Blog Study Travel

A Bit of Stress and My Weekly Life Essentials

Hey bae <3

So this past week has been something approaching hell! Omg so much stress, and so to relax I’ve had a super chilled weekend, after my exam on Saturday morning at 8am (thanks Sciences Po), of sleep, an awesome vegetable stir-fry and blogging fun.

I’ve another blog up for you as well, looking at my new French skincare products. But I know that’s not for everyone so I’ve got this one to document the week of hell and to plan my days ahead as Mid-Term Exam Week continues.

So last week, what am I complaining about? Well, Thursday I had an oral presentation on Montesquieu, speaking particularly on The Persian Letters, then Friday morning I had my OFII appointments to validate my visa. This included a chest x-ray and a medical appointment and heaps of paperwork fun.

Friday I also had an essay to hand in on Simone de Beauvoir’s idea that one is not born but rather becomes a woman and its relation to the concept of the sentimental family. Then Saturday morning a mid-term exam on corporate law. All the stress!!

So what is up this week??

Well, tomorrow I’m doing the weekly shop, which is always exciting. Included on the list is a new tea towel after I accidently set one on fire today. Adventure times! I’ll also be going into the Free Phone Store to organise my account.

In terms of study, I shall be studying for another exam this coming Saturday, on European Politics and History, while also working on a French Presentation talking about Victor Hugo for next week. I’ll then begin work on a presentation on the refugees of World War Two and preparation for a Law Panel.

Looking forward to, because it’s not all bad, an upcoming trip to Disneyland and some visits from some lovely Aussie friends. I’m keen to get into some volunteering here so I’ll let you know how I go with that! Also did a bit of cheeky online shopping and am now awaiting some clothes and SUPER EXCITEMENT – a David Bowie Mug!!!

Super little store!

The mate James Bay

This is my mate James Bay with said mug, which is now on its way to me from Jolly Brown Vintage in Hitchin. I must say the Jolly Brown staff have been so incredibly lovely so I highly recommend them to any from the area!

I feel like while you’re on exchange you feel like you need to be constantly having adventures, but there are also real life things to attend to, and truthfully real life things can be the best part of an exchange! To make sure I can be as organised as possible in the coming weeks I have redone my schedule making sure I fit in fun and study, heaps of chances to perfect my French and to travel around.

So what does this schedule include?

MEDITATIVE MORNINGS COMPLETE WITH MUSIC

In an ideal day, I try to start the morning off with at least 10 minutes of meditation and then about half an hour of very bad dancing (with the door locked obviously because that can be pretty scary)

Dancing of this week occurred to:
Modern Love- David Bowie, Jungle Love- Morris Day and The Time, Beast at the Door- Wyvern Lingo, Saving all my Sinning- Lake Street Dive, Monday- Matt Corby and Adele’s cover of The Raconteurs’ Many Shades of Black. #musicislife

I feel like starting my day off this way, makes the rest, even if it’s a train wreck, slightly less crappy.

FRENCH LEARNING
The second thing I make sure I fit in is some opportunity to practice my French, the whole point of my exchange after all! With my incredibly-anal planning personality, I have even made a schedule. So here it is, it might be useful if you too are studying a foreign language…

MONDAY
A listening day: 10 minutes on duolingo, a French YouTube video, watching the news, some listening exercises from passthedalf.com

TUESDAY
A writing day: 10 minutes on duolingo, French TV, writing about something I’ve learnt this week in a class

WEDNESDAY
A speaking day (my weakness): 10 minutes on duolingo, French TV, Oral Tutorial at university, practice speaking on a random subject off the cuff

THURSDAY
A chill day: 10 minutes on duolingo and French TV, with morning class

FRIDAY
A reading day: 10 minutes on duolingo, French TV, read a magazine, read a french blog

SATURDAY
A chill day: 10 minutes on duolingo and TV

SUNDAY
Film Day: Duolingo and TV and French Film

And then the last of my essentials every week is…

ADVENTURES
For this second part of my semester I’m making Thursday and the weekend my adventure times! Thursday in Reims and the weekend either here, somewhere else in France or in Europe beyond. These are a great way to make friends and also present plenty of opportunities to perfect French.

So that’s about it, folks! Sorry, it was sort of all over the place today but that’s what stress does to you! Make sure you tune in Thursday for a post on some of my favourite travel bloggers!

x

Beauty Blog Travel

Skincare: French Pharmacy Adventures

Greetings my lovelies! Today I have two posts up for you as I know this one is a little different and might not suit you all! You can check out my post on how I schedule my week while on exchange here.

So this post is a little insight into the French products I’ve introduced into my everyday skincare/shower routine since moving to France. At the moment, my collection is a bit of a French-Aussie Hybrid, and includes some stellar products I want to share with you!

French and Australian approaches to beauty actually have some pretty significant similarities. I feel like both cultures have a strong focus on protecting the skin. Obviously, the Australian focus stems from our ridiculously powerful sun! And then the French culture, which in other areas of beauty and fashion places a real influence on simplicity, focuses a lot of attention on taking care of the skin and hair as the canvas for everything else.

The French Chemist is like a mini-heaven for someone like me, that is someone with an unhealthy obsession with all things skincare! It’s safe to say I’ve already spent a few hours roaming these dreamlands, being entranced by the flashing green cross.

(Main photo: angloinfo.com)


 

 

So without further ado… here are my beauty babies <3

Doux by U Shampoo and Conditioner, Babyliss Pro Argan Oil and Batiste Dry Shampoo

I am currently using the Doux Shampoo and Conditioner by U, they’re cheap as chips from Super U the supermarket! I have the eucalyptus and clay version, which is nice and refreshing, and I was very impressed to note, given the price point, that they do not contain parabens or silicone. The bottles say “cheveux gras” or oily hair, but I find it fine for my hair, which I would say is fairly normal.

Next I have my tiny Argan Oil by Babyliss Pro. You need only the slightest amount of this and it is truly such an effective product on my hair. It always feels so lustrous and nourished after I apply it, plus it smells like my grandma which I know is a super weird thing to say lol, but it always makes me happy!

So Batiste Dry Shampoo is a bit of an essential for me, I use it a lot just for volume and styling, but obviously it also comes in handy when you’re backpacking around! Batiste is the best I’ve tried and is quite affordable, I have the Floral and Flirty Blush Fragrance, which isn’t really my kind of scent but it’s not at all offensive.


 

Moving onto some skincare products…

Clarins Lip Perfector, Nivea Soft Pot, Natio Tinted Moisturiser, Le Petit Marseillais Shower Gel, Skincare

On the left, I have the Clarins Instant Light, Natural Lip Perfector. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! It’s super moisturizing and the shade is the perfect nude! Highly recommended.

Next we have the Nivea Soft Moisturiser Pot, a pretty classic product- simple yet effective, and the Soft Version is great for my thin skin. I thought Nivea was French but it turns out it is a German company, but it is such a cult brand at an affordable price it’s always on my list.

For day, I have a tinted moisturiser from the Australian brand Natio. This moisturiser has an SPF of 50, so very much a multipurpose product. I use the shade light but given the fact that I resemble a vampire it looks glowy and naturally bronze on.

Then Le Petit Marseillais Hydrating and Refreshing Shower Gel which I have already discussed on the blog because I am head over heels! It is the most gorgeous fragrance of pine and rock samphire, which is great for waking you up in the morning and energizing you before a busy day!


 

Some more skincare…

Clarins Cream Cleanser, Sukin Scrub, Clarins Serum, Avène Cleansing Gel, Skincare

The Clarins Cleansing Milk with Alpine Herbs. This cleanser is great for dryer skins and a really effective product. Generally cleansing milks are better for the skin than cleansers which foam, even if the process feels less cleansing without all the bubbles. I’d typically use this with a flannel morning and night, and I’d definitely say, along with my serums, a good cleanser is an essential for me.

Now a product from Sukin, an Australian natural skincare range. This is the Super Greens Detoxifying Facial Scrub containing kale, spirulina, parsley, jojoba beads and bamboo! Hearing this for the first time I expected some green, pungent liquid, so I was pleasantly surprised at the smell, which reminds me of milk bottle lollies- is that just an Australian thing? Anyway, this is a great brand not just from the perspective of the product’s effectiveness but also the values of the brand. FYI The scrub is sulphate and paraben free and a carbon neutral product.

Another product from the French brand Clarins! They are, I must say, one of my go-to brands and they have a wonderful reputation for skincare. This is the HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase. I’ve almost finished the bottle but will definitely be repurchasing this one! Serums are an essential product for me, and I alternate between this one, which having hyaluronic acid is very hydrating, and my rosehip oil, which gives me a boost in a range of vitamins!

Then we have a cleansing gel from Eau thermale Avène! Now I know I said that usually cream cleansers are best, but over the spring break I stupidly left my Clarins one in Reims, so off to the chemist I went! Avène is a very famous French chemist brand and so far I can totally see why. The gel is soap-free and hypoallergenic; gentle skincare formulations being something for which Avène are known.


 

Even more skincare… 

Rosehip Oil, L'Occitane Mask, Clarins Eye Gel, Skincare

Rosehip Plus’ Pure and Natural Cold Pressed and Certified Organic Rosehip Oil. The smell is slightly interesting shall we say, but well worth it for the results! Containing vitamins A, C and E as well as essential fatty acids, I feel like whenever I use this product I can really tell the difference the next day.

Then L’Occitane Angelique Instant Hydration Masque with organic angelica water and essential oil is sahhh good! It’s actually really great for flights (I know that probably sounds excessive) because it dries clear and is uber hydrating and softening, but also for a weekly pick-me-up.

Clarins Eye Contour Gel. Okay I know! Another one! I promise I’m not sponsored, I just genuinely adore so many of their products. I don’t know if you’re supposed to do this but, in addition to using this on the under eyes, I sometimes use it on my whole face, including lips and wake up with baby-soft skin.


 

Carrefour Soap <3

Finishing off with the very basic Carrefour liquid soap. This isn’t really special I guess, but I do love Carrefour.

 

We have reached the end, my friends! I hope you’ve enjoyed this post! Keep an eye out for some more like this, I’m thinking of having a “makeup and style like a Frenchie” post at some point- let me know if you’d be keen to see that. I know this type of post is not quite everyone’s cup of tea so don’t fret I’ll still be posting about my travels and studies on a regular basis!

If however, you share this passion with me you might find this Buzzfeed article on French chemist products interesting- you’re welcome!

As ever you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram for more French adventures.

x

 

Blog Photography Travel

Photos from Spring Break: Belgium, France and Luxembourg

For those of you who’ve been following my Spring Break Series, here are some of my photos from the trip! They include images from Paris, Brussels, Leuven, Tienen and Luxembourg.

Thank-you to all who have been following my adventures! Feel free to comment- I love hearing about all my readers and what you’re all up to!

You can read about the various parts of my trip here:

Luxembourg 

Paris 

Brussels and other parts of Belgium 

 

And a couple more….

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L'Arc de Triomphe

L’Arc de Triomphe

With Savannah after climbing the Eiffel Tower

With Savannah after climbing the Eiffel Tower

With my new friends!

With my new friends!

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Pretty sure you all know what this is....

Pretty sure you all know what this is….

 

x

Blog Travel

Spring Break: Brussels Edition

I’ve now returned from an amazing week trekking Europe, having left Belgium yesterday. Last time we spoke I was just about to leave Paris for Brussels. I honestly had the loveliest weekend, full of old friends, food, museums and adorable puppies! Let’s get into it shall we?


 

FRIDAY

I left Gare du Nord early Friday morning, when it was still dark and drizzling. For breakfast I had an orange juice, a hot chocolate, a chausson aux pommes and a pain au chocolat, ready or the day ahead. I had a lovely conversation with a man in the café and was completely flattered when he complemented my French. Slowly I’m finding my feet but my speaking still needs a lot of improvement. Now that I’m back home I’m really keen to get stuck into perfecting my French, but I’ll save that for another post!

I slept on the bus to Brussels, with a stopover on the way to have all our documents and bags checked by some Belgian soldiers. They were particularly intimidating, and the passengers all lined up in the rain, but we were soon back on our way.

Once in Brussels I took the train to Tienen, where my friend Fauve lives. Pretty sure I looked like a lunatic as we neared the station, getting so excited to see her after four whole years.

After living in hostels for the previous week, and then a student apartment for the months before that, it was so nice to be in a proper house again. I met the adorable, and ridiculously excitable Lexi, Fauve’s little puppy, who went crazy when we returned home. Thanks to this little cutie I was able to learn my first Flemish phrase, Zit.

We had a chilled afternoon, catching up and had a late lunch of cheese, baguettes and San Pellegrino. Following this we dropped Lexi off at Fauve’s grandparents and headed to Brussels for the night.

We spent the night with Fauve’s brother and his housemates, who had organised a dinner party. Their apartment was massive and gorgeous, and also, just casually, right beside the hotel where Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga stay.

Dinner was pasta and Belgian beer, with a game of Never Have I Ever. Safe to say I learnt quite a few new words, perhaps some best reserved for outside the classroom. After the rest of the group went out on the town Fauve and I watched a movie, or I should say started to watch a movie, and then I fell asleep about 3 minutes in.


 

SATURDAY

Saturday morning we had a breakfast of Fauve’s homemade crêpes with sugar. We then headed to the Magritte Museum. A remarkable exhibition of his work, and incredible to see his genius collected in a room. We walked around some of the luxury shopping strips of Brussels, planning our Chanel wardrobes of the future.

For lunch, we had Belgian Frites, which I’m convinced I’ll need to pick up in a weekly visit to Belgium from here on in. Then strolling through nearby gardens, Le Petit Sablon Quartier, and visiting some of the landmarks around the town centre of Brussels.

We each ate a delicious waffle, standing by the very tiny Manneken Pis, who was dressed in mining attire. On the day of our visit, he was peeing beer for some kind of special occasion, much to the delight of the crowds of tourists.

I found some more miniature food magnets to add to my growing collection, and then we began our trip home. On the drive back to Tienen, we passed by the Atomium, shining in the Spring sky, like some rocket ship from outer space, before we picked up Lexi from Fauve’s grandma and grandpa.

After quiche, salad, bread and some more cheese (obviously as a fromage lover I’m not going to skip that!) we settled down to watch Brooklyn, starring Saoirse Ronan. Highly, highly recommend this beautiful film, I cried a good deal! Honestly think it’s one of the best flicks I’ve seen of late, and can’t wait to see Saoirse Ronan’s future!

Then to add to the emotions, Fauve’s friend who was at Adele’s Dublin concert, rang and let us listen to When We Were Young. When we are a famous diplomat and writer respectively, Fauve and I have planned on being her besties and we’ll never miss a concert again.  


 

SUNDAY

I had a lovely Sunday sleep-in before a mozzarella and tomato Panini with Fauve and her brother Gilles. More cheese was had, and then a coffee cake from Fauve’s grandmother. I don’t quite understand how my stomach managed to expand for the weekend’s many delicacies but I felt thoroughly spoilt.

We then travelled to Leuven, a truly beautiful city, where we paid a visit to some of the landmarks, St Pierre’s Church, the library, the Town Hall and the slightly more avant-garde statue of a giant beetle being stabbed by a sewing needle. It takes all sorts! Finally we had a hot chocolate in the famous Den Domus before a last goodbye. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another four years before another catch-up!


 

MONDAY

I’m now back in Reims getting ready for an intense few weeks! Feeling a little stressed right now, so after my study tonight, I squished in a little Call the Midwife session, complete with tea, and a brief visit to the Monoprix makeup counter. And then of course blogging always makes things better! Keep an eye out for some photos of my break that will be up soon, but until then my love to you all!

 

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