Tour de France…

On our Tuesday off we decided we would make like the French and go for a bike ride through the sunflower fields.

We’d have the wind in our hair and and a baguette in our baskets.

A soundtrack of French music would be playing softly in the background.

French boys would wave from their balconies and throw us roses.

Too far?

A girl can dream ok.

Suffice to say, it didn’t quite happen that way.

The first problem being my bike was far too big; the second that we had abso-fucking-lutely no idea where we were going.

Being 5’1″ it’s not always easy finding bikes that fit me comfortably.

This one happened to be at least two whole sizes too big.

I had to jump to get on it, and fall off to get off it. I was doubled over forwards trying to reach the handlebars and the bike seat was wedged WAY too far where the sun don’t shine.

Despite this I tried to suck it up and make do.

Mistake!

I have never been more uncomfortable in my whole life.

This combined with my sorely lacking fitness levels meant I came off feeling like I’d been put through a spin cycle.

EVERYTHING hurt.

And we had a very pronounced case of “the bit”

Oh yes the dreaded “bit”.

Where that very bony part of your undercarriage meets the bike seat…

…and hurts like a MOTHERFUCKER.

I was walking sideways for three days.

And not in a good way…if you know what I mean.

Not only was I performing some kind of advanced yoga move on top of a two wheeled death trap but MY GOD it was hotter than summer in July.

Well it was summer in July….but….you know.

It was fucking hot!

If you happened to be in a remote area in the south of France on Tuesday and saw a small blonde girl horizontal on a blue bike and absolutely drenched with sweat.

That would be me.

I really hoping google maps wasn’t taking pictures that day.

And you think after all this effort we reached our destination?

NOPE.

Having been given no less than THREE sets of different directions we ended up even more in the middle of fucking nowhere when we started.

Who’s idea was this again?

Rachel I’m looking at you.

*Lies down in the recovery position*.

Voyage-ing…

Since we arrived in the land of sunshine and cigarettes we (we being me and Rachel, my parter in crime for the duration of this working holiday) have been on a couple of trips into civilisation.

First came Cognac for the Blues Festival.

Well I say Blues Festival.

We didn’t actually have tickets.

Instead of seeing once-semi-famous-blues-bands “rock out” to some old tunes on stage we saw post middle age men in biker gear drinking beer and having impromptu “jam sessions” in bars.

Basically the same thing right?

Cognac itself was a quiet sleepy little town with not a lot to offer.

Well, except Cognac, but we didn’t drink any of that either.

Just as we were about to give up and sit down to eat our home made French baguettes (more like a soggy school lunch sandwich but you know, when in Rome….or…errr, France), we were surrounded by a marching band and serenaded with WHAM!’s ‘Careless Whisper’.

20 good looking French boys blowing their trumpets for us?

Don’t mind if we do.

Next came La Rochelle, a gorgeous port town where we behaved like sensible adults, dining in a French bistro, spending all of our weeks wages on clothes and jewellery (Rachel) and riding on a Ferris wheel.

Even though it tipped it down with rain when we decided to have a sit down by the river, we never wanted to leave.

Finally we had a trip to Saintes to celebrate Bastille Day on the 14th of July.

I treated myself to a candy floss bigger than the size of my whole upper body #health, and was banned by Rachel from going on the French themed merry-go-round because I was too old and it would be too embarrasing.

*Sulk*

I was very disappointed I didn’t get a ride on a giant cock.

Cock as in cockerel you filthy people.

The animal, not the….

My god.

*Tuts*.

Just before the fireworks started, we heeded warnings about the idiots with deck chairs who found themselves nice comfy spots an hour before the display only to find that their view was obstructed by trees.

We sat down all smug a few minutes early on a comfy little grass verge with beautiful views over the river and a clear view of the sky.

Well, so we thought.

Guess which twats couldn’t see the fireworks.

These ones.

Yes, we had to get up and run, and ended up in a giant crowd on tip toes trying to peer over some very tall persons shoulders.

Such fun.

Oops I did it again…

A week ago I (very literally) crash landed into La Rochelle airport (thanks Ryanair) to begin my working holiday in the South of France.

Yes, I really did do it again.

Whoops.

#I’mABloggerGetMeOutOfHere.

The baby poo and sleepless nights of Spain apparently just weren’t enough to deter this…err…serial…working-holiday-ist? from another summer in the sun.

Yes well done Laura excellent use of your English degree to create concise and grammatically correct sentences.

*Slow clap*

Not only have I decided to spend yet another summer hundreds of miles away from family and friends and the comforts of home, but once again I’ve managed to wind up in the middle of nowhere.

Did I miss the memo about the existence of cities?

I’m starting to think that dropping geography in year nine was a bit of a mistake.

The warning signs were early….first of all we weren’t allowed to disembark the plane because the airport was too small for two aircrafts. Then as we were driven along the long winding roads past open fields and countryside the familiarity with rural essex, the land of horse-related train delays and escapee cows, became all too obvious.

It’s so peaceful you can hear a pin drop.

I am currently ensconced in a little shared annex with a fellow student from Leeds university for the next nine weeks.

My job? A mix of cleaning work, general grounds maintenance, the odd bit of cooking, playing with the kids, and….err more cleaning work.

My foreseeable Saturdays involve deep cleaning seven houses before the new guests arrive at 4pm.

Manual labour for the win!

On the flip side the hosts are lovely, the grounds are beautiful and we have a little kitchenette to make cups of tea to wile away the time….lots of cups of tea…so much tea…

In fact I think I have to go for my 47th wee of the day.

Toodaloo!

P.S. Breaking news! I’ve just today decided to switch to Earl Grey after a dire shortage of PG tips and a brief and not-so-tasty fling with Ceylon tea (which I’m told is from Sri Lanka). Yes this is the most breaking of all the news this week. #CountryLiving.

I got it from my mamma…

So they say…the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

And in my family, that’s a whole bunch of crazy apples.

To celebrate my mums official welcome into Wombledom, aka her 50th birthday; we planned on throwing her a big surprise 80s fancy dress party.

I decided to go for a bleached shorts, crop top, blue eyeshadow, orange lipstick look

Those totally aren’t my normal clothes….definitely had to go out and buy them specifically *cough* *cough*.

The venue, the food, the drinks had all been prepared in advance and we were all raring to go until the day before…

…when she decided to try and cancel her own party.

*Facepalm*

We’d tried to pull the wool over her eyes and pretend it was a small family meal.

That backfired.

She decided that she wanted her “meal” on another day.

After much convincing and cajoling, we convinced her to save the date.

That was, until the day of the party…

…when she turned round and said to me “thank god I don’t have a huge party planned, I’d be mortified”.

*Facepalm*

Moral of the story: don’t organise mums big surprise parties.

We ignored her and soldiered on through, luckily everything turned out perfectly in the end and our deception genuinely worked…well…once cushioned with a few glasses *cough* bottles *cough* of cava.

And if there’s one thing to say for sure about my family, they do know how to party.

Who needs Ibiza when you’ve got my aunts kitchen and some homemade B52’s?

Everyone from the oldies to the…well…oldies…were breaking it down in a dance battle.

In fact the dancing was so vigorous my aunt went flying arse over tits into the TV console, two of my mums best friends had to go and “have a lie down”…and a rendezvous with the toilet bowl, and and I managed to dislocate my knee.

It was definitely the dancing….

….most definitely nothing to do with the alcohol.

I spent the rest of the evening lying down with an ice pack.

What student union?

P.S. No elderly family members were harmed during the making of this party.

Props and frocks…

Anyone that knows me knows that I’m the worst person ever to take to a formal social event.

Stuffy balls and formal pow wows seem to bring out my naughty side.

The euphemisms are real with this one.

Oi stop snickering behind your screens. This is a serious blog with serious…oh who am I kidding?

Our university summer ball, however, was an outdoor garden event with live music, dance tents and zorbs. Perfect for this country bumpkin.

What could go wrong?

Rain.

Much rain.

Exeter city centre became a witch hunt for reasonably priced and outfit coordinating wellie boots, and I’m afraid to say I was no Matthew Hopkins.

You know the famous Essex witch hunter?

No?

Ahhhh I’m such a history geek.

I returned home sans-Wellington boots and decided to wear my lovely new faith heels I bought for the occasion.

Well they did match my dress that I’d painstakingly searched for over the course of the summer term (no it had absolutely nothing to do with exam procrastination, how very dare you, it’s completely normal to buy and return six dresses and two pairs of shoes before a big event).

I almost got away with it.

Turns out being 5’1″ you can fit your entire body into a zorb, and so when someone runs into you and pushes you over, though you may be stuck legs akimbo for ten minutes waiting for professional help, you stay fairly mud free.

Bloody fantastic.

Add that to my CV…”doesn’t get wet in zorbs”.

Hey it’s 2014, I need all the help I can get.

In the end it was the mud pit that was once the silent disco tent and the slide (yes slide) into the dance tent that had me caked like Percy the pig.

I didn’t much care. Turns out overpriced jaëger and energy drinks both protect you from the bitter cold and reduce the general number of fucks given about anything.

That was until it was time to go home.

The Ball organisers decided it would be a wonderful idea to try to transport a thousand students back to campus on two fifty-seated coaches.

Cue a sea of very annoyed and sobering students and a general air of rioting.

I decided it was better to sit at the back and watch the drama unfold, of which there was plenty.

Turns out my jaëgerbomb coat came in very handy.

Luckily, by the early hours of the morning, we got dropped home right outside our accommodation as quite happy, if not very broke and muddy, campers.

Every cloud has a silver bus.

P.S. It rained so hard at one point that we got stuck inside the music tent with some very drunk rah’s smoking cigars. Can you get any posher? I of course added even more class to the proceedings by very attractively wolfing down a hotdog.

P.P.S. Even though I lost my shoes (well ok I managed to scrub them up but they did almost go to shoe heaven), I did not meet Prince Charming at the ball. I’ll keep you updated on that one, it’s a work in progress.

Brits Abroad…

In the last week of May my flatmates and I decided to go on an impromptu trip to Malaga in Spain.

Excellent use of student loan I must say.

Yes yes, I’ve realised that it is currently July. I’ve been busy.

Actually I’ve been lazy but I’m turning 20 in two months and apparently adults are “busy” not “lazy”.

*Stoic face*

*Adjusts wire rimmed glasses and straightens pantsuit*

*Smooths hair tendrils into smart work-appropriate chignon with…*…ok you get the point.

I digress.

^ See adult posh word.

As it turns out it wasn’t quite the typical “lads and ladettes on tour” holiday that you would expect.

Well except for the first night where we decided that buying a massive European priced bottle of Smirnoff vodka between three of us (the others arrived later) and drinking it all as screwdrivers was a good idea.

I drank the most and spent the whole night with my head down the toilet.

“Woo party!”.

Bleugh.

There were no late night clubbing adventures (we tried to go clubbing, it was more like a year 9 school disco where everyone was cramped onto a dance floor the size of a toilet and amazing tunes such as ‘Summer Lovin’ were blasted out to a near sober crowd), the alcohol was kept to a minimum….well for me at least, (I have since gained the nickname “pukette”), and there was no sex on tap (well the non-monogamous-long-term-loving relationship type…that’s what you get for living in a flat full of couples).

But we did see a lovely castle which we were given a grand tour of by the famed and internationally revered resident local tour guide (and apparent owner) Mr Abraham (thanks Kolujo 😉 ). And an amazing Flamenco show, and a beautiful cathedral, and we ate some authentic paella and we caught some rays on Malagueta beach and, and….I’ll stop. Haha.

#Tourists.

*Facepalm*

Highlights of the trip included me getting sick (as usual, did you even have to ask) and having to make a confusing and bloody expensive trip to Malaga General Hospital (could we have found a GP? Hell no); accidentally eating at the dodgiest of all dodgy cafés with questionable results; meeting a 30 year old married German man and his best friend on the beach (who surprisingly didn’t try to chat us up but did talk for a bit too long and took a few too many group pictures), meeting som Spanish boys who did try for a bit of how’s your father (with the line “do you like my body”) and arriving at the airport 6 hours to early because we thought our flight was at 6pm rather than 12am.

All in all a very successful adventure, don’t you think?

Greece anyone?

PS, Malaga is wonderful you should definitely go and visit, we stayed in a lovely flat in the heart of the city centre using airbnb.com which was a steal for the location and price! A big cheers to my flatmates for the best holiday ever :).