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.

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

‘I’m so sorry Marweee’ – 2nd October 2014

Au Pairing in Paris

Apparently these tales of tantrums and poop are making people laugh (is it bad that it’s at me and not with me…?) so here’s a quick overview of today.

I woke up in a positive frame of mind (basically praying for no major dramas) even though when my alarm went off I genuinely didn’t know where I was for a couple of minutes. I just stumbled around wondering where my mum was and why I’d woken up in this random bedroom. Anyways, I managed to realise what the dealio was and I did the usual get the kids ready for school shabang. After a quick nap I grabbed my running gear and headed for the Seine; almost 7km later I was shattered and sweaty so had a long bath. I tidied up the kids stuff then got on with my TEFL assignments and somehow managed to finish the grammar and language section with 90%. I’m pretty happy with that considering TEFL is so much harder than I first anticipated; the English language is confusing as heeeck. Only 3 more modules to go wahey.

I wish I could say I was super productive all day but unfortunately I was craving chocolate so made myself a mug cake (or 2) and girl crushed over Guillianna Rancic. Todays park session was going worringly too well and after an hour I’d yet to see tears or any poo, miracles can happen! Well, actually they can’t. As I was about to round up the troops it occurred to me that P had been sitting on the ground for over 15 mins, looking like she was digging a little hole in the woodchips. ‘P are you ok there?’ I asked, ‘Marwee I’m sorry I caca’ed’ THOSE DREAD WORDS ONCE AGAIN. Even though I’d taken her to the loo about 20 minutes earlier she thought it was best to poop in the middle of the park for the second time this week 😦 Also she had her legs wide open with a row of mummies opposite her, so, unlucky for them. The buggy to toilet sprint is now perfected so I got her cleaned up in a matter of minutes, new record!

I told F about my ordeal and she then told all of her friends who obviously found it hilarious. They danced and made up games whilst I chased P and J around trying to force them into the buggy. When we eventually left I had another scary moment as we crossed the road (why do roads exist, crossing with 3 kids is terrifying) P tripped on the curb, hung onto a pole and swung round into the road. She lay there laughing at herself whilst a stranger and I tried to drag her out of the road. Thankfully she was fine and it was totally an accident but oh boy my heart skipped a beat.

We played in the garden, sang Taylor Swift songs as I bathed them, played with dolls and then had the most random dinner that I’ve cooked since arriving. Ham and cheese crepes with rice and pureed pumpkin…

I dashed out of the house when I was free and skateboarded and metro’d my way to Bethany and Judit’s flat in Olympiades. We were all loving my great choice of snack; Speculoos with white chocolate fingers. So darn good. I’m so grateful for our girly evening because I was getting a bit tired of talking princesses and pirates with the kiddies.

I hope you enjoy taking pity on my life ruled by toddlers.

Mary (bisous)

‘I see blood!’ another fab Wednesday – 1st October 2014

Au Pairing in Paris

I’m sitting on the toilet writing this. With the seat down don’t worry, listening to P splashing around in the bath. She should of come out 10 minutes ago but she’s way too busy playing with a pink watering can and plastic cup to care about our evening schedule.

Fast forward a few hours and I’m on the sofa thinking about how dull my evening has been. I was asked to babysit tonight; usually I wouldn’t mind but Wednesdays are literally the day of the devil for me so it feels like the day has been dragging on for weeks/months/years/ I don’t even know anymore. I’m so exhausted!

This morning I helped get the kids ready again and then had 2 hours before I needed to pick them up from school (how pointless is that?! Going to school for just over 2 hours, crazyness). I fell asleep to an episode of Friends; at 10am my alarms went off and I had that mini panic attack of thinking it was first thing in the morning and I’d slept in. Thankfully that wasn’t the case.

I picked up all 3 munchkins and started the 10 minute mission of walking home without a fight or accident occurring. P wailed the whole way back because I didn’t bring a biscuit for her (lunch was on the table at home, i’m not starving her don’t worry guysies). I got some great awkward looks from snobby mothers who must think I’m torturing these kids from the way they cry so much. All was going well in the morning – I got F dressed and ready for ballet and put the twins to bed for their nap time. J said he couldn’t sleep on his own though so we had a long sleepy cuddle until he drifted off and I could tiptoe away.

When F returned from ballet we watched Bratz movie (what a classic) and then Life Size (Lohan and Tyra Banks at their finest) before waking up the little ones. Sleepy 3 years olds are my favourite kind because they’re too tired to scream, shout, kick or punch. As soon as they regained their energy though the house was filled with ‘NOOOOOOOOO, LEAVE ME ALONE’ & ‘ REALLY MARY YOU ARE NOT NICE, OUR LAST NANNY WAS A LOT NICER THAN YOU’- yay. I struggled with their out-of-no-where aggression and we ended up watching each other dance to One Direction songs. Somewhere this turned into a kicking match and I’m pretty sure F got kicked in the eye. The next thing I know, F is screaming ‘I see blood, Mary she’s bleeding!’ cool. P’s lip was bleeding (a tiny tiny dot of blood to be fair), I sent them all to their rooms and made their dinner and then dunked them all in the bath quickly and had the fun job of washing their hair.

‘Mummy’s home!’ means I’m out of the picture and luckily I’m not responsible for injuries anymore. We sat and watched Krypto the Superdog and Baby Looney Tunes before their mum disappeared again and I was in charge of bed time. The twins bedroom looked like a bomb had hit it; I’m guessing it was the aftermath of being sent to their rooms… We played ‘put the clothes on the wolf’, a very strange magnetic board game and I read a princess story to F.  They all fell asleep pretty quickly and I was stuck in the house all evening (mega bored) because I was babysitting whilst most of my friends were out celebrating the end of another stressful Wednesday.

Until next dreaded Wednesday…

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Mary  (bisous)

I’ve survived a whole month – 30th September 2014

Au Pairing in Paris

What a pooey day. literally.

If you don’t like stories about poo then please don’t read on.

Today marks my 1 month anniversary in Paris, wahoo! So, like most days there was bound to be some drama. I woke up at around 7:30, helped feed and dress the kids before waving them off for school. The housekeeper arrived and we said our awkward hello’s because she doesn’t speak any english but also refuses to hear me speak french… I left her with a spare key (I explained that I was going out, she seemed confused and spoke really quickly and confused me and then herself) and got the train and then metro to Bercy to see Steph Bottin (friend from school, well not really school but you get me) as she’s moving to the centre of France and was passing through Paris 🙂 We had such a nice little catch up and had loads to talk about as we’ve both been travelling since we last saw each other. Hopefully I’ll see her for a weekend or holiday sooooon!

Earlier in the day I’d had a call from the kids mum telling me the union who run the after school clubs had gone on strike so my day would be cut short for almost 2 hours as I had to pick the 3 kids up from school early. The twins were pretty chilled when I got them and munched on chocolate biscuits as we waited for F. Soon I was the last ‘parent’ waiting at the school gates. Where was my kid?! Eventually I spoke to a few teachers and located F; she was hysterically crying. Fantastic.

It turns out F’s after school club was still running but no one had told me so I had to deal with her stressing out for what felt like a lifetime. She finally settled on going to the park across the road to relieve her unnecessary anger. The park is truly mental and dealing with 3 crazy children there is always a nightmare, but it’s gotta be done. Today I did my best at keeping an eye on everyone at all times even though they’d conveniently spread themselves apart. I chose to be a nice Au Pair today and let them play for almost 3 hours (I know, I’m a saint)!!! When I was about to give my 10 minute call I noticed P was hobbling around looking awkward; at first I thought she was hurt. And then she just squatted. She full on squatted in the middle of the park and pooped her pants. If I hadn’t of gone over to her I’m almost certain she would of just stayed crouched on the floor, not a care in the world.

‘Mary, I caca-ed…’, I scooped her up, told F to watch J, ran to the buggy on the other side of the park to get baby wipes, sprinted to the toilets and did the dreaded reveal. Poor P suffers from diarrhoea and today she’d left me a lovely present. It was a messy ordeal and resulted in me ditching her knickers and leggings so she was just running around in a dangerously loose skirt. I encouraged the others to say bye to their mates so we could leave but they weren’t having any of it. P was jamming on the floor awkwardly flashing half of the park so I kept reminding her to ‘close the shop’. With a bit of bribing and a few threats we finally left the park and headed home, thank the lordy! J thought it would be fun to run away a few times on the way back and I had that great heart stopping moment of him running into the road. If you have kids or are ever responsible for kids you’ll know how terrifying that moment is.

Bath time and dinner went quite well (I cooked grean beans, potatoes, carrots and chicken and the kids immediately told me it looked ‘yucky yucky’. cool) then by 8:30 ish I was free!!! I went for a run at about midnight as I didn’t get a chance this morning. My day has felt so long but it really has been pretty normal and most days are filled with similar events. Being an Au Pair aint easy but somehow a month has already flown by, it’s hard to fully get my head around it. Here’s to the next 10 months and fingers crossed for less pooping in the park.

Mary (bisous)

Child’s play

Au Pairing in Paris

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A sofa is a fort, a puddle is an ocean, a blanket is a cloud and your legs are a climbing frame. One of the biggest parts of my job is to play; learn to let go and have fun with the kids. Bring on another week of using my imagination and being a kid again.

Mary x

What I’m lovin’ about Paris

Au Pairing in Paris

Just a quick post about my fave things in Paris; my first fortnight has been so good and I can’t quite get my head around how much I’ve done alongside working and studying.

Feeling very french in my beret and moustache

Feeling very french in my beret and moustache

So here’s what I’m lovin’ about Paris (so far!)

– Because it’s a relatively small city it’s actually easier and quicker to get around than London.

– It’s perfectly fine to be drinking from a bottle of wine on the street in the middle of the day (I’m not an alcoholic, I promise)

– Baguettes! all day everyday

– Most people can speak English. Obviously I’m trying to learn French but it’s good to know English is there as a back up

– Street style

– You can always smell something delicious  when you walk down the street. Pizza, crepes, bread, cakes etc etc

– My travel is paid for so I use any excuse to get on the metro and explore

– It’s difficult to get bored of the sight of the Eiffel Tower

– Metro parties. Although terrifyingly dangerous, loads of fun

– Clothes shops are amazing

– Casual Sunday picnics with 1000 people

– Sephora. It’s like another world

– The kids I look after can be so sweet; an impromptu hug or giggle outweighs the tantrums

– The weather is fab fab fab at the moment

– French people have the best names

– I’ve met some of the loveliest people here already

– The little dogs…

Aaaaaand I think that’s all for now!

Mary x

Playground Politics – 3rd September 2014

Au Pairing in Paris

I’m now in that circle of mummies, nannies and au pairs. The playground is ‘the place to be’ and with that comes a whole set of rules, problems and politics.

The park opposite the children’s school is honestly the busiest park I have ever seen; hundreds of children are running wild and every bench or spare space is taken up by mums and older brothers and sisters. There’s climbing framey stuff, a football pitch, skate area, mini lake, carousel ride and candy floss stall. The place is hectic.

Yesterday the children’s mother left me alone with Jude as she took the girls to shop for school supplies. Left with just a plastic tricycle, Jude and I were told we’d have about 25 minutes to play before we all met up again to go home. 

25 minutes somehow became nearly 2 hours (ouch) and I witnessed how ridiculous it is to be a parent. These were my internal questions whilst at the park with Jude.

1. Why are children so loud?

2. Why does everyone come to the same park when it’s unbearably packed?

3. If I see another child fall down (in front of me) am I obliged to pick it up/ comfort it?

4. If my child loses his balloon is he allowed to pick a random one up from the floor?

5. If there’s unwanted food or toys lying around can my kid have them? please…

6. Is it an unwritten rule to just not speak to other mothers?

7. If I see another child eating dirt so I intervene?

8. How far do I let my kid venture before I panic?

9. Do I let a mini fight happen or do I separate the angry toddlers?

10. If my child pulls his pants down in the middle of the park and says he needs to pee pee do I pull the pants up and take him to the loo or just run, pants still down, to the nearest tree? (this may or may not have happened yesterday…)

I have countless more questions but I’m hoping they’ll be answered in my next few trips. The joys of being an Au Pair.

Mary xx

Bonjour new home and new job – 30th – 31st August 2014

Au Pairing in Paris

Yesterday I left Welwyn Garden City for the third time for the next venture. This time I would be staying a lot closer to home and travelling for only 2 and a half hours to Paris.

The days leading up to the big move were hectic to say the least. I’m a huge fan of leaving things until the last minute but can do 3 days of work in 1 night if I need to. So after seeing Callum and some friends in St Albans I resided to my bedroom to clear the mess, finish up on work related (boring) things and finish packing. I managed to get an hour of sleep before leaving for St Pancras on Saturday morning. I said bye to mum, dad and Peachy and Callum stayed until I checked in. I went on the Eurostar for the first time in years and was genuinely impressed at how speedy it was to check in; I literally went straight from scanning my ticket to having my passport checked to getting on the train and leaving. I slept for pretty much the whole journey and woke up very confused in Paris. My bag weighed a tonne so I struggled getting it off and dragging it to the end of the platform, I then walked around looking lost before Jerome, my host father, spotted me and introduced me to his son Jude. We drove for about 15 minutes to their house in Asnieres sur Seine and I met Guillemette, my host mother and the other 2 children, Penelope and Faustine. 

I’ve now been introduced to this new world of ‘being an Au Pair’; there are a whole set of new rules and activities which you don’t really think about before doing it. I’m excited to start properly tomorrow as the children are lovely and my host parents are really kind.

Yesterday was spent unpacking, being shown round the house and taking a walk to the park and kid’s school. I gave Faustine a bath and read a few stories to the twins (Penelope and Jude) before going to bed. I woke up this morning to the voices of irritable 3 year olds screaming ‘mummy, muuuummy. mummy!’; it will be interesting staying in the bedroom next to the twin’s…

We took a quick trip into central Paris so my host parents could show me how to use the metro and trains; it all seems quite simple and not too different from London. Sunday’s are a bit dead as ALL the shops are closed so we came back for lunch and chill time at home. I gave the kids their presents – loom bands, DVD of The Croods, a Disney princess storybook and a sticker book before they went off for a nap.

Now I’m trying to plan my evening. I just hope I can remember my way to and from the train station as I really don’t wanna be lost and alone in Paris without a phone…

Mary x