If you missed my incessant flailing over the last few months: I WENT TO PARIS!
If I ever learn French and aren’t bankrupt then I am SO MOVING TO PARIS. I’m honestly so in love with it – I’m still in love with London, but Paris. I just want to sit in a café eating croissants and writing sappy poetry in cursive script for ever and ever. The architecture makes me weep. It was just such a lovely place to visit – if you squinted, maybe some parts could be London, but it felt a lot more…warm. Like cartridge paper in comparison to printer paper? SEE, PARIS JUST MAKES ME WANT TO WRITE SAPPY POETRY. God.
I went with Girlguides i.e. a large group of fellow excitable girls – we usually go camping, but we went upmarket this year?! *shrugs* I’m not complaining. :P I was especially excited for this trip because I recently fell head over heels for Les Mis, and about half the book takes place in Paris. There’s a great Les Mis in Paris tour that I took with me, if you want to visit any of the sites in the book! My misplaced French patriotism was really having a moment. (VIVE LA FRAAAANCE!)
We took the Eurostar from St Pancras, where I stalked the bookshops and flailed because ‘Lauren Aquilina played on that piano’. My friend attempted to teach me backgammom, but it was the teensiest magnetic version known to man. I was an utter failure. By the time we arrived at the rather fancy youth hostel near Gare du Nord, I was a strange combination of ridiculously excited and dead tired? I don’t recommend it.
The first day was pretty much the only day we woke up promptly. We headed down to the river to look for the boat-bus. Whilst we were waiting, we took photos of all the love locks on the Passerelle de Solférino bridge. I got very excited by Paris architecture, because have you seen the buildings in Paris today. They’re so beautiful. Curling balconies feature greatly.
We took the BatoBus (what have they done to you, lovely French bateaux?!) > up to the Natural History Museum and wandered around the gardens eating lunch and getting lost. After that, we took our sweltering selves back on the horrific pun of a boat-bus and went up to the Eiffel Tower!
We didn’t actually go up the tower, but I took a ton of photos and basked in my general Paris feels. The fountain across the bridge started to look very inviting. Though you I’m sure you weren’t supposed to, we paddled in it anyway. I figured it was one of those things like climbing the lions in Trafalgar Square: you’re technically not supposed to, but everyone does it anyway.
The second morning was filled with a tour of the Paris sewers. That sounds gross but, ya know, feel some sympathy for Jean Valjean. (Thank you, Victor Hugo, for the lengthy description of the sewers using information from your friend Bruneseau.) (Actually, it’s a pretty great historical reference. And sewers can be exciting too.) They had a part of French Les Mis in the gift shop, so I took a photo of that next to the copy I was carrying with me. Everyone told me I was mad but I WAS I PARIS and I’d be darned if I wasn’t going to carry my book to weep over. (Anyway, all the best people are mad.)
We had lunch on some lovely mini forest island pontoons down the road, and I sang a lot of Les Mis. Afterwards we visited the Arc du Triomphe – weird stuff happened and we weren’t allowed to buy tickets as a group so we didn’t go up it, but I looked at all the fancy flowers and names. EEK IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL. Later on we went to the fountain again, and most people got…well, utterly soaked. We were rocking the drowned rat look. ;)
However fashionable drowned rat look may be, isn’t actually that great for travelling on the Metro. It was really cool to see the Underground-y system somewhere else – THE CARRIAGES WERE DIFFERENT AND LIKE ACTUAL CARRIAGES and also you had to open the door yourself so, like, sometimes you could jump off whilst the train was still slightly moving. The wonderfully safe things we did. (I think the line we took back to our youth hostel wasn’t the most well-looked-after, though. Some of the others were less dishevelled.)
We might have missed going up the Arc du Triomphe but we did visit the Sacre Coeur! It’s at the top of a hill – as well as a horrific amount of steps, yeuch – so the view over Paris is pretty great. Another 300 steps up the tower and PANORAMA HEAVEN. There was also a weird amount of graffiti up there. I didn’t know whether to scream in anger or empathise because…you know, I can see it would be a romantic place to ask someone to prom. (I kid not. Someone had scratched ‘Prom?’ into the wall.)
After a somewhat distressing shopping break where we managed to lose my friend (never fear, we found her), we returned to the youth hostel for lunch. Later that afternoon, we set out to the Louvre and for a birthday dinner. We actually had two birthdays on our trip, which I thought was rather impressive timing.
It was our final day so I thought I wasn’t going to be able to see any sites on my Les Mis tour, but it turned out that we were eating just round the corner from the site of the Corinthe/barricade! Yep. THAT BARRICADEEEE. *screams*
In the movie/musical, the Musain is mushed with the Corinthe, but they’re different places.
That definitely deserved full size photos, right? LES MIS TAKES PRIORITY OVER THE EIFFEL TOWER. Duh. :P Anyway, we followed that on with a trip to the Notre Dame – we were looking for a lights show, but after watching a film about organists for half an hour we realised this was a complete lie. So that was a great success, haha. It was fine, though, because then we all got glowsticks and started a flashmob with a street performer in the square. *coughs* All casual-like. (I’ll never be able to listen to Cheerleader again, argh.)
Unfortunately, that was the end of my trip! PARIS, MY LOVE, I SHALL SEE THEE AGAIN. NEVER FEAR. *sheds a single tear* Maybe I’ll join in with all the weddings and get married to Paris. ;) (Though, of course, London remains in my heart too.) I had the most amazing time, and there was so much still to explore. If I ever get the chance, I would definitely visit again!
Have you ever been to Paris? Are there any places you’re just dying to visit? Would you want to see more London-y things on my blog? TELL ME ALL THE TRAVEL FEELS. :D
P.S. Here’s the final call for my blog survey! Seriously, I will send you love and cookies forever if you fill it out.
If you look on my social media profiles and whatnot, you might spot that the word ‘writer’ usually features. I mean, technically I don’t yet have a cohesive and linear novel *coughs*Ineedtostopprocrastinating*coughs* but I like to mess around with words. Somewhere along the way I assumed the title of writer. I like it. I like to call myself a writer. General public opinion of writers seems to be that they are be mythical, sleep-deprived & manic tea and/or coffee drinkers, which suits me just fine. ;)
I don’t ever introduce myself as a writer. I don’t even really discuss it in face-to-face conversations, like, at all. I see people who have brainstormed awesome things with their writer friends and it makes me wonder if I’m missing something. Am I missing something? I guess I don’t know.
I mean, I wouldn’t introduce myself as a writer, because most teenagers don’t announce themselves as their profession when you meet them. (In my experience. Maybe in the far reaches of not-my-one-school this is a thing??) But back in my wee days of primary school, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ was a pretty standard playground question. I said wanted to be a cat breeder. I think that says it all, really. :P
Jokes aside, I also often said that I wanted to be a writer. Whilst it was true that I didn’t have a cohesive, linear novel then either – um, I really doubt I wrote anything actually longer than about a thousand words – I feel like it was more okay to say that then. I was far more confident about professing my love of books and stardust and magical worlds. Adults probably shared knowing looks but, whatever; I either didn’t notice or didn’t care.
Ah, the days of that. Now career choices are actually looming and I’m terrified. I don’t know what I want to do. I like writing – enough to call myself a writer – but I know some people don’t think it’s a proper goal. That it’s too difficult.
I know writing is super hard! I get this! I am the one doing it, after all. I understand that getting published is difficult and being successful even more so. I am 100% okay with writing on the side of something else, in the cracks. I do that right now. (Well, I at least try to.) I’m a bit of a Cath; I could see myself just spending uni writing and hoping I can write for another for years after that. Or not. Writing is pretty solitary. Mystical. Like a lone unicorn.
BEHOLD MY MANE
Someday I’m going to write a book, and some people will read it. That’s the one thing in my future that I’m sure I’m going to make happen. What I love about it is that it’s something you can work at; I don’t know, I feel like a lot of opinions are based on whether you have ‘talent’ at, like, 14. Maybe there’s a certain amount of inner love for words, and to me, when I read blogs, it reads as if some people just have a natural eloquence, but you can improve. As long as you love writing, you can write. You aren’t – pardon the pun, hehe – written off just because you aren’t good at waffling about a literary device.
So I don’t say that I’m a writer very much in face-to-face conversation anymore. I’m not very good at navigating rocky conversational waters. I tell people that I have no plans for the future – which is mostly accurate – and then we move on. I breathe a sigh of relief. (That is, until the subject returns 24 hours later.)
BATTLE ANTHEMS. Gosh, I love this prompt. I was very disappointed to miss the last Music Monday – hosted by Bridget @ Stay and Watch the Stars – so now I’m extra pumped to share my vicious tunes with you. *cracks knuckles*
I seriously considered writing the words ‘STAR WARS SOUNDTRACK’ on this post and leaving it be. After reconsideration, I decided that might be a little boring for you guys, but I still 100% recommend that as a battle anthem. ;) 8tracks, erm, won’t actually load its webpage at all for me, so this time I’ve gone with both Soundcloud and Youtube. I’m afraid Soundcloud is missing the last track and Youtube will probably have a horrific amount of adverts but: I hope you like it anyway?
drowning – banks
glory and gore – lorde
drive it like you stole it – glitch mob
empty gold – halsey
now – paramore
wicked ones – dorothy
this is war – 30 seconds to mars
shake the sheets – ted leo and the pharmacists
I make no apologies for the Halsey on every single one of my Music Monday playlists. XD.
I am a shameless self promoter, so: BLOG SURVEY. It is still happening. Yes, I know, still. :P I’m probably going to be redoing the look and feel of my blog over the next few months, so I would really appreciate some feedback before I get going. (I already have a new url which is super weird but also kind of…cool?)
Describe your bookshelf and where you got it from.
My bookshelves have steadily been increasing in number. Only one contains books I actually read. The other two are for old books and/or books that are too old to belong to me. As for my bookshelf? Oh, go away, you. It was from Ikea.
How do you organise my books?
One bookshelf is for picture books and the discarded books of my childhood.
Mwahahaha. Another is for all those Beatrix Potters, various other hand-me-downs, books left behind and general odds and ends. The one that I actually re-organised is mainly YA with some picture books on the bottom because I’m lazy!
The top shelf is longer series and collections. Then I just sort of did it by colour, attempting to keep authors together (thank goodness my Rainbow Rowell books are cohesive). A couple of the shelves are too short, so taller books and leftovers are on the bottom shelf in alphabetical order. I debated doing alphabet for the whole thing, but eventually visuals won out over practicality. I think that demonstrates what sort of person I am. XD Now, ladies and gentlemen, for the books themselves!
What’s the longest book on your shelf?
What’s the shortest book on your shelf?
Okay, I’m not going to count picture books here because I don’t have nearly enough patience to go through them all. But the shortest actual book is The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl, at 56 pages.
Is there a book from a friend on your shelf?
My friend went to New York and I was super super jealous because have you seen the bookshops there. As such, I made him buy me this 10th anniversary woefully-not-available-in-the-UK-edition (bleurgh, the UK one is NOT nice) and lug it back for me. I mean, I had to pay, but still. Any opportunity to take photos of it, ;)
The most expensive book on your shelf?
A Folio Society edition of The Once and Future King by T.H. White that I believe I stole from my grandparents. The internet tells me it sells for £40. *wipes sweat from brow*
Do you have a complete series?
I suck at completing series. I’m such a scrimp that I couldn’t be bothered to buy Harry Potter because, well…it’s in every library. It just seemed a waste. I only recently added (a lovely new copy of) The Prisoner of Azkaban to my Philospher’s Stone and Deathly Hallows.
For so far completed series, I’ve got all the Eragon books (Inheritance is on Kindle). Wow, it’s been a super long time since I’ve read these, but I do like their covers. I’m also rather proud of my Warrior Cats collection. They get churned out so fast that was a pretty big effort.
What’s the newest addition to your shelf?
I saw Laura Dockrill talk at YALC so when I popped up to Waterstones with a voucher, I headed straight for this one. (I haven’t read it yet, but hopefully it will be good!)
The oldest book on your shelf?
This copy was my mum’s, dated 1979. She was a massive classics fiend in her teenage years! She had a habit of laminating her favourite books so this one been kept in pretty good condition.
What’s a book you’d hate to let out of your sight? (A.K.A. No one is touching it. Ever.)
My special (US, not UK *flourishes dramatically) edition of Fangirl. This is the one in special colours, with a BOOKMARK and FANAAART and a CARRY ON EXCERPT.
Yeah, no one is getting hold of Simon and Baz. EVER.
Most beat up book?
Probably Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn. I’m never taking another book to the beach again.
Most pristine book?
Probably Lorali again, but My True Love Gave to Me is a close contester. I bought this after I read it on Kindle so it’s in pretty damn good condition, if I do say so myself. ;)
A book that doesn’t belong to you?
I stole The Man in the Picture from my school book club. [hashtag]sorrynotsorry (I’ve actually got quite a few stolen books on my bookshelf, it seems. Oops. I mean, most of them were unintentional…?)
A book that is your favourite colour?
Will you murder me if I say I don’t have a favourite colour? I do love both The Illusionists and The Mourning Emporium, though. (The Undrowned Child is also lovely, but my copy seems to have gone walkabout so The Mourning Emporium it is.)
A book that’s been on your shelf the longest and you still haven’t read it?
People still look shocked when I say that I haven’t read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. I deeply apologise. Younger me had a thing against popular books. The thing is, I don’t really want to read it now… *shakes head* SUCH DILEMMAS WE FACE.
Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first you read?
This is a difficult one since – though I hate to say it – I wasn’t actually born with my nose in a book, but according to my parents it was I Love You, Blue Kangaroo. God, this book is the cutest thing ever. I LOVE IT.
How do you organise your bookshelves? What books have you bought recently? Read any of the ones I’ve mentioned?
WE’RE WELL INTO SUMMER, huzzah! I’m a bit miffed that a chunk of my holiday has already flown by, but it’s been a great few weeks.
1. YALC I was ridiculously excited for this after my success at MCM and it didn’t at all disappoint! There were some great panels and I absolutely fangirled when getting my books signed by authors. I said that MCM had such a nice atmosphere, and that was even more true at YALC – it was just so amazing to be around all these people who share your interests and you can immediately strike up a conversation. :) I had so much fun chatting to people who recognised my Carry On Simon t shirt as well. (The MKB stall people in particular told me some awesome things.) I only went on Saturday this time, but if I can then I’d love to go for a weekend next year!
2. Fans of the Impossible Life Bookseller tip: talk to your customers about their favourite book with much enthusiasm, and they will buy anything you throw at them. But, seriously, I am so glad I got this one at YALC! It’s the best contemporary book I’ve read…since Fangirl? YES. SERIOUSLY. It’s that good. I pitch it as Eleanor & Park plus a hell of a lot more diversity (IN SO MANY WAYS IT WAS AMAZING I COULD DIE) and also a bit of All the Bright Places, but not that much because I didn’t like much like that. Just. LOVEED IT. (The Goodreads blurb is a bit misleading, though.)
3. The Miseducation of Cameron Post This was sort of my break from the more trying sections of Les Mis. (See later.) I’ve heard a lot about it and I really did love it! I didn’t know that much about being queer in this time and place so it was pretty nice to read about that.
4. Hair, in different colours There are a few pictures on Twitter, but I’ve been experimenting with various dip dyes! Right now I’m mostly settled on a semi-permanent red one. :) I’ve been meaning to try it for ages, and I’m pretty pleased with the result. TAKING OVER THE WORLD WITH MY RED HAIR, GUYS.
5. Savage Beauty at the V&A uggGghhHHHHHHHhh this was an amazing exhibition. I mean, I know practically nothing about fashion, but seriously. I thought it was curated excellently, too – the rooms were sort of organised by aesthetic, with names like ‘Romantic Naturalism’. I’m currently lamenting the fact that I’ll never get to wear an awesome gothic queen dress. :'(
6. Les Miserables FINALLY, I read it. ASDFJKL;OIQW MY LES MIS PROBLEM IS EVEN GREATER THAN BEFORE. You might know that I’ve been deliberating about this for quite some time, but an impending bookless holiday and some lovely encouragement set the ball rolling. It was pretty hard work in some places, but I enjoyed it so much and I’ve now got a weird sense of French Patriotism. I’m also going to Paris with my Girlguides, HELP – I don’t think I’ll be able to do much Les-Mis-themed exploring, but IT’S STILL PAAARIS *screams*
7. The Night Circus The whole book was a bit sprawling, but the descriptions were absolutely luscious. Seriously. There were just pages and pages and pages of beautiful descriptions that I drooled over. (Also: dark magic and historical fiction, both always always always loves of mine.)
Stuff from around the internet:
My top posts this month were It’s (Origa)me, Where Are These Perks of Being a Wallflower? and Top Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity.
CreatyveBooks wrote about diversity in books & publishing and the way that it’s treated.
Bridget @ Stay and Watch the Stars wrote about feminism in films and what it means to write a ‘strong female character’.
Evie @ Adventuring Through Pages taught us how to make a DIY Tardis dress.
Alyssa @ The Devil Orders Takeout compared extracts from different gender POVs and tested our skills at guessing them.
An Overthinking Teenager and Emily @ Always Opinionated Girl hosted the Blog Olympics!
I’m away for two weeks now, but I hope you’re having a good month!