A couple of weeks back, Jessie over at Travel and Trouvailles nominated me for a Liebster Award – an award which celebrates new(ish) blogs and encourages a sense of community in the blogosphere. Jessie’s blog is a treasure-trove of travel tales, a mélange of cultural snippets, francophone music recommendations, book reviews and general musings – stay turned for upcoming posts on her year abroad in Barcelona, Spain, and Toulouse, France! Without further ado, a huge merci to Jessie – and to everyone else who, for some reason or another, reads my ramblings – et voilà: the rules of the award; my responses to Jessie’s questions; 10 random facts about me; my nominees; and my questions for them. On y va!
If you love reading rules and all that jazz, head over here. If not, the following bullet points will suffice:
- Thank the person who nominated you, and link back to their blog
- Detail the rules of the award (for more information, click the link above)
- Answer your nominator’s 11 questions
- Give 10 random facts about yourself
- Nominate 5-11 blogs which you feel deserve to be recognised
- List 11 questions for your nominees to answer (and remember to let them know you’ve nominated them!)
My answers to Jessie’s questions:
- Why did you start writing your blog?
I wrote a blog entirely in Franglais during my year abroad and loved it – it was both a way of keeping in touch with family and friends back home, and a challenge and form of amusement for myself. Back in the UK, I realised I missed it – so I created La Grenouille Anglaise as a place to share my travel memories, recipes and ponderings, and here we are today.
- What is the best food item / dish you have tried abroad, and where was it?
I’m actually a very picky eater – but things are improving! Although I love a good crêpe (preferably with a load of fruit on it and a dollop of chantilly), or better, a Breton galette, my schnitzel experience in Vienna was pretty darn great: heading out of the city centre to Schnitzelwirt (Neubaugasse 52, Vienna) was well worth the effort.
- If you had to choose one country (aside from your own) to move to permanently, which would you choose?
Without a shadow of a doubt, it would have to be la belle France. What’s not to love about a country where baguettes are a necessity, a minute’s silence is substituted for an entire day off, and striking is the national pastime? I wouldn’t hesitate to return to Colmar, the stunning Vosges mountains and la vie alsacienne – with a supply of chocolate-banana croissants to hand, bien sûr.
- What has been your favourite travel experience so far?
In all honesty, I can’t quite make up my mind between snowshoeing in the Vosges and my recent trip to the Lake District, which involved scrambling round Wast Water, getting lost in the fog up Scafell Pike and freestyle climbing up Yewbarrow.
- Can you speak any foreign languages?
I’ve just finished my degree in French (four years well spent!) and I’m attempting to learn Cantonese, but progress is slow.
- What is your preferred way to travel? (Bike / train / plane / walking, etc)
Shanks’ pony – my own legs are pretty reliable, having carried me (and my enormous rucksack) across moors and mountains, all in the quest to obtain the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. Plus, when you walk you can stop off anywhere and everywhere that takes your fancy – none of this nonsense about fitting around limited bus times!
- What job do you do now / what do you want to do in the future?
Ultimately, I’d love to go into publishing – getting paid to read books is right up my street. I spent a month interning at Allison and Busby last summer and loved every moment, especially the time spent reading The No2 Feline Detective Agency by Mandy Morton, a hilarious crime thriller narrated by a pair of cats!
- Where is your favourite place to be?
Either out in the countryside on a nice walk, or wandering round Chester Zoo. But at the end of the day, there’s no place like home.
- Do you like reading? If so, talk a bit about a book you’ve enjoyed.
As a child, I used to motor through books (with Roald Dahl being a firm favourite) – I could finish the local library’s six-week ‘Summer Reading Challenge’ in a week. It’s been a while since I’ve read something for pleasure though, since my degree entailed analysing a fair few books in minute detail – from medieval French literature, such as the legendary Tristan et Iseut, to crime thrillers such as Jean-Patrick Manchette’s Fatale and Charlotte Delbo’s incredibly moving account of her experience of Auschwitz, Aucun de nous ne reviendra (None of us will return). Ian McEwan’s Atonement is one of my all-time favourites though, as it encapsulates how the social divide at the time (1930s/40s Britain) impacted on who was deemed to be right, and the consequences are heart-wrenching.
- What’s your favourite animal?
Without a doubt, giant pandas – how could anyone not find them adorable? I’ll never forget the first time I saw them at the Zoo Aquarium de Madrid, a few years back now, as we had such a clear view of them all lazing about in the sunshine.
- List three things on your bucket list:
- Climb Ben Nevis – I’ve climbed Snowdon three times and recently summited Scafell Pike (more on that in due course) so I’d love to complete the trio!
- Visit Yellowstone National Park (one for the long-term bucket list!)
- See Les Misérables in the West End. I’ll have to find someone who can put up with sitting still for that long first though . . .
10 random facts about me:
- I’ve volunteered for Oxfam at Car Fest North, Trailtrekker, Leeds and Glastonbury.
- I would love to own a micro pig – or, let’s face it, an entire menagerie of cute animals.
- Serge Gainsbourg is my French musical idol. He may have been France’s most scandalous cult celebrity in his lifetime, but his songs have a linguistic richness and depth that modern songs lack.
- I once watched all eight Harry Potter films back-to-back. 18 hours well spent, à mon avis.
- Two years ago, I got a return ticket from London to Brussels on the Megabus for £2. Even Ryanair can’t beat that.
- I love knitting, but I’m hopeless at following patterns. I’ve successfully made a jumper, several hats and scarves and a whole host of Christmas-related figures though!
- My favourite tennis player is Rafael Nadal. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga would be a close second.
- I’m fluent in Franglais (see Exhibit A, my year abroad blog, for further reference). Jokes aside, I’m about to graduate with a degree in French from the University of Leeds.
- I detest spiders, of all shapes and sizes.
- I’ve visited 17 countries, but by no means consider to have “done” them: Austria, Belgium, Canada (Québec and Ontario), Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the UK (but not Northern Ireland), and the USA (Illinois, California, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York).
It turned out to be rather difficult to narrow down my choices, as there are just so many wonderful blogs out there, but after much thought and consideration, here are my nominees:
- Pocket Planet: Lizzie’s blog covers all sorts of far-flung destinations to satisfy those with an incurable case of wanderlust. Her in-depth insider guides are filled with tips and tricks to make the most of a particular destination, avoid the tourist traps and get off the beaten track.
- Exploring Yorkshire: For all things Yorkshire, Jenny’s blog has you covered: from walks in the Nidderdale AONB to activities in Harrogate, York and beyond this is where to go for a taste of God’s Own County.
- Finding NYC: Susan’s blog is an impressively comprehensive guide to the Big Apple. Whether you’re planning a visit to The City That Never Sleeps or simply fancy marvelling at all the hidden gems the city has to offer, Finding NYC is the place to go.
- Aspire to Amble: A fellow linguist and languages student, over the course of the past year Kia’s blog has featured fascinating insights into life in Uruguay and Brazil as she navigates the legendary Third Year Abroad.
- Yummy with no Money: For tasty treats on a student-sized budget, head over to Emily’s blog, which features student staples, homemade Nandos and much-needed sugary treats with a twist.
Questions for my nominees:
- Camping or glamping?
- If you were invisible for the day what would you do?
- What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
- Would you travel into space?
- Which person from history would you most like to meet, and why?
- What’s your life motto?
- How did you get into blogging?
- Fancy being a centenarian?
- Which country would you most like to visit?
- If a biopic was made of your life, which actor/ actress would you want to play the starring role?
- What’s your favourite season?
Thanks again to Jessie for the nomination, and should my nominees choose to accept, I look forward to reading your posts!