16 Dec 2013

SC#35 | Asian inspired squash and carrot soup

This soup is another case of staring at my vegetable-filled fridge after getting my first Abel & Cole box and thinking "what the hell do I do now?"

Well, soup is my go-to when I'm not too inspired, so off everything went in boiling water! I also chucked a can of coconut milk in there to make it a bit special — hence why it's called Asian inspired. It's really me trying very hard to pretend I made Thai curry soup when really I didn't. Still tasty though!

Anecdote: the squash I used for this soup really confused me when I dugged it out from my veg box. It was too orange to be a butternut squash, and I actually originally thought it wasn't even a squash at all (because I'm blind and somehow convinced myself its skin was sharon fruit-like. It wasn't. It was squash-like. Here's the beast:)


Asian inspired squash and carrot soup
4-5 servings
- 1 medium sized squash
- 5-6 carrots
- 1 medium union
- chilli flakes
- 1 can coconut milk
- vegetable stock
- salt and pepper

Peel and chop your squash and carrots into little pieces, set aside. Heat a little olive oil in a pot, and sweat the chopped onion. When translucid, add in the squash and carrots, give it a good mix and cook for about 5 minutes, mixing a few times.
Pour vegetable stock until it about covers the vegetables (note: my stock technique is to crumble the stock cube on my dish, pour boiling water and mix.) Add in chilli flakes to your liking. Bring it to a boil then let it simmer until the carrots are soft.
Take it off the heat, mix with a hand blender then bring to the boil again. Immediately lower the heat, season, add in the coconut milk, give it a good mix and serve!


Eat warm or give it a freeze for a lazy night! Not too sure when the next post will come as I'm off home soon... Just in case, merry Christmas!! x

7 Dec 2013

DIY | Pocket hand-warmers

Since buying the set of Christmas fabric pictured below, every year around the start of the festive season I feel the need for a little craft project to keep me busy till the end of the year. I made bunting in my first year of university, and lots of tree decorations last year (that I will hopefully one day photograph.) This year I went for an easy little thing that makes for a great stocking filler (or additional birthday prezzie if your bezzie is a November baby) and will keep you warm(ish) until Spring. Here's my first great rugby-watching project of the season... Pocket hand-warmers!

(Yes, I did say rugby watching. Ahhh there are SO many things I don't share on this blog that I really, really like. Like, I love rugby, and beauty products, and playing Crash Bandycoot Team Racing. And many other secret things...)


You'll need: pretty cotton fabric, needles and thread, a pencil, a circle object to use as a tracer (I used a vase!), uncooked rice, scissors. Optional: essential oil, for scented hand-warmers!


1. If you're using essential oil, start by putting a few drops of it in your rice. Mix and let it infuse while you sew.
2. Place your two fabric right sides together. Trace a circle on the fabric using whatever object you have on hand, then cut a square of fabric around the circle, leaving 2-3cm around the circle.
3. Start sewing the two pieces of fabric together following the line. I recommend using extra needles to pin your pieces of fabric together and avoid mistakes.
4. Leave a little opening at the end.
5. Turn your fabric over and make sure to push the seams out so the circle shape is all good and nice.
6. Fill your hand-warmer with rice... I used the end of a spoon as I like to keep the opening as small as possible — makes the final stitching easier!
7. Stitch your hand-warmer closed. I wish I could explain how, but I (badly) self-taught myself sewing.. Meaning I have no clue what I'm doing.
8. You're all done! Now pop your hand warmer(s) in the microwave for 30s and stick them in your coat pockets to keep you warm when you go out...


Believe me, I'm a beginner, and I can make these under 30 minutes... So you can too! Go forth and craft, and don't forget to show me your finished little pockets of warmth... An early merry Christmas to you! x

1 Dec 2013

Applying to university in the UK: the FAQ

Over the past two years I've had this blog (crazy ey!), I've had quite a few requests for help regarding applying to university in the UK. (Don't want to brag, but several made it to British uni... I'm sure my advice made all the difference.) I'm always happy to help and feel helpful so I replied with great enthusiasm and a profusion of details... but my answers turned out to be pretty much the same every time.

So here it is, readers! I'm giving you what I hope to be an extensive FAQ on how to apply to university in the UK from the perspective of a foreign student. For context, I applied to university in January 2011 at the age of 16 and started university in October 2011 at the age of 17 at Goldsmiths, University of London — yes, back when the fees were the glorious price of £3,300/year.

First, I'd recommend picking what you want to study and/or where, otherwise the search is going to be very vast. And then, Google! The Internet is going to be your best friend during the process.

How early should I start looking at universities?
The earliest the better! The deadline to apply is usually in mid January of the year you'll want to start university. If you want a chance to attend open days, I'd recommend looking into universities as early as a year before that so you can attend open days during the summer or autumn before you apply.

I'm not sure my English is good enough, sad face.
Well there's only one way to find out, innit? More seriously, if you're able to watch a movie in English, read a book and hold a conversation, you'll probably survive in England. I have met plenty of people whose English isn't perfect (me included, I don't go a day without people laughing at my accent.) If you're worried, ask your English teachers at school, they'll be the best judge of your abilities.

Should I do a gap year to improve my language first?
I've been asked this question often and that's one I don't have an answer for. Gap years aren't common at all in France so they still feel like a strange idea to me. The first year of university doesn't account for much in term of grades, so I'm pretty sure the immersion of the first year would suffice for most to get a good grasp on the language. Nevertheless, it might be helpful to some, but that's more a 'self-building' matter.

How do I pick what universities to apply to?
Start by looking up the universities ranking which are established by (mostly) trustworthy organisations and can help you find out which universities are the best for what/where you want to study, like the Times Higher Education or The Complete University Guide. You can also use the UCAS website, which is where the whole application process happens, as it lists all universities and courses available in England, Wales and Scotland. Then, look at the universities' websites, order prospectuses, attend open days if you can afford it, throw a coin in the air; the choice is all yours! Just keep in mind you're allowed five choices max.

Ugh, fees are so expensive. 
They sure are. However, if you're lucky enough to be a EU national, you are eligible for student finance: the UK government loans you money to pay your undergraduate student fees. The money is then automatically taken out of your wages once you start earning a certain amount of money. If you happen to leave the UK after your undergrad, you're legally obliged to tell them of your whereabouts so they can get their money back. If you don't, I assume bad things ensue.

How do I apply?
So you've picked your universities, well done! Here comes the fun part. Everything happens on UCAS (which, if you're French, is ten times what PostBac will ever be.)
1. First sign up and fill in your personal information. Easy.
2. Fill in your choices. You can list one to five choices and you have to order them according to your preference.
3. Write a personal statement. This is a text explaining your motivations for applying to university. You can write only one to use for all your choices, so I recommend being coherent in the choice of courses you're applying for. Write a single personal statement for a science course and a fine arts course might prove a bit tricky. There's a lot of helpful documents on UCAS to help you understand what the personal statement is supposed to include and how you should write it. I found that it was quite different from the traditional French "lettres de motivation", so I'd recommend having a look if you don't know where to start. Also, ask everyone for help! Your teachers, your family, they know you and have probably applied to stuff before. They know things. Steal their knowledge.
4. Now you'll need to find a referee. It's a person who'll vouch for you and will have to write a reference letter supporting your application. It's commonly a teacher, so I'd recommend asking a professor of yours who speaks English. You'll need to write their contact details in the website, and UCAS will then contact them directly asking for the reference. Once they've sent it, you'll receive a notification.
5. Somewhere along the lines you'll be asked to say the grade you expect to get in your exams. Ask your teachers what they think you'll get instead of guessing yourself, and trust them!
6. Pay. Sadly applying isn't free but you only have to pay £23 once, even if you decide to add more choices later on.
7. Send it!


When do I apply?
Most applications need to be in for January 2014 for a start in September 2014. In general, the application deadline is mid-Jan.

Is there anything/anyone to help me with my application?
UCAS, your teachers, your family, alumni from your school you have applied abroad (ask your teachers), students from the institutions you're applying to (look on their website for student blogs or scour Tumblr/Twitter/UCAS forums)… The list goes on.

I sent my application! Woo! What happens now?
First you wait. Then certain universities might ask you for additional information. You might be asked to provide a portfolio of work (e.g. artwork for an arts programme, an essay for an English lit programme, etc) or attend an interview.
Then after you've waited anything between a month to four in my case, you'll receive answers. They might be a rejection, sad face, or you'll get offers! Most of the time, offers received are conditional, meaning the university will ask you for a certain grade to be obtained in your exams, and a certain mark in an English language test (TOEFL, IELTS etc.) If the offer is unconditional, bravo, you're a champ. You'll also need to select your 'firm acceptance' and your 'insurance acceptance' so that places become available on courses for others, etc.
Then once you've had your exams, received your results and successfully passed your English test, send it all to the universities who made offers. If you're successful, the status of the offer will change to unconditional and, congrats, you're in!

What do you mean an interview?!
Universities might invite you for an interview. It depends on the university and the course. I didn't have one, but some of my friends did. I'll have to refer you to the ever-helpful UCAS website.

I got in! Should I live in halls or go for privately rented accommodation?
Congrats! In your fresher year, I'd recommend living in halls since it allows you to meet lots of people and make friends, be really close to campus (= you get to sleep more) and be involved in more activities within uni and with friends. My best friend lived at home in her first year and I know she sometimes felt like she wasn't living the true uni experience.

I found your blog on the Goldsmiths website, do you like it there?
I love it. It took me a while to get used to it, but as soon as I did, everything became beautiful and shiny and covered in glitter. Goldsmiths has it flaws like any institution, and the Media department of which I'm part has many, but the course, university, neighbourhood and people are all brilliant and I strongly recommend them.


Here we go! I hope this can be helpful to some of you... If you have any additional questions, please leave a comment and I'll answer, and will add it to the list if it's a big thing I forgot. Hoping you all get into uni... x

24 Nov 2013

SC#34 | Courgette and spinach frittata


More Abel & Cole stuff yay! In my box were a few courgettes and the LARGEST bunch of spinach I have ever seen. I figured all green things must fit well together... and would taste good with a bit of eggy protein... and cheese... hence the frittata! It was actually the first I made, and I'll be adding it to my lost of staples as it is a very good lunch box option, and tastes good both hot and cold.

Courgette and spinach frittata
Serves 4
- 2 courgettes
- a big bunch of spinach (it's difficult to know how to measure spinach...)
- half an onion
- 5 eggs
- cheese such as cheddar or gruyère, quantity to your liking
- salt and pepper
- nutmeg
- herbes de provence or italian herbs

First, preheat your oven to 180°C. rince and slice your courgettes and boil them in salted water until soft (10-15 mn.) While you do that, rince, drain and tear your spinach leaves in edible-sized pieces.

Once the courgettes are done, drain them and fry them in a pan on medium heat with a little oil and onions for a few minutes. Add the spinach and cook, mixing often, until the spinach has wilted.

In the meantime, mix your eggs with salt, pepper, nutmeg, herbs and half the cheese. Once the vegetables are done, transfer them to a greased ovenproof dish. Pour in the eggmix until it about covers your vegetables. Top with the rest of the cheese and cook in the oven until set and golden on top (check often, but it took about twenty minutes for me.)

Eat warm or let cool out to have as a packed lunch... Mostly, enjoy it!


15 Nov 2013

SC#33 | The Greatest Mash Ever and Spicy Roasted Veg with Abel & Cole

So you know I like food. But, confession, I've been pretty lame on the food plan recently. As I mentioned a few days ago, I've had maaaaany a takeaway recently, eaten my fair share of pizzas and sandwiches (yum yum chicken bacon avocado) and probably devoured my weight in crisps — thus making me heavier; ahh, the infinite circle of crisp eating.

Fast forward to the weekend I decide to be healthy, go to the gym twice and order my first ever Abel & Cole box. Don't know Abel & Cole? They're an organic food delivery company: they pack up tasty veg and fruit from their partner farmers every week and drop off boxes of goodness on your doorstep. Bonus: they are actually a full-on online food shop, where you can order everything from bread to dairy, meat, washing up liquid and Christmas food hampers.

I got a free box thanks to my good mate Claudia. (Befriend food lovers, fellow food lovers! They'll treat you well.) Here are some of the stuff I did with it!

The Greatest Mash Ever, No Kidding (recipe pretty much taken from the Abel & Cole cookbook)
Serves 4-5
- 10 small to medium potatoes
- half a green cabbage
- Dijon mustard
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- butter
- half a lemon
- some form of liquid dairy

Peel and chop your 'tatoes and boil them in salted water until soft. While they're bubbling, rince and slice up your cabbage. Fry it in a little olive oil, season and add the lemon juice.
When the potatoes are done, drain then mash them with a knob of butter, milk to your liking, salt and pepper and a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Add the cabbage in and serve!


Spicy roasted veg
Serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main
- 1 romanesco cauliflower
- 1 courgette
- 3-4 carrots
- 2-3 medium potatoes
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- half a lemon
- olive oil
- chilli flakes
- piment d'Espelette (or similar mild-but-flavoursome chilli powder)
- salt and pepper

Preheat the oven on 180°C. Peel the potatoes and carrots, chop 'em. Chop the garlic cloves into big chunks. Cut up the romanesco cauli in little florets (little enough to eat.) For the courgettes, I use my mum's technique of only peeling stripes off because, yes, it looks cool (but don't forget to rince it!) Place all that on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and the lemon juice, season and add spices to your liking.
Roast for 30-45 minutes, mixing the veg a few times, and I suggest serving them with couscous or quinoa topped with pomegranate seeds!


Ready, set, and cook! Will see you soon for more ad-veg-tures... hehe x

11 Nov 2013

The Culture Feature | August/September/October 2013

Wooo, once again here's three months of culture stuff in one! I haven't actually watched or read much new things recently, as all I have time for in a week really is an episode of Grey's Anatomy and Parks and Recreation each. Still, here are a few bits I enjoyed during my late summer. Once again, let me know if you follow my advice, and if you liked any of those! 

TV | House of Cards
Oh, man, do I wish the first season of House of Cards had been longer... I am not into politics, so wasn't too sure I'd get into it, but this is one of the perfectly finished shows I've ever watched. Exceptional directing (hello David Fincher!), spotless cast with Robin Wright whom I more than ever aspire to be like, and Kevin Spacey... How do I explain Kevin Spacey? His performance is remarkable, especially since he has the particular task of playing the only character who interacts with the audience. He displays the perfect balance of trustworthiness and dodginess that I associate with politicians. And the cinematography is an absolute gem. If all this doesn't convince you, I loved how it explores the shady ways of politics and breaks the fourth wall. I am PSYCHED for season two!



TV The Tunnel
I've only just started watching The Tunnel, and am still confused about it all, BUT a few things I really enjoy and here's why you should watch it: it is a show BOTH in English and French. How cool is that?! I started watching it with my boyfriend as a "culture bonding" activity but really, I just enjoy being able to understand everything and not him. Also, it has Clémence Poesy, and she's awesome. Watch if you like hearing people speak French, enjoy crime/cop fiction and apocalypto-religious serial killers.



MOVIES Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Chose this doc on a whim because it had some great reviews on Reddit, and I'm glad I did, for it was really different from what I usually watch. This documentary follows Jiro Ono, a sushi master who owns a 3-star Michelin restaurant in Tokyo. It's hard to describe how I felt... This movie really conveys the passion and art that goes into Jiro's sushi making, as well as a very serious sense of duty. Foodies with love it but I think everyone would get hooked... if only on trying to understand the very mysterious Jiro.


MOVIES The Godfather
Yes I know, absolute classic, why hadn't I watched it before, I'm a disgrace, etc. Better late than never, eh? Well, despite my initial reluctance about a long-*ss movie about people with Italian accents killing each other (what I thought it would be), I really enjoyed it... But it was what I thought it'd be! Still, it's such a beast of a movie, and is entertaining, gripping and challenges your idea of family. A must-watch. Have watched the second and am ready for the third!



OTHERS Spamalot
Here's a special one for you, a musical! A while ago, I went to see Spamalot with the man after 1) he insisted a lot and 2) we found very cheap tickets. I do love myself a bit of the Holy Grail, and got quite excited... and it was HILARIOUS. It's the best of the Holy Grail, with music, excellent anti-French jokes, terrific contemporary references and an overwhelming feeling of general happiness and old-school fun. Go go go!

7 Nov 2013

Life lately...

Phew, the past few weeks/months haven't been easy! Hence the absence of posts... I want to try to get back into this blog a little, and find the occasional hour to write a post or two, but do I have to dig to find such time!

Since the last time... I started a new job that is fun and well paid (yay!), lived through the first half-term of third year — with difficulties, ordered many a takeaway, had a visit from my mum and dad, bought the perfect winter boots, went to Cadbury World (and decided I would never live in Birmingham,) carved my first ever pumpkin, made litres of soup and batch after batch of chocolate biscotti, spent many an hour sitting on the floor of the Wired Radio studio, wrote a billion stories for East London Lines and even got commissioned for my first ever freelance journalism work! Look out for my name/face/words in the January issue of Company...

Here are a few snaps from all this for you to peer over while I go write a few more posts. See you soon x


 

 

 

 

Chocolate biscotti. / Vampire Weekend at the iTunes Festival. / Shake Shack! / The best burger in London, MotherFlipper's candy bacon burger / Took my parents to the Breakfast Club / Pumpkin carving, cake eating and wine drinking / Our take on Tuco's burritos for the finale of Breaking Bad / IT'S BACK!

20 Sep 2013

Postcard from the Pays Basque | Six spots to visit

I'm back to tell you more about the Pays Basque, and for this second and final post, I'm sharing with you the six places I liked the most during the holiday, as well as some more photos of the region. Hope you enjoy!


La Rhune
On our first day in the Pays Basque, we hiked up a mountain. A small mountain, alright, but still. We don't hike in the family, ever. Turns out it was really fun (at least for me, less so for my very much afraid of heights brother and my "oh my God this was a terrible idea" mother), and I felt incredibly proud when reaching the top! Just remember to bring a bottle of water PER PERSON (right mum?) and wear good shoes.
For non-crazy people, there is an old train going up and down the mountain. From the top, you can see all of the valley, with the Pyrenees on one side and the sea on the other... well, that's if it's sunny. By the time we got to the top, it was so foggy you could barely see 5 metres ahead of you! A must-do in the area.

www.rhune.com/uk




Spa Makila
This holiday was originally my parents and brother's golf holiday, and I decided to tag along on the promise of beach afternoons while they golfed... and a Spa day! One of the golf they picked had a Spa so I got to do a hammam/sauna/jacuzzi session (possibly the best 45 minutes of my life) followed by an an hour and a half long face and body massage + treatment (definitely the best 45+ minutes of my life.) If you're ever in the area, I'd definitely recommend it. The place is lovely with a great view on the golf courses from the jacuzzi, and the treatment left my skin at its very best. I don't know if it's related or not, but for the first time in my life, I came home after a holiday with a tan...






Saint-Jean-de-Luz botanical gardens
After walking around the market and the town centre = doing the typical touristey things in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, we opted for something a bit different. We headed for the botanical gardens, which turned out to be a fantastic choice! The gardens are beautiful, peaceful and quiet, full of plants unknown to the public... and it has a beautiful view upon the ocean. A refreshing oasis away from the busyness of summer holidays!

jardinbotaniquelittoral-saintjeandeluz.fr




La Plancha d'Ilbarritz
I mentioned this restaurant already in the previous blog post because it was AMAZING. We chose this place on a recommendation from our host at the guest house and the whole family agreed it was like, the best decision ever. The restaurant is by the seaside, directly overlooking the bay, making it super popular to tourists and locals alike. No reservations, so v busy, but there is a nice outdoors bar with cocktails (A+ frozen margarita!) to help you wait. And then you feast. Plancha grilling is obviously this place's speciality, so you'll get to try piquillos (small peppers), chipirons (baby squid), chorizo, rib steaks and all kinds of fish grilled a la plancha. I'll say this again: best fish EVER. It had garlic crisps, man, garlic crisps! Stereotypically French maybe, but what can I say, I do love garlic.

La Plancha d'Ilbarritz, Bidart




Euzkadi
Another fantastic restaurant, this one being the best we found to try typical local recipes and products in a traditional setting; plus, it was in Espelette, a town nationally famous as it is where they grow the Espelette pepper. The staff was über friendly, the menu had no end, but mostly the dishes were flavoursome and generous, and I felt that this was the place we visited the most representative of the Pays Basque. Not high end cuisine, but hearty and moreish!

www.hotel-restaurant-euzkadi.com



Biarritz fireworks
Finally, I have to mention the "Nuit Féérique" fireworks in Biarritz. August 15 is a national holiday in France and most towns traditionally celebrate with fireworks of some sort. Biarritz's have the reputation to be exceptional, and they were! If you ever have the opportunity to see them, definitely go and get stunned by the beautiful spectacle of the fireworks blowing up on both side of the bay and illuminating the Grande Plage. Splendid!


Aaaan this concludes my postcard from the Pays Basque! I hope you enjoyed this little trip in South-Western France and that I made you think about planning a trip to see its beautiful sights. I'm now back in London, and after a summer of travelling... I just want to leave again! 

7 Sep 2013

SC#32 | Couscous salad stuffed aubergine


Four months to the day since the last recipe posted on this blog, are you kidding me. It is true I haven't been in the kitchen much over the summer. I was away quite a bit, ate out quite a bit, and when I cooked it was rarely anything exceptional. I did whip up my favourite cake at some point for the man... but it was eaten too fast for photos.

So here we are, it's September, summer is over and my diet is full of veg in an attempt to get rid of what comes with a holiday in Italy: pizza-shaped hips. I've thus been eating a lot of tomato salads and tomato soup (turns out you can buy a LOT of tomatoes for £1 at the market) and other veg-ariations... Get it? Get it?! 

... Right, I'm out, but here's a tasty veg-ariation ;)


Couscous salad stuffed aubergine, serves 2
- 1 aubergine
- 2 small tomatoes
- 1 tbsp dry couscous (Ok I totally didn't measure that. Just adapt it to the size of your aubergine. Also you can make more couscous and just save it for another recipe. Couscous is GREAT.)
- Half an onion
- 2-3 tsp French mustard
- Cajun spice
- Salt, pepper

Preheat the oven on 180°C. Get your couscous ready by placing it into a bowl, covering with boiling water and letting to rest covered with a tea towel.

Rinse the aubergine, cut off the top, halve and carve into boats. Make ridges into the flesh to facilitate baking.

Chop up the onion and tomatoes, mix in with the couscous, and add mustard, Cajun spice and seasoning to your liking. It's difficult to precise how much; I like my stuff really mustardy but some of my friends enjoy the idea of mustard more than the actual thing... 

Fill the aubergine with the salad and cook 20 to 25 minutes.

This would be nice with some feta crumbs and sundried tomatoes as well. Whatever you choose, I hope you enjoy it!



1 Sep 2013

DIY | iPhone cases



Since living in London I've enjoyed trying to customise bits and bobs around my room/house to make it a little bit more 'me.' After paintings tons of jars and stools and sticking masking tape all over my room, I decided to give my phone its own little makeover. I used ideas from A Beautiful Mess — only the greatest blog on the Internet, by the way — bought clear cases off eBay for £2 each and got crafty!


For this first one, I used mint coloured masking tape and stuck it to the bottom of the case. The tricky part is to make it straight: for this I stuck a piece of tape on my desk and positioned my case so that it would serve as a 'space mark' in between two stripes on the case. The tricky bit is the corners: have a pen, a ruler or any other tool at hand to help you stick the tape to the corners. Then I painted two coats f gold paint over it and sealed it with clear nail polish.


This one was directly inspired by ABM! I painted stripes of nail polish (between one and three layers depending on the colour) letting it try inbetween, and sealed it with clear nail polish. This one had to be left to dry a couple days so the polish wouldn't stain my phone. 

It was super cheap since I already had everything and now I get to change cases often. I have some more cases left though, if you have any ideas on how to DIY them next, please let me know in the comments!


And don't forget to like my blog on Facebook! If you enjoy reading it, it only takes a second and it'd mean a lot to me :)

Thanks to Courtney for being a cutie and helping me photograph this post!

28 Aug 2013

Postcard from the Pays Basque | What's it like?

Last year there was no real family holiday, as my mum and I headed off to New York without the men. This year, I came home just for it. I had barely been in France for 24 hours that we were off on a seven hours long drive South to the Pays Basque. Brits will maybe know it as Basque Country, but it sounds prettier in French so deal with it. 




Things you will find in the Pays Basque:
- White houses with mostly red shutters and doors; sometimes green, very occasionally blue. Nothing else, as the colours correspond to the three occupations of the locals in old times: livestock farming, agriculture and fishing.



- Delicious food that will make your taste buds sing. There is something for everyone down there. Meat lovers will enjoy rib steaks a la plancha, platters piled with ham and chorizo, grilled duck filets and the most adventurous will love the local black pudding. (I'm far for a meat lover but man, their black pudding!) If like me, you're more into sea things, you should already be on your way there because I ate the best fish of my life in Bidart (roasted hake with olive oil dressing and garlic crisps at restaurant La Plancha, mind blowing, seriously.) They're also incredible at seafood, make delicious cheese, and cultivate their own regional chili pepper in Espelette. What's not to love?





- A difficult thing to escape in the Pays Basque is... tourists. They are everywhere, as it appears the region is rapidly becoming one of the most popular holiday destination for froggies. We saw these beautiful fireworks on an absolutely packed beach, as in I barely had enough room to stretch my legs (totally worth it though.) We were staying in a village of barely 1,000 inhabitants and had to skip lunch one day because all three restaurants were full! It needs going into the land and avoiding the most touristic villages to find empty places.





- Street art, surprisingly! The small village we stayed at had its walls covered in stickers of old people...



- Tons of pretty and interesting places to visit. I'll tell you more about what we did during the stay in my next post, but really I want to insist on how beautiful it all was. The land is surprisingly green (we were told it rains a lot), the all similar houses create a beautiful landscape, with houses decorated with chili peppers and animals sunbathing in the fields.


That's it for my first postcard from the Pays Basque, but I have another one coming up soon...