La Belle Vallée de la Loire

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Once again.. long time no see my lovelies. How have you all been?

Recently life has been quite fabulous. I passed all of my A level exams, got into a college to do an Art foundation course and I got a new job! It’s all been happening in the life of Holly!

I was also lucky enough to spend 2 weeks in france visiting my Aunt in the extremely beautiful Loire Valley.

I met some wonderful people, practised my terrible french, and learnt a lot about enjoying the simple things in life while I was there, and I thought I would share a few photos of my adventures with you.

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My Aunt lives in a gorgeous village called Montreuil-Bellay. The architecture around is just unbelievable, and there is even a hogwarts-esque chateau right in the centre of the village!

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On the third day I was there, the village was holding an art competition. I wandered around the village with my camera and tried to make friends with as many of the artists as possible haha! There was some beautiful work happening (and most of it made me feel quite unworthy to be honest), and I met some very interesting people, who then proceeded to nag me to enter the art competition (oops).

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The man in the photograph below had one of the best ideas ever in my opinion. Instead of using paint, he painted only using Red Wine! I just thought this was such a fantastic idea- so original (and so very french, ha) I just wish I could remember his name.

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The sunday market in the village was probably the busiest it ever gets in Montreuil-Bellay. It made a nice change to see all of the locals out and about, as they were usually tucked away inside their houses, or out doing other things in the week.

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I have a slight obsession with french chateaus, so of course I had to take a visit to the famous Saumur Chateau, as the last time I went was almost 10 years ago. Lets just say, it totally lived up to my memories.

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I also got to visit one of the exciting troglodyte cave villages they have scattered around the region! I have never visited one of these before, and I was completely amazed at the idea of people still living in caves until very recently. There was even an underground church located directly underneath the ‘real’ above-ground church of the non cave village. When the village church got burnt down during the protestant vs catholic disagreements in the past, this cave church became a secret place that only a select number of people knew about- and could secretly go and worship in. I found it fascinating and amazing, and if you ever get the chance to visit a cave village, definitely do it- you wont be disappointed.

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Finally, on my last day I went to visit the beautiful walled village of the famous Cardinal Richelieu. As it was a monday, (and the french have to have their mondays off! haha) there wasn’t much happening, so after a quick look at Saint Bernard  in the church (Bernard being my second name, I couldn’t pass up the chance!) we decided to take a picnic to the Parc de Richelieu just a walk across from the gates of the town. It is such a beautiful park, and I had a lot of fun butterfly spotting!

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I had forgotten how beautiful the Loire Valley is- the fields of sunflowers and roses at the sides of the roads, how remote you feel driving through the country roads- yet you are never far from a village with everything you could need (and you are never far from a Super U 😉 ) and just the pure beauty of the architecture and nature of the place- there is literally no place nicer to be during the summer time. Who needs beaches when you have all the beautiful picnic areas and rivers you could ever need?

I hope your summers have all been as perfect as mine has!

Speak soon~

Holly

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Paris

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I thought i’d write a post about my ~kind of~ recent (if you can call October recent) visit to Paris.

So, I was lucky enough to get the chance to spend my eighteenth birthday in Paris. It was a part of France that I had never visited before, and I have always been beyond fascinated with capital cities (although dont get me wrong, I absolutely love the loire valley, where I have spent most of my time in France, but paris is completely different.)

I arrived in Paris late on the day before my birthday after a unnecessarily long journey (can I just say ferries are such a waste of time, planes are the best invention ever). We stayed in a hotel in the business district of Paris- La Defence- and the hotel was fabulous. My room overlooked the River Seine, I could see the Eiffel Tower lit up in the distance and I had wifi in my room- an obvious necessity 😉

Lets just say i could of quite happily lived in that room forever.

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On the morning of my birthday I woke up to this fantastic view. I couldn’t of been any happier- I’m pretty sure I just spent half an hour just drinking tea and staring out of the window.

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After a perfect breakfast of croissants and pain au chocolat (aka the best inventions ever), we left to have the cheesiest touristy day ever- sightseeing. I usually hate anything touristy and prefer to discover places on my own, but my parents had booked a guided tour of Paris and this was actually totally fun- we went to the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and ended with a cruise down the River Seine.

The river cruise was great, because it meant we got to see a lot of the beautiful architecture that makes Paris so special. And it gave me a chance to take a lot of photos.

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After the tour was over, it was time to explore some of Paris’s famous shops and cafe’s. Basically my favourite hobby haha!

First of all we visited a famous department store called Galeries Lafayette. It was huuuuge, there were 7 floors and to look at everything would probably take you all day, at least. But inside it was beautiful. In the cosmetics department, there was a dome ceiling which was decorated and surrounded by colourful balconies looking out from the other levels of the store.

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It was pretty I think all shops should look like that to be honest. If you went to the roof of this store, there was a balconied area that gave an amazing view of the Paris skyline. People were sitting up there on armchairs, drinking champagne and socialising, the perfect life haha!

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A nice part about Paris is that you can see the eiffel tower from almost anywhere in the city. It just made me really happy hah 🙂

The rest of the day was just wandering around Paris. We went for coffee in a cute little cafe, which was lovely, even though it rained pretty much all day.In the evening we visited the Latin quarter to go to a (very small) restaurant. Hands down this was the most atmospheric, lively restaurant i have ever been to.
There was a set menu (very french, onion soup for starters, followed by beef bourguignon, a cheese board and then apple tart for dessert) with unlimited wine included in the cost. Oh and champagne. Ha. Not only was the meal lovely, but there was an accordion and a guitar player walking up and down the restaurant all evening, interacting with the guests. They were hilarious.

The restaurant owners somehow found out it was my birthday, and got the accordion and guitar players to sing happy birthday to me (which the whole restaurant joined in with) AND they brought me cake and (more) champagne. It just made the evening even more unforgettable.

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Paris by night is so beautiful, being know as the city of light, you are in for a real treat when the sun goes down. I really recommend just wandering around with a camera after night fall, you wont regret it.

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(Sorry this photo isn’t exactly sharp, blame the wine haha)

So, the next day I just spent the day wandering around and taking photographs. The best way to explore Paris quickly is to buy a carnet for the metro- meaning you get 10 metro tickets for €12. A few highlights from the day include Nutella Crepes (oh my god the best things ever invented, I would literally marry one if I could), and a trip to the famous Louvre art gallery. Plus a huuuge bonus was that it was much sunnier than the previous day, meaning that we took a lovely walk through the park near the Louvre (most adorable place I have visited in my life).

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Oh, in the evening we went to Montmartre to see the artists. It was so inspiring, I literally was so shocked (and completley jealous) at their ability to draw such realistic drawings of people in less than 10 minutes, just wow. We also went inside the famous cathedral and I (sneakily) took a couple of photos, because it really was unbelievably stunning. We got the chance to see and hear the nuns that live in the cathedral singing too.

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I really had the time of my life, and I am completely and utterly in love with Paris now. If you get the chance, visit- I promise it will be one of the most memorable experiences of your life.

Sorry it took me forever to write this post, and sorry it is so long!

It has snowed about 1cm outside, so obviously there is complete chaos across the country, and college is cancelled tomorrow because england literally just cant cope with the snow. Not that i’m sad about college being cancelled of course! 🙂

I hope you had a good weekend~

À bientôt!!

Happy New Year

Now that 2013 is officially upon us, i feel its time to welcome in the new year with some sparkly champagne and a few resolutions to make this year fabulous.

Personally, i always like to have more than one resolution, and i always like to make them pretty achievable. My continuous resolutions that i still haven’t finished from last year include bake more yummy cakes more often and learn more french. Haha! Thinking about it, I should probably learn how to cook some more proper food because my limit is literally toast. With the occasional tin of pasta shapes if im feeling adventurous ooh!

This year, however, I have gone for~

1. Visit a place that I have never been to before.
This has crept onto my list for the past few years, and it is always the most satisfying resolution to fulfil. In 2012 I was lucky enough to visit Paris for the first time in my life, a city I have since completely fallen in love with. To say that I would move there in an instant is an understatement, it is a beautiful city with a fabulous way of life, the only thing stopping me from returning straight away is the boredom that i like to call college. Sigh.

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Here are a couple of the photos I took on my trip. I was so lucky to be blessed with such a beautiful sky on my first morning in Paris. Beautiful Beautiful.

2. Eat better, be skinnier. 

I want to be skinny and elegant. Waif-like and delicate. I know its an unhealthy obsession, and I know im skinny enough already. But if i just loose a few more pounds i will be happy. I promise.
Really I just want to be stricter with my day to day food routine and cut back on the amount of ‘treats’ that i allow myself throughout the week. I want to tone my arms and I want a completley flat stomach. I want to look good for summer (bikini season is fast approaching!)

3. Spend more time dedicating myself to college art.
I need to begin to live breathe and sleep the kind of art that my college needs me to submit. I may not enjoy the themes that we have been given to study as much as i enjoy my own kind of art that I spend hours and hours reading about, but I need to put in effort to enjoy what I’m doing more. If i put in the effort now, when it comes to picking uni courses and making scary life changing decicions I hope I will be more prepared for that than I am at the moment. One of the reasons i havent applied to a uni for next year like pretty much everyone my age is because i still dont know exactly what kind of art i want to do in life. Or even if I want to restrict myself to one media at all. Who knows.

4. Blog frequently to fill my spare time reminding myself of the things that inspire me.
If I begin to loose hope, if I begin to question why I have chosen the art path at all in my life,(which trust me, has been happening a lot lately purely because I have no solid idea about my future), I hope that this blog will be somewhere that I can call home, somewhere which holds all of my true creative influences and somewhere that gives me comfort. I will gradually begin posting my own work, maybe this blog will even become something that universities would be interested in seeing- part of my portfolio in some ways.

5. Dont forget about the small pleasures in life.
Things like scented candles and fairy lights, face packs and long bubble baths, laying in the grass on a summers day and simply having time alone. I need to remember to take a break every now and then, to relax and just enjoy some of the simpler things in life, the things that make me the happiest.

Finally, enjoy life.
I’m young and I need to remember not to stress about every small thing. Sure, there will be times when i have lots of deadlines, personal issues and annoyances, but I need to remember to just breathe. I need to remember that more than likely everything will turn out fine in the end, and the stressing will have been completley pointless and unessecary.

I need to remember to keep life sparkly and fun ^^
What are your new years resolutions? Do you usually stick to them? Let me know in the comments and i will give you a cupcake of your choice 🙂

À bientôt!! ❤