Travels in the Loire: Le Château de Chambord

Travels in the Loire: Le Château de Chambord

Our target for the weekend is Château de Chambord. As the most famous and prominent castle  in the region, can get very busy in the summer months, but after driving through the thickly wooded  domain that surrounds it (and signs alerting us to wild boar and deer that roam about) we find it half-empty in the cold and crisp early December air. 

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Hey You! Yes, You: Meet Sarah, who wants to go into labour onstage

Hey You! Yes, You: Meet Sarah, who wants to go into labour onstage

Sarah is an American stand-up comedian who lives and works in Paris. I met her via my boyfriend, also a stand-up comedian on the scene. I was immediately imprssed by Sarah's energy and professionalism, and eager to talk to her about the comedy scene in Paris and her place in it.

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Hey You! Yes, You: Meet Bianca, a linguistic gymnast

Hey You! Yes, You: Meet Bianca, a linguistic gymnast

I met Bianca in the boxing gym, but in real life she is a translator and interpreter. She has been in France for 10 years now, and has built a strong and successful business. I’m fascinated and impressed by the way she has completely mastered the language, and the mental gymnastics she performs every single working day. 

In exchange for Thai takeaway, Bianca let me grill her on the ins and outs of her fascinating job. 

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Versailles: An Unofficial Guide

Versailles: An Unofficial Guide

The Palace of Versailles, approximately 20km south-west of Paris is one of the most visited sites in Europe, and is on everybody's to-do list while in the City of Lights. It is an absolutely spectacular place, and one of my favourite sites in the Paris region, but it's not the kind of place you should just pitch up to and wing it. 

Due to its size and popularity, a day in Versailles can easily descend into a disaster of long lines, bad timing, long walks in the dust and cancelled trains. 

As a tour guide I've spent thousands of hours in the town and estate, and I firmly believe that preparation is the key. So read on, because I'm about to share as much advice as I can. 

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The Ultimate Paris Marathon Spectator Guide

The Ultimate Paris Marathon Spectator Guide

Watching the Paris Marathon isn't easy, even for a local. I was rushed, unprepared and even had to take a cab at one point. *shame*

Yet loads of people come to Paris from out of town to watch, so with this in mind, I've designed the perfect user-friendly Ultimate Paris Marathon Spectator Route. 

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Chartres: an adventure in the Eure-et-Loire

Chartres: an adventure in the Eure-et-Loire

Chartres is about 80km south-west of Paris, 1h20 by train. Perfect for a day visit, visitors go to see the UNESCO World Heritage listed Notre Dame de Chartres, arguably the most beautiful Gothic cathedral in France.

Back in May 2015, I spent a day in this beautiful little town with my Dad and his wife. Being the deadline-oriented, timely writer I am, I’ve let nothing get between me and this post.

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What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath

There’s a world you don’t see. Under your feet. A dark, wet, scurrying world. A muddy, candle-lit, labyrinthine world. Of immeasurable interconnected tunnels, dislodged boulders, vaulting galleries. Private dens, stone-carved temples and sprayed artworks. A world of pit-pat drips and natural springs, sagging electrical wires and bones.

A burrowing, endless honeycomb of a world under the huge, light, airy city you walk through every day. And one evening, this girl fell down the rabbit hole.

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Echappées Belles: about fear, acceptance, and being on TV.

Echappées Belles: about fear, acceptance, and being on TV.

Speaking French is not a simple matter of flicking a switch and carrying on with life. It is inextricably related to feelings of legitimacy, falsehood, belonging and alienation. It is associated with anger and frustration, inadequacy, stupidity, and triumph. It is related to who and what I am, my place in the world around me and a constant negotiation and re-negotiation of meaning, intention and power. 

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Hey You! Yes You: meet Lynne, who rode a motorbike 7,500km through the Australian outback

Hey You! Yes You: meet Lynne, who rode a motorbike 7,500km through the Australian outback

Meet Lynne Oakes, aka my mother.

Although she might not describe herself as such, she is a gutsy and adventurous lady, and last year she and her lovely fella rode their motorbikes over 7,500km across the middle of Australia. She generously agreed to let me wear my reporter hat and ask her all about it.

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Anna's Adventures: The keys of life

Anna's Adventures: The keys of life

Published in PRIMOLife Magazine, Autumn 2016

Le Rouge stands against the wall, taking up almost its whole length. He is smaller than I imagined, delicate even, built from acacia wood and painted a dark warm red. Le Rouge is only 17 years old, but belongs to a family that can trace its roots back to the middle ages. He has lived his whole life in France, but travels frequently to perform on lit stages.

Le Rouge is a harpsichord and we are going to get to know one another.

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Weekend in Melbourne

Weekend in Melbourne

Published in לאשה‎ Laisha Magazine, January 2016

Bing! I hop out of the way as another tram trundles through the middle of a busy street. Having long since disappeared from many cities, the tram is still very much part of Melbourne, a quirky patch on the quilt that is this complex, vibrant city. A melting pot of cultures, of interests, languages and history, Australia’s second largest city has a lot to offer visitors, and I’m eager to get to know it a little on my three day visit.

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Anna's Adventures: A Christmas Yarn

Anna's Adventures: A Christmas Yarn

Published in PRIMOLife December 2015

A man shouts in terror as dirty fingers rake at his clothes. Frenzied, shambling ghouls moan with an ungodly hunger as they pile upon him, teeth bared. There is an agonized, terrified scream as teeth bite into living flesh, tendons are torn and blood spurts onto the ground. 

“Damn!” I gasp. “I dropped a stitch again!”

Human civilization as we know it has been destroyed, dead people have become terrifying zombies while the living are grimly hunted, and I can’t seem to keep my rows even. Don’t let those Granny’s fool you. Knitting, as it turns out, requires a lot of skill- especially if you watch TV at the same time.

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about November the 13th

about November the 13th

I’ve tried to write something about the attacks of November 13th for weeks. It never feels like the right time, or the right way. Still doesn’t. How can one possibly begin to put words to the enormous confusion of horror, pain, death, anger, grief, emotions, news reports, lack of sleep, tears that was it. How can one begin to describe something that you can’t touch, and which changed the very world in which you live, has coloured the way you see everything, and has made everything Before and After?

How can I, one among millions begin to even try? What right do I have to tell this story?

Like pushing magnets together, my words resist one another. The harder I push, the more violently they slip away into a messy pile on the other side of meaning.

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