YEAR ABROAD : FIRST WEEKS IN PARIS / STRUGGLES & OBSERVATIONS

YEAR ABROAD : FIRST WEEKS IN PARIS / STRUGGLES & OBSERVATIONS

This one’s really for those of you who may be embarking on a year abroad in the near future. If you’re not, you’re all welcome too I guess.

Ok, so I’m not here to tell you it’s all going to be terrible but I am going to be brutally honest about a few of the struggles I had upon my arrival in Paris and during my first couple of weeks here. Before you get reading, start worrying and over thinking, it’s not all doom and gloom and of course, it does and will improve exponentially throughout the year and then no doubt, settling back in for fourth year at Cardiff will be the next challenge! The plan here is also to throw in a few little cultural observations I’ve made at the end, so don’t get too disheartened and do carry on reading!

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MARVELS of MONTMARTRE: Amélie, Dalí & Artist’s Square

MARVELS of MONTMARTRE: Amélie, Dalí & Artist’s Square

Being here two weeks in advance of my classes has had its tribulations.  However, it has also given me plenty of free time to do some exploring. As a hardcore fan of the film Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain, Montmartre seemed like a natural and obvious place to begin. The endless steps were most definitely rewarded by the spectacular view from the Sacré-Cœur and my fangirl moment outside the Café des 2 Moulins.

7/9/2017 / Amélie Sites

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IMG_7385Misty Parisien Cityscape

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VACAY IN VALENCIA

VACAY IN VALENCIA

Another Spanish city break. Another girly getaway. This time Valencia was calling . . .

We’re going back a while now but in celebration of the end of exams and thus, the end of my second year at Cardiff university / reaching the half way point in my degree etc. (who needs excuses anyway yada yada), two of my housemates and I booked an urban girly retreat to Valencia, Spain. Having all acclimatised to the matte skies of Cardiff, the Spanish sun was most definitely calling. Be warned, this is a photo heavy post! 

Day one was for exploring (and papping each other it seems)

9/6/2017

Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències / Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias / The City of Arts and Sciences

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YEAR ABROAD : UPON ARRIVAL À PARIS

YEAR ABROAD : UPON ARRIVAL À PARIS

As a Modern Foreign Languages student, my degree involves an Erasmus year abroad study or work placement in this, my third year. I have just arrived in Paris and quite frankly, that’s both so very exciting and absolutely terrifying all at the same time. Until very recently my year abroad has seemed like a distant, abstract idea. It has done for years.

But now it’s here and let’s face it, shit got real.

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BREAK IN BARÇA

BREAK IN BARÇA

I’m a sucker for a city break so when mumma suggested a girly Easter getaway, I was so down. We decided on Barcelona, having both wanted to visit for some time, and what a fabulous decision it was. Arriving on morning of the Tuesday 11th and flying home on the afternoon of Friday 14th April, we had 3 nights and plenty of daytime to wander around and explore the city. Let’s take a look at our mini adventure through photos!

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FORTNIGHT in NORMANDY

FORTNIGHT in NORMANDY

Having just arrived home from a wonderful fortnight in Normandy, I thought it about time I return to the blog having not posted since before my first set of university exams. So, before getting into talk about my travels, I should say that all went well. I finished my first year studying French at Cardiff University with 69%,  one frustrating percent from a 1st but delighted nevertheless.

After months of lazing around at university and taking my first year pretty easy, I was so ready for a break having done some real work again for a few weeks. Normandy was the absolute ticket and oh so relaxing.

Having been kindly invited along by Tom’s dad, we had been so looking forward to this trip for weeks! After my new passport finally arrived, we decided that I would drive to Portsmouth, we would catch the ferry to Cherbourg, (I would be brave) and drive to the château on the other side.

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THOUGHTS on BRIDESHEAD REVISITED by EVELYN WAUGH

THOUGHTS on BRIDESHEAD REVISITED by EVELYN WAUGH

If we take a look back to ‘The Line-Up‘ post from a whole 7 months ago, this was in fact one of the featured books sitting on my ‘To Read’ shelf at home. Having purchased a lovely copy of Brideshead Revisited upon recommendation, I had been eager to read it for some time when I picked it up a couple of months ago. Not only had I been told that the novel itself was superb, but several people had also spoken highly of the dramatisations. Fortunately, I had not seen the television series nor the film and came to the book with no pre-conceived ideas, judgements and without any idea about the plot and storyline.

IMG_4362‘The Line-Up’ post from back in July.

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Having just finished The Great Gatsby (another novel featured in ‘The Line-Up’), a tale of new money and affluence also set in the 1920s, I was ready for the English old money equivalent. I was right in the idea that this novel is completely and utterly English old money. However, the plot goes much deeper than that. The theme of love for example is complicated by marriage and subsequent infidelity,  family and religion. Prosperous Jay Gatsby may throw a good party but the indulgent Oxford days of Charles and Sebastian seem to go one step further. Living off of family allowances, the pair indulge in parties and alcohol, plenty of it. Sebastian’s indulgent lifestyle slowly spirals into a state of depression and alcoholism as a form of escapism, one of the darker sides to the extravagant lifestyles and eccentric personalities explored within the novel.

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I’ve already purchased another Evelyn Waugh novel so we shall mark this read as a success. Stay tuned.

LUNCH at MADAME FROMAGE

LUNCH at MADAME FROMAGE

Having wanted to lunch at ‘Madame Fromage’ since starting university in Cardiff back in September, I finally got round to going last week and I have to say it did not disappoint. Located in one of the pretty Cardiff arcades, it makes for the perfect lunching spot.

Upon arrival, we were told that there would be up to a half hour wait for food which we didn’t mind and proceeded to take a table for two (the food only actually took 15-20 minutes to arrive). We were super hungry as we had been saving ourselves for a big late lunch, so we ordered the large cheeseboard and a Welsh Rarebit to share, as seen below.

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The large cheeseboard shown above consisted of more than 10 cheeses to sample, walnuts, gherkins, apple slices, some pickle, a large mixed salad and was served with a selection of bread, and butter (the board was much bigger than it looks in these photos and we had to do some rearranging to fit it onto the table). It also comes in a mini version, more suitable for one. The selection of cheeses was delightful and I have to say there wasn’t one that did not please. As for the Welsh Rarebit, this was just as delicious and we could have definitely managed another slice, I’m sure.

IMG_0848The Specials Board (12/2/16)

We were so impressed by all of the yummy cheesy goodies on offer, that we are already planning the next lunch at ‘Madame Fromage’.

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FEATURED IMAGE TAKEN FROM http://www.visitcardiff.com/eatdrink/madame-fromage/ (Because mine looked rubbish)

Unfortunately, all of the photos for this post were taken on my iPhone 5 rather than my DSLR so I must apologise for the photo quality this time and promise to take my camera with me more often!

MY ETSY SHOP

MY ETSY SHOP

With this post today, I’m bringing something a little different to the table. I started this blog with a post about the book that got me interested in starting to read again, Lolita. Although I am still working my way through my ‘TO READ’ list and will continue to post about reading from time to time, what I want for this blog is that it represents me and everything that I enjoy doing. The reason for that is not only for it to be varied and somewhat (I hope!) entertaining but also so that I can look back on it in years to come and remember what I was up to and into at certain points in my life.

As some of you may know, I’ve always been a pretty creative person. This is something that has been present throughout generations of my family in different ways, whether that be gardening, knitting, embroidery, painting or music. Since dropping Art at AS Level though, I haven’t felt all that inspired until I was in need of a little extra money before the start of university. Although it hasn’t yet been a roaring success, my Etsy shop has provided a little pocket money at times and I’m really hoping it picks up one day! So without further ado, I am sharing some of our items with you.

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Let’s start with what I deem to be the most impressive item in the Tas De Trucs Etsy shop, my nan’s addition. This is an acrylic jumper in a funky rainbow double knit. I think it’s just beautiful and that Nanny Dwi is v. talented. Special thanks must also go to my model.

Moving onto this trio of 6 inch cross stitches by my super talented mum. I love these and think they’re so, so cute and colourful. They would be the perfect addition to a nursery or playroom. Below are another two of mum’s creations. These two are a little smaller at 4 inches, ever so intricate and embellished with tiny beads.

As for the scrapbooks, these are my own additions to the shop and I am pleased to say that I have managed to sell a pretty and pink baby girl scrapbook, an engagement journal and a wedding guest/scrapbook which are no longer available. The following baby boy books are however still in stock. I think scrapbooks make such a lovely gift, whether you fill it yourself before gifting, or leave it for the new parents to fill themselves. I love how these two look together and could be perfect for twins too.

And finally, the two newest items are the scrapbooks below just in time for Valentine’s Day! I think these two are really versatile and could be suitable as an anniversary, engagement, wedding or Valentine’s Day gift. Again, they would be great filled with photographs of the happy couple, of you and your partner or left empty for whomever you’re gifting to, to fill with memories themselves. I’ve also had a bit more fun with the staging and editing of these two newbies and really like how the photos turned out and make the books look. All of the scrapbooks have 40 plain pages ready for crafting, creating and documenting your special moments.

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Last but certainly not least, here is the link to all of these goodies:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TasDeTrucs?ref=hdr_shop_menu

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