Midnight in Paris at the Shakespeare & Co Book Shop

For anyone who missed my insane excitement, I went to Paris with my friends at the beginning of the month and it was just the best thing ever! In my previous post ab0ut Paris, I mentioned a book shop that I loved so much it deserved a post all of its own. Well here is that post!

About a week or so before I went to Paris, I was at home watching the film Midnight in Paris for the first time, purely by coincidence and I noticed Owen Wilson’s character hanging around by a rather cool book shop. Thinking it was way off the beaten track and I’d never have time to go there, I put it to the back of my mind. However, when we were in Paris one of my friends spotted it and pointed it out as one of the must-see tourist stops. I got ridiculously excited about this so when Sunday afternoon came round and we only had time to do one more thing, we hopped along to Shakespeare and Company.

Shakespeare and Company Book Store

As you can see, from the outside this looks like the quaint, old English bookstore that you have to search high and low to find in the UK these days. Inside, photos are not allowed though if you Google it, you’ll find quite a few. However, if you peek through the window of my photo, you begin to get a flavour of how exquisitely perfect this shop is.

If like me you think the Kindle has been sent to Earth by Lucifer himself, you will love this shop. As soon as you step through the door the stale mustiness of old books hits you. You have to watch every step you take because there is no sense to the layout of the shop and there are hoards of people squeezed into the tiniest of spaces. Downstairs there is more uniformity to the books and the shelves because this is where the new books, ready for sale are waiting. Walk upstairs however and you will feel how I imagine Alice to feel when she ventures down that rabbit hole.

There are nooks and crannies everywhere, notes from admiring visitors planned to walls, an old typewriter tucked away and all sorts of different chairs dotted around. Why the chairs? You can’t buy the books upstairs, they are to be read and enjoyed in situ. and what a selection of books there is. Many of the books are extremely old and the way they line the uneven shelves produces and effect I could only dream of recreating when I eventually own a house big enough to house a library.

If you’ve already fallen in love with the place, read on and you’ll be booking the next Eurostar over there. Just as my friend and I were debating how long we should stay, a tray laden with mugs of all shapes and sizes (some minus their handles) was brought out from a back room. Then a kettle, tea bags, sugar and milk appeared. One inquisitive visitor asked whether the tea was for general consumption, only to be informed that he’d have to stay for the tea party if he wanted any. Tea party???

A few minutes later a bright, vivacious older lady burst into the room and started ordering us to take seats and passed us cushions which we were to scatter on the floor when the seats ran out. Pan Melis is her name and being an eccentric, old Welsh poet is her game! We were at a real life Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Every Sunday between 4 and 6pm, Pan entertains anyone brave enough to enter her lair. She will fill you in on the history of the shop, her crazy life, read some of her own poetry and bully you into reciting or reading yours…or singing…or sharing a memory. There’s no escaping Pan, she will drag you into her world no matter how much you resist and so she should too after she’s given up her tea, and in our case her M&S Christmas cake 🙂

I’ve never experienced anything like it and obviously the majority of the people who attend are there just for that one session and often by accident but some are regulars and their contributions are clearly very well valued by Pan. It fulfilled my romantic dream of Paris and I’d seriously consider moving to Paris just to be able to go there every Sunday. It really was a gem in the middle of the city; perhaps the French see it differently but I was astounded to find something and someone so quintessentially British in the heart of Paris. If you visit Paris, make time for this, I promise it will be worth it; at the very least it will be an experience you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else x

Related article: Shakespeare and Company – A Surreal Afternoon by the Seine

Trip Advisor: Shakespeare and Company

Where to Eat – Japanese in Piccadilly

Hello, hello!

Viva ForeverFriday night the sister and I ventured up to the big smoke for an evening of viewing pleasure in the Piccadilly Theatre watching Viva Forever. The show was great; cheesy, not the best musical you will ever see but it was funny and it took us back to a happy time in the 90s when the Spice Girls were our world!

One word of warning would be that if you are not British or have lived in the UK a while / didn’t love the Spice Girls and have never watched X-Factor then you probably won’t get it. We had 2 American ladies sat next to us for the first half of the show who promptly left in the interval, I don’t believe they understood a lot of the humour as they didn’t have the contextual reference points.

Whilst on our way, we needed to grab some food but were of course pushed for time and literally ran into the first place that looked like it might serve us quickly as we needed to eat, pay and be seated at the theatre inside 25 minutes 🙂 Well, the place we stumbled upon was Ittenbari and boy were we lucky! The place was full of Japanese diners which is always a good sign in a Japanese restaurant and the food we ordered was delicious; my favourite of what we had was the pork gyoza, full of flavour. The prices are also great, for just under £25 we had the gyoza (of which there were 6), 2 mains, a Coke and a Diet Coke.

So, I just wanted to post that quick up update to say that next time you are in a rush for the theatre anywhere in the Piccadilly Circus vicinity, stop on by at Ittenbari and you’ll be able to get scrummy food at a good price in no time at all!

I hope you are all having a good weekend and enjoying the fact that whilst it may be cold, the sun has at last reappeared!!! x

Download My Blog App!

Hello everybody!

Today is an exciting day indeed; not only is it SNOWING, but my blog is now available in app. form for your mobile!!! I’m a huge fan of BlackBerry, though I only converted about a year ago when I started working for them and was given my first BB. Nowadays, I no longer work for the company but still love their products and cannot wait for the launch of BB10 later this month.

Anyway, I digress… the point of this post is to tell you that if you are a BB lover like me, you can now download my blog as an app. on your BB so you can catch up with my ramblings super easily when you are on the move 🙂 The app. is free and all you need to do is go to the BlackBerry App. Store, search 20 Something Freak and there you will find it. I’ve downloaded it already and I love it, I hope you do too!

Happy reading my little snow angels!!! x

Pit-Stop Paris

Last weekend I was lucky enough to get 2013 off to a cracking start with a weekend in Paris 🙂 My birthday was back at the end of November and this was my present from my fabulous friends. So we got up at some ungodly hour on Saturday, hit the Eurostar and spent 2 amazing days in a truly beautiful city.

We stayed in a hostel – yes I said hostel! This was my first hostel stay but one of my friends had been before and it was just like staying in a cheap hotel; as there were 6 of us we had a room and bathroom to ourselves so I now feel like a proper traveller but without the whole bathroom sharing thing! The hostel is called Oops and has great bus and Metro links; you can check out their website here.

As we were in Paris for just 2 days and 1 night, we literally flew around the city taking in as much as we could but without spending too long in any one spot. The things we spent longest doing were eating (obvs) and in an amazing book shop which deserves a post all of it’s own so watch out for that. I’ve decided I won’t bore you with any more details, I’m just going to post some of my favourite pics of this stunning city and let you decide what you think of Paris 🙂

Notre Dame

Notre Dame


Paris 2013


The Louvre

The Louvre


L'Arc de Triomphe

L’Arc de Triomphe


Eiffel Tower taken from the Pompidou - it was so cloudy that this was the only time I could see the whole thing!

Eiffel Tower taken from the Pompidou – it was so cloudy that this was the only time I could see the whole thing!

Paris has some amazing street art

Paris has some amazing street art









Friday Lust

Welcome to the first Friday of 2013!!!

I thought about picking an awesome sale item for this week’s Friday lust and then I decided that would be aiming too low. The new year is all about aspirations and how we are going to beat the previous year. So… I have gone for something at quite the other end of the scale but it’s a purchase that I am hoping to make providing I am good at my new job. Here it is:

Marni Studded Bi-Coloured Tote, £875

Marni Studded Bi-Coloured Tote, £875

Ok, so the bag may be £875 in Selfridges but who cares!?! I’ve fallen in love with it’s beautifully simple yet quirky design. Neutral colours aren’t normally my thing but somehow, with the addition of some gold studs and the gorgeous boxy shape of this bag, I’m loving neutral right now. You just know this is a bag that will last and last and looking like that, it’s sure to be a classic that will carry you through many years. Have I sold it to myself enough yet???

Just as soon as I have earned at least half the price, the rest can go on the credit card because I have never had a bag crush like this! Right there is my motivation to work REALLY hard this quarter!

Happy Friday my lovelies 🙂 x


Budget Friendly Skin Miracles – Tea Tree Oil

Happy New Year!!!

I hope you all had a wonderful  night celebrating the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 last night 🙂

Tea Tree OilIf you are anything like me, your skin is probably not naturally at it’s best at this time of year; the cold outside, heating inside and all the junk food we feed ourselves lead to a whole array of skin-based challenges. One thing that I really struggle with is finding a product strong enough to give my skin the moisture it needs to stop that itchy feeling whilst not clogging up my pores too much or giving me a greasy sheen for the whole day! Well, I have found my miracle product at last and it’s not expensive, it’s not full of chemicals and it’s not difficult to use. It’s tea tree oil, pure tea tree oil!

The oil is a strong moisturiser whilst the astringent properties of tea tree oil help to keep my pores in shape at the same time. You don’t need to use the exact product I have shown in the picture, that just happens to be the brand that mine is. Tea tree oil is available in most beauty shops, certainly mine came from Boots and it only cost a few £s.

Now the product says that you shouldn’t apply it neat to the skin and it should be diluted but I’ve ignored that. I’m not advising you to ignore it too, simply saying that so far, this has worked for me. I cleanse as normal and then use a cotton wool ball to smooth the oil over my skin before bed. In the morning I just use my usual moisturiser after cleansing.

So there it is, a budget-friendly skin solution to help you through the tough month that is January! Wishing you all the best for your back to work week, hopefully you have something fabulous lined up for next weekend to get you through! x