A bene placito

I am not the girl who qualifies a great weekend with drinking oneself into oblivion. I am not the girl who is perpetually trying to juggle a fabulously glamorous and busy 'city life' social agenda. Neither am I the girl who laces oneself up in jewellery and lipstick only to arrive home at 5am looking as perfect as one looked on the way out at 10am the previous morning. I am the girl who gets out of bed on a Sunday morning at noon after a Saturday day of icing cupcakes, running, and going to movie theatres, and a Saturday night of drinking one cocktail with friends, dancing or listening to live bands until a reasonable hour, to awake and make a cacao, hemp and banana smoothie for breakfast, get dressed in my favourite jeans, jumper and vintage boots while listening to Audioslave, and then read a Psychology textbook for fun.
I am a girl who is a peculiar species of free spirit who suffers effortlessly from boredom and itchy feet, but also responds well to responsible planning and a weekly allowance of control. I enjoy creative and leisurely spontaneity, being challenged, and I could talk, or rather blether, for sport. But I am above all, a thinker, and a terrible worrier.
So, often on Sundays, I take the days entirely to myself. I give myself a day to just slow down, to be still, to take a glimpse and appreciate the beauty of things, which has over time become essential to my personal stamina.
And then, I go walking with my camera in search of artistic will, reflection and inspiration.

Such simple act of just walking with my camera, is inspirational as it is in fact a rarely new luxury for me. Not long ago I was in such poor health with myalgic encephalomyelitis that I could not walk more than 10 feet from the front door of my parents home without help, let alone be able to explore the streets of Paris, which I am lucky enough to now call my home.
I take these days to really enjoy and see my city, my life, for it is my way of showing gratitude. Gratitude for the fortitude the Universe allowed me in the recovery from the loss of six years of my young life.
Because of this, I realize often when speaking to my peers, I have a relatively curious understanding and perception, of details and matters.
For example I recognize that beauty is a thing seldom seen, for people rarely look where they should. It is held by all within and reflected out into the universe by an invisible force, of which some people are fortunately generous with, and I suspect, mostly unaware of.
I live in the 10th arrondissement, to the North of the canal St Martin,  and this particular Sunday was beautiful. The sky was azure blue, the sun was so bright sunglasses were being worn. It was reminiscent of Spring time in Paris, when the light bounces off every detail of the city, and every spirit in essence, creating days that glow with bliss and tranquillity.

On a Sunday the canal closes to cars, so the enveloping streets are swarmed with kids on bikes and skates, people walking and spilling out of cafes, and taking all the space they need for themselves with the feeling of remarkable protection. It truly is an opulence to have that much space to ramble around in in Paris. And a true treat after a week of being squashed like sardines into metro carriages.
The physical and mental space was refreshing for me and although I left the house feeling sleep deprived, flu’y and stressed after long week at work with sick children and family problems that had been keeping me awake at night... each 100 yards I walked revived me. My anxiety soothed, I felt myself begin to breathe.

Some of you may be familiar with the Canal St Martin because of its infamous role in Amélie. The wrought iron blue and green hued bridges are dotted along the canal sheltered often under the embrace of old trees and are beautiful to walk or rest on. The bridge nearest my home has on its right bank Quai de Valmy the boho Antoine et Lili boutique, well worth a nose around in, especially as it is said to have contributed to making the 10th a more desirable, safe and less gloomy district to live in.

Right beside that is the Jardin Villemin with its vintage bandstand. A pleasant enough garden to ‘hang’ in during lazy days, and in the summer there is often live music.
Pink Flamingo is also nearby if you are in the mood for pizza, which they do even deliver canalside!  The Pomme Resto is a 'shabby' cafe offering cheap and rustic quick bites. The mouth-watering boulangerie Du Pain et des Idées is a stone’s throw away and if you want to just laze in a cafe my favourites are Chez Prune (my local French style chic and cheerful pub) and La Sardine in Place Sainte Marthe is great to hang out in particularly in the Summer.

The Peace and Love hostel is also nearby and a fabulous place to stay, to use the internet or just go for drinks! One is always made very welcome there, everyone talks to everyone and I guarantee you will leave with a party summons!

One must also tak some time to browse in Artazart; named one of the best independent design/art bookstores in Europe! There is also a small art gallery to mooch around in.
Walking and dreaming is my ultimate addiction. Watching children laughing, spotting a stimulating beam of light, observing a curious expression on a strangers face, filling in the blanks as a couple talks with animation.

Life is full of complexities. Long illnesses that cheat a person of their experiences and breath, broken relationships that break hearts and spirits, fear of judgement or criticism that robs a person of their rights to freedom, secrets that like oozing bags of poison seep into families over the years causing confusion and pain, and the search of struggling to find oneself amidst the ‘should’ and ‘could’ of it all.
At twenty something and have seen and felt so much of it all already, and truly my life is only just beginning. So when I feel overwhelmed, I go walking. I remember to smile. I remember to look for the beauty.


  1. Thanks for your comment on my blog Gillian! Looks like we're spending our Sundays the same way, we even took a kind of similar Canal reflection photo :-) Nice to get to know your blog, I like your writing! Have a happy Monday!

  2. No worries, and thanks for yours! I found you through breakintoparis (i wrote for them this month) and i just fell in love with some of your shots! Haha i guess we do... i just moved from Amsterdam, so maybe we are just drawn towards days by canals... ;-)


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