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.


  1. LOL I had this odd moment when I read title, I have a cousin with that name (not a common one may I add) and had a little panic to myself that you in a bizarre way knew her!!!! I actually read the entry and realised its an alter-ego.... I think I should get me one of those. It works for you, Beyonce/sasha fierce. Maybe it can lead me to adventures?!


  2. Yes or maybe it will just lead you into debt... be warned! Thanks for commenting!! : )