Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Canicule!

We are in the middle of a crisis. No, this isn't going to be a post about the state of politics in the world. Instead, I write this for you to tell you about the freak weather France is currently experiencing! I'm sat in front of my fan with a big glass of iced water next to me to try and cool down ever so slightly. 
Here in Paris we have had highs of nearly 35C, which is to much for this pasty faced Brit. Although that being said the French don't seem to be coping either! Sales of overpriced sun cream and frozen desserts are at an all time high and everyone seems to be off work and basking in the sunshine with a glass of rosé in their hands. It has been difficult to get anything done in the sweltering heat but we persevere. Still guests to be greeted and children to be babysat. 
The French however seem to be having a wardrobe crisis. I've actually seen people still wearing the Parisian uniform of head to toe black, sometimes even including tights! Shocking! I'm currently trying to find the perfect summer shorts that aren't too short but also look chic and floaty. If anyone has any recommendations then let me know! 
This Friday I'll be off to Giverny to visit Monet's house and gardens with my Mum in a vain attempt to escape the boiling city and to find some tranquility in this abnormal weather. It's the perfect spot for a picnic so be prepared for all the Instagram posts and potentially a blog post on how we get on! 

Over and out from this melted Blogger. 

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Bloggers Bonding

Hello! I've had a bit of trouble recently getting something coherent written but luckily I've had a few little moments that have got me reinvigorated and ready to make this the summer I really focus on getting my blog to be the best that it can be. 
This all started last night when I went to the Salon Sessions at Club Rayé on Rue Dessoubs. An informal space to listen to some inspiring people and to talk about all things Parisian, it was a great event that really helped me to think more positively about my blog and how I can grow it. I found out about the even through a Facebook group I'm in for Parisian bloggers that so far has helped me to connected with other like-minded individuals who are doing similar things to me. The blogging community is diverse and lots of people go into it for different reasons. For me, I never saw myself as ever keeping it up for this long. I'm almost ready to celebrate my 4 year anniversary! Talking to the ladies last night, it was reassuring to know that it isn't just me who finds it lots of hard work to keep up a decent attempt at a blog. We discussed everything from how often we write, how we market our blogs to what happens when life just gets in the way. 
On my way home, I vowed to spend the next day preparing a few more blog posts and to get back into the swing of writing because after all I find it a relaxing activity and people seem to like what I have to say! Following on swiftly from that I was blown away when today I found out I was nominated for Expatriates Magazine Best Expat Blogger of 2017. Never did I think when I started out that I would ever be in the running for such an accolade and that was never the point. I started the blog because I wanted to see if I could make it as a writer. It's a coping mechanism for my anxiety and allows me to express thoughts and feelings that otherwise become toxic bottled up in my head. It is however an honor to be in the same category as other bloggers who have incredible amounts of talent and skill and I urge you to check out some of my competition as they are truly deserving of the title! 
Dear readers, I would like to finish this by saying thank you for sticking with me through the good posts and the bad ones, for the times when there has been radio silence and others when I have inundated you with posts and photos. You help to keep me going and this summer I will try to dazzle you with more and more quality content. 
Merci beaucoup!

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Mid-Afternoon Meditation

First of all I'd like to apologize for my absence. I've been stuck in a big slump of writer's block recently and it wasn't until today that I managed to get myself out of it. Life has been hectic and uncertain here in Paris for me but still this city manages to surprise me in odd little ways. I was early for and appointment earlier today so I decided to go on a little wander in the area I was in. I love the Left Bank and know it like the back of my hand but still it manages to surprise me and still there are parts which are unknown to me. I ventured into the Church of Saint-Sulpice to escape the heat and to muse on my predicament. With job interviews stacking up and the summer facts approaching in an dealing with new stresses and having to work out ways to deal with them. It was like my sub-conscious knew that a quite 10 minutes sat taking in the awesome beauty of the church was what I needed to get my head straight. Then imposing architecture didn't scare me off from sitting quietly in the pews, far from it in fact. It felt like a place I could go and explore my brain and to quietly organize my thoughts. Paris is famous for its churches as it has dozens. All with gorgeous design and incredible atmosphere, they have a quiet sense of calm and wisdom that sometimes is needed in the hectic struggles of modern life. Everyone has heard of Notre Dame which I like but is far to busy for my liking and has lost a certain aspect of its spirituality thanks to the crowds traipsing in one and yet the other. L'Eglise de la Madeleine is the first church I properly explored in Paris. My first full summer here many moons ago I was seeking solace from the heat and spent a restful afternoon in the cool shadows of the building. Maybe this summer I shall discover more religious buildings on my wanders through this fair city. Who knows. All I can say is that I'm glad I'm back writing again. À bientôt mes amis. 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Books, Books and Merde.

This year I decided to set myself a challenge. Too many New Year's Resolutions seemed to involve giving things up which seemed all too negative for me. My challenge wasn't to eat healthier or to give up alcohol. I like gin and crisps too much for that. Instead, I decided to read one book a week for a year. Considering I had only read 20 books the year before, I entered into this with trepidation. I had to come up with a plan of action that I could actually stick to and that was realistic. First, I needed to pick a few books I knew I would enjoy so that I could start off on a high note. I plumped for some David Sedaris and Agatha Christie. Then, I signed up to a bookclub. I didn't end up going to the meet-up for a multitude of reasons but it forced me to read something outside of my comfort zone and read it to a deadline. Finally, I needed to buy some more books! Luckily, I won a competition run by The Earful Tower to win a copy of Stephen Clarke's novel A Year In The Merde. A very tongue-in-cheek take on what it means to be a Brit living in Paris, I couldn't help but become engrossed in this laugh out loud tale following newcomer to the City of Light Paul West who has been tasked with opening up a chain of English themed tea shops for his colourful French boss! I found myself chortling away on the metro at the scrapes this hero gets into whilst also thinking how similar some of the tales where to those I have from my first few months in Paris. 
I'm now on my 16th book of the year and surprisingly A Year In the Merde has been my most French book so far. Usually my list is littered with an assortment of literature inspired by la belle France, but this time around I seem to be ready weirder and more eclectic fiction than ever before. Challenging myself to push my boundaries by reading outside of my comfort zone has been a good test for me and has opened my eyes up to genres I would never have considered reading previously. It feels good to be reading so much and to be on track to hit my goal by the end of the year. Still, who knows I might even beat it! In order to stay on the right track, I always have a book on me so that I can spend any free moment racking up a few more pages. The morning commute tends to be where I get the bulk of my reading done, but the occasionally I'll have an afternoon spent sitting at a pavement café with a beer by my side and a book in my hand! 
While I'm doing very well to find diverse and different books to read I am always on the look out for out of the ordinary novels. If you happen to have any recommendations for me then comment on the post! 

Monday, 10 April 2017

April In Paris

Yesterday was delightful. Usually, a weekend with absolutely nothing whatsoever planned tends to strike the fear of God into me. What am I going to do? Will there be enough things to occupy my time with? Will I just end up sat on the sofa watching re-runs of Judge Judy instead of something productive? I was having a crisis just like this on Friday as the whole weekend opened itself up to me. Do you know what my savior was? The sunshine! It seems clichéd to talk about Paris in springtime being the most magical time of year but I'm pretty clichéd already so I'll bite that bullet. 
Blossom blowing in the breeze, friends frolicking and children playing with carefree abandon, the atmosphere was so ethereal that it was only when I remember to check my phone's pedometer than I realized that I had walked nearly 10km without really having a purpose. My mind was on enjoying the moment and soaking up the happiness around me. If there is one thing the Parisians do well, it's Sunday afternoons in spring. All of their plans seem to be so perfectly planned yet spontaneous. They profite-bien from the short spell of fantastic weather so that going into the office on Monday morning you have a spring in your step safe in the knowledge that you truly made the most of the weekend.
I was in a bit of a creative rut last week so I was in dire need of some fresh air and a good stretch of my legs while pontificating on life and meandering the streets of Paris. The Marais had been mostly pedestrianized so I could saunter along at my own pace while basking in the glorious weather. For a split second I felt like I was in a Nouvelle Vague film, high-waisted trousers on and sunglasses artfully placed in my freshly coiffured blonde hair. I must have looked the epitome of an English girl in Paris believing she is the first to have discovered all of the sights. I browsed shops I wouldn't usually go into and I sat with a plate of saucisson sec and une pinte de blonde like the French do except I did have a cigarette in hand, I had my book instead. Is there any better cure for Writer's Block than returning to your initial idea? To your raison d'etre? This is exactly how I thought my life in Paris would span out so it felt good to actually get out there and to enjoy this life I have created for myself. Even in the lows times, I relish the opportunity to take a good book down to the river or to a park and to half-read half-people watch. 
Now that this flaneuse has recharged her batteries ever so slightly, she can get back to the important tasks at hand. Enjoying life. Eating well. Self care. And finally embracing becoming More Native Than The Natives. 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Is Paris Home?

I'm darting around all over the place at the moment. After a splendid weekend in Berlin and an interesting experience with delayed flights and poor customer service at Tegel Airport, I'm now getting excited for my next trip. That's right. On Friday I am heading back to Blighty after over 3 months away. This got me thinking. I spend so much time trying to go more native than the natives and to have a comfortable life here, does that mean I consider it as home? Or at least do I feel at home in Paris? 
Stepping off the plane onto familiar land felt comforting after a weekend jam packed full of weird and wonderful new experiences. I forget how alienating it can be to be surround by a language you haven't quite grasped. At that moment, Paris felt an awful lot like home. It didn't feel like I was in a foreign country. I knew how things operated and what the people around me were saying. Suddenly, I felt a lot more relaxed. Sure I get this feeling when I step off the plane in the UK but I expect that. It was the shock of how comfortable I felt that really struck a chord within me. 
I suppose that this is what nearly 4 years living abroad gives you. A sense of comfort even if you aren't a native of the country. My little flat is my sanctuary and my Parisian neighbourhood is like a cosy blanket there to look after me when I'm feeling miserable. 
Home for me is a feeling more than a place. It feels like the cup of tea you manage to drink at just the right moment where is it perfectly brewed yet cool enough to drink and soulful enough to heal pain. Home is a long soak in the bath with the door closed to the outside world, scented candles, a glass of wine and a good book. Home is the smell of freshly baked bread as you walk on past the bakery after a long day at work. Home is the happiness of being surround by your loved ones. 
Do I feel at home in Paris? In short, yes. But do I feel at home in other places? Definitely. I feel at home in quirky cafés found on holiday that you can't resist going back to. I feel at home when I'm curled up with my best friends while we put the world to rights. I get home-sick when I'm here in Paris but it isn't necessarily for being in a certain place. It is a desire to feel that warm, fuzzy feeling that is so difficult to describe but so magical when you feel it that only comes around when you have no cares in the world because at that very moment you are content in yourself and have the people you love surrounding you. 

Friday, 24 March 2017

In Search Of Being Parisian.

I shared an article on my Facebook page the other day that listed all of the signs that you were ever so slightly French. My favourites were about being snooty towards supermarket bread and talking only in shrugs and hand gestures. Two things that definitely apply to me. It got me thinking. This is basically the idea behind my blog isn't it? Trying to define what it is that makes us go More Native Than The Natives! My life is currently littered with daily occurrences that make be believe that I am slowly but surely turning to the cheese-eating side. 
Take today for example. I spent a good 15 minutes on the phone ranting in French as I tried to reorganise the delivery of a parcel to my home address. After being handed from pillar to post and around the houses several times, I finally got to speak to the person who could help me. I thought, no wonder the French get so stroppy with such horrific systems in place to help customers. After insisting that this parcel was incredibly urgent I managed to negotiate its delivery for first thing Monday morning. Thus proving that being snooty and not caving into being a polite British woman actually gets things done! 
I should clarify that usually I am delightful to whomever is trying to help me but sometimes when you're at the end of you tether you just have to get things done the French way. The same goes for trying to get people to stop being anti-social on public transport. Usually I just don my cap of English politeness and stiff upper lip but recently I've taken to giving people who dare to eat smelly sandwiches or listen to loud music the most almighty glare that the obviously feel my stare burning into what soul they have left that they stop.  
All in all, I think that in certain situations we should all be much more French. They say that one of the benefits of living abroad and studying another language is that you have the ability to see the world through another pair of eyes. Being a touch more Gallic certainly has its benefits, so I say let's be more snooty!!