Brunch et Brocante

Sunday and what a good idea to head off for lunch along the Bord de Mer between Juan Les Pins and Antibes. The French don’t seem to do brunch (quoi?) and so strangely in the country of omelettes, I’ve struggled to find eggs.

As the kitchen is currently an empty shell, we made do with a bowl of muesli and headed off in search of something more delicious. Letad had a place in mind, Royal Beach, a restaurant on a private beach on Cap d’Antibes which looked lovely but sadly wasn’t open (such a tease) and so instead we crossed over the road and went to their other restaurant, Cafe Royal.

Royal Beach
Sadly not open

We sat at a lovely outdoor table, the weather slightly cooler and with a view of the azure blue for which the coast is named, we ordered the antipasto to share. 

Outdoor deck, Cafe Royal

Four bowls of deliciousness arrived, potatoes with artichoke and parmesan; roasted red and yellow peppers; prosciutto and balsamic pickled onions (yum) and tomato with fresh buffalo mozzarella. We followed it with a shared bowl of gnocchi with smoked salmon and washed the whole lot down with a crisp, cool glass of pinot grigio.

The bar, Cafe Royal

And then we set off in search of brocante which is really another name for second hand crap!

The Ensuite Kitchen

Back to France after a very brief sojourn in London.

Excellent news, the kitchen is progressing fabulously, there are new walls which are actually straight and hurray, new lights have been installed which are a massive improvement.

For the next week or so though, we’re camping and have turned the bathroom into an ensuite kitchen which is very convenient although washing up in the bathroom sink followed by tooth brushing adds a certain je ne sais pas quoi and probably isn’t exactly hygienic.

This week we’ve been living on tuna sandwiches. Luckily I make a pretty good tuna sandwich, if I say so myself, and the avocado sandwiches are quite delicious too so we’re surviving quite well. Let’s just say it’s all about the mustard and how lucky to have toothbrushes handy if needed in a hurry.

And so on Thursday, having had lunch, done the washing up in the bathroom and followed up on work stuff, I headed off to Antibes to meet up with a new friend from my French class. We met near the old town (la vieille ville) and while I’d forgotten my way around, all was well. Conversation alas wasn’t in French but a very fun conversation nonetheless.

Heading back to Valbonne I encountered un bouchon (a traffic jam) and entertained myself for a while with my playlist for fourteen year olds. I’m not sure the French drivers appreciated my dancing and singing at the wheel but I was having fun. 

And so back to Valbonne where plans for the weekend include breakfast in the bathroom, painting the kitchen (hopefully) and perusing local brocante (antique) markets as we’re in the mood to nest. 

Bon week-end!

London for Lunch

How decadent to go to London for lunch! 

Well, not really, I had meetings and went to Brand Licensing Europe (BLE to those in the trade) to see what’s what in the world of licensing. While there I met up with my former boss and we headed off to have lunch in central London before it started to rain, at Sketch (

Sketch is about as different to an LA restaurant as you can get. Dark red walls, rich fabrics, an eclectic atmosphere and refreshingly for London, no need to book.

Inside the parlour

I played it safe with a salad and a cold glass of wine while my former boss went for the Sketch Club sandwich. I was intrigued as it combined Serrano ham, Emmenthal cheese, Thai mayonnaise mixed with Paris ham and shrimp, sweet and sour coriander onions and red beetroot jelly… what? Are they insane?

Branded in jelly
The verdict? Not surprisingly, “Interesting”. The food was average in my opinion however the location, ambience and atmosphere were all good and definitely worth a repeat visit.

We left just as it started chucking it down with rain. From glorious sunshine to a sudden drenching. My hair started to curl as I jumped on the tube and headed to St Pancras.

Back on ThamesLink and off to Gatwick for my second trip to France in a week where serious progress had been made on the kitchen in a day. 

I’m starting to get kitchen envy!

Continental Commuting

This week I’m popping back to London for twenty four hours. It would seem I am now a continental commuter!

I have a couple of meetings tomorrow and there’s a trade show going on which I should go to and so it’s back to London this evening and a busy day tomorrow and then straight back to France to keep an eye on Letad and the kitchen installation!

All I need to do now is organize a capsule wardrobe for France so I can travel without any luggage. 

I quite like having two homes!

Riviera Living

The weekend came around and I headed back to the South of France for a lovely long weekend with Letad. It had been ten days, we’d had a lot going on, I’d been interviewing for jobs and Letad had been scrubbing the kitchen floor in preparation for the installation of the new Ikea kitchen we’d bought. Exciting times!

I headed back on the now familiar journey to Nice and was greeted at the airport by my favourite person.

We’d decided to spend the day in Saint Tropez as I’d never been and so on Saturday morning we’d set off. It was market day in St Tropez and the square was filled with stalls selling everything from juicy ripe figs to vintage Hermes handbags. It was definitely the market of choice and stripes were the order of the day.

Ladies in stripes, St Tropez

Resisting the temptation to buy a vintage Hermes handbag (one of my passions) we went instead for a coffee and in true Parisian style, I elbowed past an orange-tanned St Tropezian lady with her little lap dog in order to get a highly sought-after table. Let’s just say she wasn’t happy and when Letad tried to move to a better table and pushed past her again, she very firmly said, “Oh non, not again!” Oops!

After coffee we wandered around the market and sampled the local delicacy, La Tropézienne. A light creme patisserie filling in a delicate brioche bun, it melted on the tongue and would be a disaster if one decided to eat it regularly. Luckily there’s a little self discipline involved occasionally, but not much.
La Tropézienne
Mmm, the array of deliciousness
Returning home from Saint Tropez we created a delicious improvised dinner of bruschetta with ripe figs, soft goat cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic all piled on a crunchy slice of toasted baguette. Not bad for not having a kitchen and our only equipment was an imitation Breville sandwich maker. Voila!

The improvised dinner
On Sunday we headed to Nice for a delicious brunch and a drive from Nice to Monaco along the coastal route. 
Remembering our parking spot, Nice
We passed through Villefranche Sur Mer, remembering our first weekend together and ended up discovering a secret beach in Cap Ferrat. We sat basking in the warm autumn sun before the sky turned grey and a huge thunder storm rolled in forcing us to beat a retreat to Valbonne where we went in search of comfort food for dinner, not having a kitchen. 
The secret beach in Cap Ferrat

A little limbo

Not the dance unfortunately, I’m waiting, on hold, in limbo as I (im)patiently wait to hear about a job. I had the first and second round interviews last week. I thought they went well, I did my best and now I wait…

Hopefully I’ll hear before Friday as I’m going to France to help Letad with the renovations…

Update Wed 5pm… third round interview scheduled for next Wednesday. So it looks like I’m limbo-dancing for a bit longer.