Thursday, 31 May 2012


Panic panic. Jen arrives tonight and once again my room is a disgusting hovel. I have just over two hours before I need to leave for work but I thought I'd try and squeeze in a quick blog post, as I won't have any time to blog when Jen is here. Originally it was supposed to be Jen, Rosie and Rachel, like last year when the came and wreaked havoc on the streets of Paris- demanding taxis and cocktails, in very loud voices, every second of every day they were here. Ah it was so fun. But this time Rachel can't come because of work and Rosie has been sick, so even though she booked her tickets and everything, she decided yesterday that she really can't make it.

But Jen is still coming, yey!

She might turn round and go straight back to England if I don't tidy up my room. I'm not sure what the plans are this weekend, I feel a lot of Host Pressure. Plus Ricky said him and his work buddies want to go raving this weekend so I need to find something good. Which reminds me: I never told you what happened on Friday, after my tragic outburst of madness...

(Things got  a bit depressing on Friday didn't they? I really think I had sunstroke, as I felt a bit drunk whilst typing but hadn't had any alcohol at that point. SIDEBAR, Georgie told me that she got those numbers for Dubstep DJ two years ago and so they could be out of date by now... but that's all I'm going to say on the matter. Subject closed. D'accord?)

After I wrote my miserable little blog post about not having Magic Lady Parts and always being covered in Sudocrem or whatever I was moaning about, Olivia rang me and told me we were going out. So instead of drinking the bottle of wine on my own, with a DVD, which probably would have led to some sort of abusive pasta consumption, I put my make-up on and took said bottle to Olivia's.

When I arrived, Olivia pointed out that we could still go and see Dubstep DJ play, because it made sense that the numbers were really old and the last two times it happened it had all been down to Chance and Fate, so perhaps it was always supposed to be like that?

I know what you're thinking: 'Let it go, girl. Stop being a Mental.'

Well luckily, I thought the same thing and decided it would be a Terrible Idea to turn up, so I banished all thoughts from my head and concentrated on having a drink and a chat with Olivia. The plan was to drink the wine and then go out for more drinks somewhere nearby. We were chatting for so long that we didn't notice the night flying away from us, until it was one in the morning. The only reason we went out when we did was because at about half one, my phone rang. It was an English number that I didn't recognise.

I kind of thought that maybe it was You Know Who.

(Yes, Voldemort.)


But it was Ricky! As in Kat and Ricky who I always talk about, Kat my lovely London rave princess and her boyfriend who we met in Ibiza two years ago and have since integrated ourselves into his Rave Team and in the case of Kat, into his bed and now into his flat. (I mean that they live together, not that she is hiding in his airing cupboard.)

I knew Ricky was coming to Paris for a few weeks to film the tennis, but he said he would be too busy working to go out. However, as it was their first night in Paris, Ricky and some of the LADs he was working with decided to go out drinking.

"We're on the strip." he told me.

The strip? Images of LADs on tour, strutting down the Champs-Élysées eating kebabs and swigging from open beer cans flashed into my head.

"There isn't a strip in Paris!" I said.

"We're at somewhere called Bastille." he yelled. There was a lot of noise in the background.

I twigged.

"Ok, I think I know where you are..."

There are actually two places in Paris that could be likened to the sort of 'strip' you'd find on a package holiday to some hot Mediterranean island somewhere: the Greek quarter in St Michel, where cobbled streets are lined with kebab shops and cheap restaurants, with waiters positioned outside trying to hustle in tourists; and Rue de Lappe at Bastille, also a narrow, cobbled street; full of cocktails bars, tourists and scallies.

Obviously they were on Rue de Lappe as Ricky said they were at Bastille, which is about a five minute walk from where Olivia lives. I told Olivia that we were going to meet Ricky on 'the strip' as he called it. I think we've lived in Paris for too long, because we thought it was hilarious.

"It's not the Costa del Sol!" Olivia said.

When we actually got to Rue de Lappe however, we looked at each other in amazement. We've actually been drinking at Bastille a couple of times, but rarely down that little cobbled street where all the tourists and scallies go. It was a lot busier than I expected it to be- there were gangs of guys in Smelly Charver coats stood against the walls, eyeing up the American/German/Spanish female tourists tripping about in their kitten heels. (English girls don't wear kitten heels.) Nicky Minaj and David Guetta songs were blasting out of every bar, as well as the sounds of cheering and singing.

"It's Costa del Paris." Olivia whispered in awe.*

Ricky sent me a text to say they were somewhere called Bar des Familles. We soon found it- a teeny tiny place PACKED with people, all jumping about and yelling, with girls dancing on the bar. It didn't look like there was room for anyone else. When we tried to enter, the bouncer pointed inside and told us there was no more room.

"But our friends are in there." I said.

He stepped aside and shrugged his shoulders.

"If you want to be crushed to death..." he was probably thinking.

We fought our way inside. Instantly we felt ice and water showering down on us- the barmen were throwing crushed ice at everyone and I could already see that a few of the girls were soaked through. We crouched down, screaming. We definitely had not come prepared for that. We made our way back outside, almost crawling like we were under attack.  (Our hair and make-up was under serious attack from all the flying ice.) After two minutes of fighting our way into the middle of the bar, we fought our way back out again and I texted Ricky from outside, telling us to meet us at the door.

Five minutes Ricky appeared, his t-shirt damp from all the sweat and crushed ice flying around inside.

"It's gash in there, full of strawberries." he said.

Ha ha.

It was so weird seeing Ricky in Paris! I can't really imagine any of the Rave Team being in Paris (apart from Kat, who came last year), to me they are fixed in London, forever, apart from the one time in the year when they go to Ibiza. I've been worried that when Ricky comes to Paris he'll think all the clubs and music are shit, so I was really surprised to see him in somewhere like Bar des Familles. He'd just gone along with the guys that he works with though.

It was such a funny night, I was really worried about how Ricky and his work friends were going to survive in Paris, because I'm just not used to seeing LADs in France. They were proper cockney geezers, drinking pint after pint and chatting to every expat they bumped into. Me and Olivia tried to catch up with them, ordering tequila shots and mojitos, but I just didn't feel very drunk. Recently I feel like I've been drinking ten gins in a row and still not getting drunk- I don't want to turn into one of those Alcohol Machines who sit quietly in the corner, knocking back drinks until closing time, when they stand up, sighing, to help all their drunk friends get home, having spent two hundred quid on booze yet enjoying none of the side effects...

We managed to drag everyone out of Bar des Familles and took them to another bar further down the street, where a huge fight broke out and one of Ricky's friends got in the middle of it, pulling people aside and trying to calm them down by talking to them... in English. It was funny but me and Olivia were a bit worried. The guys were a bit nonplussed I think, because they obviously think they can look after themselves but... I don't know... Paris can be proper, proper dodgy and people don't really get wasted. I was torn between wanting to get drunk with them and feeling uneasy for them.

Soon that bar closed, so me and Olivia took them to a bar we like to call Peter Stringfellow's, because it's decor reminds me of an 'upmarket' strip bar. We went there a few weeks ago when Olivia's sister was here and I can't believe I forgot to tell you the story... Olivia lost a diamond out of her ring and we looked everywhere for it, but it was quite small and the bar was so dark that we gave up, hoping the cleaner might find it in the morning. The next day Olivia's sister couldn't find her necklace either, which had a massive strawberry on it, and she was gutted because it was her favourite thing in the world.

For Some Reason I decided I would be the one to call up the club and ask if they'd found a strawberry necklace and a tiny diamond. At first my French was fine and I explained that we'd been in the club the night before, but then I started asking her if she'd found a cuillère, avec une fraise...

The woman on the phone sounded a bit surprised so I kept repeating it, until Olivia realised what I was saying and told me my mistake- necklace is collier, cuillère means spoon. Dickhead. So basically this was our conversation...

"Hello, I was in your bar last night and I'd like to ask you... have you found a spoon?"
"A spoon?"
"Yes, a spoon. A spoon with a strawberry on it."
"A spoon with a strawberry on it?"
"Yes a spoon with a strawberry on it. A spoon. A NECKLACE!"
"A necklace?"
"Sorry no, we haven't found a necklace."
"Ok, thanks. Also, have you found a tiny, tiny diamond?"
"A tiny, tiny diamond, all on his own?"
"Ok, thank you very much."

Anyway, I've been wanting to tell you about the spoon story for ages, even though now I've written it down it seems like it might be one of those things where 'you had to be there'. Going back to last Friday...

We took Ricky and the LADs to Peter Stringfellow's and all of a sudden... I was drunk. Disgustingly drunk. I kept trying to put my head on the table because I had Head Spin, but Olivia was pinching me until I sat up. She took me home. Apparently as we walked home I was saying "I'm worried about the boys... how are they going to get home?" and I could barely stand up. Also Olivia told me I tried to start a fight with someone on the street who was shouting things at us... But I won't believe that for a second. Doesn't sound like me, does it? 

But, just in case it is true, I've decided I'm going to stop drinking. After Jen's visit. And after Kat and her sister come next week. But then I am going to stop drinking alcohol because I'm just a massive dickhead, basically, even more so when I'm drunk. Also I spend too much money on alcohol and I want a flat(ter) belly for Ibiza and I'm not going to change what I eat or do any exercise, so it looks like my alcohol consumption is the thing to change. 

Right. Shit. Really need to tidy my room now. 

Before I go, I just want to vent about something. On the 21st June, there is a massive We Love Art (Creators Project) rave on at the Grand Palais and Jamie XX and Caribou are playing and it will be SO GOOD but... for Some Reason... they are being massive nobheads about tickets. You can't just buy tickets, oh no. They are releasing the tickets little by little, and to get the tickets you have to constantly check the websites, because every day (or every other day or whatever, I'm not really sure) they post questions and you have to answer the question to get tickets. But the question is only online for five minutes and not everyone who answers it in time will get tickets. I don't think I've explained that very well, but I'm so confused. I've not been on the website a lot because I've been working so much, but Georgie and Julia have been trying every chance they get and they haven't succeeded either... It's so fucking annoying. 

Bal Blanc/Ball Wank.

I'm beginning to think maybe it's not worth the bother. It would be a good rave, but judging by the means of getting tickets, it might be full of strawberries, as Ricky would say.

Ok I really need to tidy my room now. I can't wait to see Jen! I don't know what to do this weekend though. Bonobo is playing on Saturday but tickets are about 30 euros I think and I promised Jen we'd have a cheap weekend. Hmm. Anyway... BYE.

*Oh all right, so she might not have actually whispered it in awe, but she definitely said it and I've already used the phrase 'Olivia said' once so... We're all down for a bit of poetic license here, aren't we?

Friday, 25 May 2012


I was just putting a DVD in my laptop and wondering if my life had really come to this, when Olivia rang me.

"I've read your blog. We're going out."

Yey! Love my friends.

Better wash this Sudocrem off.

Drinking Wine, In My Cloak AKA Having a Nervous Breakdown or Possibly I Have Sunstroke

I was going to keep this a secret and pretend that it never, ever happened, but what's the point in having a blog if I'm not going to be completely honest?

Today I was sat outside the restaurant having a quick coffee before I went to pick the girls up from school, and I was scrolling through Twitter on my phone when I noticed that Dubstep DJ was playing in Paris tonight. For anyone who doesn't know the saga of Dubstep DJ, catch up by reading the following posts (in order. Or not. But don't expect it to make any sense.):

Fifty Dollars for the Powder Room


Stay Tuned

Getting Nowhere: Part 1

Getting Nowhere: Part 2

Getting Somewhere: Part 1

Getting Somwhere: Part 2

Ok, so now you're up to date, you'll understand why I was teensy bit interested when I saw that Dubstep DJ was playing in Paris. My first thought was 'Ooh I'd like to see him play his new stuff.' (Honestly it was!) My second thought was: 'I wonder if I'll get to see him after the gig...'

The last two times were complete fluke and I loved the randomness of it all. I thought that tonight I could maybe have a similar adventure...

Also, sorry to be brash, but the Mass Boy Hysteria has become all-consuming and I'd rather have sex with someone who I know is not a psychopath, who won't make me listen to him play the accordion or ask me if he is as hairy as 'my daddy'. Shudder.

As I wouldn't be finishing work until 9pm, I thought the chances of getting tickets were slim, so I asked Georgie is she might be able to get us on Guestlist- she knows Dubstep DJ from South London. Georgie said didn't really want to go out and therfore felt a bit cheeky asking him for a favour on behalf of other people, but she did send me two numbers she had for him, telling me to ask him myself.

I was hesitant.

Did I want to be that girl, getting in contact after all this time, when I'd done so well at being the blasé, unattached, 'see you later maybe, if we bump into each again' kind of girl?

On the other hand, it was a glorious hot, sunny day and I felt all summery and excited about life. 'Why not?' I thought, 'What's the worst that could happen?'

So I texted both the numbers Georgie gave me, saying hi (at the same time gently reminding him who I was to avoid any awkward misunderstandings that I'm sure must arise when you constantly tour and sleep with girls at each gig) and asking him very politely if there was any way he could put me and a friend on Guestlist, as I wanted to go but had left it a bit too late to get tickets.

No reply.


That's the end of that.

I know I should have expected it but... I just get taken in too easily I suppose. I thought maybe my lady parts had magic powers that would make him put me on the Guestlist and want to see me again but I was wrong. I don't have magic lady parts. I just have normal lady parts and they can't make anyone do anything for me and I'm getting a bit sick of it.

If you're wondering if I'm drunk, I'm not. But I soon will be. I've got a bottle of wine in the fridge and I plan to sit here, in my cloak, and drink the whole thing. I'll have to sit in my underwear because it's so fucking hot in my room and the cloak is so heavy, I'll be just like my Whoreish Cape illustration, but I need it, I need to wear the cloak right now, ok?

Talking of the cloak... I wore it out today for the first time! I promised everyone at the restaurant I would wear it to work today.

Well, I actually put it in my bag and then sneakily put it on just before I got to work, so I could pretend I'd worn it for the entire journey. I know I've been bragging about my cloak-wearing ability for months now, but the truth is I'm just to scared to start wearing it out and about on the streets of Paris. It's going to take guts. People just aren't sure what to make of a girl in a full-length cloak these days. But I'll get there, I just need to take it slowly. Baby steps.

The good news is everybody LOVED my cloak. The French people didn't really understand why I was wearing it, but I could tell they were in Awe of it all the same. Amy has ingeniously made my cloak reversible- one side is black velvet and one side is a lovely, floral material with blue and pink flowers on it. She thought I could wear the floral side in summer because it's more seasonal- how thoughtful of her!

I seriously can not believe how amazing my cloak is. It's EXACTLY how I imagined it to be, except I never thought of making it reversible, so actually  it's even better than I imagined!

God I'm so hot. My room is unbearable. I might have to take my cloak off.

I'd love to put pictures up but the shitty camera on my Blackberry just doesn't do it justice, I'm waiting until Georgie has time to take some photos of it with her Professional Camera, so you can see my cloak all its glory.

Right. I'm going to drink this bottle of wine now. And I'm never listening to dubstep again.

Ooh, before I forget, for anyone living in Paris, the Villette Sonique festival starts today and there are so many good people on and most of it is free. Last year the weather was gorgeous and we spent the weekend sat on the grass in the sunshine, drinking beer and listening to great DJs, for free (Ikonika and Kode9 played last year). Unfortunately this year, I'm working Saturday evening and Sunday day time, so I'm going to miss most of it. But you should check it out, click here for more information.

Working at the restaurant is becoming a massive ballache now that summer is finally here. I just want to sunbathe all day and I can't. Even more annoyingly, Jen and Rosie are coming next weekend (wooooo) and I'm down to work Saturday night and Sunday day. Obviously I won't be going in, but at the moment nobody can work my shifts so... Probably will get fired.

I've got quite a few visitors coming in the next few weeks. Jen and Rosie are coming next weekend, then when they leave Kat and her sister are coming to stay for a couple of days,  (one of the reasons Kat is coming is because her boyfriend Ricky is working here for a few weeks, he's not technically a visitor but I'll hopefully see him for some raving all the same) then at the end of June my brother is coming and my mum will be in Disneyland on the Sunday on a school trip so we're going to go and see her. (She's a teacher, in case you didn't guess. Would anyone really be stupid enough to think she was a pupil? Or am the stupid one for assuming anyone would think that? Are these rhetorical questions starting to annoy you? Shall I stop asking them now? A little bird just flew in through my window and dropped a letter on my desk, it says: 'Yes, stop asking them you dickhead'. O.k, that was a lie, but I didn't know how to get out of the rhetorical question thing.)

What with just having Amy and Lauren here as well, it's turning out to be a busy couple of months for visitors. Next time I blog I'll tell you about Amy's visit. As expected, she made us all do ridiculous things. There was a man in salmon trousers involved.

Anyway, too hot to type now. Must drink wine. Not a big fan of men. Might be joining my friends out later so my plan is to get really drunk and then I won't care what I look like when I go out. I'm having one of those nights where you can't believe how hideous your face is. I'm just looking at my nose in the mirror above my desk right now and even smothered in Sudocrem (I admit it- I'm addicted) I can see how wide and crooked it is. I can never leave my room again. Good god.

Right, wine.

And let's keep this whole texting embarrassment between ourselves, ok?

It never happened.

Thursday, 24 May 2012


It's finally summer!

Last week it rained nearly every day and there were thunderstorms, but the past two days have been so hot and sunny; yesterday I got sunburnt in the park, reading my book while the little girl had her ballet class. It's finally hot enough to spend every evening sat by the river, drinking cheap wine and eating crisps. (We're the only ones ever eating crisps. Real Parisiens might sit by the river and drink, but they don't snack.) I was supposed to be meeting the girls by the river after work but I flaked out- I've been really hungover all day and I still feel a bit rough.

Yep, after swearing that I would never, ever go to work hungover ever again, I got really drunk last night for No Reason with this Welsh girl from work. I may or may not have come home and Tweeted the actor who plays Malakai in Save the Last Dance* something about still thinking he was the sexist man alive and if he was ever in Paris to look me up... or something. I also may or may not have ended the Tweet with 'yo'.

Don't bother looking for it because I deleted it as soon as I woke up this morning, and all the awful antics of last night came flooding back to me like a wave of vomit. Ergh.

I really, really want to stop drinking. My bank texted me the other day to tell me that I had MINUS twenty two euros in my bank account- the last time I checked I had over 700 euros in there. I feel physically ill thinking about all the money I've spent in the last two weeks. BUT. Lauren and Amy were here, so... so... I'm struggling to think of a justification. Hold on. I'll just make a cup of tea and see if that helps my brain work any better. I think I might be too hungover to write a blog post...

Ha! I know! Amy and Lauren were only here for a short while, so I had to make the most of our time together and throw caution to the wind- live life to the full and forget all thoughts of Budgeting and Saving Up. I don't regret spending all my money because I had a LOVELY time.

Also, I booked my flights to Ibiza!!! Finally! So yeah, most of the money went on flights and clothes, I didn't fritter it all away on gin and steak.

Me and Lauren went on huge shopping binges and I haven't bought clothes for agessss so I don't feel too guilty. Plus, I bought really useful items that I can wear every day with anything, like high-waisted purple African-print trousers, a full-length, ballet pink silk skirt from Zara and white cotton shorts. Hmm. When I put it like that, they sound like such practical purchases...

The two days Lauren was here were really hot and sunny- on the Monday we wandered around the shops on Rue de Rivoli because Lauren needs a new wardrobe for her new high-flying job at a very famous publishers in London. We went for lunch and got a little bit tipsy after half a pint of beer and then went into an Orange shop to sort my phone out... Even though I'm on contract, if I use up all my free minutes my unlimited free text messages stop as well, but they sent me a message to say that I could reinstate the free messages if I topped up eight euros... Lies.

Everything in France is so COMPLICATED- they just won't let me get into debt as easily as I'd like. My card gets blocked if I go overdrawn, I can't text or call anyone if I use up all my free minutes... Let me run into excessive debt, people! Let me get ridiculously overdrawn and charge me disgusting amounts of interest! Let me keep using my phone, unaware that I've used up all my free minutes, running up huge phone bills! Let me be me!

In the message was a number to call to top up and I called it over TWENTY TIMES and still couldn't work out how to top up eight euros. Lauren tried for me as well so it wasn't just my bad French, it was IMPOSSIBLE to top up eight euros. In the end I decided to go into an Orange shop, give them my phone and say 'Top my phone up eight euros please'.

Anyway, me and the guy in the phone shop had a very frustrating conversation that went something like this:

Top my phone up eight euros please.
That's impossible.
But this message said I can, look.
I don't know anything about that.
But I've used up my free minutes and now I can't text anyone, it says if I top up eight euros it will reinstate the free texts.
If you've used up all your free minutes that's it, you've used them all up. (At this point he looked at me like I was telling him I'd destroyed my liver with drink and was casually asking him to give me his.)
Yes I know. But. THIS MESSAGE says if I top my phone up with eight euros it will work again.
That's impossible.
I don't know anything about that...

Repeat entire conversation twelve times.

In the end Lauren threw her hands in the air and said 'Ca, c'est la France!' and we flounced out to do more shopping. Prick. He was telling me off like I'd never had a mobile phone before.There was nobody in the shop asides from us and two policemen, who stood listening to the whole conversation as if any minute I was about to violently assault Phone Man. Idiot. He must get really bored, standing in an empty shop all day, waiting for customers so he can REFUSE to help them. It was good for my French though.

Asides from shopping and eating... No that's it, that's all we did while Lauren was here. We went to Chez Gladines on the Monday night and on Tuesday night we went to Point Ephémère by the canal for a couple of drinks. I'd forgotten all about that place but I definitely have to start going again.  There's always something going on there- when we went there was a music photography exhibition on and a gig- and the drinks are cheap (for Paris.).

Every day that Lauren was here we got up early and had breakfast together. When Wednesday morning rolled around I felt really, really sad. We said goodbye and it felt like I was saying goodbye to London as well, to my possible life in London, to the life in London I've been dreaming about for nearly two years. It was then that I realised I had already made the decision to stay in Paris for another year.

Left Bank Manc ain't going nowhere kids.

It's funny because I feel a bit sad, but I know it's the right decision. More on this another time, right now I really have to go, the heat from the laptop is making my Sudocrem melt off. (Olivia bought me some back from London and I've been smothering my face in it every night. I fucking LOVE Sudocrem.)

My room is so hot, it's like being on holiday when you can't sleep and you just lie on top of white sheets, feeling restless.

Oh by the way, let me just explain my post from the other day, my entry to the English National Opera's Mini Operas competition. To enter you had to post the entry on your blog and send them the link and now they've put all the entries on their website. You can read them here. (I've spent hours reading them all, it's amazing how differently everyone has responded to the seed stories!) At first I panicked because my entry wasn't there and I thought I hadn't submitted it properly, so I Tweeted them and they said they were still in the process of putting them all up. Then whoever is doing their Twitter account put my entry up straight away, making it the very first one, how lovely is that? And amazingly, they didn't put my name on my entry- I don't know if it was an accident, or if the person doing the Twitter account worked out I was an anonymous blogger. Imagine if they did?

Anyway, off I go to lie restlessly on top of my bed. I'm going to do more blogging tomorrow. I don't want to spoil the surprise but I can't resist any longer- the present Amy brought for me was...


I'm going to wear it to work tomorrow, in summer mode though because she's made it reversible as a floor-length, black velvet cloak isn't suitable for all weathers.

*Me and Kayt watched it the other night, I'd forgotten how much I love it and also how shit Julia Stiles is. I've just been looking for photos of Malakai on Google Images and he's actually not fit at all, I just love him in the film though so he's so scary and angry. Grrrr. Also the moment when Sarah and Derek are about to have sex for the first time and she says 'My dad will be gone all night.' or something equally cringe, and then she goes to walk away and he grabs her by the arm and they look at each other and they both know... they KNOW! I might watch that moment again later...

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Old Au Pair Family

Right, I've got so much blogging to catch up on that for my own peace of  mind, I've decided to go through the last couple of weeks very methodically, so that I don't miss anything. Don't worry, I'm not literally going to blog about every single thing that has happened to me in the last couple of weeks...

Woke up and lay in bed. Heard my alarm but didn't move. Woke up again and heard my alarm. Didn't move again. Thought about what I would call my cat if I had one. Thought about how the type of cat would affect what name I gave it. Decided if it was grey cat I would call it Storm. When I get my cloak and I am a superhero Storm the cat would be a good side kick but if it was a ginger cat I would call it Amber or Orange Blossom. Realised I was going to be late for work so jumped out of bed and put some leggings on. They had a big hole in and a silvery stain near the knee, I thought it was probably moisturiser so I put them on anyway and then had to sit down- I felt a bit sick because I had jumped out of bed so fast.

No. I'm just going to stick to the Key Events which, as I lead quite a dull life, unfortunately aren't particularly Key. For example, I'm going to start by telling you about lunch with my old au pair family, or as I used to call them, Family Decent.

If you didn't read my blog last year, I called them Family Decent because the family I was working for before them- Family Thrift- used to feed me grated carrot for dinner and they paid me forty euros a week... The less said about them the better.

Sometimes I really miss the kids from Family Decent... All right, so there were times when I would be sat in the kitchen, shaking with anger or frustration, thinking to myself 'I will NEVER be an au pair again' because they were all watching cartoons instead of eating their dinner or getting in the shower and the mum would be coming home any minute; but it's easy to forget the bad times when you're no longer in the middle of a situation. Now I mostly remember how me and the five year old used to go to museums together and he used to be really Keen and Interested in everything: I used to point things out to him and then look around smugly as if to say: 'Look! What a lovely, fun yet education-focused nanny I am.'

However, whilst I do remember that the kids could be Little Shits sometimes, I had completely forgotten  how insanely complicated my job was last year, thanks to the mum being so busy and communicating with me mostly through incomprehensible notes and text messages. I was reminded of this as soon as I got to their building, on the Sunday I went for lunch with them. (We're going back a few weeks now, because it was the Sunday Hollande won the election.) I sent the mum a text to ask her what the code was and she text me back saying:

LBM, I am on the little place

The little place? As in the place du marché ? Or as in, literally, a little place somewhere? (Also, she didn't call me LBM. Obviously she called me by my real name which is a Top Secret and Mystery.)

Ok, I texted her back, Shall I wait for you here?

In the house where Juliette had dance come to me

As I puzzled over her second text, I realised she meant the roundabout at the end of the road, where there is a little culture centre. (By the way I've used a fake name, but Juliette refers to the nine year old that last year I always referred to as 'the eight year old' [because it was a year ago and she was a year younger. Nine minus one year is eight... Do I really have to explain all this to you?])

Once I got there I couldn't see the mum anywhere, so I texted her to say I was at the 'little house' She told me to:

Go in the dancing room.

It was like some elaborate treasure hunt, devised by a man so his girlfriend can find him stood on the balcony, holding an engagement ring and surrounded by rose-scented candles. Or perhaps just lying naked on a bed, handcuffed to the bedposts and wearing a gimp mask. Depends on the man, I suppose.

I went into the room where Juliette used to have dance and realised that it was being used as a polling station. It looked exactly like an English polling station, except everyone was wearing scarves- it being a mild day in early Spring, anyone without a scarf was obviously in danger of Death by Slight Chill, whereas if it had been a warmish May day in England... let's just say there would have been a lot of goose-pimpled flesh on view.

The mum was posting her ballot when I spotted her, she had the five year old with her. His little face lit up when he saw me and when he smiled I could see that he's lost his two front teeth. Altogether now: Awww! He was wearing the same brown velvet blazer with a brown polo neck underneath that he used to wear last year and which earnt him the name 'Seventies Boy' amongst my (mean) friends at the park.

 We went to the market to get 'something hot' to eat and the whole way there the five year old was chatting away to me, telling me about his new school and what he got for Christmas... I asked him if he remembered going to the market with me on a Wednesday morning and he nodded, but I'm pretty sure he was just humoring me. I remember it though. He used to ask for things for me and get really excited about buying courgettes and sweet potatoes and then cry hysterically when we got home and he realised I'd bought them for our lunch and he had to actually eat them.

They didn't have any hot chickens left so the mum bought paella instead which I couldn't understand because it was TWENTY FIVE EUROS and her kids won't even eat spaghetti bolognaise, never mind something that has squid tentacles in it. I remembered how last year she used to tell me 'Oh my kids just love raw radishes! They eat them like sweets!' or something ridiculous like that, so I would cook whatever she had suggested, thinking the kids would be really pleased and then they'd go mad when they saw it on the table, yelling 'We HATE this! We NEVER EAT this!'

I don't know if the mum is optimistic, deluded, or just a really good actor.

Anyway, after promising not to tell you everything single boring thing that has happened to me in the last few weeks, I've just gone and described going to the market in epically dull detail, so I might rush through the rest of my account of having lunch with my old au pair family:

The girls were happy to see me, they jumped on me in exactly the same manner they jumped on Super Au Pair last year, when I got Well Jel because at the time they barely spoke to me some days. The eight year old brought out the birthday card I gave her last year and embarrassingly, it had fairies drawn all over the inside, but I mean I'd really drawn them, you could tell I'd tried really hard. A little bit cringe.

They told me how Swedish Au Pair, the girl who replaced me and who I've been imagining all this time to be some sort of multi-tasking, kind-hearted Bond Girl, was actually a Massive Weirdo. The eleven year old told me Swedish Au Pair never washed (I smirked to myself at this because I'm not exactly known for my OCD washing habits... ha ha.) and she was horrible to them. The mum was a bit more diplomatic and told me that Swedish Au Pair didn't like Paris because she wasn't used to big cities, and she also didn't make any friends so she had no social life. She said Swedish Au Pair's parents came to visit and when she asked to meet them, Swedish Au Pair said she didn't want them to. The mum of Family Decent kept telling her to think about going home, as she could tell she wasn't happy here and when her parents came, Swedish Au Pair finally admitted that she wanted to leave.

After her they got another Swedish au pair, who they really like and funnily enough was in a similar position to me, she was already working as an au pair in Paris but didn't want to stay with her original family as they lived too far out of Paris. The mum said that Second Swedish Au Pair is thinking of staying for another year BUT she also asked me if I would like to be their au pair next year...

I'm not going to gloat but I will say this: You don't miss your water 'til the well runs dry.


I might not be Super Au Pair but I've figured out what I am... I'm Better The Devil You Know Au Pair. All these (two) families begging (not really) asking me to work for them next year... it's not because I'm not shit, it's just because know exactly how shit I am. The great fear of the unknown is getting me job offers.

I politely declined without using the word no, because I might have missed those kids but that job was Hard Work, especially compared with this year. Also, if I stay on as an au pair for another year, it will be so I can pursue other opportunities (such as writing and drama teaching), but Family Decent need someone who can work thirty five hours a week.

Sadly, the mum told me her dad died earlier this year. I'm really surprised because he didn't seem that old, but her mum was quite fragile and poorly all the time. They lived in a HUGE apartment (it had a tree in one of the rooms) and used to always give me chocolate and sweets when I went round with the kids. I liked the grandparents. The mum said that because she was so sad, she didn't want to go on holiday, but she didn't see why the kids should miss out on a holiday, so the two girls and their dad went on a last-minute, all-inclusive vacation in the Caribbean... It's funny because compared with my new au pair family, Family Decent seem really normal and middle class, but they are actually ridiculously rich as well. They just work hard for their money and they're not as flashy with it. I told the mum of Family Decent that the eleven year old in my new family has her own Mac book and goes on Facebook all the time and she was shocked. I also told her that the baby can use an iPad and won't eat his dinner without it and she gasped. (I hope the two families never meet at a party and discover I have been a two-faced Bitchy McGee.)

It was weird being back in their apartment. I still think it's a gorgeous apartment, but it's so small compared to my new family's house. (I need a nickname for them actually, I might call them Family Cool because they listen to hip hop and dress their toddler in Converse and a Ramones t-shirt.)

When I was talking to the mum in the kitchen, I looked at the little table and remembered my first ever day working for them. We sat at the little table and played Monopoly and I just kept looking around and smiling because I couldn't believe the difference between Family Decent and Family Thrift, whose kitchen was falling apart and everything was covered in a fine, brown dust because there were workmen there everyday.

(I know I'm sounding like a money-driven bitch- in reality I don't care if people are rich or poor- but Family Thrift were obviously having Money Troubles and they just couldn't afford an au pair.)

So. That just about sums up my lunch with Family Decent. Now I have to go and sort my nails out before work, I've just bought that Magnetix nail varnish from Claire's Accessories, the one where you apply it and then use a magnet to make patterns in the metallic paint. I was in Claire's buying the eight year old- of Family Cool- a birthday present by the way, I haven't suddenly started wearing florescent green leg warmers and feather boas.

Monday, 21 May 2012

My Entry for the ENO Mini Operas Competition

 No Prince Tonight

                        I live in the tallest tower
Of a castle made of flowers
And I wile away the hours
Waiting for him

 The air is happiness
She is a princess
And I am watching her
The girl I watch is me

This place is very strange
And yet I know it
It seems familiar
Or is it new to me?

The shadow of a dragon
Passes over fields
The curtains flutter
And the floor is sand
The horizon changes
I see a shape
The shape of a man
My Prince is coming
I can see my heart
Beneath my dress
Such loveliness
The tower is on a level with the ground
And the dragon and the sun are spinning round
And round
He comes
He’s there
I can hear my prince at last
Running up the stairs

Sorry love, no Prince tonight
This can’t be right
                                                                                                 I’ll shed some light
                                                                                                 Your dreams are dust
 It’s me who must
 Clean up all this mess
But I’m a princess!
                        My Prince is coming!
                        I live in a tower made of flowers!
That’s nice. Mind out
What is this about?        
No need to shout.
You’ve swept the skies to darkness
                         And where’s that feeling gone?
                         The world around me fades to...


 This is your warning.
                         Get out, take your sweeping brush
                         Go away and leave me to my dreaming

                                                                                                 I get your meaning.        
                                                                                                 And if you’re sure
                                                             I shan’t be coming sweeping      
                                                                         up your mind no more

Leave me alone 
                 I mean it
                                                                                                    So do I
                       Then go away, sweeper

Now I can feel reality
The cold world comes rushing
Over me like water
It washes me clean
Of the night time’s dreams
And yet
I’m waiting for something
The horizon changes
I can see my heart
This place is very strange
And yet I know it
                                How are you today?
It seems familiar
Or is it new to me?
                                                                                                                                Did you sleep at all?
Although the window’s small
I see beyond the castle walls
There’s a shadow of a dragon
Passing over fields
The air was happiness
You swept the skies to darkness
And I am watching her
                        Or is she watching me?
                        What is that shape I see?
                        I feel reality
                        Like a mist upon my skin
                        And still I wait for him
                        He might return one day
To sweep the dreams away.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Le Désastre

I've had rather a stressful afternoon. I've still got a knot in my stomach and a horrible, creeping fear that I've Fucked Up and I'm in trouble. I STUPIDLY let slip to the mum of the au pair family that I wasn't going to Amsterdam this weekend, I asked her for the time off ages ago. We were all going to drive there and stay in a hostel, as tomorrow and Friday are bank holidays in France, so it's a four day weekend. But we didn't really organise anything and as it got nearer and nearer to the dates I was starting to doubt whether I could afford a weekend in Amsterdam, when I haven't even booked my flights to Ibiza yet. Also I forgot to book the time off work at the restaurant, so in the end I decided not to go and then Kayt, Olivia and Julia decided not to go either.

Anyway, the au pair family knew for weeks that I was going to Amsterdam and they had planned to go to their country house for the long weekend. But last week the mum asked me about my Amsterdam plans and like an IDIOT I just told her the truth, telling her straight away that I wasn't going anymore, without thinking before I spoke. The mum was really surprised and kept saying "You rather work than see your friends." which I thought was a bit weird, but I guess nobody in the family has to work so they don't understand Work Ethic and Obligations etc. (I know I'm a bit of a numpty but I always show up for work and stuff.)

Then on Monday the mum asked me if I would be able to go to their country house with them. I'm working every day in the resto but I told her I'd ask, because I like to be obliging and I can't say no to anyone. To my surprise, the manager at the resto said I could go, as long as I was back to work my weekend shifts. The mum of the au pair family booked my train tickets for me, returning to Paris on Friday night and leaving at 7pm tonight.

As I'm writing this post sitting in bed and not, as I should be, on a train, you can assume I fucked up the au pair mum's plans quite spectacularly. But. It really wasn't my fault. Well, it wasn't anybody's fault.

Before I had a chance to tell anyone I was going away with the au pair family for a couple of days, Kayt sent me a text this afternoon, asking me if I wanted to go and see a film about asylum seekers living in Paris in some art house cinema somewhere (oh we're very cultured darling). I told her I was going to Normandy with the family and she said:

Can you get out of it? You have to stay in Paris. I can't tell you why.

In the end she was forced to tell me why she didn't want me to go: because Amy is coming to Paris tonight as a surprise and they've kept it a secret from me for a whole month!

I was GUTTED. If only I wasn't going away with the family, it would have been perfect because I'd have loads of time off work. Kayt told me to explain to the mum of the au pair family and offer to pay for train tickets. I Whats Apped Amy and told her I knew about the surprise and she said the same thing.

I just hate letting people down and messing up plans. I want to please everybody. At first I decided that since the au pair mum had booked my tickets and was expecting me, I should just go to the countryside, as Amy is staying until Monday and I'll still have the weekend with her.

But then I realised that I'm working six and a half hours on Saturday night and six and a half hours on Sunday day, so I wouldn't actually have a lot of time with her. And considering the mum had planned to go to the countryside without me, surely if I explained the situation... There's no harm in asking, right?

I asked Kayt to write the text in French for me so there would be no confusion and sent her something along the lines of:

I'm so, so sorry but I've just found out my cousin (not really a lie as me and Amy are really close... more of an embellishment really) is coming to Paris tonight. She didn't tell me because she wanted to surprise me. Do you really need me in the countryside? I will pay you for the train tickets.

The mum texted me back something like:

Yes I really, really need you but if your cousin is coming I can not ask you to come.

I ummed and ahhhed for about half an hour and finally decided I wouldn't enjoy myself if I stayed in Paris, because I'd feel so guilty about letting down the au pair family, so I texted the mum again saying 'Ok I will come to Normandy then, my friend has said my cousin can stay with her.'

I was really miserable but once I'd made the decision, I couldn't go back on it. This all happened while I was waiting for the little girl to finish her dance class and by the time I'd picked her up and taken her home, I was feeling slightly more optimistic about the whole thing. I'd still have all of Friday night, Saturday day and Sunday night with Amy, plus I wanted to use the opportunity of going to the countryside with the family to make a decision- should I stay another year with them? (I know that staying for another year sounds like a mad thing to even consider, but I'll explain my reasoning I've got more time.)

Anyway, the mum came home about five pm and I was panicking a bit because my train from St Lazare was at 7pm and I hadn't packed or washed my hair or anything. I jumped up to go as soon as she arrived but she said "Sorry, but I have to do something, just five more minutes."

I figured out I'd still be all right for time if I stayed an extra half an hour, which is how long I ended up staying. The mum seemed really stressed out and I could hear the dad saying irritably in the kitchen "Is it real, her reason?" It pisses me off when he speaks about me in French which he's done a couple of times, within earshot. I actually don't care if he's talking about me, just don't do it on the assumption that I won't understand because you're speaking in French; I do understand French and you're being RUDE.

When the mum said I could go, I was about to ask her who was picking me up from the train station at the other end when she started talking about plans she'd made and subsequently had to cancel, about how it was 'too bad' but it was what it was. I stared at her for a moment before realisation dawned... She thought I wasn't coming to Normandy!

"I'm coming!" I said, getting my phone out to show her the message that for some reason she hadn't received, "I felt really bad so I sent you a message to say I would come."

She looked at the message and then started swearing, pissed off all over again because she'd cancelled the train tickets. I said "I'm really sorry, see you on Monday then." before running out of the house as quick as I could.

I was freeeeee!

But the elation I expected to feel didn't come, because I felt all worried and stressed out. I hate people being angry with me, I can't stand it.

It's just too easy to get sucked in when you work so closely with a family and their kids. Logically, I shouldn't be bothered at all. All I'm making them do is take THEIR children to THEIR country house. They didn't even think I'd be coming until Monday night anyway. Pfffft. My friend (I mean, er, cousin) is coming to see me and I want to spend time with her.

It was hard going to work when Lauren was here, who left this morning by the way. I felt really sad and yesterday I was a bit sulky in the restaurant because I knew Lauren was only here for one more night and I resented spending time away from her. It was so nice to see her, I can't believe she was only here for two days. By a stroke of luck (sorry, only dickheads and Enid Blyton characters use that phrase) I wasn't on the rota to work in the resto on Monday, so we had a whole day of shopping and eating.

I finally got my new bank card you see, it's the BEST THING EVER!!

I bought some white cotton hot pants (which sound horrendous but I have been dreaming about such shorts for over a year now), some mad purple trousers (which also sound horrendous and I suspect they probably are a little bit but I LOVE them), a couple of tops and some new leggings, which were long overdue as anyone who follows me on Twitter and saw the photo of them ripped away from my thighs will know.The sad thing is, after weeks of stressing out because my bank is closed for refurbishment and they won't let me get money out in any other branch because French banks are STUPID, me and Lauren went to have a look at it on Monday and the entire bank has just moved next door temporarily, so I could have got my card three weeks ago.


Anyway the point is, I've got my bank card back. Careful, careful...

I just wanted to share my angst-ridden afternoon with you. It's over now and the family are long gong to Normandy, so I'll just try and forget about the whole thing. Until Monday. Oh God. Anyway, Amy is coming tonight and even though it's not the dramatic hands-over-the-eyes surprise everyone had planned (I don't know whether they specifically planned to do that, but they should have done because that would have been amazing), it was still a surprise to find out she is coming!

She also said she has 'the best gift' for me...

I don't want to get my hopes up.

But I have an inkling that it might be... No I can't say it. Let's wait and see.


Monday, 14 May 2012

Hello, Is It Me You're Looking For?

Just a quick hello, Lauren is having a shower and I am averting my eyes, although you can't actually see anything because of strategically placed stripes of frosted glass, but me and Kayt said this to Amy last time she stayed over, whilst watching her in the shower, and she got a bit freaked out. Lauren has just said "Ooh it is a bit weird, being naked in the same room." I think I'll keep looking away, don't want to freak her out.

We've already had some delicious cakes from the pâtisserie , now we are shopping, if my bank will let me get any money out. I have money in the bank. They just won't give it to me. I'll explain another time. Anyway, here is that video that I told you about- me and Huge Old Fashioned Man gliding across the dance floor at Chez Moune and then falling over.

My secret identity isn't revealed because the lights are so bright, otherwise I wouldn't show you. I really did fall over quite spectacularly, although if you watch the video I think you'll agree that it was no reflection on me being a clumsy idiot-he let me fall to the floor. I'd like to point out I was wearing chunky boots because I didn't think we were going out 'properly' that night. Ok, now you can see the video:

(Watch out for the moment when I'm lying on the floor, debating whether to get up and style it out, or to remain on the floor, a hideous testimony to my lack of dancing skills.)

The sad thing is I remember my dancing as being spectacularly beautiful... now I've seen the video I have to accept the fact that it was in fact, crap.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Last Weekend and This Weekend

Argh it's been so long, sorry pals and chums and the people who read my blog just because they hate me.

Yeah, I'm talking to YOU.

Did I catch anyone out? I don't know if I'm just being paranoid but I thought I'd mention the hate-reader thing just in case there was anyone reading purely to annoy themselves. (Kind of like how I read Liz Jones articles even though I try really, really hard not to. She's an idiot. But she's an unbelievable idiot- it's amazing how she has made a career in 'journalism', absolutely amazing...)

I really don't have a lot of time as Lauren is arriving tonight!! Yey!! Lauren- my Haribo Binging Buddy, my Sofa Slobbing Sister, my Hippopotamus Popping-in Pal- who was one of the reasons I moved to Paris in the first place, many moons ago...

Unfortunately I'm working in the resto tonight and nobody could swap shifts with me, so she's going to come straight from the airport to my work and, as she put it, 'be enigmatic with a book' for two hours. Then tomorrow I'm not working in the restaurant so after my drama lesson we can spend all day together... until my au pair job at half six. Speaking of my au pair job...

I told the mum on Friday that I wouldn't be staying next year. She seemed really put out and at first I felt like I'd made the wrong decision: with this job I have somewhere to live for free, food, holidays AND at the moment I am really enjoying it; I finally have a good relationship with the kids. I keep torturing myself, thinking how much money I could save if I stuck it out for one more year, continuing to work at the restaurant at the same time. The mum said she'd like me to be a part-time nanny for the toddler because his nounou is leaving (they're not paying her enough) but she also said I could carry on the same hours as this year if that would make me stay.


This isn't a real life. Even though it's a nice gesture, I don't like giving the mum a list and having my food shopping done for me each week. What if one week I just want to live on cocaine and croissants? I'm sick of using a bathroom in the corridor and worrying about whether my music is too loud because the walls are so thin I can hear people coughing in the room next to me. And I know I boast about being able to cook spaghetti carbonara whilst having a shower at the same time but in truth I only did this once and it didn't save as much time as you'd think. (Add five minutes to clean up the watery, soapy spaghetti off the floor.)

Also, of course, there is the much more important question: Do I want to stay in Paris next year, or not?

For a while the answer was a resounding NO. I want to live in London. I want a real job, I want to live with my friends in England. Also, I can not speak French and I will never be able to, one more year here is not going to change that.

But for the past couple of months, my mind has been changing, absolutely set on London one day and the next completely certain that I might as well stay in Paris for another year, because I'm kind of settled here now and the pace of life is slower and everyone says London is a hard place to survive and I'm not a strong person, let's be honest. I like sleeping and crying and drawing pictures of myself in cloaks.

My problem is I get carried away too easily. I remember last time I went to England I said to my mum: "This is it, I'm ready to move back to England now." I was so sure of myself. But as soon as I got back to Paris I forgot all about England... It seems like some fantastic dreamworld where all my friends and family live and where I'd have the BEST TIME EVER but at the same time it feels like I've exiled myself, like I'm forcing myself to stay away in order to make some sort of point, but I can't remember what point I'm supposed to be making.

Anyway, I know it's a bit late now, but I did start writing a post about last weekend and I suppose I may as well finish it, so here it is:

It's such a gorgeous, hot sunny day outside and yet here I am, sat on my bed with the blinds closed, just so I can fill you in the weekend... I better be careful though, today at work the Shift Manager said "I've been reading your blog. You've been out a lot recently haven't you?"

I'm an idiot.

But I can't help it, when I started this blog I wanted to keep it absolutely anonymous and a secret from everyone I knew but I'm a just a HUGE Egomaniac and I can't help myself- 'Read my blog, read my blog. Give me attention. GIVE ME ATTENTION!!'

I blog therefore I am (an egomaniac)?

Anyhoo, if I sat here all day questioning whether people actually wanted to read this shit or not, I'd never write any of it, so let's jump in the Time Machine and travel back to last Saturday... (Then if we have time we can stop off in the Dark Ages and pick up some FIT warrior men, Celts or Vikings, whoever we find first... although I'm not sure about the Vikings- they might just want to rape and scalp us, rather than partake in the lovely evening I had planned... 'Dinner and a show babe, or rape and pillage?' O.k I can see that I've gone dangerously off-topic now... I'll stop.)

On Saturday I had to go to a huge celebratory lunch with my au pair family, not to eat (the mum told me to have lunch beforehand) but to sit on the floor and play with the toddler and his cousin. It was kind of... humiliating.

The meal was in the private suite of a beautiful hotel and restaurant in the middle of the Bois de Boulogne. It had obviously cost a LOT of money to hire out the room- there were even three waiters provided who stood silently at the end of the table when they weren't bringing in plates and trays of food.

I intended to eat a big breakfast before I went, but obviously I didn't drag myself out of bed in time- I ended up jumping out of bed ten minutes before I had to meet the au pair family's relations downstairs who were giving me a lift to the restaurant... Yep, turns out the mum's cousin and his wife live in my building with their toddler and three week old baby. I wonder if they've been spying on me?

After a hearty breakfast of nothing, I ended up being at the stupid fucking meal for FIVE HOURS. I felt like I was going to faint when I came out, but stupidly refused a lift back from the mum's cousin because, when everyone finally started leaving, I was just standing there like a lemon and the mum's cousin was faffing around with pushchairs and changing bags and I felt really awkward and uncomfortable... I just wanted to run out of there, into the woods and far, far away.

I didn't actually run into the woods, but I did march along the edge of them, past all the delightful prostitutes that work the Bois all day and all night. Luckily I knew where I was going because that's where me and Ali (yeah, 'me and Ali', not 'Ali and I'... it's called DIALECT, fuck off) used to go running  last year and where I used to take the five year old for Wednesday afternoon jaunts on the trottinettes.

Still, it took me forty minutes to get to the nearest metro station and I was ready to pass out from hunger by the time I got there. I just wanted to get away from the au pair family and their thirty relatives, all of who completely ignored me and didn't even say 'Bonjour' when I arrived. Cunts.

There were a few people there who were my age as well, which made it even more awkward: there were the mum's two glamorous step-sisters; their very attractive boyfriends; and then one guy who I think is the mum's younger brother, but I'm not sure as nobody introduced us. He was FIT, but probably looks upon me as some sort of invisible slave girl, so not sure that there is a great chance of romance there. He is more likely to approach me with the offer of earning some extra money cleaning his apartment. I hate rich people. Or am I just jealous? I can't decide.

Anyway, what a fucking horrible way to spend my Saturday. The toddlers did not want to play with me and they kept running away to to their parents who looked at me like 'Can't you control them? You are ruining our lunch.'

The food looked amazing. At the end there was loads of little cakes left and they didn't offer me any. I made my mind up to definitely NOT be an au pair again next year. I don't know what I was thinking. I don't want to be on the peripheral of some stranger's family gathering, I want to be in the centre of my own, being offered cake and chatting to people I actually like and care about.

On Saturday night it was the last ever 'Die Nacht: Hansel und Gretel', a massive underground (as in not many people know about it, it wasn't literally underground) rave that actually, a commenter on my blog told me about months ago. I'd wanted to go to a 'Hansel und Gretel' rave for ages but after a tiring day playing Bertha the Mute Servant Girl (plus thanks to overdoing things a bit last week) I wasn't really up for going out.  Olivia and Kayt tried to persuade me but I made my mind up- it was miles away from the restaurant and I'd have to go there on my own at one in the morning when I finished work.

However. Once I got to the restaurant/pub and saw other people drinking and having fun, I found myself slipping into the Party Mood, I couldn't help it. Plus, work was really quiet and the manager said I might be able to go home early- I decided I'd try and go to 'Hansel und Gretel'. The only problem was I didn't have a ticket and on the website it said you could only pay on the door if you arrived before 11pm and the earliest I would be finishing work was 11...

I sneakily texted Julia underneath my apron to see if she was going and she said she wanted to go but didn't have a ticket either. As soon as I found out I was definitely finishing work at 11pm I told her to come and meet me outside the restaurant. I think everyone else was pissed off that I was finishing early when they'd all started two hours before me, especially as it was one girl's last ever shift and she kind of hinted that the decent thing to do would be to swap with her and let her go early...

"Bye!" I yelled at 11pm, running out of the restaurant and into Julia's car.

She went back to Julia's so she could shower and I could borrow some clothes and on our way to the rave we picked up Georgie who had just finished babysitting and also didn't have a ticket. I had a horrible feeling we wouldn't get in, but it was worth a shot. The rave was all the way in Montreuil, a suburb in the East of Paris that has got a reputation has being quite cool and down to earth. By the time we found the 'secret location' it was 1am and there was a huge queue outside the old sports centre/school (I'm not sure what it used to be).

It was pouring down with rain. Rain makes me really excited sometimes, especially at night time. I felt really excited, partly because we were taking a risk and might be turned away, but also because we were in an area of Paris completely different to anywhere I've been before. It used to be really, really rough and dodgy but now they're regenerating the area, which is a town in its own right really, rather than a suburb of Paris and I've just stumbled across an article online about how they are trying to make Montreuil an example of environmentally-friendly city regeneration...

That's what I love about Paris- the shadowy edges that tourists never see, the low rise, old fashioned housing in the suburbs, with shabby facades and international shops and restaurants on every corner, with shop names like 'Scooter Shooping' and cafes offering 'sandwhichs' and 'sandwihs'.

We hatched a Cunning Plan- Julia's Gentleman Friend had told her to say she was on 'Serge's List'. Even though we didn't know who Serge was and would obviously not be on his list, we planned to do a good enough impression of three Shocked Indignant People that they would let us in for free, or at least let us pay on the door. There were so many people in the queue that I was worried that, if we went to the back, they'd reach maximum capacity by the time we got to the front.

But miracle of miracles, before we got to the front we saw Olivia, Kayt, Laura and Pryia- Laura's visitor from Amsterdam- so we pushed in with them.The queue moved quickly and suddenly we were at the door, being asked to show our tickets. The girls with tickets went through straight away, but me and Julia hung around looking shifty while Georgie confidently told the girl on the door we were on Serge's List. She checked it and shook her head.

"Serge!" we exclaimed, tutting.

Always letting us down that guy.

The girl had a whispered word with someone else, but he shook his head. I thought we weren't getting in but then she said we could get in if we paid the entry fee. It was twenty euros but I was just so happy we got in!!!

We all had a celebratory group hug inside.

Yeaaaah I'm so glad we went. The music was mainly Parisien house- I:Cube, DJ Deep, Gilb'R and CHEF (all French producers/DJs). I am really liking house music at the moment and in Paris they like it deep, the kind of music that you can dance on your own to for hours, provided it's very dark so you can forget there is anyone else around you. The space was massive, with escalators and weird corridors that led you around the tops of squash courts, but that didn't stop people Pushing and Shoving. We danced at the front for a little bit but it got so sweaty and unbearably crowded that we had to find a space off to the side, where we had loads of room to bop about without topless, overheated idiots brushing their sweaty bare chests against my back. ERGH.

The drinks were really cheap for Paris- five euros for your initial bottle of beer and then four euros for refills and there were loads of toilets so you didn't have to queue for ages... Super. :)

Laura and Pryia left about 3am because they were sick/hungover and me, Julia, Georgie, Kayt and Olivia didn't make it until the end (5am) either. At about quarter to five we suddenly all decided we were too tired to dance anymore, so we had a little sit down and then we decided to wait in Julia's car until the metro started at half five.

We all piled in, locked the doors and after chatting shit for a bit about Gandhi's sandal (although Julia's English is amazing, I think she was really confused at this point) we had the best nap EVER. I felt so safe and cosy, snuggled up with my friends while the rain hammered on the windows. It didn't stop raining for a second all night. Julia turned the radio to a jazz station and the weirdest songs came on, but I remember thinking I really liked them. The lyrics kept drifting into my sleep...

"Matilda, Matilda... shadows beneath the floor..."

"A humming bird has no legs to fly, we've all been blessed with wings of our own..."

I might try and Google them later.

We woke up about an hour later to got the metro home and Georgie ended up staying at mine because the bastard Line 1 was closed until 10am. We only managed a few hours sleep because...

I have arranged to go for lunch with my old au pair family!

Since I came back in September I've been meaning to see them, I miss the kids so much, especially the five year old. Me and him were like an Invisible Robot Fighting Team. I miss our amazing games and the way he wouldn't let me leave without giving me a kiss and a hug and his cute way of speaking English... 'You rigolo me.'

O.k that's all I wrote... have I got time to finish it off? Erm. My room is absolutely disgusting so I better make sure I tidy it first, but I'll finish this later if I have time.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Hedonism: Monday/Tuesday

So, I know I'm really behind but for my own peace of mind I need to catch you up on last week's antics... I can't believe this whole party hard/work hard phase (ouch did I really just say that?) started almost two weeks ago. So to recap: we started on a Wednesday by bringing random people from work to Julia's for an after-party; then I had to go into work on no sleep and promised myself I would never put myself through such horror again; then on Friday we ended up in le Blue Note where I met Smelly Charver (so called because he smelt delicious, remember); then Saturday we went back to le Mansart where we bumped into Georgie's ex and ended up in another gorgeous apartment...

Sunday was a day of rest. We made vegetable curry at Georgie's to try and get some vitamins in us and swore that the next week would be a Quiet One. This vow lasted approximately twenty four hours, because on Monday night we somehow found ourselves back at le Mansart...

For a Monday it was insanely busy, too busy to even have a hope of getting served at the bar, so we tried our other favourite le Sans Souci round the corner but that was just as packed. Across the road from le Sans Souci is a really traditional looking brasserie (which I can't remember the name of but which a little Google researching has led me to believe is called le Lautrec) and this was considerably quieter so we thought we'd give it a try.

As we went in this really loud couple came in behind us who had been stood near us in le Sans Souci, yelling in a mixture of English and another language I didn't recognise. Well, the guy wasn't yelling but the girl was LOUD. I thought they'd annoy us but Georgie turned round to ask them where they were from, because she thought they might be speaking Swedish, and they turned out to be really nice. They were from Sweden, here on their first holiday together, but they both spoke fluent English.

The girl was hilarious.

"Everybody is so BORING in Paris!" she kept shrieking, "I want to PARTY!"

Her boyfriend was lovely, not fazed by her extrovert ways at all. He even bought us all a beer (the beers were a lot cheaper in here than they were in le Mansart and le Sans Souci by the way). I can't remember now why she was so funny, maybe we were just drunk, but everything she said had us howling with laughter- she was just so loud. She was a breath of fresh air in Paris, where people frown if you laugh too loudly on the metro.

After a few cheap beers we went back to le Mansart which had quietened down a bit by now, but it was too quiet for our new Swedish friend, who was bouncing around trying to dance to the music, complaining that it wasn't loud enough: "You know Abba?" she kept asking everyone, "You do? Well I am a Dancing Queen, I want to dance!"

Georgie had the idea of going to Chez Moune, a club round the corner, but me and Kayt weren't sure because we'd met some guys who wanted to go to Social Club... We took them back to Kayt's for some drinks but in the end decided to go to Chez Moune, Georgie rang us to say it was really good in there and also it was free. We said goodbye to the Social Club guys and made our way back the way we'd come...

When we got to Chez Moune there was a queue and there was also a physiognomist- the fucking stupidest job title to ever exist in the history of pointless jobs. It seems to be a Big Thing in Paris at the moment, employing a hard-nosed bastard to stand on the door and judge people on their appearances, refusing entry to anyone they don't deem sufficiently attractive, and I HATE it. But. It's so elitist and mean. As we hadn't gone out with the intention of going to a club I was worried we wouldn't get in, but luckily Georgie was outside smoking and asked the bouncer if she could take us in with her. Also it was a Monday night and there were a lot of men in the queue, so they probably weren't being too picky with letting the ladies in.

We've wanted to go to Chez Moune for a long time and I'm glad we finally went. Inside reminds me of a burlesque club on its last legs, where the girls were once sexy and glamorous, but they're not in their heyday anymore, their beauty fading away like the peeling gilt on the banisters along the stairs that take you down into the basement club. It was really, really dark inside, which was brilliant for swaying around to the music like a crackhead, but it meant I didn't get a good look at the place. I remember faux-Grecian pillars and scantily-clad ladies painted on the bar.

They played a mixture of trippy house, drum and bass and I can't really remember what else, but I do remember it was the type of music you wouldn't enjoy unless you were On It. And I was On It, for the fourth time in six days unfortunately which is why I keep using words like hedonism (or 'hedony' as I called it in my first post, idiot) and 'fucked'. But I promise I'm going to clean up my act!

Anyway, Kayt and Georgie pulled and I didn't, so I danced around on my own in a little sulk until this huge bear-like man asked me with a curtsey if I would care to dance with him. I think I only said because I was so astonished. But being pleasant for a change (as opposed to rolling my eyes and turning my back on him like I normally do... bitch) payed off because although he looked like a Mental he was a really good dancer! By this time the club was almost closing and we had the whole dance floor to ourselves, so we span around the room like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.

YES, just like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Why are you rolling your eyes like that?

I told you I've been doing a lot of public dancing recently. I was stepping around on my tiptoes, even holding my arms out like I was on Strictly Come Dancing. The DJ even put My Funny Valentine on for us so we could showcase our AMAZING ballroom skills... Oh, how the mighty have fallen. In a rather ambitious tango move, my dancing partner kind of knelt down on one knee so I could lean back dramatically. Then he let me fall to the floor, very slowly and not dramatically at all... just kind of idiotically.

Unlucky for me, lucky for you, Georgie happened to be filming us at this point and as it was so dark I don't think the video will jeopardize my Super Secret Identity, so I'm going to get her to email the video to me and then I will put it up on my blog for you to look at. If you like that sort of thing.

When Chez Moune closed, we walked back to Kayt's and had a much needed cup of tea. I had two hours sleep and then had to be up for work. I felt like DEATH. But because I had gotten off quite lightly last time, after working on no sleep with a night of heavy revelry directly behind me, I wasn't too worried. It was a bank holiday so I didn't have my au pair job in the evening. 'It's three hours', I told myself, 'And then I can go home for a lovely long nap.'

I believe in the power of Jinxing.

When I arrived at work, the terrace outside the restaurant was already full of people and we weren't even supposed to be open for another thirty minutes. Sarkozy was giving a big speech just round the corner and arseholes in their THOUSANDS had turned up to watch him and wave French flags around. As soon as we were officially open, people came flooding in and every single one of them was a Horrible, Right-Wing bastard. One woman stopped me as I walked past her, even though I was carrying a really heavy tray of drinks and was obviously busy, and started asking me about burnt tomatoes. I looked at her table and none of them had any food in front of them.

I told her I didn't understand, meaning 'What the fuck are you talking about??" and she rolled her eyes, asking loudly of everyone withing earshot "Is nobody French here? Do they not have any French waitresses?" I rolled MY eyes and walked off. She was white and I'm white, so I suppose most people wouldn't agree with me that she was a racist, but you can't argue that she wasn't a bigot. You can't go around asking why there's no French people working in a restaurant in France. It's offensive. Does she think everyone should stay in their own countries, all their lives, only moving abroad if they suddenly discover the magical ability to be fluent in another language without ever having lived in the country before?

Countries are not a REAL THING. We gave areas of land names and boundaries... so what? So fucking what. If we took all the boundaries away and got rid of all the names, what would these idiots defend then? Why do people get mad about immigrants? Why? WHY?

Pfffft. That is the one thing I can imagine becoming militant about: people's right to live wherever they choose. I may have moved to Paris for a bit of a jolly, but I'm talking about REAL immigrants- asylum seekers and refugees. What I like to say to people who moan about refugees and asylum seekers is this: If everyone in your area was raped and murdered or your home was burnt to the ground or global warming meant no crops grew and all your animals died or soldiers told you to leave the country because they hated your religion/sexuality/political agenda, would YOU stay there and wait to die or would you go somewhere else? Would you curl up and wait to die or would you try and get work somewhere else? Somewhere that you've heard has respect for human rights and can offer you opportunities and a better quality of life?

We make our own luck in this world, unless you've been lucky enough to be born in a country like France or England, in which case what right do you have to begrudge other people the same opportunities that you have had? Clean water, healthcare, democracy etc etc. Why do you deserve it? Why not someone from Bangladesh, like that flower seller we met, who used to be a surgeon but had to escape to France in the back of trucks and boats to avoid persecution because of his religion?


Anyway, I'm getting angry thinking about all the nobheads that were in the restaurant last Tuesday, but really I should be gloating because ha ha ha- Sarkozy lost, so all your prancing around in t-shirts emblazoned with SARKOZY JEUNES (Hitler Youth anyone?) was for nothing. Ha. Ha ha.

The restaurant was so busy that my boss told me I couldn't go home and I ended up staying until 7pm, four hours later than I had been expecting. It was grim, readers, very grim indeed.

My body was heavy and floating at the same time, people's voices came to me like a siren's call through the waves... But eventually it was OVER and because we'd made so much money we were allowed three free cocktails and I was suddenly a little bit drunk again. But I went home and had an early night, without much incident. (Although, I did send a few embarrassing Whats App messages to a, erm, male friend back in England... The Mass Boy Hysteria is ruining my life. I am thinking of writing to English health officials as something needs to be done.)

So. That it is. Last week's little stretch of Madness all blogged up. Let me see if there is anything I forgot to mention...

I had my hair cut! Thrilling news, I know, but for me it was quite a Big Deal because it had gotten so long I wanted to strangle myself with it.

Smelly Charver has been texting me. A lot. And I have replied once. At first I thought it would be good to meet up again because I kind of liked him and he doesn't speak any English, so it would be good for my French but then I realised... I just can't be arsed. Also, he can't spell. He sent me this text:

Ci tu veut en ce voi apres

When it should have been:

Si tu veux on se voit apres

I showed the text to one of the Social Club guys and he said: "I hope for your sake this guy is really, really cute because he is very stupid."

Ok, that's all folks, now all I have to do is tell you about my weekend and have a heart to heart (with, erm, myself) about my feelings on Paris and Future Plans and I will be all up to date, ready for the next adventure. Not that there will be any- I am calming down now. I swearrrrrrr.