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Bordeaux: revisiting old memories & making new ones!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Earlier this month we went to Bordeaux in southern France for a long weekend. I lived and worked in the city in the early 1990s during my degree and had never been back since that time. France was the first time I'd lived abroad, lived alone or had a job. I learnt a lot about myself and looking back now I realise that a lot of the foundations of who I am today were laid down during that time in Bordeaux.

So I knew it was going to be a trip down memory lane, and I was keen to go back with Mr DI and make some new memories in this beautiful city ~ little did I know what was in store for me!

Here are a few 'then & now' shots I've collated from the archives & from our recent trip...
'Thens' are on the left, 'Nows' on the right!

One of the first places we headed to was the flat where I lived

The big shocker here was that they've changed the name of the street, which made it a little hard to find our way there. Luckily I recognised the building!

Next up, the school where I taught English ~ it hasn't changed a bit!

Place Gambetta, close to where I lived

Cathedral St Andre. There's now a tram network running through the city centre streets...

Grand Theatre. I used to queue up for free tickets here & go to Saturday classical concerts.

Maison du Vin ~ I spent quite a bit of time here researching the region's viticulture for my dissertation. There may or may not have been quite a bit of wine tasting involved...

Grosse Cloche. This is a good example of how much of the city has now been pedestrianised.

 Monument aux Girondins ~ an iconic Bordelais site...

Pont de Pierre, across the Garonne

Porte Cailhau

Place de la Bourse ~ the old customs house, which faces the Garonne

It was interesting to see how things had changed: the trams, the renovated riverfront walk along the Garonne, new shops, restaurants, bars. I was a bit sad to see a few things had disappeared, like the bakery close to my flat I used to go into every day ~ the owner called me La Petite Anglaise ~ but overall the place had the same feel & of course all the monuments are still the same.

On our final morning, the weather was beautiful so we went down to the river to walk a bit & enjoy the sun.

And then THIS happened!!

Yes, there and then on the banks of the Garonne, opposite the Place de la Bourse, a new Bordeaux memory was made. It was the perfect place, time & setting, I couldn't be happier!


Springtime Bucket List

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Spring time is here ~ yay! The clocks have changed and lighter evenings are upon us. I love seeing the first flowers appearing and that short, short window where the leaves on the trees are a gorgeous light, fresh green. It's also a time of reawakening for body, mind & soul...

Here are a few things I'm planning for the next few months, to make the most of one of my favourite times of the year:

: : Exploring ~ our local area and further afield into deepest Kent; the south coast; returning to Bordeaux, my former French home after more than 20 years
: : Moving ~ yoga, running, skipping
: : Grounding ~ meditation & aromatherapy
: : Reflecting ~ on how far I've come & how there's so much life left to live & enjoy!

What plans do you have for the new season?



Sunday, 28 February 2016

This little guy is 9 months old now!

He's settled incredibly well and every day there's something new he discovers at home. Although he's been out in the garden with us, we haven't let him go out on his own so far. After Jade's disappearance last year I am still nervous, and with him being such a handsome chap, we're a bit hesitant about him roaming around on his own.

To get him out and about in the meantime, we've been taking him around our block when we can. We introduced him to a lead when he first arrived, so he's fine with the idea of it now.

When I read up on using a lead with a cat, Fit Cat said 'In order to teach your cat to walk on a lead, you must first recognise that cats won't walk long distances or heel obediently by your side like dogs do'. Hmm, I thought...

We are getting faster at doing our loop around the neighbourhood, but it does depend! Generally he trots along fine, especially when there are two of us to encourage him. Occasionally he stops and lies down, refusing to get up, at which point we need to pick him up and carry him a few paces, before putting him down and off he goes again.

There's quite a bit of this.... (not our house)

And also this... (not our house either!)

And getting distracted when the wind blows leaves around

Each time we go out, he gets the idea more and loves running and sniffing everything he can. We've found though that he doesn't like a) people (unless they're inside) b) cars c) trams or trains. All these things make him turn around and walk back the way we've come.

Walking a kitten seems bonkers I know, but it keeps him fit and it's actually a great talking point ~ people stop and ask us about him, usually after they've done a doubletake, thinking perhaps he was a small dog!

Plus he always sleeps like a log once we're home...


Weekend Inspiration

Saturday, 20 February 2016


Iconic Sculpture around the World

Monday, 8 February 2016

'I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free'

I'm still buzzing from the thrill of seeing the statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro over Christmas. The size of it is just immense and I found my eyes searching for it wherever we went in the city. There was something comforting in knowing that he was always there, watching over the bay and its people.

Statues are a big part ofculture and many are now the icons by which places, such as Rio, are identified throughout the world. Here are a few pictures of some others I've seen on my travels ~ hope you enjoy!

Trafalgar Square, London

Love by Robert Indiana, New York City

Rodin's The Kiss, Copenhagen, Denmark

Cleopatra's Needle, London

Fernando Botero, Cartagena, Colombia

Do you have any favourite statues or sculptures around the world?


Reasons to Look Up

Sunday, 31 January 2016

How often do you look up when you're out and about? Most of us seem to be in such a rush that we're either determinedly looking ahead or our eyes are fixed downwards, more often that not at our smartphone.

This book has made me think differently about what I'm looking at as I go about my day. Once you start looking up every now and again, you realise what you might be missing ~ try it!

Piccadilly Circus, London

Margate, Kent

Cordoba, Spain

Brixton, London

Natural History Museum, London

Guggenheim Gallery, New York

London Bridge