June 28, 2015

First Glimpse of My Baby. (****)

Good Evening,

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The highlight of my week was getting photos emailed through of my new handmade bike frame that I got custom made by Colossi! I've been in talks with a bike shop in Brisbane since December of last year but it's definitely worth the wait. Can't wait to see the completed build in the flesh! 

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The blush colour looks exactly how I had envisioned it (three cheers for Pantone books)! It isn't visible in this photo but it's also got a silver glitter finish, eep.

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HOW CUTE IS THIS DETAIL ON THE LUG?! Two love hearts! GAH.
This is how pregnant ladies must feel when they see the first ultrasound images of their baby!

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Another small highlight of my week was finally winning a free Magnum! (1 in 6, my ass). I very much enjoyed my Ego Caramel (with double caramel!). Things taste better when they're free.

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Chicken pie from Cheeky Monkey - midweek team lunch.

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After getting rejected twice on Friday night (not having a reservation on a Friday night sucks), my dad and I had a nice dinner at Harry Hall.

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A new local I should mentally bookmark! Definitely one of the coolest restaurants on Glenferrie Rd (Malvern end).

I've started posting photos on Zomato (formerly Urbanspoon)… Haha. I find it really helpful when I can reference photos on Zomato so I thought I'd contribute. When my mom and I were in Paris, at restaurants that didn't have English menus, we'd hop on Yelp and choose from the photos uploaded by other users.

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Yesterday, Dean took me to a custom bike show… We saw some pretty sweet bikes! Got lots of bikespiration for my new bike.

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Had an awesome lunch at Sookie La La! It was a breath of fresh air to be in a cafe that wasn't all green and health conscious. The staff were smily and the food was a treat - that sundae with coconut sorbet and lemon curd was crazy good.

After lunch we went into the city to check out all the sales. I bought a Country Road skirt from David Jones that was $149 for $35! What a bargain.

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As lunch was so filling, we didn't have dinner until 10:30… I had massive tom yum cravings so we went to Coconut House! Cravings were satisfied, it was delicious. I ate a full chilli though, which knocked me out for 10 minutes… Eyes and nose would not stop running.

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Today I spent most of the day cleaning out my room… I've got all these boxes of unwanted clothing that are in good condition now, I'm hoping to sell them at the Camberwell market or something… But ceebs waking up early. I also got around to taking all my band posters off my walls (sooooo naked now) - it feels more like an adult's bedroom now, it was very much a teenager's room before.

Lol. My fingers were about to type, "Kind regards,"

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June 21, 2015

A Warm Welcome Back. (****)

Good Afternoon,

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Rapid hair growth!

I've had a smooth transition settling back into my daily Melbourne routine. I do wish I were still stuffing my face with pastries in Paris but Melbourne hasn't been too shabby.

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I felt nervous going back to work on Tuesday… I was afraid that I'd forgotten keyboard shortcuts on InDesign/Illustrator… and was kind of stressing out about what I'd say when colleagues asked me about my trip. Despite my brain being partially absent, being back at work was nice… I was surprised that so many people noticed that I was away! It was my workmate's birthday that day so we went out for a nice meal and enjoyed birthday treats at our desk.

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I was fairly jet-lagged but I wanted to attend the personal training session that night… After two weeks of holidaying I was itching for a good work out. Turns out I slimmed down a little in Paris which was a pleasant surprise - it was probably due to muscle loss though.

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We had a brown bag lunch at work on Wednesday, Olivia from Happy Melon came to talk to us about mindfulness and meditation… She got us to do a short meditation practice which pushed my jet-lag control off the edge - I dived into a short but deep sleep, haha. Shouldn't have closed my eyes. Cute lunch boxes were provided.

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Caught up with Dean for the first time in a few weeks! He had the idea of going to the Broadsheet Restaurant - a fitting place to go as a welcome back to Melbourne meal (he just got back from overseas too). The menu is a curation of iconic dishes from some of the most hyped restaurants in Melbourne. I had the vegetarian curry from Tonka while Dean had some beef dish from Huxtable. Defs an easy place to go with people with varied tastes, there's probably something for everyone.

Dean got be a couple of Line products for me from Singapore:

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So cute! The thermos is also very practical at work for my tea, it keeps it hot for hours! Lukewarm tea is now a thing of the past. Also, I got a box of Maison Kitsune x Pierre Marcolini chocolates to share at work from Paris - I got it for the cute packaging but the chocolates were divine.

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On Friday night I had dinner with a group of girls from work at Baby. We had quite a feast!

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Yesterday I was having an intense craving or Korean stew so Dean and I had lunch at Snow Tree, it exceeded our expectations by a mile! I love a good set - and at only $12.50!

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Dean in his T-shirt I got for him at A.P.C.

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Saw my dad for the first time since coming back over brunch at The Pour Kids with my brother. I'd missed the Melburnian breakfast scene! Missed the family too, of course.

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Also. Since I got back I've started using Spotify (late to the bandwagon as per usual)… What a great concept - the way we listen to music has constantly kept evolving in the past 20 years and the music industry was starting to look grim with the accessibility of illegal downloads but things are starting to look up with online streaming it seems! It's a win-win situation for both artists and audiences (I think? To my shallow knowledge).

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June 15, 2015

Mother-Daughter Paris Trip (*****)

Good Afternoon,

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I'm back from my mother-daughter travels in Paris! Not feeling a bit jet lagged (and they're 8 hours behind!) but am experiencing major reverse homesickness. Paris treated us well - everyday (but the night of our arrival) was pleasantly sunny and the locals were super polite (how refreshing!) and friendly… We didn't get pick-pocketed either which came as a surprise to the Parisiens we spoke to.

I've got over 100 photos to share in this post - did consider dividing into separate posts but I want to write while the memories are fresh in my mind!

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Day 0~1 - 31 May/1 June

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The day of our departure was my dad's birthday. Before flying out I took him out for lunch at Barca.

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Condensed my beauty products for the holiday… One thing I regret is not taking my Clarisonic with me.

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We flew with Qatar Airways and enjoyed their five star service. We got to sit in the exit row (leg room) on the top deck which made for a comfy environment. Stopped over in Doha - the cleanest and most luxe airport I have ever stepped foot in. The total travel time was pretty much a whole day (20 hours+) but it wasn't as draining as I had expected.

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Cute baby tabasco!

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We touched down in Paris in the afternoon and had a driver transport us to our cute Airbnb apartment. I took a shower and we headed out to make the most of our day.

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Our apartment was a 30 minute walk to the Eiffel Tower so we strolled down the river to get a glimpse of the iconic landmark. There was a giant tennis ball dangling in the centre (to explain that photo of my mom). It was pretty cold that day - felt just like the Autumn day we experienced in Melbourne on the day of our departure… Luckily the rest of our days were nice and summery.

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We walked to the Palais De Tokyo but to our disappointment (and shock…) they were between exhibitions so we couldn't go inside. We had dinner at the hip connecting restaurant, Tokyo Eat which was nice. They opened at 8pm though so we had to kill time! Most restaurants seem to open after 7pm for dinner in Paris.

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Day 2 - 1 June

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We explored the Marais area starting our day at Merci for breakfast. Merci is a combined retail (apparel, homeware, beauty, etc) and gallery space, they also have a couple of cafes and a restaurant. I'd definitely recommend visiting Merci - all the surrounding boutiques are neat too.

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We had a reservation at Bofinger after my mom's workmate recommended it. It was like a classic French Bistro - it was good to have gone somewhere quite traditional at least once.

We spent the rest of the day roaming the streets of Marais and checked out Nicholas Flamel's house (the oldest house in Paris). We accidentally stumbled into a bit of a dodgy area before catching the metro back to our apartment.

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We bought some sweet treats at a near by patisserie to have at home.

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Day 3 - 2 June 

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We spent this day in the Saint Germain Des Pres area (which by the way was my mom's favourite). I was determined to eat as many French sweet treats as possible on this trip so my patisserie radar was always on. We came across a Laduree so sat down for morning tea - in terms of atmosphere, we liked this Laduree the most out of the ones we ended up visiting.

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There's an awesome fragrance/skincare store called Buly in the area that my mom went on a bit of a shopping spree at. They write the labels out by hand (with your name too) which I thought was a nice touch… From what I could gather (could be wrong), you also have the option of having a bespoke fragrance made at the counter. Really beautiful retail concept, a great place to buy gifts as to my knowledge they only sell their products from this one store.

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We had lunch at Le Comptoir as it was recommended on WGSN's Paris guide. We sat outside, in prime position for people watching. Apparently there are always queues to get a table but we went for a fairly late lunch so only had to wait 10 minutes. THE PORK DISH WAS DELICIOUS, possibly the best dish I had in Paris… Definitely the best pork dish I've had in my life. We shared our mains and the squid risotto was also yum. I had the apple dessert, it had celery in it which I don't usually like but it somehow worked and was perfect on a hot day. Definitely urge you guys to eat here if travelling to Paris AND GET THAT PORK DISH.

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Even the most common looking apartments Paris make architecture in Australia look basic…

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Love locks by the Notre Dame…

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The Notre Dame - much more spectacular as I had imagined watching the Hunchback of Notre Dame as a child…

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My awful Mr. Burns posture…

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Visited the flagship Diptyque store! It felt pretty surreal after I had done quite a bit of research on the brand while at university. It was lovely and the store keeper was very knowledgable. My mom bought a couple of roll-on perfumes and the man told us that Diptyque products are available exclusively at Mecca Cosmetica in Australia too, heh.

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Had dinner at Kokoro which was so lovely and cosy. Recommend this place too but book because it's a tiny restaurant.

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Day 4 - 3 June

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Got up pretty early to visit Monet's Garden out in Giverny. My mom has a green thumb so I think she really loved it, it was cool being in the real life space of so many of Monet's famous paintings - I'm glad I went to the exhibition when the collection came to Melbourne a couple of years ago.

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Sweet treats at Printemps upon our return to the city.

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I bought a couple of dresses from & Other Stories. Despite spending days in Marais and Saint Germain Des Pres I hadn't bought anything yet! I found shopping in Paris to be pretty expensive (excluding international fast fashion chains)… There are a bunch of lovely boutiques but I couldn't find anything that differed much from Australian fashion. The lack of fresh local brands (excluding the high end, big names) made me realise how awesome the local fashion industry in Melbourne is.

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Department store architecture though, Paris > Melbourne.

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We had lunch at Chartier which is kind of an old school cafeteria for local workers. It was waaaay nicer than I had expected - I thought it was going to be like the Ikea restaurant, haha. Cheapest eats in Paris. The food wasn't amazing but it wasn't gross either - good to go for experience.

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Day 5 - 4 June

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We were in Marais again this day. The restaurant we wanted to have brunch at wasn't open yet so in the meantime I bought a box Chouxs (?) from Popelini and ate 5 of them… Only shared one with my mom and she called me a pig. They were heavenly, I especially liked the strawberry one.

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I had the best crepes ever at Breizh Cafe! Definitely another recommendation. Book though, they only have a tiny section for walk-ins.

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We spent a good couple of hours at the Picasso museum on a guided tour - it's so much more engaging to know some background information when viewing art. We took a selfie with a very familiar piece that we have a mini copy of on our cork board back at home.

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We had a late lunch at L'as Du Fallafel which was AMAZING… Definitely lives up to the hype. I bet if they opened a store in Melbourne people'd go nuts for it.

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That night we saw a cabaret show at Lido which was an experience! My mom and I both had the same thoughts - it was quite modern and had an American influence, definitely intended for tourists. The dancers weren't of a great calibre but it was still very entertaining. My mom said that the Moulin Rouge was more authentic and of better quality.

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Day 6 - 5 June

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We started the day at the Arc De Triomphe which was pretty epic but hectic with all the tourists around the busy roundabout.

We then walked around Champs-Elysees - this is where all the major high end brands are lined… I don't think we went into any of the stores but the big city vibes made for a good walk.

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Had morning tea at the Laduree flagship. Possibly the most expensive cake I've ever had at $18 AUD, haha. Very delicious though.

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We walked all the way to Palais Royal which felt like a long walk in the sun… It probably was a decent distance away. I spotted a famous Japanese actress on the street, she looked so slender and delicate in real life… We needed to cool down so we stopped at Cafe Kitsune for some sorbet. I liked this area, they had cooler brands than down Champs-Elysees way (IMO).

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We had dinner at an udon restaurant, Kunitoraya it was very delicious… We were in need of a Japanese hit!

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After dinner we went to The Louvre to visit the Mona Lisa (look at all her fans…!) and other famous paintings. Unfortunately we only had a limited time before the museum closed so we didn't get to see everything.

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Day 7 - 6 June

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Went to the Marche De President Wilson (market) in the morning and had some breakfast.

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We then spent the rest of the day in the area that Amelie was filmed, near Sacre Coeur.

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The Moulin Rouge - it was more humble than Baz Luhrmann's version.

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Lunch at the Rose Bakery - something light and healthy, exactly what we needed.

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There was an A.P.C. outlet store in the area, my mom kindly bought me a wallet! I also got myself a top.

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Takeaway sweet treats from Sebastien Gaudard (top quality!)

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Day 8 - 7 June

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We ventured out into the North-side of Paris to visit the Flea Market. From the metro station we had to walk through a pretty dodgy area… There were a bunch of people selling brand fakes on the street and then a whole market of fakes to get through to reach the flea market. The flea market was neat but it wasn't really my thing… I don't like pre-used things so I didn't buy anything.

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There weren't many lunch options near the Flea Market - we walked into a random restaurant which turned out to be okay.

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After the flea market we went to the Saint Martin canal… The one where the guy drowns in Samba (watched it on the plane). Great summer vibes around the canal. My mom and I realised that French kids are more active and outdoors-y compared to Australian kids, it's nice to see!

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After that we walked to Berthillon - the most popular ice creamery in Paris (and for good reason!). There was a massive queue outside the parlour but the line to get into the eat-in side wasn't as bad. The parfaits were soooooo good, wish we could have gone back for more.

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For dinner, because we weren't hungry we shared a plate of Moroccan food from the Marche.

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My feet by the end of the day… They're a lot darker now!

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Day 9 - 8 June

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My mom had booked a cooking class which I wasn't too keen for but I ended up really enjoying it. It was in English at a place called La Cuisine Paris. When they told us that we had to introduce ourselves to the group I felt like running away, haha. We made quiche lorraine and pistachio pear tarts from scratch, both very simple but yum.

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We spent hours after the class at BHV - a pretty cool department store. It reminded me of Tokyu Hands in Japan.

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Afterwards we went inside Sainte Chapelle which was actually breathtakingly beautiful… I was getting pretty sick of visiting all these old buildings of Paris by this point but this was just next level. Those windows! The detail!

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Day 10 - 9 June

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We had a lovely brunch at The Broken Arm, it felt like a hip Melburnian cafe but more effortlessly cool. The store is cool too, if you're into street luxe (valid genre?) fashion.

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We bought bread from Du Pain Et Des Idees - apparently the best bakery in Paris (?).

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Baguette poking out of backpack, so Parisien. Oh my gosh, you actually see French people everywhere eating baguettes on the street, like by 5pm 40% of the people walking on the street are munching on baguettes!

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Day 11 - 10 June

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Went for a walk around the apartment (Javel area) - had lunch at Le Beaurre Noisette which was quite special but I wouldn't  suggest going out of your way to eat there as there aren't any tourist attractions nearby.

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We went up an ugly skyscraper, the Montparnasse Tower… The view from the top however was great.  We could see all the places we had visited, it was interesting to see them in perspective… Makes you realise how much you end up walking on holiday in Paris!

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We took a train for an hour to Chartres where we were recommended to see the night illuminations… But we didn't realise that the last train back to Paris was before it got dark (It gets dark at 10pm!) so we missed out! We visited the Cathedral which was pretty old and epic though and it was nice to walk around in a small town.

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Day 12 - 11 June

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Visited the Opera which was very beautiful (everything's going to look ugly when I go into the city in Melbourne again…).

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Had lunch at Laduree. The savoury dishes were surprisingly good, I loved the sea bass dish! It was one of my favourite dishes I had on this trip. Dessert was of course delicious!

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Because I hadn't done much shopping at all and the end of our time in Paris was nearing I decided to use up my remaining euros on the iconic A.P.C. half-moon bag. I was told that the bag was sold out in all of Paris at the first A.P.C. store I went into and almost bought another stylethat I didn't like as much but I decided to suss out the other stores with my own eyes just incase… LUCKILY I walked into the next A.P.C. store we came across and saw it on display! The guy at the store told me that it was the last one… I was kind of reluctant to buy it because it had scratches and a BALL POINT PEN MARK on it (and no discount…) but I got it anyway because I needed to get rid of my euros anyway. Ahhh, but to my disappointment we saw a non-pen-marked bag on display at another A.P.C. store the next day… A bit annoyed at the first guy who told me they were sold out in all stores… Oh well, still pleased with my cute new bag.

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Went to the new Maison Kitsune store in Marais and bought myself a t-shirt from the Kilo Kish collaboration collection with the very last of my cash. The store opened while we were in Paris so I thought it'd be a nice memory to buy from that particular store. The store environment was very cool, shame the cafe was still under construction because we were thirsty.

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We had drinks back at the cafe at Merci.

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Because places don't open for dinner until at least 7pm, we had some time to kill before dinner… We had afternoon tea at Jacques Genin, a nice chocolate shop. My hot chocolate was so thick, it was like drinking melted chocolate (yum)! We ordered chocolate too but the drinks came first and while we were invited to choose the chocolates at the counter another waitress came and cleared our table! It was really awkward, we hand't even finished our drinks...

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Had a healthy dinner at Nanashi - a trending Japanese-y restaurant.

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Day 13 - June 12

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On our final full day we revisited the places we liked the most. Saint Germain Des Pres and around the Palais Royal - we discovered little lanes and such that we missed the first time and it was nice to just walk around without a destination.

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Had a beautiful lunch at Bistro Clover, another restaurant listed on the WGSN guide. We were extremely lucky to have gotten a table without a booking! We both had our favourite dining experience at Clover - so I'd say this is my #1 restaurant recommendation. You'll have to do your research before heading there though because they don't have any signs out the front.

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Passed a Maison Kitsune window promoting the Kilo Kish capsule collection while wearing the shirt… Felt a bit shop-girly and embarrassed but had to get a snap with it. It kind of reminds me of the Queen of the Jungle window I did for Mecca Maxima (but cuter!).

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Kilo Kish regrammed my photo and said I was cute! Whaaa. She's the cutie.

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As a finale of Paris we went on the same walk to the Eiffel Tower as on our first night… Walking the same route made it feel like no time had passed, it was quite sad! At least the sun was shining this time (I forgot to mention that we got SOAKING wet from the rain on the walk home that first night).

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At the base of the tower.

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Day 14 - June 13

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We only had time in the morning to pack up and go to the airport on our last day. The same driver came to pick us up which was a great help because he assisted in taking out suitcases down the flight of stairs of the apartment.

At the airport my mom was trying to use up her cash so bought me a few macaroons from Laduree. The Earl Grey (squashed in the middle) was my favourite.

There was drama on board our plane… Take off was delayed over an hour due to an elderly lady (she looked 90!) taking a seat (not her assigned seat) at an exit row (where you have to be able to help in case of emergency). She refused to get out of the seat and they had to get police into the aircraft - she wouldn't budge even under police orders and threw a tantrum… Passengers on the plane began taking videos and telling her to get off the plane… It took them over an hour to get her out because they didn't want to hurt the old lady, in the end they had to carry her out though, and then the whole plane applauded.

Other than that - smooth flight(s) home.

Oh my gosh - that there has got to be my longest blog post ever…

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