Thursday, February 28, 2013

Avignon, The Next Morning

I'm taking a break from the flu, to bring you this next installment of my birthday weekend in Avignon (Yes, I know it was four weeks ago, just go with it please. And if you missed part one, click here). Please excuse any typos, grammatical errors, and general lack of pizazz. I'm full of germs and the ickies. 

I know I've shown you Le Palais des Papes before (like here, and here) but never have you seen it on quite like this before. Look, there's nobody there! (OK, if you look closely, you'll see one person headed inside the Palace, but ignore him/her). And I know I've never shown you this... 

This is the Hotel de Ville (Hotel de Villes are not in fact, hotels, but instead, are city halls. It took me a long time of living in France to wrap my head around that one), and the reason I've never shown you this is because normally it's so crowded that it's basically impossible to photograph. Clearly the best way to tour Avignon is on a freaking, freezing, February morning. Fact. 

Saturday morning started with breakfast at the pub. They advertise a 'Full Breakfast'. I'm not sure if that means it's supposed to be a 'Full English' or a 'Full Irish'. Either way, we didn't care. It's bacon, sausage and eggs which is basically unheard of in France so we happily ate it (Even if the sausage was more Merguez like than breakfast, and the salt in the bacon made us all puffy. It was still tasty).

And the best way to work off all of that sodium is with some cardio.... shopping cardio. Luckily for us (us being Mrs. London and me, I have no idea what the other two got up to at this time and I don't really want to) not only was Zara and H&M on the same street we were already on, but the winter sales were still in effect. Win and a win. (Actually there were lots of wins. Wins like the black velvet flats with the skulls on them, and the jewelled collar top from Zara I picked up, and the purple corduroy skinnies from H&M... it was a winning day).

Shopping finished, we met the boys for lunch at The Sushi Shop. They were giggly and giddy and generally up to no good. I swear, they're like, twelve (and this reminds me that I forgot to tell you about their pillow fight in the hotel hallway the night before... see, they're twelve). When the waitress asked for a name after taking our order, Mr. London quickly replied, "Bumder".
She looked at him, making sure she got it right, "Bumder?"
"Oui, Bumder", answered Mr. London and then spelled it out "B - U - M - D - E - R".
"OK. Merci. Bumder" as she scribbled on her pad before walking away and The Husband and Mr. London erupted into fits of laughter. (If you watch The Inbetweeners then you'll know why this is so funny, and if you don't, I apologize. Or you could just watch this clip and be done with it.)

As if the whole 'Bumder' thing wasn't immature enough, Tweedledee and Tweedledum dared each other to eat a big ol' dollop of wasabi, and that's when this happened... 

And that's when Mrs. London and I erupted in fits of laughter, because our husbands are morons. 


Sunday, February 24, 2013


{I don't have anymore apples to give you!}

I interrupt this regularly scheduled program of 'my birthday weekend in Avignon' to bring you these snippets of my life here lately in The LPV.

++ See that pretty brown guy up there? That's my new buddy Aero, he belongs to my friend Martine (Martine is from Ireland and lives just around the corner from Le Petit Village. She likes Barry Tea and rugby so naturally, I like her). The other guy in the back there is Flurry. Flurry is fuzzy like a bunny and has a funny little moustache. They're both precious and I can't wait to introduce them to La Petite (I will not however be introducing them to Fifty. I'm pretty sure Fifty would have a canary of epic proportions.)

++ Last Sunday was pâté making day at Papa's house. And unlike last time, we ate lunch before getting down to all of that gooey, gross business. Which was smart, because 1. it's hard to have an appetite after pâté making and 2. I made Nutella Brownie Bites for dessert that were so scrumptious, they were like angel kisses from heaven dipped in chocolate and wrapped in love.

++ This conversation between Gatz and The Husband actually happened... Gatz asked; "All the girls are crazy about Ryan Gosling, I don't understand." To which The Husband replied; "Have you looked at him?" I love my husband.

++ And in another, 'I can't believe this actually happened' moment... Child Bride pointed to the picture of Channing Tatum on the cover of the Magic Mike DVD and said that Brother-in-Law's body was almost exactly like that. The Husband and I are still laughing.

++ We've finally started watching Homeland (I know, I know, we're way behind... so shhh your mouth... I don't want to know ANYTHING). The funny thing is, one of my birthday presents from The Husband was the box set of My So-Called Life (except in France it's called, Angela, 15 ans) and now I'm having one doozy of a time trying to convince The Husband that Angela and Carrie are indeed the same person.

++ Something amazing is happening! At this very moment, Girl Scout cookies are on their way to Le Petit Village... GIRL SCOUT COOKIES! My excuse for indulging was that I would introduce The Husband to the quintessential American goodness of the Girl Scout cookie, but now, I'm pretty sure I'm going to hoard them like Gollum and keep them all to myself (INSERT MANIACAL LAUGH HERE).

++ The Harlem Shake made the news here a few nights ago. Afterwards, The Husband stared at me for a couple of minutes basically asking me "why" as if by purely being American, I would somehow have the answer to this question. How would I know, I'm not Yoda.



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Avignon, The First Night

After our afternoon in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, we scurried down to Avignon and checked into the hotel (I always stay in the same hotel in Avignon... it's a hop, skip, and a jump from a pub, on the same street as Zara and H&M, and only a few minutes walk from The Palais des Papes... in short, it's pretty much the perfect location). 

Refreshed and raring to go, we met Baby Cousin and his girlfriend at the pub for pre-dinner drinks (normally I would refer to this as apéro, but being as we were in O'Neills Irish Pub, the term, 'apéro', doesn't really go). For me, pre-dinner drinks means a une coupe de champagne, a cocktail like a mojito, or even a glass of wine. What it does not mean however, is shots. But apparently that's what pre-dinner drinks means to Baby Cousin. 

When Mrs. London and I saw Baby Cousin ordering a second round, we hightailed it to the restaurant for dinner with The Husband and Mr. London right behind us. (Who orders shots at 8PM?! Now we know.)

Dinner was at Restaurant Newground (the same place we ate with my mother and friends during staycation 2012) and it was sublime, even if the conversation wasn't (silly, yes, sublime, no). Somehow we got started talking about colors, and what colors make other colors (as you do), and this what happened...

Mr. London: Blue and yellow makes green.

The Husband: Yes, and green and blue makes yellow.

Mr. & Mrs. London + Me: Huh? 

The Husband: Green and blue makes yellow, it's true. I'll ask the waiter.(turning to the waiter) Doesn't green and blue make yellow?

The Waiter: Yes

Mr. & Mrs. London + Me: Huh? 

{five minutes later}

The Waiter: (to The Husband) Sorry sir I was wrong, green and blue does not make yellow. 

So glad we got that cleared up.

P.S. Stay tuned for the next 36 hours... 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Princess in Châteauneuf-du-Pape

The Princess I'm referring to in the post title is me (obviously, but I'm guessing you knew that already). When The London's arrived in The LPV before our trip to Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Avignon, Mrs. London presented me with a tiara for the weekend, because she knows that everyone should be treated like royalty on their birthday (she's a clever one that Mrs. London). And that pretty much set the tone for my birthday weekend because I was spoiled rotten, like a princess should be. 

My fourth of February birthday festivities began before January was even over. Thursday the 31st to be exact when Mr. & Mrs. London arrived in The LPV in the afternoon. The Husband was still at work so we went for a long walk, watched Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon (a childhood favorite), and took it easy, because we all knew that we were in for a doozy of a weekend. And it was a doozy. A marvelous, dizzy of a doozy. 

We arrived in Châteauneuf-du-Pape on Friday just in time for lunch and not having any plans to eat anywhere in particular, we strolled through the village, stopped outside La Mère Germaine, looked at the menu, looked at each other, shrugged, and walked in. What a happy accident that was! The decor was a bit '1982 hotel' but the service was impeccable and the food scrumptious, like bites of heaven on your fork.

After lunch we strolled through the village, looking out for signs that read 'dégustation'. We hit the jackpot with the first one we found. Red, white and rosé, set out ready to be tasted...

And a table with loads of delicious nibbles in case you find yourself feeling peckish (wine sampling can do that to you). We sampled a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and did our best to act like proper grown-ups. 

In the end we left with a few bottles of the 1895 and the Chateau Maucoil (they're sitting on my wine rack staring at me!), and a couple of bottles of Rocher de La Garde Rosé that the owner through in for free (she must have known it was my birthday).

But even though we loved the dégustations (all of them), acting like a grown-up for more than a few minutes is tiring, and must be shaken off immediately.



Saturday, February 16, 2013

Toulon: Part Deux

{for another super cute photo of Fifty and Napoleon's road trip click here

When we last left off our weekend in Toulon with Brother-in-Law and Child Bride at Mr. & Mrs. London's house, Brother-in-Law was sitting on an office chair at the top of a steep driveway wearing a Hello Kitty mask. But before that happened, it was Friday night...

The match was over, another victory for Toulon, another chance to celebrate. And the best way to celebrate is with free Rosé and canapes at the reception after the match. It's a nice and civil way to start the evening. That civility lasted for all of about one hour because check this out... Mrs. London and I found out something startling... Child Bride had never been to a night club... never ever. So obviously we had a mission. The boys were going to a party and us ladies were going out to let Child Bride see what all the fuss is about.

{nightclub quality fuzziness}
(It's funny how Child Bride's nightclub experience is only beginning as mine is coming to a close. Ah youth, I knew you well.)

Child Bride had a fantastic time. Look at her smiling up there in that fuzzy photo. Loving life she was. And there's Mrs. London to her left in a pink sequined fedora that she took off some guys head, and of course me, pretending that I'm not one week away from turning thirty grumble grumble blah blah years old.

After the guys met up with us (The Husband, Brother-in-Law, and Mr. London... you know, the guys), we headed home in time for a 4AM spatula fight. You haven't lived until you've fenced with spatulas at 4AM (or had one broken over your head... The Husband really is sorry about that Mr. London).

And then morning came. I got out of bed, had my coffee, and spent sometime staring at an office chair. It looked sad, and like it had no purpose. And that's when the light bulb in my head dinged. EUREKA! Not only did that office chair have a purpose, it had a destiny, and that destiny was to take Brother-in-Law for a ride down a steep driveway.  I took the chair to Brother-in-Law and asked him if he could help that sad office chair fulfill it's destiny, and he said he would (of course he did). So he put his Hello Kitty mask on, and took the chair up to the top of the driveway.

And then this happened...

That chair can die happy now.

Thank you Brother-in-Law. 


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

La Saint-Valentin


Happy Valentine's Day my lovely, love loves!

How are we this morning/ afternoon/ evening?

Me... feeling full of l'amour surprised The Husband with breakfast this morning... heart-shaped eggs in a basket (like in Carey's photo above, but not nearly as pretty) and a big ol' cuppa Barry's Tea. And as soon as I hit publish on this, I'll be moving into the kitchen to bake a batch of cookies stuffed with Nutella (the way to The Husband's heart is definitely through his belly).

But tonight the candlelight la-di-da romance will be put on hold in favor of a comfy, cozy night with pizza (Thursday nights are pizza night in The LPV), beer, and an all new episode of Southland. It doesn't get much more romantic than watching Ryan from The O.C. battle LA's gangbangers while swigging Stella.

And how will you be spending this day of rosy, pink romance...

candlelight la-di-da or comfy coziness?


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

il neige

This is what's happening... I want to post Toulon Part Deux, and show you what happened with Brother-in-Law, the office chair, and the Hello Kitty mask, but I'm waiting for Mr. London to send me something that is absolutely vital to the post (trust me on this one), and as soon as Mrs. London can get him to stop playing Candy Crush, he will (I'm being patient with Mr. London since he had such a horrible rugby weekend. Actually, it wasn't only Toulon, all of my teams had a disastrous time of it; Clermont, France, Ireland... the world basically turned upside down and I'm not happy about it). 

So in the meantime (and as we patiently await a Candy Crush break), here are some photos of Le Petit Village after it snowed buckets yesterday (It was still snowing loads when I took these. I'd like to think that they would have been better if the snow hadn't been pelting my face and soaking my camera, but I doubt it).

Fifty and I went for a walk and we passed The LPV's war memorial covered in snow. (Every village in France has a memorial honoring the soldiers from that village that died in war. Some of these tiny villages have a lot of names on them.)

And then we passed a house and Fifty decided to get a little nosy. I think I might start calling him Gladys Kravitz (up top if you get that reference). 

Look at his right ear trying to tune in on the juicy gossip like a little antenna. He's such a weirdo. I even took him off his leash (he HATES the leash) as we were leaving the village but he would just plop himself down and stare back at the house. 

I think he was hoping that someone would come out and invite him in for tea (either that or something horrible has happened in that house and he's sensing it... but I'm going to go with the tea invite, yes, he was definitely waiting for an invitation to tea). 

Can you spot Fifty in this photo? He was hiding from me. I didn't think it was very funny because I was sure that he would go a little too far into the wood, slip, fall and tumble down the hill and I would have to find a way to rescue him (Fifty has a habit of getting himself in precarious situations and has to be rescued;  like stuck out on the roof, or a window ledge. He's nothing but a damsel in distress really).

But then he came bounding out like a Greyhound at the gate (I've actually been wondering lately if he might be part Greyhound because of the way he runs. He's a sprinter and has that racetrack run about him. And in the interest of full disclosure, I've been contemplating getting one of those doggie DNA tests, just out of curiosity, you know. Or would that be weird? It would be weird, wouldn't it?)

Doggie DNA aside, if you were to guess, 
what type(s) of dog would you say Fifty is?

(besides awesome obviously


Sunday, February 10, 2013

I'm baaaack!

C'est moi!

I'm back in The LPV after my whirlwind trip to Dublin, and since my return this weekend, I have already had a visit with Mrs. London (with The Husband and Fifty in tow of course), toasted Champagne with Papa and his wife, watched France lose to Wales (Philippe Saint-André - you and me need to talk buddy), and today I'm going to a moules frites party in the original Le Petit Village (a belated birthday present from Brother-in-Law). 

So after a whirlwind week, it's been a whirlwind weekend, and as soon as I catch my breath (because geesh... I'm still catching my breath from my weekend in Avignon), I'll be back bright-eyed and bushy tailed and filling you in on all of the happenings. But for now, there are mussels and french fries waiting to be eaten. 


Monday, February 4, 2013


{last Saturday night}

Well here it is... a little after 7AM on my birthday morning.

I'm sipping my tea and fresh off of the phone with my mother after her annual rendition of ♫ Happy Birthday , and while I should be recovering from my wonderful weekend living in up in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Avignon, and telling you all about it (and about Toulon Part Deux... you still have to find out what happened to Brother-in-Law, the office chair and the Hello Kitty mask), I'm not.

Instead, I find myself in a giddy tizzy and packing because yesterday The Husband gave me my birthday present... a few days back in Dublin! Tonight I'll be at my Auntie's house blowing out my birthday candles with my family and singing ♫ Bon Anniversaire à moi ♫. So I'm off to Nice and then leaving on a jet plane.

À la prochaine fois mes amies!


Friday, February 1, 2013

Dieu Merci, C'est Vendredi

{That means, T.G.I.F. but in French. And since it's French, it's a little backwards. Technically it says, "God thanks, it's Friday." But that's OK, because it's all about the sentiment.}

It's Friday my friends! And if that wasn't swish enough already, today I'm heading to one of my favorite cities in all of the land (the land being France) for the commencent of my birthday celebrations. Mr & Mrs London will be joining us for a weekend of sightseeing, wine, food, and watching Six Nations rugby (Aaaand maybe a little shopping at my friend Zara's house) in Avignon, home of the old Popes' palace and right down the road from where they grow that delicious wine (you know, the Pope's new castle).

And that's me and my weekend in a nutshell. I hope yours is wildly wonderful too.

Better skadoodle, poodle.

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