Sunday, 27 November 2011

I'll Take Care of You


Had a fantastic little weekend this time around.  There was another wine festival in town so on Saturday me and my friend took full advantage of that.  For €2 you were given a wineglass and 3 tokens that you swapped for a taster of wine.  A lot of the time though the people in the little wooden huts giving out the wine didn't ask for our tokens so we definitely had more than 3 tasters each.  It was a really nice little event to go to, it felt very christmasy with all the little huts being open, smelling the wine and all the great food that was there.  There was also a great live band that walked around playing music so it all felt like one big party.  Compared to the last wine festival I went to, the food was a lot cheaper so we got a little carried away but it was all so delicious.  The best thing about that day was that the weather was glorious and it wasn't cold at all.  Let's hope it stays like that.  I'm not prepared for snow.

I have exams looming, I just have to laugh at the sheer idea of them.  I couldn't tell you what I've been learning in lectures here.  It's a little bit of a joke really.  I need to try and do some form of revision but sadly my lecture notes don't really make much sense.  I spent the first month of university here not understanding the French, and since then I've been spending my next two months understanding the French but not finding the relevance in the lectures or finding them very constructive.  We shall see how it goes, if I fail these exams I retake them in February and if I fail everything I just have to write an essay for Cardiff.  This whole year only counts for 5% anyway so I'm pretty relaxed about it all.

I hope you all had a good weekend and that you have a smooth start into the new week.
Much love

x
Nina

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Ivy & Gold


Faux fur stole: H&M

Shirt: Zara

Can't believe how quickly time is just flying by, it's been 2 weeks since the other half left and it's less than a month until I go home.  

I may be heading home a few days earlier than originally planned as well because my exams all seem to be taking place before exam week for some strange reason.  I will never be able to understand the French university system.  On top of this the other reason for my potential earlier departure is that the train schedule has made it awkward for me to get to Nice the day my flight leaves.  I dislike weekend train schedules, it makes everything that bit more complicated.  The way it's looking at the moment means it'll take me longer to get to Nice Airport than it will to fly to Dubai.  Story of my life.

Montpellier has finally started to feel Christmasy.  I think it's because I'm so used to everything in the UK being about Christmas the minute Halloween is over and the calendar shows November 1st.  France seems a little more conservative, but it's almost nice not having the commercial side of Christmas rammed down your throat.  Here we've had Christmas lights put up but they've not been switched on.  I assume they're being turned on this weekend seeing as it'll be the first advent.  I was in town this afternoon and saw the beginnings of what looks like a German market and they've put up a HUGE christmas tree as well.  Let the festive season begin!  I'm a big fan of the festive spirit.  Growing up in the Middle East where we have a 'hot season' and a 'less hot season' means that I've always had an unusual Christmas.  I've only ever experienced 3 European Christmases (that I can recall) where I was cold.  Most years me and my family go to the beach on Christmas Day and eat dinner outside on the patio.  With Christmas not being such a big deal out there it's always been pretty relaxed and low key, but one of my fondest memories as a little girl was seeing Santa come to the Christmas Fair on a camel.  But when I came to the UK when I was 14 and really saw the 'European' side of Christmas I fell in love with Christmas lights in town, markets in town squares, gingerbread flavored coffees, the novelty of being cold, layering up and going for long walks to see all the lights.

My amusing Montpellier story of today has had me giggling to myself for the larger part of this afternoon.  I went to a cafe in town to use their wifi so I could update my mac. The internet in halls is beyond disastrous. I ordered a coffee and the waiter told me I was ‘très jolie’ (very pretty) and then he said something else which included the verb ‘inviter’ somewhere in there.  So not sure if he was offering to pay for my coffee or if he was trying to solicit me in some way or form.  Didn’t see the guy for over an hour until he took my order for tea and told me it was actually the end of his shift and asked me if he could spend some time with me.   I had to laugh and politely turn him down.  I'm not sure if it was slightly charming or largely creepy.  Either way it was a little boost to my ego, and being called Mademoiselle and being called 'vous' is always pleasant in France.


I've become obsessed with Lana Del Rey, this song has been on repeat for the past 3 days.  If you've not listened to her I strongly recommend it.  Her voice is spectacular.

I hope you're all having a good week so far and that you're feeling festive
x
Nina

Summer - I Heart Sharks


I Heart Sharks are a German-British indie electronic trio hailing from Berlin, Germany with the members originating from London, New York and Bavaria.  Their debut album 'Summer' was released on October 28 2011 following their stints as support acts for bands such as Friendly Fires, Cobra Starship and Does It Offend You, Yeah? and the release of their first single 'Wolves' in 2010.  'Wolves' also received the remix treatment by Ryland Blackinton of Cobra Starship fame.


I Heart Sharks sound like Berlin: electric, upbeat, energetic and a bit grimy.  Despite the record being released outside of summer it gives the perfect soundtrack to old summer memories, highlighted by the lyrics "let's just pretend it's summer" from the title track, and it fights away the autumnal blues.  The album provides a great change for those who want to take a big step back from the tidal wave of dubstep flooding the clubs and turn towards something that definitely sounds 'very European'.  The band insist on playing everything live, allowing the music to be played in free time rather than relying on computers and playback compared to other bands in their genre.  The songs are the perfect mix of synth, drums and guitar and judging by the string of sold out live dates across Germany the formula is working for I Heart Sharks.  

The second single from the album 'Neuzeit', is also their first foray into singing in German, if albeit only in the chorus but remains catchy and exciting even if the lyrics are lacking a little in depth or subtly.  But the up beat tempo of the song has you singing along regardless.  The video for 'Neuzeit' (NSFW) can be found here

The band's youtube channel is also worth checking out as the band frequently post their own remixes of songs they enjoy.  The lead singer Pierre says that remixes are all about 'taking a song that isn't perfect for you and making it perfect for yourself'.  

Music video to their first single Wolves

I Heart Sharks are an exciting new addition to the German music scene, especially as German music is usually associated with Nena, Rammstein or Oktober Fest music.  Their debut album will surely place them firmly in the 'bands to watch' section of music magazines.  

Stand out tracks: Kino, Lies, Neuzeit, Rien Ne Va Plus, The World Is Yours

For fans of: Foals and Friendly Fires

I Heart Sharks are currently on tour, find dates and tickets here.

Find I Heart Sharks on their official website, twitter, Facebook, and last.fm

Monday, 7 November 2011

Late night London nostalgia




Getting a little nostalgic for the UK at the moment, especially London.  I've only ever been 4 times, and three of those were with my other half but I've definitely left my heart in London.  So many happy memories there.  These photos are from when we went for a two day visit in June after my exams were over.  London is so beautiful any time of year regardless of the weather.  We had both extremes when we went, a day of bright sunshine and boiling to death on the tube, and then the next day sitting in Hyde Park in the pouring rain.  Wouldn't have it any other way.

One day I'll live in London and go to the Christmas market in Covent Garden and go shopping on Portobello Road.  Nothing quite like it.

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