Blog - Carla Coulson
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Quirky Old Paris – Musings On The Parisians

Parisian Train shop for grown-ups copyright Carla Coulson

It has been pouring for days in Paris and it has got me thinking about this town.

A friend arrived yesterday glowing from the south of France telling me that she had just left the beach. I was a little envious being a water baby!

I am not sure whether you have this afflication but do you ever ask yourself should you be living somewhere else?

Then I took a little stroll and had a think about Paris. Why do we love her so?

She is quirky, like this fellow gazing into the train shop window. What store in the world would even still sell trains that run around on tracks for little (and big) boys? Paris is chock full of quirkiness from Deyrolle, the taxidermist boutique that is out of this world to the stamp sellers in the 9th.

Who collects stamps when the whole world sends email I ask? Only in Paris..

Paris doesn’t fix things if they aren’t broken, she doesn’t replace the 18th century carousel in the Luxembourg gardens for a new one that will make you scream at the top of your lungs and she wouldn’t dream of updating her wonderful steel chairs that have been kicking around her gardens for centuries for plastic ones that would be cheaper, easier to maintain and move around. No Sirree.. Not in Paris. And she would never dream of  tearing down those wonderful wooden shop fronts that need repainting every year for a new whizz bang version. Don’t we love her?

She loves the individual, in Paris you can still find it all in a funny little shop that just sells cord, or another that only sells leather trims or one type of handbag. And Parisians aren’t scared of the competition, they generously gather the same type of cords shops, stamp collectors or camera shops together in the one quartier. How awfully thoughtful when you are shopping for a new camera or wanting to add to your stamp collection, no running around all over town just head to the stamp collecting quartier. J’adore Paris!

She loves beauty and attention to detail and generously plants flowers and almost hand trims the lawns in her public gardens, such attention to detail that would bring a grown man to tears.

Beauty, is there a city that loves beauty as much as Paris, from the wonderful graphics of her exhibitions, the breathtaking gowns of her couture runway shows to her decorated patisseries!!

Ok, so we don’t have the weather, we don’t have the beaches – but we will always have Paris!

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast. Ernest Hermingway

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PS: Paris lovers might like my Paris Pinterest Board 

Prepare to Change Your Life – 3 Steps

My Amalfi Coast Copyright Carla Coulson

 

I hope you all had a great weekend full of relaxing moments, friendship and happiness.

My inbox continues to fill with letters about how to change your life so I felt in the mood today to write about some positive steps you can take towards changing your life even if you don’t know what it is you want in life.

Years ago when I lived in Sydney and my life was becoming smaller and smaller and I was becoming unhappier and unhappier there were a couple of things I knew.  I knew I was in the wrong career and this was holding me back from finding ‘my tribe’  and man was I sick of being single!

At the time  I didn’t know how to get out of my career and into a new one but I started my own search long before I finally left my life.

Here are some of the things I did which helped me a whole lot later down the track.

1. Decluttered.. I had always been a maximalist, I loved my things around me. There came a day when I looked at all my things and thought ‘how can I get out of here with you guys weighing me down’? I started to cull, I cleaned out all my cupboards as though I was ready to leave the next day and somehow it lightened my load and gave me clarity.

2. Budget… I made a budget. I realized although I earned a decent amount of money I was wasting it on buying things that made me feel good for a short amount of time. I had an empty bank account and cupboards full of clutter. I started to reverse this with a strict budget, I wrote down everything thing I spent and saw that I wasted so much money on nothing.

3. Explore.. I started exploring different courses and work options. I knew in my heart that it was my job that was blocking me from the life I wanted to live. Although I worked with a small group of marvellous people in the 13 years I had my business I hadn’t made one friend with my clients. I was in the wrong world. I thought maybe I needed to move to the country, work in another business or do something creative. I started to try all of these..Before I arrived in Italy and photography I had worked in the outback for a month (loved it but couldn’t see a life for me there), worked for a sports marketing company working on the Olympics (after the Outback i didn’t like being back in the city in a routine) and started an Italian course..

Change needs time and if you approach change as though it’s all about the journey not the destination everything you discover along the way will be a piece to your puzzle.

All is possible

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Bye Bye Saturn – Breakout the Bagpipes

Photo Italy Copyright Carla Coulson

Break out the bagpipes! Because today after 3 long years in Libra, Saturn has gone!

Yes dear Librans, if you are one of us, kick off your shoes, let your hair down and do a little folk dance of joy because grumpy old Saturn won’t be back in our sun sign for another 29 years. Woohooo……

By then I will either have my angels wings or I will be such a tough old biddy I will be able to deal with anything he throws my way. Next time I might even throw something back at him! Watch out Saturn you have worked miracles on Carla.

Dear Saturn, thank-you for coming but most of all thank-you for going. The past three years have been one hell of a ride, I have jumped more hurdles than a frothing steeple chase horse, dodged more colliding planets than a Star Wars warrior and come out the other side bigger, stronger and beating my chest like a Jane version of Tarzan.

I guess by now you have figured out how darn excited I am that Saturn is off my case and onto someone else’s.

But I do have to thank Saturn for making me ask myself where I am going,for helping me see the next signpost along the roadside and for sending me in a direction I love.  Geez Saturn you weren’t so bad after all.

A special shout out to the fabulous Astrologer Susan Miller for keeping the news as positive as humanly possible whilst delivering sledge hammer blows one after the other.. If you don’t know Susan download her fabulous App Astrology Zone..It is currently offline due to a death in the family but she will be back soon.

So dear friends and especially Librans kick back, put on some music, pour yourself a big glass of champagne and enjoy the silence. Saturn has turned tail and we have turned the page.

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
Nelson Mandela

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Once Upon A Time In Italy


Once upon a time In Italy,  three little girls (well not so little, on their way to forty) sat around a table in a lovely trattoria in Florence. It was a winter’s night.

One was Italian, one was Swiss and the other was Australian. The Italian was a shoe designer (what else?), the Swiss was an interior decorator and the Australian was on her way to a new life.

They sat around that table with plates of delicious food, wonderful wine and a beautiful friendship. They talked about Italy, food, life, happiness and love.

The Italian, who was always on a plane to a shoe factory somewhere in the world recounted stories of eyes-meeting with gorgeous guys in airports on trains, planes and in metros but still remained mystified why love hadn’t come her way. For once the Australian wasn’t so worried about love she had recently fallen in love with photography. The Swiss, as beautiful as Lady Diana sat quietly as she does, a couple of beautiful shakes of her head  but not wanting to draw attention to herself she said nothing.

All Photos Copyright Carla Coulson

No-one deserved love more than her. Generous, kind and affectionate she always put everyone before herself and was the greatest friend a girl could have.

Many years passed in between and they always managed to meet in that lovely trattoria in Florence. Then one day the Swiss and the Australian received a call that not in an airport, a train or on a metro but in the Italian embassy in New York the Italian met the love of her life. She married on a beach in Mexico not long after her 40th birthday and within 3 years had two beautiful little girls.

The Australian too met the love of her life and was married in Paris in a leopard skin hat!  And just a couple of days ago in Geneva on a spectacular day only the love-gods could dream up,  the beautiful Swiss married the man who had been searching for her all his life..

And there was no-one as happy as the Australian and the Italian to share this incredible moment. They laughed about those dinners in Florence and rejoiced in finding love and one of the greatest gifts of all, friendship.

Auguri ancora bella mia..

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On Changing Your Life, Love, Laughter and Tears

I had one of those weeks that was busy, full of great people, photos, locations and meaningful life moments. After back to back photo sessions late Thursday night, Friday and Saturday AM I limped off to yet another ‘blind date’ to meet a dear friend of a friend  for a coffee.

I was tired yet happy, it had been a big week and I had just spent a morning in a spectacular hotel suite with a beautiful girl taking the kind of photos I love.

I would have loved to cancel, I needed an afternoon for myself but I kept my promise. I arrived early at Merci, ordered a ‘detox’ tea and hope that it would help me survive the questions about Paris and small talk that I presumed i was about to have.

Instead, in walked this divine gal who sat day down and within five minutes we are discussing the things that really matter in life.

Listening to her was like looking at myself 12 years ago, she had just said goodbye to Sydney in search of a richer life and love. She was on the road to somewhere but still didn’t know where she was going. I was filled with excitement for her.

We swapped stories with a vigour only two girls who have lived almost the same life can do, we cried, we laughed, we talked about men, babies (and lack of) and being single. I told her about the roller coaster ride I have lived during the past twelve years and the big gulps of life I had the chance to breath. I told her there have been good days and bad days but never a day I wish I could go back.

My tiredness evaporated and was replaced with enthusiasm. Enthusiasm for all of you out there who are single and asking yourselves what are you going to do with your life. On one side of the table was the old me (her) and on the other was the new me. It was looking at a journey of my life with my bags packed on the station (her) and then fast forwarding to sitting on a train passing through a wonderful country side to a destination that I still don’t know it’s name.

Sorry about the blur, I didn’t have my glasses!

Gals, it’s all possible. Each of us have the power to change our lives and live a new life. We have all had our hearts broken, lived through difficulty and things we wished we hadn’t done. But never be fearful about trying again or loving again.

As we hugged goodbye I had to whip into the ladies room and there on the toilet walls were notes for us girls. I couldn’t resist shooting the ones above, such wise words on a toilet wall and so in the moment. I skipped all the way home thinking of all of you embarking on new lives or wishing to.

Oodles of love dust from a traveller on the same road.

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PS; If you are in Paris stop by the Merci cafe toilets for loads of inspiration!!!!