Sunday, August 22, 2021


In this crazy lockdown world, my workplace has been enccouraging weekly gatherings online to share work updates, news and keep everyone connected. One of the recent developments to the agenda, has been the addition of a career highlight story. Individuals are invited to share something about themselves and their career. Its a really nice way of staying connected, and getting to know your team better. Although, it was my turn this week. With a career as long and varied as mine, I had to reflect on alot of things to find something to share with my peers.. it was emotionally challenging.

This week i am also embarking on a new course, online... focusing on women in leaadership. But whats different about this course is that it will be focusing on self in leadership... self acceptance, self management and self development.

I am proposing tou se this blog as my weekly reflection on these learnings, if i dont get too busy... which is my way, and to some extent, my distraction...

Authenticity — which can be described as a healthy alignment between your values and behaviors — is a powerful factor in the lives of women.

At this stage in my life journey, as i am more and more in roles of leading people, leadinv programs and strategy, i am seeking to ensure that alignment of values and behaviour. What i know about myself is that when that alignment is out of whack, i loose bits of me to stress... and the balance of sleep, nutrition,  activity, social connection, spiritual reflection, and ability to pause.

This week, colouring in has braught me to pause.. podcasts give me external connection and inspiration, and im readying myself for the 6 week program on women and leadership... 


Sunday, August 1, 2021

Paris in July - 2021 Wrap Up - une promenade magnifique avec mes amis

 Une promenade  magnifique avec mes amis

Paris in July 2021 was not really on my radar until some special blogging friends of mine started asking about, some of whom may have been begging for the experience... I was not certain I could offer much commitment to hosting the event this year - but so, so glad I was convinced 2021 was the right year to make it happen again. I really have loved, as many of you have commented, the diversity and breadth of the contributions offered this year. I have popped in from time to time to see that some people have been prolific in their posts, others regular in their own way, and some found time for just one post - but all have shared our love and passion for the nuances that Paris offers - in literature, art, film, history, food and memories. It truly has felt like I've been walking with my friends through Paris and beyond. Who could ask for anything better to do when in lockdown? 

I regret that I have not had time to dig into a few good books, or post on some of my memories, or watch more French films, or prepare a French meal or drink more French wine during July. Life has the tendency to throw curve balls when you least expect it. But to my advantage, as I was supporting a girl friend with breast cancer, or working too hard on a report for the boss, or supporting my partner with house renovations, and updating my 12 year old laptop...... I have had a little place to go to in my morning peace and meditations - Paris, has been a delightful escape. Thank you to you all for joining in and sharing so much. 

I have one little memory I want to share with you now. Tour de France, 2011. This was the 10th anniversary of our chance to travel alongside the Tour and to be an Australian on the Champs Elysees the day an Australian won the Tour de France. I have so many wonderful memories of that trip, of wearing an Australian flag on the Champs Elyees, of riding my bike up Alpe d'huez and Mt Ventoux (at my own pace), and staying in the same hotels as cycling teams from around the world, and mingling with the faces and voices of the Tour that we've watched on TV for years. 

Amongst some favourite memories, was the fun and excitement of standing in little villages with the locals, waiting for the Carnival Parade to come through before the race and riders did. Adults and children alike, screaming for the treats to be thrown towards us, and reaching across the barriers to gather the goodies.... 
Some of the floats and displays had global connection for kids and adults alike, while others were uniquely French ( or particularly not Australian!)....
And those French specific floats, introduced us to sweets and treats we would become addicted to and search for when we got home.... 10 years ago Haribo weren't in Australia, but now we see them more and more... 

So, as Paris in July the annual blogging event closes out, I want to thank you so much for being a part of the great parade, the Carnival, and the show. When time opens up for me, my TBR list is now thoroughly spiced with wonderful French and Paris themed books, and my appetite for more French food, wine and cheese has been enlivened, and my dreams of getting back to Paris has been ignited. So many wonderful new things on my travel list now - thank you.  Here's my 2011 Tour de France memory, and one of the highlights for 2021 ... 

And here's to one of the best Aussies in 2021 Tour de France - Ben O'Connor, came fourth overall, and won his own stage.... 

Monday, July 26, 2021

Paris in July - Week 5 - final week


We've reach the final station on our Paris in July 2021 journey. One last week, or half a week... But who says it all has to stop here.. there's always more books, films, recipes, artists and memories to review and share. 

In the past week we've been through a few stations along the metro of Paris - we went to the Cafe du Dome, walking through the flea markets in the streets of Paris, we stopped for a French dinner out of the camper and of course, the mandatory visit to Shakespeare and Co. We've also learned more about Anais Ninn, what French books you can read in one sitting, and the Wondrous Words: Coup de Foudre, or special moments that feel like a lightening strike. I have to thank Mel U and NancyElin for their prolific reading and reviews of French literature, and books about Paris and France. 

So here we are, almost at the end of the line, and we all have that sinking feeling - it cant be over yet. But yes, Paris in July is about celebrating all things Paris and French during July. I know myself, I had hoped to do a few more posts before the end of the month, but I may be continuing into August, and maybe even a return to Paris later in the year to wind up the trip... 

My quote this week comes from a large book I have in my library (now known as the home home office) which I flick through from time to time - French Essence: Ambience, Beauty and Style in Provence by Vicki Archer. 

There is a certain something about the French and the style in which they live that creates a unique ambience. Their success lies in the inherent ability to blend all the senses, which makes for a life that is filled with emotion and a life in which the sense are forever stimulated. Ambiance permeates every aspect of French life, whether it be in private spaces or public places. 

My little ambiance in my desk.... 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Paris in July - Film review


As you may have noticed in my interview with Karen (here), I believe there are those who love the dream of Paris, and those who know and love real Paris - and in particular about the people we never think of in our romantic visions of the beautiful city. Earlier this year I had the chance to see a couple of movies during  the Alliance Francais French Film festival. This movie was a stand out for me. I loved it. 

Hors Normes or The Extraordinary - ( or in other parts of the world I think its called The Specials ). It was made by the same directors who made the totally awesome movie, The Untouchables. 

The story is based on a true story. For twenty years, Bruno and Malik have lived in a different world—the world of autistic children and teens. In charge of two separate non-profit organizations (The Hatch & The Shelter), they train young people from underprivileged areas to be caregivers for extreme cases that have been refused by all other institutions. It’s an exceptional partnership, outside of traditional settings, for some quite extraordinary characters. [ref:]

Why this movie touched me? my cousin is profoundly autistic, and is lucky to live in a country where our social welfare system supports those who need care. Our taxpayers expect the system to care for these people. But this movie shows the reality facing families and communities with the extraordinary struggle of caring people people who need extra help... and the extra ordinary people who provide that care even when the system doesn't.... 

For Paris in July, I have been looking to a charity in Paris that I could donate to .. and in my searching I found these in-depth analysis of the history of support and advocacy for people living with disabilities in France. The disadvantaged in any society are disadvantaged by our mainstream focus on 'normal'...  I'm happy to be stretched beyond the normal. 

And here's some ideas of charities to support if you are so include

Monday, July 19, 2021

Paris in July - week 4 (but not the last)

 Nearly 20 days into July and how excitingly diverse has this journey been? I'm loving it, and I'm hearing from many that it's been a great joy. In the past week, we have been enlightened by posts about classic literature, films, images from Paris now, and memories of Paris past. We seen recipes, reviews of novels, essays, posts about the authors themselves , and more of Maigret! and of course, it was Bastille Day. 

For me, the highlight this week was spending time with Karen, my fellow co founder of Paris in July, and being reminded of why this idea even got started. So here's a quote I found to reflect on this week, and our shared passion to spend time in Paris in July each year together....

“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers & cities; but to know someone who thinks & feels with us, & who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.”   ― Goethe

Here's to another week! 

Friday, July 16, 2021

Paris in July - Le Petit Prince encore

Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) pictured on a French stamp, circa 1998.

© catwalker/

Antoine Saint-Exupery is probably not as well known as his novella 'Le Petit Prince'. So after the stage production I took my sister to see (post), she was distraught not knowing what happened to the little prince. I reassured her that the little prince was a fable that reflected the authors experience - and after the author, a pilot who crash landed in the dessert, was saved - he was returned to his love and his passion for flying. But.... what I told my sister was based loosely on what I had heard before. I decided to go and look, to see what actually happened to Saint-Exupery.  

So, a reminder.... 

The Novella: 

  • a fable and modern classic by French aviator and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry that was published with his own illustrations in French as Le Petit Prince in 1943
  • it's a simple story of a child who travels the universe, visiting planets, in the pursuit of wisdom and finding is place and meaning in life. 
  • its narrated by a pilot who has landed in the desert, and this where he meets the boy - the little prince
  •  the narrator and the little prince spend 8 days in the desert. After find water, the little prince plans to return to his planet. He tells the narrator that when he looks to the stars he will know the little prince is home. 

What about the Author:  (I've done a little online research) 

  • Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born in Lyons on June 29, 1900
  • He flew for the first time at the age of twelve, at the Ambérieu airfield, and it was then that he became determined to be a pilot.
  • becoming an accomplished aviator, flying for many years as a commercial pilot, pioneering airmail routes throughout Europe, Africa and South America. 
  • When war broke out in 1939, he joined the French Air Force and flew reconnaissance missions until France’s coercive armistice with Germany in 1940. reference  
  • Saint-Ex had an undeniable passion for flying, but he also had a reputation as an undisciplined pilot who read books while flying and had little patience for aircraft complexities.
  • Antoine met and married the spirited and twice-widowed Salvadoran writer and artist Consuelo Suncin. Their relationship was tempestuous and they left each other and reconnected many times, but they remained married and shortly before his death he said his only regret in dying would be to make Consuelo cry. 
  • Consuelo became the inspiration for the character of the Rose in The Little Prince. Consuelo is often considered Antoine’s muse.
  • Early in 1923 he crashed his airplane and suffered a skull fracture. Undeterred, he began a career as a mail pilot, flying all over western Europe and North Africa. 
  • His love for the desert and the people who lived there led Saint-Exupéry to become director of an airfield in the western Sahara.
  • His greatest adventure, though, came in 1935 when he attempted a flight from Paris to Saigon  in bid to beat the airspeed record for that distance. His aircraft, crashed in the Sahara after 20 hours of flight. ..... After four days they were nearly dead, until a desert tribesman rescued them. reference  
  • When World War II erupted, he became a military reconnaissance pilot until the German occupation forced him to flee France. Relocating to New York City, he lobbied the U.S. government to intervene in the conflict. Reference.
  •  in 1943 Saint-Exupéry returned to France and rejoined his squadron, insisting on flying despite his age and infirmities.
  • At the age of 43, On July 31, 1944, in preparation for the impending Operation Dragoon, the Allied invasion of southern France, Saint-Exupéry took off from an airfield on the island of Corsica to take reconnaissance photographs in the area of Grenoble, France. He never returned. Eight days later Saint-Exupéry was officially declared missing in action, presumed shot down by the enemy. Exactly what happened remains a mystery.
  • Saint-Exupéry’s mysterious disappearance made international news and was the cause of much speculation until 2000, when a scuba diver exploring the Mediterranean Sea near Marseille discovered the wreckage of a plane that was later raised and identified as Saint-Exupéry’s.
  • Just as the Little Prince adored his rose, the world adored Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The many years and significant effort put into unlocking the truth about his disappearance is testament to that. No matter what happened that day, his legacy will always be one of honor and inspiration.

Concluding Quotes

Doesn't this says alot about a man with his own skeletons and reflections.........

What if, when he was ensconced in Silvia Hamilton-Reinhardt’s living room to write and draw, he “chuckled with pleasure” because he had finally found himself again, because he was finally overcoming his exile—his self-exile—because he was finally reunited with his “beginnings,” his childhood? “And so, I seem to have come to the end of a long pilgrimage. I have discovered nothing, but as though waking from sleep, I simply see again what I was no longer looking at,” he wrote in Flight to Arras. And what if the “teachings” of The Little Prince were to be found here: in this reunion, this rediscovery of a childhood that everyone vaguely yearns for, to put their scattered days back together again and experience their life’s meaning, to become who they truly are?:  (Ref )

This is an insightful quote into what a legacy he left his family...........

Hoping to keep the man’s status as a revered war hero of almost mythical proportions, the surviving Saint-Exupéry family opposed efforts to investigate the source of a landing gear found by scuba diver Luc Vanrell in May 2000. Major pieces of Saint-Exupéry’s downed aircraft, a P-38, was found and brought to the ocean’s surface in 2003. A serial number confirmed this craft belonged to Antoine Saint-Exupéry, though the lack of bullet holes and combat damage keep the aviator author’s true fate hidden behind a shroud of secrecy. (ref)

What ever you think about this Larrikin,
he is legacy is what ever you find in Le Petit Prince 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Paris in July - Special Interview

Karen's image from her blog, but also a happy memory! 

This week I had the pleasure of having lunch with my long time friend and co founder of Paris in July, Karen. Some of you may remember Karen at BookBath. While Karen's online presence changed directions a few years ago, she has stayed very engaged with our annual Paris in July event. Karen agreed to join this year, through this interview. I had fun posing the questions, I hope you enjoy our conversation. 

T: 10 years ago you and I dreamed up Paris in July, do you remember why? 

K: I remember we were both quite involved in our blogs then – we were loving the sense of community and connection we were having in that sphere and I think we wanted to try out adding our own burst of creativity and engagement!

T: in fact, Karen was a more experience blogger, and I was seeking her help to learn blogging. I'm so pleased we got together around our love of Paris. And Karen was very right in recalling our desire for that sense of community, which we did find here. 

T: have you read any books based in Paris, or written by a french author, or about French things since the start of the Pandemic? and if so, what? 

K: I have actually felt like a little bit of a traitor to the Parisian cause over the past 18 months or so as I have been fixated so much more on Italy – a country I love and can’t wait to visit for the first time – due to my 8 year old daughter’s obsession with this country because her name originates from there! 

However, Instagram is still a huge source of Paris love for me. Accounts such as @aparisianmoment and @prettylilttleparis are places of escape and dreaming for me.  I have also watched the French drama The Bureau The Bureau | Drama | SBS On Demand and have been completed taken in by it – I hope there is going to be another season!

T: have you watched any French series on netflix in the past few years? 

K: I’m planning to watch The Parisian Agency  – drooling over luxe property that I will never be able to afford is a fun pastime! The Parisian Agency: Exclusive Properties | Netflix Official Site


T: When were you last in the real Paris and what memories have you shared with your daughter about that trip? and why? 

K: I’ve only been lucky enough to travel to Paris once (so far!) and I have the most special memories of my 3 precious days there. I was there in 2009 with my partner and my parents as part of a whirlwind trip we were doing to introduce my parents to the joys of overseas travel! I still remember driving into the city from the airport and just feeling complete awe and joy seeing the architecture, history and people appear before my eyes. It was love at first sight! My daughter is fascinated with other countries and cultures and loves hearing our travel stories. She is most impressed that we have had dinner in the Eiffel Tower 😊

T: Coco Chanel once said "The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud..". What does this mean to you? and why did Coco say this?

K: Oh I love this quote! To me this quote is all about living and speaking your truth and joy – whatever that might be! I feel it is about being true to yourself and to (try) and not be afraid of sharing that truth with the wider world and those close to you. I think it is pure Coco Chanel if you think about the trailblazing path she took in terms of her career and life…

T: Georges Benjamin Clemenceau was a French politician, journalist, and physician. He served as Prime Minister of France during the First World War. He was one of the main architects of the 'Treaty of Versailles' at the 'Paris Peace Conference' after the First World War. Clemenceau adopted a very harsh stance against the vanquished Germany, and was able to force Germany for large sums for reparations. He is quoted as saying Liberty is the right to discipline ourselves in order not to be disciplined by others. 

Knowing that you enjoy reading about contemporary politics, I was wondering what you think of this quote.  

K: Wow! We are heading into some serious territory here!! I haven’t actually heard that quote from Clemenceau before but it is quite interesting reading it in the context of his known attitudes towards Germany after WW1 – he obviously didn’t feel that Germany had the right to liberty in that context! I feel that, unfortunately, there would be a lot of modern day politicians and parties who would agree with this quote – it feels to me as though it goes to the heart of a lot of the isolationist, self-involved, small minded politics that dominates most of the western world at the moment.  The sense that we will do whatever we want – we will judge our actions and decisions and no outside force will be allowed to question that.

T: I know you love Monet - did you know he said this - “the more I live, the more I regret how little i know” ― Claude monet.... what does this say to you? 

K: Another quote that I hadn’t heard of before – you are finding some great ones! It feels very “Monet” to me – a man who kept looking for more in terms of his work and his art – I don’t think he was ever going to be satisfied! I can kind of relate though – as I’m getting older I just keep finding more and more areas I would love to spend time learning about and engaging with but the realities of everyday life can get in the way!

T: Monet also said this - “It's on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.”  any thoughts on this? 

K: I love this!! To me it speaks to the need for self-reflection in order to be able to grow and flourish. I’m a true social worker when it comes to constant self-reflection! Although – I do think we need to be able to balance this introspection with “just” living at times too…

T: did you read any French books when you were little? or did you read French stories to your daughter?  which ones? 

K: I honestly can’t remember reading any French books at all when I was little but Pia has had so many that she has loved and that we have read over and over again. Some adored favourites are:

Kiki & Coco in Paris | Thames & Hudson Australia & New Zealand (

A Walk in Paris - Books - Welcome to Walker Books Australia

ARMADILLO IN PARIS, AN | Brumby Sunstate

Pom Pom, Where are You? by Natalie Jane Prior (9780670075768) | Boomerang Books


T: there appear to me, two types of participants in Paris in July, those romantics who dream of Paris and all it might offer, and then there's those who know the real Paris. Which are you? and tell me a little more about what Paris means...

K: I am the complete romantic when it comes to Paris! I obviously haven’t lived there or engaged with the city in any lengthy, real way so it is a city and culture that mainly lives in my imagination and my heart. Paris represents beauty and creativity to me – things that I don’t always prioritise in my day-to-day, suburban Australian life – but which I would dearly love to!

Thank you so much for the chat Karen, I love your answers and to see that Paris still draws you in. I hope we get back there one day soon..