first time traveller – reviewing Paris

2019, travel

Hello!

Yes, I promise, after this post I’ll stop with the Paris spam (or at least, maybe stop mentioning it as often!) but I thought I’d do a little review post talking about the city from a travellers perspective, a tourists perspective and the perspective of my first trip abroad as a lead traveller!

Going from just going on a holiday and my only responsibilities being making sure I bring enough pairs of socks, to being the one booking the train tickets, finding a suitable hotel, planning a sort of itinerary is quite a big leap and it’s daunting when someone turns to you in a foreign country!

It was a weirdly adult feeling and on the one hand, it was cool because I proved to myself that I had the freedom to go anywhere but on the other hand ew does that mean I’m an adult?

I’ve picked a few key things that I was nervous about or felt were a barrier whilst I was there and I’ll just have a little natter about each one, if you have any tips or advice for any of these let me know in the comments below or send me a message on Instagram!

t h e   m e t r o

I was worried about transport around the city – I knew there was an underground-like system but having been to New York last year and gone the wrong way on the Subway, I wasn’t too sure how I would handle the metro. But I can’t speak more highly of it – using Google maps, it told me my final destination and what direction to be going in and we didn’t go the wrong way at all!

It’s definitely nicer and easier to understand than the London underground but would probably be much more difficult if I didn’t have Google maps on my phone.

It’s really reasonably priced, surprisingly easy to use (well, if you’re only wanting to buy single tickets and have Google maps!) and the ticket machines have lots of different languages to choose from!

And with that in mind…

t h e   l a n g u a g e

Before going on this trip, I felt confident in my minimal English – if nothing else, I knew how to say “sorry, I only speak a little French, I am English!”. But we got out there and I froze – I suddenly felt like everyone was judging me and I didn’t want to get anything wrong so I didn’t feel confident enough to try.

After the first few interactions, I did get a bit braver but then in the city it only took my vague attempt at a ‘bonjour’ for anyone to start talking to me in English. What it taught me is that I really should have brushed up on some key phrases before I left, but actually – I remember more French than I thought and my biggest barrier was confidence!

The thing that really helped me was that I thought if I was working in London and someone came up to me and tried to speak English as a second language, I’d be pleased that they’d given it a go rather than them making me speak their language! I’m sure most of the people who worked in Paris felt the same, I just needed the confidence to try.

f o o d

Following the language barrier, the next thing I was more worried about after we got there, was ordering food. I’m quite a fussy eater anyway and I get a little bit anxious about the ingredients that might be used that aren’t necessarily listed on a menu or packaging (mayo in sandwiches is my worst enemy!).

On our first day, we got sandwiches from Lidl, the next day we had lunch at McDonalds and dinner at Hard Rock Cafe (where the menu was in English anyway), the next day was a bakery for pastries (we were getting a bit braver), back to McDonalds (because it was easier and we knew we’d like it, we’re both a lil fussy) and another Lidl dinner. It’s something I definitely want to work on for the next time I go to a non-English speaking country because I didn’t feel immersed in the culture and I did feel a little like I was cheating.

But it’s intimidating on so many fronts – the language, worrying about having to eat something I don’t like (or going hungry) and wondering whether the places we were going were commercial enough to have English speaking staff or if it was too rural. Granted, most of this is in my head but it was something that I now know bothers me and I need to be aware of and face if I want to try more authentic food.

So in conclusion – I think in terms of first time lead traveller, I’d probably have been better off picking somewhere that is predominantly English speaking for my first trip, however I feel marginally more prepared to go to other non-English speaking countries, especially as most people we had to interact with in Paris spoke English to a service level.

I’m already looking to book a trip to Amsterdam in July so any recommendations and top tips on learning key phrases in Dutch would be welcome please!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Advertisements

October photo diary

2018, lifestyle, photography

Hello!

I mean, we all know I’m a big fan of capturing memories, documenting things and taking photos, so is this post a surprise to anyone? Probably not!

I’ve always liked having printed photos – I’ve just finished an album of some of my uni photos and I’ve got a couple of other photo albums and scrapbooks on the go. I’ve recently started making the most of getting 50 free 6×4 from Snapfish each month and I love choosing which ones I want to print to capture my month.

So I thought I’d do a more digital scrapbook, photo album thing and make a little snapshot of my month so far! Not sure if this is something I’ll do regularly, because I’m really enjoying making physical photo albums and I don’t think a blog post of 50 photos to summarise my month will have the same long term impact (nor do I think anyone is really that interested) but for the moment, I’m sticking with it and this last week has been pretty manic so it’s a good time to share!

[ o c t o b e r ]

I actually really love Sainsburys TU clothing, but I can’t justifying buying any part of this outfit at the moment (though after payday is a different matter entirely)

the first crunchy leaves feet picture of the year!

I wasn’t joking when I said I got loads of photos printed – there’s 140+ in this batch

Sainsburys released these collectable Lego cards for children. My 22 year old boyfriend is obsessed and very disappointed that it’s now ended and he didn’t complete his collection!

Oops it fell into my basket? (I really like the sunlight in this photo)

and here, three thousand years late, the girl discovers Huji – the photo app that says you’re living in 1998

when the boy takes outfit photos and then asks you to take a photo of him

I love cooking so much – this is the stuffing mixture I make usually for putting inside roasted peppers, but recently we’ve been putting them in wraps and making enchiladas with them and it’s been a big success (would anyone care about a blog post recipe?)

a photo of my granddad 1954 (left) – he just looks like such a ladies man and this is why I love printed photos!

my boy and I on our way to London!

Nick was our housemate for two years and one of our best mates at uni for all three years, this was the first time we’d seen him since graduation in July – three months!

Huji returns 4 The Circle Final – hosts Alice Levine and Maya Jama on the right and all the contestants are on the sofa on the left but it’s not very clear in this photo

We got moved to the other side of the studio and for a while we had a much better view (until some rude boys pushed in front of us) but I love this photo of all the finalists!

the view from our hotel was actually really cute

Really felt my make-up – I often avoid looking at myself at any opportunity but I didn’t hate myself on this day lol

underground signs aesthetically make me happy

the Natural History Museum is actually stunning

my tol boy with real tol boiz

I’m now obsessed with Dinosaurs and skeletons are proper cool

I thought this photo was proper artsy when I took it but it was mostly so I could read about the dinosaurs

trying to be creative but I wasn’t quite tall enough for this cool granite stone wheel thing to be a cool background and the lighting was rubbish but STILL

Huji photos and lens flares? CUTE

weekly card game night with le fam (minus my sister, who’s at uni)

RIGHT let’s talk about this – we’re quite competitive so we’re keeping track of overarching scores and somehow I’m OVER SIX HUNDRED POINTS BEHIND? Raging m8

even more Autumn-y leafy feet photos

the amazing cupcakes I made for my sister’s birthday (I wrote an insta post all about them which you can see here!)

family squeeze themselves into a car for a long ass drive to Bournemouth

Le Birthday Girl!

my sister in her funky new coat / the outfit she would wear if she was the Doctor

family birthday dinner at TGI Fridays

the birthday hat

I FINALLY GOT THE BIRTHDAY GIRL TO WEAR THE BIRTHDAY HAT!

nobody gets left behind… (he did though, reluctantly)

the drive home was SO PRETTY and all the trees were full of Autumnal colours but I couldn’t properly pick it up on camera

and my phone is mostly full of very exciting screenshots like these! Where are my Arrowverse fans at?

‘I can’t share a post with 50 photos in, that’s too many!’ she thought, then not being able to cut her photos from 17 days to less than 30.

Ah well, who doesn’t love a long post every now and then! It’s a bit like scrolling through Instagram but it’s just me, bit vain. Maybe I take too many selfies, maybe that’s not the worst thing in the world, but I’m getting better and taking family photos and documenting the everyday and I’m really happy with my mentality towards preserving memories – I’m going to have rooms full of photo albums and scrapbooks at this rate!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram