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

 

Is anxiety and stress “all in your head?”

A lot of things can cause stress in everyday life: work, uni, family, lack of sleep… I feel like there’s a constant comparison of stress in society nowadays.  “I’m so stressed,” “yes but at least you don’t have… going on” etc. Isn’t that just the worst? Or when people think current stress and problems are nothing compared to what they experienced in their day? Some of those amongst us who may even suffer from mental health illnesses may have heard “it’s all in your head!” Because of this, I thought I’d look at what actually happens in the brain to produce stress and anxiety and prove that being stressed and anxious, is just as physically as a more visible illness.

I hope you find this informative and feel free to rub this in the faces of somebody next time they doubt you!

The Frugal Frenchie

Firstly, it might be useful to talk about certain areas for clarification.

Is anxiety and stress "all in your head?"

  • Hypothalamus: this area, despite being small compared to other brain parts, is actually responsible for a lot of functions and processes. For example, it has a role in hormone release, expression of aggression, control of food intake and of course, stress.
  • Pituitary gland: it’s linked to the nervous system by the hypothalamus

Is anxiety and stress "all in your head?"

  • Hippocampus: like the amygdala and the hypothalamus, it is part of the limbic system. Like all brain areas, it is involved in many processes in the body, but especially long-term memory, spatial navigation and a “mediator” in stress responses
  • Amygdala: the amygdala is another part of the limbic system, traditionally known for its role in the fear response (flight/fight/freeze) and negative emotions

Stress, in general, leads to the release of corticotrophin-release hormone (CRH) in the hypothalamus. As the pituitary gland is linked to the hypothalamus, it releases adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACCH). Being very brief, this leads to the adrenal gland releasing cortical (the hormone that gets all the praise for stress).

This, after all that jargon, is the important part. Cortisol leads to increased sympathetic activation which is basically the activation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) that is responsible for all these physiological bodily responses like fight/flight/freeze, increased heart rate, sweating and so on.

The amount of cortisol that gets released is what affects how much/or little we react to feelings of stress. Why some people may just sweat a little, or others may have a panic attack or freeze. The amount of cortisol produced depends on the activity of the amygdala and the hippocampus.

Is anxiety and stress "all in your head?"

The amygdala is critical for fear response. Sensory information from the thalamus and cortex are processed in the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala and is passed onto the central nucleus. This activates the HPA-axis (which is a more formal term for stress response and its effects, including cortisol release).

The role of the hippocampus in this HPA-axis is actually that it measures cortisol levels. It’s the glucocorticoid receptors in the hippocampus that do this. When the cortisol levels are too high, the hippocampus inhibits the CRH release in the hypothalamus (if you remember from the first step) and this in turn stops the HPA-axis activation. It may not seem important, but without this, our body would not behave differently to whether we were being chased by a dangerous animal or if somebody made us jump by shouting “boo.”

Now why is this all important to know? Well, not only is it good head knowledge, but it’s to prove that our behaviour and feelings aren’t a part of our thoughts, but several processes and chemical releases in the brain. It’s important to know that this is normal, and we shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about it.

In those who have diagnosed anxiety or phobias, this happens as there is an overacitvation of the amygala, which means that their fear responses are a lot more powerful.

I hope you found this post interesting and if you learnt something new today, or enjoyed this post, please leave a comment below.

My goals for 2018

I’ve decided to refer to goals this year because resolutions are almost a predetermination that they’ll fail mid-year or earlier. This year though, I’m determined to be more focused. Being more organised etc. is very cliche, but I feel this year, I need to know what I want and what I want to achieve. So, here are my goals for 2018! Make sure you hold me accountable!

The Frugal Frenchie

Firstly, I’d like to go out more. Yup, not many teenagers can say that they don’t go out enough but I really want to socialise more. I feel like socialising spices up the mundane routine of work and uni as well as getting some juicy gossip. I think at least one meet up a week would be nice, any more and I won’t complain!

My goals for 2018

Secondly, I’d like to get more committed to my blog. What often happens is when I have a free moment, I’ll sit down and want to write a blog post but nothing comes to me. Even if I plan titles, I’m not able to just force words onto a page. As life goes, however, when I have to study or have exams coming up, I’m brimming with ideas and things to brainstorm, so this year I want to try and find a nice compromise between the two.

My goals for 2018

Thirdly, this is also a blog/money goal,  I would love to write my first sponsored post or #ad. For many people, this is a taboo subject, with questions arising over the blogger’s genuineness and authenticity, but I feel it’s important to work with brands and be a true “influencer.”

Another monthly goal, I’d like to achieve is getting a promotion in my job. As you all know from previous posts, I work at Primark, but I also own my own beauty and wellness business.

My goals for 2018

I want to work my hardest to achieve a promotion by sharing the opportunity and spreading the word about my amazing, vegan, cruelty-free products! In doing so, I’ll better my business skills (such as pitching and selling) as well as management and time management.

My last goal is to get a 2:1 or more in my second year of university. My second year, out of three, accounts for 30% of my overall degree, so ending on a good grade and on a high note, sets me up well for next year and achieving my best in my BSc Psychology Degree.

My goals for 2018

What are all your goals this year? Have you already beaten yourself and achieved them? Let me know! xx

Ways that anyone can save money

Throughout the year, there might be a number of reasons why someone might find themselves a little tight on cash. This could be due to an unexpected bill, less working hours, more costly demands… you name it! We’ve all been there, and we’ll all be there at some point, so I thought it’d be useful to share some ways that anyone can save money.

The Frugal Frenchie x

Ways that anyone can save money

  • Stop bad habits
    • Like smoking or binge drinking
  • Check what discounts you’re entitled to
    • Student discount?
    • NHS discount?
    • Tastecard
  • Try have a no-spend week at least once a month
  • Do a money saving challenge
  • Consider alternatives to your current product
    • Look at price per kg/l
    • Are own brand products just as good?
  • Reuse, reduce, recycle
    • If jeans have rips, turn them to shorts?
    • Reduce waste by turning potato peelings into crisps?
    • Loads of possibilities here!
  • Use your utilities at night
    • Having a shower or running the dishwasher at night, can save you money
    • Check with your providers though
  • Get cashback on any online purchases
  • Buy things second hand
  • Sell unwanted items
    • There are so many apps to do this on like:
      • Depop
      • Schpock
  • Buy in the reduced section
  • Buy clothes out of season
  • Gift cards
    • Buy them on Zeek for profit
    • Earn them through surveys
  • Buy railway cards or bus cards for discounts

This is just a quick list but there are loads more ideas possible! Do comment your favourite ones; let me know what works for you!

Diary Post: What I got for my birthday

On the 9th December, I turned the big 2-0! My day was filled with kind words, good food and some pretty awesome presents. In the few years that I have been blogging, I don’t believe I’ve ever shared what gifts I’ve received so why change that and show you what I got for my birthday?

What I got for my birthday What I got for my birthdayWhat I got for my birthdayWhat I got for my birthdayWhat I got for my birthday

I hope you enjoy it and please forgive the excited girl tone aha.

The Frugal Frenchie x

I feel like my presents were really varied this year so there’s a little bit of everything. My dad chose out this book by Matthew Desmond called “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.” It’s a nonfiction book that describes the events and the lives of those in trailer parks and tumbledown houses.

What I got for my birthday

It talks about people’s struggles, hardships and life obstacles which I, sometimes guilty so, find very interesting, so I look forward to getting further into the book!

My mum chose me out this gorgeous perfume from Yves Rocher. It’s called “Quelques Notes d’Amour,” and I love it. Shipped from France, it feels extra special as I’ve always loved their products and it smells so lush. It’s not overly sweet but it’s fairly woody for a feminine perfume. I’ve worn it every day since I got it!

What I got for my birthday

Next comes the food, there’s always food let’s face it. My sister was so sweet as to buy me a tube of Smarties- which awkwardly is nearly finished by the time I write this post- and my uni friend got me a tub of Jelly Bean “tropical bonanza!” Thought that was quite funky as some flavours I’ve never tried before, and that was finished a while ago *oops*.

What I got for my birthday

Although these are far from the most well edited, well laid out pictures, I thought it was most appropriate as these sweet treats got me through some tough times typing away at the computer doing coursework aha.

Lastly, I was very kindly gifted the Alcatel A5 LED phone and I love it so much! It’s so easy to navigate and I’ve finally moved on now from my friend’s, scratched old phone! Feels so good to be able to download loads of important apps and be more active on social media whilst on the go. The camera is also much better (my last post was me experimenting with it for the first time ever) which can only mean a step in the right direction when trying to up my blogging game!

What I got for my birthday

There’s also an A3 version but both have this cool cover which replaces the normal back. It lights up whenever you sign in or get a notification so it’s great when you need to keep your phone on silent but want to remain updated! I attached a picture below because it turns out it’s hard to photograph aha, but I love it; I’m a very happy bunny indeed.

What I got for my birthday

What I got for my birthdayWhat I got for my birthday

My Christmas Stocking Fillers

I’m writing this blog post on my birthday as it’s when this time passes that I officially start feeling the Christmas spirit! For this reason, I’ve decided to give you a sneak peek into some of my Christmas stockings fillers this year, so have a nosy and enjoy!

  • Lip balms

I find these are such an easy “go-to” for stocking fillers. They’re small, handy and can be used anywhere at any time, especially during the winter months. These are my personal favourites this year:

I love all Jelly Belly lip balms so it seemed a great idea to grab this pack of 8 for my sister! I think Cherry Blue and Tangerine are such original flavours that I might have to borrow them from time to time aha!

My Christmas Stockings Fillers You can find these in Claire’s for £12.

I also spotted these two hilarious lip balms in the cosmetic section in Primark. It’s a “Christmas Pudding” lip balm and a “Christmas Dinner” themed lip balm. I thought these would make such festive little gifts and are bound to put a smile on the face of the receiver!

My Christmas Stockings Fillers

My Christmas Stockings Fillers

You can find these in Primark for £1.50 each.

  • CDs and DVDs

When you know somebody well, I think CDs and DVDs are such a great gift! Shows that you’ve thought of something that they’d love and it’s something that can be enjoyed over and over.

“NOW that’s what I call….” CDs have always been prominent in our lives. I personally love their “NOW that’s what I call music” but until I started researching, I had no idea that they also did “Classic Soul” and “Driving Rock.” These are definitely gifts that will appeal to my in-laws!

My Christmas Stockings

My Christmas Stockings

Both Classic Soul and Driving Rock retail at £7.98

In terms of films and DVDs, well 2017 has really spoilt us this year. From Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” and Universal Picture’s “Despicable Me 3” to more mature and action filled films like “Spider-Man” and “Wonder Woman!” I’ve chosen Wonder Woman on blu-ray as a stocking filler as not only has my boyfriend not seen it but it’s the second best selling film of the year so has to be amazing, right?

My Christmas Stockings Fillers

Wonder Woman is available on bluray for £13.30.

  • Stationary

Ok, how could I not have put this here? Everybody loooves a good bit of stationary!

Stabilo are always rocking it with their stationary but when I saw these 6 highlighters I fell in love. They’re so dainty and have really cute quotes across them such as “tres chic” and “Be youtiful.” I just think they’re so adorable and people of all ages would appreciate this! Still debating who to give it to actually!

My Christmas Stocking Fillers

My Christmas Stocking Fillers

These pastel love highlighters are on Amazon for £8.71 

  • Books

I think you really can’t go wrong with books. I personally got a book today for my birthday and I’ve got two books for my mum’s present and my little brother’s.

Because my brother is quite a “deep” reader, I thought this would make for a light-hearted, cute little stocking filler for him to enjoy and look through in his own time. I love that books can be catered to different ages and personalities, there are so many talented authors out there!

My Christmas Stockings Fillers

Barry Loser’s Christmas Joke Book can be found on Amazon for £4.98

What are your go-to stocking fillers? Have you sorted all yours yet? Let me know in the comments below!

The Frugal Frenchie x

*Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post, however some products were offered in exchange for a review and this post may contain affiliates