Chocolate + Cheese

Bruges Cafe

Fellow travelers, foodies and culture lovers!

My lovely company is sending me to Belgium and France next month, and in a very fun turn of events, my mom will be joining me! A full week of hopping from Brussels to Bruges, then Paris to Versailles, and possibly some fun day trips in between. We can’t wait to eat cheese, drink beer, and bring loads of chocolate home.

What are your favorite places to eat, stay, shop and see in any of those cities? We’ve never been to Belgium at all, it’s been five years since I’ve visited Paris and it’s ll maman’s first trip ever! To say I’m excited to explore Paris with her is quite the understatement.

We’d love your recommendations for anything!

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British Lessons

QE2

“God, it’s positively cracking out there today, innit?”

“Uhhhh, what?”

This is a recent conversation I had with a client who’s from Northern England. “Cracking” she explained, is what certain Brits say when it’s so hot outside it could crack the flagstones and pavement. An extremely warm day – and they do have them across the pond! – would be termed “cracking the flags!” by the hot and cranky Brits up North.

One of my favorite (or should I say favourite?) games to play with my international clients is about idioms and phrases. While in London a few weeks ago, in addition to a trip to this fabulous restaurant and this hilarious show, I had the pleasure of working with clients from London and Northern England. As Americans, we tend to think of all of England as one riotous Kate Middleton and Harry Potter-fest where everyone talks like Eliza Doolittle and wears Union Jack dresses and says “Blimey!” into his glass of beer. Not only is that all pretty much completely wrong (minus the K-Mid, because yes, she’s on every rag in every Waitrose about town) but it also ignores the differences between London and the rest of the country.

For example, baps. In London, a bap is a type of bread roll used for sandwiches; it’s like a flatter English muffin or crumpet. Up North, a bap is a breast. My client told of purchasing a giant bag of 24 fresh, soft baps to take home to her husband, just because she thought it was so hilarious. She said,”for all that men chase after women to get at their goods, in London I found out you could just buy them at the store!”

A few other hilarious phrases and how they differ from the North and South.

Biffers

North: a certain brand of trash can

South: a certain brand of woman – a large, ugly one – with whom you’d never want to sleep. Ever.

Now, then!

North: Hi!

South: a transitional phrase that moves you from one sentence to another.

Badgers

North: Lady bits

South: Just a plain ol’ woodland creature

Having a bit of a strop

North: An epic adult temper tantrum

South: Huh?

Know of any other fun idioms and phrases from abroad? I’d seriously love to hear them in the comments!

Jubilee Queen print from this great Etsy shop!

Collegiate Chic – Style Roundup

Collegiate Chic

September and October always make me long for college. I mean, a lot of things make me long for college – like when I have to take my stretchy pants off in the morning instead of leave them on all day, for example – but Autumn especially. Remember crunching across campus in a fetching new sweater, holding your books to your chest and glancing sidelong at boys like in 1950? Or wearing plaid because it was adorable and collegiate, and not because you were trying to look like you just got back from Coachella? OR freezing your butt off at cold football games, but not putting on a jacket because it clashed with your giant sorority bow? Guilty as charged and I loved it. You haven’t lived until the size of the bow on your head is comparable to the size of your actual head.

If you’re looking to add a little prep school pep in your step, these six pieces are a guaranteed grown-up way to go back, back, back to school again.

1. A gorgeous stadium-cloth jacket to help you stay true to your school – or at least stand out at pep rallies. ($169)

2. Sassy pencils from Wit + Delight that are both note and doodle-worthy. ($3)

3. Tod’s sophisticated new take on the old-school satchel, for those of us with dream budgets! ($1,595)

4. Who needs saddle shoes when you have Everlane’s modern loafer? ($165)

5. Skip to work or class in an adorably retro peter pan collar. ($44.50)

6. Plaid’s not just a fad my friends – and at this price, you can afford to make it a staple. ($16.99)