Sunday, 19 November 2017

Paris Diaries: Day 2

Read about the first day here.

Having had takeaway Pizza Hut the night before, we made up for it on our first morning by going to a nearby cafe for breakfast and ordering croissants. We also walked around with neon 'tourist' signs on our foreheads...

The second day of the trip was our busiest. In the morning we jumped back on the Metro and visited the Louvre... because how could we not? We didn't have long and only stayed for a couple of hours, which was just enough time to see the Mona Lisa and grab the biggest macaron you ever did see.

After that, we headed to Pont Neuf to see the love locks on the bridge because, again: massive tourists.

Then we made it to the Eiffel Tower, albeit about an hour late... we'd booked tickets in advance so we could beat the queues, use the lifts, and go right to the top (when in Paris and all that) but we got a little lost. I'd just like to point out however that that was the only time we got lost on the whole trip and we dealt with it pretty well, so brownie points to us please.

Coming up from the Metro and seeing the tower looming above us was such a surreal moment, because it's one I've imagined for so many years. And there it was, right above us.

That night - and you'll be proud of this - we went to a proper French restaurant. Like, think of every French stereotype and plonk them in a building, and there you go: Chez Frezet. It was only a few minutes from our apartment and had one vegetarian option on its massive menu (yeah, I wasn't surprised either) but it was lovely. And stupidly classy and expensive. But hey, euros don't count, or that's what I kept telling myself. If I remember rightly, I had cheese and spinach lasagna followed by a pear and apple tart with raspberry compote and vanilla ice cream, and far too much bread from the bread basket. TAKE ME BACK.

Then we went back to the apartment and I edited photos whilst playing Cards Against Humanity. Are you sensing a theme? Same.

Check back tomorrow for Day 3!

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Paris Diaries: Day 1

Long time no see! I'm on a blogging break, but like I said in my announcement post, there are a few things I want to tell you about. First thing's first: I fled the country and ticked Paris off my bucket list.

I've been trying to go for my birthday for the past few years, but things kept happening: work, money, my health went downhill, and then we had illness in the family. But in July this year, everything came together and I finally got it booked for 22nd-25th October with a couple of friends. Not my birthday, but close enough.

We stayed in an AirBnB (this one!) for the first time and I can't recommend it enough. They're often cheaper than hotels, you get an entire home or apartment, and depending on who you book with, you may get to meet the owner of the place and get some personal recommendations, too. Our apartment wasn't in the centre or on the outskirts - in other words, close enough to the tourist attractions by Metro to not be annoying, but far enough away that I'm pretty sure we were the only English people around. It was tucked away in a rustic-looking courtyard with yellow shutters, balconies, and spiral wooden stairs which had the quiet atmosphere of a church and which were a pain to walk up with our suitcases. But hey, we were in Paris!

We got the Eurostar and arrived in Gare Du Nord at 1pm, planned so we could make the most of our trip. After settling in at the apartment and meeting the owner who gave us a tour of the place and made sure we were okay, we headed out to the Sacre-Coeur which wasn't too far away.

We took pictures, got crêpes, and listened to a busker with an amazing voice. I also got accosted by a handful of many people who were forcefully trying to scam money out of visitors, but luckily it's common knowledge that that happens in Paris, and with being in London so often where it's pretty much the same, it wasn't hard to deal with.

So... you can judge us, because I'm still judging us... we went to Pizza Hut. We'd had a long day of travelling, okay? I'd been up since 3am, on the road since 4:50, we hadn't made plans for dinner yet and it was getting late. We took our pizzas (and potato wedges in my case) back to the apartment and watched Crazy Stupid Love on my laptop before playing Cards Against Humanity. Is there a better way to spend an evening? The answer to that would be yes! You'll see on day three.

That's it for now. Check back tomorrow for a recap of the second day of our trip which was much more action-packed...

Have you ever been to Paris?

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Taking a Break

Let's have an honest chat. Not that any chat we've had before has been dishonest, but you know what I mean. Pull up a chair, grab a macaron or any other baked good of choice, and let's get cracking, shall we?

This past year has been amazing. I've done things I never thought I could. I've seen new places, I've made new friends, I've done new things, I've pushed myself out of my comfort zone and I've got stuff done. You'll hear all about it in my annual recap.

But it's also been really, really tough in terms of blogging, vlogging, and general social media-ing... and according to people I've asked, I've been good at covering it up (that'll be thanks to scheduled posts) which I was happy to hear. But it's got to a point where I'm down to one scheduled post, and I have absolutely no motivation or ideas. It's not something I'm able to cover up anymore. And after thinking about it, I don't think I should have to.

The thing is, I've been blogging for a long time, and the majority of that time has been spent blogging about the same thing: books. After a while, you're bound to hit a wall - and it seems I have. I've been denying it to myself for months. It really, really pains me, because I don't know where I'd be without this blog. It's been the biggest part of my life for the majority of my life, and it's scary when that changes. I mean, there was a point when I was at my worst, health-wise, where blogging was all I did. It got me through the day. Go in my bedroom (ahem, that's not an invitation) and nearly everything you see came directly or indirectly from my blog. Look at my shelves and it's the same story. Look at my group of friends and, yep, most of them are people I met through this blog. Things I've done, places I've visited, achievements I've made? Again, mostly thanks to my little slice of Internet. Even the completion of my A Levels was made possible thanks to this place.

And I haven't read a book in months. Don't get me wrong, there are loads that I want to read, but I'm always busy with other things, or exhausted after a full day at work, and as much as I love books and blogging and all the things that come with that - they just don't slot in anymore, not at the moment.

I've been delaying writing this blog post for the longest time, but the fact that I've been so constantly aware of it in the back of my mind for that period shows me that deep down, I know it's something I have to do. In over a decade of doing this blogging malarkey, I've only had one break, and that was in summer 2012. Five years ago.

This isn't the end. There are blog posts I'm excited to write, like the one about my trip to Paris, my annual recap, and my upcoming week of work experience at a publishing house. And when I get out of this reading slump I'm sure I'll be excited to write reviews again too, especially as it's been such a long time since my last one.

But at the moment, I'm in desperate need of a break from the pressure I put on myself. I can't keep pushing out a blog post and a video every week just for the sake of it, faking a smile when I'm not actually enjoying it as much as I used to. I need to take a step back, figure out what I want, and get my creativity back. I'll still be posting (like I said: Paris!) but I won't be pressuring myself to get something out there once a week. It'll be as and when it comes.

I'm sorry if this disappoints anyone, but it has to be done. I'll still be around, just not as frequently for the moment, and you can always find me over on Instagram and Twitter. I hope you understand.

See you again soon. ❤