Sunday, 29 July 2012

Je ne parle pas très bien français

So my first week here in Lyon is officially over.
What have I learnt so far? Well, apart from the fact that Lyon is a pretty underrated city, I have managed to discover a bit about its culture and cuisine. This city is really very beautiful and I actually think I've fallen in love with the place, especially the old city.  

Walking around the city I noticed a lot of cafes and restaurants with the sign 'Bouchon' imprinted over their signs and windows. After inquiring about it I learnt that Bouchons are traditional bistros that are unique to Lyon culture, serving up a range of classic local dishes which are based on the snacks of the silk workers during the 18th century.

Most of the dishes are centred around meat, especially pork and offal, and whilst the second choice might not sound all that appetizing, the meats are often cured, or infused with herbs and spices, which, in the long run make a delicious meal. Some typical dishes include, andouille (grilled chitterlings sausage), saucisson de Lyon (sausage made from pork leg), tripe, cervelle de canut which is literally translated as "brains of the silk-weaver" (cream cheese mixed with garlic and herbs), and quenelles (flour, egg, and cream dumplings).

So yesterday I decided to try one out and went to a Bouchon in the old city. It had a rather rustic and traditional interior with a lovely terraced area for outside seating which is what attracted me to this place. I sampled the salade lyonnaise as an entree which is a mix of lettuce with small blocks of bacon, croutons, and a poached egg, all topped with a mustard based dressing (I'm not actually sure of the name). The mix of flavours complemented each other really well, what with the refreshing taste of the lettuce against the saltiness of the bacon and the spiceyness of the dressing. Next I tried the Saucisson de Lyon in a Beaujolais (red wine) sauce which was served up with dauphinoise potatoes. The sausage was sliced up pretty thick which made it quite filling but all in all it was a nice and flavoursome dish. Whilst the food wasn't too bad, I heard some nasty rumours that the food at this particular diner is pre-prepared and then microwaved. So I'm definitely keen to try another place and another dish! 

If you're wondering why I've been talking about food so much I've taken the role of the food critic for this project I'm currently involved in. This isn't a food blog, I'm just sharing my experiences! 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

beaucoup de nourriture

I found this cute little artisan boulangerie whilst walking back from the metro station today and couldn't resist buying lunch. There were all sorts of lush looking savoury tarts and sandwiches but I thought I'd stick to a light lunch and get a salad. Despite my efforts to stay away from the carbs I received this complimentary bite-sized loaf. I think it may be a custom to eat bread with most meals in France.  

I love sun-dried tomoatoes!  This is cute, no? 

I also received complimentary dressing in this little sachet. Awesome, right??

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Tuesday 24th July 2012


Today I thought I'd do a brief update of my time here in Lyon so far. I've had quite an interesting experience trying to get to grips with navigating myself around the city and trying to communicate with locals with what little French I know. As we live in the more commercial district of Lyon we have a mall very close to us as well as several public transport links and the main railway station Gare Part Dieu. We also live a 20 minute minute walk away from the Rhone River which is a plus!

Yesterday, as a part of the program, we received a very informative 3-hour tour of some of the main attractions of Lyon, including the Fourviere hillside that is home to the awe-inspiring Renaissance Basilica as well as the ruins of the Ancient Theatre of Fourviere left behind from the Roman empire. We were told some general facts as well as given some rather heavy insight into some of the main attractions that we visited. Overall, I think one of the main things I've learned so far is that Lyon is extremely rich in terms of its historical and cultural heritage and that there is so much behind this extremely grand city. 

Ancient Theatre of Fourviere

The Basilica was huge so I had to capture it in 2 parts.
This is the top (evidently)...

...And here we have the entrance. 

The round metal structure located alongside the Basilica dubbed  the Lyonnais Eiffel Tower

Overview of the Inner City of Lyon 

My favourite part of the tour had to be our visit to Vieux Lyon (the old city). Walking along the cobbled, narrow streets of this historical gem you really get an authentic sense of Lyonnais history with rows upon rows of cute little boutique shops and restaurants. The remnants of the old city can be seen through the numerous traboules (passageways) around the old city alongside the intricately designed Gothic building that have survived from the Renaissance. Most of them are still used as a accommodation with signs asking tourists to respect the residents. Visually, this part of the Lyon is very beautiful. 

The view as we walked toward the old city 

 I didn't get much of a chance to check out many of the shops but I will definitely be making another trip pretty soon! 

Thanks for reading! 

Sunday, 22 July 2012

un pizza aux champignons

Just a quick post from France!
Today I arrived in Lyon ready to start a 3 week project on making a travel brochure about the city. It's a project with 12 other members so I'm really looking forward to getting to know them all as well as the city! I will try to blog about stuff I've learned or have picked up during my time here and I will also try and get as many snaps of the place as possible!

But overall, today has mostly been about getting here and meeting everyone. The weather is lovely here, a definite pleasant change from the miserable London weather (although I hear the sunshine is back?!). From what I've seen so far, the city is also quite lovely. As there was no food in the apartments a couple of us went for a walk to see what was available. Because it's a Sunday there wasn't much open apart from a few fast food places and small grocery shops. I managed to catch the boulangerie just in time before it shut and bought a bag of six croissants for 2 euros! How awesome is that! I also bought a pizza on the way back and gobbled it down, 'cause, y'know, it just had to be done!

Just off the top of my head I'm aware that Lyon is located in the east of France and is one of the largest cities, alongside Paris and Marsielle, and is very well renowned for its gastronomy and culinary heritage. I am very excited about this part and cannot wait to try out some of the local cuisine.
I've also read that the city has a strong Roman heritage as it was one of the former capitals, Gaul, during the Roman empire. The ruins of an ancient roman theatre is located somewhere in the centre of the city so I really hope we get the chance to check that out!

But for now, I'm really looking forward to climbing into bed! I believe I have an early start tomorrow with group orientation and stuff, so that's all I have for now folks! 
Thanks for reading!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Brimless hat

Today I have uploaded a few pictures of this elegant brimless ladies hat (a toque?) that was crocheted by Stella. The hat itself is quite interesting just because it doesn't have a brim at all. Apparently, such type of hats were popular in Europe during the 13th to the 16th centuries, especially in France. Now the only brimless hats, apart from say, beanies or woolly hats, are the white starched chef hats that became popular in the 18th century, again in France. On the other hand, this little number is stylish, made with 'love ring' crochet patterning around the top. On the bottom (on the tiny bit of brim) Stella has added some shimmery polyester yarn to add that little bit of sparkle and on the front she has stitched on a very cute little flower, in keeping with the white scheme of the hat, alongside some very nice netting at the top. This is a very lovely piece that is great for formal occasions like weddings and the very fact that it doesn't have a brim makes it all that more unique. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


Ok so these photos don't actually give the festival itself any justice but they reflect the awesome time I got to experience as a VIP crew member throughout the festival!

I have also written a review of the Festival that is on the Digital Spy website, read it here!

Thanks guys!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Hard Rock Calling Fest

Hey everyone! 
Today I thought I'd post about my excitement for the Hard Rock Calling festival at Hyde Park which begins this Friday until Sunday. Since its birth in 2006 Hard Rock Calling has been presenting audiences with a commendable compilation of some of the finest rock, metal, grunge, punk, and alternative music artists there is going. It has expanded from its once rather small 2 stage venue to accommodate more acts with now up to 4 stages, and whilst some might argue that's it's still a pretty small festival, I would say that size is of no relevance when it comes to the quality of acts brought to stage. This year the festival is retaining their spark and is headlining some pretty legendary acts such as "The Boss" that is Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and old school American punk band Iggy and the Stooges! Paul Simon from the '60s American folk music duo Simon and Garfunkel will also be performing as well as 90's grunge group Soundgarden. I'm also aware that more contemporary acts like Christina Perri and Kids in Glass Houses will  be taking to the main stage as well as other brilliant acts throughout the festival.

As well as this wonderful array of top artists, the festival will be hosting fresh new talent on their Hard Rock Rising stage which will give emerging artists from across the globe the opportunity to showcase their musical talents and their Hard Rock skills to audiences. So the festival really is providing festival goers with a crème de la crème of performances, with new and old acts, throughout the 3 days of hard rocking.

I myself will be looking forward to having a fabulous time after winning the opportunity to have a 'Cool Job' with Digital Spy courtesy of the Hard Rock Calling competition (that I actually won!) that promises to give aspiring journalists the chance to report from the festival! I am so utterly excited to be taking part in this truly MASSIVE opportunity. Not only do I get to watch some pretty awesome acts but I actually get to go out there and gain valuable experience in the journalism field!!
My camera and my note taking skills will definitely be at the ready! 
Wish me luck guys!!!

I'm signing out with one of my fave Stooges song:

Thanks for reading!

Image from:
Video from:

Monday, 9 July 2012

pillows and shoes

Hey again, I thought I'd do another post showing off one of Stella's beautiful creations. This time it's a pillow that she made for me some time ago. I believe it was made using shell stitching on the front and a granny square afgan motif  on the back. Again she has used a really sweet colour scheme with shades of pinks and purples. The flower in the middle is the main feature of this pillow that has been crocheted into the piece (it's not an add-on). It's a really lovely piece of decor and I always keep it on my bed.

In other news, I bought a pair of new shoes today whilst browsing in TK Maxx (sorry for the really bad photo):

They're a cute pair of Buffalo loafers. I couldn't resist when I saw them and they're SO comfy. They're officially my favourite <3

Thanks for reading

Thursday, 5 July 2012

A 2:1 isn't good enough?

Well, according to the Guardian this may actually be so for the graduates of 2012 on wards.
As I myself am about to take on my last year at university I can’t help but die a little inside at the thought of even trying to find a job after university. What with the miserable prospect of a declining economic climate and a dim job market, it’s a nightmare for any graduate of today and it doesn't exactly help either seeing all these depressing statements occupying the headlines. It is said that more than 75% of employers now require a minimum of a 2:1 degree, which has soared from the half bad 52% in 2004. Whilst the AGR claim that there will be rise in graduate salaries, it is also expected that job vacancies will fall by 0.6% leaving graduates with a tougher outlook when it comes to finding a job.
It also seems that the average student has more to be doing than just obtaining that all important degree because the harsh reality is that it just isn't really worth all that much anymore. The want for a 2:1 may well be there but so is the necessity of an above-average and accomplished personal profile. It’s all about the extra-curricular stuff, the volunteering, and the accumulation of skills and experience that employers are said to be looking for in today’s competitive market. A degree is not enough and in that neither is having just a good grade. It just helps to have one is all.
In all this, the old words of comfort: “you have plenty of time” have expired. What time is there left to even think about aspirations when students are now expected to know exactly what they want to do upon leaving university. I mean, as if the stress of assignments, deadlines, reading lists, having a social life, etc, isn't enough, students now have to be thinking about their career from the onset. We have approached the age of “the switched on student” who doesn't really have that much time (or money) to mess around. Forget soul-searching because the demand to have a good CV with all the relevant experiences has become crucial. The pressure is on and it doesn't seem like there can be much done about it either.

Image sourced from

Shoreditch, curry, and nails.

Hey! :) This is just a random post about some of the stuff I've been up to this week that I thought I'd share with the rest of bloggersphere.
At the beginning of the week my friend Ellie came up from Bristol to stay at mine for a couple of days. We had a whale of time baking Hershey's and Nutella brownies, watching movies ('We Need to Talk About Kevin' is actually frightening) and trailing around Shoreditch to find the Victoria Miro art gallery so we could see Grayson Perry's latest exhibition on class and taste. While the first activity was a success (in so many ways), our mission to find the actual gallery was a bit of a failure. After an hour of walking around in circles and not really getting anywhere we soon gave up and headed straight to Brick lane for some lunch. (Evidently me and Ellie have poor navigation skills..) Naturally we went straight to a curry house and the food was lush. I have to say, there is something rather moreish about a flavour-fillled oily curry, but then again, you can't beat a good, tomatoey Rogan josh! As it wasn't the weekend there was sadly no market to browse but we still had a little look around some of the vintage outlets. I really do love this part of Shoreditch because there's this little mix of culture, art, and fashion that is really quite fascinating. We also went into Rough Trade to take pictures in their retro photo booth.

We obvs look so attractive here.. 

As for the exhibition, I've never really had an interest in folk art before but I really want to see Perry's interpretation of taste among the social classes and how he has visualized them into these massive tapestries. 
The exhibition ends in August so hopefully I find the time to go again before I have to leave for my trip to France at the end of this month.. Eek!

Other than that, I did my nails (YAY NAILS). I wanted to try something bright as it's so lacking in our lovely British seasonal weather, so I went for yellow with a crackle effect:

Isn't it pretty? In case you're wondering, I used lemon zest from the Rimmel 'I love lasting fruities' collection alongside the classic Barry M crackle effect polish. 

Well, that's all for now folks, thanks for reading! 

Monday, 2 July 2012

Flowery bedspread

Hellooooo :)
Today I've uploaded this beautiful crochet bedspread made by Stella. Ideally this spread would cover a single sized bed, however I have taken pictures of it laid out on a double bed (hence why the spread only covers half of the duvet, oops!). Again, this piece has been made using an afghan stitch and as you can see from the photos it has a tiled floral motif with a very pretty colour scheme consisting of pastel pinks, purples, and reds. The flowers hold immense detail and have been stitched to the centre of every other tiled section of the spread. The edging is also very beautifully done with triangles of shell stitching and honeycomb mesh. This is another one of my favourites and it's pretty obvious that a lot of work has gone into this piece. I kinda wish I could knit and crochet! If I'm honest, I'm actually a little bit jealous!