Memories from Paris

Do you ever find that life can get so busy and crazy things completely pass you by? That’s exactly what happened to me last month with our little weekend away in Paris.

Tiarnan and I went two weeks before Christmas and it was wonderful while we were there, but the second we got back we were drawn into celebrating Tiarnan’s birthday, finishing the Christmas shopping and then all of the Christmas and New Year festivities. Now, looking back on it, I feel as though I instantly forgot about our trip. I didn’t even look through the pictures.

On a rainy evening wishing I was planning a trip, I finally got round to flicking through our Paris snaps, and I instantly wanted to share them all with you. I did give you a glimpse into our visit with Teatime in Paris, but today is going to have a more relaxed vibe and just document our wanderings. Paris is such a beautiful, wonderful place, it seemed such a shame not to!

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This was not our first time in the city of lights. We visited as part of our interrailing trip in summer 2013, and then again in April 2014 for Tiarnan to run the Paris marathon. Both trips were done at lightning speed and completely crazy. This time we wanted to wander, not plan too much and just see what we stumbled across.

We also tried Air BnB for the first time which was a resounding success. If you haven’t done it yet, definitely consider it for your next trip. We found the cutest little apartment on Île Saint-Louis, just above Berthillon ice cream parlour. It really was tiny, but being tucked into a little mouse hole is all part of the Parisian experience!

Having our own apartment was amazing because we could cook for ourselves and come and go as we pleased, with no strict check in and out times. It was also in such an incredible location, everything was on our doorstep. Every morning we took full advantage of this and popped into our local boulangerie to pick up pastries and coffee to enjoy by the river for breakfast, before setting off on the day’s adventures!

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One of our first stops was the Louvre, as it was our favourite spot when we visited a couple of summers ago. The glass pyramid is surrounded by water fountains, so after a particuarly busy day we had sat outside and dipped our weary feet into the water. Of course, we were absolutely not repeating that this time but to just admire the grandeur and take silly tourist photos was definitely worth the visit. We didn’t venture inside as we had plenty more to see, but it’s something that will remain on our Parisian ‘to do’ list.

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You already know about our visit to Angelina’s from my last post, but it is one of the best things to do in Paris in winter! They are famous for their hot chocolates for a very obvious reason, they are so thick and creamy. Angelina’s also have a gorgeous little shop so you can buy the mix and recreate your own version at home.

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We spent the rest of that afternoon wandering through the Jardin des Tuileries, Place de la Concorde and the Champs-Élysées. We found the enormous Christmas market and most of the afternoon was spent perusing the stands, choosing the best crepe for lunch and singing along to the Christmas tunes while watching the world go by. I picked out some gingerbread to take home and agonised over choosing a beautiful bauble for the Christmas tree (which smashed on the way home! Sad, sad times). There are a few markets but if you are in Paris at Christmas time, I would definitely recommend the one on the Champs-Élysées. There’s a huge variety of stands, plenty of places to sit, eat and be merry and even an ice rink.

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We walked back along the river to our apartment, and stopped off at the love locks bridge which is always a sight to behold. We put one on a couple of years ago but failed to find it, concluding it has probably been cut off. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to have had any negative consequences…! We decided to not risk any future severing of our love and passed on putting another one on, instead browsing through all the others and wondering if the couples were still as in love.

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The next day, we wandered further up the river to see all of the sights we’d missed. It’s a fairly long walk, but by far the best way to get around and soak up the city. It was very quiet on Sunday morning and we were mainly joined by early morning runners. On our way to the Eiffel Tower we stopped off in a little cafe by the river for breakfast, and guiltily ate pain au chocolats while counting the runners.

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You don’t need me to tell you that the Eiffel Tower is a must, but do make sure you visit! I would highly recommend whizzing up to the top, whether you opt for the lifts or are a little more hardy and take on the stairs. Get there early to beat the queues and the panaromic view is definitely worth the climb! This time we passed on going up, as we had in the summer and when we arrived the top was shrouded in a pretty atmospheric mist.

We finished the trip by walking through the fancier shopping districts admiring the stores (and the high end shoppers), even though we could feel our bank accounts screaming whenever we got too close… We spent the rest of the morning in Ladurée taste testing the iconic macaroons before reluctantly getting back on the Eurostar to London.

I really hoped you enjoyed this little recap of Paris – it turned into rather an epic! If you have any suggestions for Paris then I would love to hear them. There is still plenty on my list, including an Alice in Wonderland tearoom, the department stores, actually going into one of the museums and cocktails at Hotel Costes! Now just to plan the next trip…

2015 Through Instagram

How is it New Year’s Eve already? It seems so crazy to be waving goodbye to 2015 at midnight, but what a year it has been.

2015 was the year #LoveWins went viral as the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal across America. We watched in horror as refugees fled across Europe, and Paris was bombed in the worst attacks on France since WWII. We waited at the doors of the Lindo Wing for the newly born Princess Charlotte to emerge, and watched New Zealand win the Rugby World Cup, the first team to ever successfully defend the Web Ellis Cup. David Cameron is back at no. 10, and America is gearing up for their presidential election in which Hillary Clinton will attempt to become the first woman president (again).

For me, 2015 has been quite the year of milestones. I graduated from uni, got a job, turned 21 and had a big party to celebrate. The Jubilee line is my new best friend, I can’t live without Pret’s tuna baguette and the 9 to 5 life is now mine. On a smaller scale, I ran 5k (without stopping), successfully gave up chocolate for Lent and finally started reading Game of Thrones. It’s been a fun year. So I thought I’d whizz through the last 12 months via Instagram, and share some of the memories with you…

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New Year’s Eve 2014; shopping the sales in York and Tiarnan almost bought all of Jack Wills; celebrating 3 years with Tiarnan; girlie evenings in Newcastle; enjoying dog walks and fresh air back at home for Easter; pub lunching (and the most enormous fish and chips); wrapping up warm by the sea in Brighton; spring runs with Tiarnan; hacking with Rosie and Mr Flash on one of the first gloriously sunny days of the year.

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Holidaying in Turkey with Tiarnan; sunset in Turkey on the hotel’s private beach; spending Mum’s birthday by the seaside in May; enjoying our last few weeks at uni visiting Bamburgh Castle; an amazingly sunny day at Castle Howard in Yorkshire (we drove through the moors that day and the scenery was incredible); my 21st birthday cake (the 2 was chocolate and the 1 vanilla – it was delicious!); my 21st birthday party; cutting my cake; shopping on the King’s Road with my beautiful Kate Spade handbag.

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Watching the tennis at Wimbledon on the hottest day of the year (#sweatymess); enjoying the perks of the job – restaurant reviewing; summer walkies with Chester; London in the sunshine; graduating from Newcastle University; celebrating graduation with my family; afternoon tea in Eastbourne for Dad’s birthday; a belated birthday day out in Brighton; watching the sunset in Spain while eating chocolate and playing cards.

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A quick day trip to Barcelona; cooling down with the most delicious gelato; cycling to Padstow in Cornwall (for amazing fish and chips!); moving Tiarnan into his new London place; celebrating my new job at The Shard; picking out the Christmas tree; Oxford Circus’ Christmas lights looking amazing; celebrating Tiarnan’s birthday with ice-skating, champagne and truffles; a festive weekend in Paris.

As I said, it’s been a fun year. I’m still buying too many jumpers, drinking too much squash and using too much heat on my hair (but I’ll deal with those things in 2016). I hope you all have a great night, and a great year. See you in 2016!