Enjoy your life like the French!

While in Paris, I was amazed what experts the French are in enjoying their life. They can turn the simplest of things into pure pleasure, like having a cup of coffee at a cafe or sitting down on a park bench and enjoying an ice-cream. It really makes you wonder, how little one needs to be happy and how happiness comes from the smallest of things. Then, I thought to myself: ’’More people should be doing this.’’ That’s why I came up with a list of things that I believe one should be doing in order to enjoy their life like the French.

1. Refer to your significant other as your ‘’lover,’’ e.g. ‘’my lover loves the eggshell white in our bedroom,’’ or ‘’my lover can’t live without crème bruleé,’’ etc. Having a ‘’lover’’ sounds very French and therefore very cool.

2. Just relax and lie back in your deckchair. The Paris parks are chock-a-block full of really heavy iron deckchairs (that way they can’t get stolen) for park visitors to lie back and relax after work, it’s incredible! A park in the middle of Paris looks like a fully-clothed beach. I loved it!

3. Wear a scarf loosely tied around your neck. It’ll complement your outfit and you’ll look really elegant. In Paris everybody wears a scarf due to windy weather, usually one with a discreet pattern, even when it’s hot. Voila! Instant chic.

4. Take up smoking. Seriously. The French do enjoy their cigarettes, the operative word being ‘’enjoy,’’ which means that they don’t chain smoke them, they simply have a cigarette or two with a cup of café noisette, savoring their combined taste, and then maybe they’ll have a few more in the evening at a soiree with a glass of wine.

After seeing one too many Parsiennes indulging in their little nicotine vice, I have to say there is something in the way they smoke them: They would gently purse their lips in a coquettish little pout and just puff the smoke out. I think that’s the real reason why the cigarettes make the French look so friggin’ cool: their main motivation seems to be enjoyment, not nicotine crisis caused by stress.

It’s kind of funny, if you think of it: The entire West is freaking out about lung cancer, plastering ‘’Smoking kills’’ stickers on cigarette packets, whereas the French just sort of shrug and purse their lips into another little pout. And puff the nicotine-laden smoke out.
5. Instead of having a coffee to go, have a coffee to stay. Order a cup of coffee and spend 30 minutes slowly sipping it at a table by the street just by yourself and your thoughts. Savor the flavor. Breathe. If you get bored, watch the people around you. Look at their facial expressions. Look at their body language. Listen to the sound of their voice. Look at the colors they’re wearing. Seriously, what’s the rush? What’s stopping you from slowing down, maybe put ‘’mute’’ on your cell phone and making yourself unavailable to the rest of the world?
(Me patiently waiting for my cafe au lait at a cafe in Paris)

6. Have a mini picnic in the park after work. To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it: the Parisiennes would take out a blanket and spread it on one of the stone benches in the park and the take out cheese, and grapes and crackers and then open a bottle of wine in the middle of park for everyone to see. They would then savor their wine in plastic cups, happily chatting with their friends and soaking up the sun.

And that is how the French roll!

How do you roll? Drop me a lineJ


Teja xoxo

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Soul Fishing’s Top Ten Paris Sights plus Useful Tips for Tourists

1. The Louvre – yes, I the number one place does not go to the Eiffel Tower because by now it has become such a cliché, and it’s not very popular with the French anyway.  In my opinion the Louvre deserves to be number one sight in Paris because it’s just so magnificent and it’s well worth the 30 minute plus wait. I would suggest visiting the Louvre in the morning because at the end of the Louvre visit you will have been standing for at least 3 hours and that’s exhausting (I remember watching the people coming out visibly tired). Also, have snacks ready (apples, dry fruit or nuts are the best, as they don’t make a mess and you can discreetly pop them into your mouth).
But to be brutally honest, there is a lot of waiting involved: Firstly, the waiting in line in front of the Louvre (30 min plus), then the waiting in line for the toilet (cca. 15 minutes) and then waiting in line for the actual tickets inside (cca. 15 minutes, but if you want to shorten the waiting time, go to the ticket vending machines). After that, you’re good to goJ
Soul Fishing Tip: be patient and have lots and lots of water in your backpack. There are however water bottle ‘’salesmen,’’ mostly of Indian origin, pestering people with one euro water bottles, but that could be just ordinary tap water from God knows where. There is also a Paul Bakery with 3.20 euro half liter water bottles. If you don’t feel like spending that kind of money on water, go to Franprix supermarket up the street (cca. 700 metres) where you’ll get a one liter Evian bottle for 0.65 euro. Just saying.

2. Rue Cambon31 – every self-respecting fashionista knows this famous address. It’s the address of the first Chanel boutique, the one above which Mademoiselle Chanel lived. It’s also the only ‘’real’’ Chanel boutique for the French women.
 I have a funny anecdote for you: When I was standing in front of the entrance to the Chanel boutique, I saw that there was a pretty big crowd of people shopping there. I was surprised as I thought that such boutiques were pretty low key. So I asked the security guy if I could go in. And he looked at me very seriously as said ‘’no’’. So, I kind of shrugged and turned to leave, thinking that this was a closed party thing and he just laughed and opened the door for me, saying that he was only joking. All of a sudden I was rubbing shoulders with crème de la crème of the Paris society, not exactly knowing what to do with myself because I was in the friggin’ Chanel boutique with only 30 euros in my pocket.

By the way, there are not price tags on any of the Chanel products which tells me that I would have to sell my liver on the black market to actually afford one product. Then, there was another problem. The shopping assistant came to me and asked if I needed any help. I swallowed hard and said that I came to see the l’appartmenet de Mademoiselle Chanel. And the assistant looked at me funnily and said that it was accessible only by a special invitation. But I was allowed to see the Chanel stairs, leading to her apartment, the stairs that were the runway for the first Chanel fashion show. I was over the moon! I thought everybody in such boutique was going to be snooty but they were so kind!
Soul Fishing Tip: Be nice to all the 100 security officers and they are going to take wonderful photos of you in front of the Chanel stairs.

3. Notre Dame – the cathedral is absolutely magnificent and I am so happy that I got to see it bathing in the last rays of the sunset. It was stunning. But I have to admit that I didn’t visit the inside of the cathedral. And no, I didn’t see Quasimodo.
Soul Fishing Tip: Do a very un-tourist thing and go to the Notre Dame at sunrise or sunset. It’s an experience you won’t forget.

4.La Biennale Paris in the Grand Palais - do yourself a favor and spend 30 euros on a ticket. These 30 euros will be so so so well spent. I know, I know. It’s a lot of money and if the lady with a Celine bag behind me says to her husband that the tickets are expensive, they probably are. And I do have to admit that my hands were slightly shaking when I gave my credit card to the ticket saleslady. However, the biennale is so magnificent and filled with rare antique artwork costing thousands and thousands of euros, it’s a chance you will never get again. I stayed for 3 hours and took about 300 photos.
Soul Fishing Tip: Do yourself a favor and spend those 30 euros on the friggin’ ticket. Do you want to see the crème de la crème of Paris or not?

5. Palais Galliera (Musee de la Mode) – This year, the Paris fashion aficionados are celebrating a 50-year anniversary of French fashion, which makes this exhibition even more special. Unique outfits by Chanel, Dior, Rochas, etc. are displayed and in my opinion, it’s a must see for every self-respecting fashionista. However, the exhibition is fairly small, so think if it’s worth spending 8 euros on it.

Soul Fishing Tip: Dress elegantly, as there will be lots of chic people. If you want to blend in with the crowd, bring a sketch book, and pretend that you’re sketching a dress or two;) Works like a dream.

6. The Petit Palais Musee des Beaux-Arts – Finally, one exhibition that is 100 % free! The Petit Palais is located opposite the Grand Palais and is very airy and filled with sunlight. It’s a sheer delight to visit and fairly small, which is also a big plus after getting lost one too many times in the labyrinths of the Louvre.
Soul Fishing Tip: Have a café noisette (3.70 euro, a bargain after 5-7 euro coffees) and macarons au caramel a la fleur du sal in the garden of the Petit Palais. The garden of the Petit Palais is so wonderfully quiet and peaceful, it’s a great getaway from the hustle and bustle of busy streets of Paris. By the way, one macaron usually costs 1.50 euro. You won’t get them cheaper.

7. Shakespeare and Company Bookshop at Saint Germain – hands down, the best bookshop I’ve ever been to and I have been to many since I love to read. It is dedicated to books written only by Anglo-American authors. It’s small and filled with comfortable nooks where you can sit and read in peace. There is also an old piano in the corner where there was a man playing a tune or two. The whole bookshop has this magical atmosphere and it makes you want to browse and browse for an endless number of good reads.
Soul Fishing Tip: Buy the Shakespeare and Company cotton tote for a souvenir. It’s only 5 euros and it has a really cool design.

8. Jardin du Luxembourg – an amazing garden where you can relax and dream and dream and dream.
Soul Fishing Tip: on a sunny day, bring a sun cream as your nose will turn red. I speak from personal experience.

9. The Eiffel Tower – a must see in France. I have to admit that I didn’t go all the way to the top. I went at 10 pm for the light show as the tower starts to sparkle (the Americans were clearly very impressed by the light show as they were cheering and shrieking as the lights went on behind my back).
Soul Fishing Tip: Do the un-touristy thing and go to the Eiffel Tower at 10 pm for the light show, it’s so cool! And no, I didn’t cheer and shriek, I was being very European and shrieked on the inside.

 10. The Centre Pompidou - the best place to be for any art aficionado, along with the Stravinsky Fountain:)

Soul Fishing Tip: Instead of visiting the center, do the un-touristy thing and sit down in front of the Center (mind you, with a plastic bag carefully placed under your butt, you never know...) and watch the street artist perform. Then go to the Stravinsky Fountain and do a couple of goofy poses with a friend:)

Hope you found this post useful!


Teja xoxo

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Soul Fishing + Zlatarstvo Skušek's International Giveaway! (CLOSED)

These are one of my favorite Slovene designs: the sterling silver ginkgo leaf earrings by Zlatarstvo Skušek. I have them and they are fantastic to wear, they go with everything, they are incredibly light and they don't get easily tarnished. Then I thought: Why not have an international giveaway, I mean Slovene designs are so underrated and some really talented artisans just don't get the recognition they deserve. So I called the girls at Zlatarstvo Skušek and suggested to have a giveaway and they were on board! Yay! I love it when people so open for collaborations!

To enter the giveaway, here's what you need to do:

1. SHARE this post on your Facebook Wall
2. Like Soul Fishing Blog's Facebook Page
3. Like Zlatarstvo Skušek's Facebook Page
4. Leave a comment under this very post on Soul Fishing Blog with your email address, so we can contact you if you're the winner:))

And that's all you need to do. Just two clicks on the Like Button, one SHARE on your Wall and you're in the game of winning these unique sterling silver ginkgo leaf earrings. 

The giveaway ends on September 17, 2014 at 17:00 local time (CET).

How will Soul Fishing choose a winner?
By using a random number tool www.random.org

I have never entered a giveaway before. How do I do that? 
You can read my article here.

Happy liking! :)


Teja xoxo

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Creative Gift Wrap Ideas

But before we start, a few words on actually finding the things for tutorial:
  • String: The best places to buy the red and white string are the OBI Hardware Store, Konzorcij or the Rayher shop in Mala ulica, but the latter is the most expensive. I got my string in OBI (40 meters for a little more than 3 euros)
  • Washi tape: If you take a closer look at the picture, I have two kinds of washi tapes, the red one I got at Antus 15mm x 10 m for 2,30 euros but it doesn't stick very well, so I'm a bit disappointed. The other one I got at the Rayher shop in Mala ulica, 15mm x 15 m for 2,99 euro. There is also a kind of textile pattern washi tape available there, but it's 3,30 euro for only 5 m, so you want to double check how many meters are you getting for your money.
  • Wrapping paper: I have been looking for the perfect base for the wrapping paper for a long time now, and I came across it in OBI (120g/m2, recycled) where it's sold in really big rolls, and I mean big, like 70 m2, but it's quite cheap, mine was around 6 euros, so it's a good price. 

In this tutorial in went for a vintage-meets-punk-rock gift wrap but you can totally come up with your own ideas, which is why I love DIY. Anything goes. So, here we go:
I decorated the paper with a gorgeous Japanese calligraphy fountain pen that I purchased at the Rayher shop in Mala ulica. It's the best. It just makes you want to doodle all the time.
So, to wrap a present, fold both sides over on themselves slightly so that you have a clean edge. Place the present in the center of your wrapping paper, and make sure that you have enough on the sides. Secure with washi tape.
If necessary, trim off the excess paper on the top and bottom. Start at the bottom side of the excess paper and fold the left and right part towards each other. Then fold the bottom part upwards, so it looks like \_/. Do this again on the other side. Secure with washi tape.

Now center the package on the string. Bring the ends of the string around the package and twist the ends around one another to create a cross. Flip the package over and tie the ends together with a double knot.
Make a gift tag from card paper cardstock, help yourself with premade stencils here. I punched a hole in it with Maped's Mini Hole Puncher (available in Konzorcij) and then I put on hole punch stickers, for that extra oomph (available in any school supply store in Slovenia).
Add your name tag to the gift.  You can use the ends of the string to tie the name tag on or add the name tag with a second piece of string.

I hope you have found this tutorial useful,if so, don't hesitate to give me a shout.

Do you know if there are any other arts and crafts shops in Ljubljana worth visiting that I haven't mentioned in this post?

Talk to you soon,


Teja xoxo

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