Tag Archives: Champagne

Insouciance

4 Aug

When you have a baby, that you stop working for a few months to be a mother and a “housewife”, especially when you’re not used to (either of) it, as the days go by, each day seems like the day that preceded it. You do the same things over and over again. Your conversations seem dull compared to your working friends. Daily entertainment limited. Intellectual level low. Weekends seem like week days and you find yourself day dreaming more and more of holidays in far away lands under coconut trees with cocktails in your hand and George Clooney sitting by your side…

Life is not boring, don’t misunderstand me, only so (oh so) different. And by the time that you get used to it, you’re back to work, you see your kid only for short periods of time in the evening and the weekend and before you know it, poof, he’s off to college !! (Well, Hugo has a few 17 years and 6 months left before packing his bags, which is a relief I must admit as I’m telling myself I’d like to see the outcome of my constant diaper changing). I do realize, as so many keep telling me, that I’m lucky to see him change and grow (and when I think of it, 5 months ago he wasn’t half of the baby he is today) Witness his first laughs, see him catch objects, turn on his stomach, then fight his way back on his back. Talk baby talk. Grow from 0M to 3-6M old cloths…

In the meantime, I have lost my job. The company I was working for shut down and so far, no job to return to. I know I’ll miss Hugo as of September as he’s the only thing I’ve known since March, but at the same time, I know I’ll be happy to find some sort of independence again as I truly need it !!… Did I mention that “very much” !?

My mom told me not so long ago she felt like there was an elastic band holding us together when I was a baby. She could go that far without me but at some point she was being pulled back to her “duties and responsibilities”. I understand that feeling only so well now. In no way do I question the love that I feel for both my baby and my husband, but this situation can feel like a burden at times…

Tonight I went out for drinks with a dear and old friend of mine I haven’t seen in a real a long time and what seems to be a former life… All my men were left at home. Just me, my friends and cocktails. This reminded me I should be doing this more often… Would every night be ok ?

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Summer heat and a baby

18 Jul

Those of you in Paris have probably noticed that it is really hot at the moment. More or less 30 degrees C… And if you’re here next week, we’ll gain some extra 10… Add cars and tourist groups and you’ve got yourself an oven !!! French people don’t like air conditioning. They rather suffer and have something to moan about… That’s the only rational explanation I’ve come up with so far.

A baby can’t talk and tell you he’s slightly unhappy with the weather and so he cries, fights sleep, moves a lot… And so you move more then you should and end up wishing you could give him away, move to Iceland and get him back for winter.

Have you already taken your baby for an X-ray during a heat wave ? They lock you up in a tiny room and make you undress, strap, hold down your baby until the picture is taken. Obviously there is a bug or 2 on the way, the baby keeps moving, twisting… Also, obviously, again, there is no air conditioning in that tiny room either and you come out of there looking as if someone dressed you up in wool cloths and just for fun, dropped a bucket of water on you to see what happens…

Our life as mothers (and probably fathers too in Sweden) during a very (very !!!!!!) warm day with a baby can look something like this ; your house is probably as warm inside as it is outside and if like me, you don’t own a fan (a small USB MUJI fan doesn’t help I’m afraid) you’re pretty much screwed !! You shut your blinds and open your windows in hope for some air. Your baby wants to be carried around, played with, fed, changed, bathed all through the day… In between you wash a bit, clean a bit, prepare some lunch, clear the lunch, fold, clean up… When you decide to go out for a walk because staying in will just turn you into a depressed alcoholic, pushing around 10kg feels like a punishment !! By the time you make it out the door with your baby, the stroller, your bag and his bag you feel you need to go back up for a shower or go for a spiritual retreat somewhere far far away. In reality you simply go anywhere where the air conditioning is turned on… Mainly shops, shopping malls, supermarkets…
What we want is just to cool our brain down and love life again while you probably think we are creatures of leisure and shopaholic. Obviously, in shops, shopping malls and supermarkets, we do shop. It’s our compensation !!

Not heat related but – the frustrating thing about spending your days with a baby is that you don’t have much to say about your day. You’ve taken care of your baby, played with your baby, cared for your baby, gone out for a walk with your baby, bought a top for yourself, some carrots, milk or a shirt for your baby…
When I read myself, I’d love to have a baby every year !!! It sounds like its all fun and games.. But the reality is not as sexy and on the contrary, quite exhausting !!!

The good thing is that I get to see this baby grow… Starting with that shy smile during his sleep when he was born, his big smile nowadays whenever he sees me and obviously recognizes me, his hysterical laugh whenever I tickle his foot, his victory smile as he manages to flip over on his stomach all by himself…

Once upon a time Thursday night used to be all about drinking champagne and discovering new cocktails… Now, I’m just hoping I still have a few diapers for tomorrow !!

Christmas day in Africa

25 Dec

It is Christmas in Africa.

Christmas eve, far from snow and family was a nice evening shared among expat friends. Champagne. Wine. French finger food, snails and frog legs… We sat, we talked, we ate, we drank and we waited for Santa. It was lovely. Around 2.30 am we headed home as we all realised, to our horror, that Santa would not be showing up in this part of the world until at least the early morning hours, so may as well rest and greet him well.

So we went home. We slept.

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On this summer Christmas day, we awoke, fresh like birds, at 9am. The alcohol buzz from last night was long gone … Santa came around bearing unexpected gifts… African decoration and jewelery for me. A home-made embroidery Christmas card (the first thing I probably made since I was 13) and a ‘joke’ made-in-China water gun for him to play with… Which was a huge mistake as the ones who ended up soaking wet, were the house walls and myself… obviously, I didn’t think of getting myself one for self-protection. Note to self : don’t let him get you again ! Get ammunition !! Take him down !! Take him down !!

Utunde Beach

Utunde Beach

Saturday, Christmas day, obviously it was time to head to the beach and celebrate Santa. And so we did. At the Utunde beach with Champagne, Foie gras and a rain storm. It was absolutely fabulous !! Standing under that sun umbrella for shelter and the breeze… Heavenly ! … Caramel (the dog) running around fetching coconuts and everyone playing in the water or resting their eyes on the sand with Champagne in one hand toast in the other. Ho Ho Ho…

Christmas Mass, Bata

Christmas Mass, Bata

In the afternoon as we got back home, we changed for our nice Saturday church (…) cloths and joined Anne and Pierre for a Christmas Mass at the Bata Cathedral. I won’t claim that I (we) expected a “Sister Act” like Mass but something a bit more entertaining than what we actually got. Barely half an hour later, we left and headed to the Paseo, usually empty, to find it filled with people, kids and life.

I found out today that Christmas gifts were distributed to kids all morning in the streets. Water arms for the boys. Blond dolls for the ladies… The Paseo was full of blond and blue-eyed dolls while the boys were all walking around pointing guns at each other or holding their dolls by the hair. It was quite a sight.

Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas day !!

From Bata with love

Merry Christmas from Bata E.G

Merry Christmas from Bata E.G

Christmas sunbathing in Africa

24 Dec
Barbie's pool day

Barbie's pool day

After Wednesday’s pool afternoon at Utunde Beach Les Pagaies, the holiday continued with the same friends yesterday at La Ferme on Bome Beach, proceeded by a short early apero stop to wish Le Kalao happy holidays.

Barbie's beach day

Barbie's beach day

A light lunch and a cold drink later, we ended on the beach, feet in the water and a wet dog running wildly around covering us in sand. Perfect temperature on the outside, even better inside.

On our way out, the most unthinkable almost happened… I almost missed Trufa, who was walking into La Ferme as we were driving out and who came climbing up on me as I called out his name…This is true love !

Trufa

Trufa

 

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Christmas is all around. Holiday decorations are up on the streets. Some have unfortunately not made it since they’ve been hung up mid November, but others are still shining up on us. A late night open-air karaoke party that I apparently missed and kept up others from sleeping took place out on the streets last night. Christmas spirit is here despite the heat and lack of snow… Champagne is chilling and kitchens are steaming. Ho Ho Ho !

Tonight we are invited to Sylvain and Anne-Sophie, my beach partners these past few days, for a night of French delicatessen and Champagne !! 7 adults. 3 kids. 1 big fluffy dog. 1 quite large hairy cat. 1 big decorated plastic tree. Foie gras. Salmon. Noix de St Jacques. Champagne…Christmas is all around !!

The day will be quiet and light and so before I end this post, I will just wish all of you who read me a VERY HAPPY and MERRY CHRISTMAS !!

Ho Ho Ho

Paris, France. Seen by Sandra

23 Oct

As seen by a nomad world traveler and Parisian by adoption.

After days, weeks, months and years spent in what is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Paris, I have come to spot some places that are amazing to me, unknown to others and worth knowing if you appreciate turning away from the traditional guide book, the typical “trendy” spots and turn towards the personal unknown.

Some of my personal places :

Best Italian Pasta restaurant in my opinion – Procopio Angelo. A true Italian Chef who knows his flour and vegetables like no one else. Take away traiteur and restaurant. Small (very small, 24 seats to the most so make sure to book for lunch and dinner services at 19.30 and 21.30) Fresh homemade pasta. Change of menu / sauces almost every day. The prices are more than reasonable (8€ – 22€). My special treats : The Burrata is simply amazing ! The dishes… every day will offer a new delicatessen, so all is practically fabulous. The Tiramisu just makes you want to have more of it and well… basically I’m in love with this place as you may have understood. ~ 89 rue St. Honoré, 75001, Open Tuesday till Saturday

For a great Martini Bar (snack & restaurant) there is the Fumoir. Right behind the Cour Carrée of the Louvre, this cosy bar, with probably one of the actual bars I really enjoy sitting at, will offer you quite an impressive choice of Martini cocktails and other alcoholic treats (ask for the honey vodka, it’s delicious). The view is that of an amazing Louvre, the Seine river and the wooden Pont des Arts. ~ 6 rue de l’Amiral de Coligny, 75001

If you are looking for that traditional French wine bar, do not miss out on Les Pipos. A small (expanding as we speak) “bar de quartier” situated in the 5th, a street away from the Pantheon. The meat dishes are excellent, the homemade French fries are fabulous, the cheese is fantastic and the wine list, well… Go try it out and let me know what you think. Make sure to book if you go on a weekend night or you may get the French attitude of “sorry, no more room, goodnight” thrown at you. They may come through as cold (Bruno, the main waiter really) but it’s a friendly place I’ve been going to for the past 15 years or so. ~ 2 rue de l’école Polytechnique, 75005, Closes on Sundays

Champagne, who doesn’t like champagne ? OK, some don’t, but overall, we all love and worship champagne. Champagne is like water… Well, almost like water but it could be… For those of you who like to feel those bubbles drifting down your throats, try the Flûte Etoile Champagne Bar, a step away from one of the cities most (according to the world) beautiful avenues, the Champs Elysées. This small and cosy bar offers you over 100 different champagnes and appetizers to go with your glass. Every Wednesday night there is live Jazz music to go with your champagne and your friends. Some say it’s my second home… I may agree and say it is. ~ 19 rue de l’Etoile, 75008, Open Monday till Saturday

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