Tag Archives: English

How does sunlight sound?

The sunlight tiptoed in my bedroom, crawling silently in the dark like a cat approaching its prey. Gently, silently making its way to my bed, caressing my face and whispering in my ears, calling my name. ‘A little bit more,’ I implored turning my back. But it did not want to listen, it did not care, it kept going crescendo brighter, making a warm crackling sound on the floor, its loud colour invading my space, knocking on the walls, jumping on the sheets like a capricious child. ‘For the last time I beg you to let me sleep! Just five minutes more, that’s all I am asking for!’ and I hid my face into the pillow. But now the roaring noise was getting louder, producing sharp disharmonious combinations of yellow and white tones, exploding like a military band in my ears, blowing through the windows like a storm: it was unstoppable, it was everywhere! The deafening sunlight had a message to deliver and was determined to make me listen. I could not ignore its voice anymore, it was time for me to surrender, wake up and get ready because today was the day and there was nothing I could do about it!

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This text is one of my assignments from creative writing class that I wanted to share with you. We were asked to write a paragraph using synaesthetic metaphors. The idea was to create new ways of expression by creating cross-sensory experiences where you can for example hear colours, smell sounds, see music, feel the texture of light and so on… By mixing the different senses you can layer your story and come up with a unique and original piece. In order to warm up our creativity, we were given a list of questions and we had to pick one of them and work on it using synaesthetic metaphors… I was inspired by “How does sunlight sound?” and I built a short story starting from this question. I must say I was pretty impressed with the result because it worked really good and I was really proud and happy about what I came up with! I think this technique helps to describe a scene in a original way and it helps creating a real universe by using lively images so people can truly feel the atmosphere! I hope you have enjoyed this story and I hope it will intrigue you so you want to know more 😉 Please do not hesitate to leave me a comment: Did this text tickle your imagination and if that so why do you think the main character does not want to get up? I am curious to know because it is always interesting to hear about different ideas and then we can compare with what I had in mind when I wrote that piece… Come on, don’t be shy, I am sure it will be fun!

Girls on films

What was the last time you were excited by a party?

Something you were really looking forward to discover, something that made you feel like a teenager going to her first prom, that made your heart jumped in your chest because you could not wait. Do you remember this feeling?!

Friday, I was invited to the most original girls’ night ever! Once a month, my friends and myself host a party in our houses (we take turns, yes, we are very organized haha). We generally pick a theme to spice up things and make it even more enjoyable. But I must say, last Friday, Nasim (my friend from Iran) took it to the next level! She rocked it!

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Artist in progress… Nasim so focus and me being so curious!

She had this amazing idea to re-create a photo-shooting session in a studio and it was so much fun. She asked my friend Jessica (from Mexico) to come with dresses and some make up and I was told to bring my favourite dress and all accessories I could think of (such as : hairbands, hair jewels, masks etc… as I have many of them). I was so excited when I packed my bag on the night before, it was like I was going on a magic trip.  And during the night I could hardly sleep because my eyes were full of shining stars ❤

So when the day came, I was all prepared and ready to give my best pose to the camera. Nasim had all it figured and had managed to turn the first floor of her house into a photo-studio, with changing rooms, beauty salon and photo-shooting area. The atmosphere was perfect, the music selection was good and loud, beauty products had been placed on a table. It was just perfect!

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Smile, it’s selfie time! Jessica, thanks for having my back!

We changed clothes and helped each other to get prepared. Nasim did my make-up and my hair. She took care of Jessica afterwards. Yes, this night Nasim was at the same time a make-up artist, a hair stylist and a professional photographer! She is a very versatile girl as you can easily imagine! She put the music on and the show began!

We had an exciting night, doing different pose : “give me wild, give me sexy, give me sad, give me angry…”. Jessica is a natural, I mean she was amazing, I swear this girl could be an actress! She had the perfect expressions and she knew how to play with the camera. Also it was very fun because when Jessica was modeling, I was in charge of the lighting and directing the wind in her hair (I was using a hairdryer : I told you, Nasim had it all figured). When my turn came, I was petrified (I guess due to overwhelming feelings of joy haha) and I was not that natural… Actually the picture I enjoyed the most are the ones where I am not posing or the ones where I am acting like a crazy person.

It was a great night and what makes it so great is the joy to be with friends. What makes it special is the desire to share new experiences. What makes it memorable is the pleasure to have so much fun together. The love for English language is the key that has united us, our different cultures and background are the foundation of our friendship and our friendly personalities did the rest. We are different but we complete each others so well, we are the 3 sisters (not those from Sydney), we are the world!

Now I can’t wait to see the results, since Nasim is still editing/working on the pictures. I haven’t seen them yet but I am sure it is going to be AWESOME!!!

Chez John

“Breakfast is my speciality. I admit it is the easiest meal to cook, but I make everything with a twist!” – Hugh Jackman

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Chez John : the best American Breakfast in town

Breakfast is my favourite meal during the weekend and luckily Adelaide offers a wide range of nice places where to enjoy the most important meal of the day ❤

I tried many places since I arrived in Adelaide but the restaurants that have, in my opinion, the best breakie in town are: East Terrace Continental, The Royal Oak, The Findi and the Original Pancake kitchen!

But as my grandmother would say, nothing beats an homemade meal and breakfast is no exception! I must say, when it comes to breakfast, my friend John (from California) masters the art and I am a huge fan of his American breakfast! You would think that as a French person, I stick to cocoa, baguette, butter, jam, croissant and pain au chocolat but I must admit that since I moved abroad I changed my breakfasts’ habits. Now I really appreciate a nourishing and salty breakie to kick the day!

John’s American breakfast is the BEST and even the restaurants can’t beat the quality of his cuisine. Generally he makes: scrambled eggs, homemade baked beans with a twist, rosemary potatoes, portobello mushrooms, grilled/garlic tomatoes, crunchy bacons and toasts! Breakfast is served with a lovely English breakfast tea with some milk and sugar. It is absolutely divine and I really adore it! It smells so good and I like the colours and the texture, it is absolutely fantastic. Pictures don’t do justice to it so you will have to take my word for it!

You can always look on the internet and try to find “chez John” to taste his amazing American breakfast but I am afraid it is a very exclusive address and if you want to get invited, you will have to become friends first and move to California 😉

I see your true colours Carrick Hill

Winter in Australia is very different than winter in France. I really enjoy walking in the parks and I am always surprised to see so many lively colours during this “cold” season. In Europe, we say that during winter nature needs its beauty sleep before going to the spring ball but it seems than in Australia the whole year is a never ending party with an explosion of green, yellow and red!

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Come on, it is winter time in South Australia!

In Australia, winter starts on 21 June and I can’t recommend you enough to pay a visit to Carrick Hill to celebrate it! The park and gardens are so beautiful with a large diversity of trees and flowers. The view is fantastic and it is so poetic to walk in this romantic atmosphere surrounded by the sweet music of the Aussie birds. Australian birds look so exotic to me: some are white with a yellow head, some are green and red and one is black and white but produces the most amazing sound I have ever heard!

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Typical South Australian Red hot poker: so colourful flowers

 

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Jessica and myself lying on the grass at Carrick Hill gardens

I spent a wonderful day end of June at Carrick Hill with my two lovely friends: Nasim (from Iran) and Jessica (from Mexico). We sat on the grass during hours enjoying the view, chatting, dreaming about our future, making plans… We took many pictures also and there is even a video of me dancing under an arch of trees (crazy girl). We also enjoyed an afternoon tea outdoor, we like to do that sometimes! Generally we order 3 different cakes and then share and then discuss about the flavours, texture and colours and decide which one deserve the 1st rank in our heart!

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Nasim and myself under the arch of trees

There is also a beautiful mansion to visit and interesting stories to hear about. I highly recommend to take part to the guided tour (if you are lucky, Naomi will show you around, she is an absolutely charming tour guide). It was the previous home of an eccentric couple: Sir Edward and Lady Ursula Hayward! They were important art collectors and have decorated their home with pieces from all other the world (but mostly from UK and France). They were famous for their eccentric lifestyle and used to host big parties with controversial artists, good food, wine, music, amazing conversations and dancing! Their home was always filled with laughter but above all with love because they were soul mates sharing the same passion for life and art! A true romantic love story ❤

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Carrick Hill

46 Carrick Hill Drive

Springfield SA 5062

Ph: (08) 8433 1700

ADMISSION PRICES:

$12.00 Adults
$8.00 Concession
$28.00 Family
(Free Admission to Gardens & Grounds except for Special Events)

A generous arts and antiques buff!

“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home” – Twyla Tharp

What if I told you that I know a place here in North Adelaide to travel the world, escape the routine and embrace history, would you believe me?!

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The Pratts called this type of pottery their “Etruscan” ware.

The David Roche Foundation is an impressive arts collection gallery featuring two centuries of European designs. His founder, David Roche, was passionate about antiques and fine arts. He devoted his whole life traveling the world and acquiring unique objects. When it came to arts he had absolutely no limits and he adored everything: furnitures, paintings, sculptures, porcelains… His home was filled with treasures from the past to be cherished and kept secret! But David Roche had a dream: he wanted  to leave a legacy to Australian people! His foundation is his last gift so visitors can enjoy his legendary collection and learn more about history through unique and original pieces.

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Patinated bronze statue of the Madonna: Mother of Mercy

I really recommend to visit this art gallery. It is fascinating to gaze at all these original objects and hear about their origins. It is like traveling to the past: it is a beautiful journey from the early rococo of France to Faberge in Russia. Furthermore David Roche is quite an intriguing character and it is interesting to hear about his life. The gallery is run by an amazing Lady called Ann, she is absolutely fabulous and I could honestly listen to her for hours presenting each item of the collection: so fascinating! Besides she speaks English beautifully (crystal clear) so for foreigners like me, it is a really good practice!  In my opinion, she speaks the “Queen’s English” and it is absolutely divine! I think she really adds something to the whole experience!

As for me, thanks to Ann explanations, my favourite piece was actually a Napoleon dessert service depicting views of Paris. It was made with delicate and finest porcelain and it looked really precious. The emperor offered this set to his beloved sister Pauline! And if you paid a closer look to the dessert plates, you could see on one of them the “Jardin des plantes” and 2 kangaroos as part of this beautiful scenery! Actually the French emperor was fascinated by Australia: in the 1800s it was considered as the most exotic, exiting and unexplored place of the world! No wonder that at that  time an expedition was orchestrated by Napoleon himself! He appointed the French explorer Nicolas Baudin and instructed him to bring back to France typical Australian plants and animals! It is nearly a miracle that the kangaroos survived the 6 months journey on the ship (when I can hardly cope with the 21 hours trip by plane from Adelaide to Paris) and could be seen in the famous Parisian botanical garden. So as you can easily imagine I really enjoyed gazing at this beautiful Napoleon dessert service, it is more than an object, it is all the (hi)story it represent and what Australia means to France and French people ❤

IMG_1191So next time, you happen to visit the fancy Melbourne street on North Adelaide, pop by the lovely cafe E for Ethel for a nice lunch or a latte and then head to The David Roche foundation and don’t  leave the gallery before having found a favourite piece to remember so you can tell me all about it in the comment section 😉 I’m really looking forward to hear from you!

VIEWING GALLERY

237 Melbourne Street
North Adelaide SA 5006

(08) 8267 1755
 
Entry by donation of $2 per person
Tuesday to Thursday: 10am to 3pm – Friday to Monday: Closed
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Here are some informations about the antiques presented on the different article pictures:
The pair of moulded and carved terra cotta figures are allegories of Spring (with the posy of flowers)  and Summer (with the buch of grapes) and are in the style of Charles Percier (1764-1838) and Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine (1762-1853). They are from France, early 20th century.The silvered and parcel-gilt electrotyped copper wall plaques are referred to as “Chargers” and were made by Elkington & Co. in England in 1869, from French designs.One is  “January-June” signs of the zodiac, the other is  “July- December” and each has a different season portrayed in the centre.
 
The black and white earthenware Pot-pourri Vase is by Pratt & Co. of Fenton, England and was made circa 1880. It is in perfect condition, and is in three sections with a domed lid, an inner lid pierced with holes and a base with two handles attached from the shoulders to the rim, decorated in black over white with painted and transfer printed classical pattern borders and figural designs and gilding. The Pratts called this type of pottery their “Etruscan” ware.
 
The patinated bronze statue of the Madonna is by British sculptor, Nic Fiddian-Green who was born in 1963.   It is titled ‘Mother of Mercy’ and was produced in England circa 1999. This sculpture was created for the new millennium as an edition of only three – the first is in the Vatican in Rome. On completion of the third and final cast, all moulds are to be destroyed by the artist.

Soupe à l’oignon au bleu d’Auvergne – Onion soup with blue cheese

“A classic and comforting recipe from the French countryside that will please your palate during winter, especially after an outdoor walk in the biting cold.”

Ingredients:

 For 4 people:

 • 400 g onions

 • 2 liters of chicken stock

 • 70 g unsalted butter

 • 150 g of Bleu d’Auvergne (blue cheese)

 • 4 slices of country bread

 • Salt

 • Coarse salt

 • Ground black pepper

Method:

 • Peel and chop the onions.

 • Melt the butter in a large saucepan add the onions and gently brown over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula.

 • Then add the chicken stock, seasoned with a pinch of coarse salt.

 • Stir and bring to a boil and allow to simmer about 1 hour over low heat. Stir from time to time during cooking.

 • Meanwhile mash the Bleu d’Auvergne (blue cheese) in a bowl with a fork until you obtain a creamy texture.

 • Lightly toast the slices of country bread and while still warm, spread the cheese on the top of them.

• Once the soup is cooked, remove half of the volume of onions with a skimmer or a slotted spoon. Let the mixture cool down and put it in the blender to obtain an onion puree.

 • Then put the onion puree back into the saucepan, mix, adjust seasoning to taste adding salt and pepper and mix well again.

Presentation: 

Serve this traditional dish in preheated soup plates. Place the toasted bread spread with bleu d’Auvergne on the side ready to be immersed in the soup.

Top tip:

A little trick to avoid ” crying ” while mincing onions: use a sharp knife! Actually a bad knife crushes the pulp of onion instead of slicing it – it spreads a fine mist of onion juice in the air followed by a river of tears!

If you can’t find Bleu d’Auvergne, you can use a local blue cheese as well, in that case choose a creamy and flavourful one.

Bon appétit 🙂

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Kellie, who is the North Adelaide Community Centre coordinator, asked me to take part to a good cause by writing a recipe from France. The idea was to create a “City Community – favourite soup recipes” book in order to raise money for the Welcome Centre of South Australia – http://www.welcometoaustralia.org.au/ – so they can replace a trailer which was recently stolen from them! The goal was to obtain a collection of recipes that reflect a little bit about our family and heritage. I really liked the initiative and I was happy I could help! I chose to translate this recipe into English because I originally come from Auvergne and I liked the idea that  “Bleu d’Auvergne” (a typical blue cheese from this region) was part of this comforting dish. My favourites French cheese are: Bleu d’Auvergne, Fourme d’Ambert (another blue cheese), Cantal, Saint-Nectaire, Salers and Gaperon – all made in Auvergne haha! Luckily some of them can be found at the Adelaide Central Market which is good when I am missing French cheese.

An angel to watch over me

I was seven years old when my mother passed away. I don’t remember much about her but to me she was a loving woman who rarely raised her voice with anger at my sisters or myself. She was also an excellent cook and despite the little money we had, there was always a lovely smell in the kitchen. I remember her beautiful hair piled on her head and her long black skirt under which I would hide when an unannounced visitor would knock at the door of our home. Unfortunately, she died very young at the age of 32. I remember the day well, for it was the first time I’d been confronted with death. My sister woke me up early in the morning saying that mum had pushed on Heaven’s door, but I could not understand. I knew mum was sick. She had asthma and could not breathe properly ; she needed to rest and it was not easy to find a doctor in the countryside at that time. But I was just a kid and all I could wonder was how she managed to get up out of bed and open a door since she was so weak and where had she gone?! My sister brought me to Mum’s room to kiss her goodbye.   Lights had been covered and, despite the lilies, there was a strange smell floating in the air. Mum was lying still and cold on her bed, her hands folded on her chest. She was different and so pale. She looked like a wax doll with her long hair by her shoulders and her eyes closed. My sister whispered to me that Mum’s new home was in Heaven now and that her soul had been set free. Now she could overhear not only what we were saying but also what we were thinking, so we had to behave and make her proud so she would always love us.

From this moment, surprisingly I was not afraid! I knew mum would always look after me and eventually protect me because she was an angel now and her spirit would always be around. I could talk to her about my life, pray to her and ask for help if I needed it, which I did quite often. I guess this thought has empowered me and helped me to go through life, which has not always been easy but she has never let me down. I survived a devastating house fire without a single scratch, I was captured by the Germans during World War 2 and by some miracle I managed to escape. I have reached 96 years of age and have never been sick in my whole existence.

But today is the saddest day of my life and I need her more than ever to help me get through this painful time. I am praying to her to welcome my son, her grandson, whom I am mourning, into her home.

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This sad story is one of my assignments from creative writing class that I wanted to share with you. We were asked to look at old pictures we owned and to write a short story up to 500 words about loss from the perspective of a person we had chosen. The idea was that the loss had occurred when the person was a child and we had to tell what happened and how it had impacted our character’s life. We were also asked to write in the first person subject past tense as it was a recollection and many years had passed since the tragedy had occurred  We had to show what the child had learnt through this experience that stayed with him to adulthood. I must say it was a difficult exercise since generally I prefer to write about fun things and loss is not really my favorite genre. It was also a bit overwhelming for me since I decided to base my story on a true family life chapter. Actually I chose my grandfather who lost his mother when he was only a child and I became his voice for the duration of this assignment. On one hand it made me sad and a bit depressed to write about these past memories, I mean I can only imagine how hard it must have been painful for him. But in the other hand I am glad I could transcribe as a tribute stories I have  been  told a  couple of times by my grandfather. His mother, my grand-grandmother, was a beautiful woman who sadly died very young from asthma and I am grateful she is a caring and loving angel watching over my grandfather in sadness and happiness helping him to go though life giving him hope and bravery.

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My grandfather’s mother who died at 32