Thursday, April 29, 2010

Totally crap outfit of the week

It's been a while since I did one of these, for the very good reason that I currently don't have as much time to wander and take photos as I did previously.  But I was lucky (?) enough to snap a shot of this lady so I now have something to share with you,  although I am sure you went running for the eye bleach as soon as you saw the photo and will hence not be able to read this post, but I shall continue below nonetheless.

Well, this outfit - what can I say?  Other than the completely freakin' obvious: Madame, you are in PARIS.   Make. An. Effort.  I mean, is there even one redeeming quality to this outfit? (That's rhetorical, don't bother looking, you won't find anything.).  Rolled-up shorts can be quite cute, but not these ones, and while I'm criticizing, might I just suggest that one might want to re-think light colours when one's bottom reaches a certain size?  Too bitchy?  Too bad!  I'm just getting started.  Where was I?  Oh yes, I think I was about to comment that the oversized jacket and oversized scarf and oversized bag slung across it all is also not flattering to anyone larger than Kate Moss.  But that is a minor nit-pick compared to the hideousness of the clunky grey boots worn with mustard-yellow tights, and I find myself wondering who would think it a good idea to EVER wear mustard-yellow tights?  Which leads to the question:  who would pay good money to buy them?  And to follow that thought to its logical conclusion: why would any company ever manufacture such a hideous thing in the first place???  One of life's great mysteries, I'm afraid.  Right up there with why is the Earth round?  Why are we here?  Why do Italian men always wear tight trousers? And why do I always notice?

Erm, sorry, got a little off-topic there, but really, can you blame me???

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Okay, that was embarrassing.

Well, I just re-read yesterday's post and that was just a great big fat downer, wasn't it???  Yikes!  Sorry about that, but I am trying to be honest about my experiences here and, well, sometimes it ain't all sunsets over the Seine and champagne at the Ritz (although wouldn't that be nice??).

Anyway, I'm over it now.  I guess it was just that I was finally feeling like things were really coming together for me here and then someone took a very hard shot at my confidence and it shook me up.  But my kind and lovely friends basically picked me up and put me back together again and I am reminded that having these truly awesome people as friends is a pretty good sign that I might just be an okay person too.

Aaaaaand that will be the end of self-pity and introspection for this week (and hopefully forever if we're all in luck!).  Tune in tomorrow for our regularly scheduled programming  - I think it might be time for the Totally Crap Outfit of the Week and it should be a good one, I'm ready to strap my bitch on and reallllllllly have a go at someone's hideous fashion sense...

Monday, April 26, 2010


Well, here's something I just discovered - having a deeply crappy day in Paris is just as horrible as it is anywhere else.  Today was my worst day here thus far - I had some times in January when I was a bit down due to the weather and lack of money and lack of friends, but this?  This was awful.  And let me tell you, all the beauty in a place like this won't cheer you up when you've been knocked this low and all the great wine in France is useless if you're too freakin' upset to drink it (which, for me, is a particularly miserable state of affairs!).

So there you go.  This blog is about life in Paris and sometimes life in Paris sucks.  Now you know.  Sorry, I am sure I will be cheerful again tomorrow but you know, I just couldn't bring it tonight...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Something you don't see every day

Okay, I normally hide people's faces if I post their photos online, but really, in this case?  When you bring your own antique furniture for riding the Metro, I think the term "attention seeker" can be safely used...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What day is it?

Oops!  How did it get to Saturday already???  Gentle readers, I do apologize for my absence, but this is what my week has been like since I last posted:

Wednesday: office from 9:30am - 12:45pm, bar job from 1:00pm - 2:00AM 
Thursday: bar job 12:30pm - 11:30pm, out dancing 11:30pm - 5:00AM 
Friday: bar job 12:30pm - 02:00AM (missed last Metro and had to walk home the entire length of the Champs-Elysees - not as glam as you think when your feet are KILLING you)

So I have been a bit of a busy girl and it's been all work, work, work.  Well, except for the night out dancing, which was a blast.  And the fact that working in the bar is fun.  I might not be getting paid, but my cocktail-making skills are getting pretty good, I adore my awesome boss, they feed me very well, and I am sloooowly starting to speak a bit more French with people, so it's a great experience all around.  Plus I get some tips and I am saving them up for summer fun.

And speaking of money, my update on the €5 per day challenge, Days 12-24?  Well, another benefit to spending all my time at the bar is that I'm not out doing anything that involves spending money, so I am actually €20 ahead at this point - woohoo!  So with one more week to go I am feeling pretty confident about succeeding in the challenge - wish me luck...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Don't hate me, but...

...this is how I spent my day.

This is where I had lunch:

This is where I ate an ice cream from Berthillon (mango and chocolate, should you be interested):
This is around the corner, where I stopped to read my book for a while:
And this was on the way home, when I stopped to just sit by the river, drink wine and relax:

And all of that for the grand total of €3.50 for the ice cream since my sandwich ingredients and my mini bottle of wine were both bought on previous days and therefore still within my €5 per day challenge.  Springtime in Paris, people - it makes "poor but happy" pretty damn easy.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Another photo

Still a bit light on the photos this week, so one more for you.  This is located just outside St Eustache, and if you think it's easy to get a photo of this sculpture without some damn tourist standing in the hand?  Yeah.  Good luck.  I believe I took this sometime in January on the coldest day of the year, which would explain the lack of other humans around at the time...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Things you might see in a Parisian park

Okay, the wifi gods are with us again today and as I don't have time to write, another pretty picture for your enjoyment.  Sooo...enjoy!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Moulin, not rouge

I've had trouble uploading photos lately, thanks to my horrible internet connection (which is why recently you've had to put up with more of my yammering and less of the pretty pictures) but today the wifi gods have smiled upon us.   So I thought I'd share this: just a little something you might see as you stroll through the streets of Montmartre...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The things I learn...

On Monday, a well-dressed middle-aged couple came into the bar and sat at a table in the back.  I thought nothing of it, the window tables were occupied and the weather was just average for sitting on the terrace out front, so it didn't even register as unusual to me.  Ahhh, sometimes I am still just an innocent hick from the swamp and I need to be educated in these worldly ways, because my boss took one look at this couple and muttered to me that they are having an illicit affair.  Quoi?  How does he know this?  Well, apparently the only reason a couple sits at the back of a bar in Paris is because they are up to no good and they don't want to be seen by anyone they might know.  And he was right.  One glass of wine and they were all over each other like hormone-crazed teenagers - most unseemly.  Seriously, if your smooching is loud enough to be heard over the sound of a dishwasher, you need to dial it down. God!  Is there a snarky French equivalent for "get a room"???

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I have nice friends

I think I jinxed myself - no sooner do I say that I am trying not to miss a day of posting in April, what do I do?  Yep, miss a day.  Damn.  Sorry about that!  Not totally my fault, though - yesterday I started my unpaid job at the bar and after an exhausting day there (for which I made €15 in tips - doesn't sound like much but tipping isn't the done thing in Paris, so it's actually pretty good), I then had to rush off to meet a friend who is in town from London for a couple of days.  

The totally awesome Miss P took me for a much-needed glass of wine and then very kindly offered to buy me dinner in order to keep this starving writer from, you know, starving.  I suppose I could have come home and blogged instead, but... Gentle readers, you know I love you all more than I love my shoes (which is a LOT), but I don't love you more than a free steak dinner with a lovely friend - sorry!  Hey, try living on 5 euros a day and see how many dinner invitations you turn down...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Paris on 5 euros per day challenge - Days 8-11

Okay, still not entirely on track with this, but have only overspent two days ahead of myself, which is pretty good considering we're nearly halfway through the month.  I have to admit, things would be a lot worse if the weather hadn't been so nice - it lends itself very well to free things like strolling around and sitting in parks.  Whew!  So if I can have a lot more sunshine and a little more work, things should hopefully go well this week...

Sorry this post is a bit dull, just trying to get something sent before my very bad internet connection dies completely - I have a perfect record of posting every day this month and am trying to keep it up!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Huh. Strange times.

So today I was in a bar owned by a friend of a friend and I basically begged the bar owner to give me some work experience so that I can start looking for a second job. Because (and truly, this astonishes no one more than me) I have never actually worked a bar in my long and storied career.  Waitressed?  Yes, many times in many places (and if you were on the receiving end of that, I do apologize, but just pretend I was one of those "sassy" tv waitresses - god knows, that's how I survived it).  Ran a till?  Yes (and impeccably, my count was never short, but it was in an art supply store, not quite the same thing).  Customer service? Absolutely (I worked reception at so many companies that my fake phone manner is still a thing of absolute beauty, not to mention the big smile when someone walks in the door - seriously, I'm an expert).  And, let's face it, after nine years in London, a bar is pretty much my natural habitat.  But I have never combined all these skills at the same time (not to mention the pouring of drinks that aren't being consumed by...erm...myself), so I figured that before I went begging for someone to hire me in such a capacity, I should maybe try to get a bit of experience. 

So I have essentially sold myself into unpaid indentured servitude for the next 2-3 weeks (they're actually selling the bar, which is why they don't want to hire some proper help while things are winding down, and how I weaselled myself into this), but I am strangely excited about it.  A) learning a new skill is great for me, and hopefully it will turn into paid employment somewhere else and B) it will be good to force me to speak more French and C) they will occasionally feed me. Whee!!! Win-win!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Springtime in Paris

Oooooh, so pretty....

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I am an idiot

And why is Miss K an idiot, you ask?  Because after all these months in Paris, I still haven't learned to NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT MY CAMERA.  

Today I had to run out to do a five-minute errand right around the corner from where I live, so I just threw on a coat and went out - didn't even take my phone (because it was charging), that's how quick this errand was going to be.  And it was.  But even in that tiny window of time, I saw something so insane, I still can't believe it.  I was on my way back when I passed a woman who was walking down the street with a cat perched on her shoulder.  Let me just repeat that while you try to picture it. A cat.  Perched on her shoulder.  While she was walking down the street.  

Ummm....I don't know about you, but I have had a few cats in my day and although they used to like climbing on my head when I was lying down, or draping themselves around my neck when I was sitting, or even jumping up on my back when I was standing, there is no way in hell that any of them would have sat on my shoulder while I took a leisurely stroll down a noisy city street, or anywhere else for that matter.  (In fact, I am quite sure I would have suffered a painful and bloody decapitation-by-claw if I had ever attempted it.)  But there he was, a perfectly ordinary full-grown tabby, sitting quite happily on this woman's shoulder as she walked past.  And I will kick myself forever for not having gotten a photo of this, and that's why I'm an idiot. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Paris on 5 euros per day challenge - Days 3-7

So, how am I doing with this impossible challenge?  Well, not too badly, if you don't count the fact that I now have to spend absolutely nothing until Sunday in order to get back on track with the budget.  But, to be fair,  part of the reason I overspent for this week (the other part of the reason being the wine and chocolate that I consumed over Easter - what? it's a holiday!) is that I went to Chinatown today and stocked up on cheap groceries which should feed me right through to the middle of next week.  So can I manage to organize myself better as of next week and conquer this challenge?  Hmmm.  Well, stranger things have happened (I can't think of any just this minute, but never mind), so stay tuned and I'll let you know.  

(I am also working on a post of cheap things to do in Paris on this kind of budget, will keep adding to it and will share it with you at the end of this month).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Well, that will teach me

Okay, so you remember how I was whining yesterday about how spring hasn't yet come to Paris?  Umm, yeah - it's here now, so I'll just shut the hell up.

Monday, April 5, 2010

April in Paris

Well, after a weekend of totally rubbish weather (I particularly enjoyed the frickin' HAILSTORM!!!), today was bright and clear.  So I decided to visit one of my favourite spots in the Tuileries to bask in some much-needed sunshine.  This required me to wear boots, jeans, a turtleneck, a cardigan, a coat and gloves, but nonetheless, I basked. Sort of.  April in Paris is a very nice song, but don't be fooled - springtime is just around the corner, but it ain't here just yet...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

How not to be woken on a Sunday morning

You know, I love dixieland jazz as much as the next person (in fact, probably more, because I doubt the next person actually does love it), and there is a band that sometimes wanders up and down my street, playing for all they're worth.  And it's kinda nice, most of the time.  But on a Sunday morning?  Really?  Sooo not a good way to be woken up.

Update on €5 per day challenge - so far, so good.  Was invited out unexpectedly on Friday night and had a martini for €8, but I spent nothing yesterday and probably won't spend anything today, so that should make up for it.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go defrost that bag of something totally unidentifiable (soup of some kind, I think) in the freezer because that's what I'll be eating for lunch.  How delightful.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Totally crap outfit of the week

The only explanation I have been able to come up with for this heinous monstrosity (can we combine those into heinosity? Can we make that a word?) is that this lady's poor blind grandma started knitting a version of the Guyanese flag but got drunk and somehow ended up making this coat and this lady is only wearing it so as not to offend her poor blind drunk grandma.  Because, really, what other reason could there possibly be?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Paris on 5 euros per day challenge - Days 1 & 2

Yesterday's post was so long that I didn't actually say how it went on the first day - answer: pretty good.  But that was mostly because I felt slightly guilty about the €16.20 that was still in my wallet and instead of trying to spread that out over a few days I combined it with with my €5 for the day and this is what I did with it: 1) bought a Berthillon ice cream and ate it sitting beside Notre Dame while basking in the sunshine, 2) had three glasses of wine over the course of the afternoon with a friend as we wandered from café to café along the blvd St Germain enjoying the sunshine (it's been a rainy week, we had to enjoy the sun) 3) bought a Big Mac meal on my way home (yes, I KNOW but I was starving and that was all I had enough cash for). 

Today I thought I would be sensible with my €5 and buy some food.  Which I did, but when I say "food", I should probably admit that I blew most of the day's budget on a Lindt chocolate bunny.  But come on, it's Easter, I had to have a chocolate bunny, it's tradition!  (However, I am absolutely kicking myself because I met a very nice chap a while ago who works at Lindt - had I known I was going to be doing this challenge over Easter, I would have shamelessly begged for freebies. D'ohh!)  Anyway, I had enough change left to also buy a bag of salad.  What?  Salad and chocolate, how is that not a balanced diet?  I was going to post a photo of the salad and the bunny together, just for the delightful contrast, but unfortunately the bunny didn't survive long after we got home. was wolves. Yes, that's it - not because I shoved it into my greedy face and demolished it in about three nanoseconds.   Nope, eaten by wolves.  That's my story and I will be sticking to it...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Paris on 5 euros per day?

I have decided to set myself the challenge of living in Paris on 5 euros per day for the entire month of April (and to anyone who has seen the prices here, I know you are laughing hysterically at the very idea, but it's not an April Fool's joke).  It's partly because I want to see if I can do it and partly because I am exceedingly poor this month (so I kinda have to do it), and this is why the tellers at my bank looked at me like I'm a crazy person (see yesterday's post) - because I asked them for a withdrawal from my account of 30 5€ notes.  I personally don't understand why that's such a peculiar request, but I promise you, it involved three tellers and another customer getting involved before they would believe what I wanted.  

Anyway, the rules of the challenge are as follows (and they're my rules because it's my challenge to myself, you can disagree with them all you want but I think they're fair):

1. The challenge doesn't cover my rent or phone bill for the month, which I have paid separately. The challenge is to cover transportation, food, entertainment and miscellaneous.
2. I can use up what I already have (ie - whatever food I have in the cupboard, fridge and freezer,  the money I had left in my wallet as of this morning, which was €16.20, and the five Metro tickets in there as well)
3. I can use any available freebies (ie - wine at gallery openings, food at parties, and the €17.36 per week I get in food vouchers as a benefit from my job, etc)
4. I have flexibility (ie - if I don't use one day's fiver, I can roll it over to the next day; and if I overspend one day, I can make up for it by not spending at all the next day.)
5. I have to lead a normal life; I can't hide at home to not spend money, I have to get out there and carry on, just in a verrrry frugal way.

So there it is - I will post normally every day but will also include a brief update on how the challenge is going.  Wish me luck!