What’s your name again?

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Ariel, Aureile, Aurlie, Lorelei, Aurelia. I’ve been all these and more since I moved to the UK. Having a French name is not easy here. My name is Aurélie and I constantly have to spell it out. Not to mention my last name: Thérézien, no one ever gets it right, and can we blame them? (This is from Brittany by the way, a northwestern region of France I am proud of!). For a long time, I didn’t like my first name. I thought it was too classic, too boring, too ordinary.

My name was supposed to be Sophie but my mum changed her mind for a name that was less common at the time (I’m surrounded by Sophies in the office so thank you for that!). 1986: it boomed! Aurélies everywhere, five just in my classroom in high school! So much for feeling special. We had to find nicknames for everyone, but more about that later.

My name is of Latin origin and means gold (Aurum). So I have a golden name but no one here can pronounce it right. No one but the hundreds of thousands of French people living in London obviously. It also means “dawn” in Greek, funnily enough, I can’t say I am a morning person.

So I never really liked my name. Maybe because of the millions of Aurélies out there? Or maybe it was my mum’s tone of voice when she would call me. She would always call me by pet names (“flea”, “duck”, “rabbit” (this is a French thing…), and the list of animal names continues) unless she was mad at me, then she would call me “Au-ré-lie”, oh oh.

But I wasn’t Aurélie for long. There came the teenage years, where other kids would twist your last name into something funny. In that regard, my last name was a piece of cake for them: in Thérézien, you have “Therez”, and that is a super funny one in France! You could say it’s an old maid’s name. Also famous for sex jokes and an iconic character in the French comedy called “Le père Noël est une ordure” (literally: “Santa Claus is a bastard”). Let me find an English equivalent… how about Gertrude? You see what I mean now? (Please don’t be offended if your name is Gertrude!)

The worst part is that I actually liked it. It started when I was 14 and some of my closest friends still call me that. This nickname is close to their heart for some reason. My brother wasn’t too happy about it. Can you imagine, he fought against this nickname with all his pride when he was a teen, and then I ruin everything, letting everyone call me Therez.

This name had such an impact on me. Everyone would call me that, and many people would actually think that it was my name, saying things like “Is this really her name? Poor girl…”. Laughing out loud. I even heard my philosophy teacher call me that in class (the kind of teacher who would give me a cigarette at the break!). And Therez derived into 13, because it sounds similar in French and symbolizes bad luck. Of course it was a joke, but it stuck too! I didn’t matter as long as I was no longer the generic, all-too-common Aurélie.

Then there was uni. Moved towns, my best friends and I grew apart for a while, and I was Aurélie again. A very sad and cold Aurélie. This is also when my long-term relationship started and I became “babe” to my boyfriend. Changing my identity once again.

Years passed by. I moved to Paris, then London, where I became Aurélie again. A brand new one. Funny fact, I started to like my name. Here in London, it is not so ordinary; people ask about it and even find it beautiful (when they actually get it!). Of course, I never know how to say it when I speak English, and I always give a fake name when getting a toastie at Eat (“What’s your name?” –  “Lili”; much simpler, don’t you think?). Working in languages, I met my lovely Frenchies at work (the “Sophies”) who call me Auré. I had never been called Auré before, it’s like being born again.

“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.” – W.C. Fields

Bottom line is: I think I like my name after all. Very much. Thank you mum & dad for the lovely gift!

A.

This article is part of the weekly writing challenge:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/writing-challenge-names/

I also found this article from the Guardian to be funny and so very true:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/dec/28/say-my-name-british-foreign

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

This week, I decided to take on the WordPress weekly challenge and share photos of “something inside something”…

My chipmunk Hercule gets inside so many funny things that he instantly came to mind!

Inside a vase

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Inside a pot

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Inside a home-made nest

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Inside a glass

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Inside his house

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Inside the flat

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Inside a state of contemplation

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Inside glass walls

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Inside his own little world

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And finally…

Inside my melting heart

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We all live inside something, whether physically or figuratively!

A.

My beauty list!

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Yesterday was International Women’s Day, so let us be girly for a moment! I spent some time pampering myself and had a little ‘spa morning’ at home, which felt really nice!

I don’t wear a lot of make-up, I must say I’m quite lazy (and always late in the morning!), but I do wash and moisturise my face morning and night, I think that a good beauty routine is way more important that just wearing make-up. I also drink a lot of water and tea!

Without further ado, here are my favourite beauty products of the moment:

Gel Pureté, Chanel

Rinse-off Foaming Gel Cleanser Purity + Anti-pollution

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Crème Éclat du Jour, Clarins

Daily Energizer Cream

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HydraQuench Cream Mask, Clarins

Dehydrated Skin

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Tea Tree Blackhead Exfoliating Wash, The Body Shop

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Immortelle Essential Water, L’Occitane

Tonic Lotion with Floral Water

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Immortelle Milk Make-up Remover, L’Occitane

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Capture Totale, Dior

Multi-perfection Eye Treatment

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Beauté Initiale, Chanel

Energizing Multi-protection Fluid Healthy Glow

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Hydrating Lip Balm, Yves Rocher

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Body Scrub, The Body Shop

Spa Fit Smoothing & Refining Scrub

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Almond Milk Veil, L’Occitane

Firming and Beautifying Body Lotion

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Huile Prodigieuse, Nuxe

Multi-Usage Dry Oil

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Touche Éclat, Yves Saint Laurent

Radiant Touch Highlighting Pen

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Dandelion, Benefit

Brightening Face Powder

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Le Blush Crème de Chanel

Présage Shade

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They’re Real! Mascara, Benefit

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Lèvres Scintillantes Glossimer, Chanel

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Nail Polish, Chanel (for the amazing colours!)

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Happy shopping guys!

A.

My own little food tour of Europe…

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

The Duck & Waffle, London (UK)

Let’s start with London since this is where I currently live! The Duck & Waffle is the highest restaurant in Europe. Located on the 40th floor of Heron Tower, right above Sushi Samba (next up on my list!), the 360° view is beautiful! The place is open 24/7 and has a bar area where you can look down on the Gherkin while sipping a cocktail.

The food is not cheap, but it is innovative and sophisticated. If you eat meat, you ought to try the “Duck & Waffle”. Don’t let the name put you off, the duck confit/egg/waffle/maple syrup is a mix that works very well!

http://duckandwaffle.com/

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Eggs & Co, Paris (France)

Here’s a place I like to visit every time I go to the City of Light! Located in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, this cute little restaurant is perfect for Sunday brunch. There is a cosy and rustic feel, and if you’re lucky, you might sit by the fake henhouse! Important detail: the food is to die for. The brunch menus all come with a fresh juice, a warm beverage and pancakes & fruits. My personal favourite (and many people will agree) is the Eggs Benedict, they are sooo good! I’ve been trying to reproduce them at home, with no luck… I am really looking forward to going back in May!

http://www.eggsandco.fr/

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Le Bistro du Fromager, Nice (France)

I know, France again… What can I say, French cuisine is the best! Our friends took us there a couple of years ago during a weekend in Nice, and we absolutely loved it. You are led down the stairs to a charming stone-walled and cave-liked little room where you will enjoy one of the cheese specialities. No need to know anything about wine, the host will recommend the best one to go with your food. The food is fresh and authentic, the service is excellent and the whole experience will be enchanting! I definitely want to go back at some point.

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El Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid (Spain)

This isn’t a cozy place where you can sit down and relax but if you want to try the best of Spanish food, this is the place! It is very busy so be prepared to stand while you eat and even share tables with strangers. This buzzing covered market has everything from tortilla, paella and croquettes to fresh fruits, sweets and pastries. We spent four days in Madrid and ended up going there (at least) three times!

http://www.mercadodesanmiguel.es/

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Ristorante Joseph, Rome (Italy)

I am lucky enough to have friends living in beautiful Rome. My boyfriend and I went to visit them for a week, and they took us to various typical places. Although I really enjoyed the late-night gelatos and tiramisu, this lovely Italian restaurant is one of my best food memories from Rome!  I ate buffalo mozzarella for the first time and savoured a true risotto: my favourite Italian dish. And it’s not just the food that is good, you will also be charmed by the setting.

http://www.ristorantejoseph.com/

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A choupana, Portimao (Portugal)

Having a Portuguese boyfriend, I get to travel to Portugal regularly, and I must say the food there is amazing, really tasty. Vegetables for instance, they just taste the way they should taste! You won’t find the best food in the touristic areas though, the best food I had was in those tiny, remote places in the middle of nowhere.  A choupana is located along a road, and if you’re not looking for the place, you won’t find it (we nearly didn’t find it, even though we were looking for it!). We initially went there to try their roast suckling pig (Leitao in Portuguese), but I found everything to be super delicious!

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All this made me hungry, I will leave you now and go enjoy my dinner. Bon appétit everyone!

A.