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It’s not mine, but it’s a taste of what could be. A trial run of adulthood, maybe. Sans bills or the majority of my rent (thanks mum & dad). But it’s still a taste nonetheless. Although I’ve lived away from home during term time since the end of 2015, and even before then had stints at boarding school from the age of 8, moving to France alone is a different experience altogether. Moving to Paris back in September was terrifying and it was almost just as scary moving to Lyon a couple of weekends back. However, things have started differently here, and indeed for the better. I jumped straight into university on day 3, rather than having a fortnight of not knowing what to do with myself in Paris. University takes up 10 and a half hours a week, spread across 4 weekdays, as opposed to just 5 or 6 hours in Paris divided between a Tuesday and a Saturday. Yes, uni on a Saturday. I’m also going to be taking up a job offer rather soon that will keep me occupied for a further 8 hours per week and in some form of grown-up routine (vs. little bits of studying here and there and taking full advantage of that free month of Netflix).

Top tip : Flowers brighten the room and in turn, lift your mood – especially super pretty ones from a lovely little French florist.

Another thing though, something that I think is helping exponentially with my Year Abroad experience this time around (which admittedly, seems to be a little less wild than some), is that I am living alone in a studio. Granted, it’s not for every 21 year old wanting to explore a new city and culture whilst learning more of a language and perhaps in that sense it’s an error of judgement or the easy way out, but I love it here in this room that I can call my own for the next 3 or 4 months. It’s also a little further out than what would have been ideal, an almost 40 minute walk to university. However, that’s actually resulted in me hitting that 10,000 step target on most days, which can only be a good thing. The studio means that I have my own space entirely. A bathroom and kitchen of my own, rather than just the bed and desk going unshared. But it’s not just the room. I have my own mailbox with my name on a sticker and a name tag on the front door to buzz guests into the building (which is also beautiful by the way). Mum & Dad are visiting in March so they can test it out for me. Needless to say, it’s remained out of use thus far. . .



Questionable lighting choices.



Food is only ever a few steps from bed.
Takeaways for one aren’t so terrible after all.


Living alone might sound like it’s going to be lonely maybe even creepy, and I must admit I did have my doubts, especially after some super lonely times in my room in Paris. But as with most things and as cliché as it may be, life it is what you make of it. Of course, there are lots of solutions to combat loneliness but sometimes you do just want to be by yourself and living alone makes it beyond easy to do so. It also comes with lots of other benefits. Meals for one mean choosing the accompanying TV show and takeaways without the ordeal of choosing where to order from, the entire place is kept exactly how you want it to be kept – at whatever level of tidiness you so desire, and there are no queues to anything – that’s no knocking / knocks on the bathroom door, and no lining up for the hob, because it’s all your’s.




4 / 2 / 2018




I’m a little behind on blog post plans due to my 21st birthday (belated, celebratory post coming soon), attempts at studying and working towards my TEFL (also to be discussed soon), and general laziness in all honesty. So let’s throw it back to the beginning of the month . . .

After a lovely and much needed break at home, mum flew back with me to Paris. I had been desperate to visit Versailles, so used this as the perfect opportunity to drag somebody along with me (she was more than compliant really). However, Versailles is more of a full-day / Saturday outing so on the afternoon and evening of our arrival we had a wander, and some food and wine . . . naturally. When in Rome and whatnot.


Montmartre has now twice been my go-to tourist spot to take my visitors here in Paris. We got off the métro at Pigalle, had a quick look at the Moulin Rouge and headed up to the Sacré-Cœur (mum loves a church / cathedral on holiday, it’s a well known family fact). After looking around for somewhere to eat, I suggested we check out the Amélie café as another hint that mum should watch one of my favourite films / at least one of my many viewing suggestions. We headed there and had a cheese board, chips and wine along to some lovely unexpected live music.


Moulin Rouge


Mumma @ Café de 2 Moulins




Versailles was incredible. To the extent in some rooms that I really was speechless. No photo will do justice to just how absolutely huge and totally grand the Château de Versailles truly is. It’s bloody massive. Having recently rewatched the first series of the BBC’s “Versailles” and binge-watched the second, I was pining to see where all that drama, those sordid tales and the infamous wild soirées of Louis XIV went down, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Let’s allow the snaps to do the talking.

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La chapelle royale / The absolutely magnificent Royal Chapel




La Galerie des Glaces / The Hall of Mirrors


Le Grand Appartement du roi / The King’s Appartments



The Gardens


Getting those IGs ft. new The Great Frog rings, Vans from my besties and nails a lot fresher than they are now.


Mum looking all windswept and interesting (hope you had a great time visiting me!!)




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!


As with moving to any new city, getting about the place is one of the first hurdles you will encounter. Therefore, public transport must be at the top of your to-do list upon arrival. Having lived fairly rurally back home, I have driven myself everywhere since the age of 17 and in Cardiff, as I’m sure you are all by now aware, everywhere is within walking distance. Of course, I have used the tube, and various other forms of public transport when travelling, but it has never been part of my everyday. If like me, you also have a dodgy sense of direction, Apple / Google Maps or Citymapper will become your new best pal. Once you have your daily commute down, the rest (including all of the getting lost) becomes exploring. The cost of public transportation is obviously city dependant but I would advise looking into some kind of travel pass (e.g. Navigo card in Paris) to make this aspect of your year abroad life as economic as possible.


Accommodation was my top pre-departure concern. I had somewhat underestimated how difficult it would be to find somewhere even remotely affordable in central Paris. This has resulted in me living in a semi-suburban Air B&B room in a shared flat, which is working out well for the most part but has left me a little further away from other students than I would have perhaps liked and will definitely look for in Lyon. Thus, be organised and start looking for somewhere to live ASAP. It can be a little scary when you’re on the verge of homelessness just days before your flight but if it comes to that, remember there are always temporary options and it could be easier to find somewhere once you’re actually in your new country.


Moving from the Welsh capital to the French, there has certainly been a jump in expenses so your finances are another boring adult measure to bear in mind. I’ve been learning the hard way thus far.


Now for the language barrier. This one was of course to be expected. Your target language is going to sound a little different in context and when spoken by your native peers than it has ever done in the confines of a classroom spoken by your numerous teachers over the years. I’ve got all my hopes set on the idea that only time will improve this aspect, practice makes perfect etc. In all honesty, when moving to a major European city the “culture shock” that everybody speaks of isn’t going to be massive, you’ll probably only notice a few little quirks.


I read somewhere recently that Paris is known as a lonely city and this reinforcement of something that I had been feeling, in turn made me feel much better about it and changed my outlook on this experience completely. As cliché as it may sound, your year abroad really is a time you can utilise to “find yourself” (as much as I tend to despise the term). Being alone is sometimes something we all need to embrace and self-entertainment, whether it be exploring your new home, studying or reading, is most definitely a valuable skill.


To put all rumours to bed, there aren’t men with handlebar moustaches walking around in striped t-shirts with strings of garlic or onions about their necks. There are however plenty of beret wearing ladies, lots of people on bicycles and people walk around with many a baguette (often nibbled at, as I think I have demonstrated rather well below) under one arm / in an artsy tote bag.


Everybody smokes. Ok, not everybody. But people of every age, on every street corner, are smoking. The smoking break at a nearby office looks to a passer-by somewhat like there has been a fire drill given the amount of people who have left said building.


Perhaps it’s coming from a small town into a big city that has made me realise the heightened military and police presence, but armed police literally seem to be everywhere. Like ants on the ground.


As much as I hate to make generalisations, nobody in Paris queues and you’ve got to be much more assertive en route to the till or whilst embarking the métro.


A green man means proceed with caution not go. Vehicles can (and will) still come at you from the left. This one, fortunately, I haven’t learnt the hard way.


People get visibly angry and cry in public. It’s so very un-British.


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


IMG_7385Misty Parisien Cityscape

IMG_7423Spot the moulin!

IMG_7446Café des 2 Moulins, where Amélie works!

IMG_7448Le Moulin Rouge


12/9/2017 / Espace Dalí

Espace Dalí was also on my week “To Do” list. An interest (and to some extent a confusion) in Dalí and the surreal was sparked back in my French Cinema module at Cardiff last year upon watching Un Chien Andalou, a surrealist short film by Dalí and Buñel – definitely worth a watch if you haven’t already seen it! The exhibition is kind of small but in the same way it’s intimate, thus allowing you to get around everything on offer super easily, sculpture and painting alike.


« Le surrealisme, c’est moi! »


« L’éternal féminin rend l’homme semblable à un crétin »


Artist’s Square

My visit to, and through, Artist’s Square was less orchestrated and was more of a visit en route. I was mesmerised by the artists at work and spent a good half hour walking up and down the line of portrait works, watching. I had absolutely no intention of being painted myself until I was called over by one of the men who didn’t have any work on offer, wanting to paint me “for fun” and not obliging to buy anything. Of course, not having any other plans, I thought why not? I ended up buying the painting.



In all honesty, the lower half of my face is a little off but I do like it as a painting nonetheless. It also means I’ve got a great little artsy souvenir of my first week in Paris, and my first week as an Erasmus student, forevermore!



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)


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













Day two, I will be honest with you, was a hungover right off.


We were kindly invited along to a (boozy) Erasmus Pool Party @ Tumbao Beach Club which was so much fun. 



Our last day was a tan topping (burning) beach day at Playa de la Malvarrosa. After cycling there, we rewarded ourselves with loads of obligatory paella and lazed around by the sea all day. Absolute bliss.









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!



We stayed in the super central Praktik Rambla Hotel on the Rambla de Catalunya and it was so gorgeous! We had a twin room with fancy French doors onto a cute little balcony overlooking a bustling square of restaurants. The super comfy beds made for great afternoon siestas too (when in Rome and all that).



Our visit to the Picasso Museum was perhaps my favourite outing. Get there early to avoid humungous queues!

Bruised like a peach in the land of the orange.


La Sagrada Família


Arc de Triomf

La Sagrada Família and the Arc de Triomf were spectacular. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get into the Sagrada as tickets were sold out but it was still great to walk around such a magnificent piece of architecture.

Couldn’t resist a snap in front of the cutest floral-fronted abode in Barcelona.

Now, onto food . . . and drink!

Obligatory holiday ice cream snap 🍨


Naturally, tapas and sangria were on the menu of an evening.


We were lucky enough to have a great tapas place literally on the doorstep of our hotel so naturally we took advantage of the fact and dined here two out of the three evenings of our stay, trying out different dishes each night.

Big thanks to mum for treating me to our girly Easter break! Barcelona was great fun and I’ll definitely be back.




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.


The bulk of the holiday was spent in the beautiful château above, situated in the village of Fontenay-sur-mer, Normandy which lent itself to relaxation galore.


Our absolutely gorgeous room was ever so grand with its alcove enclosed bed and chandelier.


On the several days that weren’t entirely spent swimming, snoozing and sunbathing, we visited local villages and more notably the nearby World War II batteries (namely Batterie de Crisbecq & Batterie d’Azeville) and Utah Beach. These visits were extremely poignant and really help to add depth and a sense of context to the Normandy scenery.

IMG_2634.JPGUtah Beach

Although the holiday was absolutely amazing, Tom did unfortunately miss his graduation ceremony. Thankfully, and due to all of his hard work & brains, he graduated with a first class BA (hons) in Ancient History so we were able to use the holiday as a huge and well deserved celebration!

IMG_5878.JPGThe staged graduation shot


After almost two years, we finally got a decent photograph together too.