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.

‘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)

First week in Paris – 8th September 2014

Au Pairing in Paris

I can’t believe I’ve only been in Paris for 8 days. I feel like I’ve settled in so quickly, met loads of lovely people and seen some cool stuff and can’t believe I’ve got pretty much a whole year to explore this amazing city.

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As I’ve mentioned before, Au Pairing is a completely different world and it’s been a bit strange to fit into my role but I’ve found meeting up with other Au Pairs has been really helpful. Last Sunday I went to my first ‘meet up event’ in Paris; a big picnic organised for international students and au pairs in Champ De Mars, a park directly in front of the Eiffel Tower. I didn’t know anyone there so just sat down with the first group I saw and discovered a few English girls. We all chatted for hours over baguette and some amazing (my new trademark!) Blanc Peche wine. It might be Paris’ version of Lambrini (cheap and sweet) but I don’t care as it’s so yummy. I was so happy I plucked up the courage to go as I met some awesome people who I’ve already seen a few times again since then.

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My actual ‘work’ has been enjoyable, I’m learning a lot about the children and they seem to be getting used to me as their new helper/playmate/friend.

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One of the biggest challenges here is managing my time and motivating myself to work. Some of you know that I’m studying a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) course at the moment and I’ve completed the classroom courses so now the rest is online. It’s 120 hours split into about 7 different units; you learn each unit then have a review at the end to test your understanding. I’m in the early stages of it; it’s interesting but difficult to find the right time to do it. I’m also trying to re learn some french using the duolingo app and website, which are both fab. On top of these i’m supposed to be applying for french lessons at a language school for 1 day a week. I obviously want to learn more french whilst here but the cost of these language schools are a bit crazy so I’ll maybe do some more research before booking. So this is my ‘workload’ but there’s a ridiculous amount of other stuff I want to get done this year;

– I’d love to do some dance teaching as I hate coming completely out of the dance bubble

– I need to get my exercise on and stop being so lazy, the plan is to join a netball club

– More photography. I haven’t touched my DSLR in weeks (I always use my mini panasonic but actually setting up a photo is painful for me now) and that needs to change ASAP

– More diary writing as I love that feeling of reading back over great / average / crappy times, months or years later

– More fashion show, events, gigs, parties, meet ups etc!

– Less time worrying about not fitting it all in. And just doing it.

Mary 

x

today's view from lunch

today’s view from lunch

Running with Dolphins – Holidays in South Africa – 9th May 2014

Africa

I love a good beach. If you’re my friend or follow me on facebook/twitter/instagram/tumblr/pinterest you’ll probably have already grasped this fact…

I love swimming in the sea (I can chose between 2 oceans when in Cape Town which never fails to amaze me), I love playing bat and ball, I love watching the surfers and I could spend all day sunbathing. If being a beach visitor was a sport I would be a professional. On 9th May we stumbled upon a pretty little beach at Plettenberg Bay. We didn’t plan to stay long as we were travelling from Knysna to Addo Elephant Park and just wanted to stretch our legs and take a few photos before heading off again.

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As well as being a total beach bum I’m also very good at being the last at things; the last to exit the car, the last to finish a meal, last to decide what to have from the menu. This day I was the last to turn away from watching the ocean and in the distance I could see fin like shapes bobbing up and down in the water, not too far away. One side of my brain was about to explode with excitement – loads of wild dolphins just a few metres away! The other side of my brain was doubtful – surely they would’t be this close, just jumping about like dolphins in movies?! My mouth just went ‘kerjfgnjdhgsgjn DOLPHINS, GUYS COME SEE!! aakjdnbsjvbfjhsv’.

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admittedly my photos aren’t great but I was way too caught up in the moment to care too much

Trisha, Bill, Callum and I just stood and watched as about 30 wild dolphins swam, surfed the waves and jumped about in front of us. And we were the only ones on the beach! Amazing. As they moved along the water Callum and I couldn’t resist running along the beach next to them. We were running on a gorgeous, empty beach so close to a pod of 30 dolphins in Africa. Can things get any cooler?! I felt like I was in a cheesy film about love and freedom… It was great. 

 

We also saw a double rainbow that day. What is up with the universe?!

 

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Mary x

Sun, sea, sand, scarf

Africa

Sun, sea, sand, scarf

This photo is totally vain but I have to admit that I quite like it. I’ve been teaching Callum how to use my camera and a quick beach stop before meeting friends turned into a photo shoot with my scarf. I love how blue the sky is, it looks so warm but the sea is beyond freezing! I hate that winters slowly coming