Saturday, 8 December 2012

Hi my name is Alice, and I'm a tea addict.

Being a student in England means drinking tea on a daily basis. It's during conversations over cups of tea that I initially bonded for life with some my friends back at York, it was the prospect of tea breaks over the exam period that kept me going and I glad that moving to France has changed little about this. Saying that, I have to confess that I may have taken my love of tea a little too far. A hot cup of tea is such a comfort in the morning to wake me up, during endless hours spent reading about Roman epigraphy (when I don't have any idea of what actually epigraphy is) and when someone comes round for a chat, I always have a cup of tea ready and waiting. But the other day I looked up and was greeted with this. Too much perhaps? I have issues I know.

Yesterday Zoe and I went on a Christmas present hunt and in the evening we thanked each other for a lovely-rubbish day. I will explain.

Firstly, things that made the day not so good:
  • The expectations of all the excitement and fun of present buying, made us both forget just how stressful it is. I get so desperate to buy the "perfect present" that anything I see ends up not being good enough and of course that means I end up walking back empty handed. 
  • The weather was awful, I might love rain but I think sleeting is possibly the worst kind of weather when everyone is wishing for a white Christmas. Why taunt us with this watery alternative to snow? Why!?
  • We went out for lunch in an attempt to cheer us up and were served by a waiter so scary and grumpy we couldn't wait to pay and leave.
 But the weird thing is throughout the entire day, no matter how tired and exhausted we were, or how awful the situation seemed, I don't think we stopped laughing (hysterically I'll admit) or smiling once. Plus after the lunch we were kind of dejected so Zoe, genius she is, suggested our favorite hot chocolate bar which never fails in turning a down-day the right way round. I think the best thing to do with days when everything seems to go wrong is to take it as it comes and try not to wallow too much. As soon as we stopped thinking about how tired and stressed we were, and instead at all the things were lucky to have, the day suddenly turned around. Cheesy I know, but it's something I definitely need to work on.
All in all this tree has to sum up our day for me. Has anyone ever seen a more depressed-looking Christmas tree? Some people really do go all out don't they. Zoe and I were collapsing on the floor in hysterics by this point. In the end we managed to pick up some gifts we were really happy about and in the evening a couple of us crammed into my room with some Christmas tea (what else?) and a bit of Love Actually.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

marshmallows and macarons

After a pretty hectic few weeks with essay deadlines and exams constantly looming over me, (note the badly needed hot chocolate above) I've sadly been neglecting my blog. I've managed to have a couple of adventures in the meantime which I just haven't had time to post about.

I went to the Christmas market in Aix where I had my first roasted chestnuts.Mmmm. Chestnuts.  I've even had my first proper french crepe party! Despite being totally shattered by revision and ready for bed, I was invited and overcoming any fatigue I had to go was definitely the best of decisions. Who am I say no when someone utters the magic words "crepe" and "party"? The night consisted of one of the most intense games of trivial pursuit I have ever come across (French people take their quizzes very seriously) and I laughed none stop until I had tears pouring down my face, or maybe I was crying because the crepes were so good and went above and beyond all expectations. If a French person ever offers a crepe, and I mean ever, take it. It was funny to see the guy making them, who generally is absolutely insane and forever cracking jokes, take on the expression of an undertaker when preparing his "secret recipe." I gathered up some courage and tried my hand at flipping a few (brave considering I had about 5 French people standing around to judge!) but I didn't let anyone down, far too practice from Pancake Day for that. I am so disappointed that I forgot my camera, but they have promised another one sometime soon and I will take photos of everything!

I just have to write abou patisserie day. Yes, you heard right, patisserie day. After realizing that we spent far too  much time standing in the cold drooling over all the beautiful creations through the window, someone suggested we pick a day where we actually go inside and pick something. Today the group was just me and one other girl but it was pretty darn good all the same. I chose a salted caramel macaron which was delicious but somehow didn't live up to all the crisp shell, gooey center hype I keep hearing about. The center was more solid and buttery than a smooth cream, not sure if this is supposed to happen since I have very little experience macarons but I guess I will just have to keep going until I find the perfect one. My friend chose a beautiful lemon tart which she let me sneak a bite of and it was delicious!