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Monday, 1 September 2014

Back to school | French stationery

My schools days may be long gone but that doesn’t mean I can’t partake in the annual ritual of stocking up on back to school supplies. I have a home office that is in just as much need of a supply overhaul so I’ve rounded up my favourite French office accessories to give it an update.

Anthropologie Pencil Cases photo Anthropologie-pencil-cases_zps6d9379f0.jpg When I worked as a teaching assistant in France I was amazed that the students all had the same style of pencil cases. Instead of the cheap looking plastic pencil cases my friends and I used to have at school, the French pupils had classy slim leather cases. Ok, so they still wrote, 'I heart Pierre' on them but I’ll forgive them for that! I recently spotted these lovely leather pencil cases in Anthropologie and if like me, you don’t have a reason to carry pens and pencils, I think they would be equally lovely used to store makeup when you’re on the go.

Fox and Star Le Cahier photo Fox-and-Star-French-Notebook_zpsb82a4462.jpgI love having a stock of notebooks in my desk drawer and I’m always on the lookout for ones that are a bit different. The vintage-style look of this notebook and the simple typography makes it a winner in my eyes.

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When I heard that French blogger and illustrator Garance Doré and Rifle Paper Co. were collaborating on a collection, I knew it would be love at first sight. The whole collection is dreamy but the one item that caught my eye is the leopard print desk pad. Functional and stylish, what’s not to like?

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A desk update wouldn’t be complete without a new pen and as always I’m a sucker for anything with a bit of French writing on it! This mint green ballpoint pen is inscribed with the days of the week and has suggestions for things to do on each day.

Papier Tigre photo Papier-Tigre_zps5f765e72.jpgIt’s not easy to find stationery storage that isn’t made of plastic so I was happy to discover Papier Tiger, a Paris-based contemporary stationery brand with several paper organisers to choose from. My two favourites are The Intendants and The Tri-Angles.

À bientôt,

Anna x

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Take five | Breton stripes

When it comes to French sartorial staples, Breton tops certainly have to make the cut. The simple striped fisherman's top became a wardrobe classic after the iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel incorporated the navy and white design into her 1917 nautical collection. 

Striped tops go with a surprising amount of items in your wardrobe and I love how you can dress them up or down. While the traditional style is based on a long-sleeved top there are many other styles to consider and here I’ve selected five of my favourite things that reference the Breton look.

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Sessun Mora Breton dress from Urban Outfitters

Breton stripes photo Breton-stripes_zps68bbd376.jpg Accessorize clutch // Topshop shell top // Soludos striped sandals from Asos

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Zara striped trousers

If you're a lover of stripes like me then make sure you check out my Breton board on Pinterest.

À bientôt,

Anna x

Monday, 24 February 2014

Save or spend...

 photo Diptyquecandlecropped_zpsb82b45d3.jpg Save or spend… is a new regular post that I’m going to feature on Oiseau. I love scented candles so to kick off I’ve picked two of my favourite brands.

The purse-friendly option is La Maison de Senteurs range from M&S. The Gardénia Rose candle is my go-to purchase but the range also includes Fleur d’Orangier, Fleurs de Lavande and Senteurs Blanche. They don’t burn as well as more expensive candles but still give off a nice smell.

On the other end of the scale is the French brand Diptyque, which has been making candles since 1963. I’ve had the rose candle (yes, I like rose-scented things!) and even before I opened the box you could smell how amazing it was going to be. Diptyque has recently collaborated with Liberty to create a limited edition scented candle. Insolite, which comes in a beautiful Liberty-print box, is a blend of warm and cold spices and although I’ve not yet smelt it, I know it will be divine. But, at £40 more than the M&S candles, it is most definitely a payday treat!

The stylish glass jars, repurposed as make-up brush holders, have also become a dressing table staple. Check out my French board on Pinterest to see a few inspiring images I’ve pinned.

À bientôt,

Anna x

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Loved up

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With Valentine’s Day just around the corner I thought I would give you a helping hand and select some of my favourite French-inspired romantic cards. As these cards don’t specifically say Happy Valentine’s Day on them they also double as anniversary cards or just for when you want to remind someone how much you love them!

Paper Heart is a north London design studio that makes eye-catchingly colourful prints and cards. There are several French designs to choose from but for Valentine’s Day I would go for the hand printed Je t’aime card (pictured above).

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Etsy is a great resource for finding unique designers that you’re unlikely to find on the high street. This Amour card, by California-based stationery brand Pei Design, has just the right amount of sentiment without being overly cheesy. I love cards with cats on and one that’s wearing a beret and a Breton top is always going to be a winner in my eyes.

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I love the work of Leeds-based graphic designer Jonathan Chapman aka Mr Yen. His lasercut collection is available on Etsy and includes this elegant Je t’aime card.

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Finding a Valentine’s card that isn’t red or pink is a bit of a challenge but this charcoal blue Je t’aime design, from Nancy & Betty Studio, is perfect for something that’s a bit different. It’s definitely my pick of the bunch.

Let me know if you’ve got any stationery brands to recommend as I’m always on the lookout for new ones to bookmark.

À bientôt,

Anna x

Friday, 7 February 2014

Bags of style

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In case you've had your head buried in the sand you'll have seen the swathes of soppy cards and heart-shaped chocolates that are all over the shops at the moment. In my opinion, Valentine's is just another day but it's also a nice excuse to treat yourself to a little something.

This morning I read a post on decor8 about spring bag picks and a few clicks later I landed on the website of Clare Vivier. The designer, who is married to a Frenchman, combines French glamour with classic LA style to create effortlessly chic bags and accessories.

Her signature leather clutches and coin purses have been given a Valentine’s Day makeover and the Sweetheart collection features a selection of monogrammed messages in a variety of colours.

À bientôt,

Anna x

Friday, 31 January 2014

French classic

 photo tolix_colours_groupresized_zps49e06f35.jpg I’m going to start a regular new feature that focuses on a French classic. The list isn’t going to be limited to interiors and will also extend to fashion, food and anything in between.

But, to kick things off I’ve decided to focus on the iconic Tolix A chairs. The much-copied chairs can be seen at trendy eateries across the country but the design’s history can be traced back to post-war France. In the aftermath of the First World War, Xavier Pauchard, began manufacturing domestic items out of galvanised sheet metal and in 1927 he registered the trademark Tolix.

The industrial style of the chairs, which he created in 1934, looks as modern as it did then and its iconic design has led to it being featured in collections at the MOMA, New York, the Pompidou Centre, Paris and the Vitra Design Museum in Germany. The chairs, which are designed to be rustproof, stackable and robust, come in a variety of colours. My pick would be to mix the canary yellow with the classic white for a contemporary look.

À bientôt,

Anna x

Monday, 27 January 2014

Spring picks

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With the last traces of glitter from Christmas finally cleared away now’s the time to start looking forward the next season. While it’s still miserable outside you can cheer yourself with the arrival of the spring/summer interiors and fashion collections that will start filtering into stores and online in the next few weeks. I love a good bargain but I find sifting through sale items a bit tedious and I’m often drawn to the shiny new stock that looks so fresh compared to its half-price neighbours. There are several French-style pieces in the spring offering from online shop Cox & Cox that have caught my eye. Here are three of my favourites from the beautifully styled and photographed catalogue.

I like the idea of adding this small bevelled edged mirror to my bathroom to introduce a bit of detail to the largely white palette.

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My entrance hall is a bit of a no man’s land and I’m on the look out for a stylish way to store shoes and hats and scarves. Add interesting baskets or crates underneath this grey bench and you have the perfect storage solution.

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A zinc-topped table screams French industrial chic especially when paired with a pendant light. I love this look.

À bientôt,

Anna x

Images © Cox & Cox

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