Monday, 30 July 2012

Be British, Go to Britain

There is so much that I've been meaning to blog about, I don't know where to start. I think tomorrow I will do a 'Loose Ends' post like I did last year, to tie everything up before my month away. I am so excited, but as always, I don't quite believe it's happening. I can't believe I'll be in England in two days- it seems too good to be true.

I watched the Olympic Opening Ceremony on Friday night and it was the BEST THING I have ever seen, ever. And I don' t mean it is the best thing on TV I have ever seen, I mean it was literally the best THING, ever ever ever. At first I didn't even want to watch it, they were showing it at the resto and I knew a few people would be there, but I didn't really feel like going. In my head I was imagining Take That and some fireworks, plus lots of people in tracksuits. I completely forgot that the Opening Ceremony is always a huge spectacle. I'm so out of the loop, I didn't even know that Danny Boyle had anything to do with it.

By the time my au pair job finished, I was actually feeling quite excited about the Ceremony and I went straight to the resto from work so I could get a good seat. When it got to the countdown, we all counted along. There was a table of French LADs next to ours and they were kind of laughing at us, they really didn't get it at all, especially when we finished counting down and it cut to a shot of a river... awkward.

As soon as it started I felt emotional and, as I kept whispering to everyone, I knew I was Entertained, in the true sense of the word. It was just... so entertaining. Every single thing was interesting, moving, impressive... I don't know if it's just because I'm feeling pretty homesick at the moment I loved every single second of it. The factory workers coming out of the tree like ants out of an anthill, the liquid steel running into five rings and the rings rising into the night sky and sparking above the stadium... the West Indian migrants arriving...

The Suffragettes, the Beatles, the NHS...

I screamed when I saw JK Rowling...

Noel Fielding as the Childcatcher...

The Queen acting on film! The helicopter! The parachuters!

The children dancing on their hospital beds... the punks pogo-ing, the moments from TV and Film history, Trainspotting, Coronation Street, Kez... Dizzee Rascal, rave paint...

Music, history, humour, being multicultural, literature... That is Britain.

It was amazing. I have no idea how they even began to organise it all.

I can't FUCKING wait to go to England in two weeks. I've not been home for months and months, I think I might get to London and explode with excitement and happiness.

At first I was going to go straight to Manchester because I couldn't afford to stay in London for five days until Eastern Electrics on Saturday, but Lauren, Claire and Jen have just moved to London and so they won't be able to get back up North. It's my only chance to see them and I caaaan't wait!!!

Obviously I can't wait to see my family either, then there's Ibiza to get excited about!

Last week I sent Ricky a message asking him if he knew anyone who wanted to go to Ibiza in my place, because I really couldn't afford it- the club entries alone for the whole week are going to be two hundred and ninety euros!!! I told Ricky not to tell anyone but obviously he told Kat and Kat sent me a Voice Note on What's App telling me off. She pointed out that I don't have to go on the nights out and she's right of course- I've already got my flights and paid for the accommodation, it would be stupid to throw all that money away. It will be nice to just be on holiday, sunbathing and reading by the pool (I won't be getting in it, unless arm bands come into fashion in the next two weeks) and I go and see the DJs I really, really want to see and then just chill out for the rest of the time.

I can't wait to go home, I CAN'T WAIT!

Beside the Seaside: Part 3

Shitting hell. Last week when the au pair mum gave me my wages, she gave me a one hundred euro note instead of 80 to cover today and tomorrow (although mainly I think she just didn't have any change and I didn't either). Anyway, I just went to the bank on my way home from work to put it into my account and the only way to put money in at my branch is to use one of those 'reverse cash machines'- instead of giving you money, you put notes in and it deposits them straight into your account.

I've always loved these machines because they're so easy and simple, in fact recently I've been loving French banks because, once you get past all the initial bureaucracy crap, they are really efficient.

Well now I've definitely fallen OUT of love with those stupid machines. I put my note in three times and the machine didn't recognise it. I asked someone for help and thank the gods I did, because he was witness to the machine taking my one hundred euro note and then fannying around for five minute making whirring noises and THEN finally giving me my card bank with a receipt that showed it hadn't put the money in my account.

I could almost hear the machine whistling, looking at the ceiling with his hands behind his back, pretending not to notice me stood there gobsmacked, trying not to panic as I realised I had lost one hundred euros.

In my bank they have a little cartoon cash machine on all the screens, who smiles and winks at you as you carry out transactions, and then waves goodbye to you. I used to think he was cute but now I think he is a money-grabbing, dishonest thief and I hate him more... who do I really hate... I know- I hate him more than I hate people who let their dogs poo in children's playgrounds. (As I'm always saying- dog poo makes you blind*.)

Anyway, the guy was really helpful and rang Some People who worked in Some Place- I didn't really understand who he was calling but I was trying so hard to look like I could speak excellent French that I just nodded wisely to everything he said- and then he filled out a form for me to reclaim the one hundred euros. He said that if it isn't in my account by next week, then I should come back to the bank. So... I'm guessing there's a strong possibility that the money WON'T be in my account by next week then. Too bad I'll be in England next week, sitting on my mum's couch and looking at cows out of the window because I won't have any money to do anything.

While I'm being a winy bitch, I also have a potential problem with my au pair family...

For Some Reason, I thought I finished my au pair job last week, so I didn't think there'd be a problem with working in the resto today and tomorrow. But apparently the eight year old comes back from holiday this afternoon, so the mum wanted me to work tomorrow daytime. She was really annoyed when I said I was working in the restaurant, because they leave for the airport (they go on holiday about four times a week) at 15h30 and so she needed me all morning and afternoon up until this point.

She said, "I really need you to work, I really need you!" so I promised I'd try and swap my shift.

But when I left she sent me a really arsey message, saying that she really needed me and the only reason I was able to work in the resto the week before was because the girls weren't there... I absolutely HATE being told the same thing over and over again. I hate it. Tell me ONCE and then shut the fuck up, don't bore me. The message riled me and then I started thinking how stressful and annoying it would be to swap my shift- loads of people are on holiday at the moment, plus there are already a couple of girls who need to swap shifts because they have trips booked and stuff.

I told the mum that there's no way I can change my shift, but I offered to work Sunday for her and I offered to do babysitting tonight and I said that of course I would come in the morning tomorrow and stay until I have to leave for work- I even told my manager that I couldn't make the briefing and asked if I could come in at noon instead of 11h30.

The mum didn't bother to text back and I really couldn't care less. I'm at that point in the year when I get bored and wreckless and can't decide if I want to quit my job or not... I think I'd be secretly pleased if they fired me, so it doesn't matter if she's pissed off or not.

Hmm, I really hope the dad hasn't found blog. I never told you what happened, did I?

Ok, so on the Saturday that me and Olivia went on holiday by mistake, we went to pick the toddler up at about 6.30pm, (I only had to work about two hours in the morning and then two hours in the evening) and the dad came out of the Seafront House singing. Do you know what he was singing?

She call me Mr Bombastic, she say me fantastic...

My heart dropped into my stomach. Why the fuck would he be singing that song, of all songs? I wrote on my blog that it was favourite song. Was he sneakily trying to freak me out? He was looking right at me as he sang it. My eyes widened but I didn't say anything.

Then Olivia said, "That's her favourite song!"

The dad looked at me in surprise. Was he surprised because he realised it must be me who writes Left Bank Manc? Or was he surprised because it's a fucking stupid song to choose as your favourite?

I've been thinking about it... and my blog is really easy to find. I've told the family that I want to be a writer, what if the dad put two and two together and Googled 'au pair blog Paris'? Left Bank Manc is the first thing to come up.

Have I been an idiot?

There's no point worrying about it I supposed until he comes right out and says it, but I'm pretty sure I'm just being paranoid. I don't know...

Anyway, let me finish telling you about the rest of that weekend. Me and Olivia walked to the next town on Saturday afternoon, it took about twenty minutes and it was a lot posher than our seaside town, that for now we are calling The Blackpool of France. There were designer shops and yachts and we had lunch in a little restaurant before getting the boat back across the bay, back to The Blackpool of France. (The boat was so fun but it only lasts about twenty seconds because the bay is small.)

We had to play on the beach with the toddler for a couple of hours and then we were freeeee. We got some mussels from the fish market and cooked them with white wine, shallots and parsley. (We forgot to put the garlic in.) Inside some of the mussels were teeny, tiny pregnant crabs!! I don't know if they are cute or creepy. I think as they have boiled alive in cheap, white wine, I should probably say creepy.

The bright orange stuff is hundreds of microscopic eggs attached to their bellies... Nature is disgusting, isn't it?

After the mussels and more wine, we went out in search of a bar. The night before we'd had a couple of beers outside a bar at the far end of the seafront, the only place that looked like you could sit down and just have a drink, rather than a three course meal. We went back there and had a bottle of wine, maybe two, I don't remember. We were a little bit tipsy at this point and before we knew it, they were closing up. I'd been moaning at Olivia, saying that she always has lock-ins when I'm not there, so she said she'd try and get us a lock-in.

Sure enough, the waiters came up and said we could finish our drinks inside while they locked up.

"Are we having a lock-in?" I whispered.
"Erm... I don't know." Olivia said.

We finished our drinks while the waiters sat on a separate table, not talking to us or even drinking alcohol.

Definitely not a lock-in, then.

We finished our drinks hurriedly and walked back home. By this time it was about four am anyway, so perhaps it was a good idea to just go home, considering I had to look after the toddler in seven hours. But on the way home, we suddenly became really, really drunk. Maybe it was the sea air, but I hadn't felt that bad when we were at the bar and all of a sudden me and Olivia were running onto the beach, singing and high-kicking, wondering how much further it was until we got to the sea.

For Some Reason, we'd decided that we wanted to go paddling. But the beach was so dark and the sea was so black that we couldn't tell how far away it was, even though we could hear it and see the rippling reflections of stars, somewhere ahead. We walked further and further, until suddenly the cold water was rushing over our toes and splashing against our ankles. We kept walking and walking, until I decided that maybe we were so drunk that we would walk all the way out to sea and drown, so we stopped where we were and stood looking into the blackness. It was weird, knowing England was there, in the distance, the cliffs of Dover still and silent in the night.

To be honest we probably weren't looking towards the cliffs of Dover, we could have been facing towards Skegness for all I know... my geography is terrible.

After splashing about and singing at the tops of our voices (I was terrified the family would hear me, as we were directly opposite Seafront House, but we were so far out so I don't think there's any chance they did) for about half an hour, we made our way back to shore. It took an AGE because we were stumbling and slipping in the sand. Looking back, it's a good job we didn't fall over and get dragged out to sea, as the tide was out.

Once we got back to the beach, we turned to look at the sea once more. Olivia was high-kicking and singing musical songs, facing the sea, and I was a bit behind her. I remember thinking I was going to lose my balance as I heard Olivia bellowing in the background:

'Life's candy and the sun's a bowl of buttaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa'

Olivia told me the next day that she stopped singing at this point because she realised I'd gone quiet, then she head a very heavy SMACK so she turned round. I was lying flat on my back on the sand, arms and legs spread out like a starfish, still holding my handbag.

I don't remember the actual moment I fell over, but I remember we both laughed hysterically as Olivia helped me up and we decided it was definitely time to go home. As we walked back barefoot, I felt a dull pain in my right foot, but I forgot about it as soon as we got home and fell into bed.

The next day however, I woke up with a backache and a really painful, sharp ache in my foot. I knew something was wrong. I pulled she sheet of really slowly, hardly daring to look. I had a horrible feeling that there was going to be a spiky fish stuck in my foot, or a rusty nail or something.

I held my foot gingerly and brought it up the bed a little bit. On the bottom of my foot was a huge, bloody hole, with a flab of thick skin hanging off around the outside. It was absolutely disgusting and I still have no idea what could have happened.

As I limped into the bathroom, I noticed there was a trail of bloodspots leading from my bed and down the corridor to the front door. I opened the front door and saw bloodspots across the lobby of the building as well.

Shitting hell.

Luckily Olivia had a plaster so I whacked that on and went to work looking like absolute shit. I looked after the toddler for a couple of hours and then the au pair mum told me to go home and pack. I kept waiting for the mum and dad to mention something about the night before, like 'So. Was that you two singing like a bag of cats and Broadway dancing up and down the beach at 5am this morning?' but they didn't, so I think we got away with it.

In the car ride back to Paris, me and Olivia fell asleep and I heard the dad talking about us to the mum.

"They partied last night, look they're sleeping! They must have partied last night."

The mum told him we just liked to sleep a lot. It was so funny, because I wasn't actually asleep, I just wanted to fall asleep so I lay very still with my eyes closed for the whole journey. Olivia did the same and rested her head on my shoulder.

I heard the dad point it out to the mum and he told her to take a photo of us. At first she was saying 'No! No I can't!' and then about ten minutes later I heard the click of a camera... She sent me the photo in an email a few days later, no words, just the picture of me looking hideous and alseep, with Olivia asleep on my shoulder.

So, all in all, we had an excellent weekend and it wasn't really anything like 'Withnail and I', although I wish it had been. We spent a lot of money and the dad possibly knows about my blog...

"Monty, you terrible cunt."

(Quote from 'Withnail and I' but if you haven't seen it, you really are ridiculous and you watch it NOW.)

*I'm hoping one day this will become a world-wide health and social campaign and people will start saying this dramatic and effective phrase at the end of important speeches:
"Nobody wants higher taxes, but this is for the Greater Good. The money you pay in taxes today will be repaid to your children, and to your children's children, in the form of cleaner, greener cities and buzzing, vibrant country towns. Together will shape this world into our perfect vision! Today's bigger taxes for a bigger, better future! Dog poo makes you blind."

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Besides the Seaside: Part 2

It's so... fucking... hot. I'm melting. Don't ask me what I'm doing in my roasting tin room, writing a blog and occassionally stroking my eyebrows*. It's just too hot to be outside.

Hold on! I've got some snide Cornettos in my freezer!

Two minutes later
Shitting hell- left the freezer door open, didn't I? The 'ice creams' are now 'cold creams' and it dripped all over my leg as soon as I opened it. Now I'm sticky and annoyed as well as being too hot.

I was going to finish telling you about my trip to the seaside, but I've been reading over my recent blog posts and they're all quite boring. Do you get fed up that all I talk about is getting drunk, spending too much money and then crying remorseful tears about it afterwards?

Maybe I should go back to how it used to be, when I just talked about getting lost in Paris and trying to prove the existence of mythical creatures. (In case you're a New Reader, let me sum up my sound scientific discoveries: dragons are extinct and mermaids are the missing link)

 Last time I got up to the point where me and Olivia went for a nice meal, then went back to our room to drink wine... So we drank the wine, then at about 11pm we wandered down to the beach to see the Bastille Day fireworks (I don't know why they had fireworks the night before, either). It was pouring down with rain, which is maybe why we didn't see any of the 'bad men getting drunk and having fires' that the mum warned us about. In truth, I was disappointed.

After the fireworks we kind of followed the crowd as everyone left the beach and we ended up on a big street that leads out of town. That's when we noticed something- there were LOADS of scallies in Seaside Ville (that's what I'm calling the little town for reasons of anonymity). I didn't think the au pair family would go somewhere chavvy, but I think they must have had the apartments for generations, back when the area was fashionable and before all the ruffians decided to holiday there. It is literally the Blackpool of France.

There were groups of scallies lurking around, throwing firecrackers at people. We saw one really big group walking towards us and we could hear them firecrackers, even though there were two fire engines driving down the road, really slowly, kind of like they were in a parade or something, even though it was past midnight. We crossed the road to get away from them but we could hear the firecrackers on the other side of the road as well... it was then we realised that it wasn't the scallies throwing the firecrackers, it was the firemen! Just casually leaning out of the window, laughing and waving and throwing dangerous explosives at people. Great job, lads.

After a bit of wandering and singing (we made up a song about the scallies after seeing one with a baldy head and a very tall, white wooly hat balanced on the top. It basically went 'Chavvy McChavversons everywhere... Chavvy McChavversons what do they wear? Tracksuits and trainers and long chains of gold. Drinking and smoking, you're fourteen years old.'

(ALTHOUGH let me stress that I try not to use the word chav because: number one, I've always thought of it as a Southern Word anyway and- as I might have mentioned before- I'm not Southern, thank you very much; and number two, I recently discovered that 'chav' comes from the Romani word for child- chavi. Therefore it infers that all young Romani people are scallies, which obviously I don't agree with because I'm not a racist.)

 Do you know what? My laptop is doing that thing again where it runs painfully slowly and doesn't do what I tell it to do. Please don't tell me I've got another virus, already!

I really can't type anymore it's driving me mad.

*BROW NEWS: They're currently a little bit uneven. Lauren once wisely said to me that when eyebrows are involved (and they nearly always are- I don't think I've done anything in the last 23 years when my eyebrows weren't there, sticking their oars in) you have to think 'sisters, not twins'; but at the moment they're verging on estranged husband and wife, so I have been trying to restrain myself from plucking. I'm glad I stopped having them threaded as, looking through old Facebook photos, I can see that although they were super smooth and neatly defined, they made my face look like a big, pale potato.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Besides the Seaside: Part 1

Ok, so it's now been two weeks since me and Olivia went on holiday by mistake with the au pair family and I still haven't told you about it. As penance, I'm now going to spend the afternoon cooped up in my room blogging, even though it's a beautiful, sunny day outside. I hope I have time to tell you about this weekend just gone as well, but we'll see.

So, two Fridays ago, me and Olivia drove to the country with the au pair family. I had no idea how the weekend was going to pan out- I couldn't imagine Olivia meeting my au pair family and I didn't know if it was going to be really awkward between me and the parents, as I've never spent that much time alone with them before.

Originally the mum told me to tell Olivia to come at 2pm, then she changed her mind and said 3pm, then she said the dad was going to be late home and to tell Olivia 3.30pm...

The dad came home at about 3pm and I could hear them arguing in the kitchen, I think the mum was annoyed that he'd made her postpone our leaving time for No Reason. Then Olivia was running a little bit late and the mum and dad made me feel really nervous. They kept talking amongst themselves in French- in low, serious tones- so I asked Olivia what metro stop she was at and she was about seven stops away. Seven stops on the Paris metro is nothing, but when I told the dad where Olivia was, he acted like I'd just told him she was scrabbling down the cliffs of Dover.

"If she's not here on time," he said, "We're leaving without her."

Secretly I thought that if it came down to it, I would refuse to go out of solidarity. After all, they were the ones that kept telling Olivia to come later and later- she'd been ready since 2pm.

I looked at the dad without smiling and said:
"Well you told her half three and it's not half three yet."

The dad looked surprised and told me he was joking. Oops. I felt like a bitch.

But then he whispered, in all seriousness: "I will wait, but I don't know if my wife will."

In the end, Olivia was barely ten minutes late which by my standards, is Bang On Time. I introduced her to the parents and they said a quick hello as they loaded our bags into the boot... Erm, don't bother introducing yourselves or anything.

I could tell Olivia was surprised at the less than enthusiastic welcome (I guess that after working with them for eleven months, I'm used to them being a bit cold and stand-offish and it doesn't bother me anymore) and as we piled into the back of the car with the toddler, she whispered into my ear:

"On a scale of one to ten, how awkward is this going to be?"

"Nine." I muttered, adjusting my seat belt.

We set off and were soon saying goodbye to the banlieues, hitting the motorway and racing away from Paris... I didn't really know exactly where we going- I was imagining green fields and ancient woodlands and a huge, sprawling farmhouse, sitting in an enclosed semi-circles alongside barns and coal sheds and maybe a couple of small cottages.

(I knew that me and Olivia wouldn't be staying in the 'main house' so I assumed we'd be sleeping in a little purpose-built chambre de bonne, perhaps a short walk across the dusty farmyard. I was really hoping we wouldn't be sleeping in a coal shed, but as the 'au pair' you've got to expect the worst.)

Me and Olivia were excited to get away from Paris. I've always been a city girl, but I forget that when I lived in England, I would get into the countryside about once every couple of months, even if it was just to Lyme Park for a walk*. I haven't left Paris in about six months and until we were driving past endless fields of cows and horses, I didn't realise how much I was longing for a change of scenery.

(I have to say, however, that the French countryside between Paris and Normandy is fucking boring as sin.)

Me and Olivia chatted to each other and to the toddler (who was supposed to be sleeping but just kept staring at Olivia because she was a New Person and he was fascinated) and the mum and dad chatted to each other in the front. It wasn't that awkward because the dad had music on, but it was a little bit strange. I was wondering what the hell it would have been like if Olivia hadn't been there- would I have been expected to make conversation with the parents, or could I have just looked out of the window in silence without it being awkward?

Anyway, after a while me and Olivia closed our eyes to have a little nap. I slept for about half an hour I reckon, before I woke up and wanted to look out of the window again. But when I woke up, the dad was singing along to his iPod really, really loudly, so I just pretended to be asleep. He was going:

"I don't KNOOOOW you, but I WAAAANT you.
All the more for that.
Words fall THROOOOUGH me
and always FOOOOL me
and I can't react..."

(I was thinking what a weird song, I wonder who sings it, but since returning to Paris it I've Googled the lyrics and it's a song called 'Falling Slowly' by a band called The Frames. I actually quite like it.)

I kept my eyes really tightly shut, but then Olivia started nudging my foot with hers and I knew she was pretending to be asleep as well and I had to try really hard not to laugh. I could hear the mum scolding the dad, telling him that we weren't really asleep and that he was being embarrassing! Then the toddler suddenly grabbed my hair, so I jumped up and opened my eyes.

I swear I heard the mum say "You see?"


Once me and Olivia stopped pretending to be alseep, the mum and dad started talking to us because we were arriving in the little town where their country house is. I wasn't expecting a town. It's a proper little seaside town, with fishing boats and cobbled streets and the sound of seagulls in the air.

The mum and dad even made a little joke with us just before we got into the town, pointing to a leather warehouse and telling is that was where we were staying, then pointing to a straggly bit of river and telling us that was the sea. Me and Olivia joined the joke and were like 'Oh oh, looks lovely, we'll be swimming in that, can't wait' etc. The mum and dad just went silent.

Too far, guys, too far.

As we drove through the little town, that acoustic version of 'Ayo Technology' came on and the dad started singing along again. Just as I was about to look at Olivia and snigger because the lyrics are really dirty, the dad stopped singing and said:

"This is a sexy song, girls. Have you heard the words?"

We agreed with him and the dad mentioned how his two daughters listen to it and don't understand the lyrics, so I told him how the eight year old had been listening to it the other day and I'd been embarrassed when she was singing "Why don't you sit on top of me?"

"Yeah, yeah," the dad laughed, "Wait, wait though, this is my favourite part, it's really rude, wait, wait..."

It was the bit where the singer just makes sex grunts and the dad joined in with them.

Didn't see that one coming...


Fuck's sake.

Right. Deep breath.... here we go again.

We pulled up outside the 'country house', only it isn't a 'country house' at all... It's right on the seafront and while it is very impressive- it has turrets with pointy roofs and parts of the facade are striped with black and white, like Tudor houses in England- the family don't own the whole thing. As far as I can tell, the mum's grandma (who is a millionaire) owns a few apartments in the house, which everyone in the family uses when they want. I'm not sure though, because the mum's stepsister was there and I thought she was from the other side of the family, so I don't really know. I don't really care either, the point is the house is Amazing. People on the beach stop and take photos of it, because apparently it's very typical of Normandy architecture. I would put a photo up but I really can't... I have some bad news. Potentially terrible news.

There is the teensiest possibility that the dad of the au pair family knows about my blog... but I'll tell you about that when I come to it.

The first evening we arrived, the dad showed me and Olivia where we would be staying- it's in a completely different building a couple of blocks away from the Seafront House, in a modern block of holiday apartments. (Weirdly, the building is called 'Children's Corner'.) It's kind of like a chambre de bonne, except it has a corridor with a separate bathroom and a separate toilet. It's a lot bigger than I was expecting, the main room is like a living room with a kitchenette and a folding-out dining table, then the sofa turns into two single beds.

Anyway, the dad gave us the keys and told us we could 'faire pipi', then we had to meet him in front of the Seafront House to pick up the toddler. Up until this point, I had no idea what hours I would be expected to work. The mum and dad said they were going food shopping and told me to just play with the toddler on the beach until they got back. About one and a half hours later, they came back and said I was finished for the night. The mum told us that there was going to be fireworks at the beach that night and she told us to be careful.

"There are bad men on the beach," she said in English, "Who have fires and get drunk, please be careful and please don't drink too much."

(I have to admit my eyes lit up when she talked about the bad men with fires, getting drunk.)

"Did you say don't drink?" the dad asked, "Because English people have to drink."

"I said don't drink too much." the mum said.

She looked generally worried which was quite nice, as normally I get the feeling they wouldn't be arsed if I someone broke into my room and then raped and murdered me; just slightly miffed that now they had to find a new au pair and clean my blood up.

I'd assumed that the weekend would cost me nothing, that me and Olivia would just hang out on the beach and cook in the room, but of course... I was wrong. I was so wrong it makes me feel sick thinking about it. The really sad thing is that now I don't think I can afford to go to Ibiza, but more on that later...

We were so hungry that instead of going to Monoprix to buy food, we went to a restaurant and had oysters then I had white fish cooked in cider (I can't remember what Olivia had). Obviously we bought a bottle of wine.

The thing is, I don't regret it because we had a lovely weekend. AND I've been working three jobs so I can enjoy myself, ok? So leave me alone.

After our meal, we discovered that Monoprix was closed, so we just went home. Olivia had brought a HUGE bottle of rose wine with her that she got given at work, so we drank some of that and then went to watch the fireworks. It was pouring down with rain and it was freezing.

Shit going to be late for work, will blog more later!

*By 'a walk' I mean we would walk from the car to the National Trust cafe for tea and cake.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Champagne Charlie- My Birthday: Part 2

I'm at the family's house. The mum told me last night that she needed me today from 1.30pm to 7pm, to look after the toddler. I thought I wasn't working at all today...


I'm kind of annoyed, because today is Danish Girl's last day at the resto and me and Mez are going to dress up as hip hop superstars and perform a rap we've written for her, and I wanted to spend all day practicing and getting drunk...

But it's not so bad, I suppose. When I got here the nanny had already put him down for his nap and hopefully he won't wake up until 4pm, so I can get some blogging in.

Once again, I've left it far too long! (Exclamation marks make me cringe a bit, I try not to use them at all if I can help it. I promise that will be the only exclamation mark you see in this post.)

First I need to finish blogging about my birthday, before too much time goes by and it becomes another one of those Things That I Never Finish Writing About...

So, last time I got up to the point where me, Kayt and Olivia were drinking kirs and sharing a planche of meat and cheese, by this time it was about 6.30pm. Kayt had to go to work- she was babysitting until 1am and couldn't get out of it, but she had a ticket for Reverie and was going to come afterwards- and me and Olivia needed to get ready, so I went home to get my make-up and clothes.

I can't BELIEVE that I planned my outfit for my Birthday Night Out for so long: getting all excited about finding a new dress and doing really extravagant hair and make-up with sequins and feathers and stuff; and in the end I got home and just grabbed the first things I could get my hands on.

Luckily for me, I managed to grab my ballet-pink, tulle skirt, a black vest top and two pairs of shoes to try. I say luckily because, what with me being in such a rush to get back to Olivia's and feeling the teeniest bit light-headed once I got off the metro, plus the fact that my room was a disgusting hovel of messiness; I'm surprised I didn't end up grabbing my Hideous Afghan Coat and a pair of bejeweled bikini bottoms.(Actually, I quite like the sound of that outfit...)

By the time I got to Olivia's it was about 8pm, meaning we had one hour to get ready. I really thought we could do it but somehow... time just slipped away from us. Maybe it was the fact that we bought another two (very cheap) bottles of champagne to drink while we were getting ready, or maybe it was the fact that we are just very slow and like to faff around a lot?

The tragic thing is, by this point, not one person had texted or called me to say they were coming to my Birthday Pre-drinks. I figured that if nobody was coming, I could forget the whole 'pre-drinks idea' and just take my long fucking sweet-ass time getting ready. Then the next day I could kill myself because everybody obviously hated me.

Olivia's London friend Champagne Charlie (I'll tell you why he's called that later) also came round to drink with us while we were getting ready- he has just arrived in Paris to film a TV series with a very famous French actor but I don't know if I can tell you who it is, because hopefully Tom is going to throw a huge house-warming party and get said Famous French Actor to come, and me and Olivia will meet him and we will get up to all sorts of mischief and I can write about it on my blog.

Anyway, Champagne Charlie (CC) is here until November and the Production Company is going to provide him with his own apartment for the duration of filming. Very exciting! (Shit. Another exclamation mark. Well that's the last one, I promise! Oops.)

I think part of the reason why I have recently unearthed the old 'becoming an actor' dream (even though I was sure that three years studying Drama at university had killed and buried it) is because I've been talking to Real Life Actors and it makes me feel... dare I say it... a little bit envious. There's the French actresses who I do the drama lessons with, also Olivia's sister and her friend came to stay a couple of months ago and they are both actors.

Anyhoo... Me, Olivia and CC decided that even if everyone else in the world hated me, us three would go out for pre-drinks. CC couldn't stay out late because he had Police Training the next day (the TV series he's in is a cop drama, set in Paris but marketed for an American audience, which is why most of the cast are American, or English actors putting on American accents.)

In the end, I put a few sequins around my eyes, but by this point my heart wasn't really in it anymore. CC went to the shop to get us another bottle of champagne but we didn't have time to drink it, because at about 9.30pm Cleo rang me, to say she was waiting for me at Andy Wahloo.

Cleo is the French girl from the restaurant who I started hanging around with after work, but then she went to stay with her boyfriend in America for a couple of months. She got back last week, so I invited her out for pre-drinks... and then completely forgot.

I'm a dick.

If Cleo hadn't rung me, we probably would have stayed in Olivia's all night, putting more and more make-up on and drinking more and more champagne. I told Cleo to get the metro to Olivia's and by the time she arrived we were ready to leave. As my plan was already fucked- nobody was coming and it was far too late already- I decided to sack off Andy Wahloo and go to Pause Cafe instead, because it's not far from where Olivia lives and we love it.

As soon as we got to Pause Cafe, we ordered champagne. It wasn't a conscious decision, but somehow me, Olivia and Tom just knew it was the right thing to do.

At about 11pm (the time I originally said I wanted to leave for Reverie) I got a text from Georgie to say her and Laura were on their way. Then I got a text from Julia and Abby to say they were on their way too. It felt like that episode of Sex and the City where nobody turns up to Carrie's birthday party so she goes home in a strop and then she has loads of messages from them on her answer phone, all saying they're going to be late.

Me, Olivia, CC and Cleo ordered another bottle of champagne. A woman on the next table turned round and said "Ssssssh, tu parles trop fort!" (Don't care if I've spelt that right or not. Fuck off.) Olivia did that face she does just before she launches into a tirade of abuse, but at that exact moment Georgie and Laura arrived. They ordered another bottle of champagne to replace the one we'd apparently already finished without noticing.

Georgie had invited her friend Benj and he'd invited his friend, then Julia and Abby turned up with their friend Elodie. All in all there were six French people and five English people, and I felt secretly pleased that I am no longer one of those English people who lives in Paris and has no French friends. Although... only three of them were actually my friends. Let's ignore that.

For Some Reason, I suddenly had a lit sparkler in my hand.

I have racked my brains and I have absolutely no memory of anyone putting the sparkler in my hand. However I do remember waving it around and everyone was watching me, including a man at the next table. He was sat really close, his face staring into mine, giving me the dirtiest look ever.  I waved the sparkler in his face and yelled: "I'MMA BURN YOU MOTHERFUCKERRRRRR."

I didn't actually remember this until the next day, when somebody brought it up. At the time, I didn't realise how drunk I was, but now that I'm writing it all down in my blog... I guess that by the time we left Pause Cafe, I'd had the equivalent of two whole bottles of champagne, plus two glasses of wine and then tequila shots that CC bought us before we could refuse.


Julia and Abby had bought me a present. I was so surprised and when I opened it I was amazed- they'd bought me a really nice dress from American Apparel. It's navy blue, very tight and has a see-through mesh bit on the cleavage.

I was really touched because they'd obviously put a lot of thought into what dress I would like and I love it. I didn't think they'd get me anything at all. Georgie got a ring with little charms on that I broke that very night, some bubbles to blow at the rave and, it transpires, the sparkler...

The next day she told me, "I gave you the sparkler, don't you remember?"

I honestly thought it was just one of those Magic Things that happens to me and nobody ever believes it was magic.

CC paid for all our champagne, hence his new nickname Champagne Charlie. Champagne Charlie can be anybody's nickname, I suppose. When Olivia's sister came to stay we kept calling her Champagne Charlie because at the time she was in a play at The National and was getting paid extremely well, and she kept throwing her money around, buying us all champagne and paying for things... Well on my Birthday Night Out, we transferred the nickname to CC. (I don't want to use his real name as hopefully the TV series will do really well and he will become an International Superstar, and he won't want his antics on some random girl's vulgar blog.)

Finally, at about half midnight,  Julia said we had to leave. I'd almost forgotten about Reverie. Me, Julia, Olivia and Elodie were all going to Reverie and we piled into her car with Cleo, because we were driving past her house. She's so cute. At one point she said to me, "Look, that's my house there!" and I was like "Well we need to stop the car then, so you can get out!" and she just shrugged and said "Oh, don't worry, I'll just get out where you guys get out and walk, I don't want Julia to stop."

Obviously I told Julia to stop the car.

We got to Reverie about 2am. Kayt had just arrived from babysitting. It was raining, a lot. But then it had been raining all day. In England it has only ever rained on my birthday once. Just saying.

The venue was massive- it's a huge space, just called 'Terminal 4', in the 15th arrondissement. As we got out of the car, I realised it was the same place that I took the five year old to last year, when we went to see that exhibition of life-size, moving dinosaurs. (He was really disappointed because I told him they were going to be real dinosaurs, I thought he'd be fooled but once we got there, he sussed it out in a second and kicked off.)

Argh I'm panicking now, I hope the toddler doesn't wake up before I finish this blog post!

Ok so...

We went into the venue and spent a lot of time faffing around getting drinks and looking for people. Julia and Elodie knew two guys who were there, which would have meant that, for once, we were quite a decent-sized Rave Crew. Except... for Some Reason, me and Olivia kept wandering off on our own. Now it all makes sense, because we were so drunk, but at the time I didn't feel drunk at all. I just felt spaced out from the lights and all the people.

Have you ever been that kind of drunk, where you don't fall over or say silly things, you just behave perfectly normal except that you feel dead inside, and when people look into your eyes there's nothing there except black oblivion?

Well I was like that.

(I remember in my head I kept repeating, like a mantra 'Don't trust anyone, you can only trust yourself. Don't trust ANYONE you can only trust YOURSELF.'- I need to stop drinking because it turns me into a psychopath.)

I remember that Azari and III and Richard Hawtin were good, but I wasn't like 'Oh my god this is amazing I'm having the best time of my life I love this music wow wow wow.'

There was one point , however, when me and Olivia were dancing like idiots at the back, and we were shouting to each other "I will NEVER care!"- that was fun.

Overall... I assume I had a good time... but... I don't really remember.

I don't remember Loco Dice at all and- here's the really gutting part- we missed Maya Jane Coles and Seth Troxler. At about 6am,  me and Olivia were dancing right at the front and Olivia was shouting in my ear "I'm so tired, I think I'm gonna go home." and I yelled back "No, no, wait for Seth Troxler, he's gonna come on any minute!"

If we would have waited, maybe we would have waited until noon the next day, because Seth Troxler had already been and gone. At about 6.30am, I admitted defeat and went home. Me and Olivia  went to find Julia and Kayt and told them we were leaving. (The next day I found out that they left at 7am, then went for coffee and didn't get home until lunchtime.)

On the metro, we both fell asleep, but I managed to wake myself up just before we had to change lines and then just before our stop, so we got home safely and without too much bother. As soon as we got in, we fell onto Olivia's bed and were asleep in seconds.

The next day I woke up at 3pm and I felt like DEATH.

I have never felt that bad in all my life.

I lay in bed because I was too weak to even walk over to a bottle of water I could see on the floor, lying just out of arm's reach. As I lay there, I thought about the night before, and the day before, and I realised that I hadn't eaten anything in 22 hours. No wonder I felt so weak.

I crawled out of bed and managed to get some cereal and milk into a bowl together. I tried to make Olivia eat some but she could only drink the milk. I ate mine and then fell back on the bed, not waking up until 6pm.

When we woke up at 6pm, we felt slightly better, well enough to order Dominoes anyway. Georgie was having farewell drinks at Comptoir Generale at 7pm and I really wanted to go, but I just wasn't well enough at that point to leave the house. The pizza came and it wasn't Sexy Pizza Deliveryman. Humph.

We invited CC round to share our pizza and then all three of us went to Comptoir Generale together. I've never been on a Sunday before, it's quite busy but chilled out at the same time, definitely a good place for getting over a heavy Saturday night.

At first I thought I couldn't face another drink, but in the end I had three bottles of Mango beer and I felt much better for it. Since Jen came to stay and forced me to have beer for breakfast, I've discovered that it really is the best way of getting over a hangover.

Abby and Julia were there as well and we talked about the night before. They said how drunk we had been at Pause Cafe and until they said it I had had no idea. But the more we talked about it... the more I remembered. They told me about the Sparkler Incident, which I had no memory of until they reminded me, they said how CC's face was green when he left and then CC said he remembered having an argument with his taxi driver on the way home, because he spat in the taxi by accident.

Then Kayt pointed out that the day before, all we'd eaten was three macaroons, a croissant, some cheese and a slice of ham. I know it's not a lot of food, but I still didn't understand why I was so drunk- all I remembered was the champagne at breakfast and the two kirs. Then we started thinking back... and that's when we realised we'd had six bottles of champagne between us, plus shots, ALSO, Olivia reminded me that once we got to Reverie, we were drinking beer all night.

I didn't have one non-alcoholic drink all day.

I don't know what possessed me, but for Some Reason I was honest and told my mum on Facebook Video Chat how much I'd had to drink. She was really worried and said that people can get alcohol poisoning from that amount of alcohol.

Let's not even think about how much money I spent. (Imagine if CC hadn't paid for the champagne?)

I feel really dark, like there's a Shadow of Shame hanging over of my Birthday Weekend.

But there you go, that's what happened.

ALSO! I was lamenting how I'd missed Seth Troxler and Julia said "But we saw him! He was on at 2.30am and we got there at 2am."



Friday, 13 July 2012

Expect the Unexpected

So, before I finish off telling you about my birthday, let me tell you about today. I mentioned yesterday that I was going to take the eight year old (I keep forgetting that she's now nine, from now on I'm calling her the nine year old) to 'my restaurant'...

Well, she loved it.

As we walked up the street she kept asking me which building it was and I could tell she was getting excited. I always tell her about 'working in the restaurant' and I knew she must have created an image of the place in her head, so I was kind of excited myself to finally show her where I worked. 

Actually, I also felt a little bit nervous. I don't really know why, maybe it was the strangeness of the situation- my two worlds about to collide.

I was hoping everyone would be really nice to me and make me look P-O-P-U-L-A-R (you can't say that word and not say it as a perky cheerleader chant, can you?) in front of the nine year old; I'm still paranoid that the au pair family think I have no friends and no social life, just because I was so quiet and miserable at the start of the year.

I never told you why I was in such a shit mood at the beginning of the year but basically somebody important to me passed away, at exactly the same time I started working at the resto. I was trying to settle into THREE new jobs and cope with the horrible things that were happening back in England so I didn't really give a shit if anyone thought I was a miserable bitch or not.

Now, however, I'm trying to prove to the au pair family that I am a happy, sociably-adept human being (lies) and so I was really glad that Mez was going to be working today; I wanted the nine year old to see me with 'a friend'.

Normally when I try and do something 'cool' with the nine year old, she just raises an eyebrow and shakes her head at me, but today she was kiffe-ing* being in the restaurant. I felt very smug. We sat down at a table and she looked at me in disbelief.

"All the people know you and say hello to us here!"

Don't look too surprised love.

She was really interested in watching everyone work, particularly Mez. She was a little bit obsessed with Mez actually.

"She's so pretty! I love her! She is so nice!" she kept saying.

I might have grumbled something about Mez being her au pair instead of me, but not so the little girl could hear. Hmm. The nine year old probably would like Mez to be her au pair more than me. But she has to ask herself, would Mez do the strange hand-clappy dance with the obscene sausage-shaped, fart-making putty?

I think not.

Anyway, we had a lovely time at the restaurant. When Mez and Danish Girl finished, they came and sat at our table for a chat. Then, do you remember Jack? My one time superhero sidekick who has since been banished from my Superhero League after he told me that the French guy I invited out for drinks was probably embarrassed for me?

(Me and Mez were saying the other day, he's horrible and we hate him and yet we forget every time we see him and we can't work out why. He's quite funny I suppose, but he's so horrible. Although... oh my god. I need to tell you... he was probably right about the French guy. You know how everyone said 'Invite him out, the worst that can happen is that he'll say no'? Well I know now they were wrong- the worst that can happen is that he'll say yes and then not turn up... so... awkward times for me. Let's NEVER speak of it again. Ever. Never ever. And now I know why I've never asked anyone out before: because the consequences can be DIRE.)

Well he came and joined us when he was on his break. He joined in our drawing competition and he drew a sunshine, but then he added a weird shape underneath it, kind of like two cherries with a very thick stalk. Then he drew two weird wiggly-tube things on either side of the sunshine... Slowly buy surely I realised he was drawing a naked man, bending over with his head peeping through his open legs, revealing the back of his ball sack and a full-frontal view of his Sunshine.

I stared at it, speechless.

Mez looked at me, also speechless.

The nine year old cocked her head to one side to try and get a better look.

"What is this?" she asked.

I ripped the piece of paper away, screwed it into a ball and threw it in the bin. Jack is definitely not allowed to be Cloak Girl's sidekick anymore.

At that point I thought it was probably time for us to leave so I dragged the nine year old away from Mez and we got on the metro to my place. I took the nine year old to see my room and, once again, I felt secretly smug because she loved it. We played shop for two hours, with the nine year old pretending to be the shop assistant, helping me choose something to wear for a party.

We did each other's make-up and I took photos of her wearing my high heels and carrying one of my handbags.

"I love your room!" she said, "I didn't think you have all this make-up! All this talons! All this nice dresses!"

"What did you think it would be like?" I asked her, offended.

"Just... not this." she said.

I've had a really lovely day. It was only spoilt somewhat by the prospect of tomorrow- I have to be at the au pair family's house for 10.30am, but I couldn't find anyone to cover my shift at the restaurant... However, someone finally got back to me about ten minutes ago so it's all fine!! Yey!!

When we got back to the au pair family's house, we played for a bit and then it was time for tea. The mum had bought fresh ravioli from an Italian deli so all I had to do was boil the water and heat up a jar of pasta sauce. Then for pudding there was a cake that me and the nine year old had made that morning before we went to the restaurant. I got a knife to cut the cake but the mum suddenly came into the kitchen and said that she was going to cut the cake.


Then she looked at the nine year old and said "Why don't you take LBM to your bedroom for a minute?"

The nine year old led me away and I suddenly thought that maybe the mum was going to put candles on the cake so they could sing 'Happy Birthday' to me. I did vaguely wonder last week if they'd get me anything for my birthday, but on Friday when I said goodbye they didn't even say 'Enjoy your birthday weekend' or anything, so I assumed they'd forgotten about it.

(Actually, last Friday, it got to about half eight and they were still getting ready to go to their country house, so I asked the mum if she wanted me to wait until they left or if I could just go home. Now I'm feeling a bit paranoid that she thought maybe I was hinting 'Do you want me to wait.. for my card/present?' Oh my God what if she did think that? What if she ran out and got me a present because she thought I was expecting one? How embarrassing. Shit.)

We were in the little girl's bedroom for ages and she kept asking me if I knew why her mum had sent us away. I pretended I thought that her mum wanted us to tidy her room. Suddenly I heard the dad calling us and he sent the toddler to come and get us.

"Joyeux Anniversaire! Joyeux Anniversaire!" he yelled.

As we walked into the living room, the mum, the dad and the eleven year old came out of the kitchen singing 'Happy Birthday'. The mum was carrying the cake, now with four lit candles on it. The dad was carrying a paper bag tied up with a bow. The eleven year old was carrying a camera.

I had this nightmare last year, when the au pair family 'surprised' me on holiday, two weeks after my birthday, with a cake (again, a cake that I'd made, not knowing I was making my own birthday cake) and presents and they made me sit down while the whole extended family gathered around me to take photos and watch my face as I opened the presents.

It's terrifying.

But I didn't have to fake smile!

They got me a really cute little bracelet, one of those long,ribbon ones with a single charm on that everywhere seems to be selling at the moment. The ribbon is made of a pink, flowery material and it has three little gold bells attached and a small disc that says 'Merci' on it. (I assume they wanted to get one that said 'Merci for being such an amazing au pair and generally all-round lovely person and also thank you for keeping your eyebrows looking good as we have to look at them every day and nobody likes a Bushy-browed Barbara', but that wouldn't fit.) I've always wanted something with little bells on it! Oh I'll be just like Esmeralda! (Except I won't have to hide in the Notre Dame to avoid being racially persecuted. Fun!)

They also got me a bag... yep, another bag from another au pair family. That means I now have four bags from au pair families. I've figured it out though- because I always wear my huge I Know What You Did Last Summer coat and shove everything into the ridiculously ginormous pockets instead of using a handbag, everyone thinks I don't own a bag.... Works for me!

It's a little shoulder bag, dark blue with little pink stars all over it. It's cute. I'm really surprised they got me a present. I really hope they didn't just get me one because they thought I was expecting one because that's awful... But in a way it doesn't matter, because I got a present anyway I guess.


Guess what???

Tonight the dad was home when me and the nine year old got in from our adventures and when the kids were in the other room, he came up to and said in a quiet voice "Ok... look. The girls have told us that you-"

At this point I was frozen to the spot, trying to quickly guess what he was about to say. My mind drew blanks.

"-didn't know they weren't coming to the country this weekend. They said you were disappointed when you found out it was going to be just you and the toddler."

Shit. I did say that. But mostly I was just saying it to make the nine year old feel special, because sometimes she gets jealous when I have to watch the toddler or give him in his dinner instead of play with her.

"Well," he continued before I could say anything, "If you think you're going to be lonely, you can bring a girlfriend if you want. You can look after the toddler and then, you know, when you're not working you can go off with your friend."

How nice is that???

So Olivia's going to come and we're going to have a lovely weekend in the country. I just hope we don't have to look after the toddler too much. I need to go now actually, as I need to get up early tomorrow and pack! The country house is right on the beach, but I think it's going to rain all weekend. Still, it will be nice to see the sea.

Before I go, I have other news. On Tuesday Georgie was supposed to leave Paris forever. Kayt and Laura took her to Gare du Nord but they got there too late and she missed her Eurostar!! Amazingly, Eurostar said they'd put her on the next one for free, I think they probably felt sorry for her because she had so much stuff with her. Laura and Kayt left Georgie at Gare du Nord and went for a drink to drown their sorrows. Then Georgie texted them to say that she didn't get on the Eurostar!!

'It just didn't feel right'. She said.

I've not spoken to Georgie properly yet, but I can't quite believe she didn't get on the train. I have a tiny inkling... that is has something to do with a Parisian boy... but that's pure speculation.

Anyway, that's my news, tomorrow I'm off to the country.

Have you seen 'Withnail and I'?

As much as I love that film, I'm hoping this weekend won't be anything like that.

*Language Note. (Ha ha ha- No, really.)

Kiffe comes from Arabic and is used in French as slang for  'love'. Me, Kayt and Olivia now use it quite a lot in English, for example: 'I'm not kiffe-ing life right now guys.'

Also, I have, on occasion, used it to generate a laugh at the restaurant... Me saying 'Je kiffe ca!' is like a French person who can barely speak a word of English suddenly exclaiming 'Mate, that is siiiiick!' Hilarious. Or not.

One last thing, when we went to 'Wanderlust' a few weeks ago, we were the only people who stayed dancing right until the end, and on the way home we bumped into the DJ who pointed at us and called us 'les kiffeuses'. Then Olivia was really put out, because he asked her what 'les kiffeuses' was in English and she said 'the lovers' and he said 'No, it's not that.' Well... it is. I think he thought she meant lovers as in 'Romeo and Juliet'. That's the trouble with language I suppose... and that's why I'll never learn French.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Champagne Charlie- My Birthday: Part 1

The night before my birthday, I had a mini melt-down.

I had planned on going for pre-drinks with people who weren't going to Reverie, but it was starting to look like a bad idea: it couldn't be too early as I wanted enough time to cover myself in sequins and flowers; but it couldn't be too late either, as I didn't want to miss any of the DJs at Reverie... After all, we had payed thirty three euros for tickets.

We were sat on Olivia's bed watching make-up tutorials by Lisa Eldridge (she's so good... except watching her videos makes me want to run out and buy every single product she uses) and all of a sudden I snapped. You know when you suddenly find yourself raising your voice and you don't know why, but you keep on doing it anyway, even though you know you shouldn't? Well it was like that. Before the thought had even crossed my mind to make a scene, the words were spilling out of my mouth...

"I'm going home!" I yelled. "I need to go home and get on my laptop and RESEARCH! I can't RESEARCH here with you two, without my laptop. I need to make a plan for tomorrow and it's stressing me out and nobody is helping me!"

Luckily I was laughing by the end of the statement. I say luckily, because if I hadn't started laughing (which made Kayt and Olivia laugh as well- just thought I'd add that detail so you didn't think I was shouting and then laughing on my own like a hysterical maniac) then perhaps I would have actually stormed out and marched all the way home and then I would have been forced to spend all night moodily pacing around my bedroom, wondering what Kayt and Olivia were getting up to and cursing myself. I would have woken up on my birthday alone, miserable and still without a plan.

I think perhaps I was in shock over losing the Birthday Monster. Or perhaps my little outburst was the Birthday Monster: speaking through me from beyond the void; possessing me with his egocentric, attention-seeking spirit...

Anyway, whatever it was that made me suddenly leap up and start yelling 'RESEARCH'; I'm glad, because Olivia let me go on her laptop. Five minutes later I stumbled across Andy Wahloo, a Moroccan-themed bar in the Marais. The name sounded familiar so I did more 'RESEARCH' and discovered that it's located next to- and is owned by the same guy as- 404, a North African restaurant that was created by the owner of Momo and Sketch in London. I have wanted to go to 404 for AGES but for Some Reason we've never been...

I read online that Andy Wahloo is pretty quiet until 9pm, which I thought was perfect as the incentive to get a  table would get us there early and then we would be sure to leave by 11pm. Finally happy with my plan, I sent a text to everyone (five people) telling them that I would be at Andy Wahloo between 9pm and 11pm for Birthday Pre-drinks. Done.

If you've been reading this blog for any substantial amount of time, you'll know that when I make 'a plan' it is invariably going to go Tits Up*, but on Friday night I was blissfully ignorant of the impending doom, and so I went to sleep feeling happy and calm. (After a brief intermission of stress and agitation when I had to blow up the airbed- Olivia and Kayt just sat on the bed watching me and Olivia said she's going to tell my mum to get me tested for Asperger's.)

The next day I woke up and it was my birthday, obviously. We got up about 11am and I opened the cards I'd brought with me from home. (I had four- is this what being an adult is? Only receiving four birthday cards?)

All I've ever wanted from life (apart from wings on my back and a tiny saddle made from tulip petals to ride my bumble bee with, obvs) is champagne and macarons. On Saturday, I found this wish spread before me as my very lovely Birthday Breakfast (although to make it more nutritional we made the champagne into Bucks Fizz). It looked so cute I took a photo of it to show you:

Looking back, the champagne at breakfast might have been the start of it all...

Once we'd finished the champagne and the Laduree macaroons, we got ready for a day of shopping. I still hadn't decided what to wear that night and was hoping to find something in the sales, although as you might have guessed from my RIP Birthday Monster post, I had already looked in the Paris Sales and there was NOTHING good to be had.

While we were getting ready, Olivia asked me what my favourite song was, so she could put it on to celebrate my birthday. My mind went completely blank and then I fired an answer at her without thinking, so the answer I gave must be the honest truth, hidden deep within my subconscious...

I said 'Mr Boombastic' by Shaggy.

Who knew?

Don't you tickle my foot bottom ha ha baby please
Don't you play with my nose I might ha chum sneeze
Well you a the bun and me a the cheese
And if me a the rice well baby love you a the peas 

About five minutes away from Olivia's, there is a Claudie Pierlot, an expensive clothes shop that Kayt absolutely loves and as we walked past we noticed the Sale signs in the window, so we went in for a look even though none of us could afford anything in there. The shop assistant was so nice though that we found ourselves wanting to buy things, picking things up at her suggestion and egging each other on to try things. I've always said I'm a sucker for a good sales assisant. Sell to me, and I will buy. 

Maybe it was the champagne, but I ended up buying something. Something I don't need. Something I really, REALLY can't afford.

I can't believe I bought it. Even as I handed my bank card over I was shocked at myself, floating above my body, trying to pull myself away from the counter by the hair, but my transparent ghostly hands passed right through myself and I had to watch in terror as I spent one hundred and something euros on something that I'm not even 100% sure I love. And I can't take it back because they're making special alterations on it as we speak. 

(Well, not as we speak because it's past midnight and also, we're not technically speaking. I'm writing and you're reading. Except right now, you're not even reading, I'm the only one who's reading because I'm still writing it. I've freaked myself out a bit now. Might go and make a cup of tea. Hold on. Except... you won't hold on will you, because you're not there. Once again I'm just writing at myself and reading my thoughts back to myself. Ok now I feel really freaked out. I'm going to stop this train of thought NOW.)

Yeah... so I bought a dress that I don't need and that didn't even fit me. It was too big at the waist but the girl said they'd take it in for me and before I knew it she was sticking pins into me and it was too late to throw the dress back on the hanger and run away with my bank balance still intact.

But.... (Here's where I justify my disgusting spending habits to myself.)

My cousin is getting married in October (the sister of the cousin who got married in Belgrade last year) and by then I'll be really, really poor because I won't be working at the resto anymore and so I'll be glad I bought this dress when I did. 


It is really nice. The colours are more muted than they look on the photos below.


The print on the bustier is made up of old post cards and one of them is from Monte-Carlo and I've been to Monte-Carlo so, you know... I had to buy it really.

Obviously I wouldn't wear it with a 'quirky' hat and classic, simple shoes like in the photo above... I'm gonna tacky-it up with massive heels, fake tan and something ridiculous perched on the side of my head. (Then, as the wedding is in October, I'll probably throw my huge, holey grey cardigan over the top, or if it's really cold I'll wear my I Know What You Did Last Summer coat... Just in case you thought I was trying to be all 'style blog' for a minute. Don't worry, I'm not a complete dickhead. I still know how to ruin a perfectly nice dress.)

The only thing that slightly makes me want to pick up my laptop and smash it repeatedly against the wall is that, whilst looking for photos of the dress online, I discovered that on the Claudie Pierlot website it is now eighty-seven euros, not the one hundred and something that I paid on Saturday...


It was my birthday and I needed to get myself a present. 

It's done. 

Let's move on...

After Claudie Pierlot we mostly went make-up shopping. Olivia bought me a nail varnish from Essie, I've wanted a nude nail varnish for ages, so we took our time choosing the right nude for me. (I think all those Lisa Eldridge tutorials have gone to our heads.) Finally we decided on 'Mambo', a kind of dusky, pinky coffee colour. I LOVE it. (I really wanted 'Tea and Crumpets', because it's the best name ever, but the colour wasn't very nice.)

Kayt was going to buy me a MAC lipstick for my birthday, but they didn't have the colour I wanted (a bright pink shade called 'Speak Louder') so she said she'll get it for me another day. I did a little sulky face for a while but then I bought myself a lip liner instead and like I said yesterday, it has changed my life. Then I bought some amazing iridescent 'Graphic Glitters' from Make Up Forever and my life was complete.

I'm so deep.

Like... I just find it really hard to keep all these profound thoughts to myself... you know?

After our shopping trip we plonked ourselves down on the street-side terrace of a brasserie near Bastille and shared a planche mixte (cheese and meat). We had a few glasses of wine to top up our alcohol levels and then BOOM I'm suddenly really tired I'll finish this tomorrow.

I'm taking the girls I look after to my resto for lunch! And I'm going to show them my room, so I've made it all lovely and tidy. I feel a lot happier today, mostly because I have a nice, clean bedroom and also I have decided what to do with my life after this next year in Paris- I'm going to fuck everything and go to drama school.

*Although, I had an epiphany the other day! I've realised that there's nothing wrong with my planning... it's just that all my plans go wrong because people refuse to do exactly what I say, all the time. If everybody did as they were told and obeyed me with unblinking servitude, then all my plans would turn out exactly as I expected them to. The only possible solution is to get rid of all my current friends and replace them with Medieval serfs. They might not make me laugh or buy me champagne, but I bet they'd follow my plans properly and bring me a percentage of their crops each season.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Swings and Roundabouts

I feel so sad that I'm not moving to London.

I can't remember why I decided to stay in Paris for another year. I've told the family now and so I'll stay. I know people think I'm being ridiculous but I hate letting people down.

I think I was waiting for someone to say 'Come home, come back.' and nobody did. Around the time I made my decision to stay, I was just fed up of not knowing and I think I wanted somebody else to make the decision for me. I told the family I was leaving and they persuaded me not to go...  I wanted to be persuaded.

When I was trying to make the decision, I spoke to my mum on Facebook Video Chat and I expected her to say 'Come home, come back'. She said 'I think you should stay there.'


She pointed out that I've been moving around every few months since I was 18, it might be nice to settle in one place for a while. It will definitely be easier and cheaper to stay where I am for another year. I am tired of moving, the thought of packing up all my stuff and transporting it to another country is exhausting.

And yet.

It seems as though this is the year that everyone is moving to London- Claire, Jen, Lauren have all got jobs in London. Even Olivia and Mez from Paris are moving back in September to finish their university degrees.

I can't remember why I decided to stay, I feel as though I'm being left behind and just rotting here, into nothing and fading.

I feel really, really sad.

On the plus side, I bought a lip liner from MAC on Saturday and I can't believe I've never used lip liner before! I found the shade closest to my natural lip colour (it's called Subculture) and I have been wearing it everyday with lip balm over the top. My lips look subtly plumper and have a more defined shape.

Swings and roundabouts.

Here are two music videos that have made me cry, maybe because of the current emotional state I'm in but still, have a look. I love music vidoes with a good old narrative to them!

Friday, 6 July 2012

RIP Birthday Monster

The Birthday Monster is dead. He hath been slain by a coldsore and a lack of planning. All he wanted was to cover his little furry body in sequins and dance around all night like a maniac, but the coldsore came out of nowhere and BOOM, he was lying on the floor, surrounded in a pool of his own glitter, gasping for breath and wondering what the hell happened.

The Birthday Monster thought there was a good, solid plan- pre-drinks followed by a night of amazing music, high on the drug that embarrassing people call 'life'- but as he lay on the floor, meekly calling out for help, he saw The Plan turn its back and disappear into the shadows. His drug dealer did not return his calls.

All grew dark.

Then, as he took his last, ragged breath, the Birthday Monster spied something glittering in the darkness. As it got closer, he thought he could make out a swish of silk, a glint of silver, perhaps a rustle of fringing.

It was the Paris Sales, coming to save him, the Birthday Monster was going to live! He was going to find a teeny tiny, silky sheath dress for his teeny tiny, furry body and a pair of teeny tiny platform wedges for his little clawed feet! He would get a flowery headband and a new lipstick! Yeah, baby- the Birthday Monster was stirring once more and he was getting EXCITED.

But hold on.

The Paris Sales were almost upon him...

Something was wrong.

The shoes weren't the right size, the sheath dress only looked good on the hanger and when you got up close, the headband was tacky and cheap. As for the new lipstick- it didn't look like the right shade and all the bloody useless MAC staff were ignoring him.

The Paris Sales loomed over the Birthday Monster. They raised their ill-fitting, neon-leather gladiator-sandal-clad foot and gave him a hard kick in the face.

The Birthday Monster has gone.

I know Kayt and Olivia will read this and think 'Oh for fuck's sake!' because we are having a birthday sleepover later and they will have to put up with looking at my miserable face all night. Also, tomorrow evening I fully intend to do that thing where I lie on the bed in my underwear with no make-up on and refuse to move until everyone else chooses my outfit, curls my hair and applies my make-up for me.

(I used to get away with that a lot in uni because there were six of us that lived in the same block of flats, so there was always someone who would help me out while I sat there like a life-sized doll. Or a severely disabled Young Adult. Whichever way you want to look at it. I prefer the life-size doll idea. )

Don't worry, I will cheer up. My birthday present to myself this year is a tidy bedroom, so I am going to get cracking and then hopefully when I've finished I'll feel better.

Who knows, perhaps tomorrow the Birthday Monster will have miraculously risen from the dead. He is just like Jesus Christ, except more fun.

I might draw a picture of the Birthday Monster to put off tidying up my room.

Ok, here is my picture of the Birthday Monster. Yes, he is wearing a cloak. It's fringed.

I've also done a a picture of him after the evil coldsore, lack of planning and shit Paris Sales have finished with him:.

A sad day for us all. His little hat has fallen off.

There is a now a ridiculous thunderstorm raging around outside my window, it's raining so much my bed is wet. I know I should probably shut the window but... can't be arsed. I think I'll just sit here and watch it get rained on. Look how much rain there is!

Wrote this post over a hour ago, have since had an unexpected nap. Guess I won't be tidying my room then. FUCK'S SAKE.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


I wish Olivia had never introduced me to Pinterest, it's just another way for me to procrastinate, hunched over my laptop looking for photos of people in cloaks (for my 'Cloaks' Board) instead of tidying my room or organising my life.

I'm supposed to be tidying it right now, as Kayt is coming round soon to make fajitas and watch Geordie Shore. I hope she knows that when I said I had the ingredients to make fajitas, I meant some chicken and an onion. Maybe I should text her now and ask her to bring the rest of the stuff...

Anyway! I have some news to tell you. First of all, do you remember the person I mentioned at the restaurant? (Don't forget, now we have to be super sneaky because we don't know who's watching us.. I kind of sound like Gollum when he's talking to his precious ring and stroking it... also I do this a lot with my eyebrows. Perhaps I am Gollum and everybody is too embarrassed to tell me?)

Well on Saturday night a few of us were drinking by the river- that's right, the weather is finally nice enough to do river drinking- and Olivia said:

"Why don't you just text him and ask him out for a drink? Ask your boss for his number."

I hadn't had a lot to drink by this point, so I can't really explain my behaviour, maybe it was the heat... in any case, I decided to Just Do It, so I texted my boss and asked her for his number. She didn't reply for ages, but then while we were in a restaurant using the toilet facilities, I got a message from her, with the number I asked for.

'Ok, why not.' I thought.

Olivia helped me write a message in French, along the lines of:

Hi, it's LBM, this weekend it's my birthday. Do you want to go for a drink on Friday, if you're free? And on Saturday me and my friends are going out. x

I pressed 'send' and about ten minutes later my phone died because the battery was dead. At least I didn't have to worry about whether or not he was going to text me back until the next day.

That night we got far too drunk, moving from the river to various bars around St Michel, also there was a very unnecessary amount of money spent in McDonald's, if I remember rightly.

I stayed at Olivia's and the next day we just slobbed around, moaning because we were hungry but were too lazy to go out and get any food. Eventually we dragged ourselves outside at about 4pm and found a sushi restaurant that was still open. We also found a sunny terrace and had a beer, to try and pacify the hangover. It worked actually and we felt well enough to trek all the way to my place, so I could pick up my phone charger. We also got crumpets, cake and Percy Pigs from Marks and Spencers. (You can assume my 'Ibiza diet' isn't going too well.)

We got back to Olivia's and I charged up my phone. There was a text on there. It said yes. Kind of...

What it actually said was 'Sorry I'm working on Friday. And for Saturday, why not? Let's keep in touch. Good day.'

Not exactly a Keen Jean, is he?

Have I made a tit out of myself?

The problem is, on Saturday I am going to Reverie to see Seth Troxler, Maya Jane Coles and Azari and III (yesssssss, can't wait!) so I can't have a drink with him, even though that's kind of what I suggested... Oops. Also, I looked at the text again I sent today and I actually said 'on va faire la fete avec tous mes potes' which literally means 'we're going to party with all my mates'. 'We' as in me and him? Is that what I said? At first I wanted to die a little bit, but Olivia assured me that in French it's normal to use 'on' and that it won't sound as if I'm commanding him to come out with me and my friends.

I'm thinking maybe I should organise pre-drinks before we go and see Seth Troxler et al, for people who aren't coming to Reverie. But who can I invite? I only know about five people in Paris and most of them are coming to Reverie.

Also, me and Olivia got really excited over the weekend, planning our outfits and hair- we want to wear flowers in our hair and we want to do glittery eye make-up, using sequins and feathers. I can't invite him for a drink and then show up looking like a podium dancer, can I?

Hmmm. I told the English boy at work, to see if I could get some male perspective on the situation. He made me feel a lot better about the whole thing by saying:

"To be honest he's probably feeling embarrassed for you, because he knows you like him and he's not interested."

Did I say better? I meant a thousand times worse.

Anyway, I know I'm over-thinking this a lot, considering that nothing has actually happened whatsoever, but I have ANOTHER piece of news:

This morning I woke up.


I have a coldsore.

I've not had one for over a year, I fucking knew I would get one right before my birthday. It's disgusting, I feel like cancelling the whole weekend.

So. I know I still have a lot to catch up on (how did I eventually find my brother, what happened when Jen came to stay, why did I decide to stay in Paris for another year etc) but for now I'll just show you a pretty picture that I found on Pinterest (via Olivia, she gets very mad when I don't give her full credit for things in my blog) and am using as my inspiration for Saturday night.

Image from: Manhattan Maedchen.