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A couple of weeks ago I went to Paris with a friend and then completely failed to post photos. However I'm just at the start of 10 days off work (booked off the week after Easter!) so let's try and get some things cleared from the to-do list :D

As per usual I wasn't taking loads of organised photos so this is a random selection of things that caught my eye while we were there.

Lots of pics! )
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After leaving Parc de la Villette I carried on following the walk in my book, heading towards Parc des Buttes Chaumont. This turned out to be a very nice park with a weird island in the middle of a lake thing, and on seeing it my thought process was basically ‘is this a thing I can climb for no other reason than it is there??’

The answer, sadly, turned out to be not all the way, for construction work is being done to it. However I intend to go back because it looks a bit spooky and mysterious, this thing plonked down in the middle of an urban park:

loads of photos )


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Last week I went to Paris on the Eurostar, having booked myself a short trip just for the heck of it and because it is just so easy.

I stayed at the Hotel Paris Louis Blanc, right on top of the Louis Blanc metro station, and about ten minutes' walk from Gare du Nord.


I chose it because it was central and vv cheap and I have to say, it was lovely (also has free wifi). Would definitely recommend. The room was small but as it was just me I didn't really care. I was on the fifth floor (woo!) and this was the view from my window:

I got the 7.01 train from St Pancras, because I am an idiot who didn't take into account that I would have to get to St Pancras for 6.15. However this did mean I was in Paris by 10.30, and after stopping at a supermarket to get chocolate I walked straight off to the Parc de la Villette to see La Géode and have a wander.

Many many pictures )

More pictures in the next post (coming later as I have to add more stuff to my shop now)!
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This is so niche - even more so than my London stuff - but I am currently on holiday in Eastbourne with [livejournal.com profile] kikishua and have been to some fab restaurants (have also cooked some nice food too but I cook nice stuff all the time). So in case you ever find yourself on the south coast of England, here are some restaurant recommendations:

The Cavendish Hotel, Eastbourne ( http://www.cavendishhotel.co.uk/)

What I ate: seafood platter - amazing grilled salmon, smoked salmon, green lipped mussels, prawns, scallops in ham, salad, potato salad. I know this one was good because [livejournal.com profile] kikishua tried some stuff and liked it and she doesn't even like fish. 

Baltica, Lewes (www.baltictrader.co.uk/)

What I ate: Leek and Potato soup and Fasolka Po Bretonsku, a dish so good I wrote down the name so I could look up the recipe later on. Butter beans, bacon, Polish sausage, tomato. I plan to add this one to my stock dishes. 

As an excellent bonus, the cafe is attached to a pottery shop with some lovely lovely stuff. I got a lemon squeezer, a little plate and a decorative candle house thing (I will take a photo at some point). 

Chaula's, Brighton (www.chaulas.co.uk/)

What I ate: Lunch menu (two curries, rice, chappati, snack << their words, it was a samosa, chutney)

This was lovely. We got to Brighton for around 2.15, which is firmly into 'oh my God I need to eat something' time, and this restaurant was just outside the car park. The waiter did attempt to ask me what I wanted but I was basically at the point of going FOOD. I WOULD LIKE FOOD. 

I ordered the small lunch menu and got a chicken curry, a lentil curry (which was yum), a samosa, some really nice chutney and a chappati. It was very good and stopped me from falling over with a massive headache for the rest of the afternoon, and was very reasonably priced (£7). 

The Belgian Cafe, Eastbourne (www.thebelgiancafe.co.uk/)

What I ate: All you can eat mussels (NB they may not have been prepared for how many mussels I can eat). 

So The Belgian Cafe does mussels, as all good Belgian restaurants do, and they have an offer on Wednesdays where you can pay £13.95 to eat as many types of mussel dish as you want (same type of mussels, different sauces). I went this evening and I had the following: thai green curry, herbs, lemon, capers (unexpectedly gorgeous), lobster bisque, teriyaki, seafood pot, paella. Oh and it came with amazing fries and bread. 

Yes that is six sauces. They weren't full dishes - I'd say they were maybe around a quarter or a third of a normal dish - which is just as well, as even I would struggle to eat more than two. I had a fantastic time continually requesting more, and the rest of the menu looks pretty amazing as well. 

I was not actually expecting to have this many fantastic meals on this holiday (I usually save the foodie stuff for when I am in Europe) but it has been amazing so far. I am probably done with restaurants for this week but if I do go anywhere in the next few days I will update this post :D

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I thought I had an entry drafted somewhere but nvm. I have been away (Hastings as usual) but now am hoooooome. So, a few things: 

1) I have moved in
2) It is PERFECTION. I love it here, so so much. 
3) I have lost my camera battery charger so no photos yet, though I have borrowed a camera so possibly photos at weekend
4) New bed is excellent, new sofas also excellent
5) Bathroom is amazing
6) Me/solitude = OTP (to put it in slightly more words, I really really really like being on my own)
7) Still no nickname. What rhymes with maisonette?

More at the weekend, probably. Hope you are all ok!
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The Atomium is a massive structure...thing out near the end of one the metro lines in Brussels. It was originally built for the World Fair in 1958 (also known as Expo 58, which is a far cooler name). It's 102 metres high, and the shape represents an iron crystal multiplied 165 billion times (!!).

It was originally only supposed to last for the duration of the Expo but it proved to be so popular that it stayed open  to the public afterwards. It was closed for a big renovation in 2004, which included replacing the original aluminium spheres with stainless steel. It reopened in 2006 and now gets about half a million visitors a year, iirc (not nearly enough imo, more people should go). 

There are nine spheres in the Atomium, of which five are open to the public (although one of those is the Children's Sphere which is only for school groups). We didn't go right up to the top sphere (despite the temptation of a panorama) because the queue was massive and we'd already been in a queue for a stupid amount of time (that's the problem with tall buildings just made for climbing). 

View from outside, anyway:

outside views )
Inside the Atomium:

inside the atomium )
There was a viewing platform in one of the spheres so you can get a higher view without going up o the panorama.

looking out from one of the spheres )
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This weekend Crishna and I went off to Brussels for a short trip and we had an EXCELLENT time. We went on the Eurostar (always a win) so it took just two hours to get there (I really love the Eurostar, people). In a lot of ways Brussels is a fairly typical European city, in that there are a lot of old tall narrow buildings, a whole heap of churches and a massive pile of chocolate to be had (SO MUCH chocolate).

We stayed at the Pantone Hotel (www.pantonehotel.com/), which is a decent hotel if you're on a low-budget but you want an interesting concept. Pantone are the people who standardise colour swatches for manufacturers. They also make a range of home products such as mugs and coasters and pots and all sorts of things I really want to own :D (I bought two little flowerpots and a card holder at the hotel and it was a strain not to buy more, haha!).

inside the hotel )

view from the hotel )
More photos to come later of the Atomium, other bits of Brussels and some of the stuff I bought. 

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This is just a bunch of photos of big crashy waves on the rocks at Fistral. There was a bar at the bottom of the steps where we could get quite good views without getting massively soaked.

waves )

Oh boy, I've just found a bunch more pictures from a house we went to visit. Guess there's still one more post to go!

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Third post - gardens, chapel and views on the way back (from the boat and back on the mainland).

Lots of pics )
STILL NOT DONE with the Cornwall photos. Think I might have one more post left.

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St Michael's Mount was awarded to the Benedictine abbey of Mont Saint-Michel after the Norman invasion (seems like a very long way to me...). The original church was destroyed by earthquake in the 13th century and the current church was built in the late 14th. 

The estate is currently in the hands of the St Aubyn family, having been bought by John St Aubyn in 1659.

loads of pics )

I still have more pictures to post (!) but I am tired so I am off to bed and will post part 3 tomorrow. :)

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More Cornwall photos, as I magically have a quiet evening in amongst all the viewings (I think I'm up to 7 now, just this week).

St Michael's Mount is a tidal island off the coast of Cornwall - for part of the day you can walk across to it, but for the rest you have to travel by boat.

The Mount is the ancestral home of the St Aubyn family, and the house and grounds are also open to the public.

The day we went to St Michael's Mount was our designated fish and chips day, and I had a very nice scampi and chips from a place in Marazion, which I mostly ate as we walked over the causeway to the island.

We were very lucky with the weather too - it had been fairly rubbish but as you can see we got some lovely blue skies.

More photos )

Photos from around the house etc in next post.

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We went to the Dartington Crystal factory last week (http://www.dartington.co.uk/) as Crishna makes glass things and likes glass and generally feels about glass the way I do about card making supplies (/beads/yarn/oh God I have too many hobbies). Also, they have a glass blowing experience thing and we wanted to blow glass. 

The visitor centre has some interesting displays, and places to do glass painting and jewellery making (we didn't do either of those, and I'm still not 100% sure what the jewellery making thing was but unless it involved making actual beads I'm pretty sure I can do it at home), and you can walk through the factory to see Dartington products being made, so this was our major point of interest besides the glass blowing.

The blowers make between 4 and 11 types of glassware per day, and it's pretty involved and tough (not to mention hot) work. 

Factory pictures )

Glass Blowing )

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 So yes, I am a lucky person who got to go away again this year. As usual, Crishna and I went to Cornwall, where we got incredibly windblown due to all the walking and cliff paths. And as you'll see throughout the photos, the weather can best be described as unsettled. 

The place we were staying was right on the beach (Mawgan Porth), which was lovely:

Mawgan Porth )

We also went to Padstow for a wander/food (haddock Cornish pasties nowhere near as nice as crab ones) and had a walk around Padstow Bay:

Padstow )

We also went to some places that weren't beaches (so I will have more to say) but I will post those tomorrow as I am quite tired. 
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 While we were in Hastings, we went out to the fabulously-named Herstmonceux Castle as it wasn't too far away. It's a 15th-century moated castle, and the name is explained thusly:

By the end of the 12th Century, the family at the manor house at Herste had considerable status. Written accounts mention a lady called Idonea de Herste, who married a Norman nobleman named Ingelram de Monceux. Around this time, the manor began to be called the 'Herste of the Monceux’; a name that eventually became Herstmonceux (pronouncedHerst-mon-soo).

We didn't go for the tour of the castle (it's mostly used as a study centre but can be hired out for other things), or the science centre, but the grounds were lovely to explore. There are formal gardens as well as a large woodland area and a lake, and entry isn't very expensive so it's a good day out if you're in the area. 

(excited running child a bonus feature)

Formal gardens )

Folly and lake )

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 In August, I went down to my aunt & uncle's in Hastings with the parents and my niece. We stayed for a week and it was good fun, though not relaxing as, well, my family is not known for being quiet. Ever. 

The weather was mostly really nice, but not too hot, which was a relief after Paris. I even got to go to the amusements this time, and we went out on a couple of day trips. I also bought a shedload of wool in various charity shops :D and got some double-pointed needles (evil fuckers) and circular needles (which are fine).

We watched War Horse while we were there, which was pretty good, if not my normal kind of thing. And there was athletics on, so that was super. 

Beach photos:
beach )

There was also a sculpture called My Heart Belongs to Hastings, which is made of reclaimed timbers and padlocks with space to add your own (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-19731311). Pudding and I duly did so:
padlocks )

I was going to do all the photos in one entry but I think it will make more sense to put Herstmonceux Castle in a post of its own, so that'll be coming up shortly. 

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In July, I went to Paris with my parents, aunt, cousin and granddad. It was a fun holiday, but very busy as we only had 3 days. It was also very very hot (around 30 degrees), which didn’t really suit me. You may not be surprised to know that we ate a lot of food, but shockingly no mussels! Lots of photos behind the cut. 


Photos yay )
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Tintagel was great. We only did about half the castle but it was gorgeous, and the weather helpfully held out (it was also where I realised how awesome the camera function on my camera is). 

The remains at Tintagel today are from a 13th century castle built by Richard, earl of Cornwall. Amazingly, the site had no strategic value at this point and according to the guidebook it seems to have been built because of the legends around the place. OF COURSE. I mean, why wouldn't you?

Coming up the castle and island courtyard )


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Just the Tintagel pics left to post, pretty much. And then I've got my Paralympics pics to post. 

Rocks and sand and sea and sky )