Friday, 30 December 2011

Coach Trip

I'm going to London tomorrow. Yey!!!!!!

On the coach. Not so yey.

I'm going to make myself a Super Packed Lunch and take lots of books. I have no idea what to wear so I'm taking everything in my wardrobe, literally. The only things I'm not taking are my leggings that have a hole in them and my bikini.

I don't know whether I should take my Horrible Coat or not.

I had my hair cut today! It was traumatic, as most things in life are. First of all I turned up on the wrong day and then today when I arrived for my actual appointment, my hairdresser introduced himself and said he didn't speak very good English. I was forseeing lots of tragic misunderstandings that would probably result in a mullet. He said 'One minute' and disappeared for THIRTY EIGHT minutes. I was left looking at myself in the mirror for almost forty minutes.

When he finally came back he said 'I am sorry for the late' then proceeded to cut me in a Betty Page fringe which anyone with one good eye will tell you, only looks good on Betty Page, or Katy Perry. Even on Katy Perry it looks a bit shit, but she knows how to cleverly divert attention away from it by sticking giant, fluoro ice-cream cones onto her bra.

It wasn't as much of a disaster as I'd feared. It was bloody awkward though. After forty minutes of staring at myself in the mirror, I couldn't take any more, so while he cut my hair I just stared at the floor. He kept stopping to ask me if I liked my hair and I had to keep fake-smiling him and saying 'Oui, j'adore!' when really I hadn't even looked at it because every time I tried to steal a glance in the mirror we made eye-contact and it was Awk. Ward.

Anyway. London tomorrow. YEY!!!
I'm going to go and make my Super Packed Lunch now. I've got a giant pack of gummi bears and six carrots.

SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

My Horrible Coat (and why it isn't horrible at all)

I thought I would be miserable this week- being forced to face the post-Christmas depression toute seule, without even the festive TV specials and leftover mince pies that help the rest of Britain through this difficult period... But I actually feel fine. I'm enjoying having a break from my au pair job and it helps that I brought lots of nice things with me from England. I've got new books to read, new perfume and bronzer to cheer me up and, most importantly, after much deliberating, I decided to bring my Horrible Coat back to Paris.

I call it my Horrible Coat not because I don't like it (I love it) but because everyone who sets eyes on it decrees it a hideous waste of wardrobe space. I have no idea why, but most of my friends beg me not to wear it out and one time I even had to collect it from my friend Chaz's house because her mum refused to have it in the house.
I'm sure you're wondering what this Horrible Coat looks like. Maybe if I explain what kind of coat it is, some of you will understand why it receives such a 'mixed reception'...

It's an Afghan Coat.
You know, one of those fabulous, shaggy monstrosities made by old men with weather-beaten faces in the Afghan mountains, made popular outside of the Middle East in 1966, when the Beatles bought one each from a hip boutique on King's Road, London.

My coat isn't the traditional camel-colour with white hair on the collar and cuffs (it's all the same chocolate brown colour), but I think it is a beautiful coat. Me and my mum found it when I was fifteen and decided to buy it between us and share it (at £89 it was the most expensive thing I'd ever worn). I wasn't allowed to wear it for school because it was 'too nice' (and also I don't think the largely Hooch-coat wearing student body at my school was quite ready for Afghan coats) but I would wear it at the weekend with my brown suede boots and a little woolen mini-dress I got from Topshop. I felt so 60s in it. I could waltz down Stockport Road wearing my Horrible Coat and in my head I would have transported myself to Carnaby Street, circa 1969.

This little fantasy came to an arrupt halt when Chaz's sister saw me at the bus stop one day and asked me: "What are you wearing?"

I put the coat away and it didn't come out again for almost six years. (Despite paying for half, my mum has never worn it, which makes me think she too secretly thinks it is a Horrible Coat.) There were a couple of times when I came home from uni for the Christmas holidays and I'd give it another chance: I would be off into Manchester for a night out and I would realise that none of my coats were warm enough to stop me from freezing to death in the snow whilst waiting for the 192 at three in the morning; I would notice my Horrible Coat hanging at the back of my wardrobe, looking all warm and wonderful, and my Horrible Coat would once again experience the warmth of a human body inside and the cold, snowy air of winter on the outside.

Ah, I better not start personifying my clothes or I'll get upset for all the items I've lost, or given away, or stained forever with anti-vandal grease.*

Anyway, on the rare occasions I would wear it, I'd get all excited and wonder why I ever stopped wearing it. It made me feel all at once like a 1970s rock groupie (think Kate Hudson in Almost Famous) and like one of those trustafarian types, swanning around smoking roll-ups, smelling slightly musky because I live in a huge, empty flat in West London that my rich parents bought for me but that I've never furnished, because my hand-knitted teacosy stall on Portabello Road barely makes enough money to fund my yearly yoga pilgrimage to Goa...

But one of my friends would always make a sarky comment and as much as I'd tell myself I didn't care what anyone thought, I'd get home and realise that actually, it doesn't go with anything else in my wardrobe and really, I'm not a 1970s groupie, nor am I a trustafarian who is so rich I can prance about looking like a dickhead all day. I'm just me. (Also I could never be bothered taking it to Liverpool- it's the same size and weight as a medium-sized bear.)

A few months ago I was telling my friend Claire about my Horrible Coat (about how I loved it despite all my friends being nay-saying, Afghan coat haters) and I described it to her as being like the coat Carrie wears in Sex and the City when she goes on a date with the new Yankee and sees Big in a bar. Here's a picture for any non-SATC enthusiasts:

"I think I'm gonna like it." Claire said.

I got the coat out from the back of the wardrobe and she did like it. Finally, someone who made me feel like I wasn't going mad- I didn't have obscenely bad taste in coats after all! I decided I would take my Horrible Coat to Paris.

But then of course, I didn't, because I had to take everything for Paris wih me on holiday to Ibiza and there just wasn't room in my suitcase for my Horrible Coat. Which is why I've had to wait until now to be re-united with my beloved coat. I wore it whilst travelling back to Paris. I'm wearing it right now.

It baffles me as to why my Horrible Coat causes such violent reactions in people, but all I can say is, the coat is back. And everyone better not stare at me on the fucking metro.

*I wasn't being a vandal, I was just trying to squeeze through some railings so I could get the bottles of alcohol me and my friends had stashed at the side of the railway. It never came off my clothes and I had it on my skin for weeks- very irresponsible of Manchester City Council if you ask me.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Crying At Airports

Yes, sorry to be a misery guts but Christmas is officially over, so if you're doing anything festive you better stop it. Now. Put down the mincepie and take off your silly Christmas jumper, because Christmas ended last night at ten pm when my plane touched down in Paris.

This time yersterday I was sat in the car with my mum, my brother and my stepdad, on my way to the airport. I had a horrible feeling in my stomach and my mouth was all dry. My mum wanted to take me into the airport but my stepdad, who was driving, said he didn't want to park the car... ideally he would have liked me to jump out of the car while it was still moving and then he would have thrown my luggage out after me, but my mum made him stop at the Drop-Off point so she could get out and give me a hug. I was all glittery-eyed and brave (just like Princess Diana, I thought) as my mum squeezed me goodbye and cried into my hair. I wonder where I get my drama queen tendancies from?

When I arrived in Manchester Airport last Friday, I had a little Drama Queen moment of my own. When I located my mum's face in the crowd at Arrivals I ran towards her and burst into tears and she had to gently steer me towards the carpark because everyone was staring at me. It was brilliant. I was inspired after watching Love Actually last week- there's nothing like a Tearful Airport Reunion.

Oh it was so lovely to be home! Everything was Novel and Glorious- whether it was taking a bath (I only have a shower in my Cinderella Room, remember) or sitting on the couch with my mum, eating chocolates and watching the Ab Fab Christmas special. (It was disappointing, wasn't it?)

I'm so glad I managed to get home without any Fuck-Ups- I was terrified something was going to go wrong. Thankfully, everything went quite smoothly. I packed my bags and rang a taxi the night before, then on Friday morning I got up at 4am, threw my clothes on (which I had chosen and arranged on a chair the night before, how organised of me!) and even had time for a cup of tea before I had to go downstairs and wait for my taxi.

I had an irrational fear that I was going to get mugged whilst waiting for my taxi, but the streets were full of people. It was the first time I have ever seen people going in or out of the two 'members only' clubs opposite my building, I was beginning to think they were brothels. It's weird though, that I've never seen anyone going in before; only the stony-faced bouncers stood on their own looking bored. I've never heard any music coming from within either, but they are definitely real 'members only' clubs because on Friday morning there were quite a few nobheads gathered outside, all looking very drunk and very rich.

Anyway, I was glad of the nobheads because it made me feel better about being Out and About so horrendously early. You know when you come home at 7am and you think everyone else must be doing the same thing as you, even though they have clearly just woken up and are on their way to work? Well I had that feeling, but in reverse: I felt like everyone on the streets was just starting the day like me, when in fact I don't know anyone who would start the day in a cocktail dress and heels, after drinking eleven champagne cocktails for breakfast. I wish I did though- that person would be the funnest friend ever!

The taxi was a little bit extravagant, but I didn't really have a choice. If I took my chances on the Roissy Bus or the Air France bus, I might not have made it on time and I would've had to get to the bus stops in the first place, providing muggers with ample opportunity to come and steal away my passport and with it my Christmas Dreams. The taxi was fifty five euros, but you can't put a price on Christmas Dreams.

At the airport I didn't Fuck Up too badly, although I did do that thing again where I check my bag in and then forget to go through Security- I was sat on a bench eating clementines for about twenty minutes before I realised that the big gate called 'Boarding' is actually where you go to get through Security. Why is it called 'Boarding' then? It's very confusing.

But now I think I know why I made the same mistake in Ibiza and then again on Friday: because I'm used to getting the 'Eurostar' and when you get the 'Eurostar' you go through security and then you wait in the lounge and then you get on your train; but when you get on 'a plane' you have to check your bag in and then you have to go through security, and then you wait in a lounge and then you get on your plane. You can see how I got a bit mixed up.

The flight was fine- I love Air France. I got a cup of tea and a croissant. The flight is ridiculously quick, it was an hour and a half, I think. My mum picked me up at the airport and we went straight to my gran's house for tea and mince pies. After that we went to my mum's friend's house for tea and mince pies and then we went home, for tea and mince pies... I love tea and mince pies.

I was supposed to go my dad's house in Liverpool the day I got back, but I couldn't be arsed travelling to Liverpool after getting up so early and being on a plane.


It's hard work getting on a plane! Before I went through Security I realised I had about a million clementines and little boxes of mini Smarties in my handbag and I couldn't remember if you were allowed to take food on a plane or not... I thought the Smarties might look like drugs and it sent me into a panic, then I thought 'What if they think I've wrapped clementine peel around bags of heroin?' so I threw all my food in  a bin just before I went through. The weird thing is, when I got off the plane in England, I realised I still had two clementines and three little boxes of Smarties in my handbag... next time I fly, I think I will take on board loads of drugs disguised as Smarties and clementines.

I felt a bit snid on my dad for not showing up but I didn't think he'd be too bothered. Whenever I do get around to visiting him, I spend most of the time lying on the couch yelling 'Can I have another cup of tea, dad?' and 'Can I have a lamb chop?' To his credit, he does always at least two lambchops in the griddlepan, waiting for me (his oldest, fattest child).

But on Christmas Day he rang up to speak to me and my brother and he sounded a bit sad.

"When will we see you then?" he said.

The answer was, I don't know and I feel a bit bad about this because I've seen my dad, his girlfriend and my three little half-brothers twice in the last twelve months... I also feel a bit scared because my nana will be furious at me. Once me and my brother didn't see her on Easter Sunday and she ate our Easter Eggs to teach us a lesson. I bet she would have given me some money for Christmas as well, but now she'll have spent it out of spite.

Oh well.

Three and a half days just wasn't enough time to see everyone. I didn't see any of my friends, I didn't even get to see all of my family... But I had a cracking Christmas dinner and I stocked up on false eyelashes, that's all you can ask for really.

My first day back at work was ok, I'm so glad I don't have to go to my au pair job this week. I'm going to use my free afternoons and evenings to be really productive- I'm going to get my eyebrows done, exfoliate and moisturise every night and I'm going to FINALLY get my hair cut. I look like I've been held captive in someone's cellar for sixteen years, someone who didn't own a pair of scissors.

There's also the teensy weensy problem of finding outfits for New Year's Eve (fancy dress party) and New Year's Day (raving). I don't know why I bother looking in the shops and trying things on, we all know I'll just put my feathery headband on for the fancy dress party and then my Disco Tights and denim shorts for New Year's Day.
Oh my God do you know what I've just thought? I always spell 'airplane' as 'airplane', yet I pronounce it as 'aeroplane'. Am I spelling it wrong? Are there two different words? Am I an idiot?

Don't answer that.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Cos I'm Leeeeaving On a Jetplane...

... But I know when I'll be back again, Monday night. Pfftt. I keep forgetting I am only going back to England for a long weekend. There wasn't really any need to eat everything in my fridge.

Fucking hell. I have to be up at 4am. I'm so nervous!! It doesn't really feel like I'm going home, but I am! I AM!!!!

I haven't been back to England for four months. Four months! This time last year I'd already been back to the U.K twice.

Oh God. I'm terrified something is going to go wrong. I'm going to have a cup of tea and then pack, not that I've got a lot to pack... I'm basically checking in a bag full of 'Christmas presents' (sweets for my little brothers, soap for everyone else) and all I'll need in my hand-luggage is my passport and my tickets. Well, I haven't got my tickets, but I'm pretty sure I don't need them, I've printed off the email confirming my flight, this will be enough surely?

Fuck fuck fuck!! I'm so scared! What if I don't get home for Christmas???

O.k, calm... calm...

I can't think of anything sensible to say, sorry. I'm too wound up. But for a more entertaining read, why don't you re-read the travel 'adventures' I had last Christmas? Maybe then you'll understand why I'm so J-J-J-ITTTT-TTT-E-ER-ERRR-ERY!!!

Click here to read my posts from last December (I snuck off to England for the weekend without telling my boss, nearly got stranded in Calais because my Eurostar broke down and then nearly didn't make it out of London because of the snow... and that was the weekend before Christmas. Five days later I had to do it all again...)

Oh I hope this year isn't as dramatic! I've booked a taxi to the airport because the earliest bus might not get me to the airport in time and there's no way I'm risking spending Christmas alone in my Cinderella room. Although at least I would have a LOT of sweets to eat.

Right, I'm off now to pace around my room eating biscuits and panicking.
See you on the other side!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

C'est Christmas Time!

I've just been over my last blog post and edited it quite a lot, it was so badly written. The punctuation was terrible. I know my punctuation is always terrible but in Sunday's post it was particularly bad, so I do apologise. I was absolutely knackered on Sunday night after a lovely but quite busy weekend, which I need to finish telling you about...

Ok so I blew my fuse or my fuse blew up- whatever the 'technical term' is for using too much electricity and then loosing it all in one go. My phone was dying so I sent a text to Kayt asking her to come to my place in the morning and ring my buzzer until I answered, because we were supposed to be going to Julia's for a Transcontinental Christmas Lunch (the transcontinental part being the mince pies that me and Kayt promised to bring).

On Sunday morning I awoke in my cold, dark room to the ringing of my telephone- Kayt was ringing to see if it was working and luckily the battery had lasted the night. We arranged to meet in front of Marks and Spencers so we could get the mince pies for the Christmas Lunch. For the second time in a row I was lucky in that there was no queue outside, but once we got through the doors a very annoying man in a suit told us that the Food Hall would be closed for half an hour while they restocked the shelves. We decided to- oh my God, I'm so sorry! I've just realised I'm doing that thing again where I describe every, tiny, boring-arse thing that happened to me in the minutest detail imaginable.

Ok, let's jump forwards a few sentences:

...grabbed  a basket and ran in, suddenly overcome by a passionate desire to grab everything and anything within eyesight. As we were the first ones in, I had about two minutes to get a proper look at everything and I realised that the Champs Elysees M&S Food Hall is even more magnificent than I first thought! They have cocktail sausages and sausage rolls and proper sausages that are only 2.59 a packet! They have naan bread and biryani, beef stir-fry and bottles of BBQ sauce! They have chilled salads and sushi and desserts and yoghurts!!

We were overcome by the sheer volume of Excellent English Produce that lay before us and I momentarily lost control of my Mind, Body and Soul- I've not been home for four months and the sight of Reversey Percies was too much for me... I went into a FRENZY. We bought three boxes of mince pies, a chicken and bacon sandwich, two packs of salt and vinegar crisps, two packets of crumpets, a Turkish Delight chocolate bar, a packet of bacon and a box of Bakewell Tarts. Phew. Looking back, we might have gone a little bit overboard...

Especially as, upon arriving at Julia's flat, we discovered that they had made enough food for fifteen people. Before we even started the meal, we had bacon and pesto pastry tarts that Julia's sister Laure had made, plus blinis with taramasalata and this tuna thing that Julia made with coriander and lemon juice. Also present was the internationally-recognised Party Snack Staple- breadsticks and carrot crudités with humous. They'd even made a huge bowl of punch with fizzy wine and fruit juice. Oh it was so lovely, I feel kind of bad that all we brought were mince pies. Abby doesn't even like mince pies- the first time she tried one, at a party in Liverpool, she thought it was a madeleine, which is a sweet little French sponge thing, and when she tasted the gritty, bitter surprise in the middle she spat it out in front of everyone. Ha ha.

As we snacked and drank, we played 'Time Out'- a boardgame version of that party game where you have to make your partner guess the names of as many famous people as you can before you run out of time. Me and Kayt went through all the cards first and weeded out most of the French people because we had no idea who they were, but as it turns out, we didn't even know who all the non-French people were...

I couldn't understand why Abby wasn't guessing 'Admiral Nelson'. I described him as 'short, French, leader, war, uniform, very short man, eye patch, French! Short! Leader! Eye patch!' I was thinking of Napoleon, who apparently didn't wear an eye patch. Oops.

For our main meal Abby made us chestnut and mushroom risotto with chicken coated in breadcrumbs, stuffed with bacon and foie gras. It was very, very delicious and not even spoiled by the graphic photographs I saw last week on the Champs Elysees, held up by angry protestors and showing geese being force-fed through funnels. Like most things in life, I just pretend it doesn't exist! : D

After all the lovely food I'd consumed, I was struggling to keep my eyes open after two very long days and late nights. Julia said I could have a nap on her bed, so I did. For two hours. When I woke up everyone had started on the pudding which upset me a little bit. Kayt said "Did you expect us to wait for you to wake up? Did you expect us not to eat while you slept?"

The answer to that question is always YES, BITCH!

For pudding Laure had made a pear and dark chocolate tart, me and Kayt had brought Bakewell Tarts and mince pies and for some reason there was also a huge box of chocolate snails, which are kind of like decadent chocolate seashells. (Not that chocolate seashells aren't decadent- as any English readers* will know, 'Guylian Chocolate Sea Shells' are the Poshest Chocolates you can buy. )

As we gorged ourselves on Christmassy treats (Julia and Laure loved the mince pies but Abby wouldn't go near them) we watched Love Actually and I must say I welled up at the end when everyone hugs each other at Heathrow Airport. It made me think about Friday. I can't believe I'm actually flying home, it's been so long. No, I really can't believe it. I feel like something is going to go drastically wrong.

Anyway, on Sunday night Kayt came back to my place with me so I could grab everything out of my fridge and take it to hers, because obiviously my fridge wasn't working. While I banged about in the dark, Kayt had opened this wooden box thing on my wall and pressed a green button and suddenly everything turned on again! It was a Christmas Miracle! Or, as Kayt called it, ' a fusebox'.

On Monday I worked my last shift at the restaurant until after Christmas and I actually meant it when I wished everyone a Happy Christmas. They are kind of growing on me. After that I went straight to my au pair job, which I was really worried about as I didn't know if I'd end up wandering around like a spare part.

But it was fine! The eight year old had a friend round and they wanted to play with me so we played 'theatre' which basically involved acting out really boring situations, like I'd be the mum and they'd be my daughters who had broken a toy and I had to shout at them, then we'd all swap roles. I kept trying to introduce magical elements to the game like 'Why don't I be the mum and you be my baby UNICORN?!' but they just looked at me like I'd suggested we all shave our heads and drink petrol.

From my au pair job I went straight to Georgie's for sausage casserole. We listened to Christmas songs and ate M&S Christmas cake and now I feel really Christmassy!!

Today my au pair job was ok, both the girls had about six million mates round (I'm exaggerating a little bit) and I had to make lunch for them all, which I don't mind but not one of them said thank you. I mostly chatted to the baby's nounou because the girls didn't want me cramping their style. The nounou told me that she gets paid 1,200 euros a month for 184 hours and that she can't afford to buy her three sons Christmas presents this year...

There was talk of me accompanying the dad and the five girls to Jardin d'Acclimation which is like a kid's 'amusement park' designed by a child-hating bastard. I took the five year old and his Mad Mate there last summer on a boiling hot day and it was crowded and stressful and I swore NEVER to go there ever again. I could tell the dad was a bit overwhelmed by how many kids he had to look after, so I hovered around anxiously, faffing about with my coat to make it clear I was ready to leave.

"You." he said, as he caught my eye, "What did my wife tell you to do today?"

"She told me to come for the lunch and then that's it." I half-lied.

(She told me to be there for lunch time, she didn't say what time I had to leave.)

The dad nodded and said I could go. Yey! I skipped down the road with one thing on my mind:

Chirstmas Shopping.

As always, I've left it to the Last Fucking Minute and I am getting a little bit stressed out. I did this last year and ended up buying everyone a jar of French honey and a bar of soap. I knew this afternoon might be my only chance to go shopping before I go back to England, so I went to the Christmas Market on the Champs Elysee, determined to find everyone a lovely, unique, appropriate gift. I started to feel really Christmassy, what with the pretty lights and the festive songs playing, so I decided to buy myself a cup of vin chaud.

I drank it too quickly, felt really light-headed and ended up buying everyone a box of French tea and a bar of soap.

Hmm. You know what has made me feel very un-fucking-festive? Thinking about the nanny. And how her boys aren't getting any presents this year. All the money I spend on going out and make-up, I could have bought her kids some little presents. Once you get into that frame of mind, it's hard to stop. How can we enjoy our Christmas dinner when there are people with nothing to eat? How can I sit in my room drinking tea and eating mince pies when there is a man sleeping on a doorstep two doors down? Etc. etc.

Oh wait, I've just remembered something- homeless people aren't real! They just pretend to be homeless in order to get money from hardworking people like you and me. At the end of the day they go back home to their huge, well-heated apartments and eat a hearty meal with their clean, well-cared for kids.

And you know all those people with poorly-paid jobs who can't afford to buy their kids Christmas presents? Well it's ok because they want to be poor. They could get a better job if they just pulled their finger out a bit and made an effort, but at the momeny they're more than happy to work fifty hours a week and struggle to buy shoes for their kids. And don't even get me started on unemployed people...

As for the Third World, have you actually been there? They only pretend to be poor when the cameras are on them- if you actually go inside one of those shantytown shacks, you'll see they've all got widescreen tellies and American-style fridges, with ice-cube makers.

And as for those photographs of the geese... they're all photoshopped! Everyone knows that foie gras is French for 'tofu paste'.

There. Now I can enjoy my Christmas.

*Unless you're a Posh English person- who knows what bloody chocolates they eat. Hotel Chocolat probably, the flashy dickheads.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Un Bon Weekend

What have I done this weekend?

Is anyone really arsed?

I'm going to tell you anyway.

On Friday night me and Kayt went to another Parisian Party, only this time there was no cheese. It was a flat-warming party for Angélique, our French friend who we met through Anna when we went to Rebel Rave a few months ago (Anna is my chum who has since moved to Australia, in case you're struggling to keep up with all the girl's names I mention in this blog, for lack of any Gentleman Friends.)

In typical Bloody Rude British style we arrived four hours late, by which time most people had left, but the people who remained were really nice and we found out that everyone was going to Rex Club to see Paul Ritch, Daniel Stefanik and Okain. Erm... I won't lie I had never heard of any of these DJs, but I really like Rex Club A LOT- it's like Social Club without all the Pretentious Nobheads and there's always places to sit when you need a Disco Break (like a Disco Nap but instead of sleeping you sit on a sofa and tap your feet to the music.)

We were faced with two problems: one was that Kayt didn't have any I.D with her and the bouncers at Rex Club, like the bouncers at most Paris clubs, are really arsey about ID; the other problem was that I was wearing my One Drink Ankle Boots, the same boots that Amy called 'the most uncomfortable shoes in the world'. We came up with a cunning plan to get Kayt's ID- we would leave the party earlier than everyone else, get the metro as far as we could without changing lines and then get a taxi to Kayt's. We would get the taxi to wait outside Kayt's and then take us to Rex Club. As for the One Drink Ankle Boots, I was hoping that the nerve-numbingly large bottle of vodka we were drinking would soon get rid of that problem.

As soon as everyone started making moves to leave the party, me and Kayt dashed to the metro, but not before saying  a Proper Goodbye to Angélique, just in case we couldn't get in to Rex Club: I've only ever been to Rex Club when I've either pre-bought tickets or when Georgie has got me on Guest List; and I've always been relieved not to be part of the huge, snaking queue of people hoping to pay on the door...

Me and Kayt ran (well, I hobbled) to the metro, armed with a huge bottle of Diet Coke that was half-filled with vodka. We hoped it would keep us warm and also top up our alcohol levels so that we didn't have to enter Rex Club sober. As soon as sat down on the metro, we were heckled by a group of French girls who seemed to have terrorised the whole carriage into submission.- everybody wasbeing very quiet, trying to avoid eye contact with them. I was a bit on guard when they started yelling at us, until I realised they were just asking us what was in our bottle.

"Why are you drinking Diet Coke?" they yelled at us.

"It's got vodka in it!" I told them.

This prompted wo of them to stumble down the carriage with little plastic cups, asking if they could have some drink. I still wasn't sure if they were hard or not, so we gave them some. We got chatting and they were actually really nice girls, they were just very drunk and rowdy. I think everyone on the metro was being so weird because people in Paris don't feel comfortable around binge-drinking Youths on public transport. (People stare if you even dare to eat a packet of crisps on the metro, never mind downing half a bottle of vodka.)

The girls we'd given some drink to then wanted us to go and sit with them and have shots of tequila and as we had about fifteen metro stops to sit through, we decided it could be a fun way to pass the time. As we walked through the carriage all the Normal People looked at us coldly as if to say 'Oh, you're one of them are you?'

And I did feel like one of them! We drank shots of tequila with them (they even had little wedges of lime to suck on) and let them practice their broken English on us. By the time we reached our stop, we had swapped 'details' and promised to go on a night out together. I have no intention of ever contacting them, but at the time I was sure we would all become Lifelong Drinking Buddies.

After our eventful metro journey, we managed to get a taxi and it took us about five minutes to get to Kayt's. While she ran upstairs to get her passport, I chatted to the taxi driver about Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom after discovering he was Cambodian. We had a lovely chat, until he said I was rubbish for not being able to speak French after living here for over a year. Hmmmm.

We got to Rex Club at the same time as Angélique and her friends and to our relief, the queue wasn't that big. By this point we were feeling quite drunk and I didn't want to pass out before we even got in, so we gave the rest of our vodka to a homeless man, in the hope that it would keep him warm. At the time we were really pleased with ourselves for being such Good Samaritans, but after half an hour of queueing we kind of wished we had the vodka to drink- the queue was not moving.

I have never, ever queued so long to get into a club. After an hour I needed a wee so badly that I thought I was going to cry, but we didn't think we'd have time to nip across to the restaurant over the road. Luckily, we decided to risk it and I'm so glad we did, because when we got back from the restaurant the queue hadn't moved an inch.

It was quite an entertaining queue- we chatted to the people around us and met a man wearing half a wolf-head as a hat- but after waiting in the cold for an hour, I couldn't take it any more. Me and Kayt debated Fucking Off, because I couldn't see how we would ever get in, but you get to that point when you've queued for so long that you think it would be stupid to leave... Plus we were really, really in the mood for raving, so we decided to stay put...

...we eventually got in after TWO HOURS of queueing!


It was worth it. My shoes were crippling me so I took them off and held them in my hands as I danced... and I danced A LOT- I didn't even need any Disco Breaks. The only Shit Thing was that me and Kayt had completely run out of money by this point and I was so thirsty that I started retching, but Kayt saved the day by grabbing a random empty glass and filling it up with water from the toilets.

Hey! I never said I wasn't disgusting!

What a brilliant night. We left the club at about 6.30am and got the metro back to Kayt's. We had a cup of tea and watched that song from Flight of the Conchords before we went to bed. Do you know that song that goes 'Foo lafafa. Foo lafafafafa-aaa. Faaa-iii'? It's funny:

The next day I didn't have to do my au pair job for once, YEY, but I did have to work at the restaurant at 6pm. I thought an entire day would be enough time to get through my hangover, but I was tragically wrong. My hangover didn't kick in until just before it was time to go to work and I arrived at work looking like a very poorly sea elephant. If you don't know what one of those is, here:

I was absolutely dreading my seven hour shift, especially as I hardly ever work night shifts and I don't know what I'm doing....


Do you know what? It was fine. I was working with two French guys I've never worked with before who are really nice and because they are quite new they don't tell me what to do and one of them can't speak English so we spoke in French, which is what I rrrreally need to start doing if I want to look back on my time in France as anything more than a Massive Waste of Time.
At first it was quite slow and I just had to be a 'runner', which basically means floating around trying to look busy and occassionally going down to the kitchen and bringing plates up. The kitchen staff were being really nice to me because I told them I was going to dance on the tables for them at the end of my shift. I actually meant to say something entirely different , which is why I need to stop trying to speak French.  (Or maybe it means I should try a little harder?)

At 9pm we opened the downstairs bar and I had to be there all by myself. It was really busy and nobody would move out of my way. At point I was carrying a really heavy tray of drinks and loads of people were just stood there, ignoring my pleas of 'Excusez-moi! Excusez-moi!' and I got so angry that I kicked a man in his ankles. I jabbed another man really hard in the back and he nearly fell over. Not the most polite way to treat customers but honestly, there were so many people and they wouldn't FUCKING move out of my way.

I was supposed to finish at 1am but the manager asked me if I could stay 'a little bit longer' and I ended up staying until 3.30am. But for the last half an hour we were sat around chatting and having a drink and then the manager said she would give me a lift home. I got home just before 4am, but before I could crawl into bed, I had to charge my phone up to set my alarm. I plugged my charger into the wall, it made a loud POP and there were blue sparks and then everything went dark.

Right that's enough for tonight I need to go to bed, I'll finish this tomorrow.

Only seven days until Christmas!!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

This Isn't Just Any Blog Post...

... This is a hand-crafted, gently creamed blog post, draped in rich, velvety words and topped with a dusting of sweet, caramalised punctuation.


I've been to Marks and bloody Spencer's haven't I? I thought I'd have a look on my way home from the restaurant, on the off chance that there might not be a queue, and I got lucky! From the cold streets of Paris I waltzed straight into the warm, motherly embrace of M&S and it was everything I'd dreamt it would be. As soon as you walk in the store you are greeted by racks of neat little cardigans and well-fitting trousers. You feel so at peace in the calming, clean atmosphere of Marks and Spencer's. Then, past the rows and rows of sensible clothing you are faced with shelves of shoes, some of which are quite nice actually, but you don't have time to stop and look at them because something else has caught your attention:


Around the sign a crowd of French people jostle for position as a security guard tells one customer to go in as another comes out.

(It's interesting how much French people slag English food off and yet here they are, anxiously queuing up for a chance to spend their hard-earned euros on such culinary delights as scotch eggs and Rich Tea biscuits.)

I didn't have to wait for long before the smiling security guard waved his hand like a genie, inviting me to step inside Aladdin's Cave...

It was fucking BRILLIANT.

There were piles of boxes and plastic tubs, filled with such treasures as Bakewell Tarts, Victoria Spongecake and Mini Flapjacks. There were hundreds of little Percy Pig faces smiling at me from inside their brightly-coloured bags.There were SANDWICHES, exactly the same ones they sell in England (only a lot more expensive). There were crisps and loaves of bread, packets of biscuits and fridges filled with ready-meals.

It was difficult to get around the swarms of French people puzzling over packets of Scotch Pancakes and English Muffins, but I managed to get a proper look at everything, silently taking in the Many Wonders of England, all the while keeping my eyes peeled for the one thing I was really searching for, yearning for...

Mince Pies.

I looked everywhere but they were nowhere to be seen. I asked a harrassed-looking manager where the mince pies were and he said they had run out, but that they would be getting more in tomorrow. My heart sank a little bit, but I have a plan to get up early tomorrow and queue up, so hopefully I will get some mince pies. I need them for Festive Fun.

By the time I discovered they were out of mince pies, a huge queue had formed outside the Food Hall. I realised that I couldn't predict when I'd next get the opportunity to come back. Who knows if I'll ever get as lucky again? I couldn't decide what I wanted or needed and to be honest, I panicked a little bit. I bought a packet of Digestive Biscuits, a Victoria Spongecake and a small Turkish Delight chocolate bar. It came to about four euros in total, which isn't too bad. The sandwiches might be a bit dear but apart from that, they haven't priced everything too extortionately, so I'm relieved. Now I just have to hope that after Christmas the queues calm down a bit so I can wander in whenever I'm feeling homesick.

Oooh! Only ten days 'til Christmas!!! Last night me and Kayt were invited to a Christmas party by our friend Liz, who has a French boyfriend and it was his work collegue's party or something. It was the randomest bunch of people I have ever found myself in a room with, but it was Good Fun and they had loads and loads of cheese. We met an American man called Frank who was insane, but we weren't sure if he was 'good insane' or 'bad insane'. We also met a Lebanese lady called Howa who owns a translation company and told us off for not speaking French. She has really sold me on Lebanon as a summer holiday destination.

I stayed at Kayt's and this morning we watched My Big Fat Gypsy Christmas and it was amazing!! I feel like today all my dreams are coming true. Oh, but wait. There is some bad news. Remember those trousers I bought from H&M that I suspected might make me look like a middle-aged frumpy woman with a huuuuge arse? Well, they do make my arse look huge and Kayt came round so I could try them on for her and she pointed out they are too big for me around the waist, so basically I have bought myself some Clown Pants. If that wasn't bad enough, I have just found a photograph of Snooki wearing a very similar pair of trousers. I am taking them back tomorrow.

Monday, 12 December 2011

The Light Situation

This morning was my last 'théâtre en anglais' lesson until after Christmas and I am GLAD because I can't cope anymore with the 8.30am start. I know other people have to start their working day earlier than that, but this is my blog and therefore: There is NO earlier start to the day than 8.30am!!! So there.

Last night we went to see Jamie Woon at Nouveau Casino and stayed out for drinks afterwards until about half eleven and I kept thinking 'maybe I should tell the other teacher I can't make it tomorrow...' because I couldn't bear the thought of stumbling about trying to make sense of the world while it's still dark outside, especially as I'm not even getting paid for the lessons. Well... I'm supposed to be getting paid in 'expenses', but only when I start teaching the lessons on my own (which I kind of hope never happens because the kids are Insane and I can't stop them from punching each other and climbing up the walls). I'm a teensy bit cynical about this 'expenses' thing: the woman who runs the company is really nice and she took a bit of a chance on me, so I'm sure she won't rip me off; but you Never Can Tell... So it's basically Good Will that's getting me out of bed at 7am every Monday.

Today after the class I went for coffee with the woman who runs everything (let's call her Florence for simplicity's sake) and one of the teacher/actors who I teach the lesson with. I've not seen Florence since the beginning of October and she wanted to know how the lessons have been going. To be honest I find the lessons really difficult and I'm dreading the day I have to teach on my own, but for some reason Florence seems to think I am doing really well, even though she has never seen me teach or act, and she told me today that she might have more lessons lined up for next year, adult classes, but that she won't take them on unless she knows I'll still be here. She wants me to teach a lot more lessons, for a normal hourly teacher fee, which I suppose would be quite good, except for the fact that I CAN'T TEACH and also I am ninety-nine percent certain that I am moving to London and not staying in Paris.

I'm not one hundred percent because... well, I don't know. I just don't know what to do with my life. I really want to live in London, but it's going to be extraordinarily difficult to find a job there. Not just a job, but a job that will enable me to support myself. Here I don't pay rent and I have three jobs, even today Florence gave me the number of her friend who wants Engligh tutoring for her kid... I also love Paris, a lot. I don't want to leave, ever.

BUT I want to live in London equally as much as I don't want to leave Paris.

What am I going to do?? Seriously, what I am going to do? If I stay in Paris I'll have to teach and waitress, which I don't really like doing, but if I move to London I'll just have the option of waitressing and I won't be able to tell people that I live in Paris, which sounds interesting enough to distract them from the fact that I'm not really doing anything with my life at all. (The bonus of learning French doesn't factor into the equation as I've now given up any hope of ever learning French. It's now painfully obvious that I will never speak the language, not even if I lived in France for twenty years and married a man called Jean-Claude who force-feeds geese for a living to make delicious paste with their livers.)

Oh fuck. I feel sick just thinking about The Future.

The good news that while I haven't got a new bulb yet, I did find this weird red Plastic Thing with a metal hole in it, and I found a bulb that doesn't fit in my 'big light' but I tried shoving it into the Plastic Thing and... I have light! Unfortunately I blinded myself, as I was looking directly into a lightbulb held two inches away from my face, but I've come up with a solution to make the light bearable...

Pure Snazz.

It's a colander, if you can't tell from the picture. Also, Kayt lent me some fairy lights so my room seems all cosy and Festive. AND I know it sounds a bit mental and I can't really explain how I know, but I have a Serious, Psychic Feeling that Father Christmas is going to come down my chimney. I know it. I just know. I've never had a real chimney before- I did't connect my fireplace with an Actual Chimney until it started raining inside it last week. It was kind of cold and shit but also magical at the same time! I feel like a Victorian maid! In a romantic magical way! I might start wearing a little bonnet and a shawl!

Anyway, listen to this if you like:

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Dark Days

Me and Tasmin* went shopping together yesterday. I went into Sephora to buy some shampoo and hair conditioner and came out with a Mac concealer and face powder. Turns out they don't sell hair porducts. But they were giving out free Lindt Lindor chocolates! Don't judge me, it wasn't even that much money and I really needed a new concealer because my skin has for Some Reason gone horrible all of a sudden- when I was giving the eight year old her bath on Friday, she put a hand infront of her face so she didn't have to look at my 'erghh face'. She's lucky I didn't drown her.

I don't know why it's suddenly got so bad... Unless it's all the sweets and chocolate I've been eating, and the late nights and alcohol drinking? The week that Amy was here, we worked out that we'd drank more alcoholic drinks that non-alcoholic drinks. That can't be good for my skin can it? From now on I'm going to drink lots and lots of water. I'm going to make myself 99% water, 1% Mac concealer and face powder.

I also bought some black silk trousers from H&M. Come on, I'm allowed to shop in H&M aren't I? I'm only going home for Christmas for three days. AND I'm getting the coach to London on NYE, for seven long and probably uncomfortable hours. I deserve some treats don't I?? DON'T I???

Yes, I do.

The problem is, now I need shoes to go with the trousers. They're high-waisted and really tailored all the way down, so I'll need some extremely high black ankle boots to go with them. Otherwise I'm look like a middle aged, middle class mother called Sue, who wears seriously questionable trousers that make her legs look stumpy, showcase her Massive Thighs and serve to highlight that indeterminable bulge that spreads from her belly button to her youknowwhat (her 'gunt', for the uncouth among you). But it's all right for Sue- she doesn't have to worry about unflattering trousers because she so's 'busy busy, manic, darling' with the school run, Christmas shopping, making mince pies and taking the four dogs out for walkies. What's my excuse?

I've seen some really nice ones in Naf Naf. They're 90 euros, which I know is a lot but I had my heart set on a black, tulle skirt in there and they ran out of my size. The skirt was 45 euros and seeing as I can't buy it now, that's 45 euros I can put towards the boots. So really they'll only be 45 euros. And why can't I buy myself some boots for 45 euros? After all...

I'm only going home for Christmas for three days. AND I'm getting the coach to London on NYE, for seven long and probably uncomfortable hours. I deserve some treats don't I?? DON'T I???

I feel like I'll be copying and pasting that excuse many times in the run up to Christmas...

Anyway, I need to go now, as my FUCKING LIGHT has gone and I need to make the most of the daylight in my room. Last night I had to wash my hair by the light of two candles. It was not 'romantic' and 'back-to-basics fun'- I got water everywhere and shampoo in my eye.

I was going to ask the au pair family if they had a spare bulb but they were a bit annoyed at me because I had to leave work early to go to my restaurant job, so I thought it wasn't the best time...I fucking HATE working Saturdays. They asked me to go over at half three in the afternoon, so I assumed I'd be finished by six at the latest, giving me enough time to go home and get ready before waitressing at the restaurant at 8pm, but the mum said she needed me to stay until 6.30pm and could only go after I'd washed the little girl's hair, so I ended up with half an hour to wash and dry my own hair, in the dark.

I'm so fucking annoyed at the light. I had a bedside table lamp but it broke for No Reason, so I really have no light at all, apart from in my fridge. Yesterday I propped the fridge open and got up on a chair to see what kind of bulb it is, but it's like nothing I've ever seen before. It won't unscrew and I can't pull it off, therefore I must REMAIN IN THE DARK FOREVER.

Cheers, have a good Sunday. I'm going to see Jamie Woon tonight. I hope it cheers me up. Ooh I can put my new make-up on. By the light of two candles... I'm sure it will look fab.

 *If you don't know who is Tasmin is, all I can is that you haven't been paying much attention have you?? Click here, if you want.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Magic Transforming Knickers and Re-appearing Passports

Did I tell you that I found my passport? I can't remember. My memory is shockingly bad these days. I feel like my brain is slowly dripping out of the back of my head- too much alcohol and too much falling over and banging my head whilst under the influence of alcohol...

Anyway, after me and Amy spent every spare minute she was here hunting for my passport high and low, we concluded that it was Lost Forever. We searched every square cm of my room, as did some of my friends in case I'd left it at their places by accident. I resinged myself to forking out for a new passport, and all the Fucking Faffing that would come with it... I evisioned many tearful trips to the British Embassy and stressful moments at the airport, not knowing if they would accept my emergency passport or not....

Then, on the day that Amy left, we were in my room looking for anything she might have forgotten to pack, when I happened to glance at my bed and saw a flash of maroon. I didn't let myself get excited because a part of me knew it was probably Amy's passport. After all, a minute ago I could have sworn there was nothing on the bed. The only explanation was that Amy had put her passport there in the last five seconds.


Remember when I lost my passport at Ibiza airport? And I could tell that it was my passport before I could even see the front cover? Because it had a Magic Magnetic Aura about it? Remember?

I just knew it was mine.

I reached out for it silently and as my fingers touched the worn, dog-eared corner, I knew. I looked at the picture, just to make sure I wasn't going mad and there it was, the hologrammed photo of Myra Hindley with dark hair. It was definitely my passport.

"Shut. The Fuck. UP!" I shouted.

(Honestly, that is what I really said. I don't understand why, perhaps in my excitement my brain got confused and thought I was a Californian teenager.)

Amy looked up and saw the passport in my hand, held aloft like it was a winning lottery ticket.

"AHHHHHH!" she screamed.

It was very exciting, we danced about and screamed for about five minutes. Then, when we'd calmed down, Amy asked me where I'd found it. I explained that it had just appeared on the bed, as if by magic. Except I didn't mean to say 'as if', because it had actually appeared by magic- we'd looked for my passport high and low for days and all of a sudden it appeared on my bed, when my bed had been in plain view, and quite obviously passport-free, all morning. The only logical explanation was that it had been spirited there by some benign, supernatural force.

Amy said that she thought a more likely explanation was that it had been in my pillow case 'or something' and had fallen out 'somehow'. Hmmm. Not exactly a water-tight hypothesis is it?

Why do people insist of making up hazy, improbable explanations for things, when it is clearly MAGIC?

Sometimes things just happen, because of magic. I have tried to explain this many times to many people and nobody ever believes me. Like the time a pair of knickers fell out of my fridge. Kayt said "Why did a pair of knickers fall out of your fridge?" and I said "I don't know, perhaps an apple turned into a pair of knickers. We'll never know will we?"

But noooooo! This apparently was 'a ridiculous thing to say' and what followed was a very tiresome arguement where I had to patiently explain to Kayt how I wasn't saying that an apple definitely turned into a pair of knickers, I was just saying that an apple probably turned into a pair of knickers.  Was anyone there to witness an apple definitely not turning into a pair of knickers? No. So there. Why is everyone so negative, all the time?

In other news, I'm eating a mince pie and I'm feeling festive! I would put a festive Christmas video on here for you to enjoy but my laptop is being a KNOBHEAD so you'll have to provide your own soundtrack. Now I'm going to go Christmas shopping, for myself. Yey!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The Return of Shit Au Pair

So. When I went to my au pair job on Thursday, there was nobody home except the dad and he asked me if he could talk to me. He said the mum was 'going crazy' because she had to keep telling me to do things over and over again. I asked what he meant and he said she had asked me to wash up the baby's plate three times, yet I still continued to put it into the dishwasher. He said "We can't put it into the dishwasher. Do you know why? Because we only have one plate for him and if we put it in the dishwasher it will not be done in time for his next meal."

He also said I'm 'like a shadow around the house' and that I'm too quiet and that I'm not smiley. He also told me 'My wife says about you, your head is not on your shoulders.' He then brought up An Incident last week where the girls thought I'd left the park without them, but I hadn't, I'd just gone looking for them because they ran away to the opposite end of the park and I was getting worried. (It's a really big park we go to after school on a Friday, and it was dark.)

I didn't really say much during the conversation other than the occasional 'Of course, yeah' and 'Right, ok'. I agreed with him and apologised, and we kind of ended the conversation, so I went off to start the dinner. But five minutes later he came into the kitchen after me. "It's expensive for us, you know. The money every week, and your food, and your room. We don't ask a lot from you, we are asking like ten hours a week from you (actually it varies between fifteen and twenty, but didn't see the point in correcting him), you told us how many hours you did last year, you know you don't have a lot to do. You could at least concentrate when you are here."

I felt quite upset, because everything he was saying was right. I had no recollection of anyone ever telling me about the plate thing, so I must have lost the information somewhere in my cloudy brain. And I know I'm too quiet around the house, but it's so difficult knowing how to behave when the mum and dad are there, all the time. I try and talk to the girls and be cheerful but recently they have just been point blank ignoring me or replying with a cynical rise of the eyebrows or a shake of the head. Even though they are only kids, it wears you down, constantly being ignored and made to feel stupid.

As the dad was talking, I debated whether to tell him the reason why I have been a bit quiet and miserable. I haven't said anything to them before it feels like I'm using it as an excuse, but really it is the reason why I have been so quiet and miserable, in my au pair job and at the restaurant. I just don't have the energy to keep bouncing back from snidey eight year olds. I don't have any words in my head to form a conversation with people I don't really know.

I don't really want to say what happened on here but basically something happened at home. I started to tell the dad I spluttered into tears. I didn't want to, it just happened. He kind of patted me on the shoulder and said "Well, if you have a problem in your life, we don't know. You need to tell us."

After that the mum and the girls got home. I tried to be bright and cheerful and 'concentrate' and the evening went really well. I left a bit later than usual, but I was really pleased with how everything had gone. The next day was the ten year old's birthday and I was really worried about giving her the Benefit lip gloss I had bought her. She was turning eleven, not twelve and all of a sudden it seemed like a ridiculously inappropriate birthday present.

Shit, I've just re-read what I've written and it's really boring. So to quickly sum up what happened next:

- she loved her present
- the family arrived and I made awkward conversation
- I realised nobody was going to suggest I leave and that the night would go on forever, becoming more and more awkward and awful for everyone involved...
- I told the mum I was going to go but I said goodbye to everyone and wished them a good soiree

And that was that. Yesterday everything went really well. I think the eight year old was being so horrible with me because she could tell her mum wasn't happy with me and she's a really anxious child. The baby has inexplicably started loving me again, following me around and telling me sit down next to him all the time. The eleven year old even asked me to sit down with her 'to talk'. It was so lovely, she has never shown any interest in me before but she suddenly wanted to know what fashion houses I likes, whether I watched French X Factor...

The sad thing is, I have learnt since moving to Paris is that if you want kids to like you, buy their affection. buy them presents and Easter eggs. Buy their love. That is why I am never having kids, because I only want to spend money on myself.

Speaking of which, I had a Huuuuuge Dilemma about whether to get the Eurostar back to London for New Year's, or the coach. I asked on Facebook what I should do and the majority of people said I should get the Eurostar, even though it was £182 and the coach would be 82 euros. I decided on the Eurostar, because it's quick and easy, but my French card wouldn't work. I took this as A Sign.

I booked the coach.

It takes SEVEN HOURS but remember, seven is my lucky number.

And now I don't have to feel bad about spending money on myself, because I've made this huge, incredible financial sacrifice by getting the coach, therefore I can do whatever the fuck I want.

No Plaster Moons In The Afternoons

I've been a bit of a Slack Alice of late when it comes to the blog, mainly because my laptop is behaving like a sick person, or more accurately, a hypochondriac. There is nothing the matter with it and yet all of a sudden, for no reason at all, it has started freezing and going jarr-jarr-jarr-jarrrrrrrrrzzzzzzgghhh when I try and listen to songs or stream TV programmes. Sometimes it freezes while it is emitting these annoying robot noises at the top of it's tinny voice and I have to hide my laptop under the duvet to avoid receiving any more annoying post-it notes from Mystery Neighbour.

Did I tell you about that? I have come home three times now to find a conspicious yellow slip of paper stuck to my door, with no name or introduction, just a snidey little complaint such as: 'Pas de bruit dans le nuit.' (No noise in the night.) No noise in the night??  Are you suggesting I have previously made noise in the night, Mystery Neighbour, or are you simply writing down random rhymes? If I ever find out who is it, I might start leaving random rhymes in return: 'No yawning in the morning' 'No plaster moons in the afternoons.' Although, I guess I'd have to write them in French... Pas de voir dans le soir?' I think that means 'no seeing in the evenings' but with my level of French, it could just as well mean 'Tram Door'.

Anyway, sorry it's been A While. I have a few things to tell you...

The Stupid Fucking Restaurant Job has been going quite well (touch wood) recently, mainly because I haven't actually been waitressing. They started putting me on the bar a couple of weeks ago and it's soo much easier. Even when it gets really busy and mad, I kind of have my own tasks to do, although it depends on the Shift Manager. There's a couple of really nice ones who let me do my own thing and honestly I am not being a Non-Team Player, but when left to my own devices, things run quite smoothly behind the bar.

But when I'm working with this other Shift Manager, an English girl who really, really likes telling people what to do, she comes behind the bar and tries to Get Involved. I don't know how old she is, but it's possible she's slightly younger than me, or the same age. How can people be so bossy? I understand managers need to 'delegate tasks', but don't be an Annoying Prick about it. She tells me to do things as I am already doing them. It is the most irritating thing in the world, to be unloading a tray of newly-washed, hot, heavy crockery, and for her to glide over (in her high heels, so she can't run down to the kitchen in case she trips), and say 'You need to do the dishwasher.'

Oh no, I think I've got that thing where you think your job problems are worth talking about and everyone else is thinking 'What the fuck are you talking about? You are so boring I want a sharp-beaked bird to come along and tear off my ears.'

In actual fact, most of the time, the Stupid Fucking Waitressing Job is going reasonably well, as long as it continues to actually be Ok Bar Job, which is what I was looking for in the first place.

But. Isn't it always the way, that when something starts going ok in your life another aspect falls spectacularly into the realm of the Very Shit?

I'm talking about my au pair job. There was a time, for the first couple of months, when it seemed to be going Quite Well. But recently, I'd say for the last few weeks, I've been living in denial that Shit Au Pair had made an intimely come-back from the shadows she's been loitering in since July...

Yep, she's back. Just when you thought it was safe to go back on the streets of Paris, here she comes, staring into space and looking miserable for no reason. She wanders aimlessly, leaving a trail of broken toys and poorly planned meals behind her...

Shit, I need to get ready for work now, but I'll tell you about The Return of Shit Au Pair this afternoon.

Thursday, 1 December 2011


Yey! Happy December everybody! From now until Christmas Day I plan on eating nothing but mince pies,  drinking nothing but mulled wine and listening to nothing but songs with the word 'Christmas' repeated in them, at least seven times. Well, I don't have any mince pies as of yet, but Marks and Spencer’s opened on the Champs Elysees last week, so I can supply myself from there. I've not been in yet because the crowds have been too big, but I reckon the initial buzz will have died down by this weekend, so I can go in and see what overpriced English treats they have.

As for the mulled wine, might have to supplement this liquid diet with the occasional cup of tea or glass of water, as not sure I can waitress or look after kids drunk. Well, I'm pretty sure I could do both actually, but the point is, I shouldn't, so I'll restrain myself.

But the Christmas songs are a go-go! They have even started playing them at the restaurant, but I'm finding it difficult to drown out the noise of annoying customers asking me for pints of beer and spoons all the time; I'm struggling to concentrate on Wham's timeless lyrics.

Oh I feel festive!

Actually, I'm afraid The Spirit of Christmas might have carried me away somewhat... I may have gone ever so slightly overboard trying to get the eleven year old (soon to be twelve year old) a suitable birthday present. It's her birthday tomorrow and my only chance to go shopping was this afternoon. I was thinking I could get her something small from a well-known cosmetics brand at Sephora. The girls don’t own anything that doesn't have an expensive label inside, and I figured the only way I could afford something 'good' would be if I went down the cosmetics route...

I forgot what a complete gullible idiot I am when it comes to shopping for make-up. As soon as I walk into a shop like Sephora, the wafts of expensive perfume circulating round the air vents hit me full-on in the face, dazing me and turning me into Clueless Consumer.

Most of my make-up shopping trips go like this:

"Can I help you Madame?"
"I'm just looking for a new moisturiser."
"Have you seen our Limited Edition Dazzling Radiance Bronzer?"
"I'm really only looking for-"
"It's made with real gold dust and it comes in a sparkly box, Madame."

I actually enjoy being sold to. I love it. Many a time I've hovered around a make-up counter and if the salesgirl hasn't offered to sell me something outrageous in two minutes, I've moved on, looking for someone who will try and rip me off and sell me crap.

I walked past all the perfumes, trying to keep my head down.

'Don't look them in the eye. You'll end up buying three litres of men's cologne.' I told myself firmly.

I made it past all the perfumes without interacting with anyone. But it was difficult, thoughts kept popping into my head that I had to dismiss on Ridiculous Spending Grounds:

'I haven't had any perfume for about two months now... Stop it woman! Keep a clear head! Get the bloody gift and get out!'

I arrived at the make-up section. Crowds of expertly made-up faces beamed at me. Before one of them could ensnare me into their evil sales pitch, a shelf of colourful boxes caught my eye. They were cute little gift sets, perfect for teenagers and unfortunately priced for women in their thirties with a lot of disposable income. My eye wandered over to the Benefit counter... 'Benefit- perfect! I thought, 'Prettily-packaged and not a name to be sniffed at by a fashion-conscious twelve year old.'

A smiley salesgirl appeared by my side. "Do you need any help?" she asked me. (Obviously she asked me in French but I can't remember what the French is. When I speak French it's like I'm possessed by the Holy Spirit and speaking tongues: I have no memory of it whatsoever a few minutes later, all I can remember is the general Gist of the conversation.)

I explained I needed to buy a present for a twelve year old. She had the 'perfect thing', it was a cute little gift set with lip gloss and eye shadow in. While it was perfect, it was also thirty six euros. I tactfully told her I was looking to spend a bit less than that, because I was an au pair and it was for the girl I look after.

"Around twenty euros." I said.

Twenty euros!? I wasn't planning on spending over ten euros, but there's a confident, rich girl who lurks in the deepest recesses of my personality and she comes out unexpectedly when I'm talking to salesgirls or browsing expensive make-up counters. I think her name is Tasmin and I can't control her.

Tasmin seemed to think twenty euros was the appropriate amount to spend on a little girl who you don't really know and who doesn't really like you. She asked the salesgirls if they had anything for the lips? This might be a good idea for a girl who is just starting to like make-up? (Tasmin can also speak quite good French.)

The salesgirl showed Tasmin a range of lip glosses, including Benetint which is really a lip balm and that I already have myself. I happen to know it's not suitable for twelve year olds because it turns your lips as red as roses, but the salesgirls showed Tasmin a new version they have of it, a double-ended wand with Benetint on one end and clear gloss on the other.

"It's not too red, it looks like the lip's natural colour." the salesgirl told me.

Lies, I knew it was lies. So did Tasmin. But Tasmin doesn't care if she's being lied to. She just doesn't want to lose face, ever, so she will never back out of a sale. Once you've let the salesgirls sell to you, you're in it until the end. There's no backing out.

It was twenty two euros. But at least we didn't have to explain to the salesgirl that we'd changed our minds. I left Tasmin in Sephora and went to Monoprix, where I spent thirteen euros on Milka chocolate, coloured tissue paper, a gift bag, cellotape and a birthday card.

Why has God cursed me with this Catastrophic Ineptitude for Finances!?

On the bright side, maybe the eleven/twelve year old will like me now.

I'm not holding out much hope. If only I could get Tasmin out more often, I bet they'd bloody love her.