Monday, 4 November 2013

Romantic Paris

Paris. The city of romance. Think wandering along the Seine, climbing the Eiffel Tower, visiting the Louvre and Notre Dame. But this isn’t all the city has got to offer those in search of a romantic getaway. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find despite the hordes of tourists in the most visited city in the world, Paris still retains the magical charm that gave it it’s reputation. Here’s a few ideas for romantic things to do in the French capital:

  • You’re never far away from a Boulangerie (bakery) in Paris and nothing beats starting the day with a selection of freshly baked viennoiseries (croissants, pains au chocolats, brioches, pain au raisins, etc) – take your pick and sit on a bench in a park to enjoy.
  • The Promenade Plantée is a 4.5km long former train line that has been converted into a walking footpath. Trees, shrubs and flowers have been planted all along the way, making it an idyllic place to walk. In the autumn, trees are bursting with colours.

  • Sit and watch the world go by at Place des Vosges or in the Jardin du Luxembourg.
  •  ‘Ti amo’ or ‘Eg elskar deg’ are translations of ‘I love you’ which you will be able to read on the  Mur des ‘Je t’aime’ in Montmartre, a mural featuring over 300 translations of the words ‘Je t’aime’.
  • Go for a stroll in one of Paris’s beautiful parks such as the Jardin des Tuileries, Parc Monceau or Les Buttes Chaumont.
  • Another great place to go to for a wander is on the ‘Berges de la Seine’, which have recently been pedestrianised.
  •  On the Pont de l’Archevêché, the ‘love bridge’, lock your padlock to the railings and throw your key in the Seine as a symbol of eternal love.

  • Stop for an afternoon tea break in a patisserie such as Ladurée or Pierre Hermé, and taste their fantastic macaroons.

  • Get high at sunset: Probably the best view of Paris with the Eiffel Tower can be seen from the top of the 59 storey Tour Montparnasse. Arrive just before dusk and watch the sun set as Paris shows you just why it’s called the City of Lights.
  •  Finish your day with a glass of wine in a wine bar such as Ô Chateau and dinner in Montmartre at La Maison Rose.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

30 Days of Awesome - Week 4

And so we reach the final instalment of our 30 Days of Awesome challenge, here’s how we finished off the last week:

Day #22 Trip to the zoo
Luke: I can’t remember the last time I went to the zoo and for ages now I’ve wanted to go to the one down in Paignton. The place is a lot bigger than you expect from the outside and houses a large variety of species, including this character!
Day #23 Getting creative
Blandine: Tonight we decided to exercise our creative skills and tried our hand at making some earrings.
 Day #24 Going for a ride
Blandine: With a new friend/colleague, we decided to go on a bike ride along the estuary after work. We even found lots of blackberries along the way. The ride was beautiful and it felt great to have a chat and some exercise.
Day #25 Café lunch with a friend
Blandine: I met a yoga friend who I hadn’t seen for a while and it was nice to have a good catch up. We went to a café I had never tried before and had the most delicious date slice for pudding.
Day #26 Ukelele class
Luke: After my reunion with my guitar earlier in the month I’ve started to feel a lot more musical again. So when Blandine found a ukelele class happening in town it was a great opportunity to indulge this interest, learn something and meet some new people.
Day #27 Change of plan
Blandine: So, we got up early, and the plan was to go for a sea swim…except that when we arrived on the beach, it was blowing a gale and the sea was super stormy. We decided against going in the water, and instead we walked along the sea front and played on the sand. An invigorating start to the day all in all!
Day #28 Meeting old friends
Luke: A few weeks ago I had an invite to catch up with some friends from my uni days, so we all met up in Winchester and went for a pub lunch followed by a short tour of the city, and then back to the pub. This is (at least supposed to be) King Arthur’s Round Table, hanging in the Great Hall.

Day #29 Dawn photography with my brother
Luke: Unfortunately I don’t get much opportunity to spend time with my brother anymore, but this weekend we were in the same neck of the woods so we met up for a dawn photography expedition to St Catherine’s Hill near Winchester to try to get some shots of the sunrise.

 Day #30 Hula hooping
Blandine: Luke’s mum gave me her hula hoop and I had lots of fun practicing my skills in the garden, probably getting some funny looks from the neighbours :D
That’s it then! 30 Awesome Days! We’ve had a really great time doing everything, shared some precious time with family and good friends and even learnt a thing or two. Okay, maybe some things were more “awesome” than others, some days we struggled a bit to fit something in or find something we could do, but it pushed us to try to find the best in even the little everyday things. Maybe this has inspired you to give it a go as well? If so we’d love to hear about your tales of Awesome!! so please feel free to drop us a comment or an email.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

30 Days of Awesome – Week 3

Now over three quarters of the way through our 30 Days of Awesome!! challenge, here’s a look back at what we’ve been doing:

Day #15 Gorilla Spotting

Luke: There’s an art project in town at the moment called the Great Gorillas Trail – a number of life-size gorilla statues painted with different designs. We picked up a copy of the map and spent the morning following the trail, finding as many of the gorillas as we could.
Day #16 Homemade Curry

Luke: In my opinion there is little else that is more awesome taste-wise than a good homemade curry!
Day #17 Doodles

Blandine: Tonight I fancied practicing my drawing skills, and one of my favourite subjects being surfing, I decided to have a go at a longboarder walking on her board.
Day #18 Unwinding at the Pub

Luke: Today was a hard day at work, so we decided it was probably best to do something awesome that would help us relax from the stress of the office. Sitting in the corner of a good pub with a glass of wine certainly fit the bill!
Day #19 Sunset at the Beach

Luke: The weather forecast promised a good sunset this evening so after work I headed down to the beach with my camera and took a few snaps as the Sun went down over the boats moored on the estuary.
Day #20 Roller Blading

Blandine: My initial plan for the afternoon was to have a go at SUP (Stand Up Paddle Boarding) on the estuary, which sounded a pretty cool thing to do. Unfortunately, the session was cancelled. As the sun popped out, I still wanted to make the most of it. I dug out my rollerblades (which I hadn’t used for over a year) and went for a ride along the canal.
Day #21 Yoga Workshop

Blandine: This workshop was the best way for me to end my two-year yoga teacher training course, and an excellent opportunity to meet up with friends. The studio was all wooden with large windows opening on the Dartmoor countryside, my idea of a perfect yoga studio and an idyllic location.

On the final stretch now...

Sunday, 15 September 2013

30 Days of Awesome – Week 2

Another 7 days have passed and another 7 opportunities to do something awesome:

Day #8 Breakfast al fresco

Luke: The Sunday morning was beautiful so we went into town, picked up some pastries from a café and sat down to enjoy our breakfast in front of the cathedral.

Day #9 A little music

Luke: A few years ago I used to play the guitar quite a lot. I was never very good, but enjoyed just messing around with it. I’ve completely forgotten everything I used to be able to play, so decided to dust it off, re-tune it and try to learn something new. Tried a couple of Jack Johnson songs and actually managed to get it sounding at least similar!

Day #10 A walk on the beach

Blandine: I met Luke after work to go for a walk along the beach. The holidaymakers are mostly gone now, so the evening was quiet and peaceful, save for the waves and a few dog-walkers.
Day #11 A walk in the park

Blandine: I got up early before work to go for a wander in the park and enjoyed looking at all of the beautiful flowers that were in bloom.
Day #12 Picking blackberries

Luke: This time of year there are so many blackberries around and Blandine had a recipe in mind which just happened to need this ingredient. We went for a walk along the canal foraging for as many berries as we could find, which ended up the next day in our oatmeal for breakfast.
Day #13 Morning swim

Blandine: Decided to start the day with a swim. I went to an outdoor pool at the university and came back home feeling very energised for the rest of the day.
Day #14 Vineyard wine sampling

Luke: Today we went to the town of Totnes where we had lunch at a café before embarking on a walk to the Sharpham Estate, where they make some very good wine and cheese. After about an hour’s walk we arrived at the farm and ordered a glass of rosé and sparkling rosé from the bar/shop, savouring the flavours in the warm sunshine. The walk back was a little harder...
Almost halfway through…

Sunday, 8 September 2013

30 Days of Awesome – Week 1

So a week ago Blandine and me set out on our 30 Days of Awesome!! challenge, thirty days of trying to find and do one awesome thing everyday. The first week is now over and if you’ve been following on Facebook you should have seen us posting a photo each day giving a glimpse of what we’ve been up to:

 Day #1 Getting High

Luke: On Sunday we took a walk to one of the highest hills in town to get some perspective. The viewpoint offered some amazing panoramic views and allowed us to look at the city in a totally different way to normal.

 Day #2 Mind, Body & Soul

Blandine: This evening I went to a yoga class, but my usual teacher was on holiday. Instead, the class was taught by a lovely lady who was about 7 months pregnant. Despite this, she taught a very dynamic class followed by a fantastic relaxation, leaving me feeling extremely chilled out.

Day #3 Dining With Friends

Luke: We spent Tuesday evening at a restaurant with some of Blandine’s friends to celebrate two of them  getting new jobs.
 Day #4 Cocktail O’clock

Luke: On Wednesday night, after a long day at work, the need for a good drink proved too overwhelming, so we cobbled together a cocktail of our own invention from various ingredients we had to hand.

 Day #5 The Fruit & Veg Market

Blandine: At this time of year there is plenty of produce available at the Farmer’s Market and a vibrant display of colour can be seen on the various stalls. On Thursday morning I went down to my local market and couldn’t wait to see what was on offer.
 Day #6 Moving In

Luke: On Friday we moved into our new house! And with it a change and a new beginning with new opportunities.

 Day #7 Foot Massage

Blandine: Saturday was a second day of moving our things into the new house and by the end of it we’d walked ourselves off our feet carrying things around. We both decided that a foot massage was needed to relax and reinvigorate our tired toes.

 7 days over, 23 remain. It’s been great so far, let’s see what the next week holds…

Saturday, 31 August 2013

30 Days of Awesome

Dear readers, are you up for a challenge this September? ... we invite you to join us on a quest for 30 awesome days. We’ve had this idea in the back of our minds since we stumbled upon the ’30 days of awesome’ blog: a bunch of girls who’ve decided to do something awesome everyday and to blog about it. We loved the concept and me and Blandine have decided to give it a go. 
 From tomorrow we’ll set off in search of the awesome in the every day. Just because you don’t always need to travel to the other side of the globe to discover and have fun. Once a week we'll post pictures and a summary of our adventures. There’s no rule other than having fun and doing something special every day. Are you ready?