Sing a Song #1

Posted by Carole

Maybe I shouldn’t admit it but for many years I very rarely listened to any French music as I much preferred artists from the Anglo-Saxon world and especially from the rocking nation that is the UK!

Of course there were a few French artists that I liked and respected but still, the French music section of my IPod remained pretty much empty for a long time… until I met my boyfriend.

When he realized that I wasn’t listening to any music from our common home-country, it was a total shock for him as he is very attached to his French heritage and therefore French music.

So he made me listen to it, no choice here, and truth be told I enjoyed it a lot and was surprisingly delighted to fall back in love with some of the classics as well as more recent tracks.

Most people know French icons like Edith Piaf and Serge Gainsbourg or contemporary hit-makers like the Daft Punk or M83 but some beautiful songs have not travelled past the English Channel and I thought Whatever Friday was the perfect opportunity to share some tracks that, I hope, will touch your soul and make you sing along. Plus, some say that playing French music at a dinner party is utterly chic, so maybe try it next time you host at your place… and add some candles and wine for a full “Oh la la” effect.

Lyrics are particularly important for French artists, who are known for their very engaged and sometimes very political lyrics (you either like it or not!) and the song I will present to you today is no exception to that. The reason I choose it is because the lyrics resonates deep with my convictions and I cannot help but have tears in my eyes every time I listen to them.

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This song is “LA CORRIDA” by FRANCIS CABREL and it is about bullfighting but from the perspective of the bull… and of course it denounces the sheer non-sense and cruelty of this practice that involves in most cases the slow and painful killing of the animal.

In each verse, Francis Cabrel describes in a very poetic and metaphoric way what the bull thinks and feels as he goes through his ordeal.

In the first verse, we find the bull waiting in a dark room, wondering why he is here and why he can hear people singing and cheering outside.

I’ve been waiting in this dark room for such a long time

I hear laughs and singing

At the end of the corridor.

Somebody touched the lock

And I dived towards the bright light…

I saw brass bands, barriers

And people around.

In the second verse, the bull finds himself under the attack of the matador and quickly understands that one of them will have to die.

In the first moments, I believed

You only had to defend yourself.

But this place is a dead end,

I begin to understand.

They closed the door behind me,

They were afraid I retreat.

I certainly end up catching

This ridiculous dancer…

In the third verse, the bull remembers the beauty of his native land, Andalusia, and is still confident he can win this fight.

Andalusia, I remember:

Meadows lined with cactus…

I am not going to shiver in front of

This puppet, this loser!

I am going to catch him, him and his hat,

Make them twirl as a sun!

This evening, the wife of the torero

Will sleep on both ears.

In the fourth verse, the bull gets increasingly distressed and distraught and starts losing hope.

I have chased many ghosts,

Almost touched their ballet shoes.

They hit hard in my neck.

For me to bow.

Where do these acrobats come from

With their costumes made of paper ?

I’ve never learnt to fight

Against dolls.

In the fifth and final verse, the bull succumbs and because there are no words stronger than Cabrel’s to describe this terrible scene, I’ll let you appreciate his lyrics without further comment.

Feeling the sand under my head,

It’s crazy how it can feel good.

I prayed for it all to stop.

Andalusia, I remember…

I hear them laugh as I moan,

I see them dance as I succumb,

I didn’t think that one could have

So much fun around a grave.

The chorus is one simple and efficient question the bulls asks himself:

Is this world serious?

Finally, the song ends with a striking contrast sung in Spanish by Cabrel and Nicolas Reyes from the Gipsy Kings (famous flamenco band from France) giving a voice to the men taking part in bullfighting, who are cheering and encouraging more killings.

Yes, yes, man, man,

Dance, dance…

We have to dance again

And we will kill others

Other lives, other bulls

And we will kill others

Come, come…

Come, come dancing

Deep, isn’t it?

Some say bullfighting is cultural heritage, folklore or just a good spectacle but so were many practices like gladiator games, dog fighting, fox hunting or freak shows and still, we’ve condemned them because we realized how cruel and immoral these were so why not applying the same thinking to bullfighting? I truly don’t understand as I strongly believe that no cultural heritage can justify putting to death humans or animals for entertainment purposes.

Besides these very profound and serious lyrics that, I think, can be applied to many other situations where some people feel rightly about hurting other living beings, I hope that you will enjoy the melody and talent of Monsieur Cabrel, who is a true poet!

Here are YouTube links of the song with the lyrics in French so you can sing along as well as the song performed live.

Song with lyrics in French

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Xcv8T4bsKc

Live performance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nnTXzk_aKQ

La Corrida from Francis Cabrel was released in 1994 on the album Samedi Soir sur la Terre.

 * Translated lyrics taken from Francis Cabrel’s official website however I’ve changed a few words so you could understand the meaning better.

Thanks for reading! Like and leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and want to share your thoughts with us!

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Wedding Planning Tips!

Posted by Corine

Having recently celebrated my second wedding anniversary, I thought I would share with you some tips and things I wished I had known at the time! Of course everyone is different and my experience may not ring true to others but if you are planning your big day or just like to fantasize about it, there are definitely a few tricks that can help you keep your sanity and tackle the stress levels!
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Leave plenty of time between your engagement and your wedding! When he/she pops the question it will be one of the best day of your life and also the most choking one if you did not expect it! It can actually take you a few weeks (or even months) to adjust to the idea that you are about to enter into a deep and very serious commitment that will shape your future… and that my friends, it is a little scary if you are still very young at heart and do not feel like you belong to the adult’s world yet! That is why having time to digest the idea can only do you good, plus you do not want to jump in to the vast and stressful world of wedding planning too fast… trust me, you want to keep a cool head for that! Once you feel ready to start all the jazz you will soon realise that there are so many options out there and a myriad of things to plan, pick, order, etc. The list is BIG so make sure to give yourself plenty of time. Everyone is different but I was personally really happy to have over a year between my engagement and my big day!

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Be flexible with your budget as you will go overboard in any case! Yep, getting married is expensive if you want to throw a party and have many guests around you. Of course you can choose to do something quite low key but I guarantee you that whatever budget you have in mind will eventually go out of the window! Also do not get too scared or upset if you spend more than you first expected as, in the end of the day, you only get married once (well, in theory!) and you may regret not paying a bit more for the wedding dress of your dreams!
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There is no such thing as a perfect wedding… nope, it just doesn’t exist! You will be surprised at how things you carefully planned for months just go wrong or totally differently on the day so do not get too obsessed with the small details! Just focus on the essentials: you and your other half looking the part, plenty of food and booze for your guests and good music… that’s pretty much it!

Make memories, plenty of memories! Many people told me that the day would fly by and that I would not remember all of it afterwards… I did not believe a word but it turned out to be true! Your wedding takes months of planning but goes way too fast so make sure to take some time during the day and night to stop worrying about the food, your guests and everything that’s going wrong, and look around you and simply enjoy the moment. It may sound ridiculous to you now but trust me on this one… just pause, relax, enjoy and party hard! Also I would recommend you to have a photographer or a friend take plenty of pictures and videos as looking back on your big day is always such a sweet and fun thing to do. Also hire a photo booth… they are so much fun and will keep your guests entertained all night long!

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Last but not least… keep in mind all the way through this big mad process that your wedding is YOUR DAY so do whatever makes you happy! If fancy champagne, fine amuse-bouches and a fairy tale castle are not your things… well, go spend your money on something you really like! Your wedding should reflect your and your partner’s personalities and should come with no rules. Plus enjoy surprising your family and guests with a fun and different wedding day that they will remember for many years to come!

I can honestly think of many other do’s and don’ts but I do not want to go on forever! Please leave a comment if you would like a more detailed post about my wedding theme, the venue we picked in London, the dress, the photo booth and so on…
Thank you for reading!

Funky & Affordable Art… Everywhere!

Posted by Carole

Ha London! I’ve lived in London for eight years and I loved it so much but I have to admit there is one thing I hated about London and it was renting. Like most young and single professionals, I had my fair share of crappy accommodations from disastrous flatshare to living in a shoebox with a drunk neighbour having the annoying habit of yelling and banging against the wall at 3am.

This meant I had to move again and again in my pursuit of a more suitable place to live but because each flat was, in a way or another, a disappointment I always considered theses houses temporary solution and never invested too much time nor money into decoration.

But things have changed now that my boyfriend and I have moved in our new apartment in Bern in Switzerland and I can proudly say that I am in love with my flat! Yes, proud and in love – never imagine I could say that!

This, of course, means that I’m much more into decoration that I used to be (maybe because I’m growing older too but shhh!) and I now love scrolling through pages and pages of wall art, armchairs, fancy cushions and pop to the garden aisle of the supermarket to find that cute little plant that will fit in so well in our kitchen.

Juniqe

This is how I came across JUNIQE, an online wall art, home accessories & fashion brand that have one very specific vision “Make exciting and affordable art a part of people’s everyday lives: Art. Everywhere.” and indeed JUNIQE aim to inject creativity into every household across Europe by bringing to life the designs of international artists on prints, fashion, home textiles and many other products.

Click here if you want to know more about JUNIQE’s mantra as they explain it all on their website. 

I loved the concept so much I had to share my discovery with you (please don’t judge me if you already know about JUNIQE, I’m truly enthusiast about it!)

I don’t know where to start because JUNIQE sell so many cool things including wall art, T-shirt, onesies, cushions, bed linen, shower curtains, stationary, smart phone cases and so on… The list is long and their selection is huge, too huge maybe! Each item is cooler than the other and it actually makes it nearly impossible to pick one product so prepare to spend some time scrolling through their Oh-so-arty products!

Another reason to visit JUNIQE is their prices, as promised by the brand they are very reasonable especially if you are looking for cool & funky wall art pieces to embellish your home. Items like shower curtains may seem a bit more pricey but I guarantee that you won’t find shower curtains this cool in Ikea!

If you’re not convinced yet, here’s a little selection of the articles that made it to my wish list… I still can’t make up my mind!

BED LINEN

Juniqe bed linen

SHOWER CURTAINS

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SMART PHONE CASES

Junique Iphone cases.PNG

Please like or leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your top shopping addresses with the Frinnies community!

Find Your Yoga

Posted by Carole

As some of you may know, I’ve recently moved to Bern in Switzerland to follow my partner who has been offered a job there. This means that I had to quit my job in advertising and while I await a work visa, I have some time on my hands. First I was worried it would get a bit boring and lonely not having a day job but I manage to fill my days with lots of activities and actually feel like the day is going way too fast and that I could do with a few more hours to go through my to do list.

I won’t bore you with the flat moving, visa and admin details here, which take a lot of time but are not that much fun. Nope, today I want to tell you about the good stuff and being off work means I finally have the opportunity to try out new activities I’ve been contemplating for a long time.

However, by moving to Bern, I faced a few obstacles:

  1. In Bern, people speak Swiss German and I don’t. I actually don’t even speak German and only know a few words like Kartofeln (potatoes) or schümtzig (dirty), which are not very useful on a day to day basis as you can imagine.
  2. Life in Switzerland is super expensive but like very very very expensive. I’ve lived in London for eight years and thought it was very pricey but Hey! come and visit Switzerland and you’ll cry each time you have to buy the simplest item from coffee to olive oil, meat and toilet paper too! Even McDonald’s is scaring off tourists with a basic Big Mac menu at about £10… Yeah! Do you feel my pain now?
  3. I’ve just arrived in Bern and don’t know anyone here so I wasn’t sure were to go to get recommendations on activities or else.

This is why I decided to investigate the wonderful world of mobile apps to find activities I could do on a daily basis from the safe haven of my flat – no Swiss German or cash splashing involved!

And such a great idea it was! I’ve started many new activities since roaming my Apple Store and one of them is… Yoga inspired Fitness.

Nothing extraordinary I know but for me it was a big deal. You see, I’ve never been a yoga person (well at least I thought I wasn’t until recently) and the first yoga class I attended put me off completely. I remember so vividly how I found it impossible to bend and roll and put my feet over my head the way the teacher instructed me to and how I felt totally left out and discouraged for the entire session as I could see my classmates yoga-ing like pros and giving me judgmental looks since I was just lying flat on my mat, incapable of doing most of the poses.

Another thing that put me off was the sight of all these bottoms up in the air pointing dangerously towards me and especially this guy’s, who was wearing a legging way too tight… but that’s another story and one I probably shouldn’t mention.

So after doing some researches, I came across an app called Asana Rebel claiming to be the “only Yoga Inspired Fitness app in the world” and thought that might do the trick for me as I was looking to gain in flexibility, strength and serenity but alsolarge_asana_rebel_logo for a good cardio workout.

I downloaded the app and was invited to take part in a beginner session entitled “Your first yoga workout” that lasted only 6 minutes but got me hooked straight away. Without hesitation I subscribed to a one-year plan at about £38 and have been using the app daily since (well almost daily…) with great results both physically and mentally!

But before I tell you more about the changes I’ve noticed, here’s what I like most about the app:

  • It is beautifully crafted and the user experience is very good
  • I love the look & feel, which is smart and sexy but also the soothing voice of the English speaking instructor (you can choose from different languages) and the music too (again you can choose from a list of six tracks to accompany your workout)
  • The teacher’s instructions are clear and the exercises suggested are a blend of fitness moves and yoga poses that are actually do-able even if you’re lousy at yoga like I was (!), which allows you to slowly get into it, giving you a chance to progress rather than abandon altogether.
  • Combining fitness moves to a yoga routine makes it an efficient way to burn fat at a fast rate and having tested it myself, I can guarantee that you’ll be in a sweat and your heart will be pumping fast by the end of a session.
  • The app features single workout sessions of 10 to 30 minutes all having their own purpose from fat burn, detox, relaxation to flexibility and even exercises for better sex (yeah!) but also full coaching programs lasting from 4 to 8 weeks and again they are all targeting a specific goal you might have like body toning, weight loss, strong back, bikini body, busy mum time and lots more.

asana mobile

Now here are the very positive changes I’ve noticed since I started using the app:

  • I can feel my body stronger and a lot more flexible than before, which is something I notice on a daily basis as I do gain more flexibility with each session.
  • I could see results after a couple of weeks only, especially my shoulders and back that are stronger and look more toned as well as my abs that are getting more apparent with each workout.
  • I feel a lot better in my body and a lot more mindful of it too. I now enjoy being conscious of my entire body, which is something that didn’t happen to me before (yes, I know it sounds weird but that is what yoga does to you!)
  • After each workout, I feel good and relaxed but also sexier and more beautiful and this makes me happy with my body. Even though there are still things that I want to improve, I just feel that I love my body more after a session with Asana Rebel.

Of course, there are a myriad of Yoga and Fitness apps out there which are great but Asana Rebel did make a difference for me as it’s the first time I actually stick to an app coaching program and I now enjoy yoga-ing. And that, my Frinnies, is a biggie!

Convinced? Give it a try and tell me about it!

As for me, I’ll make sure to keep you updated of my progress with before & after blogs coming soon so keep reading!

Visit asanarebel.com for more information or your Apple store or Google Play to download the app.

Note that if you’re not fully convinced the app gives you the possibility to subscribe to a one-month plan at about £23 so you can test and enjoy all the app has to offer before committing to a one-year plan.

Make sure to like and leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your own fitness & yoga tips!

My Moroccan Experience

Posted by Corine

As some of you may have already gathered from some of my Instagram posts, I recently spent a few days in Marrakesh. Visiting Morocco has always been on my bucket list so what a better way to start but to visit the former Berber imperial city of Marrakesh which mixes traditional and modern living in such a majestic way. The constant buzz and animation of the city leave you no choice but to be alert of what is around you at all times and I must say it was wonderful and refreshing to swith-off from that London autopilot mode and get out of my comfort zone. I also wish I could have stayed longer to explore the Red City even further, spend more time in the paradisiac Majorelle Garden, hike the Atlas Mountains, spend a day by the sea or sleep under the stars in the desert … there is so much to do in and around Marrakesh that I am already thinking about my next visit! And to tell you the truth I am also missing its sweet sunshine and way of life! If you are tempted to visit this beautiful and fascinating part of the world, please read on as I share with you some essential tips to make the most of your first time in Marrakesh.

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If you want to enjoy your stay come with the right frame of mind! Indeed unless you want to spend your entire stay in your Westernised hotel or resort (and that would be a great shame) do not get frustrated with the hassle you receive when walking through the souks from vendors, story tellers, snake charmers, food stalls owners, unwanted guides, etc. as it is part of the culture and just how business is done with tourists. It can of course get annoying and spoil the fun and enjoyment of strolling through the Medina but just remember that it is OK to say no and walk away. Having said that some vendors are more insistent than others so do not be afraid to be firm! As far as I am concerned the jewellery and henna ladies would not let go of me and would start tattooing my hand without consent and touch my stomach so me and my husband would be blessed with a healthy boy and girl in the future which was a bit annoying but also quite amusing! I must say that I am quite fond of these women as I have a lot of respect for them seeing how hard they work to provide for their families so I did end up buying some jewellery from some of them… knowing that I was getting ripped-off! Indeed do not forget that the standard of life is not as high as ours and most vendors earn very small wages so be happy to pay them a fair price as in the end of the day it will not make a dent in your pocket… but you will definitely help them! Maybe try not to visit the souks on your first day in Marrakesh so you have time to get the hang of things and get a feel for the culture before you head to the Medina.

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My second tip is to make sure that you carry some change with you from the moment you step foot in the country otherwise do not be surprised if your cab driver do not have change himself and you will be left with no other option but to hand him with a massive tip! Same goes for your visit to the souks, make sure you have plenty of change in your pocket (ideally coins) and do not let the vendors see that wad of notes you have in your wallet as the price of those pretty babush you had your eyes on will suddenly triple!

IMG-20170404-WA048Pick the products you buy carefully! Sadly most of the spices, teas and beauty products (such as the famous argan oil) you will find in the souks near Jemaa el-Fnaa are poor quality or even fake products which is a real shame considering the amazing craftsmanship Moroccans artisans possess. After paying way too much money for fake argan oil and mint tea in the Medina, we ended up buying quality and very reasonably priced products in our local supermarket in the Hivernage area and I highly recommend you to do the same as a little money goes a long way there, the prices are fixed and the items you buy will be produced in Morocco (and not imported from China!). If you wish to witness the true Moroccan’s craftsmanship and buy some hand made products at a fair and fixed price, head to the ‘Ensemble Artisanal’ in the Mohammed V avenue, just down the road from the Jemaa el-Fnaa square.

Last but not least, soak up in the atmosphere and the lifestyle of the city! In today’s context North African countries such as Morocco may seem unsafe and intimidating to some but it is pure nonsense as we know all too well terrorism can hit any one of us anywhere and the risk remains overall quite low. So make sure to get out and mingle with the locals who form a friendly, helpful, happy and welcoming community. My husband and I only took taxis to and from the airport as walking the streets of Marrakesh was a new experience for us in itself! We truly enjoyed the beautiful weather and interacting with the friendly and very respectful Marrakshis. You also do not want to miss out on the buzz that comes to life at night when everyone – and I mean everyone – is out on the streets with friends and family. It is so enjoyable and the best way to get a feel for that heart warming southern vibe! Of course make sure to eat the local food as there is no better way to discover a country and its traditions… plus the food is to die for! The highlight for me was our dinner at The Red House, from the decor to the food, the traditional lute player and the kindness of our waiters, I felt like a Berber queen for a night! Do not forget to grab a bite and a fresh orange juice from one of the food stalls in Jemaa el-Fnaa for dinner – enjoying a tasty kebab surrounded by the fascinating buzz of the square at night makes for a truly exotic and unforgettable holiday!

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Please leave a comment if you enjoyed reading this article and do not hesitate to share your own travelling tips and experiences with us!