Food in Paris

I snapped all of these pictures when I was walking around Paris. Most of them are from the Saint Germain market, which we just passed through quickly on our last day but it was so lovely to see people actually shopping there and picking up their baguettes and vegetables. I’d love to live in Paris one day. My mum and walked around talking about how nice it would be to have a little pied-a-terre that we could just pop to at the weekend. Just dreamy.

Easy Like a Sunday Morning…

I have been recently inspired to recreate my entire summer look. This is the reason why. The video is from the DACE SS10 lookbook. I discovered the line thanks to a recent blog written by Sherin at HiFashion (Thank you!). Just watch and enjoy the simple French music, Bardot-esque model and beautiful, simple clothes…!
Don’t you just love the sun shining? Yesterday I took a book into the back garden and just sat enjoying the return of the summery weather! I’m going to Sardinia next week and really hope I get some fabulous sunshine. It’s guaranteed to put a smile on my face!

Next Step…

I have signed up to write for the Adornment (Fashion and Beauty) section of “The Sanctuary”, the new student newspaper at the University of Birmingham. Juggling that with final year work may be a challenge, but I am really looking forward to experiencing these things first hand. I have also put my name down for a French module next year entitled “La Presse et son discours: analyse et ecriture”. It is all about the style and analysis of French newspapers etc, so I’m hoping that I get it, as its another small step into learning more about the world of journalism. I still haven’t got round to finishing my article for Module 2 of my fashion journalism course, as life is just getting in the way and I really want it to be good, so I dont want to just sit and rush it out, just to send it off! Though it is tempting, considering how little free time I have at the moment!

I should probably stop writing blogs and get on it!!

Messing about on the river…

Canoeing down the Loire River. It sounds like either a great adventure or something that you would never touch with a bargepole (excuse the pun!) in your life. At first, I took the latter approach, as the idea of being stuck in a boat with only your waist up visible and cruising down fast flowing rapids did not appeal in the slightest.  What if you tipped over? I am the kind of person to panic at that stage and not flip back up again! However, then I found out that they were more like kayaks and you could have up to 3 people in the boat with you, so it became more appealing and a fun day out with my group of friends here. So, I signed up. 

The day did not start well. My alarm didn’t go off, mainly because I set it wrong, but by chance was woken up at 8.45am – the time that I was supposed to be outside the language school catching the bus! I have never got ready so quickly in my life and practically sprinted there, with arms flailing, lots of heavy breathing and and pauses to put my shoe back on! I made it and managed to catch my breath on the bus. Though, this was only after having problems with my friend’s seatbelt and very slight humiliation with the driver trying to help to make it bigger for her! French people are very small…! We then were driven to a house/welcome reception, where one of the bus drivers/instructors wives gave us freshly made coffee and orange juice. That made me happy, my caffeine kick after a rushed morning! Then we were given the life jacket gilets. The guy took one look at me and gave me an extra large one – things were going well! Hmmm… Then more intense humiliation followed when the gilet was too big for me so I couldn’t gracefully clamber back into the minibus and once I had managed that and got my seatbelt on, I just could not reach the door to close it, so the driver had to get out and close it for me…
Once at the place, we were all assigned canoes, although as luck would have it for us that day, my friend and I ended up with one of each of us in the instructors’ canoes… with everybody’s valuables! Good move. However, (thank God!) as it turned out, I was actually quite good at canoeing and rather enjoyed floating around on the river and rowing downstream. The lunch break was fabulous too, as we stopped on a beach, where the wife had reappeared with her daughter and set up a grill on a fire and a really good buffet with cous cous and pasta salad, crisps, fruit and cheese! Whilst they were setting that up , we were taken to a local winery, where the owner mixed up the bottles and accidently gave us a really expensive bottle to try, which was delicious! The lunch break lasted about three hours and consisted of more wine and even champagne, before they set us all loose, slightly tipsy, on the river again! 
The second half of the day was more difficult as the wind picked up and the currents grew stronger, but I enjoyed the exercise and Hakim, my bus driver and instructor decided to serenade me all the way. This would have been nice if a) he had been good looking ( i disagreed with those that said he was!) and b) a good singer. Unfortunately, he was neither of those things and after the thirtieth rendition of “Stand by Me”, sung with my name “Ste-fa-nie”, I was no longer amused!
In total, we rowed 20km, albeit leisurely, and arrived back in Tours, where we could just walk home, or as we did, find the nearest cafe and not move for about 2hrs! All in all, i had a good day and despite a bit of sunburn, really enjoyed it and would love to do it again!

Life in the Loire Valley

I haven’t written on here for over a week because I’ve been getting used to life in France. I’m here on a month-long language course as part of my university course (they pay!). There isn’t a whole lot of things going on in Tours (well, there is, but it can be a bit strange!). I saw some form of street theatre the other day where people were going mad in the street with a huge painting and then running off down the street with the audience following them and mostly leaving a big mess in their wake! Also, there are a few dance shows that are pretty random – my friends went to some where everyone was naked and covering each others’ private parts with their hands! Lovely..! Hmm… the language course is quite intense with a minimum of 3hours of grammar lessons a day starting at 9am… after living in Spain, I’m not sure I remember what that is!

I mainly would like to be enjoying my summer and travelling around, but I can’t complain for being in the Loire Valley, so I will try and stop! Though, the rain isn’t helping me! It’s like being back in England, or even Santiago again. I guess that I should feel right at home!
I’m staying with a family, as immersion is the best way to get the most out of a short period in a place linguistically and although I have heard some nightmare stories, the woman that I am staying with is actually very nice! She’s a single mum with 2 grown up daughters and a 12yr old girl who spends a lot of the summer holidays at camp or with her father, so the house is pretty laid back. I have a lovely room and surprisingly a pretty independent life here!
I have been up to a few little trips and things and have more in the pipeline, but later blogs will come with that!

PS. I finally managed to get pictures up on the “Las Islas Cies” blog, so feel free to go and check them out!