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Showing posts with label france. Show all posts
Showing posts with label france. Show all posts

Sunday, 24 January 2016

My winter pilgrimage

bokeh passports
brittany ferries porthole
rainy window ship
brittany ferries
cheese plate pont aven
cheese goodness brittany
ferry bar drinks
dan eats a biscuit
inside pont aven ferry
cabin selfie
cabin bed brittany ferries
boat breakfast pont aven

Every year we take a trip to my dad's place. He lives in Brittany, and although there are a lot of ways to get there, my absolute favourite is the overnight Brittany Ferries crossing from Portsmouth to St Malo. We get the same ferry almost every time - the Pont Aven - which is by far the best one in my opinion. I love the kitsch mix of patterned carpets, textured tiling and colourful seat designs, and the décor in general, but really I just love being able to get on the boat, dump all my luggage in the sleeping cabin, get dinner, go to the bar for a drink and then sleep through hours and hours of the crossing until morning, when I can get a cooked breakfast and watch the sun rise all blue and inky in the winter sky.
I have an entire set of traditions surrounding this boat journey - I always buy a little plate of cheeses with my meal even if I am completely full after eating the main course, and I also always get a packet of Prince biscuits (they're a bit like the chocolate BN biscuits if you remember those) to eat as a snack in the middle of the night in the cabin.
There's always some kind of cheesy entertainment going on in the bar, which is kind of magnificent against the bleak, blackness of the winter sea spray which pummels the boat as it sails through the night. Plus, the mojito in this bar is the cheapest and most lovingly made cocktail I think I've ever had. We usually sit in the bar for a bit and read or I write in my diary for a while, and then we head back to the cabin where I'll stick a film on my laptop and fall asleep.
I know the ferry isn't really the glamorous option, and some people are probably worried about getting sea sick or being uncomfortable, but while I can't speak for everyone, I've always found that I'm fine on this crossing. I pop a couple of travel-sickness tablets before the boat leaves, and this usually makes me drowsy enough to sleep by bedtime. The cabin is cosy and comes with its own toilet and shower, plus there's this ultra-soothing bagpipe music to wake you up just in time for breakfast in the morning. I have a huge amount of romance and nostalgia attached to Brittany Ferries, and to the Pont Aven boat in particular. For me it symbolises going to visit my dad, and it's also one of the highlights of winter for me, after my birthday!
I hope you enjoyed these photos - I got a brand new lens from Dan's parents for my birthday, so I've been having lots of fun playing around with it.

Monday, 12 January 2015

A creative year

winter brittany shutters

My time without the internet has been less traumatic than anticipated, if I'm honest. I had a chance to see my family, to recharge my batteries, and to think a lot about what I wanted from the next year of my life. I tend to get very existential towards the end of the year, what with my birthday and new year falling so close together. Plus, surrounded by the intense, frosty beauty of midwinter Brittany, I can't help but contemplate the world and my place in it.

I've got a lot planned for this year, and I'm going to share just a few of my ideas here, so you guys can hold me accountable, and then you get to look at some of the photos I took while I was visiting my Dad:

Food:

1. Make a new recipe we’ve never tried before, every single week.
2. Eat cheaply and healthily for the rest of the week.
3. Make lunch and take it to work.

Exercise:

1. Start Pilates – all of my doctors tell me I have to, so I should probably at least give it a go.
2. Go swimming with Dan every single week. Decide which day is best.
3. Attend these ‘back strengthening classes’ the hospital has decided to make me do. Eek!

Creativity:

1. Finish all of my currently unfinished poems (as of the beginning of the year).
2. Collect poems together into small book. Perhaps make it into a poetry zine of sorts and sell it? If not, think of something else to do with them.
3. Write at least three complete songs, and record demos of them.
4. Take a self portrait of me and Dan every single month. Be creative.
5. Buy a proper black fineliner, dig out my watercolours and watercolour paper to do some illustrations.
6. Make the picture-wall for our flat.

Blog-related stuff:

1. Work ahead with blog posts so I am not writing and publishing and photo editing all on one day.
2. Post at least twice a week.
4. Participate in all the networking bits and bobs! Make friends!

Being a functional human being:

1. Remember people’s birthdays and send them cards.
2. Actually collect all of my friends’ postal addresses into one single place. I think they call this an ‘address book’ but it’s been such a long time since I’ve had one that I can’t be sure.

Being magnificent:

1. Wear more glitter.
2. Bother to do my eyeliner more often.
3. Go on adventures, at home and on holiday.
4. Be kind to everyone (including myself).
5. Wear the best clothes.
6. Make time for self-care.
7. Work towards having a job I really love.

So, those are my main goals. I'm hoping that this year is a really meaningful one, with plenty of magic and lots of memories. Winter is always really tough for me, but I'm going to work hard to make it to spring and get a lot of important shizzle done. I feel like I've been out of the blogging loop for so long now - am I doing alright? How are you getting along with your new year goals so far?

frosty morning france
sea glass collection
nutella breakfast tea
winter boat party time
delicate silhouette sunset
moonbeams in winter

Saturday, 2 August 2014

My long distance relationship... with my family!

coping with relatives overseas

Like pretty much every other young adult on the planet, I have a complex relationship with ‘home’. Increasing numbers of children are growing up in composite families, and I’ve always been able to joke about being ‘the child of a broken home’. Even my friends whose parents are still together find themselves in a strange between-space as they leave their families and find their way in the world. ‘Home’ doesn’t necessarily feel like ‘home anymore’… But that’s another post for another day. Today I’m going to talk about my long distance relationship with my family.

90s family photo
riverside nostalgia

My mum is Australian, so I’ve always been stretched across the hemispheres of the planet. One of my earliest memories is wishing that there was such a thing as a video phone so that I could see all of these strange family members who wanted to speak to me down the phone once a week. (Obviously this was pre-skype, pre-facetime, and pre-internet in homes!) We went to visit them when I was three – god knows how my mum managed to keep three-year-old Candy occupied on a 24 hour flight… And I was bombarded with affection and love by this army of fast-talking, loud-laughing Australians. I’ve been back to visit them five times since, sometimes for months at a time, and every time I leave, it hurts more.

family reunion sydney
tiny fashionista coffeeshop
port douglas grandparents

When my parents split up, I split my time more-or-less evenly between the two of them. I lived out of my school rucksack from the age of ten, and soon became accustomed to the feeling of always missing someone. When I was at my Dad’s house, I missed my mum and my silly Stepdad, I missed the big sofa, and I missed the endless snacks available for my delectation. When I was at my mum’s house, I missed my Dad’s music, I missed my baby brother and sister, and I missed having someone to chat to, the moment I got back from school. I was always at home, but I was also never at home.

My long distance family story doesn’t stop there. When I was eighteen, my Dad moved to France with my stepmum and my little brother and sister. I had just finished my A-Levels, and I was tentatively preparing to move to Cambridge in the Autumn. Around that time, my Mum decided to spend some time with her family in Australia, and suddenly a natural ‘baby-bird-flies-the-nest’ scenario was out of the question. It was more of a ‘shit-the-nest-blew-away-in-a-storm’ kinda deal. I was essentially an international student, in terms of my living scenario, but I didn’t have any of the special storage allowances afforded to students from overseas. I remember getting a couple of comments in my first term at university about why I had SO MUCH STUFF in my room – in truth, I had ALL my stuff in my room…

These days, my Dad is still in France, and my baby brother and sister are old enough to chat using Skype and FaceTime. My mum lives back in Australia, and battles with the same ‘where is home?’ struggle that I do. My story is far from unique. One of my friends’ parents recently moved back to China after raising her in the UK. Many other friends moved to the UK to go to university, leaving their families behind in Poland, Italy, Spain and all sorts of other places. And whilst Skype and FaceTime make keeping in touch easier than when I was a child, they don’t take away that feeling of displacement that you get from being part of a long-distance family. And don’t get me wrong, when I say family, I don’t just mean those who are related to you by blood. Half of my family isn’t. Blood has nothing to do with the hollow feeling of missing someone you love.

I’m a firm believer in re-imagining the idea of home and making it resonate with you personally. We’re fed this idea of home being a physical space, occupied by blood relatives and where hearty, nostalgic food is readily available. Home is advertised to us as a place that we can always snap back to like an elastic band, even if we stray far away…

Balls to that. What about all of us whose family homes now house other families? What about those whose childhood houses have been bulldozed or redeveloped?

Home doesn’t need to be a physical space at all, and even if we have to keep re-teaching that to ourselves for the rest of our lives, I think it’ll be worth it in the long run.

very young siblings

The photos above are a selection of old photos and newer photos of my family. I don't have photos of everyone, as a lot of my photos are packed away, but I love them all so, so much (in case you didn't notice), and I miss every single one of them more than I could hope to express in words.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Winter in Brittany

I love the "country lifestyle".

Right now, I live in central London, but when I was growing up in Brighton I always had unlimited access to both the beach and the countryside. I also spent my summers in rural France, exploring everything on my own. I always relish going to stay with my Dad, so here's a little taster of what I got up to on my very relaxing trip to stay with him, this winter.

winter beach walk
winter sunset

festive table setting

winter prawn stew

analogue camera and woolen legs

twilight trees

magic lake brittany
It was the perfect way to convalesce after my operation. I'm on my way back to health, and looking forward to a productive, healthy, and happy new year. This year, I'm getting married, and lots of other exciting things are going to happen too! Keep your eyes peeled, friends!

Monday, 22 September 2008

The Summer.

Well, this erratic blogger is currently in Australia!

The summer has been... eventful, to say the least! I did my exams. Some were harder than others, and that showed in my results. But all in all, I got three As! Hurrah! I am going to Cambridge!

I went to Italy with my Orchestra for a week, and we also played in exotic Birmingham.



I also went to France to see my Dad and I spent two weeks there. It seemed to fly by to be honest. My sister was on her way to taking her first steps, and my brother was... cheeky as ever! I went on bicycle rides in rural France, and did all sorts of picturesque French things...

So, results day was emotional, and the day after, even more so.

I did manage to watch a film called 'Penelope' though, which I can't work out. Is it a new film? Has it been out for a while? Christina Ricci looked really young, but Reese Witherspoon looked the way she looks now... Anyway, it was a lovely whimsical film, and it had James McAvoy in it, which I would never complain about. I also made friends with a lovely woman, whose name I forget. I don't think I will ever forget her though. It wasn't as though she was particularly remarkable, but we had a bit in common, and she was very friendly. We both wept when we saw the Australian sunrise from the aeroplane window...

Since I have been here, I have swam with sea turtles on the Coral Ree
f in Queensland, walked over the Harbour Bridge in Sydney, seen the chimney in Port Kembla, touched various animals, got a new watch, got some sunburn, broken a lamp, and cut my foot, and eaten a LOT of Thai food!


So, I am home in a week, safely in the arms of my loved ones. But I am also, orphaned in my own country. My mother has just flown out to Australia for at least ten weeks, and my Dad has moved to France...

But I suppose I am going to Cambridge, so I shouldn't complain! I don't know what to expect! I am so excited but so... nervous. Stepping into the unknown! Gosh.

Well, here ends another post from possibly the most irregular blogger ever...

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Procrastination.

Although I have a french exam tomorrow, a three hour long exam encompassing every piece of literature ever written about the Great War on Friday morning, and another exam on Friday afternoon, on the Old Testament, I am still procrastinating. This worries me greatly, it really does... But for some reason, finding artwork for every single song on my iTunes library seems like a priority at the moment. As does updating a blog that nobody reads, at 1 in the morning, the night before an exam en francais...

Alors, what has been on my mind most of all today (aside from my hideous inability to focus my mind on revision) are my plans for when these wretched exams are actually over. Here is how my summer looks at the moment:

June 19th: Last two exams! at 3 O clock, I will be free!!
June 20th-21st: A trip to Stratford to see some Shakespeare plays, as a little end of exams treat! A group of us are going, and staying in a B&B.
June 23rd: My friend Tasha is having her birthday party. It is a fancy dress affair, and I love to dress up. So I had better get cracking with my idea... SO EXCITING!
June 25th: My french group are going out for lunch with our teachers. Yay!
June 27th: The official school leavers' day, and the Ball! I have my dress for that already but i need to get it altered slightly, because it is slightly too long.
June 28th: Another party! I have a feeling this one might be quite exciting, because the girl's parents are mailing out the invitations...! Also, this is the day my Dad, Brother, Sister, and stepmum all move to France for ever. :(
June 30th-ish: My Grade 8 Oboe exam... and I thought the exams were over... I am so nervous about this one. today I did a hardcore oboe practice session, spending an hour on ONE Bach Study... :(
July 3rd-12th: Orchestra stuff! I will be on tour in Italy, and then home to do the final concert, and then up to Birmingham for the Music for Youth festival...
August 6th: It is my friend Eleanor's birthday. I have been at every single one of her birthdays for the last nine years, I think! Imagine that!
August 14th: RESULTS DAY. OH MY GOSH. I don't want to spend the whole of the previous evening checking the UCAS website to see if they have updated it telling me if I got my place at Cambridge, or not.
August 15th-(September 28th): I am going to Australia to visit my family! I haven't seen them since I was fourteen... Which is quite a while considering how much growing and changing as a person you do, between the ages of fourteen and eighteen.

So that is my summer... I hope it all goes to plan. I really do. The only other thing keeping me going through these exams, and the guilt at having not sufficiently prepared, is the thought of all of the craft activities I am going to undertake as soon as my exams are over. And the novels I shall read! I am planning to read the second book in The Cornish Trilogy. And I have been recommended 'The Master And Margarita', which was originally in Russian. I might read it, or I might not, depending upon how heavy going it is, and how frazzled my poor brain is! I want to knit a long long scarf! And I want to make a menagerie of felt animals, and a bag for myself, and a skirt...

Oh and here is the link to this woman's photos:

PaperNest

She gave me the idea of making heart shaped rainbow crayons.

And on that note, sleep beckons...

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Things In List Format.

well, i haven't blogged for a while, mainly because i sort of failed to see the point. but here is a list of things which have been on my mind recently:

  • Cambridge University.
  • Getting the Grades.
  • Neck scarves made of silk.
  • Red hair
  • Shirts
  • Shorts
  • The 'Nautical' Look.
  • A band called Vampire Weekend
  • Colourful Tights
  • The Smiths
  • Cheese
  • Turtles
  • Sore Throats
  • Stress
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Hamlet
  • Trench Poetry
  • The Apocalypse
  • The Nature of Celebrity
  • Australia
  • My Family (not the television show, the actual people I'm related to!)
  • The Summer
  • Aeroplanes
  • Turkish Rose
  • Perfume
  • Vanity
  • "Rah Rah Rah!"
  • Glitter
  • Dreams
  • Fountain Pens
  • The 1990s
  • Colour
  • Vodka and Cranberry
  • France
  • Change
  • Twin Peaks
  • Cheese and Crisp Baguettes
  • Soup and Bread for lunch
  • Old Books
  • Sushi
  • Exercise
  • Individuality. (does it even exist?)
so there is a nice list. if anyone reads this, can they reply with a list?

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Romance

Salut toutlemonde!

Well, I am desperately trying to complete two french essays before i go out tonight to see a french film: Les Chansons D'Amour . I am really excited about seeing this film, as it has one of my favourite actresses in it (Ludivine Sagnier), and it is a musical!!! So all in all, i am having a bit of a french themed day. I just wish i hadn't left ALL of my homework until after New Year... and internet procrastination is my downfall.

On the subject of new year, I had a good one in the end, although theings were looking rough at one point. I was meant to be spending it in the village/town where my dad lives, with him, and my baby brother and sister. But I was getting more and more stressed out with the children, and with my life-plans (to convert to Judaism, marry a Hindu, and bring up several delightfully mixed race children) being shot to pieces by well meaning family friends, that I eventually upped and left, getting the first train I could to an even more remote village, where I was invited to a party at my friend Tasha's house. It was a really funny night, with some top quotes to enter into my Quote Book.
We weren't wearing hats for the entire evening, but they did come into the party equation for some reason. nobody really remembers why!

Christmas was good. I split my time between mother's and father's. (Oh the joys of divorce!) and of course received some pretty good presents. Lots of makeup, and some clothes, which is really what I wanted, so was pleased on that front. However, I did have to eat TWO christmas dinners, due to both parents insisting on being the one who cooked me my christmas meal... Neither of them know that the other one did, and I suppose I intend to keep it that way!

I have been discovering other people's blogs too, which has made me feel a bit like my blog isn't all that good! It doesn't really have a point to it, and I don't think anyone reads it!

So, back to my french essay on «Les éffets des progrès en génétique». I shall post a blog about Les Chansons D'Amour at some point. I really hope it is good!