Frozen Sunday

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chocolate labrador
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frost labrador
french window
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flowers frost
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frozen leaves
frozen grass

Remember this post? Taken over a year ago - how crazy is that?! Shows how my obsession with frozen mornings is still going strong. There's just something about frost turning the simplest little (dead) leaf into a real piece of art.

I have to say I missed the cold just a little bit while I was in Australia (I can see you frowning like : AS IF TANS) I kid you not. I mean the coldest it ever got was 12 degrees (celcius let's not jump on our high temperature horse) I managed to go through 'Winter' with one trench coat - not a layered one either - and NO gloves.

All of that to say that this morning when I woke up before the sun, to finish packing for London (I'm back! I'm back!) Hector & I watched the sun rise outside the house, it was freezing cold (ha) and seriously dreamy. Ephemeral ice sculptures in the morning light. Hector chased the cats, while I ran around the garden snapping away before returning to the warmth of our sleepy house where a pot of tea was waiting by the fire. The cats joined us for breakfast - I started panicking looking for the last little bits to add to my very full suitcase. (last minute packing anyone?)

While I'm here I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for your incredible kindness and beautiful words you wrote me after I opened up about heartbreak in this post. You made me feel special, and for that I will be forever grateful. It just shows how a few simple and kind words can change someone's day from real bad to warm and fuzzy good. I'm lucky, lucky to have this internet house and you all to share it with. Heart eyes emojis and kisses to you all.

Matters of the Heart

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For long I've been going back and forth, not quite sure whether to post this or not. Opening up, means being vulnerable, I'm not strong enough to be vulnerable right now, but I've never been one to shut my mouth either. I have zero poker face. You will know, you will know long before I even open my mouth. So consider this my terrible poker face.

This year has truly been a learning curve for me. A steep learning curve that came with heartache. I was in a relationship for a good part of the year when I was in Australia. Now I hear you thinking 'why oh why', actually let me rephrase this - 'don't get yourself an australian boyfriend' was the running joke before I left. How did they know?! Maybe I wanted to prove them all wrong, who knows ;)

The heart is one selfish organ. It very often breaks the rules, ignores advice & runs wild. Mine is particularly feisty, a true wild spirit. 

Now I don't know where to begin, I won't go into details, because when it comes down to it details are irrelevant. I fell in love, I moved in, I opened my heart, I was us. Fast forward to November, a one-way plane ticket in hand, 2 heavy suitcases and a heavier heart. There were a lot of tears, a lot of questions asked, a lot of soul-searching, scratching my brains out - where did I go wrong? what could have I done better? what now?

One day you're a team, the next you're sitting alone on a cold airport bench. The transition is the hardest. I am still trying to figure it all out. It takes time they say. I wish I could find the 'off' button, you know the one that stops the pain and ejects you on the bright side on a fluffy pink candy floss cloud? I guess time will have to do.. and it does. It gets better, day after day, week after week.

We're good you know. We left as friends. Which makes it hard. In some ways it makes things even more confusing, but it also makes it all more beautiful. No hard feelings. Just love.

Bali was a real blessing and probably the best thing I could have done in those circumstances. I was in heaven with my very own kick-ass support system, in the form of 4 incredible women. Then came India where I met my mum - I wasn't the best travel companion I could have been, sorry Maman! India with a broken heart intensifies the whole experience. All you want is comfort, routine and familiarity, well you quite simply have none of those things for a while which toughens you up, makes you put everything into perspective. The kind where you give yourself a pep talk like 'that's enough Tania, you get it together now !' You know the ones. It was a dreamy month of discoveries and adventure, one that I will never forget.

It's still hard to look back and learn from it all, but I already know I am taking back so much from this year away, not only from my relationship, but from a personal point of view, I mean I did it for goodness sake. I packed my suitcase and just did it. I created a life for myself, I met some of the best people I know, I discovered a little piece of paradise and that's something. That's everything.

For all of you out there who are dreaming up plans of moving abroad for a year, quitting that job, taking risks, starting that new project, pushing your limits outside of your comfort zone. Just DO IT. Do it for the right reasons, do it for yourself. It might not be puppies & butterflies every day, it might even be hard for a little while, scary, oh scared you will be, but is it worth it? HELL YES.

I wouldn't change one little thing. Even though I have tears running down my face at this very moment. I wouldn't. I'm good you know. I've been better, sure, but I'm doing just fine. I'm better than I was a month ago, better than I was yesterday even. I am excited about life, excited to start a new chapter, blank page full of possibilities. I am ready to move on.

Matters of the heart are beautiful, intense, scary, exciting and confusing, overwhelming at times, but they mean everything. They are everything worth living for. Love is everything.

Β 

Photo Journal : India | Part II

I'm back with more photos from India..! It's picture heavy, get ready for some scrolling...

As I mentionned yesterday I had to seriously control my paparazzi-like picture-taking habits. For some reason I couldn't find a new charger abroad, but to be honest a part of me enjoyed this new way of really selecting what I wanted to picture instead of snapping away mindlessly. You know, living on the edge and all...

From the response I had on yesterday's post I've got a feeling I'm not the only one who experienced India that way. See I'm already dreaming up ways to go visit the northern states some day.. There are many more new countries I want to discover but India sure has that little voice whispering to you when you scroll on Skyscanner, some times even shouting for you to come back. (when I think about it so does Australia, Bali, Greece, Italy, Guadeloupe, Sri Lanka... and all the places I've visited and loved - oh the heart of a wanderluster)

Looking at these I can almost feel the sun on my skin, smell the incense and jasmin in the air, scratch the mossie bites on my legs, taste the delicious curries, ALMOST.

It was so great to meet my mum there and experience it a second time with her. Our reunion was so sweet and emotional, a whole year without her was way, way too long. I promised myself to not leave it that long next time I go away. (don't freak out mum, I'm not going too far anytime soon - or am I ;)

Photo Journal : India | Part I

India for me, is like a tough hike up a steep mountain, I don't realise how wonderful it all really is until I've reached the very top and look down on what I've just climbed. India is an adventure. It takes it out of you, it peels off your layers, it makes you cold, and then it burns you. It's a strange feeling that is hard to understand until you've been there and experienced it. It is such an intense journey, a beautiful one, one that leaves you wanting more. Always.

Your senses are at times attacked, in the best of ways. The colours, the smells, the noise, the crowd, the kindness, the pollution, the poverty, the beauty. It's a sensory rollercoaster.

It is very hard to translate via pictures, I wish I could add textures, noise, smells and the power of it all in every single photograph but that is unfortunately impossible, as of yet.

I am going backwards on my journey, leaving Australia I actually flew to Bali for 10 days with some girlfriends, and then I flew off to India to meet my mama who had been waiting for me on the East coast for a couple of days. I have given up on giving you a chronological order of what happened, so it's a bit all over the place but that's exactly how this month of adventure was.

volontariat children pondicherry

One of the goals of this trip was to go and visit the Volontariat in Pondicherry which is an organisation my mum has been following for years, she has been sponsoring a child there for the past 10 years. We got the chance to go around the place, saying hello to all those sweet faces who are learning and playing in a beautiful environment. I was in awe of all the things the Volontariat has achieved and how many people they are helping on a daily basis. You can read more about them over here - they are definitely worth a visit if you're ever in Pondicherry.

Pondicherry was one of my favourite, the 'old French town' is particularly beautiful with colonial houses, beautiful little streets with so many colours you don't know where to look at.

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palm tree india
stray dogs india

Had to toughen up and control myself not to come back with suitcases full of puppies. They are EVERYWHERE.

Kumily Shops Kerala India

We met on the East Coast near Pondicherry, and then made our way across land towards Kerala. Our first stop in Kerala was just over the border, up high in the middle of the tea plantations, in a little village called Kumily (known for its natural Tiger reserve called Periyar) We'd been there before, 7 years ago, it's one of my favourite places because it's much cooler than down on sea level, it's beautiful, 'cleaner' and the people are especially lovely.

train india
train india

This time around we travelled a LOT by train (and buses) which in itself is a whole novel. If you've ever been on an Indian train, you know what I'm talking about! Often very long hours (this one in particular was relatively 'short' a mere 7 hours) with a lot of stops, the trains are crowded, it's loud, it's hot and stuffy.. but everyone is so calm and relaxed. When you're *this* close to lose it, you look over on your left and there sits a little girl, no more than 6, who's been sitting quietly for the past 5 hours on her mama's lap. It put things into perspective, that's for sure.

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rice fields india

Travelling by train means you get to go through the most beautiful scenery. Rice fields, palm trees, cows and little villages.

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indian goats on the street pondicherry

Cows are often the source of many traffic jams, so are goats. 

palm trees from train india
children volontariat india

I have many more photos, despite the fact that I left Australia without my charger. My trusty camera lasted an entire month - I did shoot like it was film, one photo at a time, I had to control my paparazzi habits, but it worked! I will come back with more...

iPhone Round-Up

Coming back from a monster holiday with thousands of photos and so many stories to tell, can feel a little overwhelming. So here I am a week into January 2015 (can you believe it?!) trying to fill you in with everything that has been going on in my life (hint: a lot)

I wasn't sure where to begin but so far I think starting by the moment I landed in London (coming back from Australia/Bali/India, more on that soon) reunited with my family & friends, spent one beautiful christmas, one fun NYE and made it back home in the South of France, is a good way to start. I think?

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+ After 2 long days between airports and long flights. I made it back in my favourite city all tanned (long gone by now), a little emotional, with my mama on my side.

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+ I happily stretched out in a real bed (compared to Indian beds) and slept off the lingering jetlag (gallons of coffee were also needed)

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+ I was finally reunited with my baby sister/best friend/funnest person alive. We cried, hugged, jumped, did our happy dance, cried some more and literally squeezed each other REAL hard (we hadn't seen each other in a year...)

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+ Then it was my cousins aka (almost) sisters. Again, we squealed, jumped, cried.. and tried to fill in each other with ALL the juicy stories. 

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+ THEN I was reunited with my two sidekicks aka fringe triplets for a long brunch in Notting Hill. It was (again) very emotional, we couldn't quite beleive we were all in the same country, let alone same city. Hours of catching up, so much to tell with one now married and the other engaged. Those two!

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+ After a few days in London, we made our way to my grandparent's house for Christmas, where the rest of the family joined us. 

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+ We celebrated dad's birthday (he hates photos) I made a chocolate pecan cake (his favourite), we ate the traditional Christmas eve ham and danced in the kitchen.

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+ Christmas was there in no time - I really didn't see it coming this year! The tree was surrounded by actual mountains of presents (Santa was super generous, I think we ended up on the right list this year)

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+ We spent 5 days eating and cooking, dad was the Head Chef and we all took turns to help him as sous-chefs. The highlight was (and always is) Christmas dinner, it doesn't get better than that! 

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+ We were blessed with the most amazing weather, perfect for long walks on the Downs and sunbathed reading sessions in the garden.

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+ After a quick pit stop in London for the Sales (kill me) we made it to Suffolk to visit my aunts.

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+ There were dinners, one big shoot (pheasants), a lot of warming up by the Aga and a little bit of horse ridding (for me). It was perfect.

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+ Then me and Lizzie (my sister) came back to London, leaving the parents in Suffolk. We ate ourselves silly, did some more unecessary shopping and danced the night away on NYE!

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+ January the 1st. Typical situation. The heads were pounding. The junk food was flowing. The romcoms were rolling. You know the deal.

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+ I'm incredibly excited to come back and start a new chapter in London. It always had my heart (as much as Sydney has a little piece of it too)

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+ Caught up with friends over hot chocolate and wild sessions of the dictionary game (do you know it?)

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+ Does this need any explanation? *dribbles*

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+ This year someone made the unwise decision to not fly back, but DRIVE back to the South of France... So armed with my biggest jumper, pink (unattractive) sweats we drove onto the ferry followed by endless autoroutes. 16 hours later we finally made it home. Madness. We did come back with a ton of bacon/tea/pheasants (wish I was kidding) and other british goodies, so lose/win?

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+ Finally REUNITED (because I haven't used this word enough in this blog post alone) with my favourite unicorn. My beloved Hugo! (who poor thing, has a bad leg, so I've been nursing him since I came back)

Thanks for making it all the way down here... Happy New Year friends!