lift.Very few tickets are available through our online ticketing system. Waiting time to the ticket office of the monument is likely to be over 2 hours for visitors without a ticket. We regret this situation and apologize to all our visitors for this inconvenience.”

I was very upset to tell my husband that we wouldn’t be able to go inside as Sixtine would probably not deal well with a two-hour queue in the summer heat. He was disappointed but I promised him we’d go by ourselves and queue it all off  very soon.

It was a beautiful sunny day. We  actually started the day by cruising the Seine with Les Bateaux Parisiens and had a blast! Sixtine stared at the water the whole time and enjoyed the wind on her face, and my husband listened carefully to the history of all monuments and building we were passing by.

La Tour Eiffel is literally a few meters away from the boats dock so it is very convenient. We proceeded to get closer to it and bought crepes on the way. (If you go to Paris, you MUST have crepes. It is just the best thing since sliced bread!) We walked under the Eiffel Tower, checked out the huge queue and sat down on the grass nearby to enjoy our crepes. We had a great weather but it would have been a nightmare to just wait there in the sun so I am glad we took the decision not to go inside.

The following time, we went as a couple ready to queue for a long time. We had the right shoes, the right outfits, cameras, water, everything we needed to make it to the tickets desk. So we started waiting…after ten minutes, my husband decided to take a peek at the “stairs” queue and noticed how much smaller it was. There are over a 1000 steps to the second level. The trick was: we were able to purchase tickets that would take us to the top without queuing the crazy line up. It just took some exercising…a lot of exercising. I felt so out of shape. I had to stop every two flights of stairs to rest for a second (or two). I felt so proud at the end!

The view from the top is absolutely stunning and you can recognize many monuments from there. If you feel fabulous, there is a bar a champagne to celebrate (for about 10 euros if I remember well)! We personally didn’t do it but I think it could be a fun thing to do to mark the occasion. It is definitely worth visiting!

Ps: I didn’t remember the color of the Eiffel Tower. I thought it was grey-ish/green (and I have lived in France for about 24 years of my life…) but no, it’s bronze. Go figure!

A Day In Paris With Baby

I was born in Paris but I live in the suburbs. It is already been about three weeks here and we have been very busy ! I am lucky to live on top of H&M (literally) and have everything nearby which is awesome. We hadn’t been to Paris yet and I didn’t feel the need to – it is close enough and I knew we would get plenty of opportunities but there was a couple shops I really wanted to go to and decided to make it Friday Fun Day.

First things first, as a French person, I should complain. I took the jogger stroller thinking we were going to be away all afternoon – twelve to seven pm and that the baby wouldn’t last long in the sling. I had forgotten or really I had never paid attention before to the fact that there was no elevators, or very little put in place to help parents along. I was looking for an elevator and went to ask a SNCF (public transportation company) worker. I said: “I am looking to go downstairs to take the métro. Where is the elevator?” He replied: “there are none.” I said: “So how do I get downstairs? How do wheelchaired people do?”. He answered very nonchalantly that they didn’t go anywhere. I was pretty pissed. I just hope he stays well. We had to carry the stroller everywhere we went.

Aside from this, we had a lovely time. I had heard about a green shop for babies called Les Biogosses and couldn’t wait to pay them a visit ! I wasn’t disappointed. The owner was very friendly and helpful, and there was a lot to buy. Organic baby food, kitchenware, eco disposable diapers, cloth diapers, organic cotton clothes, and great wooden toys ! I was so excited I didn’t know what to get anymore. I got some German green disposable diapers (Wiona: they come in a great package that makes it really easy to change baby), a sippy cup, a formula dispenser and I would have bought more had I had room to put them in. If you ever come in Paris, I highly recommend you give it a try ! If not, you can still order online here (if you are located in France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Switzerland).

image found on their facebook page

After this little shopping excursion, we decided to grab a bite to eat and stumbled upon Rose Bakery which was great because I had been wanting to try it and hadn’t realized that it was so close to the shop. It does a bit of everything, lunch, tea salon, and a bakery. I had read a couple bad reviews about the place but still wanted to try it and I am glad we did. The food (although quite pricey) was amazing and the service was good. The little lady who was standing behind the counter had a charming accent and was pretty sweet. They also sell fresh produce, teas, British stuff and organic food. The other customers were couples, friends, speaking French or English and it felt like traveling the time of a meal. It is located 46 rue des Martyrs.

Finally, we went to Le Bonhomme de Bois, a wooden toy shop for kids that I had been wanting to go to. It is a beautiful place – there are toys aimed from birth to older children. I bought a lovely rattle for Sixtine as well as a Pull and Push Beads Toy for her. Great prices and a lot of toys to choose from ! There are four shops in Paris alone and it is also a great place for gifts !

Instead of taking the métro on the way back – which was a pain in the b*** – we decided to take the bus back to Montparnasse which was just a breather. Sixtine didn’t complain one bit the whole afternoon and she was a very delightful little girl. I am pretty lucky !

We saw the Eiffel tower from afar but I promised myself not to go until my husband would be with us. Another two months to go !

Homecoming or Paris I missed you

We arrived in Paris on the 15th. It has been great so far. We are missing Papa and family but it feels so good to be home. My home. My mother and sisters. My streets. My smells. My shops. My people. My weather. So far we have enjoyed seeing family, a wonderful weather, daily strolls, Starbucks and simply living life…

I can’t believe how much good a little bit of sun and social life can do.

homesick: adj : “longing for home and family while absent from them” (merriam-webster)

“Quand je te quitte un peu loin, ca ressemble au chagrin, ca fait un mal de chien.” M.Lavoine

I left my douce France in July 2010. Before leaving, I managed to see all the people I loved and cared for, and organized a Goodbye Party for myself. Yes, I did that. We celebrated with baguettes, wine, saucisson, fromage and everything oh-so-French ! I asked everyone to come dressed in either blue, white or red. Yes, I did that too. We listened to Edith Piaf and other classic French singers and we all had a great time.

I was sad to leave everyone but I was very excited to go to Canada, reunite with my now-husband. The future was promising, exciting, and foreign…Since then I have worked a couple jobs, I got married and had a baby. I couldn’t be happier with my life – I have the most wonderful husband and an amazing daughter. But something is still missing. Other than a career for myself, I miss home, terribly.

5 random signs of homesickness:

  1. I heard a French girl talking while I was waiting for my baby to get her immunization needles and I couldn’t help it. I had to talk to her. It felt so good to speak French with a French person. She said “ca suffit” to her daughter and I thought that was so French. I loved it.
  2. I have been listening to French music a lot – including music I didn’t use to like.
  3. “Midnight in Paris” made me cry. When we left the movie theater, I was surprised to hear people speaking English. This movie made me travel.
  4. I watched Amelie (Le fabuleux destin d’Amelie Poulain) three times and I am thinking of watching it again.
  5. I felt emotional when Jean Dujardin won the best actor award at the 84th annual academy awards. He’s French, we are family.

10 things I miss about home:

  1. My family and friends. I have three younger sisters and I haven’t seen them for so long it hurts.
  2. The food. I miss “boeuf bourguignon”, “tarte a l’oignon”, “raclette”, “fondue au fromage”, “creme brulee” and many other French delights.
  3. The streets of Paris; cafes and bars, bridges and museums, shops and tourists. Ses beaux quartiers, and bien sur, the Eiffel Tower.
  4. I miss the French language.
  5. The bakery downstairs.
  6. Watching the world go by sitting at a cafe terrace.
  7. The culture.
  8. London. (It is not home, but I have lived their long enough to miss it.)This city is very dear to me and so close to home.
  9. My hairdresser. She’s done my hair for over 10 years and I can’t believe I haven’t done anything to them since I arrived.
  10. Myself. I miss my old self.

Click here to listen to “Je ne veux pas travailler” (I don’t want to work) by Pink Martini. It is an American band but the song is in French. Sixtine and I have been listening to this song a lot lately.

I would love to hear how you cope with homesickness and what are the things you miss from home…Please share !

Europe I love you : Traveling with baby

In a little over four months, baby, daddy and myself will be flying to France ! How exciting ! I am so looking forward to it. There are a million things I want to do with them ! I don’t think I will be able to stay in one place.

So far, the prices have been up and down but it is looking like we will be landing in Brussels, Belgium which will make it more affordable. My best friend lives there so it won’t be a problem at all – we will take the time to give her a visit, have some Belgian waffles and chocolate, and go for a walk around La Grand Place.

Then we will take the train to Paris, France and stay at my mother’s place for a few weeks. This is gonna be memorable ! None of my friends and family have met my daughter so I know it is going to be a very emotional time for everyone. I am so looking forward to walk the streets of Paris with them, and enjoy cafes, croissants, and all the little things I have been missing dearly.

I am definitely going to take a MILLION pictures !

I will also be visiting London, UK – it will probably be just me – and get a well-deserved shopping fix !

The only thing I worry about is traveling with baby. She will be about 8 months old then and there are no direct flights from where we live which is going to make it an endless trip. I hope she will be all right !

As for baby gear once I am “on site”, I am lucky to have a friend who offered to let me borrow some of her things so we should be good.

I would like to travel with her stroller and car seat. Is it realistic?

Please share you travel with baby tips with me ! Thank you !

How Did You Pick Your Baby’s Name?

I started my baby names list when I was about 13 years old. And I renamed myself Kelly. My sister still makes fun of me to this day. Why Kelly? I was a big fan of Beverly Hills 90210. Imagine ! (* I have nothing against Kellys, in fact, I have a friend whose name is Kelly and she is a delightful lady ! I am just kinda embarrassed about my thirteen-year-old-self*)

I’d add a new name on the list – mostly girl names , although I recall having a Lorenzo on there too – ever heard of Lorenzo Lamas? Renegade? – and would erase a few as I was growing up, as the names I had chosen before didn’t reflect my new “cool” personality anymore.

Anyways, in the past few years, as a university student, I was pretty stuck on one girl name. I was going around about how I would never change my mind, not in a million years. I wanted to call my future child: Paris. I absolutely loved the name and thought that was it.

Then the name Charlotte kinda stuck around. And I loved it so much that I decided to keep it too. So it would be Paris Charlotte. Then I thought Charlotte Paris sounded better.

And then I got pregnant. And it became a whole different story. We were actually given the responsibility to name our child. Give her the best start in life. We were going to keep Charlotte but we wanted a middle name – a classic French one. We didn’t look very long.

Sixtine (pronounced Sixteen) is a fairly classic French name with latin origins which also refers to the Chapel Sistine.

What a beautiful name ! Charlotte Sixtine. Sixtine. Isn’t Sixtine beautiful? How about Sixtine Charlotte. Sixtine Charlotte sounded just right.

Our daughter is a very bubbly, sweet, bright little girl and her name suits her perfectly.

How did you pick your babi(es)’s name? Was it a very hard decision? An easy one? Did you wait until the baby was born? Did you listen to your family/friends/people’s feedback? And if you have twins, did you pick matching names? Do you think that the name of your baby influenced his/her personality? Share with us !

Bringing up a Bilingual Baby

I am Parisian French. When I was 8, I had to choose a second language (it was mandatory). I wanted to learn English but my dad highly recommended I take German. Let’s say I had to. I never liked it. In fact, I hated it. So when, aged 13, I was asked to take a third language between English and Spanish, I took English.

It was instant love.

For those of you who know German, you may know how much easier it is to learn English after battling against “der, die, den, das” and others singularities of the German language…

English, on the other hand, was melody to my ears. And I was very good at it. I pretty much averaged 18 out of 20 at every exam (French marking – equivalent of an A minus maybe?) on my first year.

My husband is Canadian English. He learned French in high school but doesn’t remember much. He is trying really hard however to learn with the baby. But it is obviously harder to learn as an adult !

We were excited at the thought of raising a bilingual individual long before I got pregnant. It would be such a rich heritage to pass on to our child !

I did some research when I was pregnant as I wanted to find out what would be the best way to introduce both languages and finally agreed with my husband that we would do : one parent, one language.

This is pretty much what we have been doing although I do speak English at times. Usually, it goes like this: Did you tell Papa what we did today? So that, Papa in fact, knows what we’re talking about.

I have here on the island very few opportunities to speak French and if it wasn’t for my family and friends from France, I would probably not talk French at all anymore.

But there came our little one ! How I love speaking and singing in French to her ! I am so looking forward to hearing her first French word !

And to give her more opportunity to hear and speak the language, we would like to send her to a French daycare ( if we get a spot – she is on the waiting list ! ) and French school until junior high. Then we will give her the choice: stay in French school or go to an English one.

I would also like to add the basics of a third language (Spanish or Italian). And make sure she has good world awareness: I want her to know about different cultures, languages, and customs.

Please share your experience raising a bilingual child because you and your partner speak different languages or because it is a choice of yours. How does it work for you? Thank you !

Shopping For Babies and Older Kids

This is an outfit from Gap, bought in the infant/boy section. There was a white/girlier version but I love grey on her.

Coming from Paris and having lived in London, two of the best shopping cities in Europe, I was very excited to find out we were having a girl so I could by her cute clothes. Unfortunately, my favorite children boutiques are over 4000 miles away and it is very saddening. ( I know there are sadder things happening in the world right now but still…)

I am, however, very lucky to have family and friends with great taste in clothing located in Europe who have been showering us with cute outfits for our daughter.

When the winter sales started in Paris last January, I couldn’t sleep. I knew that my favorite shops (they have online websites) would be offering great deals for great looking and great quality clothing so after the 5-6am feeding, I turned my computer on and started the shopping frenzy ! I bought from Okaibi, Cyrillus, and Petit Bateau that early morning from size 6 months to 18 months. These boutiques can be pretty expensive but the sales were really good. So I recommend you wait for those amazing biannual deals if you want to introduce some French cuteness in your child’s dresser ! Oh and I recommend Monoprix and DPAM baby as well – they have adorable outfits !

Here on the island (Prince Edward Island, Canada), the choices are very limited. The Children’s place is the first shop that comes in mind (because it is the only shop specialized in children clothing if I am not mistaken) and it has a good selection of clothing for almost always discounted prices. Gap has a very small infant area but the toddler and up section has a bit more selection. Joe Fresh has some cute stuff as well and then, there are department stores such as Sears, Walmart, etc… Luckily, Moncton, which is New Brunswick’s largest shopping centre, is only about two hours away.

I personally don’t buy much on the island as I , as I mentioned earlier, have been lucky enough to be offered clothes from family and friends (from Europe or the Island). But when I need something, I usually start with Gap, then The Children’s place or Joe Fresh. I have nothing against clothes being less expensive (on the contrary !) but I dress my daughter a little more classic than the selection offered by Walmart and other department stores.

My 18-pound parcel is on its way (I had my orders delivered at my mother’s house in Paris) and I can NOT wait.

Saying that, I know some of you (reading on forums and FB) like their young children in comfortable clothes (PJs, onesies…) and I have nothing against it. I just love dressing my daughter every morning with something pretty and cute.

Any other store on the island you would like to recommend? Online boutiques? Please share !