A Parisian Meal for One ;)

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Littered crisp packets. Beautiful lights. Dirty metros. City of love. There’s only one place I could be talking about.. yes, that’s right.. I went to Paris! Finally. After months spent in Lyon, France’s second largest city, it would be insane to not re-check out Paris (yes, I had already been but only once!) and make the comparison, right? So there I was, Friday 7th February making my way to L’aeroprt St Exupery to catch my flight to Paris. Just in case you were wondering, no, I’m not rich but strangely enough catching flight from Lyon to Paris was a cheaper option than train. And how glad am I that I flew there instead?! The view from the plane was absolutely gorgeous with everything seemingly playing a specific role in creating the perfect picturesque view: the street lights bordering each block, the odd illuminated building and even the tailing traffic that Paris is oh so well known for played it’s part, giving way to alternating headlights in bright white, and daring red taillights.

The flight wasn’t very long as you would expect and before I knew it, the captain was announcing our arrival in Paris, Charles de Gaulle and the seatbelt sign went off. The plan was to stay there for the weekend and seeing that I was primarily there to celebrate my friends birthday I knew I needed to make the most of every moment. Which meant that instead of doing nothing and waiting around for an hour or two for the landlord to arrive (the girls were due to arrive later at night), I could wander down the road and see what Parisian food had to offer. I don’t know whether it was the area I happened to find myself in, or whether Paris generally is like this but there were restaurants and places to eat everywhere! Luckily for me, it meant that trailing around Paris with my luggage in search for somewhere to eat wasn’t necessary. Phew. After locating the whereabouts of my soon-to-be-opened-up-for-me residence, I stumbled across a restaurant that I imagined to be primarily a restaurant by day and a semi bar by night, and prepared myself to do something I had never done before… have a nice sit down meal all by myself. Strangely enough, there were neither nerves nor fear, just the acknowledgement that I was about to relax, enjoy my own company and that the only chit chat I’d have to entertain would be the thoughts in my head. Perfect.

Now, the meal wasn’t anything fancy… it was simply a Croque-Monsieur which in layman terms is a grilled ham a cheese sandwich with a few fancy pants bits added on, but I can truly say that I thoroughly enjoyed my meal, the atmosphere and the customer service, and, when the landlord called to announce his near arrival, it was with a satisfied stomach and a clearer head that I went out to meet him. I think that at least once in our lifetimes we should all give a solitary meal a go 😉

Bravo Paris, my first impressions were definitely on the plus side.

Trip to Paris Part Two soon to come! xx

Tips for choosing The One… the one hairdresser that’ll treat your hair right ;)

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Ever feel like you just want to go back in time? You know, take that journey back to a particular time, a particular place or a particular moment and just do things differently? You’d think that with all the iPhones, iPads and iPods littering the market there’d be talks of the new iTimeMachine. The gorgeous, sleek new gadget that gives you first class seating as you journey into the past and make a change. Instead of nodding your head and agreeing to that favour, demand or plea, you’d simply freeze, take a moment to think and swiftly turn that nod into a ‘No’. No, I can’t take on a bit of your work because I have some of my own. No, I’m afraid I won’t be able to accompany you to XYZ because I have previous plans and it wouldn’t be fair if I cancel. No, I won’t decide to go to any random hairdresser simply because I’m feeling too lazy to search and travel.

Let’s pause at that last one. The hairdresser one. The defiant ‘No’ that never seemed to escape my lips when deciding where and when to do my hair. Instead, I went against what I knew would be best for me and decided to YOLO that day. I’m here to tell you all as I write this post with a bunch of ripped out hair keeping me company, that YOLOing when picking a hairdresser is most certainly NOT the answer.

So, what is the answer?? And when sampling permanent hairdressers, what two main points should you be looking out for?

1) Skill and expertise
She might be able to win you over with her words but what does her work say about her? They say seeing is believing so take some time to check out her previous work. If you see someone rocking a style that you like, don’t be afraid to head over to them, compliment them on their hair and ask them where they got it done. If not, maybe there are a few pictures that you could check out either on their website or in the salon itself.

2) Passion
No matter how much skill and expertise her previous work may indicate she has, if she doesn’t have demonstrable passion, chances are that you’ll end up looking like you went for the bedhead look when really the aim was Coco Chanel. It’s the TLC she devotes to your hair that helps your hair remain healthy and beautiful: no unnecessary pulling/tugging, using the right products and not the cheapest and definitely no attempt to do a rushed job by cutting corners. For those that do weave, make sure (I repeat) make sure that your base is done well! Big fat cornrows might stay firm for about a week but if you plan to keep your hair in for longer than that then you’ll only end up with matted hair that starts to break at the sides! Make sure your hairdresser takes her time when doing your base and uses a braid pattern that protects the sides of your head which are prone to get messy first. Make sure the weave isn’t too tight: it should be firm but never uncomfortable. Last but not least, make sure that she uses a sewing technique that you are familiar with so that whenever you take your hair out, you don’t end up cutting off your hair giving way to an involuntary haircut.

I think it’s safe to say that out of my horrible mistake, a silver lining has appeared in the form of a lesson learnt on my part and a lesson you guys won’t have to learn (hopefully!). I think it’s also safe to say that having skill and expertise without passion is nowhere near enough and vice versa. So, make sure that before she becomes your ‘go-to’ hairdresser she has what it takes and actually deserves your money.

Good luck guys and stay beautiful!

P.S. For speeds sake I decided to not keep writing he/she but I am fully aware that there are talented male hairdressers out there as well so wherever I’ve made reference to a hairdresser, please help me add a ‘he/she’ 🙂

Revamp time: Who’s ready for change??

Hey guuys! This is just a little update to let y’all know that as from now, I’ll be branching out into a much wider range of topics and the main focus of my blog will no longer be on Lyon, simply because there’s only so much one can write about this beautiful, kinda-chilled-but-kinda-funky french town! Soo.. I’m thinking about revamping my blog a little and putting in several other headings such as:

– Motivation
– Beauty and Lifestyle (including exercise)
– Cooking tips/recipes
– Hair/ Hair Tips

And of course a random section called ‘Other’ for those days when I have to unload and transform these random thoughts of mine into something tangible that actually makes sense.

This is it.

This is the point in time when my blog really becomes my blog and my thoughts and opinions are put out for the world (and you!) to see. I’m excited. It’s rather difficult showing excitement through a computer screen without the use of a million exclamation marks but trust me guys, I can’t wait for what’s about to come. A front row seat to the “What’s on your mind?” show. Only this time, Facebook doesn’t have to ask me that question… I’m about to say it anyway 😉

If there are any other topics that y’all would love me to write about, do let me know! Whilst I’m here, just a little thank you to all my dedicated followers.. U guys are the best! It’s been amazing being able to go through all of your blogs too so keep doing your thaang! Yes, that’s right. ‘thaang’ and not ‘thing’ lol. Hope y’all have a fantastic day today and whatever you end up doing, make sure you can look back at the end of the day with satisfaction, pride and a smile 🙂

Bisous xx

Green Tea: leading to healthier, slimmer, more beautiful you. (I should sooo go into advertising!)

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I’m not a beauty guru. Never have been, never claimed to be one. But I do have a particular interest in beauty regimes; particularly those that involve natural products/ingredients. I recently went to a well known pharmacy chain in England called Boots and whilst there with my sister, I noticed that my passion for quality beauty products kicked in. Whilst some may choose a product based on it price, size or packaging, I have adopt a slightly different method. Yes, I am actually one of the geeks that you would see setting up camp in the middle of the shopping aisle and studying the ingredients in the product! Glycerin to help with dry skin, Vitamin E as an antioxidant and a skin protector, mineral oil as a moisturiser that has the ability to penetrate skin without clogging pores… the list goes on and on and on! Unfortunately, I don’t like to try out too many new products and I tend to stick to what I like and know which means I wouldn’t be great at product reviewing but, what I looovee to do is find out natural solutions to everyday beauty problems. And, with that said, I’d like to let y’all in on a secret: Green Tea.

Shhhhhhhhhhh!

Honestly, if green tea were a guy… I’d call him The One. Rich and tasty, strong and healthy and oh so supportive to my body and skin. So versatile too! Most people know the benefits of drinking green tea already so I’m just going to skim over that. First and foremost for the girls with a ‘must lose weight in 2014’ resolution, you need to head down to your local store and pick yourself up some green tea! Not the crappy, cheap and weak type. No. I’m talking about the authentic leaves where you can pretty much see the sticks inside! That’s the kind that is going to increase your metabolism and aid with your weight loss. Chinese people are known for their love of herbal tea and tell me this… how often do you come across an overweight Chinese person?? Almost never.

There are so many other benefits of drinking green tea including the prevention of cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, tooth decay and so on and so forth. Just ask Google, he’ll tell you. However, for this post, I want to go a little deeper into skin care aspect of things and the different applications of green tea. When taken orally, green tea does an amazing job at reducing wrinkles and fine lines as well as preventing skin cancer. But the story doesn’t stop there. When applied topically to the skin, green tea has also been proven to help reduce sun damage. My favourite of all and a regime that has served me well and is still serving me well is green tea bags applied to your eye bags 😉 When damp green tea bags are put in the fridge for approximately 10-15mins, they possess the cooling and anti-inflammatory properties that are needed to get rid of puffy eyes and set those eye bags at bay. The best way to fit it into an ordinary day is to set aside your tea bags after you’ve had a lovely cuppa and give yourself 15-20mins extra before you go to bed. Use that time to lie down, plop the tea bags on to your eyes and relax. When finished, simply chuck them in the bin and with consistent use, results are sure to come!

So my dear girlies and meterosexual guys… give the green tea regime and shot and let me know what you think.

Till the next post xx 

La basilique de Fourvière- an ancient beauty.

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As many of you may or may not know, I had the privilege of welcoming two of my London friends to France’s second largest city: Lyon. So of course as most organised, welcoming hosts would do (tooting my own horn a little!), I began to research the hot spots of Lyon and the main tourist attractions. How, you may ask, could I have stayed in Lyon for almost 3 months and not know the tourist spots off by heart, inside out?? Especially given the fact that I myself was supposed to be a tourist lol. Well… Ermm.. to be honest, I have no excuse. Unless laziness counts as one but I can already see you shaking your head. But, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining and my silver lining appeared alongside my london girlies. Whilst giving them a tour of Lyon, I could technically give myself a tour at the same time! Talk about killing two birds with one stone.

Tourist spot Number one and first item crossed off my bucket list was a visit to ‘La Basilique de Fourvière’. For those of you that haven’t yet seen my bucket list, I’ll give a brief description: ‘Une Basilique’ is what the Catholic Romans dedicated as a ‘privileged church’ whilst the ‘Fourvière’ is a district of Lyon as well as the name of the hill on which the church is situated, hence the title ‘La Basilique de Fourvière’. Even from ground level the view of the church (which is gorgeously lit up at night) is spectacular, so you can imagine how excited I was to get up there and see the rest! Which then lead to two surprises:

Suprise Number 1: The church isn’t just a beautiful tourist attraction, it is a fully functioning church with services held on Sundays. So, those visiting on a Sunday have the opportunity to head on inside and take part in the service! I speak with utmost honesty and sincerity when I say the inside of the church is BEAUTIFUL. Absolutely stunning and a must see for all those visiting Lyon. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed once inside so it really is a case of seeing and then believing. And then telling me I was right 🙂

Surprise Number 2: This is more common sense than a surprise but hey, I’m gonna chuck it in anyway. Going to ‘La Fourvière’ in the evening and expecting to see a beautiful view wasn’t quite as beautiful as I imagined. It was dark. And cold.
My only defense is that we were too busy doing other stuff to get a move on earlier in the day but, a piece of advice for all those planning a trip up there: Head out at a reasonable time during the morning/afternoon and if you have time beforehand, check out any tours that might be going on. They’re cheap and usually give an in depth explanation about the site. If not, head down to ‘Vieux Lyon’, jump on the Funicular (a type of tram) and that will take you straight there.

In a nutshell, what can I say?
Beautiful trip, beautiful church and hip hip hooray, one item crossed off my bucket list!
A la prochaine mes amies xx

DON’T STAY TOO LONG: An Inspirational Eagle story

First of all I would just like to say that this is in now way shape or form a story written by myself but I found the story rather touching and thought I just had to share. Secondly, I would like to wish you all a very very verryyyy HAPPY NEW YEAR! 😀

My theme for this year is progress; progress on every level, progress in absolutely all dimensions. I feel quite passionate about this subject and passionate about this New Year so I’m looking to do a separate post on that. Soo… back to the story: It’s a little story that relates so much to my life at the moment, especially during my year abroad and recently, I’ve found that the moral of the story has been applied to my life and the results have been fantastic! Yes, a little uncomfortable at first and yes, even a little scary, but by pushing through the fear and getting things done, I’ve seen first-hand growth and the desired results. Right, enough rambling… here goes:

***DISCLAIMER: This is a piece written by Tyler Perry***

Title: DON’T STAY TOO LONG

Author: Tyler Perry

“I haven’t written in a while so this is a little long, but it’s so worth your time to read.

I was in Wyoming recently and I was taking in the beauty of the place. I mean, I love it. As I was looking up at the mountains I saw an eagle flying above me. I had to stop and take in its majestic beauty. I had never seen a real life eagle. All I had heard about an eagle was in church when the pastor said that the eagle pushes its young out of the nest to teach it to fly. It really did move me watching this bird that had no doubt been pushed out of the nest and had learned to do what I was watching it do. 

I got back to the cabin that evening and I started doing some research on eagles. I was so excited to read the story of how it learned to fly. Well, to my surprise, eagles pushing their young out of the nest is a myth. I was shocked. I know that I heard a preacher say that in church… now I ain’t gonna say that that pastor lied but I will say he didn’t do the research… LOL. So I did it on my own. I did find some interesting facts that got me thinking about life… mine and yours. It’s funny how God can speak through everything. Here’s what I found.

Eagles build the biggest nest of all birds. It’s huge, comfortable and deep. One of the most interesting things that I found was the way that the eagle gets its young chicks to fly out of the nest. For many weeks it brings food to the nest. The little eagles have no worries, they have all they need to survive. But when the adult eagle deems that it’s time for the young eagles to fly, things get uncomfortable.

Now the young eagle doesn’t know that it’s time to fly, but the wisdom and the bird’s eye view of the mother knows that it’s time for the chicks to leave the nest. So you know what she does? She doesn’t bring food to the babies anymore, and this is what I found fascinating. Many times she will fly around the nest with the food in her beak so that the young eagles will be tempted or so hungry that they are forced to fly out of the nest and take it out of her beak. Stay with me I’m going somewhere here.

As I thought about this, I thought about my life and how many times I was in a very comfortable space. I had all I needed. There was no need for me to go any further because I was comortable. I wanted to stay there forever. You have to be careful when you get comfortable and stay too long. It’s easy to stop dreaming when your belly is full. You won’t feel the need to fly at all. 

The truth is, as long as I was there in that really comfortable space, I wasn’t fulfilling my own destiny or my purpose. I wasn’t flying, I was content. Remember this, your greatest prayers are not usually answered in comfort. Think about it. I can really get deep into this with stories from my past but you’re probably tired of reading already… LOL… so I’ll try and wrap it up.

It took an uncomfortable situation or being hungry to make me get out and fly. Many times in life things are going well, but then everything that was so great changes and we wonder why. We wonder what happened. We are caught off guard. I am of the opinion that in those times God, who knows when it’s time for us to leave the nest, is allowing it to become uncomfortable so that we can move on to our next mission in life. Our next hope, our next dream, our next level.

After not realizing this for many years and resisting changes and going through hell, I’m glad to say that I have become so sensitive to when it’s time to move that I will move without having to have the turmoil. I’m telling you I was so stubborn that the house had to burn down for me to move. Now I know better. I’m aware of when it starts to happen, like things happen that don’t make any sense. People you have been friends with or in business with or otherwise for years just seem to go crazy and you don’t know why. What I’ve learned in those moments is that it is a time to fly. Business changes, jobs go away, friends break your heart, marriages end, relationships end, and most times all these things are signs that it’s time to take flight to your next level.

Nobody likes change, I get it, but don’t be angry or bitter when things change. Don’t be mad with people, especially when you know you did right by them and you did all you could do for the friendship or relationship. I’m sorry to tell you this my friend, but this moment was not about them it was all about you. I’m telling you if God has allowed you to become so uncomfortable in your situation, whatever it is, then its time for you to move! Don’t be afraid, just fly!

Last thing and then I’m done . there is one part of the eagle story that I haven’t told you yet, and this is my favorite part. If those baby eagles get out of the nest and they are trying to fly and it’s not going well, then that same mother bird that provided for them while they were in the nest, that same eagle will fly under the baby eagle to keep it from falling, to keep it on course, and give it a sense of security. God’s got you, don’t be afraid! He won’t let you fall!

Now here’s the question: what situation in your life has become so uncomfortable that you feel like you’re being starved for what you need? Maybe its God’s way of telling you it’s time to fly! It’s time to fly for your own dreams and your own hopes and goals. Fly for true love and real hope. This is your moment to fly, in 2014. Make this the year that you leave the nest without fear.”

 

And with that my lovelies, I say good night. And whatever you need to do to make sure those wings keep flapping and you keep flying, do it!! The only side effects are progress, a wealth of experience and a chance to discover what even you didn’t know about you 😉 xx

An Unusual French Cinema Experience

12 o’clock.

At night.

In the cinema.

It’s dark and time for most reasonable people to be in the warmth of their homes, yet row after row is filled with human bodies eagerly awaiting the start of the film. Is this what a movie premiere looks like?? I think so. Popcorn containers rattle, coca cola drinks are slurped from all corners of the room and then, out of nowhere a familiar sound is played and numerous 3D glasses go on at once. The film, for which people had apparently been queuing up for since early evening, was about to start. Now I’m sure most people would agree that the main motivation behind going to the cinema at such an awkward time would be passion. Passion because you’ve waited so long and sacrificing a few hours of sleep is nothing in comparison. Passion because you want to be amongst other like minded people whilst you indulge in a hobby that unites the student and the professional, the nerd and the hunk. Passion because… Well, just because!

I, on the other hand was not there because I was passionate about the film I was going to see. Nope, I was there under the name of “being a good friend” and “trying to muster up as many different experiences in France as possible”. So there I was in Lyon’s well known Confluence cinema getting geared up to watch… (drum roll please)… The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Yes, that’s right… The Hobbit! At this point, I would like to point out that I hadn’t (and still haven’t!) watched the first Hobbit, ‘An Unexpected Journey’, and seeing that I am not an avid fan of epic fantasy adventure films, had no intention of doing so. I guess this made my life easier because I went there without much hope and with pretty low expectations. That way, anything interesting would serve as a bonus, right? Right.

As the film commenced and the funny little creatures began popping out I found that something strange began to take place. I actually began to get into it. I’d love to “stand my ground” and pretend it was all down to the 3D glasses my friend had so kindly brought me but let’s call a spade a spade: The film had me engaged. I did however find my attention drifting from time to time and that was partly due to the fact that the action didn’t really commence until the end, and also partly due to the fact that as the night got deeper and deeper, so did my urge to pee. Despite my bladder forcefully opposing this decision, I decided that disturbing the people on my row and all the viewers behind me just so that I could go to the bathroom probably wasn’t the best idea. So you can imagine how uncomfortable that was. Now this may sound strange… real strange, but having spent the past few months in France with minimal English around me, watching The Hobbit and hearing the British accent felt like I was finally getting my fix of “englishcaine” -yes, I did just make up a new drug name lol.

All in all, the film eventually drew to a close and I found myself considering watching the next one which is due to come out next year July I believe. To all my Hobbit lovers out there, I have deliberately tried to avoid adding any spoilers so you can thank me later 🙂

My overall thoughts?

It was nice to experience France at 12o’clock.

At night.

In the cinema.

What Will You Say? || Spoken Word by Clayton Jennings


You know that feeling that you get when you’ve discovered something new in an area that reeeally interests you. That feeling that starts off from your head, shimmies down your body, touches your toes and brings your entire body to attention? It could be the discovery of a new artist from one of your favourite genres or even a discounted clothes boutique that you accidentally stumbled across (I think most of us ladies know that feeling!). Whatever it is, it leaves you with a feeling of excitement knowing that there is something new on the horizon with lots to discover.
One of my soft spots is spoken word… but, not any kind of words bunched up together. The kind that takes words for a spin and plays an intimate, intellectual game with them. The kind that, through the use of similies, metaphors or whichever kind of imagery, brings out a message so clear and profound that the message actually sticks!
Today I discovered Clayton Jennings. Don’t ask me how, don’t ask me what I was doing when I discovered him, just simply thank me. As an actor/author/director, he has “written two novels, produced, directed, funded, and starred in a feature film entitled Strayland, served in numerous volunteer ministries, and produced a number of short videos, all with the goal of pointing people to the all-encompassing love of Jesus Christ”. His words. Oh and just as a side point, this was all whilst still attending college. So no excuses y’all! I haven’t managed to check out all of his work but if you only listen to one thing by this man called Clayton Jennings let it be this: “What Will You Say? || Spoken Word” This goes out to everyone out there because after all, we all need to find our purpose in life and we all need to start making each day count. For those that happen to luuurve this video (and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be pausing, rewinding and indulging in every second of it!), feel free to check out his website: http://www.claytonjennings.com
And on that note, I say au revoir and see y’all on my next post: An Unusual French Cinema Experience 🙂

Witnessing my first french protest…

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What would be your perfect way to wake up and start the day?! The sound of your favourite track gently playing in the background? Maybe a shout from a loved one reminding you that it’s time to wake up? Or maybe just a regular alarm clock like most people do? Welp, try waking up on a lovely Saturday morning to the sound of approximately 50 lorries beeping their horns all at the same time! Round here, that could only mean one thing: a French protest. Although I don’t really fancy being woken up in such manner and quite frankly the shock and fear I experienced for a brief moment that morning is probably enough to last me a lifetime, I must admit that the French do get rather creative when protesting or doing a <<manifastation>>. Apparently, 50 lorries driving past my accommodation with horns blaring was more than enough to get my attention and actually have me research what on earth drove them to do such a thing. I would just like to point out the double entendre I just did incase you didn’t quite follow: yes, drove them as in pushed them and also drove them because they were driving 🙂

Right. Now that my little geeky moment is over, I’m going to fill y’all in… In a nutshell, they were protesting against a law that is to come into manifestion in Jan 2014 which states that <<les poids lourds>> aka vehicules weighing more than 3.5 tonnes will be taxed on certain french routes. As with most situations in life, there and pro’s and con’s and this ecotax certainly has it’s own. For starters, yes having these vehicules taxed on certain routes is a handy way of making them a little more conscious about their contribution to global warming and yes the revenue collected will be used to finance transport infrastructure but isn’t this scheme simply going to push more traffic on to non-taxed routes? And from an economic point of view, isn’t this going to increase the prices of goods transported by larger lorries? …Which I believe is most goods out there.

I’ll leave y’all to formulate your own viewpoint on this (I hope I haven’t been biased!) and to be honest, I’m not 100% sure of where I stand. I believe there are good intentions but with a few tweaks here and there, maybe a few of the con’s can be eliminated.

I am however, sure of this: waking up on a saturday morning to the sound of lorries beeping is most certainly not ideal.

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Let play a game… It’s called ‘Catch Up’ *covers eyes*

I’m sure we all know how important it is to admit when we’ve done something wrong; only from the stage of acknowledgement can one work on their weaknesses and slowly turn them into strengths. And it’s only from the stage of acknowledging that having a million blog ideas but not getting anything down on paper (or on the computer screen since it’s the 21st century) isn’t exactly useful! I have ideas, I have the passion but recently, I’ve lacked the discipline. I mean, I’d love to turn around and blame exams but really, who am I trying to deceive?! Lol.

Yes, my beautiful people, this lack of self discipline has got to change and I assure you that it will change! Better yet, y’all get to see the change; right here, on my blog 🙂 I have soo much to catch y’all up on including my first witness of a French demonstration (ou manifestation en francais), a special visit from England and an update on my French Bucket list, but for now, I must must must begin retiring to bed seeing I had an exam today and another tomorrow. Just thought I’d swing by and put up a post to let y’all know that I’m still around, and there’s plenty more blogs to come 😉

Bonne nuit tout le monde and until the next blog!

xx