Despite the fact Paris might not be our cup of tea, we were able to see past that and made sure to enjoy our trip. The whole purpose of our holiday was to simply be together. We usually get so caught up with work, routine, chores and schedules that sometimes the best we can do is just drop everything and enjoy our time as if we had a blank slate. No plans, no travel guides, no schedules; just living in the moment and doing things at your own pace…
We ended up finding places we’ve never heard of before with no tourist in sight. We found ourselves wandering in the quirky streets of Le Marais, walking through Montmartre and taking in the stunning scenery by sunset, and sitting by the river just enjoying the cooling breeze.
We also had fruit sorbets every day as it was blazing hot, and well… because sorbet!
Ah, Paris. The glittering Eiffel Tower, charming al-fresco cafés, romantic walks along the Seine, magnificent buildings… The French capital surely serves as a metaphor for all that is supposedly enchanted, sophisticated and grand in the world. The clichés you often hear are definitely true: couples getting engaged in the beautiful Eiffel Tower surroundings, people sipping wine, city dwellers carrying baguettes underneath the arm. You’ve heard it all before.
You’ll soon discover Paris feeds purely off these overheard expectations and people tend to fantasise about the city as if it were a magical place, where unicorns live and candy floss grows on trees.
This wasn’t the first time I’ve been to Paris. As a first-timer, I felt slightly alienated for not being able to find it the charming city they pictured. “What is wrong with me?”, I thought. I know I’m not an overly romantic person, but was I that cold-hearted? A few years later I gave it another try, still nothing… Just ‘meh’. Apart from the stunning iconic landmarks, I wasn’t impressed, in fact I was a bit disappointed.
There are so many things they don’t tell you about Paris…
One of these days I was running around like a blue-arsed fly between errands, as soon as I looked at the clock it was well past lunch-time. I was starving but didn’t have time to even sit at the table and just wanted to eat something light, and honestly I didn’t really have the time to cook anything substancial. I bet you can relate, we all have days like these!
We had a great time in Paris, but I can’t help feeling there’s no place like home. I won’t deny, even though I was well excited for going on vacation, most of our time there I was actually missing London. Or have I been struck by Paris Syndrome?
When you haven’t been away for a while at some point it all starts to blur into a haze of comforting familiarity, you know, the routine. But that fraction of a moment where we stepped outside the train and found ourselves finally in London, really hit me. Coming back from holidays always makes me see things with fresh eyes, I certainly feel refreshed and able to appreciate the little things about this city I’ve been unwillingly taking for granted. To me every day in London is a blessing and I can’t believe this is now my home. I don’t see myself living anywhere else in this world… talk about a dream come true.
Funnily enough I sat down with the sole intention of writing about my week in Paris, but instead this turned out to be a love letter to my city.
My advice is get out of town this summer! Go somewhere nice, try resetting your brain, take some time to simply wind down and relax. It doesn’t matter where you live, you’ll definitely come back seeing things from a new perspective. Even if that means finding a new place you’d like to call home someday.
I’ll post some proper photos from Paris this week, and of course, I’m planning to write reviews of the vegan restaurants we’ve been to. ALL THE VEGAN NOMS.
My grandmother, who is this very humble lady, always bakes yogurt cake whenever there’s a special occasion. As extremely caring and organised as she is, she usually bakes a humungous batch of cake and freezes it, only to defrost it whenever people come to visit without warning. Funnily enough, I can’t recall how many times I’ve had slightly frozen yogurt cake in my life, which isn’t properly bad in a summer heatwave!
One of these days I was craving yogurt cake so I’ve found this vegan recipe on Vegweb. It’s perfectly soft and moist and so delicious with the fresh lemon and yogurt flavour. I did some tweaks by adding chia seeds, which turned out great. Because, you know, adding a superfood to a cake makes it slightly less sinful, right?
It’s that time of the year again, summer holidays! Pete and I are jetting off to Paris for the remainder of the week. Well, not literally as we’ll be taking the Eurostar this time.
One of the things I enjoy the most is planning for trips and I’ve got to say, there’s something about going to the drugstore and buying all the essentials for your upcoming holiday… you know, the anticipation!
This last week was both productive and relaxing. Oh, the antagony! I’ve nailed a new freelance job that is due to start in August, which I’m really excited about. This means I’m officially on holidays until the end of the month, I’ll try to make the best of it while it lasts. The husband is on annual leave until next Sunday so we’re taking some days off to wander about in London, ending the week in Paris to celebrate his birthday.
The culmination of a few weeks of preparation came to a head on Saturday when we finally launched the blog redesign. What a makeover! Be Better Not Bitter / ritafontes.com is no more, and it was about time for a new start. I really wanted to get back to writing so why not start fresh?
We glided smoothly into holiday mode by going out with friends and taking some time to wind down most days. Yesterday we popped down to Camden and had so much fun trying several food stalls and eating by the Regent’s Canal, of course the highlight had to be the Cookies and Scream milkshake.
I’ve also baked the most delicious vegan yogurt cake, I’ll share the recipe here later this week.
The heatwave has been making it impossible to stay inside for long periods of time, as we don’t have a fan or air conditioner to cool down the house. It’s been so nice to be outdoors though!
Baby Yoshi has been wearing an e-collar. He must have scratched himself so hard in the neck that he opened up a wound, silly boy.
Last Sunday we visited Time: Tattoo Art Today at Somerset House and I definitely recommend visiting if you’re into tattoos.
Well, it’s been awhile hasn’t it? I didn’t actually plan to take such a long break from blogging, but it did seem the best at that time. I knew I would come back eventually, I just didn’t have any specific sort of time frame in mind.
Since my last post in 2012, so many things have happened: since quitting my job and opening a small business to getting married. Life has been nothing but a whirlwind which is good. Though the days of ritafontes.com are long gone, Hey Rita will continue its steps. I’ve been on and off blogging since 2003 (Livejournal and Blurty anyone?), it only makes sense to continue doing so.
Well I’m not a make up junkie but there are some basics that I cannot live without, as most girls – I suppose! A really good kohl pencil and an under-eye concealer, that is all I need to get out of the house. But of course, as years go by, your make up collection starts to grow and you actually end up discovering really good products that do miracles for your looks. Here is my top 5 make-up essentials, all vegan and not tested on animals.
1 / Everyday Minerals Multi-tasking Concealer – I wasn’t really a fan of mineral concealer until I found Everyday Minerals. This little tube of magic dust covers up blemishes, corrects under-eye circles and camouflages imperfections, doesn’t look cakey and lasts almost all day. Good thing is it also comes in a travel size rollerball stick – no need for a pencil – so you can just carry this in your bag for an instant perk up.
2 / Inika Organic Kohl Pencil – This certified organic eye pencil has a super creamy texture which stays all day without smudging. I’ve only tried it in black and I can assure you it gives you a true black tone.
3 / Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner – I absolutely love this eye liner. It dries almost instantly, and doesn’t smudge or wear off, no matter happens – one of the wonders of waterproof make up. Urban Decay is my favorite brand, never disappointed me.
4 / Urban Decay Lush Lash Mascara – This mascara gives the lashes fabulous length and helps them grow as well, as it is enriched with a growth serum that also conditions the lashes. Now the cherry on top, it doesn’t clump or flakes off. Probably one of the best mascaras I’ve ever wore, even non-vegan products.
5 / Urban Decay Afterglow Glide-On Cheek Tint – Whoa, I know this colour is so intense it almost hurts your eyes! But don’t be fooled, you won’t look like a circus clown. This is a ultra creamy, very sheer and silky cheek tint that you can easily rub onto your skin with the tip of your fingers. I always turned my nose up at cheek tints, but since UD gave me a sample of their Quickie cheek tint, I am a die-hard fan. Caution, there are two shades that contain animal derived products, eg Score and Fetish.
It’s official, this month I’ve become a food swapper and loved it! ‘Now what the heck is that?’ You might be asking. It is pretty similar to a penpal program but for foodies, in which you share local food items or goodies you’ve cooked/baked yourself.
To Happy Vegans organised the first UK vegan food swap in July, where every month you are assigned a partner to send a parcel of vegan goodies to and in return you receive your own parcel of surprise delights! Sound exciting, right? There’s only 2 conditions: the spending limit is £10, and all items must be vegan and must take into account your partner’s allergy requests – there must be no cheating!
My partner this month was Paul Maxwell ( @veganmonkey ) and this is the amazing stuff I’ve got:
Getting a surprise package full of vegan treats felt just like Christmas in August, except you don’t have to pretend you liked your aunt’s gift – you actually love everything in it. Amazing. Wasabi popcorn and peas, ginger truffle slices, smoky chipotle sauce, caramel bonbons and organic blueberry and chamomile teas – ermahgerd, drooling all over this!
If you want to participate in next month’s food swap, it’s super simple. Just sign up with one of the lovely ladies at To Happy Vegans by 5th of September.