Who dunnit!?: murder mystery at its finest

Who dunnit!?: murder mystery at its finest

April 7th, 2017:

I recently participated in hosting my fourth murder mystery dinner party with my “not-technically-my-housemates-but-those-who-I-live-with-them-most-of-the-time-housemates” in Nottingham last Friday.

As I am no longer a “fresher” and have transitioned from the ‘club scene’ to the ‘bar scene’ to go out for a few drinks and possibly a dance, I think that us young adults are having to come up with different ways to have an event or do the same thing over and over again. I love hosting events and have a healthy repertoire of parties from my past (almost) five years at university. actually, even before that, I have managed to entertain a multitude of guests from girly sleepovers to good-sized parties. (Wow, thanks to my parents for putting up with so much chaos in my teenage years…)

Thus, when the opportunity arose to suggest another event for our Nottingham household, I suggested a murder mystery dinner party.

It was an apt suggestion as in my second and fourth year of my undergraduate degree, my housemates (at the time) and I hosted them and had a cracking time.

Why are they worth the investment?

Every game is around £10-12 depending on the number of players per game – and is easily found on amazon.co.uk.  The game I played with friends in my fourth year was bought because I found it for £5 in TKMAXX once! The box includes invitations that give descriptions of all the characters involved and envelopes so you can either be “old school” and mail them to your chosen guests or just give them instead. If that’s too much effort, it’s easy just to take a picture of the descriptions and share it on WhatsApp or Facebook! 😉

There is also an audio CD and scripts for each of the characters, it is basically organised fun! 😀 Also, be ready to dress uuuuuuup! It is so brilliant.

Murder Mystery Take Four:

This time the chosen game titled ‘The Brie, the Bullet and the Black Cat’ required ten players. We already had a party of seven so reached out to friends to come along and time travel into the year of 1942 to crack a murder case. Normally, there is a round of the game for each course of a three-course dinner which I find offers a nice switch between being characters 1942 and ourselves in reality. As we only bought ingredients for food two hours before start time, we kept the extravagance to a minimum and had a main course and pudding course instead. Although there were crisps and dips to start us off! It was all vair yum. 😀

Everyone did a fantastic job trying to speak in different accents: Connor was German, Bety was Russian, Amy was French, Nichola was a husky French woman [wins best accent award], Danny was American, I was Danish, and the others slotted in somewhere in-between these diverse nationalities! There was much wine was drunk and food was eaten, and soon enough (three hours later), we voted on which of us were the murderers and the result was revealed! (Although I cannot remember from this part of the evening onwards until I was told about it the next morning… the Danes and their drinking, eh?!) 😉

Apart from the first murder mystery party I hosted with my family back when I was about fifteen or sixteen, here are photos of the three since, have been memorable events that have made my university life all the better! ❤

murder 2
Murder Mystery #2
murder 3
Murder Mystery #3
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Murder Mystery #4

Excuse the last photo… I don’t remember taking it and usually, my polaroid skills do not result in pitch black photos!
[cred to Karmen for the monochrome polaroids]

I hope everyone has a go at doing this, it’s worth the while!

Xo.

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beaches and views: cornwall in 48 hours.

beaches and views: cornwall in 48 hours & a reunion

In November last year, Jessie and I had promised to see each other in the new year of 2017, aiming for the end of March. In January I found myself on Flybe’s website booking a flight to Newquay airport in Cornwall after working out that it was cheaper to catch a train to Manchester Airport rather than drive myself [for five hours omg] or catch many trains for 7-8 hours with awkward journey times. I couldn’t believe I was going to go to Cornwall!

Soon enough, Sunday 2nd of April arrived and I was heading to Nottingham Train Station to catch the 11:44 train to Manchester Airport. Jessie moved down to Cornwall a year ago to pursue her dream of living in a place she has spent her life going on holiday to with her family and got a job at one of the local and top brand hotels in north Cornwall near Newquay. I admire her for making the move to somewhere new and taking on the challenges of adulthood face on. I boarded the little plane that would leap across the British isles to my destination and found myself considering the topic of adulthood and what it entails. I seem to keep coming across articles or things that talk about us ‘twentysomethings‘ and our lives here and now. Nevertheless, I let those thoughts dance away and attempt to emanate relaxed vibes instead.

At 17:30 I arrived at the tiniest little airport I’ve ever seen. It was one building the size of a town hall and the baggage reclaim was the size of a lounge in a standard semi-detached house. As I had no luggage, I was in arrivals in about 39 seconds. Wow. 😀

Ten minutes later Jessie and I found each other and we were soon zooming down the winding country lanes talking about her car as it’s very similar to mine! Seat Mii / Skoda citigo cars are obviously the cool trend at the moment… 😀

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Mawgan Porth Beach, Cornwall

We stopped at Mawgan Porth beach, removed our shoes to feel the sand between our toes, and walked out towards the crashing waves and the sea beyond, sharing our most recent updates and tales. The water was rather icy and a bit of a surprise to our little toes but that couldn’t ruin the 360 view that surrounded us. The sun was low in the sky, warm light cascading down over the green coast that disappeared into the distance on both sides of where we were standing. It was one of those moments where no cameras are used, where you really take it in and experience it 100%.

Once back at the car, Jessie drove us to where she lives in St Eval and gave me a little tour of her three bedroom home that she shares with her 19 year old brother. I think if I lived with Harry, we would drive each other mad… Nonetheless, their house was lovely, cosy and the pet hamster was a cute extra housemate that loved to loudly chew the bars on its cage. In the evening we went to a

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Polzeath Bay, Cornwall

pub by the famous beach in Polzeath called the Oyster Catcher for a drink and some light food. Given that I was by the sea, we decided to share two starters: moûles frites and prawn skewers. Yum.

I made it my challenge to eat as much seafood as possible during my forty-eight hours in this Cornish land. By hour four: we were back home, relaxed on the sofa, and planned for the next day…

At 10:45am, hour seventeen, we arrived at the Headland Hotel by Fistral Beach on the south side of Newquay for a relaxing few hours in the spa. We donned big plush dressing gowns and complimentary flip flops and made sure to make full use of the facilities. 😀 The swimming pool area had different shower areas, one had different settings such as “tropical storm” which douses you in cold water to eventually add hot water to give you a “refreshing” experience. My response to that was just pure shock at the water temperature. I hope I never get stuck in a real tropical storm… There was a relaxation room which was the best part of the spa facilities with big loungers, fluffy blankets with complimentary sweeties and tea. We had lunch at 13:30, hour twenty, and I kept to my challenge, having battered seafood, which meant I ticked squid, white fish and more prawns off my seafood checklist. Double yum.

At 15:30, hour twenty-two,  we sadly gave back the robes and got back in the car to head to Padstow, the home of Rick Stein, which was a lovely little port dotted with shops and a panoramic view of a channel running inland from the sea. After ducking and diving into the little local surf shops, seeing three pasty shops sitting side-by-side [talk about competition, eh?], we decided to get scallops from Rick Stein’s take-away fish and chips place, go to Tesco for ingredients to make a salad and head home for a feast. My list of seafood eaten was going well, and I am so proud. I also feel like my body was thanking me for it as fish oils and omega 3 are good for us!

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By hour twenty-eight, the fresh sea air and good food had me in a sleeping slumber that I haven’t had in a long while… On Tuesday, we woke to a rather gloomy looking sky, but unperturbed headed out towards Port Isaac to the north. It is the site where the TV series Doc. Martin is filmed so I definitely had a picture in front of the Doctors house!

We had a lovely wander up through the narrow steep streets and admired the colourful houses that sit in the side of the sloping cliffs and those that are also standalone. We had lunch in a pub with a table looking out over the dock, and I finished my seafood list with a mackerel pâte and sourdough toast. Triple yum! 

We ended the trip as we started, walking onto Mawgan Porth beach, where the sun had once again broke through the clouds and lit up the blues in the sea and golds in the sand. 

Hour forty-seven: the little building that is Newquay Airport came into view. 

Although Jessie and I only ever manage to see each other a few times a year – if that – it is great to just settle straight into easy conversation and giggles. True friendship just makes the world go round.

And with that, my 48 hours in Cornwall have been the first mini-break with an adult touch involving spas, good food and wine. I hope I’ve given a good impression of the stray section of land that makes up the British Isle.

Thank you to Jess for a fantastic two days. Here’s to more adventures everyone! 

Xo. 

good things come to those who wait: growing up

It has been a running theme lately of people questioning the ‘quarter-life crisis’ and reviewing their lives by the achievements of others and themselves. Or, suddenly life had decided to take a U-turn and it turns out that maybe what you had planned isn’t actually what you want. Life is funny like that – well, if we don’t laugh, we cry so let’s assume it’s hilarious – and it’s rollercoaster tendencies always like to add a loop-de-loop or a corkscrew without warning. I’ve always wondered whether choosing to do a masters degree was a good idea. In the elongated winter nights, in a new city in which I was finding it hard to become accustomed, I thought of the other choices my friends had taken, questioned why continue in this world of studying when I could have a salary and go on holiday…

Yet, the fact that I love Asian culture, society, business has meant that I stuck it out to now; and amazingly the end is suddenly galloping toward me without hesitation. My dissertation is in scraps as I’ve changed my question three times (if I had had it my way, probably over twenty times) but I know that by the deadline in two weeks time there will be something resembling a dissertation proposal on my supervisors desk. Soon enough, come September, I will have written a 15,000 word document on South Korean women and business! Of which requires constant use of google translate for statistics and data than I ever (stupidly) anticipated…

and that’s my twenty longs years of education complete. 🤣

Of my friends: one will return to university to study to be a certified architect, one will have decided whether the career choice she made is what she wants or whether becoming a marine biologist is a better fit, one who every time I see him has a new plan built on the last (teaching, a PhD, a masters) but it’s all focused on what he is driven to do, one who, even though he didn’t know what he wanted to do, changed his job because he disliked what he did and now loves life… I could go on. 

What I’m trying to say is that although at times we feel we’re walking the wrong direction on our journey of life or we find ourselves second-guessing choices – (life path big or whether you want to eat toast or cereal in the morning), that’s part of growing up into the big wide world. If the fairytales and stories of our childhood taught us anything, for example Mulan or Jasmine from Aladdin, it’s that in the face of adversity we do what we choose to do because deep down, it’s right. If we don’t feel that in our daily lives, it’s up to us to make that change. This takes time, sometimes an act of bravery either from ourselves or someone else: such as Mulan choosing to protect her father, or Aladdin to show Jasmine life outside the box. (Okay, I know they are stories and genies and dragons were involved but it’s all the same). 

Our non-Disney princess-and-prince-selves  bravery is shown by making choices every day without seeing ourselves in the shadows of others. This confusion, worry, and fear that we’re not good enough, nay, that we’ve not achieved what our peers have can be perceived as a “quarter life crisis”. Yet, you’re not in one. You’ve got education, you’ve got family, you’ve got friends and by golly; you’ve got you

It’s not easy, I know. The lemons life gives us can be a bit too sour! But hey, mix them with sugar of all the good things and bad together, and hey presto!  Life is sweet. 

With that, I’m off to pray for a dissertation epiphany… sometimes life is like walking down a set of stairs, other times it’s a hike up when you wished you’d taken the lift. 🤗

Lots of love,

Xo.  

Wrocław in 48 hours.

As a mid-semester “break” three friends and I decided to take a trip outside the UK, giving ourselves the challenge of going for a cheap weekend away to escape the repetitive student lifestyle of sleeping, eating and studying (or trying to).

 As a mid-semester “break”, three friends and I decided to take a trip outside the UK, giving ourselves the challenge of going for a cheap weekend away to escape the repetitive student lifestyle of sleeping, eating and studying. Searching on google flights, we found three places that were the cheapest = Copenhagen [Denmark], Poznań [Poland] and Wrocław [Poland].

Continue reading “Wrocław in 48 hours.”

A French Christmas #5: the five-course Christmas Lunch Review by Lisa and Georgie

A French Christmas #5: the five-course Christmas meal review by Lisa and Georgie

Being our first French Christmas, and being together, Lisa and I decided to do food review like the many that we did back during our three weeks travelling around China!

The places we went to and tried out the food in were: Kunming , Li Jiang , Dali , Chongqing , Chengdu & Jiu Zai Gou & Xi’an and Pingyao.

Now, in the city of Nantes in north-western France, we have taken it upon ourselves to once again review what we are eating! In the festive spirit, we have chosen to review the Christmas lunch we had at a restaurant with Léa’s mum’s side of the family. As well as being asked and braving to read the set menu in french to her family, we had had serious conversations with our stomachs that we were going to make it through the five courses. (I’m kidding about the serious conversations but I was feeling the pressure! 😀 ) 

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the set menu!

Our review works like this: Lisa and I choose three categories – namely Flavour, Appearance, and Texture – and review each course out of ten. We have tried to give the scores of the dish as a whole rather than only marking the bits we enjoyed. Then it’s fair!

I am going to attempt to translate the names of the French dishes as best I can (with the help of Léa at the time and the use of google translate and common sense now!)… but just note that I don’t do French so I do apologise if it is awfully wrong. 

Now, bon appetit!

First Course: 

15878311_10153880916406706_1577535217_o‘Cappucino de la mer et son nuage de crème vanillé’ et ‘Macaron de foie gras à l’huile de truffe’ 

Google translate: ‘Cappuccino of the sea and its cloud of vanilla cream’ and ‘Macaron of foie gras with truffle oil’ … close-ish!

Me: ‘a cappuccino style vanilla and seafood cream’and ‘a macaroon filled with fois gras and a hint of truffle oil’

The Cappuccino: The flavour is really unique, it is a combination of seaside flavours and cream. It has no cappuccino in it – don’t let the name fool you! – so we decided that that is the way the dish is served (as it came in the tiny beer glasses / mugs. It is creamy and warm (but not hot) as well as salty yet subtle… It could have prawns in it. The texture is smooth and sits on your tongue for a while. Overall, we liked it! 

Flavour: 6 out of 10
Appearance: 9 out of 10
Texture: 7 out of 10

The Macaroon:

It was odd to start with as the macaroon is has a sweet sugared taste yet the foie gras is thick and salty. We thought that the rich savour filling was served in perfect balance with the light and sugary macaroon. We’d never think of it ourselves but it was lovely, and not heavy to digest either!

F: 8 out of 10
A: 8 out of 10
T: 8 out of 10

Second Course:

15750316_10153871647001706_1539001707_n‘Tatin de foie gras à la royale gala arrosée de son givre Nantes’ 

Google translate: ‘Tatin of foie gras at the royal gala Watered with its frost Nantes’

Me: tatin of foie gras with [royal gala] apples cooked in a specific Nantes sauce?

Lisa and I had a slightly different opinion on this course. The cooked but cold apple sat at the top of the little tower, with foie gras layered in the middle, and gingerbread cake forming the base. It is another dish that combines salty and sweet but this time I felt that the flavours didn’t complement each other. Instead, it was rather overpowering. Lisa did note that the texture was moist and creamy and she enjoyed it more than I did. When I cheekily used some of the foie gras on fresh baguette, it was parfait !

Georgie:
F: 3 out of 10
A: 7 out of 10
T: 5 out of 10

Lisa:
F: 5 out of 10
A: 7 out of 10
T: 5 out of 10

Third course:

15824043_10153880916396706_32694785_o‘Suprême de chapon farci, coiffé de son lard truffé, accompagné de ses pommes de terre fondantes, et de sa crème de pleurotes au piment d’Esplette’

Google translate: ‘Supreme of capon stuffed, capped with its truffled bacon, accompanied by its melting potatoes, and its cream of oyster mushrooms with Esplette’

Me: ‘Stuffed cockerel (formally known as capon) with truffled bacon, accompanied by melting potatoes and a cream of oyster, mushroom and esplette pepper sauce’

The potatoes were the star of the show. They didn’t fall to pieces when we cut them but genuinely melted in the mouth as we ate them. The cockerel meat and stuffing was rather dry, although the skin on the outside was salty and tasty. The sauce was good but Lisa said that it needed more of a “kick” or flavour as well as a more prominent and flavourful stuffing. It was a good sized portion (as my food coma had already started to kick in…) and those potatoes get their own score of 9 out of 10. ❤

F: 5 out of 10
A: 7 out of 10
T: 5 out of 10

Fourth Course:

15820162_10153871647236706_1651893622_n‘Curé Nantais et ses graines de sésame, wasabi en croustillant sur sa mâche Nantaise, vinaigrette à la framboise’

Google translate: ‘Curé Nantais and sesame seeds, wasabi by crunching on his Nantes cheese, raspberry vinaigrette’ (HAHA, this made me giggle.)

Me: Curé Nantais [is a well-known cheese specific to the region], fried/crisped with wasabi and served with a raspberry vinaigrette

The cheese had a similar chewy texture as halloumi and had a more cheddar like taste. The layers of .. whatever they fried it in because it was too thin to be pastry .. were thin and crunchy. We didn’t detect any wasabi flavour but the raspberry vinaigrette on the salad leaves was refreshing. Léa’s family members noted that the cheese is meant to be soft and melted rather than a solid block but I really enjoyed it. If it was served to me again, I would definitely devour it. Lisa enjoyed it and said that if the vinaigrette had a bit more of a vinegar flavour, it was be a gooood dish. 

F: 7 out of 10
A: 7 out of 10
T: 8 out of 10


At this point, three hours into the meal, Léa says “I’m not too full, it’ll be just the right amount”

My face dropped in amazement… I’ve been full since the main course! You are an inspiration Léa! 😉 


Fifth [and Final] Course:

15857301_10153880916391706_1115808089_o‘Délice Dulcey tuilé sur son croustillant à la praline’

Google translate: Delight Dulcey tiled on her crunchy praline

Me: Dulce de leche [I really struggled to find an english word because I don’t think we even have one…. so here’s a spanish word instead] on a crunchy praline base served with dark chocolate, and a caramel sauce.

The ‘dulce de leche’ itself was light, not too sweet and melted in the mouth. They praline base was crunchy and not too sweet either. Lisa would have preferred a thicker base for a greater crunch to accompany the creamy flavour of the ‘dulce de leche’. The biscuit stuck in the side seemed a bit unnecessary as it was a little soft and didn’t add any particular or exciting flavour. The combination of the cheesecake and chocolate was delicious as the dark flavour cute through any sweetness. However I found the caramel sauce to make it overpoweringly sweet. We both agreed that if the dessert had been accompanied by a fruity sauce or coulis it could have given more flavour than just sugar. In the end, it was tastyyyyyy. The scoring may seem like we are contradicting ourselves but as I mentioned earlier, we try to review the whole dish with all its components, not just the bits we liked. Therefore…

F: 6 out of 10
A: 7 out of 10
T: Lisa 6 out of 10   — Georgie 8 out of 10

And that’s our French Christmas Lunch!

I hope it’s given you a bit of an insight of what French cuisine is like and maybe some ideas for you to try at home for yourself! We are so grateful to Léa and her family for sharing Christmas with us and our stomachs are almost ready to forgive us for eating so much… so for now:

Happy New Year everybody!

Xo.

new year, new me. (lol jk jk)

new year, new me (lol jk jk)

Happy 2017 Everybody!

I hope you all had a cracking evening, whether it was lying on the sofa, out partying, cooking up a storm or even working (as some of my dear friends did, you are amazing, girls!). This year one of the big newspapers issued an article that said that around 70% of the UK population were staying in for New Years this year. While many of my friends were staying at home… I wasn’t going to be one of them. 🙂 

But… I had no plan whatsoever. Danny and I just said to each other that we’ll celebrate in Nottingham. Okay, I should rephrase so I report accurate information: I decided we were celebrating at the house in Nottingham. It was looking like it was going to be a little house gathering with a couple of friends, when I happened to come across an advert on instagram (of all places) of “New Year’s at Revolución de Cuba”. Excited by the idea, I immediately sent a screenshot of the advert to Danny and we gave them a call! It was £25 for the evening per person. The wristband included three free cocktails or double shot drinks, cloakroom usage, food that was served and a chance to dance into the New Year. I was sold. 

On Saturday 31st December, Danny and I headed out to town for lunch, then to meet Danny’s friend Chris at the station, then to wander around until Hannah arrived at 16:30. I was on a hunt for something fun to wear for the night out and managed to find a sparkly top on sale in River Island. We bought ingredients to make fajitas and inflated helium balloons saying happy new year on them! The house in Notts is very well decorated and maintained this year. 😄

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Once home, we sat down on the sofas to relax for a bit. We waited for Karmen to return from work, her friend Vivien and another friend of ours, Max, to show up for food. They arrived and we sat down to our stomachs’ delight to eat the feast we had made. With a bottle of prosecco open, the atmosphere was nothing but festive.

Without really looking at the clock the girls decided to head up stairs to get ready for the night ahead. What we didn’t know are two things: It was 20:30 and it would take us an hour to get ready. We didn’t even have to shower, just apply some makeup, brush our hair and put shoes on!

Yes, we fell into the trap the typical “girls take forever” argument and we were gutted. The photo opportunities in front of our decorations were snapped away from us as we were meant to be getting the 21:50 tram to the centre of town. We managed to desperately take three polaroids but no electronic pictures until we reached the restaurant/bar/ party venue. 

Both floors were open, playing different music (mostly pop), and there was a group of drummers at the beginning which were really good!!

10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…

confetti canons fired, everyone yelling, hugging, dancing, it was a brilliant 00:00 for January 1st 2017.

The rest of the night was a mix of tequila shots, deep conversations, and my favourite moment of the new year so far: finding a £1 coin down the side of one of the sofas. I am notorious for finding one pennies on the ground when I am out and about, and firmly believe in the saying:

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So if I’ve found a £1… how much luck have I just cashed in!?

Who knows. Nonetheless, I hope this year brings you all the best health, happiness and luck towards doing what you love, being happy and just having a cracking year. 

Ta ta for now!

Xo.

A French Christmas #1: welcome to ‘how the french celebrate christmas’

A French Christmas #1: welcome to ‘how the french celebrate christmas’

The plane landed at Nantes Atlantique Airport on time at 15:35 and once through passport control and the queue for the bathroom, I followed the signs through arrivals and found a Lisa waiting on the other side! Yet Léa had wandered off in fear that I had ended up somewhere else in the tiny airport so the movie reunion moment was, again, not as smooth as intended! Nevertheless, the joy of seeing my French friend was not dowsed. 

It still amazes me at how meeting with people who I haven’t seen in so long makes me feel like I saw them almost yesterday. Friendship is a funny thing. 

We headed out to where Léa’s dad was waiting for us by his car and jumped in, heading for their home in the North-west of Nantes. The journey didn’t take long and I found myself completely at ease with being on the other side of the road when normally it takes me a bit of time to orient myself. We pulled into the street and parked outside a white painted house with a little front gate and made our way in! Charlie, a little jack russell, shot out of the door to greet us with his tail wagging furiously. He is such a friendly and gentle dog (although he did manage to find his way to my secret stash of chocolate flake logs I had brought….. fortunately he wasn’t ill and I was not to be responsible of a trip to the vet!)..

Lisa and I both had our own bedrooms – belonging to Léa’s sisters’ who were staying at her mum’s house. I unpacked and handed Léa her birthday present and card from both Lisa and I (she’s a 24th December baby). It was a sign for her a room in Paris (where she’s studying) that says “don’t let the muggles get you down” 😀 

Once we had had a cup of tea, Lisa and I assisted Léa in making a pastry appetiser for dinner later at her Uncle’s house. She cut the rolled out pastry into a tree shape and we spread two different types of pesto and mozzarella cheese alternating between branches. Then we twisted the branches which made it look quite fancy, used the leftover pastry to make more, then put it in the oven! 

Léa had told us that her family like to dress up nicely at Christmas so she went off to put on a dress and heels while both Lisa and I ‘ummed’ at our dorky Christmas jumpers and ‘travellers’ clothes. In the end, we settled with what we were wearing: jeans and a jumper but did put tinsel in our hair in an attempt to look festive!

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The kitchen started to swell with the gorgeous smell of cooked pastry and once the tree was out of the oven, we headed to Léa’s Uncle’s house. A short car ride later, we arrived, and were met by Léa’s Uncle, Aunt, two year old cousin Hugo, and their Grandmother. The table was laid out beautifully and the tree glittered in the corner. 

The French Christmas tradition is that ‘Papa Noël’ (i.e. Santa Claus) comes by on Christmas Eve. We were told that when Léa and her two sisters (and other cousins) were little, they would be put in a room in front of a movie, whilst the adults put out all the presents as a surprise for the kids when they returned. 

Disclaimer: Santa is real folks. (I’m a true believer!)

With little Hugo to entertain, he was taken to put his pyjamas on to give Santa the chance to deliver his stock. Once Hugo returned, it was present opening time. But just for him as he was to go to bed before we ate. Once presents opened and dancing to some pop songs, it was bedtime for him and dinner time for us! 

That’s when the first Christmas feast commenced:

Starter: oysters, fois gras, smoked salmon, fresh baguette

accompanied with white wine

Main: beef wellington (I felt rather british in this moment), puréed pumpkin, water chestnuts and green beans wrapped in bacon

accompanied with red wine 

[Pause for opening of the Christmas presents – this is tradition in France unlike the British who open on Christmas Day]

Third Course: cheese and bread

accompanied with red wine

Dessert: a raspberry ice cream log (so refreshing)

and lastly, macaroons!

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We eventually finished and nursed our food babies around 1am.. heading back to the house at 2am and crashing into our beds falling into a desired sleep. Especially Lisa, as she had been awake since 4:30am to catch a train from Germany to Nantes that morning! 

Next instalment of A French Christmas coming soon… ^_^ 

Xo.

A French Christmas: the unexpected reunion feat. an Aussie, a brit and a frenchie 

Saturday 24th December 2016
A manic dash to Blythe Bridge Train Station for the 9:21am train.

Arrived: 9:22am

But luck was on our side: the train was delayed and due to arrive at 9:24am. Brilliant!

Once boarded; time flew by. I changed trains at Crewe and treated myself to a cheeky Pumpkin Hot Chocolate and found a plug socket for the half an hour wait. Somehow my phone didn’t charge in the night so it was dead when I woke up.

So, I resorted to a ten minute charge at the Grandparent’s house, fifteen minutes at Crewe Station, and half an hour at Manchester Airport.

This was necessary. Not just to tell my mother I was perfectly “on time” and “organised” but my boarding was also on my phone!

I arrived at Manchester Airport at 11:04am and made my way to Terminal 3. After making the mistake of trying to go through Terminal 1 security, I was swiftly re-directed towards Terminal 3. Another five minute walk later which led me out of the building and round to the other one that gives the typical “am I going the right direction?” doubt, I found the right security line.

Sorted and checked in minutes, I headed to find food. I found a plug socket, then ordered a jacket potato with chilli con carne, and relaxed. I spent the next half an hour looking around the four shops they had, namely Boots, Duty Free, Dixons, and Accessorize. I bought a thin simple silver choker necklace as I am curious to try the trend. What do you guys think of it? Yay or nay?

Flight board: flight BE 3443

Gate 52 to Nantes appeared on the departures board and in a very short amount of time I was boarded and sat in my 19B seat. Soon enough, we were off.

I’ve had a few realisations about this adventures to Nantes this morning.

Well, one has been over the past two days and been constantly questioned by my lovely Auntie: I have no idea what I’m doing when I arrive.

I know Léa and Lisa will be in the arrivals hall (hopefully) when I land. Another possibility of a reunion moment fit for a cheesy movie scene. ❤️

Also, Léa has told us where we’ll be celebrating the Christmas festivities over the three days we’re there. Yet, anything else? No clue.

I’m actually excited to have this element of mystery and I know Léa will be a fabulous host.

So, here’s to the unknown folks!

My second realisation was on the train to the airport. Two french guys were sat across the aisle from me, and although I only understood the word “quoi” (meaning ‘what’ in French), somehow t clocked that it is a cultural custom for the French to kiss each other on the cheek four times when they meet or say goodbye.

Oh jeez.

I’m totally going to end up kissing a relative by accident or seriously need to rethink wearing my bold red lipstick to avoid embarrassing smudges! Eek!

Thirdly, what about food?

Léa has assured us they eat loads and I trust it’s going to be (possibly weird and) wonderful. My small worry is not to offend Léa or French cuisine but what if I need a snack? Or they dish up something totally… I can’t even guess. Dammit that I didn’t Wikipedia this previous to getting on this plane.
Thus, I have a six pack of Cadburys chocolate flake bars. Maybe I’ll share them too…

Last but not least: Léa said that her family like to dress up a bit for Christmas. I know quite a few friends in the UK who do and have had the excitement of wearing my new Christmas clothes that I receive on Christmas in the past.

This year… do “ugly” Christmas jumpers fit into this tradition? 😜

French women are known to look fabulous. Can a blonde girl wearing a massive green eyed Rudolph achieve similar goals? (Green eyes due to stitching and the jumper being green I think)… we’ll see how we end up!

So.

5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1.. THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO.

[quoting my cousin when she was about five years old and on her first flight ever – my fave memory of her 💕]
I find taking off in a plane strangely cathartic, does anyone else?

It’s a new journey that represents not only new experiences but even new personal changes or outlooks on life. I normally have a song that I listen to as the plane leaves the ground to represent the moment. This year I’ve been writing this… so I guess my Christmas songs that I sung to myself on the first train this morning are the songs for this year. 😁

This year, 2016, hasn’t been easy. It’s been my toughest yet. From start to finish. I think I’ve changed a lot. Due to the choices I’ve made and the different priorities that have accompanied them. Although I’m happy doing my MSc, and get happier with each day, seeing a more positive and enriching light at the end of the tunnel… I’ve let anxiety and the self-applied pressure on long distance friendships affect me greatly.

Although it’s not on purpose, I’m determined to start 2017 fresh. Be the positive and bubbly me.

As they say, the only way is up.

Ironically, that’s exactly where I’ve gone.

Up 30,000 feet in the air in a tin can.

… it shows anything is possible, right?

Hehe. Merry Christmas Eve Everyone ❤️

Xo.