Showing posts with label La vie en France. Show all posts
Showing posts with label La vie en France. Show all posts

Monday, October 28, 2019


In my teens, I had this crazy notion that I would die at the age of thirty. Perhaps due to the influence of silly romantic books, Jesus Christ, Jose Rizal, and a lot of famous people who died young. I'm one of those people who are always hyper-aware of the limited time that we have in this planet. I think it helped me a lot to reach most of my life goals and future plans, and to appreciate and value the importance of TIME, to organize myself, to appreciate things. Although, I may not show it outwardly, since I've never been any good at showing emotions, inside, I'm super grateful.

Of course, I did not die at thirty. After thirty, it was difficult to plan my life as I did not really plan anything after that age. But I got married and had a daughter and life just kind of happened and so many things just unfolded, one after the next, not totally the opposite of what I would have planned, had I planned my life after thirty. And of course, you guessed it right. After 30, I thought I would die at forty.

Of course, two years after forty, I am still here, alive and kicking and even sitting here, enjoying this cigarette and having fun dressed as Miss Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's for my Halloween / Birthday Party... all this, whilst mulling over these morbid thoughts...

It's getting harder and harder to plan life after you reach a certain age. You start to get comfortable in your own skin and you don't really want to change anymore and you start to not give a fuck about so many, many things. It's nice. Relaxed. Especially since I have kind of laid off a bit on my daily habit of poring over my face for the latest development in the wrinkles department.

If there is anything I have learned in my 42 years of life on this planet, it's that life is short. Time is the most precious thing you have. Use it wisely, and spend it only on things, and only with people WORTHY of it. Everything else is just noise and unnecessary clutter. It's best to give yourself and your precious time to the people and things that really matter.

Forty-two is not such a bad number after all. If you ask Siri what the meaning of life is, faithful to The Hitchhiker's Guide Book, it would say, "forty-two". And I can only agree.

P. S.

Fun Fact: Audrey Hepburn and I (also, Grace Kelly) were both born in the year of the Snake. My kind of company!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Somewhere in Time

Senti mode on the first day of Autumn...

This is something that I've always loved playing on the piano since I've actively started playing more than ten years ago. I find that the way it sounds (so romantic, and so sentimental), is just so totally fitting for the movie, which is one of my favorites because of Christopher Reeve. Not his best movie ever but I thought Jane Seymour was quite good in it. Not the best plot either, and a really silly ending. đŸ˜ƒ But it was good enough at that time and age.

Nowadays, I can only play the piano whenever I have more free time. Oh, and if I don't really sound so good, it's because I haven't really played in the last ten years, and I had no formal training. I've only taught myself how to play the piano and this was back before the golden days of Youtube tutorial videos. Hashtag humblebrag. đŸ˜‰

Anyway, happy first week of Autumn!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

A Year in Watercolor Painting

I can't believe it's already been a year since I've ventured into watercolor painting. With the help of supportive group of friends and my family for inspiration, I am really quite happy with the improvements I've made over the course of a year...

My very first attempt at portrait painting in watercolor, which I made a couple of days ago.
Aside from organizing a monthly art session with my passionate group of friends, I've also decided to set aside a few hours a day to dedicate quality time to practice. And it really paid off, I think.

Gloomy clouds that I think, actually could use maybe some blues or purples to express more gloom
Over the course of the year, I have experimented with different kinds of paper, different brushes and different colors and brands. It was not very easy, and quite expensive. I will always be thankful to that very first painting book that I bought from a local author here in France (Marie Boudon) for giving that most useful tip of which brush to use for loose florals. It's my favorite brush of all time.

Some purple tulips loose florals
And I can't say enough how important the paper is. I now use the brand Arches because it holds a lot of water. But I guess, it really depends on what you want to paint. I find that after using Arches, I have become more flexible in using other types of paper. I can adapt the strength of the color and the amount of water to the type of paper I am using. I guess it also comes down to experience and practice. Speaking of which...

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


Up on the travel blog...

Poolside view at our resort in Rondinara Bay, Corsica
Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories --  that famous quote from that famous Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr movie. Glad I got plenty of them from last summer. And all the previous ones. Enough to keep me warm for a lifetime, most especially on bleak autumn days like the ones we're having this week.

Keep warm, folks!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Working in France

Surprisingly, I managed to find work after just one week of looking for a job. It's my best record so far. I'm not very patient with job interviews, so this was really a very much welcomed relief for me.

Aerospace Technology has always fascinated me... so glad to have this opportunity to work in this industry. 😊
(image credit: )
For the first time in my life, I'm not working in Finance/Banking industry. In fact, everything was overwhelmingly different -- new technologies, new industry, different language, etc.

The language is really one of the biggest obstacles I had to face. Although, the technical interviews are mostly in English, I had to express myself in French in the non-technical interviews. And since we are in France and all my colleagues are French, including myself, everybody speaks French at work. Even my computer is all set up in French. The keyboard is of course, not my usual qwerty keyboard, where I'm used to touch-typing. But I am not complaining. This is a good training for me. Already just one week into the job, I feel a lot more confident speaking French. I even surprise myself at the extent of what I could understand now even before taking the job.

Et voila, juste une bonne nouvelle que je voulais partager avec vous.

Bon weekend! 😊

Sunday, August 5, 2018

First Time Long Drive (Revisiting Lourdes)

With some helpful proddings and encouragements from hubby and friends, I've managed to convince myself to do a day trip and revisit Lourdes. It was a gruelling 2.5-hour one-way drive to get there. It was my first time ever to drive for such a long time. My right ankle hurt for three days! But of course, it was worth it. Although, next time, I would take into consideration to do a short break each way, to give my legs some rest.

Goth Revival Spires atop the Basilica of Our Lady of Lourdes

Crossing the gorgeous Gave de Pau River

Golden crown and cross, shining shimmering splendid on a hot summer afternoon

Before going, and agreeing to embark on this long-drive (buwis-buhay) adventure with my motivated friends, I have of course, checked the map and the most convenient area to park without the exorbitant fees.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Born Again

Today, I have finally received my French Birth Certificate. It makes me feel as if I were born again. And it also makes me feel like dancing à la "Bande à part"... 😄😄😄

That's all for now! Details to follow...

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Bleakest January Skies

Every time I find myself living through winter in France, I would always chance upon snow. The first couple of winters I had here, I had the unfortunate experience of having the worst winters that Toulouse had ever experienced in years. This January, according to the reports, Toulouse has seen the bleakest skies again after 45 years. My husband is starting to think I have a curse, or something.

The night of the super blue blood moon... it showed up for a while opposite of this frame... wasn't able to get a good pic.
 This winter has not really been that cold lately. But for the first time today, it snowed. While I am not a big fan of snow, I was able to appreciate it through the eyes of my daughter. She was doing a happy dance when I showed it to her this morning. After a while, she asked me if Santa Claus is coming to bring us presents because it was snowing. Kids are so cute.

Amazed by the snow
Still, I'm glad it didn't snow for too long. Hopefully, the weather will maintain its moderate winter temperature as in the past few weeks... and more sunshine, please!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

New Year, New Place... New Me?

Hi everyone! It's been ages since I last updated. Here's a quick roundup of what just happened during the last few weeks:
  • Quit my job in Singapore
Shopping vouchers, hand cream (coz I told them my skin usually gets so dry in Europe), and touching farewell notes from colleagues
  • Moved from our nice apartment with a view to stay for a week at an appart-hotel along Orchard Road with not-so-bad view also
Stayed for a week at the Pan Pacific Serviced Suites along Orchard Road, which is just a few meters away from our old place. Here in this pic on my last day of work, and last day in Singapore.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Toulouse Visit 2017

It's been a week since I've arrived in France for the Summer Holiday. I spent the first week eating, drinking, visiting the fresh market, enjoying the first few days of the Summer Sale, getting a hair cut from one of my friends, and hanging out with them!

Place du Capitole de Toulouse at sunset

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A la ferme

One of the highlights of our first week in France was at a farm called Ducazaux. It was a good place for our daughter to see some farm animals, walk in their mini-forest trails where you can see some fox holes and birds nests. They also have some play areas and a small café and souvenir shop.

The entrance to the farm

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


(please refrain from using my pictures without my permission)

even before living in France, i have always wanted to visit Rocamadour. i have first read about it in a book called, Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong. and the way the author described how wonderful a place it is made me put it in my list of must-visits.

on the way to the Tourism Office to get a map

the tourist train for the old and lazy... definitely not for us! it's quite nice on the pictures, though.

when i was still studying french, there was a tour then available to students, conducted by Alliance Francaise de Toulouse over the weekend, going to Rocamadour by bus. i couldn't go because i was four months pregnant at the time, and i knew it will be tough for me to climb and walk around the area.

religious pilgrims singing Ave Maria while marching down the street

absolutely amazing

 and so, i did not miss this other opportunity that presented itself just recently. i went with a few friends over the weekend, driving all the way from Toulouse. it was quite a short drive from here. you just have to marvel at this ancient architecture. everything was so beautiful. every corner, every turn is a marvel.

beautiful stairs, beautiful archways, beautiful sculptures, etc.

on the grand balustrade of one of the corners of the church
we were praying that it wouldn't rain. fortunately, there was only a bit of drizzle that lasted for a few short minutes. and then it was alternately sunny and cloudy all throughout the day.

Rocamadour is a lot, lot better than what pictures show you. and it has a lot of history to tell. no wonder, it is a UNESCO-inscribed World Heritage Site.

this winding path that leads to the Rempart de Rocamadour (the castle at the topmost area) reminds me of the path that leads to the cross of Mt. Samat in my home province.

this castle perched on top of the rocky village offers a spectacular birds-eye view of the surroundings

the place is a little bit touristic, making the souvenir shop and restaurant prices a bit higher than their worth. i wanted to buy this tender nougat at some candy shop that specializes in it, but it was too pricey for me for just a small bar of nougat. it was heaven, though, when you feel it melting in your mouth. sorry, forgot to take a picture.

there was a fee of 2 euros for the visit

the clock was chiming as i climbed these steps

beautiful view from high above the castle's tower... those who say "it's lonely at the top" have NEVER been to the top! ;)
but if you have this view to offer, the extra bit price is worth it. for lunch, we headed off to a charming little restaurant that offers a nice terasse with the view of the greens.

at the lovely terasse of Chez Anne Marie

the confit de canard was a bit too fatty and huge for me

after lunch, we headed to the opposite part of the village, towards the Hospitalet and the Grotto.

les beaux coqeulicots de printemps

one of the charming stone houses around the village

upon arrival at the Grotto, we found out that there is a schedule for entry and that the visit is guided, and lasts for 45 minutes. and it was strictly prohibited to take pictures and touch anything inside.  unfortunately, the guide does not speak English. we were given handouts in English, though. and during moments when she was not speaking at the rate of 186,000 words per second, i was able to understand and get the gist of what she is saying. although, i felt that we should have paid less because of the language issue.

it was prohibited to take pictures inside the Grotto

visiting this grotto made me think how lame it looked compared to Sagada in the Philippines, even though i have never been there. it made me wish Sagada was as well-protected and appreciated as this grotto.

we ended the tour at this corner where you have the best view of the village:

a wonderful view of the whole village

i had a wonderful time in a wonderful place with wonderful people. :)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

How to cook aiguillette de canard

the South of France is famous for its duck. i was not so much a duck person when i was living in Asia. especially since we never usually eat duck in the Philippines. but here, i have learned to appreciate it much, much more than before.

this week, since my husband was on a week-long business trip, i was left to my own devices in the kitchen. and so, having no choice, i decided to try my hand at cooking aiguillette de canard in the same way that my husband cooks them, but with a little bit of my own personal touch.

it's actually very simple, you just buy it as it is from the supermarket, like this:

aiguillette is the sides of the duck, cut into strips

before throwing it on a non-stick pan, i like to grease it a bit with vegetable oil (i use colza oil, btw). and then just cook it on medium heat until the sides start to brown. and then you can turn it over.

put the stove on medium heat so it doesn't burn, even with just a few amount of oil.

now my husband, being french, likes it really soft and a bit bloody when you cut it. as for me, i am not yet really used to the sight of blood in food. i only tolerate it when eating at fancy restaurants, but not at home, especially if i'm the one who's cooking. so i try to cut the thickest part of the meat to see if there is no more blood oozing out. that's when i know it's done.

now for the side dish, my husband likes to use fried potatoes. i like to vary it a bit by mixing it with some carrots. and he likes to fry them with the oil from duck confit (confit de canard). if you haven't tried confit de canard, you my friend, are missing a lot, lot, lot in your life.

frying the thin slices of carrots and potatoes with duck fat from a can of confit de canard

now you can buy this duck confit either in a can or in a glass jar. i personally don't really know how to cook a duck confit. but i do know confit means to cook for a long time over low fire until it's all tender and nice. anyway, we save the fat in the duck confit can for future potato-frying, because the potatoes really taste a lot, lot better when fried in duck fat. i know it's not very healthy. but you don't eat this food every day.

some garlic bits to add flavor

when they are starting to brown, i sprinkle a generous amount of these garlic bits (Ail semoule). or you can fry them together with minced garlic. i prefer this one because they seem to be tastier. i even use them to marinate my adobo for a more garlicky taste, which i really love.

when the garlic bits start to brown, it's all ready to serve on the plate. i put a generous amount on the plate of this peppered mayonnaise, which i'm addicted to:

i am addicted to this sauce that goes well with duck, beef and pork

and don't forget the wine pairing. this Bordeaux red wine from my friend's vineyard goes perfectly well with duck:

perfect red wine pairing for aiguillette de canard

and here you have everything on the plate, ready to eat:

et voila! ca y'est, c'est fait! :)

sorry, i'm not very good with the plating yet.

also, whenever i cook something, i do the steamed version for my baby, which all go into the blender:

steamed version of aiguillette de canard for my baby's lunch

my baby is one-year old by the way. although, i think you can start giving meat to babies starting at 8 months of age. although to be sure, consult your pediatrician first.

bon appetit! :)

Friday, April 12, 2013

French fashion, selon moi

While reading a favorite fashion blog, I've come across this article about French fashion and style.

The first thing I've noticed while watching TV and observing the celebrities here in France is how they put on make-up. It's like there's nothing on their face. They don't put too much garish colors. They tend to just sculpt or highlight the features, not colorize them, which, come to think of it, really makes sense.

Juliette Binoche's easy, classy and elegant hairstyle and make-up

But then, the way they put on eye shadows, eyeliner and heavy mascara even during the day is a little bit over the top for me. Too much drama for daytime.

As for the wardrobe, they stick to the classics. Classic colors -- beige, blacks, neutrals and then they just glam it up with accessories. "They really know how to put together an outfit", as what KC Concepcion (Filipina actress who studied in France for two years) said in one interview.

Audrey Hepburn is not French but her manner of dressing and overall fashion sense is more French than American to me. It's probably why she was chosen to be an image model for Chanel. (image from

The French tend to steer clear of loud colors and prints. They don't like to look messy. They like to keep it simple, classy and clean. I know somebody French who likes to make fun of English people for their love of floral prints. He says English people have no sense of fashion. I find it a bit true, especially when I see the queen wearing weird-looking clothes all the time that resemble something from the haberdashery than haute couture.

I used to like floral patterns in clothes and everything. A friend even once told me that I always dress like I'm going to church. But now, I find floral prints too lola-ish (grandmother-ish) because it's what the grandmothers (esp the ones in the countryside) in France like to have in their furniture, wall paper, beddings, etc., except maybe for the rich and posh lolas who remain fashionable despite their age. Come to think of it, it's the only country I know where the old people are so fashionable.

Catherine Deneuve, posh french Lola... in fairness, ang ganda pa rin nya kahit lola na.

While the word posh may have a positive connotation in certain cultures, contrarily, when French people say this word, they usually mean overly luxurious, possibly pretentious and bling-bling. Being posh is something negative to them because they usually never like to show off or brag about how much money they have. While in some countries like the US, the Philippines, etc, where being rich is gauged by how much money you spend, here in France and most rich European countries, being rich is gauged by how much money you save.

While i like some of the aspects of this wardrobe, like the studs and the colorful clogs, putting together an outfit like this, which obviously screams for attention will be a total no-no here in France where subtlety is the key. People will look at you like you're some freak from the circus. (image from Sorry, Laureen.

But what I don't really get is why people here like to dress in the same color as the season. Like during winter, they would dress in dark drab colors and accessories, the same color as the gloomy skies and the leafless, flowerless, seemingly dead plants around. As for me, when the weather is looking drab, I like to dress more colorfully because it cheers me up.

I guess they dress in the same color as the surroundings because they are too afraid to stand out or to look too loud?

I would take the simple, clean, classy, easy elegance of French fashion and style any time, but the one thing I cannot keep away from is the vibrance and freshness of colors because life without them would be just plain boring.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Menu de PĂąques (Easter Menu)

for non-french speakers: all photo captions are in English.

hier midi, on a profité le menu de pùques d'une brasserie qui s'appelle Le Bibent. on se trouve cette brasserie pratiquement au Place du Capitole de Toulouse.

the easter menu of Le Bibent, a famous brasserie of one of France's top chefs, Christian Constant

le menu q'on avait manque les rilletes de sardines indiquĂ© dans le menu ci-dessus. mais cĂ©tait trĂšs bon quand mĂȘme. et j'ai trouvĂ© le reste des plats copieux.

Christian Constant, the chef owner of Le Bibent, posing at the entrance of the brasserie (image from

cette brasserie est fameuse parce que le propriétaire est l'un des chefs de France qui est trÚs célÚbre. il s'appelle Christian Constant. il est l'un des chefs qui juge dans l'émission téléréalité, Top Chef.

the intricate art work on the walls and ceiling of the brasserie

mon mari m'a dit que la brasserie était totalement rénovée. je trouve les détails des murs et du plafond trÚs complexes et trÚs beaux.

eggs, asparagus and morilles (some kind of  expensive mushrooms) in generous serving

le premier plat était vraiment réussi. cétait trÚs bon. j'ai aimé les morilles et les asperges spécialement.

the main dish -- roasted lamb leg and some veggies

le plat principal était trÚs bon aussi, mais je n'aime pas trop l'agneau. néanmoins, j'ai trouvé que c'était parfaitement cuit, et j'étais heureuse de ne pas trouver le sang quand je l'ai coupé.

Basque cheese and cherry jam with a bit of salad

aprÚs le plat principal, on a mangé des frÎmages qui viennent de Pays Basques, une région qui se trouve dans le sud de la France et dans le nord de l'Espagne. on melange ces frÎmages aux confitures des cerises, avant de se mettre au pain.

raspberries beneath a creamy mixture of milk and egg yolks

malheureusement, j'Ă©tais dĂ©ja plein quand le dessert est arrivĂ©. mais, cĂ©tait un peu aigre / acide Ă  cause de framboises, mais je l'ai aimĂ© bien quand mĂȘme.

et ca serra tout en ce moment. je vous souhaite des joyeuses pĂąques et passez une bonne semaine. :)