Chez José

Last Christmas, I was in France and I had the opportunity to meet my brother’s lovely girl friend who happens to live in Montreal. Talking with her about this beautiful city brought back some memories. Oh Canada, Canada… you are not a country, you are a season! And as for you Montreal, you are my morning Bagel at Saint Viateur, you are this cute maple leaf on the sidewalk, you are my enchanting stroll in Mont-Royal Park, you are my chai latte at café Pikolo, you are my bubble tea in China town, you are my favourite ride along Saint Laurent river, you are my matcha ice cream at Jean Talon market, you are this lovely blue sky even when it is so cold outside.  And my heart just melts when you are wearing your majestic white coat that gives me the feeling that for a minute the time just stopped.

I am so far away from you now, it is summer here in Adelaide and still winter for you. But lately you have been a lot in my mind. So I thought today, I would share with you one of my favourite place for a delicious sandwich in Montreal 🙂 should you ever visit this beautiful city!

As for many French people, Le Plateau, is my kingdom. I know that Canadians like to joke about the fact that obviously French people must be missing so much the Parisian expensive lifestyle that they are attracted like magnets to the trendy Plateau area… What can I say?!  I like the atmosphere, the little cafés, the shops and the artistic vibes all around.

o-2
Colourful, vibrant, local!

In a charming little street stands a funky Portuguese café called “Chez José”. A cute and tiny little place that tends to get crowded at busy hours, but the food they serve makes the wait worth it. If my memory is is correct, I had a lunch combo (smoothie + sandwich) for something like 10 dollars! I must say this spicy sandwich was something very special… and normally spicy is NOT my thing but… I guess when you find something special, some rules may not apply… the chicken was thinly sliced and paired so well with the homemade hot sauce, the cheese and the avocado. I really enjoyed each bite of it. It was fresh, it was delicious, it felt very local and typical!

o
This sandwich is killing me softly with its sweet spicy sauce!

Sometimes, you discover little gems like “chez José” and you are so grateful they do exist. How can a simple sandwich make your day?! Was it just about this sandwich or the whole journey?! Walking in this little street, looking for this address, spotting this graffiti wall, gazing at all these vibrant colours, looking at the people queuing happily outside, trying to imagine who they are, discovering new flavours and being overwhelmed by this new experience… I think it was a mix of everything. Next time I will go back there, I will just order the same but this time I make sure I won’t go on my own and share this precious moment hoping that it will be once again a delightful moment  ❤

“Life is about creating and living experiences that are worth sharing” Steve Jobs


Chez José

  • 173 Avenue Duluth E
    Montreal, QC H2W 1H4 – Plateau-Mont-Royal 
  •  Phone number(438) 764-1381
  •   Website www.chezjosecafe.com
  •  Cash only

Happy Mauvember!

img_2985
When Spring looks like a French Autumn, the only thing you can do is put a hat on, grab your bestie and chill out with a latte! Nasim (from Iran) and I are always on the same page when it comes to enjoy life at its best!

Spring has been so lazy to come this year. We experienced a lot of morning showers, grey sky, wind and some severe storms in September and October. In one hand, it was a bit depressing + there was a “major” water leaking in my house (one morning I woke up and water was coming from the ceiling, click here for the full story) but in the other hand, it is really good for mother nature because the trees and flowers look amazing right now with beautiful deep and lively colours. I guess you can’t have it all!

These past few days, spring is back on the track and it feels good to wake up with a big bright sun in the bedroom. I like to ride my green bike in the parks with this beautiful weather and explore new places whenever possible. In Australia, you have to wear an helmet (it is the law) and I must say when the weather is warm (sometimes around 40 something) I miss to feel the refreshing wind in my hair when biking! But again, I know this is for my own good so I am just going with the flow…

img_0288
A romantic vision of a young girl with a white dress walking on the Jacarandas’petals on a sunny spring day.

Maybe you will think I am a fool but one thing I was really expecting was to see the Jacarandas blooming! They are my favourite trees and their romantic purple flowers appear the first weeks of November announcing that spring is here and summer is only a month away. This year, because of the strange weather, the Jacarandas only started now to spread their vibrant colours in the whole city. Their mauve flowers petals are falling on the pavement like confettis and it brings a “je ne sais quoi” to the streets of Adelaide. Someday when I will own a house with a garden I will plant a Jacaranda tree to gaze at it!

At the moment, my friend Jessica (Mexico) is encouraging me to practise “mindfulness”. I started doing it in London with my yoga teacher and I must say it is a really calming and grounding state of mind. We are so busy with our everyday lives sometimes, worrying about the past and the future that we forget to fully live the present moment. Maybe it will seem odd to some of you but sometimes just taking the time to stop for a minute and gaze at a tree or a flower can make a big difference  in the rest of your day ❤

Just try it and tell me in the comments below how it felt!

Twinsters

I don’t watch TV very often but I do have a Netflix account where I can watch on demand films and TV shows (speaking of the latter, did you hear about the Gilmore Girls being back?!!! I don’t want to gossip but I bet Rory is pregnant and Lorealai is freaking out.. as for Luke I am sure he is going to propose to L). I like to think of my life here in Adelaide like a good “old” GG show, by the way still haven’t found Luke’s Café but I am still looking and opened to any recomandation 😉

IMG_0662
This is the kind of food, Luke would definitely serve! You can enjoy this breakfast at the Royal Oak in North Adelaide.


Lately, as I was browsing on Netflix, I decided to have a look at the documentary section and one called “Twinsters” (fusion of the word Twins and Sisters) caught my eye and I decided to go for it. So basically, the story line is that in 2013 Samantha Futerman, a 25 years old American Asian girl living in Los Angeles and using youtube to post funny videos received a life changing message via Facebook from Anaïs Bordier, a French Asian fashion design student living in London. Actually Anaïs friends watched a video on youtube featuring Samantha and they were so surprised by the identical appearance of the 2 girls that they encouraged her to contact her copycat! After a few Skype sessions, the girls discovered that they shared much more than just the same face: it turned out that they were both born the same day and both were adopted in Korea shortly after they were born!!! Could it be possible, could they by any chance be twin sisters?! This documentary is about the journey of Samantha (American) and Anaïs (French) discovering about their past, their history and the bond that they may share together through social medias.DSC_0057

I believe it is a real sweet story and I really enjoyed watching it, witnessing the different emotions these two amazing girls (and their respective French + American families) explored. What stroke me the most while watching this documentary is how life found a way to reunite these two girls that shared different lifestyles, cultures and mother tongues. It is like no matter what, it was meant to be. How perfect it is that Samantha Futerman (the American) was making cool and fun videos on Youtube that will be seen overseas (and obviously in UK) and what were the chances that Anaïs Bordier (the French) would decide to study fashion design in London and become fluent in English. Even if the two girls were raised in different countries and not sharing the same mother tongue, they were able to communicate straight away in English together which made the relationship between the 2 way easier. They both chose artistic careers, one being an actress and the other being a fashion designer, they are so similar and so different at the same time… so interesting to hear about their journey.

IMG_0963

But beyond that, it makes you reflect on your own story, your family, the bond you share with them, your relationships. It makes you appreciate even more the luck to have  grown with your siblings. What it feels like to have a sister, a brother (maybe both). What they mean to you and by extent what life would have been like without them. It is a special and strong bond and nobody can deny that.

DSC_0139_18672

I have a sister and a brother (I am the eldest), we spent all of our childhood together but our adults’ life separated us geographically. My sister lives in France, my brother is an air pilot in Canada (yes girls don’t get too excited 😉 ) and I live in Australia. As you can imagine, it is not so easy to see each other and to give you an example I have not seen my brother since 2013! 😦 I know it sucks… I miss my sister (and her kids a LOT) and my brother too of course. I am hopeful that in the future, as our respective lives settle down we will live closer from each other.

Frog_cakes

When I see them (especially after a long time apart), it is AMAZING!  I ❤ family reunions and to catch up with everything I missed since last time. Luckily, I come from a big family and I have also many cousins  around my age or my brother’s age. It is hard to feel lonely or depressed when you are around your family! Each year, during summer time, a “cousinade” is organised (we made up this word in French) but basically it is a “cousins party” where all cousins (on my mother side) are invited for a barbecue and drinks at my aunts place and it is really fun! Christmas are also pretty fantastics and are celebrated several times in the same week since the family is huge! Each year my family (on my father side) organise an unusual christmas dinner to spice up the routine and so far we had a Mexican, a Texas, a Caribbean and I believe last year it was an Australian theme christmas : AWESOME and so refreshing!!!

Notting Hill Carnival 2014 - 085

“Family is not an important thing. It is EVERYTHING!” – Michael J. Fox

I really can’t wait to come to France and pay a visit to my loved ones ❤ and I wish all the best to Smantha and Anaïs!

Bikeway To Hell

Sometimes I have crazy ideas and luckily for me I have always awesome friends to follow me in my euphoric projects. So it is no surprise that when I decided to go to Henley Beach by bike to celebrate my birthday, my friend Nasim (from Iran) was part of it! For those who have been following me and paying attention, last year, for my birthday I got a beautiful green bike that became my fav. transportation mode to go to work, school, activities, market etc… So it makes sense that this year I wanted to take it to the next level and go on a bike trip from Adelaide CBD to  the beautiful Henley beach.

img_2976
Adelaide’s parks are full of surprises. Look at this party setting with permanent balloons floating all around! Happy birthday to me I guess!

The river Torrens Linear trail is known to be pretty easy, flat and scenic. Imagine yourself biking along the river, in the parks, with the beautiful and majestic trees swaying in the breeze, the enchanting colourful birds singing along the way (have you ever heard a Cockatoo?! not very melodious lol) and the nature surrounding you like a comforting cup of tea on a Sunday morning. I really believe, this is worth giving it a try and we are so lucky to have many bike trails here in Adelaide. It is a good way to discover a city and its surroundings. Besides it is very easy to rent a City Bike in Adelaide for free, so no excuse!

img_2810
Nasim, in a very sporty attitude, ready to hit the road, no stop signs, no limit, nobody to slow her down on her bikeway to hell 😉

Nasim and I met first at San Churro for breakfast. I guess we both  needed a good dose of sugar to boost our bodies before hitting the road. At the beginning, everything was really nice and we really enjoyed it. Nasim was even considering buying a new bike to do that more often. I mean it is an healthy and fun way to exercice. We stopped many times to take funny pictures, to gaze at the landscapes, to relax… But what I did not consider is that even if this trail is said to be easy, it is quite long and you need at least a bit of practice. So basically I think it took us about 3 hours (maybe more) from the CBD to reach Henley Beach. When we arrived there, I think Nasim was about to collapse.

img_2814
I think at this stage, Nasim had enough… this pic was taken sometimes between her collapsing and then having lunch.

We rested a bit, walked on the beach (well deserved), took some more pictures and ended up in a restaurant with a view on the seaside. It was good to relax and chat about this little adventure. Despite the fact that we were both exhausted, there is no doubt that this bike trail is wonderful and the feeling you have when you arrive closed to the beach: awesome! All these little houses facing the beach, the white sand, the blue sky, this is the dream picture ❤

DSC_0115
Adelaide and its surroundings are so beautiful. Sometimes I can’t believe I live here!

As we started to make our way back, it appeared that Nasim had no more juice. Her body hurt, she was not feeling well and soon riding her bike became a nightmare. We tried many things, we switched our bikes, I encouraged her… but when the body shuts down, there is nothing that can be really done. And sadly for Nasim, this was over. I was getting a bit worried because it was in the late afternoon and the sun was slowly vanishing on the horizon and I started to worry picturing us, walking in  the dark woods next to our bikes, the gloomy shadows of the trees, the scary sounds  of the nocturnal birds and the silence of the night surrounding us like a dark trap. BOO!

Adelaide Zoo - 092Zombie Walk - 2014 - 212

The power of the mind is funny sometimes, what was magic a few hours before became suddenly scary. I started to feel bad because this was my whole idea, what on earth was wrong with me, we are talking about maybe 23 km and it is not like that we are used to ride our bikes that much. Nasim suddenly quit cold turkey and called her husband to pick her up in the middle of nowhere. There was not enough room in the car for 2 bikes and I felt I had enough energy to go on and reach my home before the night comes. So it was me all alone against the clock haha!

img_2839
Last smile before scratching my belly on the tree (natural scrubbing… yes you bet!)

As I was riding back to the CBD, I could not help feeling grateful to Nasim for joining me in this crazy but funny bike trip. I felt really happy about the whole day. All in all it was one of the best birthday activities I have ever had 🙂 I liked it despite of its unexpected events:  Nasim thought at some point she had broken her bike, a lady advised us to be careful with the Magpie attacks, a guy asked me for the time and I thought he wanted to steal my bag, I scratched my belly climbing in a tree for a scenic picture… and all those km that obviously we were not trained enough for.

It is all those little moments that make also good memories and you know what now looking back at it, Nasim and I really enjoyed this beautiful day together because we laughed, we had fun and we experienced with delight our very own bikeway to hell. Life does not have to be perfect to be fun, it is its imperfections that make us smile and stick to our minds forever… Life goes beyond the beautiful pictures and selfies that we post daily on social medias… it is living the present moment, experiencing feelings, the good and the bad, the ugly and the beautiful, the laugh and the tears. It may not be always perfect but it is the REAL deal and it is up to you to make it count! I am sure if we had to do it all again, Nasim would jump on her bike in a matter of second to join me 😉

“Don’t wait for the perfect moment, take the moment and make it perfect” ❤

Follow the white rabbit!

Wonderland is never far away and sometimes can be closer than you think. Just pay attention when walking in the West End and look for the white rabbit on the eclectic Hindley Street. Maybe for a minute you will think you are lost, it can’t possibly be there but keep going and you will be surprised like Harry Potter discovering the platform 9 3/4!

img_3183
I love to chill out outside with a latte on sunny days!

Right in the middle of the buildings and the busy city life, appears like magic, Peter Rabbit café and its beautiful garden. It is so tempting to just sit here outside on one of these colourful chairs and enjoy the beautiful weather. Come with friends for some lively conversations or all alone to relax with some readings in this friendly atmosphere.

img_3196
Chaï latte and almonds croissant ❤ all beautiful!

But let’s not stop here, why not  indulging your coffee cravings?! You got me, if you are a coffee lover, then this is the place to be. My friend Ana (from Colombia) is an expert when it comes to coffee and she confessed that the Cuppa is really beautiful. Last time I was there with her, she had a black from Colombia and she loved it!

img_3194
Painted  lady in the background (Australia) staring at Nasim (Iran), who is gazing at Jessica (Mexico) who is looking at me (France) while I am myself observing Nasim! That’s 4 continents sitting at the same table 😉

The staff is really friendly and I love the attention to details they put into the decoration but also when serving coffee. If you want to pet some rabbit, just go at the back of the café and you will make some good friends ❤ As for me, I was so enchanted by this little wonderland that I could not help sharing this secret place with some other friends.

So next time, you find yourself walking in Hindley street, and you happen to see a white rabbit, with a waistcoat and speaking English. Don’t hesitate, follow it, open the garden gate of the hidden Peter  Rabbit and enjoy the journey!


Peter Rabbit

234-235 Hindley Street

Adelaide SA 5000

Tel: +61 4 2813 2704

Total blackout

South Australia was in the eye of a nasty storm on Wednesday 28th September 2016. Despite all the announcements on radio and social media, I believe nobody really expected what happened.

Since it was my first storm in Aussie world, I decided to play it safe. I just went jogging early in the morning as it was very sunny and I noticed it was windy (I mean more than usual) so I made my way back home and decided to stay there for the whole day, working from home, just in case. Around noon the weather dramatically changed and turned into lightenings, heavy rain and a lot of wind but nothing THAT scary. I thought “well ok, not a big deal”.

img_2936
No light, no worries! I’ve got this 😉

But then around 5.00pm, things got ugly. I was chatting with my friends on “WhatsApp” and we were worried because our friend Jessica (from Mexico) was outside with this terrible weather, when suddenly we experienced a major power cut. What was unusual, is that my friends and I live in different parts: some in the suburbs, some by the sea, some in the CBD and we were all left without electricity, meaning: no lights, no heating, no TV, no internet (except on our phone for those who have enough battery). We joked about it and thought it was time to reach out for some candles (thank god, I had few big ones at home), very handy!

7887296-3x2-700x467
Adelaide was plunged into darkness after wild storms disrupted power supplies across the state. (ABC News: Tony Hill)

A bit later, I called some friends to enquire if everything was ok on their side and to inform them about the situation. They told me that it was the same issue for them at work and actually that the whole South Australia state was experiencing a total blackout! In other words: no traffic lights in the streets, no lights inside and outside, businesses, shops, librairies force to close… So basically we are talking about a whole state and its 1.7 millions residents left in the dark! Jessica texted me to tell me that people were running in the streets, all shops were closing and supermarkets were full with people buying supplies such as water, milk, candles… (she also mentioned there were good deals on chicken breasts haha… 😉 ).

img_2940
Zinaida cooking on her camping gas stove

As the hours were passing by, my friends and I decided to limit the text messages since our phones were running low of battery and we did not know when we could recharge. It was getting darker and darker and despite all the candles, it was not very efficient to read,  write, cook (thank god I have a gas stove). It was so strange to see the city and the streets that dark. According to the newsfeed, it turned out that 2 tornados destroyed some critical infrastructures causing a network shutdown. On top of that, 22 interconnectors were knocked down by the wind. Thank god no death was reported, only properties damages, broken trees, flooding etc… People tried to make the most of it, lighting candles, playing board games, reading, drawing, meditating, checking phones, getting bored, eventually sleeping… two men were also spotted in the streets walking around with banners saying “the end of the world is coming”, “Aliens are here”…

img_2943
what a “nice” way to start a shitty day!?

On a more personal note, the blackout lasted in my house from 5pm to midnight. First time, I was in bed that early, I think around 8pm! I could not really sleep since one of my neighbors’burglar alarm went on and on the whole night forcing me to sleep with ear plugs (which I hate). And cherry on the cake, when I woke up on the next morning and I opened my bedroom door, water was falling from the ceiling so I had to contain the situation with buckets and towels and call my landlord to let him know that there was a leaking due to the storm. By the way, he sent someone to fix the issue and so far so good.

Thursday was supposed to be as bad maybe worst than Wednesday. People were asked to stay home if possible. Fortunately, despite of the rain and the wind, it was manageable. I stayed home and did not experience any power cut whereas my friend Zinaida (from Russia) did. All in all, it was not that bad but I can’t help wondering about the hospitals who had to use torches and what about if you are in the middle of a surgery when it happens, I assume they have energy power back up. And what about people on life support machines when there is no electricity… OMG I am thinking too much!

“Life without electricity, it is beyond our imagination”- Siddhant Chak

Colour the world, colour your mood

Lately I have been obsessed with coloring books for adults. It’s the new trend and it is nearly impossible to miss them when you are in a Bookshop. Anyway I own a few of them and I really enjoy using those books whenever needed. I believe coloring has a grounding effect.

It all started when my friend Ana (my former Spanish teacher from Colombia) offered me a postcard from the artist: Johanna Basford! When it comes to coloring book, this girl is a GURU, believe me! Her work is amazing: have a look at “Secret garden” (my fav), there is so much poesy in her art, she managed to create a real enchanted universe.

74-treehouse
Colouring book for adults “Secret Garden”, Johanna Basford

So I started with her books and her postcards that I would share with some friends. Sometimes we would go together to the café, with some pencils and we would colour some beautiful magic scenes while chatting. It turned out to be very effective, especially when we were stressed or worried about something. It acted like a colour therapy session and it was a very calming and a comforting activity.

IMG_2023
Texturing and colouring my breakfast bowl: a good way to start the day happy and zen 🙂

It is a combination of little things that separately are just details, but when all combined, it is like a ritual where all your senses are activated. The colours that are dancing in a farandole in front of your eyes, the paper texture under your fingers, the soft  sound of the pencils pressed on the paper, the delicate smell of the drawing in progress and the taste of gratitude as the image starts to appear more and more alive.

 So now I extended my selection to other colouring books such as: Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford, The mini Mandala by Susanne Fincher, the little book of Mindfulness colouring by Holly Macdonald. I really enjoy them as they are a great help to meditate , to relax and sometimes to escape .

What about you? Have you ever tried it? Tell me all about it in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear about your experiences when it comes to coloring books 🙂

%d bloggers like this: