Cannes, Coming To A Close
 Happiest in a bikini with a drink in my hand

Happiest in a bikini with a drink in my hand

I arrived in Cannes mid-January, not really sure what to expect. Although I was really excited for the move, I was nevertheless nervous as I had just come from 4 of the best months in Paris, and honestly I didn't think Cannes could match that by any means. Fast forward 7 and a half months, and I'm sat in the airport lounge waiting to catch my flight home. Although I can't wait to be back in the UK - 7 months is a long time even for me, and I'm excited to be back in the English countryside with some cooler weather and good food - I'm already anticipating how much I'll miss this all considering how I feel now.

The reason I moved to Cannes in the first place was because I needed to have a job for part of my year abroad. I had just finished studying in Paris, and I was nervous about moving into an office where I had to work from 9 - 5, at least 5 days a week. Fortunately I settled in pretty quickly, and slowly I was given more responsibility which I've really loved and appreciated. While applying for the job, living in Cannes and working with boats sounded like a fun time, and I thought that if I had to get a job this job could be a good way to go. Truth be told, it's turned out to be 10 times better than I thought possible. I have a great boss and a good team, and every day brings something different. I always knew that the summer period was going to busy and stressful (I didn't realise how much until the Monaco Grand Prix in May) and so I'm super grateful for those first few months in winter where I could learn everything before the panic hit. There have been times when work has certainly been tough and I've just wanted to close down my laptop and switch off my brain, but I've found that these toughest moments are usually when I'm most proud of my work! The weeks have flown by and it will be strange waking up tomorrow back in my own bed with no office to go to or emails to check. Technically I'll still be a part of the 212 team as my boss has asked if I can continue growing the company on social media (follow us at @212yachts) whilst I'm at university, with some more marketing over the winter period. She has also offered me a summer job for 2019, but we'll see where I am in January when I'll need to make a decision. 

 Exploring the coastline

Exploring the coastline

Outside of work, I guess Cannes itself doesn't make time off any harder. The whole area and coastline is stunning, and sometimes I still pinch myself that this place has been my home for 2018. I love love love being by the water, surrounded by the mountains, with the sun on my skin, and it's made me realise that this is all I really want and need in life to be a happy bunny. I've been trying to appreciate all of this in my last few weeks here, consciously knowing that it would soon be time to leave.

I've also met some really wonderful people here, friends from all over the world and from different corners of life. I was very lucky to have Will here, and he introduced me to the crew side of Cannes - Janine, Chante, Caz, Jaak, Dingo, Tristan, Jackie.. and many more! All friends that I'm grateful to have spent the winter with mostly tucked away in a small Irish pub in the centre of town. I was so lucky to have Anna, one of my best friends from university and also on my course in Cannes with me, and we've had some of the best times throughout the past 6 months - skiing, endless beach days, and I don't even want to know how many bottles of wine we've consumed together. Along with Ellie, Ana and Rob also from uni, we had some brilliant nights out together! In the office, one of my friends from Paris Erin joined the team and we have become very close over the past two months, and I'm so grateful to have had her and Hannah in the office!

 Late night boat rides and swims

Late night boat rides and swims

Life in Cannes has been incredible, mad, calming and sometimes overwhelming. What is most peoples' weekend holiday, this was my everyday. Life is but a dream as they say. A few Friday's ago, a group of us drove along the coast from Cannes to Cap Ferrat in an open-topped car, picked up take-away pizza and hopped on to a friend's rib and cruised to Monaco. This kind of thing only happens in movies right? We swam at at midnight and it was one of the best night's I've had, floating in the ocean under moonlight with good company and lots of laughter. 

 Getting ready with the girls for Plages Electro on the beach

Getting ready with the girls for Plages Electro on the beach

There are so many things that I'm going to miss. I'll miss watching fireworks every week from the beach. I'll miss Tuesday yoga in Antibes. It takes place next to the statue of the head and there's always a gentle sea breeze at sunset which keeps you cool. I'll miss having almond croissants for breakfast and ice cream for lunch. I'll miss the islands, and I don't really understand why it took me so long to get out there. I'll miss living 3 minutes away from the beach, and my 9pm sunset swims when there's nobody else out and it feels kind of adventurous. I'll miss all of the great people that I've met out here. I'll miss golden hour, my favourite time of the day, when the sun is close to the horizon and the heat is gone but the whole of the bay and the mountains are lit up. Maybe I'll miss the sunsets the most. I'll miss walking along the croisette and through the rose garden to get to town. I'll miss the way the sun shines through the palm leaves. I'll miss the warmth against my skin and floating on my back in the ocean with my head half under. I'll miss having a 4 euro Provence rose in one hand and a slice of pizza in the other. I'll miss living in a bikini or swimsuit, and I'll have to get back into the habit of being fully clothed when out in public! I'll miss the chou-chou man who looks like Albert Einstein. I'll miss my little space on the rock so the sand doesn't get on my things. The list is endless.

I wonder when I'll next live somewhere like this. Give me the mountains, the ocean, warm weather and I'll be set for life. Oh and maybe through in a sunset every now and then.

France has been my home for the past year, and I am utterly grateful for all of the memories, both good and bad. I didn't realise how quickly 12 months could pass by, and how happy I could be away from what's been home for the past 21 years. I knew I was going to be sad when leaving, but it really hit home whilst I was in my taxi on the way here - this place feels like home and honestly my hurt hearts saying goodbye not knowing when I'll next be back. As the saying goes, how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. The verdict? Very.

Looking Ahead

I'm just less than a week away from reaching my 6 month mark in Cannes, and as someone who looks forward to change, staying in one place for a while has got me thinking about what's coming up next.

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I've recently comes to terms with the fact that as much as I don't want to be, I'm a bit of a planner. I like to have a plan for the day ahead, a plan for the upcoming month, and a plan for the next year. Despite this, I also know that plans can change, opportunities can appear and doors can open which weren't there before, so sometimes it's silly and not the best thing to look too far ahead.

After half a year in the South of France, I can say that I feel well and truly settled here. I probably wouldn't go as far as saying that it feels like home, but I've found a certain level of comfort; I have my favourite bars, restaurants and beaches, I'm on first name terms with my local bartenders and supermarket check-out guy, and I have a good group of friends consisting of my work colleagues, some friends from university, lots of yacht crew and of course my cousin Will. Life in Cannes has been very busy and it's a shame that I haven't really felt like sitting down to write. I've been working through lots of emails, so in the free time that I have I've been beaching, swimming and wining and dining. The past 6 months have gone unbelievably quickly and it's hard to believe that I only have just over a month left - I'm not sure of the exact date that I'm leaving just yet but it's looking like it will be mid to late August. 

I already know that when I'm at Nice airport boarding the plane I'll be sad and wanting to stay, however at the same time I'll be ready for the next thing, and it helps that I have a really exciting September to look forward to. I'm off sailing in Croatia for 5 days, before I fly to The Hague to celebrate a university friend's 21st in Rotterdam. I'll then have a brief 2 days back in the UK when I need to move all my stuff up to my new house in Bath, before I fly across the Atlantic to Vancouver where I'll be based for 2 weeks of exploring BC! It'll be my first time in Canada and on the west coast of North America, and perhaps even my first dip in the Pacific Ocean unless the east coast of New Zealand and Australia counts back in 2014/15. On the 26th of September it will then finally be time to head back to Bath and get ready for my final year of University which is technically only 8 months, and which I'm certain will fly by. Going on how I'm feeling at the moment, I think that I'll be finished with studying for good. For a while I was convinced that I was going to do my law conversion and move to into central London but after being away for a year I'm learning more and more than life is short and while I'm young and have little responsibility that I can start my law career and move to London later on in my twenties if that's still something I want to do. My rough plan for after university is looking something along the lines of 2 or 3 months around Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines, before heading to Sydney where I'd like to based for at least 6 moths over the Australian summer! From there who knows, but until I feel like I really want to settle down, ideally I'd really like to spend the northern hemisphere summer in Europe, and the southern hemisphere summer with the Aussies or the Kiwis. 

It's funny thinking about the next two or three years, and I can't wait to see where I am and what I'm up to as it's the first time that I can really make my own choice. But for now, I haven't got long left of the sun, the sea and the mountains so here's to making the most of my last month or so!

Ellie x

 

Volvo Ocean Race Cardiff Stopover
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Last weekend I flew back home for the first time in 6 months, the longest I had ever gone without stepping foot on British soil. In the short time that I was back in the UK, the Volvo Ocean Race, a round the world sailing race was arriving into Cardiff. This meant that lots of family friends would be there; some arriving in on the boats, some who were on the team management, and some who were there as fans of the sport. 

As a family we all headed up to Cardiff together, excited to catch up with old friends and watch some close racing with split loyalties. We were fortunate enough to be invited up to the hospitality of AkzoNobel (free food) and to the Sailor's deck (free drinks!) during the day, and they proved to both be good spots to watch the racing from and soak in the atmosphere!

 (A much younger) Dad sailing around the world

(A much younger) Dad sailing around the world

Hiking Up To Eze
 The view from the Cactus Garden in Eze

The view from the Cactus Garden in Eze

Although I've been here for 3 weeks, I haven't yet had a free weekend to relax and explore at my own pace. I wanted to spend at least a day in Cannes so I could do some laundry, clean my appartment and do some life admin, but on the other day I really wanted to go out and explore the area. Myself and a group of girls whom I'd met in a local bar decided to do the Nietzsche hike, a steep 1 mile vertical climb up from Eze-Sur-Mer to Eze village. 

We set off from Cannes around lunchtime, catching a train to Eze-Sur-Mer, located on the coastline just between Nice and Monaco. As soon as we stepped off the train we saw the signs pointing us to the beginning of the trail. Maybe I was slightly naïve, but I didn't realise how tough it was going to be from the get go as for the first 10 minutes, it was pretty much a steep hill straight up the mountain side. We had got off the train with another couple of groups who were also attempting the climb but after less than 5 minutes in, a couple of people decided to turn back. After 10 minutes, we saw the first of the steps. They were really wide steps and so with my long legs, I guess I had it slightly easier. The group of girls that I was with were all relatively fit, and we were soon moving ahead of everyone else. The signposts at the start of the track said that it was 90 minutes up, however a couple of reviews online said that they had done it in just over an hour - to give you a perspective of how fast they were going we did it in about 50 minutes! According to my phone's health app, overall we climbed 150 floors. This doesn't sound like too much, but at the time it felt like the stairs were neverending! I was really happy when we made it to the top, but I super glad that I'd worn workout clothes and proper trainers because I was exhausted and very sweaty! I think that if you're relatively fit you could do this, and it is possible to stop whenever you want. However there was very little shade so I definitely wouldn't recommend doing this on a really hot summer's day!

I'd read lots about Eze in the past few months, and I was so pleased to wait to finally go! Although lots of the restaurants and shops weren't open because it's not tourist season, I really wanted to go to the exotic garden! Entrance is 4 euros, 3 for a student, and you get a really good view. While the hike was tough, and even a few days later my muscles still ache, I really want to try and do a hike maybe every other weekend. The next one on my list is La Turbie, which overlooks Monaco.

Twenty Two
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Hello, twenty two year old Ellie speaking! Another lap around the sun completed! After celebrating my birthday on Thursday in Cannes, I wanted to do something special for my birthday weekend. I thought about skiing, but instead decided to head down to my second home, Hyeres, for a long weekend!

A Birthday Weekend In Barcelona
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This past weekend I flew to Barcelona to celebrate my friend's 21st birthday. It felt so good to be back in one of my favourite cities, and although I wasn't there for long, we had such a great weekend!

I was due to land in Barcelona around 10pm, and meet all the other girls who were also flying in from London or Paris around the same time. Unfortuanetly my flight was delayed for about 6 hours and I ended up not arriving until about 5am on Saturday. This is the second time in 6 months that I've flow with Vueling to Barcelona and both times the flight has been either seriously been delayed or cancelled. Anyway luckily my cousin got in touch with me to say that his roommate's girlfriend was also on the same flight so at least I had some company! Upon arrival into Barcelona, we shared a taxi into the city, and I expect to see her in Cannes soon. 

Moving to Cannes
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Currently this is one of only a few photos that I have of myself in Cannes, but that's about to change! On Saturday morning, I'm taking an early flight down to the Cote d'Azur where I'm planning to be based for around 6 - 9 months! Whilst I'm there I'll be working for the yacht charter company 212 Yachts, and it will be my first full time job with hopefully lots of responsibility! 

I've been to Cannes several times before so I know the layout a little and I know what to expect when I arrive! I've rented a one bedroom appartment right in the centre of town and only 5 minutes walk from the main promenade and the beach. I'm really looking forward to living so close to the sea and as the weather is certainly a lot warmer than the UK, I'm hoping I'll be able to spend lots of time outside. Luckily a couple of friends from university will also start arriving in February and my cousin is also based on a boat in the same port where my office is located so I won't be without company! 

Just like I was before Paris, I've got those nervous butterflies in my stomach but I think that's normal before moving somewhere new and I'm definitely more excited than I am nervous. I'm super ready for an incredible 8 months ahead of me where I'll learn and experience a lot, so fingers crossed it all works out well! 

It's Sunday evening and tonight is my second evening in my appartment in Cannes! After Mum left earlier today, I've spent the afternoon unpacking, sorting out the appartment, and buying some food to keep me going for the next couple of days. It's been about 5 months since I've been back in this part of France and I couldn't be more excited to be putting down my roots here for a while.

Home for Winter
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After 4 months in Paris away from the UK and my family, it's been super nice to be able to spend a couple of weeks catching up and spending some quality time with them. I was particularly excited to be in the UK at the same time as Charlie who was over from Singapore, and I finally got to meet little Bea for the first time who was born out there 5 months ago. 

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2017 to 2018

Once again, it's that time of year and I can't quite believe how incredible 2017 has turned out to be! It genuinely seems like only yesterday that I was writing last year's post and crossing my fingers that I would make it through my second year of university, have an exciting summer, and enjoy my time in Paris whether I was studying or working. Well fast forward 12 months and this year has definitely been one to remember! 

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My first 5 months of 2017 were spent in Bath. Although university work was tough, I actually really enjoyed this second semester; a couple of friends were returning from work placements, and I really made an effort to be social and see more of Bath that I hadn't seen before. A couple of days after saying goodbye to Bath for 16 months, I flew to Bermuda to watch the America's Cup. My parents were there hoping to watch the Landrover BAR win, or at least make it to the finals, but sadly it just wasn't to be! Despite the results, we had a wonderful time exploring the island and watching the sailing! It was then time for my favourite place, Hyeres! It's somewhere where I feel totally comfortable and most myself and I think it must be one of the most underrated and beautiful places in the world! 6 weeks later, and it was time to head home in time for Cowes Week; a week of sailing and socials, where all of Mum's side of the familly comes together! It's becoming a bit of an annual tradition now to go to Barcelona, I think this must be the third of fourth year in a row! It's my favourite summer city and I also seem to have an amazing time there. After a week there with some friends, it was then time to come home and prepare to move to Paris. No matter how great the summer had been, these 4 months have to have been the highlight of my year, and my proudest moment. The work was really tough, as I had so many deadlines each week, and learning in my second language just made it twice as hard. However I came out the other end with some really good results, and as a Sciences Po alumini. I also met some wonderful friends and have so many great memories of my experience living there and exploring the city! Paris, I will definitely be back. 

So now to 2018. Time feels like it's going quicker and quicker now that I'm getting older. Although I'm turning 22 later this month, I still feel like I'm 18. This year will another mixture of adventure and studying! In about two week's time, I'll be moving to Cannes in the south of France where I'll be working with boats, and living a couple minutes walk away from the sea which makes me super happy! I'm not completely sure how long Cannes will be my home for but it will be at least until July, and potentially September. After that, it's straight back to university in Bath for my final year of studying. As much as I have enjoyed my time at Bath and I'm glad that I went to university, I'm very ready to finish and have the time and opportunity to go anywhere and do whatever I want to do, I think lots of travelling is on the cards in 2019! This year I've also been thinking more and more about what I want to do for a career and what I want my future to be like. Although it's a question I've struggled with a little bit, I feel like I'm slowly getting there and that I'm moving in the right direction!

I look forward to seeing where I'll be in 12 months time, but until then, 2018, I hope you're ready to bring it!

My Paris Favourites

In the hope that I may find myself back in Paris sometime in the future, I thought I'd make a note of my favourite places to eat and drink in the city of love and lights!

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For Brunch :

  • Hadware Société
  • Season
  • Holybelly 5
  • Zia
  • Breakfast in America
  • Eggs & Co
  • Cafe Oberkampf
  • Love Juice Bar
  • Ob-la-di
  • Le Bistro Mericourt
  • Big Love Cafe
  • Frenchie To Go
  • Wild and the Moon
  • Fragments
  • Republique of Coffee

Cafés :

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  • Café de Flore
  • The Smiths Bakery
  • Malongo
  • Shakespeare & Company
  • Pâtisserie Gérard Mulot
  • Pain Quotidien
  • Cafe Kitsuné
  • La Caféothèque
  • Strada Café

For Dinner : 

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  • Big Mamma Group; in particular Obermama, Pink Mamma and Pizzeria Popolare
  • Daroco
  • Margherita
  • Auteuil Brasserie
  • Chilango
  • Alcazar
  • Bamboo
  • Polpo
  • Marcella
  • 404

Bars :

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  • Rosa Bonheur Sur Seine
  • Flow
  • Lavomatic
  • Faust
  • Buddha Bar
  • Le Hibou
  • Bellevilloise
  • Gentleman 1919
  • Le Comptoir Général
  • Little Red Door
  • Le Perchoir
  • Le Perchoir du Marais
  • Mama Shelter
  • Cube Ice Bar

For Nights Out : 

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  • Wanderlust
  • Nüba
  • Concrete
  • Titty Twister
  • VIP Rooms
  • L'Arc
  • Ras Poutine
  • Queens
  • Vanity