Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

2018 really started off with a bang. Spent New Years Eve with my boyfriend and his family, celebrated and had a lay-in on the 1st, and on the 2nd, we were off on holiday! After having worked my butt off for the last two months of 2017, both at work and at uni, it couldn’t have come at a better timing, to be honest! So here’s a little diary post of my Bordeaux holiday.

The Frugal Frenchie

January 2nd

We left on January 2nd for Gatwick airport, simply because we live about 2 hours + away, so we thought it might be tight arriving for an 8am flight in case something happened or sod’s law… there was a strike on public transport.

Ironically, there did end up being a strike on the trains, so this started a big twitter thread of updates and the passing of many confusing places we weren’t even meant to be anywhere near! Not sure what it is about January, but it seems to trigger the protest of many transport workers! Our direct train from Southampton Central to Gatwick was completely cancelled, so we were informed that we had to go to Brighton and then change there for Gatwick, “however if that’s cancelled, then there’s no way you can get there, unfortunately.” Well, that was helpful, luckily we had grabbed bargain tickets then!

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

Thankfully, we did board that Brighton train, but before it got to Brighton, it said we had to change for another train, because a Brighton train was not running, so we wouldn’t even get there! We ended up in the rain, humorously being told to swap platforms twice so a whole crowd of confused people were just constantly going back and forth in the bridge under the rails, on the lookout for our train!

Nevertheless, we arrived at Gatwick Airport in a reasonable time (a miracle in my opinion) where Fraser, my boyfriend, had managed to keep a surprise from me: we were staying overnight in a Hilton hotel! I’ve never stayed in a Hilton hotel before so I was very excited. I’m more of a Premier Inn type of girl traditionally!

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

After our last flight, where we did an unintentional all-nighter in Amsterdam airport, it was amazing to be able to dump our bags with no sense of paranoia and fall back on a nice, soft, well-made bed. We watched TV for a bit, surprised to see Mr. Ramsay’s face on it (Kitchen Nightmares is our favourite), took a nice warm shower and went to bed.

January 3rd

In the morning, we woke up at around 6:30, left by 6:50, all ready for looking at our flights. We took a few bits and bobs for breakfast and made our way to the gate, which we found easily and voila, that was it!

Because I’m half French, I have a lot of family spread out everywhere. My Grandma is from the North, however, my Auntie and cousins ended up in the middle/south of France: Cognac and Bordeaux (both wine places, I know). I haven’t seen my cousin and his wife in 3 years, so that meant that I never saw their son who was 3 and their now newborn son of 6 months old. Heads up, I’m already broody so this trip certainly didn’t help, but boy did it make my year.

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

After having found each other at arrivals, and doing our cheek-kisses (I have no idea how you refer to it in English haha) and making introductions, we squeezed ourselves and our suitcases into the car and made our way. The little boy was definitely a shy little one, a fact that my cousin found highly amusing and told us to wait until we got home. It was quite a sight seeing my boyfriend of 5″10 squashed in between two car seats, a sleeping baby and a shy, withdrawing toddler, but as predicted, all was well when we got home!

I thought that it would take a little introduction and play before he trusted us, but once he had his shoes off at home, it’s like he had known us forever! Despite the language barrier with him and Fraser, he started throwing toys our way asking that we play with him, with yours truly translating (or attempting to) toddler talk as we went.

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

A little favourite of his was a bit like Buckaroo, but if you touched certain parts of the body while throwing the objects on, you’d get sprayed with water, so it’s safe to say there was a bit of intentional cheating going on!

After lunch, while the little ones took a nap, we were shown around Bordeaux centre a little bit, reminiscing about the last time I went there and there was a boat festival in the summer. It really is a beautiful city, some of the architecture is just insane! Turns out they were just business offices and flats for verrich people, which is just unreal! We also passed this statue called “Monuments des Girondins” which is so tall it’s difficult to get into one picture, very detailed and stately though, it’s a real landmark of Bordeaux!

January 4th

On our second day in France, we were taken on an awesome trip to a seaside town called Arcachon. With it being only about 2 hours away from the nearest Spanish town, it was clear that it had Spanish influences, with the architecture’s colour and designs occasionally fooling us into thinking we were elsewhere than a French town.

The little three-year-old was having a ball of a time, so after eating a little something at a nearby Boulangerie, Fraser and I decided to have a little walk along the front ourselves, climbing amongst the rocks and taking just a few pictures.

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

Later on, we saw two (of what could only be described as) of nature’s wonders. Who’d have thought that the largest forest in Europe, would also be next to the largest sand dune in Europe and the beach?

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

Honestly, as somebody who has never gone to a “deserty” place before, had you made the temperature super high and made a blazing sun beam down on us rather than cold wind, I could’ve been in the Sahara desert!

Predictably, climbing up and sliding down it was hilarious and messy, but totally worth it! Despite it being last month, I think I still have some sand in my shoes from it haha. Oh, and how cheeky is this little munchkin? So adorable.

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

January 5th

The third day was a little more chill after our “sandy workout.” We had a lie in, breakfast and just relaxed all morning with the little ones. The little three-year-old is so cute, he’s really into Disney songs and even in French, they’re as addictive! After listening to them a few times, I’m pretty sure I started getting the chorus of “Let it Go” in my head after a while, not to mention some new French shows featuring ladybird and cat superheroes!At around lunchtime, Fraser and I went out into town by ourselves, while the two boys had their nap and my cousin worked from home. We were out for a good 3/4 hours, just wondering around and soaking in the atmospheres. Among many other commonly found stores, there were some really sweet independent French boutiques, filled with French fashion or cosmetics. Despite my love for writing posts, I still am not “doué” for taking photos naturally, and so we just enjoyed our time instead. Memories are just as good, right?

Unfortunately, as it always does, reality kicked in and made me realise that my statistics (ew) coursework was due in, so I did have to resist the temptation just a little while of playing with the boys when I got back, and do a little bit of referencing and editing.

Overall it was a relaxing day though, with a new adventure planned for the next day!

January 6th

Gee, I think such a day-to-day description might have been easier presented in vlogs! Especially on our 4th day, when we went to an amazing old castle and village (you can see more pics in this post). Shamefully I didn’t get the name, but it was really beautiful, you could only imagine what each part was used for and what happened in each area.

Can you guess what we assumed this part to be for?

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

Knowing it was quite a long drive, our little companion did amazingly to be some calm, although he cheated by sleeping most of it! Nevertheless, he walked loads and, on the condition that he was good (which I also said applies to Fraser haha) he was allowed a McDonalds, so after a lot of sport with his new best buddy, off we went to guzzle down some French chips and hamburgers.

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

I can’t help thinking that in all these pictures, I look like the boring one that never plays haha. I am fun I promise, I just think this week, Fraser was the favoured one to play with (tottttally not offended) although I definitely could’ve fit into this small McDonald’s play area better!

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

January 7th

On our last full day in Bordeaux, we want for a little trip to the nearby countryside. It wasn’t too far away, yet was so different to the commercial, more industrial side we had previously seen.

We watched a football match for a little bit, then walked around the park kicking about a ball and then spent the rest of the time in the playground. We probably took the most pictures then, so enjoy a few of my favourites!

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

January 8th

Today we got to visit a French school, a little primary school and got to reminisce about the low-hung clothes hangers outside and the extremely colourful walls of the classrooms. Our little companion had school on our last day, unfortunately, but luckily we managed to say bye to him before we left.

Our last day was of course the one with bright sunshine, but we still went out and had a look around a local shopping centre. I had my first look at a Sephora store and saw the most amazing craft/general bits and bobs store ever. Honestly, it was like a bloggers dream. What do you think?

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

Our flight was in the evening so we got a very overpriced baguette to share between us, queued for ages, had a very justified fright that we were going to be late (they checked passports before boarding, but for several flights at the same time???) and then boarded.

We met Fraser’s dad and sister at Gatwick and arrived at his about 2.5 hours later where we crashed and slept like absolute babies until morning.

This was a really amazing way to start 2018, and was the last time of seeing Fraser for a good 1.5 months after (ie. I just saw him) so it made it extra special. A big thank you to Vincent and Elodie, and I can’t wait to see you all again soon! xx

 

Diary post: our 5 euro trip to Madame Tussauds

On the 17th July, the day before we were due to leave for the UK and start our summer holiday, we decided to take a very impulsive trip to Amsterdam. Once there we went to go see Madame Tussauds and here’s what I thought of it.

Normally, Madame Tussauds is around 25 euros per person, but luckily, with vouchers, I managed to get it down to 5 euros for two people, including tax! How?

Well, as you may know, if you follow my blog, I started Maastricht University in August 2016 to study psychology. A compulsory part of this course was to do a minimum of 20 hours of research participation to help year 3 students or PhD students. Unfortunately, we weren’t paid, but we did receive some vouchers called VVV vouchers. Upon looking at what they could be spent on, I was extremely disappointed. They were mostly sports shops or cafes or other establishments where I would definitely not be spending my money at.

That is, of course, when I saw that we could spend them at Madame Tussauds….

As my first visit in a Madame Tussauds I was very impressed by the quality of the wax figures and the sheer resemblance of them. I loved how everything was displayed and the general layout of the museum. We met some of the greatest music artists of the decade and then went back in time to some of the greatest artists of this century!

I was disappointed at a few things, however, but I shan’t dwell on these as I did get to visit for almost free. The first thing I noted was there actually weren’t that many figures. There was a little hall at the beginning where ET, Freddie Mercury and Angelina Jolie were displayed because they were clearly anomalies. It’s odd to think about Jolie being an anomaly, but going through the museum, I soon realised why: there were no actresses or any actors!

The sections were very limited which was probably why the museum was so sparse and had so much room for décor and details. In the sport section, there were only three footballers (one of whom I had never heard of), there was one tennis player (Nadal), a gymnast I never heard of and another figure that was so insignificant to me I can’t remember them. I was surprised that they didn’t even have Kim Clijsters, who, although is Belgian, I thought would have more significance to them than Nadal.

The music section was a lot more impressive. Again, they didn’t have very many figures but that whole floor was so well presented that I forgave them very quickly! There were old vinyl’s covering the walls, music blaring out, and coincidentally, very relevantly, Ariana Grande on a big stage surrounded by fake smoke and in a stunning dress. She was the “centre piece.”

There were also big names like Adele, Taylor Swift and Michael Jackson. There were also some Dutch DJs/radio presenters but of course, they need to put some of their own culture in too!

The other floors did surprise me in terms of what they had chosen: they had a tonne of marvel characters (which my boyfriend loved), an artist section and an “inspiration section.” Although this was just spread out across the space of a mundane house’s hallway, I had so much respect for them for including these figures. They made Anne Frank, Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, Ghandi, Dhali Lama and Nelson Mandela!

Overall, for 5 euros of entertainment, it was good little trip and it was great fun being vain next to all these celebrities. I was expecting a little more, and I don’t think I would go again paying full price, but I really appreciate the experience and the opportunity to visit one of these famous Madame Tussaud museums.

Have you ever been to a Madame Tussauds or the one in Amsterdam particularly? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!

The Frugal Frenchie x

Diary post: Maastricht in summer

In July 2017, once I had finished my first year of university, my boyfriend and I decided to make the most of our free days before leaving to the UK, to really appreciate Maastricht, our local town and actually explore it properly and discover new things.

Even after a year, it’s easy to miss massive details simply because you’re cycling, you’re rushing or you have places to be, deadlines to meet. It’s a classic excuse. Consequently, we decided to just spend the day walking around, taking pictures and surprising ourselves.

We actually did end up discovering new things! We had never realised how beautiful the architecture was, for example. We had never realised how colour coordinated they were, or how they had different styles depending on what street you were. You never think to look at the buildings above the shops, but we did, and we honestly couldn’t believe we were in the same town we had gone through for the past year!

We also found a cute little art exhibition where tea and coffee was served through a van as well as a little camper van giving out food. There were some sculptures just being propped up in the grass and there was music playing, with a little audience of people in deck chairs. In our quest for a free toilet (ah Europe) which was not successful, we also found an old church that had been converted into a dance hall/bar/restaurant. Very untypical and unusual for its surroundings but we loved its uniqueness!

We spent a long time in the park and just walking around too. I personally love people watching. If that sounds stalkery, then I apologise, but I find it so interesting! I also love doing it at airport’s especially as you have so many different nationalities and cultures, not to mention guessing what people are talking about when you don’t understand!

Looking around, I just loved how all the kids looked so happy, everyone was sitting outside cafes and there was a wedding photo shoot happening across the lake. Everything was just film-like; it was just a perfect day.

The Frugal Frenchie x