Col de Pause

Planned to drive up to Col de Pause but the road was closed (boo) so had to walk up.

Parked up in Serre and met a really huge mountain dog (I got back in the car – still shook up by my fave terrible twosome across from the gite).

Ate some nice ham and salami baguettes (thanks Dan) and set off up the rocky road.

Didn’t particularly enjoy the hike upwards – not really sure why. It was very beautiful though!

Took some little paths that cut out some of the road. Much shorter but much steeper!

Then we arrived at a little plateau, and decided to climb a small (but again, steep) hill to get some really beautiful 360° views. Even saw some vultures up in the sky.

Took some dorky photographs of us. Sat down and enjoyed the natural sounds around us – birds, insects, the river / waterfall running down the mountain. It’s the kind of place you can stay for a really long time as there’s no end of cool things to look at. And a straight line distance of 4km from Spain. Definitely not crossing over this time!

Met some people who had also walked up with their cute snowy white dog (a nice one!)

On the way down we saw a snake and a lizard (I don’t think I’ve ever seen a wild snake before?). We got the beautiful views that had been behind us on the way up.

Lac de Bethmale

So we started our hike at Lac de Bethmale, after having a nice view of the mountains at col de la core.Took a steep hike up a road that made a pretty nice path. Complained a bit. Smiled a bit. Crossed a few bits of snow (snow!!) and took them very steadily.Found our path and up we went! It wasn’t bad to begin with, just the rocky paths we are used to. And then we reached the snowline.I’d never walked in this kind of snow before – the kind where you don’t know whether your foot will slide right in so you’re thigh deep in it.


It got really steep and then Dan actually ended up thigh deep in it, so we turned back. (Why is it always us?)Going back down was even trickier as snow was becoming slush. This time it was me that ended up on my backside, but hey, at least my leggings dried quickly (can’t say the same for my boots).

Had a break when we’d reached the end of the snow. Saw other people on their way down – not sure if they went up the same way or not. Ah well! Better safe than sorry.

Only when we came back down the road did I realise just how long this section was! Down is much easier than up though! Saw a cute dog on the way.Got back to the lake, had a few snacks. Took a short walk around the lake. Job well half done…well more than half. Got to 1600m ish which is higher than I’ve ever been!

We’re in the Pyrenees!

In complete argument with my inner planner, we booked a last minute holiday to the Pyrenees. After waiting a day to hear if we could stay in our chosen accommodation, and having to try a second company to hire a car, we were all set!

Having had a couple of occasions of trying to sleep in the airport, or leaving the house at 1.30am to get there in time, we did the unthinkable and slept in an airport hotel. Even though we still had to wake up at 3:30am, it was totally worth it. Extra sleep = happy me.

From there it was no nonsense. Park the car, get on the bus, drop bags off that combined didn’t break the weight limits, through security, 5:30am breakfast, flight to Toulouse! (Thanks Ryanair for giving me the whole emergency exit row to myself – would have been nice to have sat with Dan who also had a row to himself 12 rows in front of me).The hire car proved no problem once we landed. Except it’s huge compared to what we normally get given! It does have a huge sunroof and in built satellite navigation so we can at least find our way to places!

We stopped at a little supermarket on the way, not realising it was closing at 1pm because it’s Sunday. We had half an hour and got a few bits and bobs for dinner. And then, pretty much 3 hours early, we arrived in Anilac, Oust.We decided to take a walk to the next village, Cominac, and got some spectacular mountain views, even with the overcast sky.We arrived back at Anilac to discover we’d been upgraded to a bigger gite as another family had stayed there the week before and it made sense not to warm another house.It’s so cute with the most amazing shower and heated floor in the lounge.

We cooked and ate dinner, read some, then decided to walk up the road a bit to get some phone signal.After giving the owner’s dog a fuss, Canelle (Cinnamon), we saw another tiny grey dog, who decided to bark at us, and attract it’s pal, a giant alsatian, who decided to chase us up the road with snapping teeth.

Tiny grey dog snapped at Dan’s ankles too!They abandoned chase and we got a tiny bit of signal at the end of the road. Then we realised we had to get back. Big dog spotted us but stayed in the garden of his house and we made it back. Note to self: some dogs are terrifying and don’t want to be friends. And sprinting is never a good idea after dinner.

Had an excellent cup of pukka’s relax tea (the irony is not lost) and went to bed in the cosy upstairs room.Here’s to avoiding scary Alsatians and seeing some beautiful sites.

Ink and Bone Review

I was supposed to read this for a book club ages ago and never did. Now is the time!

I couldn’t really tell what it would be about at the start. And then it turned into all the kinds of plots I like! Entry tests, competition, learning, challenges!

The first half of the book flew by and I really enjoyed Jess as a male protagonist. The middle wasn’t so great but I liked the world building. I liked how each of the characters had their own personality – would have been nice to get to know some of them more before they died. I also wish we got to know Jess’ family a bit more – especially his Dad and his brother, Brendan.

The end was fantastic and I’m really excited to know what happens in the rest of the series.

I’ve Got Your Number Review

At first, I wondered how I was going to get through this book. The protagonist, Poppy, starts of being so incredibly annoying as she’s looking for her engagement ring (and this bit of the book feels completely out of character for her).

The story gets better when that part is over. It’s actually really cute.

I love the way Poppy learns that she’s not inferior to super intelligent people. Totally empathised with her playing Scrabble with Magnus’ family. I spend alot of time with people with PhDs with Dad’s with PhDs so this part was particularly nice to read!

I loved how much Sam (the boss of the PA whose phone Poppy finds) and Poppy learn from each other, being very different people.

I wish Poppy had nicer female friends because she deserves them.

The ending is cheesy but kind of adorable. It could have been a much shorter book though!

The Queen’s Rising Review

I really enjoyed the beginning of this book. Brienna is an excellent protagonist and I loved how she had to try all the passions of art, theatre, music, wit and knowledge before settling with knowledge. I loved the relationship between her and her master, Cartier. Loved the dynamic between all the girls studying the passions.

We are then introduced to more settings, more characters, and I loved the history of the world Rebecca has created.

I found the second half of the book a little lacking – the twists weren’t really there and the absence of Cartier for a big chunk did nothing for the relationship building. I missed the energy of the female friendships at the beginning.

It actually felt like the story wrapped up at the end, but I know there’s another book so who knows what’s coming next! So much potential.

I think the last chapter of the book was my absolute favourite. Love a bit of romance.

To Best The Boys Review

My edition of this book is stunning, with grey sprayed pages and beautiful patterns inside. Another reminder of how beautiful hardbacks can be.

I relate to the story as soon as it begins, being a woman in STEM myself. It feels like The Hunger Games crossed with The Maze Runner with a splash of science.

The first half of the book is quite slow, but still really engaging. And then we hit the Labyrinth, which I expected to come earlier in the book.

The second half of the book I couldn’t put down. I was so gripped by all aspects of the plot, the Labyrinth, the disease, the characters.

Rhen, the protagonist, goes through so much that girls do even today. Not having the same opportunities. Being expected to sacrifice dreams for family. I did really enjoy that she had supportive parents.

The romance was cute but not the main focus of the story.

I think this book wraps up the story neatly but there is potential for more adventure!