Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Finally, some shopping.


It's amazing to me how fast things can change when traveling with children. We went from a screaming "I-think-we-might-need-to-go-back-to-the-apartment-this-is-getting-bad" overtired toddler freakout, to a "fast-asleep-in-the-sling-looking-like-a-little-angel-child" in a hot minute. And thank goodness, because none of us (I think Oswin included) really wanted to spend our first day in Freiburg holed up in the apartment, as nice of an apartment as it was.


And so our little Smaug took a 20 minute cat nap, all snuggled up with Mama in our sling. Which meant one thing: let's go buy some ornaments!


(And a gluhwein.)


We loaded up on wooden ornaments from one of my favorite stands, and bought a few of my favorite oranment: a wooden walnut. After almost five years of living here in SwitzerFrance walnuts have a new and special meaning to us, as there are many walnut trees growing in the Jura region. They pepper the landscape, influence the taste of the wine, and leave little delicious treats all over the road once the fall comes. I obviously had to pick up some more wooden walnut oranments to add to the collection, and at 2,50 euro a pop, it was a no brainer.


There was also a random crystal and mineral stand at the market. Dan says it was there last year, I just can't remember seeing it. They had some really well priced rose quartz pieces that were too pretty to pass up, but what I was most excited about were their geode slices. I've been coveting geode slices on etsy for awhile now, as I would like to use them as our new coasters, but all the ones I've found online have been pretty expensive. I grabbed a bunch of pink geode slices from this stand for a sixth of the price, and am pretty giddy about it.


We also picked up a beautiful olive wood soup ladle, which is something we've been needing for a long time as well. Time to let the measuring cups go back to being measuring cups! Hooray!


We were hoping to head back to the market Thursday night for an hour or so to grab dinner, but Oswin's afternoon nap had other plans. Dan went solo and brought some market food back to the apartment, and we watched Elf on the laptop. It was cosy and warm and not a bad way to end our first day at the Christmas Market.

Stay tuned for more on Freiburg!

A la prochaine friends...

Honey  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Francophile in your life


Everyone has that friend: the one that is obsessed with everything French. It's not a bad thing, and being an expat living in France, I often fall into that category myself. It can be difficult to pick quintessential "french" things for a francophile, because they probably know exactly what quintessential French they are currently coveting. Don't fall into the trap of "oh this says something in French! I don't care what it says, it's in French!" and "oh this says Paris on it, let's get it for them!" Below you will find a whole slew of goodies that are unique for your Francophile to love.

Pic via here. 

Stripes from St. James are a French staple...

Pic via here. 

Wooden macarons for the little Francophile love in your life. Or grab some real ones from Laduree...


Pic via here. 

Bistro chairs such as this one just scream Parisian cafe...



Pic via here. 

French rain boots for the whole family, since 1853. 

Pic via here. 

Your French is showing boys...and how cute it is! Marinieres all around!

Pic via here. 

A little Tour Eiffel to hold all of their bijoux...

Pic via here. 

And speaking of Laduree, a book from the best macaron house in all the land...

Pic via here. 

A great French rain coat, which comes in both kid and adult sizes...just saying.

Pic via here. 

A beautiful leather carrier and opener for pedaling with a fancy bottle of Bordeaux to all of their chic dinner parties...

Pic via here. 

...or some fancy French crystal wine glasses to sip it in.

Pic via here. 

Or how about a nice french pot to prepare their own dinner parties? (Because once you go cast iron it can be very difficult to go back...)

Pic via here. 

Rotating wall mounted soaps are very common here in France...

Pic via here. 

Le Parfait is to France what Ball Jars are to the US. Whether you friend annually cans all their preserves in these jars, or uses them to hold dry goods or leftovers (like we do!), these jars will be a hit for the Francophile in your life.

Pic via here. 

For the babe of a Francophile..and it happens to be one of Oswin's favorite books. 

Pic via here. 

Matchy matchy pom pom hats for babes and adults...or just for you. Whatever.

Pic via here. 

This coat is so adorably French to me, and not just because it's called the Colette Coat...

Pic via here. 

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day...and a french breakfast tends to be pretty tasty. Prep that little one for their eventual study abroad with some playtime petit dejeuner toys...

Pic via here. 

Whether they're heading to a Farmer's Market in Omaha or an outdoor market under the Metro in Paris, this carry all will help them shop as the French do...

Pic via here. 

Why buy french butter cookies when they can make their own with this rolling pin and cookie cutter?

Pic via here. 

Sure, sure, you could get that Francophile loved one in your life a nice bottle of French champagne, but why stop there: I offer up to you, the champagne saber. Yes, this is a real thing. Yes, it is used to snap the neck off of a bottle of champagne, as in let's break some glass, but cleanly. Here's a great video to give you a better idea. Napoleon's armies made this manner of celebration, called Sabrage, popular in France after some of their victories by choosing to open bottles of champagne with their weapon of choice, their sabers. Champagne sabers are still sold today, and OH MY GOD DO I EVER WANT ONE. (Not to actually use of course, I enjoy my champagne sans chards of glass, but just to have it. I am obviously a very responsible adult.)

Pic via here. 

Oooorrr, if the champagne saber isn't quite their style, how about a little more of a low key present from French Knife Company Laguiole: a cheese knife and board set that happens to be in the shape of France...

Pic via here. 

And how cute are these tea cups? These couples sets were very popular in France in the 50s and 60s. I have nothing else to say about them except that they're cute and would make most any Francophile smile on a Saturday morning. 

There has been a lot of talk around the interwebs this year on non-present-presents: i.e. nothing new to clutter up the home or put more emphasis on material goods. In the spirit of non-present-presents, how could we relate that back to the Francophile? Well, how about signing up to take an introductory French course together? Or a wine tasting class? Or tickets to their favorite french artist's exhibit at a local museum? Or find a theater where a French movie is playing, and go see it (all while sneaking in a little bottle of wine and some cheese). Get creative! 

And what about stocking stuffers, you ask? 

Pic via here. 

I will never ever ever get comfortable with quadrille paper, no matter how long I remain obsessed with all things French. But hey, when in France, am I right?

You could also stick a copy of French Vogue (often found in bookstores like Barnes and Noble), a nice bottle of French wine (which can you find at your local wine and spirits store), or hey, two tickets to Paris if you're feeling spendy...because after all, sometimes the best things do come in small packages. 

A la prochaine friends...

Honey 

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Freiburg Christmas Market: A Quiet Thursday


So here's the thing about Freiburg and the Christmas Market: it cannot, in any way, be condensed into one post. Not a chance. It just wouldn't do it justice. Nor would it be any fun.


The Freiburg Christmas Market is our favorite Christmas Market (so far) in Europe. We like it so much that this was our second year returning to the city at the holidays, and I have to tell you that I already miss it. The bratwurst, the bretzels, the spaetzel, the streibele, the gluhwein, the festiveness, I could go on and on, but instead I'll just share some pictures from what was our first day back at the Christmas market.

{Pardon the sloppy babywearing, but babygirl had just had a major freakout and fell asleep in the sling before I realized it could use a re-threading. Don't worry, she was safe and sound for the twenty minute cat nap she took, it's just not the prettiest babywear of all time...}


It was a quiet first day at the market, and compared to how the crowds were the following day, I'd definitely recommend hitting up the market during the week if your traveling and work schedule allow. Thursday was calm and for the most part, not overly crowded, but by Friday afternoon it became very crowded. Not so much so that we couldn't enjoy ourselves, but Thursday was definitely easier to maneuver.


What's my favorite thing about the Freiburg Christmas Market? Well, there's just something so festive about German Christmas Markets, and Freiburg does not disappoint. I don't know what it is, but from our experience so far it's something that French and Swiss Christmas markets can't hold a candle to. We're adding a new Swiss Christmas Market to our roster this weekend, so we'll see if Montreux makes me eat my words. Gauntlet thrown Montreux!


Again, pardon the sloppy babywearing. She's a little low in there for my comfort, but she was safe and sound and sleeping which was all that was important to me. Sometimes when it comes to ring slings a quick re-threading makes all the difference, which is what I did after her little 20 minute snooze. Our sling saved us this time around, as we really began to appreciate the differences of traveling with a toddler as compared to traveling with an infant. Last year Oswin just went with the flow, and pretty much slept for the entirety of the market. This year she was more engaged, more opinionated, more likely to explore, and less likely to fall asleep. Lights! People! Cat burglarin' Santas! People people people! She fought the sleepy dust for awhile, but after an epic freakout (that led strangers to come over and shake their keys in the air for her), she was out cold before she was even fully in the sling. We didn't even bring a stroller this year, which meant more room in the car to bring back goodies. Hooray!


Freiburg is a gorgeous little city with history, culture and a Christmas spirit unlike any little market I've been to. It's winding streets and alleys keep the market fresh and interesting, as compared to markets where the stalls are placed in a circle and once you've walked the circle, you're at the end. And for those who enjoy collecting Christmas market mugs, I can happily say that you can pretty much get a different mug at every gluhwein stand, as compared to markets with one general mug. I look at this as a delight, Dan just kind of rolls his eyes at every mug that I bargain to keep. It's a compromise and one that has benefited our mug collection.


As I said in the beginning of this post, Freiburg and The Freiburg Christmas Market cannot be contained to just one post, so prepare to be inundated with Christmas Market posts all week. I'd love to hear from you guys though: where is your favorite Christmas Market?

A la prochaine friends...

Honey