Productivity part whatever

Today, unlike yesterday, I have been productive. I've hoovered, scrubbed the floor and kitchen, done laundry and the washing up, written wedding invitations and remembered to put suncream on. Now I'm going to sit in the sunshine with coffee, and consider writing more of my story. Maybe. I'm thinking to scrap the whole thing entirely, but it's at very nearly 70,000 words. Seems a shame to kill it now...

I do, of course, need to go to the post office and actually *post* the invitations I've written. That would be a good idea, since they're not doing a lot of good here on the table. After coffee. Definitely.


Earrings and sunshine

It was a good idea going back to bed - there was a huge thunderstorm with lightening and rattling windows and all. (We do get good storms here, they echo round the bay.) And then, the sun came out, and you could pretend it was a completely different day, one that was actually nice.

I bought this tutorial from the lovely JewlieBeads - who makes fabulous jewellery, do look at the rest of her stuff - and spent the afternoon making a version of them. Not, perhaps, as good as Julie's, but I like them nonetheless! So much so, actually, that I might make a wholly sterling version to wear at the wedding. They look like very wedding earrings to me!

Copper, sterling and freshwater pearl earrings

Copper, sterling and freshwater pearl earrings


General bleh; running good.

Soaked and cold. Running today was much better than Day 1, since this podcast has vocal cues in it, telling you when to run, which make the whole thing much less hassle.

Saw two tourists looking very lost outside my front door - they were looking for a cheap cafe. Round here, that's not so easy to find, but I was nice and directed them to a couple of the slightly less touristy places, which might charge a reasonable amount. Then again, they might not...

Wedding invitations going mad. Family going mad over wedding. Considering telling everyone it's cancelled and starting from scratch. Am looking forward to being married, can't help but think wedding day is going to be psychotic mess, as is usually the case when you get this many people in one place with alcohol, when some of them are related to me.

Going to have a shower, put the heating on and go back to bed. Maybe next time I wake up, the day will be better.


Zombie Pizza Girl

First, running: Week 4, Day 1 was today and it damn near killed me. Week 4 may last longer than a week...

For lunch I made spinach, red onion and chorizo crepes. They actually worked out quite well.

Afternoon was deeply lazy, lying on the beach reading - it's been beautifully hot here; if the sea weren't still dirty, I'd have totally gone swimming. Tomorrow is supposed to be nice too, so more beach, I feel.

For dinner, the intention was to make a jambalaya type thing. But then we thought pizza on the beach would be a better idea. By the time we found somewhere that was open and ready to sell pizza, it was too late to catch the last of the sun on the beach, so we ate pizza on the balcony. From the weirdest pizza box. You know how most people put their company name and phone number and things on the box? Not this place:

Pizza Box
She's clearly had her neck snapped - look at the angle of her face. Bonus points if you can work out what the thing growing out of her head is... Why, if you were a company that didn't *also* sell the kinds of services more usually found in Amsterdam, would you put a picture like that on your pizza box?


Summer, it is here again

It is - today, I spent all morning on the balcony in the sun (after going to the post office to send off our applications for various pieces of paper from the embassy - fucking extortionate amount of money and hassle just to get a piece of paper that does some unknown thing...), and then the afternoon was on the beach.



Oscar is growing little flowers now, and his oranges are nearly orange.
Oscar the Orange Tree

Oscar the Orange Tree

Oscar the Orange Tree
Suicidal pigeon:


Excitement in the skies

I looked out of my window doing the washing up this morning to see an airplane flying at me. Then another. And then a third. Quite unnerving - they were flying really, really low, just skimming the top of the houses. They were securite civile airplanes, bright yellow with red writing on, and Wikipedia tells me they are planes used to fight fires in the summer - they fly down to the water, scoop it up, fly off and dump it on the fire. Today they were practising, so it must be nearly summer. A little disconcerting nonetheless.

Crap pics from my mobile, because my proper camera doesn't have any batteries:

Securite Civile on exercise

Securite Civile on exercise

Securite Civile on exercise

Securite Civile on exercise

Securite Civile on exercise

Securite Civile on exercise

While I'm thinking of photos, this was last night's dinner - summer really does feel like it's nearly here:

Oh, and you're all back as far as Google Analytics is concerned. Which is nice - hello, my loyal and clearly slightly disturbed readers ;-) One day, soon, I'm going to do a post that invites you all to introduce yourselves - I'd like to know who I'm writing to!


Student Loans Company: Fail

Is it just me, or is asking me to complete a form I've already completed, and provide supporting evidence I've already provided - which they acknowledge I've already provided - a complete and utter waste of time?

The illogicality (is so a word) continues - not only do the Student Loans Company think, because HMRC has apparently updated them on my behalf, albeit erroneously, that I'm back in the UK and tax-resident in the UK, (so eligible for repayments again) but they informed me of this by sending a letter to my French address. The one that I presumably wouldn't be living at, if their belief regarding my residency status was remotely correct. To fix this mess, entirely of their own making, I need to send off more forms and more letters from Paul saying I earn no money, and it's all just so *stupid*.

You'd think I'd be inured to this after months living in France, wouldn't you? Apparently not.


I'm home!

First things first, Google Analytics says everyone stopped reading my blog when I changed the template to look prettier. Now I can't imagine many of you being *that* design conscious, but I suppose you might all be and have run away in horror at my poor taste... In case you're still out there, though, does anyone know why GA might have stopped counting my blog views?

Running: Week 3, Day 2, belatedly completed - I've been ill, but the sunshine now I'm home was too good to miss, so I decided to make myself go running. It was harder with hills, but not as bad as I feared!

Wedding preparations are going apace: We now have a dress, shoes, a photographer (my brother's girlfriend, though I think everyone's going to have to volunteer somewhat), a mayor, a venue, a date, at least one witness, and hotel rooms for (most of) his and my family. We have a ring for me, and we will have a ring for him, when I get round to making it. I now have the stuff to do so.

Still left to do:

  • writing invitations (anyone reading this before they get married: handwritten invitation letters sound like a great idea. They take a lot of time. Be warned...)
  • sending invitations
  • checking Paul has a suit
  • booking a restaurant
  • apparently, finding flowers... (Really? Are they totally essential?)
  • doing something about a wedding list, in the unlikely event anyone wants to give us presents


More French expat blogs

The very kind Keith at somehow found my blog and wrote about it. (How did you find me in the first place, Keith?)

ATasteofGarlic is a series of reviews of french expat blogs, worth reading for itself, but you should definitely check out the other expat blogs, too, for a picture of France more generally than just my little corner of it!


Week 3, Day 1

Things I have learnt this week:

  • Running on flat ground is much, much easier than running up hills.
  • Mud is not a good surface to run on.
  • Low-flying geese are an actual hazard in this part of the world.
  • Loose rocks will one day kill me. If the geese don't get me first.
Some photos, because it actually wasn't raining, and running by the river was quite pretty.
Riverside fauna

Riverside fauna

Riverside fauna

Riverside fauna


To Do/Done: wedding edition

To do:

Tell family and friends: Done
Pick a date: Pretty much done
Book the mayor: Done (tentatively)
Find a restaurant for the lunch; work out meal options, wine and champagne: In progress
Find hotel options for people who aren't coming from Nice: In progress
Get contact details for all of our fabulous guests
Write and send out invitations, inc hotel details
Find someone to take photos: Might well be everyone, in a scattergun approach to wedding photography...
Find a dress and shoes
Find a suit and shoes
Ring for Paul: In progress

What am I forgetting, internet? Let me know...


Week 2: done!

I have finished Week 2 and can finally move onto the next podcast. I didn't like the music this week, so I'm glad it's finally over and I haven't died yet. Though one of the last running bits of this week always falls on a steep hill. Damn near kills me every time. Next week will be in the UK, so we'll see how I stick to the plan when running in miserable weather... But for now, success and sunshine!


Week 2, Day 2 - and some good news

Week 2, Day 2 went well - better than Day 1, anyway. The hills have got smaller... I took some photos this morning at the end of my run, so you can see where I end up, in case you're interested. The statues are prettier than the pics show...







Oh, and the good news? Paul and I are now properly and officially engaged! We're going to get married in the autumn, here in France at the mairie; date yet to be fixed...


Oscar the orange tree

Shopping yesterday in Italy was fun! I came back several euros lighter, but with a new rug, a new shirt and Oscar. Our new orange tree. We're going to have fresh orange juice in the mornings any day now...

Here are the first photos of Oscar in his new home. He looks more settled there than on the train, where I did get several odd looks. One family of older people sitting across the aisle from us were concerned that I might be trying to take him back to the UK - they relaxed noticeably when I reassured them I knew that would kill him, he was going to live on my balcony over here...


Oscar the orange tree

Oscar the orange tree

Oscar the orange tree

Today I may go and buy a hammock for the balcony.


Week 2, Day 1

Why are the hills always in the wrong place? I swear, they do it on purpose.

Week 2 is harder than week 1. I'm kind of dreading week 3, now.

However, today, I'm off to Italy for lunch and market shopping. Because it's Friday and it's sunny again.



At the risk of turning into my grandmother, I took up crochet a while ago. Some of you may remember me mentioning it. I've got lots of bits of crochet around the flat now, but I finally turned one of them into something useful: behold, my lovely little bag. It fits my wallet, my passport and my iPod in it - what more do I need?

Right way round:

Crochet bag

Crochet bag
Inside out:
Crochet bag

Crochet bag

You will no doubt be awed by the button and the quality of the inside stitching. I actually think the inside stitching is fairly good, given that I had to make my own needle. And my own button, since we don't seem to have any spares.

You can tell I work in metal, not fabric, can't you?


End of week 1!

I have done my first week of running; I get to move on to a new podcast on Friday! And I'm still not dead!

Things I have learnt this week, in no particular order:

  • It's pretty much 5km between Villefranche and the bus stop at St Jean Cap Ferrat.
  • There are a *lot* of hills between here and St Jean.
  • The buses at St Jean don't run very frequently.
  • It's not summer yet.
  • A sweater is a good thing, especially if it has pockets.
  • Porridge is actually surprisingly edible, if you don't look at it.
  • Running really is faster than walking. Even at the snail's pace that I do it.
Speaking of pockets, what do people who Do Running Properly use to put things like keys, ipod, phone, money, bus pass, that sort of thing, in? Because when summer finally does get here, I'm definitely not going to want to be wearing a sweater...

(First person to suggest a bum bag gets shot. This is not the 80s anymore.)


Running, part 2

I have continued running! I have run again, and am still not dead!

My story is still not any further. I've done the washing up and made this pendant instead:

Copper square wire pendant
But I ought to be doing writing. Or food shopping. *Shudders at the thought of walking to the supermarket*

What shall we have for dinner, loyal readers? If you answer early enough, I might actually take you up on your suggestions...



Today's been grey and bleh, so I've been ignoring it in the hopes that it will improve.

So far, not a lot of luck.

I've made two pendants this morning, while pretending today's not happening, though - so it's not been a total waste!

copper and red crystal heart pendant

copper and rutilated quartz pendant


Productivity continued

I amaze even myself, sometimes...

Instead of going back to bed, I had breakfast on the balcony, and then finished the below pendant.

Copper and sodalite cross
Then we walked to Nice, via the coastal path - incredibly pretty, but best not attempted in flipflops. Learn from my mistakes, people of the internet. We finished our walk at Kookaburra in Nice, which is a fantastic Australian pub, and Nick, the guy who runs it, is brilliant. We go there when we've got spare money, the food is fabulous - today we had kangaroo pie. The chef deserves a medal, because it rocked.

Kangaroo pie:
Photos from the coastal path:












Copyright Nicole Hill, 2009-2010

All photos and text are mine - ask me *before* you use them elsewhere. Don't just copy them and hope I won't notice, it's theft.

  © Blogger template Shush by 2009

Back to TOP