Sunday, 2 August 2015

Happiness this week is... #50

NUMBER 50?! Say whaaaa...
Visiting Clisson and the castle there with my host family last weekend! My camera died 'cos it was a bit spontaneous... it was so beautiful though, you'll have to take my word for it! All I managed to get were some photos of a river where we stopped before heading to the castle, the village, and the medieval themed markets! Everyone was dressed up, there were so many stalls full of amazing hand made trinkets, and the smell of freshly whipped candyfloss (is that right? Does one 'whip' candyfloss?).
RNA extractions. All week. Which gets kinda tedious but I like that I can just get on with everything and don't need help at all. And that the majority of samples are looking good... so far! 

Three day weekend, wooo! I got Friday off because there would be no one in our lab at all and I couldn't work there on my own! Two were on holiday, and two were going off to a festival! We are a very small lab in the big lab...

Thought provoking documentaries. Not gonna lie, depression has kicked me in the butt recently. And, as morbid as it sounds, but sometimes all I can do is watch a dark and chilling documentary. I've watched a few this week and they're all bloody good. I seem to be running out of decent dark and chilling documentaries to watch though... any recommendations to fuel this addiction?!

Narrowing down the blogs I follow to the ones that I really enjoy. Sorry if I unfollowed you... I have just been finding too many of blogs so samey and preachy... so if I still follow you, well done, that means you stand out from the crowd ;-)

Giant mugs of tea. I have very sweetly been given a big mug that says 'la mer' on it from little Eric (well his parents' really...) for looking after him one night when he cried and screamed because he fell into the cupboard. I have no idea why little ones like me so much but his face lights up whenever he sees me!
Finding a more peaceful side to Nantes. I find the town centre with all the shops a bit too busy, too many drunks, smells of piss... not my fave. But I wandered towards La Loire and found the memorial of the abolition of slavery, Ile des machines, and basically a much more relaxed side of Nantes. I sat by the river and shared my paprika peanuts with some cute little birds. It always is the simple things that make me feel settled.

I hope you don't mind the odd collection of photos there! I don't really have the opportunity to take any during the week, so these are some I took on my walk along La Loire. I will be putting some into other posts, maybe some guides on things to do and see? There doesn't seem to be much out there on guides to Nantes! What do you think? And how has your week been? Any adventures? :-)

Friday, 31 July 2015

Instamonth #July

Artois || amber jewellery || butterflies in Belgium
on the train || some more patterned tights || sunset
pizzaaaa! || lunch on the beach || classic snakebite

Most instamonth posts usually start with me saying 'oh what a crazy month' or 'it went so fast!' and I guess this month was also pretty mad, I mean, I am in France, and I did get to go to Belgium for the first time and met an internet friend! Sometimes I feel it's all gone really fast, but looking back I'm like jeez.... this month was actually so long. Now I'm glad to see the start of August!

The photo of the beach and beach huts is from another Ifremer station, near La Rochelle, about a 3-4 hour drive from Nantes, where we had to go to collect UV treated seawater for the experiment. Long ass journey, but lunch on this beach and getting a tour around another Ifremer station was totally worth it!

I also went to Clisson with my host family which is a quaint town with Italian and medieval architecture and beautiful castle ruins. The place is all medieval themed with people dressed up and so many stalls of wonderful handmade trinkets, food, and bags and shoes! The photo of all the amber jewellery is from there, there was so much of it! And as always, I was totally drawn to it! I actually forgot to charge my camera that day so it died before we even got near the castle #bloggerprobz but instead I just enjoyed it, I think the smells of the place will stick in my mind more than anything else! Especially that of the fresh candyfloss being whipped up...

The butterflies and old Artois building were taken in Belgium, probably the best weekend of the summer so far! I have so many photos to share, I'm still trying to organise them into a few posts!

Now tell me, how are you? I hope July has been kind to you and filled with summer adventures and/or relaxation! Maybe some sun too! xo

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Team catwalk or team comfort?

Someone once said "the airport is my runway" I think it was Victoria Beckham. I'm pretty sure it was. And it kinda seems that way for a lot of people! Then you have people who dress in those god-awful velour tracksuit sets with their hair still in matching pink rollers (no judgement, I swear).

I like to think I'm somewhere in between. Which makes me smug. 'Cos hellooo I'm comfortable, and look hella cool *swishes hair and pouts*. Seriously though, you guys know me, you know what my outfit posts are like! I like to choose bold prints on comfy material, or just rock the student-traveller look, which is totally a thing by the way.
 Oh look! A flat lay!
As I keep mentioning (and will continue to mention until something more interesting happens in my life) I'm in France! Which means I don't have my professional photographer to help take snaps. So, I've tried flat lays for the first time to attempt to show you what I'll be wearing on my flight home in August!

Did I mention bold prints and comfy material already...?
Jumpsuit and silver shoes both from Topshop...
I've actually worn this jumpsuit in an outfit post before, paired with my chunky knitted cardigan that my nana knit me, which you can see here. It would actually be the perfect outfit to fly in but I didn't bring the cardi with me because France is hot (supposedly, it's been raining and cold the past few days) but aeroplanes always have the air con turned waaayyy up and I always get freezing! Which means I also always wear socks. Just had to be clear about that...

I also included some clutter, 'cos, ya know, it wouldn't be a flat lay without the extra bits ;-) I nearly always have a book with me on the plane, and plane or no plane, my burt's bees lip balm goes wherever I go! I used to have some refreshing moisturising face spray which I actually took on the plane when I went to Florida! Here I've pictured The Body Shop's Aloe Soothing Day Cream, which to be honest is overpriced but it was on offer, and it comes in a dinky little pot, perfect for carrying on the plane! 

The flight to France is quite short, but because I've been here so long I have a big suitcase to bring back and a weeny one for hand luggage. Unforch as I'm flying with easyjet this means I have to stuff everything I need on the flight in there, some airlines actually allow you to have a little 'accessory' as well, i.e. a little bag to put your essentials in. Obviously your passport and boarding pass need to be easily accessible so I honestly don't know why all airlines don't allow it! I didn't actually know if easyjet allowed this or not, but found out from Purple Parking's handy hand luggage allowances table, which compiles the information from most major airlines (some of the further information is highly amusing  - easyjet allow crutches and walking frames, how generous).

I have to ask... are you team catwalk or team comfy? Or somewhere in between? ;-)

This post was sponsored by Purple Parking, but, as always, opinions in this post are purely my own!

Monday, 27 July 2015

What I've learnt so far from my summer in France

Lickle balls of cells // oyster embryos
1. I LOVE lab work. Like, a lot! It may have something to do with the lab that I'm in and the amazing people I get to work with every day, but just knowing that I can do this feels awesome!

2. Oysters are smelly.

3. Working abroad is lonely. I know I just said the people I work with are awesome, but every evening I come home to a house full of strangers and I just wish I could come home to my family and friends instead. I don't think travelling alone is for me. All the awesome things I've seen or want to go see I am immediately like "oh so-and-so would love this!" I just want to share all of this with someone.

4. I am way too sensitive to temperature! It's not even extreme temperatures here, but if I get too hot I feel dizzy and sick, but if it's cold I feel that all too easily as well! And then I get laughed at...

5. It's bloody hard being vegetarian and trying to be vegan in France. So hard.

6. I miss having my own kitchen. There just isn't enough space in the one here for me and everyone else trying to squeeze in! So often I don't cook/eat or I eat at weird times. I can't wait to get back to Portsmouth 'cos we'll have a brand new kitchen waiting for us eeek!

7. I always say I hate kids, and then people point out how good I am with them. And yes I love some kids (my cousins mostly) so I've learnt that actually I hate screamy, whiny, bratty, smelly kids. I have never heard children scream so much (maybe my cousins are all just super chirpy and lovely for little rugrats?!).
8. I like peace and quiet, too much noise makes me anxious. My host family are a loud family, and that's fine, for them. But shouting, door slamming, children screaming, and stomping around the house instead of walking all makes me super antsy. Which is part of the reason I'm hardly blogging, I actually can barely focus when they're in the house because I'm so on edge.

9. Everywhere is cheaper than England! Everywhere in Europe I mean ;-)

10. The rest of Europe really couldn't give a fuck about England either (and I'm not surprised).

I can't think of many bloggers who have studied abroad, I have a couple in mind, and only one who specifically did Erasmus in France... speak up or forever hold your peace if you've had any study abroad experience and any surprises you learnt during it! If not, is it something you would like to do?