21 September 2014

Forget Me Not #2

The Pumpkin Gratin // Personal Picture

Before I jump into a very busy event week, here is a selection of little things I've been grateful for last week - things I should never forget to be grateful for, as nothing should be taken for granted.

Pumpkin Cake

 #1 & 2: Baking the first pumpkin dishes of the season: gratin & cake.

Mini-Autumn deco among incense sticks

"Totoro among leaves" Autum Decoration

#3 &4: Putting the finish touches to my Autumn decoration.

Brown Leaves at St Mandé Lake

#5: Noticing the landscape changes as summer slowly gives way to autumn.

Small Postcard wall

#6: Display a few seasonal and sentimental postcards on the wall, after finding them in the cellar.

Stock of incense

#7: Finding a Zen Boutique which stocks high quality Japanese incense and stocking up for the months to come.

Fresh nuts

#8: Jumping on the first fresh walnuts, finally available at the local organic store

Monoprix notebooks & kitchen items

#9: Falling head over heels about a very simple line of supermarket decoration, and getting a selection of matching items for a bit of renewed table presentation (+ my next pen & paper diary)

I have another light post planned for later this week - the Journées du Patrimoine have left me little time for the Internets this week-end. For those of you who are or plan to visit Paris - you should definitely go visit the Musée Rodin, preferably on a sunny day. Ditto for the Palais de la Porte Dorée.

Forget Me Not #1 here.


  1. Replies
    1. It was delicious. I love all things pumpkin :)

  2. Kali I'm curious. I just read in the blog A cup of Jo ( http://joannagoddard.blogspot.com.ar/2014/07/20-surprising-things-about-parenting-in.html ) that germans usually work 6 or 8 hours tops a day, and have 6 weeks of holidays every year. That happens in France too?
    In Buenos Aires we usually work 9 hours a day, and only have 2 weeks of holidays. Less hours jobs usually are not enough for paying rent sadly.

    1. General work hours are 8 hours a day when working full time (38,5 hours here in Austria). But in some jobs you can do a 30 hours work week. Many women work part time here (20 hrs weeks) when they are mothers (my feminist heart bleeds at this fact). Only academics and the upper middle class can really afford working only 30 hours, but I know many people that do this (I'm living in a very academic environment). In the lower middleclass less people can afford to reduce hours, especially those with kids. It also depends on what job you have, but working plus hours is common when projects need to be finished, so you easily get 50 or 60 hours work weeks sometimes. 6 weeks holidays are normal here in western europe, I guess.
      We Europeans are not so crazy about work and do appreciate our free time in comparison to Northern Americans, but we're on a downward spiral with growing inequality and our social systems are getting worse since the crisis 2008. Let's see how long we can live like this. On the other hand, due to having more and more machines doing our work and outsourcing labourheavy processes to BRICS countries, we HAVE to reduce working hours, so that we don't loose a generation to unemployment like it happened to Spain.
      In my personal environment, many people, including me, want to only work 20-30 hours because we like our free time and we don't need stuff like cars or prestige stuff or expensive holidays. We can actually do that, the only fear is that we couldn't gather enough years for the state retirement programme by working less (you have to work full time for 40 years or so to get the full retirement money). But then, we aren't positive about seeing any of this money, when we reach that age, due to the downward spiral we already experience.
      Sorry for the long comment.

    2. So interesting! Loved your long comment. :)
      Once I was talking to a USA guy and told him that usually here university students have fulltime jobs while studying. He was so shocked! Of course a regular 4 year degree tooks you 8 years like happened to me (I studied Graphic Design). The good thing is that you get out of school with work experience already.
      I love to hear how's life in other countries. :)

    3. Thank you for the comment. I had that impression too, that Europeans are much more laid back. I guess we all do the hours as needed.

    4. It's really a cultural idea I guess. Here in France the standard work week is 35 hours per week, so some 7 hours a day. We usually work a bit more than that and can leave the office earlier on Friday to compensate. Also, many companies opted to make people work 8-9 hours a day, but compensate with one monthly day off as a compensation.

      In terms of holidays, I think here in France it's about 30 days per year, so about five to six weeks if you count week-ends in. People usually take at least two weeks in summer and another two around Christmas. Some companies even close in August, it's really common that business is getting slower in August in France (except for the tourist business of course).

      However, the limitation of work hours mostly works for people with a very definite job to do, like store managers and salespersons who have opening hours. Middle class people who have projects to handle and finish don't count their work hours and can work 9-10 hours a day when there is a deadline to hit. And as materialfehler mentioned, with the recent crisis and money saving policy across European governments, these social rights tend to dwindle little by little.

      It is also true though, that the French culture toward work is quite different from the North American one - and probably all over Europe as I can read here. We value family time, and even though we do want to have a career and do our jobs well, most think we work in order to bring a better life to our families and enjoy time off - we don't live to work. In other words, work and career are not an end, they are a means to achieve personal dreams and bring stability to our family. In France, it is unconceivable not to eat all together in the evening. So, since children have to go to bed early, it is unconceivable to come home too late for dinner. I guess it's a question of life priorities really. And since it's culturally engrained, colleagues and managers understand and support this mindset, as long as the job is done.

    5. That's great. :)
      In Latin America family is super important as well, but sadly most of the society don't have access to well paid jobs so we have to work a lot. Anyway here in Buenos Aires we have dinner really late, like 9 or 10 pm, so even if you work a lot you are still able to have a family dinner. :)
      I was curious about working in France specially, because recently I read "French women don't get fat", and they say that you usually go to the farmers market several times in the week, and make a lot of effort to prepare awesome meals including several steps. That needs a lot of time! :)
      I'm really in love with french culture. Love your fashion astethic, the food and the ideals you have in general. It's my dream to visit France one day. :)

      Thanks so much for all your responses! Love this conversation, it was so great.

  3. Geese are scary. They are huge and territorial (at least the ones in the park next to my college were.) I once went on a "romantic stroll" that turned somewhat comical and terrifying after we inadvertently pissed off the roosting flock that lived on that particular stretch of that park path.

    I'm stuck on the geese picture. Otherwise, I love the Monoprix plates/houseware picks you have here--especially the napkin? or fabric in the top left.

    1. I really love this little lake near my workplace. I usually go running once a week there, and I love the little ecosystem around - trees changing colours, geese and ducks roaming around... It may sound weird but I like it best in Autumn/Winter, when the leaves fall, people don't come as it's too cold, there is some sort of mist, and the nature is silent, just whispering as wind goes through leaves or a few ducks move around. I like this soothing silence.

      The Monoprix finds are really an opportunity purchase. I didn't really need extra napkins and table sets, but I hadn't purchased anything new table-decoration wise in a long time and I felt like introducing something new into the rotation. I really liked the pattern of the fish thingies :)

  4. Ooooh you have to make pumpkin jam! I make one every autumn. I like to experiment with spices. I started with vanilla only, but I started adding all kind of spices lately. Cinnamon, gingerbread stuff... You can mix it with... why not mango? I use musque, but sometimes hokkaido when I can't find musque.

    1. That sounds like a great idea, it actually never came to my mind. I don't eat jam very often, but I might want to make a small jar to test this out :)

  5. I'm slightly obsessed with your Monoprix finds, beautiful
    Patterns are such a simple but wonderful pleasure :)

    1. They are beautiful, aren't they ? I don't usually purchase that kind of item at the supermarket but I really fell in love with this micro-collection :)