We run this – Paris Semi-Marathon 2015

Sport

Running was always my favourite sport in school; I can’t run fast but I like to think I can run pretty far. I loved cross country because you get mega muddy and we’d miss quite a lot of school for it.

Lucie convinced me to join her and her friend Kate for the Paris Semi-Marathon a few months back so I thought ‘mehhhh why not?’. Training came pretty easily as I go running anyway. I didn’t do anything drastically different to my normal routine but made an effort to do a few longer runs; 10, 12 and 15 miles.

The night before the run I didn’t get any sleep and was sick (excuses excuses) which definitely slowed me down. I think it was the hottest day of the year in Paris and the sun was in our faces most of the way. I also didn’t account for the weaving in and out of people. There were loads of people participating; I think the official number was 43,500 runners, thats a lot of weaving. The rush for water and slices of orange was brutal. Mum was there at the 17th km to cheer me on and shortly after that there was a killer hill which saw me slip from the 2 hour pace maker.

I loved running through the streets of Paris and pretty views definitely spurred me on. Even though it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, I felt a great sense of achievement at the finish line and had mixed feelings of one day completing a full marathon; the feeling was amazing and also disgustingly tiring at the same time. I will maybe wait a few months until I actually seriously consider it.

13.1 miles / 21.1km – 2 hours 8mins

Paris, March 2015

p.s. the photos are awful quality I know. But they made me laugh. Obviously loving life listening to Bey and Jay.

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Pairs in Paris 

Au Pairing in Paris

Back to Paris; friends, work and overpriced beers.

On Friday I went on a run which turned out to be the furthest I’ve ever ran (that I can remember), 15 miles! I intended to do 13 but realistically aimed for 11.5. I ran to Bois de Boulogne and ended up doing a few extra laps of the park because I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing. I’d heard that this particular park was popular with ‘ladies of the night’ (lololol) but it wasn’t until I saw how many there were that I believed it. I promise you I saw about 10 definite prostitutes and suspected another 5 or so. This was at 2 in the afternoon!!! To make things weirder there were loads of men suspiciously walking around, stinking of alcohol and cigarettes. there were little man made shacks between the trees and expensive cars parked sporadically on the walkways. This is the weirdest park I’ve ever been to. I know what you’re thinking, I’ve obviously come to a dodgey area. But seriously it’s a nice area, right next to the new huge Louis Vuitton foundation and surrounded by grand houses. And it’s a family park with kids everywhere. Why are there so many prostitures!?

 
As I tried to erase what I’d just seen, I made my way home and although the last 3 or so miles were difficult I reached home with energy and actually didn’t feel like I was going to die. I ran further than the race I’m training for so it gave a bit of extra confidence. 
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On Saturday night Evie, Carys and I had planned to go to the Brazil themed night at Le Bellvilloise but unlucky Evie had hurt her ankle so thought a night of dancing wasn’t really the best idea. We went to hers anyway to predrinks and catch up on holiday stories. The night was pretty decent but as soon as me and Carys arrived I remembered I had a huge carnival headpiece I should’ve worn, ah mayn. Although the drinks are crazily overpriced I really like the club and the Brazilian music was really fun to dance to. They had some drummers and professional dancers on stage, afterwards the male dancer came and joined us normos. He was crazy and we had a little Beyoncé/Brazilian dance off. We left the club to get the first metros home, I found a cat on my way home which looked like it needed cuddles. It then tried to follow me home. No kitty, the cuddle was enough.
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Yesterday I was so overtired but wanted to exercise so compromised with a power walk to la defense, about 4 miles away, to try and find a dress to wear to my Grandma’s party. I didn’t end up buying anything but did get stopped on 3 different occasions by women asking if I worked in the particular stores. I was wearing running leggings, a baggy top, a bright red sorts jacket and trainers. With no make up and scruffy hair! This happened in Spain too when I was wearing sports clothes, am I missing something?! IMG_1784
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This evening me and Carys saved our cents and watched Maid in Manhattan on DVD. I’ve realized we basically are J Lo, just au pairs not maids, not in love with any senators and we don’t have that booty. But apart from that ya know. 
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‘Although we serve them, we are not their servants. What we do, Miss Ventura, does not define who we are. What defines us is how well we rise after falling.’ – Quote from Lionel in the movie. So deeeeeeep.
Pairs in Paris. 
 
Mary 
X
 

Serial for breakfast.

Au Pairing in Paris

I swear to the lord of time that he’s doing something to speed it up these days. This week has just gone by so quickly and the weekend is almost over already. Noooooo!

This week I rediscovered my love for podcasts. Evie recommended Serialand shut the front door it was so good! I know I’m late to the party because it started in October but I got seriously hooked and listened to the whole series in about 3 days. Serial is “about the basics: love and death and justice and truth. All these big, big things.” – a podcast questioning the investigation into the 1999 Murder of Hae Min Lee, an 18-year-old student at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore, Maryland. Everyone has their own opinion but I wish it came to a conclusive ending as my theory is that Adnan is innocent; 15 years is a long time to stick to your story. If I were in his shoes and guilty, I definitely would’ve cracked at some point!

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I used to listen to Scott Mills’ podcasts religiously but don’t enjoy them as much when I’m not in England as they’re usually discussing TV shows that I’m obviously not watching when in France. I did download Jenna and Julien’s podcasts, they just talk rubbish but some episodes are hilarious. I like how they don’t take it seriously; they’re just sat at home having a normal conversation. So yeah, I’m back on the podcast hype.

When and my friend Kevin and I went for drinks on Monday we were told we couldn’t get a drink without also getting some food, so crepes all round. Lulu, by Canal Saint-Martin, was pretty cute. Lot’s of mirrors in the toilet to make you feel uncomfortable though…

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On Wednesday I made a rule of no TV all day (am I a fun sucker?) because I wanted to be more productive with the children. J & P actually slept at nap time which was a surprise. F and I made some beaded bracelets, did some colouring in and they all danced around the living room until it was bath time. I’m very excited for the weather to improve so we can spend Wednesdays at the park or take the scooters and bikes out, at the moment it’s just too cold to go and have a nice time outside!

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I also managed to chat to one of my bestest buds from Cape Town, Thami, on Wednesday, I spoke to him on the phone for the first time since May! It was so nice to hear his voice and he enjoyed gloating about the crazy hot weather in Langa. He asked when I was coming back to see him and the kids at the kindergarden… I wish I had an answer to that

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Thami & I in Langa-hoooood

On Friday I ended up at a small dinner party, lucky me being the only English speaker amongst a close group of friends who were all quite a bit older than me. I had more crepes and ended up having a good time. Saturday was quiet and Hakim and I went for a drink in the evening while he was shocked at how many foods I don’t like or haven’t tried. ‘France has the best food in the world and you only want to eat Margherita pizza?!’ – yeah, pretty much sums up my life. I rushed back home to babysit and Carys came round for an overdue catch up, she gave me a notepad and cute pen for a belated Xmas present (n’aaaaw!) and it was lovely to see her. The children were so sleepy that when I went to put them to bed they were already half asleep whilst brushing their teeth.

FullSizeRender-3I need to go for a long run today but I’m procrastinating as I know it’s going to be so difficult as I’ve had a lazy week 😦 Life’s hard when you’re trying to be fit.

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p.s. is it weird that I love the colour of the pea soup I made?! When I say made I mean heated.

Onto I ebay I go to find a pea soup coloured jumper.

Mary

biz.

The Seventy Fifth

Au Pairing in Paris

Calling all English speakers in Paris! Plus anyone who loves creative articles, pretty illustrations, arty photographs, clever poems and generally a good read.

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The Seventy Fifth is a new zine (oh yes I have linked a definition for you out of touch folk) created by some very talented and hard working friends of mine for like minded guys and gals in Paris. It’s been put together by au pairs and expats and the first edition focuses on the theme of ‘isolation’. Definitely a state felt by all in a foreign country at some point. Anyway, I’ll shut up and you can read and judge for yourself! I hope you enjoy it, you’ll find a little illustration by me a few pages in, opposite ‘The Complexities of Expatriatism’, which is hilarious (and so relatable) by the way!

Click here to have a flick through issue 1 – then come back if you want to see more….

If you’d like to receive issue 2 (the theme is LOVE, ooh la laaaa) and help support this fun and creative project please pledge a few quid to the kickstarter page. If I happen to have any millionaire readers on this blog then a huge pledge wouldn’t be so bad 😉

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Follow the zine on;

Facebook. 

Instagram.

Twitter.

Tumblr.

Phew, that’s all for now. Big up Evie, Carys and Briana for making it look so fab.

Mary

biz.

Seriously(?!)

Au Pairing in Paris, Europe

Here’s a quick post I wrote last week but never got round to posting.

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Disclaimer – the kids are totally potty trained (despite most of my posts involving toilet accidents) but aren’t quite used to telling me when they need to visit the bathroom and when I try to make them go they throw a fit.

Let me set the scene. The kids are on their second week of their half term holidays (so I’m properly in charge and have to entertain them alllll day). I just came back from a week away and have so much stuff to sort through lying in a pile on my bedroom floor. We’ve had a relaxed morning watching TV and making forts and I let them play some CBBC games on my laptop while I prepared our picnic for later. I came back upstairs after 10 minutes to find a puddle outside my bedroom door. A puddle. I’m thinking I must’ve given them a cup of water or something, surely no one peed outside my door. I looked at the 3 of them, my face saying ‘what the actual fudge’ but I settled for the words ‘er what is this?!’. With no sibling loyalty F blurted out that J had needed the toilet, looked in my bedroom, couldn’t find me so just got his ‘zizi’ out and marked his territory by my door. Seriously.

I couldn’t think of a reasonable punishment but told him about a million times that the toilet was where he’s meant to go. I really thought I’d got through to him and he apologised so I washed him down and redressed him. The kids carried on playing and I started on my huge pile of stuff to sort when I heard the girls scream ‘marweeee he’s doing it again!’. Another puddle.
I’m never having my own kids.

Mary, biz

Travel Thursdays

Au Pairing in Paris

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Most Thursdays I don’t technically start work until 5:15pm so I have most of the day to explore. My inventive name of  ‘Travel Thursdays’ is to motivate me to see some places outside of Paris each Thursday. Last week I ventured off to Saint Germain en Laye. I didn’t really have a real reason to go but had heard a few people mention it so thought ‘why the heeeelll not?’.

IMG_3794 It took me over an hour because train delays follow me wherever I go but I think it should’ve taken about 25 minutes. There’s loads of history regarding the town; James II, Henry IV and Napoleon had some lols there but I’m not guna bore you with facts. Wikipedia will tell you all you need to know!

IMG_3799 IMG_3805 IMG_3770 IMG_3755 IMG_3812The gardens were really pretty and the shops in the centre of town were crazy expensive. I’d definitely go back if I was rich or if it was rrreeeaaallly sunny and I wanted a picnic with some fab scenery.

Mary

bisous

Moustache Party Photos – 11th October 2014

Europe

On Saturday I went to a moustache party (avec Judit et Yasmin) in Villejuif, Southern Paris, organised by organizus and I took some photos. I met some crazy and genuinely amazing people and had such a good night even if my fake moustache was too furry to keep on. Live reggae, a Michael Jackson impersonator, beer pong, table tennis and way too many dance battles; all right up my street so happy days. I hope you enjoy the photos! Bring on the next event.

Mary, bisous.

PDA in Paris

Au Pairing in Paris, Europe

Random choice of subject but I have something I have to get off my chest. PDA IN PARIS IS OUT OF HAND!!!!

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I understand that Paris is ‘the city of love’ but my eyes have been subjected to a ridiculous amount of PDA over the past 5ish weeks. From couples kissing under the Eiffel Tower (totally fine) to adults sitting on top of each other on the metro showing us things that should be kept for the bedroom (not ok).

This weekend was the worst, PDA wise. I think as the weather gets colder people feel the need to snuggle more and think the rest of us want to see them kiss for the whole 25 minute metro journey. No we do not! I don’t think this comes from any bitterness; I’m all for being in love and being happy but don’t you think some things are for the privacy of your own home?!

So this is a message to anyone in Paris; if you see me quietly (but very obviously) cringing in the corner while you kiss and rub your faces up against each other then it’s because I find it really awkward and uncomfortable!

(Am I overreacting or has anyone else experienced weird PDA’s in Paris..?)

Mary

bisous (not in public…)

Major FOMO – 7th October 2014

Europe

Surfers on Table View beach.

Surfers on Table View beach.

FOMO – fear of missing out.

I hate to say it but right now I have the worst case of FOMO. Or just plain travel envy. Everyone seems to be having a wicked time in either Cape Town or Namibia or wherever else in the world and I’m just feeling so sorry for myself and thinking how much my life sucks. Here, in Paris. Oh wait, it relly doesn’t suck. It only sucks because I focus on other people’s exciting plans when I’m feeling a bit crap after a long day of chasing 3 year olds and ironing desgner clothes that I’d never be able to afford and trying to run errands in the pouring rain. All the while it seems like the rest of the world is having a fabulous time in exotic locations eating amazing foods and having the best social life – I full on blame social media. It’s been said a million trillion times but you do only see the best 1% of peoples lives on social media; it’s very rarely a true reflection of their actual lives. So why am I still feeling down about missing out? I think part of it is because of the way I left Cape Town back in June. I never got to say goodbye to very close friends and places that I’d fallen in love with and maybe I just want to be there to get closure. Or maybe I wanna jam on the beach in 40°C weather and go to reggae concerts and drink Savannas in Langa…

So to get over my FOMO I’m trying to plan summer 2015. I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow but I’m making actual plans for July onwards, lol my weird ways of thinking eh.

I will be TEFL qualified so hoping to start a new job in September (fingers crossed for the perfect job in Rio De Janeiro) but want to fill my summer with some memories from Africa if I can. Or should I just forget Africa for a while and go some place new? Or heaven forbid, do I go to England for the summer?!!?

Feel free to help me figure out my life. Or should I just chill out about future plans and enjoy my time in Paris..? Yeah I should probs do that.

My bad. Ignore my ramblings.

Mary

(bisous)

‘But what does it represent?!’ – La Nuit Blanche – 4th October 2014

Au Pairing in Paris, Europe

I’d promised myself that I would save money in October, meaning no clothes shopping, no online shopping and no McDonalds. Hey guess what? I was 4 days into the month and caved. I’d left the house to run errands (so grown up) and needed WiFi to find out who and where I was meeting people that night so thought I’d blag some internet and lunch at the same time. My tablet wouldn’t connect so that kinda defeated the point :/

I met Yasmin and Judit by Parc de Luxembourg and we had a little picnic by a statue of a naked child(?!) and were joined by Bethany and Aina. We saw too much PDA, too many awkward selfies and then we all kissed a girl witha drawn on beard who was on her hen do.  Yeah i don’t know what that was about either…Our plan was to go to La Nuit Blanche but like everyone else I’d spoken to, we had no idea where to go. We got some drinks and sat by the Seine (classic Parisian ‘no sure what we’re doing so let’s sit here’ thing to do) before heading to Montparnasse to meet the YEP group. As we got there it started to rain, it was super windy and we had no idea where we were meeting the group. Bethany and I stayed out in the rain with her ironic Little Miss Sunshine umbrella as the others waited inside. There were hundreds of people around, apparently La Nuit Blanche is a big deal in Paris?!

La Nuit Blanche – described by Time Out Paris

‘A free annual dusk ‘til dawn arts festival that holds the entire city in its thrall’

Basically it’s a 12 hour event where loads of museums and galleries are open all night and street performers make the most of all the generous tourists and the locals use it as a great excuse to get drunk.

We finally met up with about 25 other people from YEP and got the metro to Hotel De Ville, I watched hundreds of massive helium balloons being lit up and wave around. Matita met us and we watched the balloons, not really knowing what that was about…

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We abandoned a queue for some exhibition and wandered over to the Notre Dame. We came across a group of street performers/dancers that we’d seen twice before in Paris. They may or may not have a beautiful dancer from America in the group and someone in our group may or may not have asked if he had a girlfriend. It turns out he does soooooo that’s his loss I guess! We didn’t really know what art to go and see so we ended up in a bar in the Latin Quarter called The Latin Corner (ooop I see what you did there bar) on Rue De La Huchette. Read the reviews, they are hilarious. We saw more skin than we were expecting and saw some very awkward ‘performances’ from the bar staff.

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The girls headed home and Matita and I were the last ones standing; we met Matita’s friend Amrita and chose to see 1 more ‘arty thing’ before leaving. There was this big wooden structure thing by Pantheon; it wasn’t too exciting but hundreds of people were crowded around looking interested. It was cold and rainy but we decided to brave a queue to go into the Sainte-Geneviève library. Inside the beautiful building a huge pile of crumpled paper and crowds of people folding and screwing up big pieces of paper and adding to this weird pile thing going on. We joined in and heard a security man tell a couple that ‘this wasn’t a place to spend ages folding and to just throw the paper on the pile and leave’ – lol what, it was meant to be an evening to appreciate art, not just hurry along. We didn’t know what this installation was about but I read up on it and found this written by the artist, Iran Qureshi, “I was marked by suicide bombings in my country, says the artist, I wanted to show that we could all together, build something with the flowers of blood, which is also the symbol of life , hope, beauty are there anyway.” – which is fab but there was nothing around at the actual place telling you what it was about!

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My journey home was a bit unexpected; we’d checked that my metro was still running and it said that I’d be fine even after 2am. When I changed lines I found out my line was in fact not running 😦 I managed to get to St Lazare and thought I could always walk from there if there were no more trains running. As I walked through the station I saw a girl unconscious on the floor surrounded by confused looking train staff 😦 Luckily an ambulance arrived as I was leaving the station. I couldn’t find a train going my way so had a nosy at the bus stop. All buses had been replaced with coaches and I managed to be the last person to get on the only one at the station and it was going to my town, oh yeeeah! I got the last seat and got home in like 15 minutes (definitely beats walking for 45mins in the rain). Loving living in a place where you can get home at 2am with no need for taxis.

Not sure what I made of La Nuit Blanche; it was different and free so I guess I can’t really complain!

Mary

(bisous)

p.s. sorry for how poop my photos are, it was cold, wet and I didn’t have my DSLR on me