THE SUNDAY PAPERS

Another week, another step closer to Christmas.

For real, can you believe we are halfway through the year already? I’m getting so clichéd in my old age, constantly talking about time passing, as though hours have turned into minutes and minutes have turned into seconds. But I can’t help it. Each month seems to be passing me by with every blink I take. I’ll be waving my firstborn off on their first day of school in no time at this rate.

Anyway, distract yourself from those Sunday Blues (and the transience of time) by diving into what I discovered on my Internet exploration over the past seven days.

Jailed for Being Raped

Pregnant on The Pill

Why the Name Change?

Oh Dear, Baby Dove

Why Are We So Obsessed With Milestones?

The Single Parent Life

Condoms in Family Planning

And the Attempt to Shut Down Carnival Begins…

There’s a Harry Potter Supper Club and I Can’t Cope

Will You Be Freezing Your Eggs?

A Sex Manual For Teens

I Hope He Does Go to Jail

First Citalopram Trip

Have an epic one.

HOW TO SPEND 48HRS IN PARIS (PART II)

When we woke up on the Tuesday, we checked out of our hotel, Le Chambre du Marais, and left our coats and bags behind to explore the local area. Our first stop of the day (surprisingly) wasn’t breakfast, but the Musee Picasso Paris. A gorgeous, modern, brightly lit building filled with some of Picasso’s greatest works; I was pleased to find that the Olga Picasso exhibition was still running. I love modern art and really enjoyed delving into the history of the artist himself. The museum focuses on his relationships with family, particularly his son, wife and lovers – and I’m nosey, so I loved it. Mum, on the other hand, wasn’t overly impressed and was keen to move on…

Before we did though, we were in desperate need of some caffeine and Parisian pastry, so we headed up to the roof of the museum to soak up some Vitamin D and indulge in a little breakfast. Everything was really warm and fresh and very fairly priced, so head up there if you’re after something light on a sunny day.

After a lengthy turn about the gift shop, we then headed off on our walk, heading towards a garden where a grandiose statue stands in a perfectly preened square. It’s here where you feel like you’re experiencing true Parisian architecture. Everything is immaculate and beautiful and romantic. I would have liked to have stopped for a coffee on this square as there were plenty of places to choose from, but we had lots to fit in, so kept on.

Mum is in charge of the productions her school puts on at the end of each summer, and last year, she chose Les Miserables – an ambitious choice for a primary school. Since then, she has wanted to visit Victor Hugo’s house, so in we went. We had a not-so-chic moment here where mum thought the security at the museum asked her to leave her bag at the door (and she did?!) and the guy on the door also thought I was under 22 – win.

His house was a little old and spooky and I was fascinated by the fact his wallpaper and carpets matched and clashed, something mum tells me is a trend returning to the world of interiors. (Even if it isn’t, I’m into it.) There were no English guides left as we walked around, which was a shame, but we sort of got the gist of what was going on. Once we had browsed the floors of Hugo’s house (definitely worth a visit if you are a fan, not so much if not), we strolled towards the church a friend of mine got married in just before Christmas. It’s such a gorgeous church, and is worth a visit even if it’s of no sentimental value. It’s epic, with high ceilings and statues adorning the sides, so definitely go if you like impressive buildings.

After we left the church, we grabbed a coffee to go and strolled towards the Notre Dame. Over bridges, along gorgeous streets, we followed our old school map towards the cathedral.

I was so, so impressed. I have only ever seen it with scaffolding across the front, but the building itself is what can only be described as epic. The intricate detail of the exterior and the huge spires that catapult from the top of it are so impressive. And the queue goes down super quickly, so don’t be put off and take a wander inside.

We crossed over the bridge towards the Latin Quarter (a very busy part of the city) to find Shakespeare & Company, a bookshop I have seen featured on Olivia’s blog a couple of times. A shop you’d expect to find on Diagon Alley; it’s all old and higgledy – piggeldy and you can’t take photographs inside. Look out for the quotes and clippings on the walls – I found these more impressive than the shelves of books they have inside.

On the doorstep of the store, you’ll find a lucky dip box, where you pay 6 euros to take a chance on their literary taste buds. Mum bought one for her friend, to say thank you for the clippings and recommendations and I walked away with a tote bag I use almost every day.

The night before, we checked out prices of boat rides along The Seine, as we wanted to see the city from a different angle. We chose to go from Du Pont Neuf, where tickets for an hour long boat ride cost just £12.00 (and if you grab a leaflet, you get a couple of euros off, which was a bargain!). You don’t have to book, so we just went along, picked up tickets and had an ice cream while we waited for it to arrive.

I normally hate tourist sodden attractions such as these but I honestly had the best time. The trip was so informative (mum was most pleased the guide looked like Paolo Nutini) and we learnt so much about Paris – my favourite piece of trivia being that the city expanded from an island and they built outwards, which is why there are so many bridges. I found that fascinating. The boat rides span across the whole city, and take you right back to where you started. If it’s a sunny day, I would highly recommend this boat tour. Once we got off the boat, we found a little square, Place Dauphine, where we sat on a bench and enjoyed a coffee outside a coffee shop, watching the world go by.

We wandered around St Germain for a while (I have to say, I wasn’t overly impressed) before crossing the bridge back over to The Louvre, to see if we would get in. Unfortunately, it’s closed on Mondays – worth noting – so that was a little unsuccessful. However, we enjoyed wandering around all the same and I got to take my favourite snap of the trip.

We went back to our hotel to pick up our things and wandered around Le Marais to find a quick bite to eat, but ended up grabbing a baguette and jumping on the Eurostar instead. We slept most of the way home and dad was waiting to pick us up from King’s Cross. 

We honestly had the best 48 hours in Paris you could imagine. Of course, we didn’t see absolutely everything – The Pantheon; inside the Louvre; Musee d’Orsay; another church mum had her eye on. But I suppose it’s a great excuse to go back.

If you have any questions about any of the places we visited, do give me a shout, or if you have any further recommendations for our next trip, let me know. I hope you have enjoyed these posts. I know they’re a little different from my usual ones, but sometimes that’s not such a bad thing.

A bientot, mes amis!

THE COWS – A REVIEW

dawn o'porter | the cows | book review

If you are a twenty-something, consider yourself very much a part of #girlgang, get offended when people insult millennial behaviour and follow the sort of people on social media one might expect you to, you have probably already heard of Dawn O’Porter’s, The Cows.

And if you haven’t, where have you been?

As soon as I caught wind of another one of Dawn’s books being published, I immediately pre-ordered it on Amazon (sorry independent book shops but one click is more accessible – and cheaper – than you at this point in time) and eagerly anticipated it’s arrival. After all, she is one of my all-time favourite authors, journalists and TV presenters.

The book itself is a very easy, very feminist, very current read. It’s one that you would kick off a female-only book club with – an accolade not to be taken lightly: us modern women are very difficult to please when it comes to our choice of reading material. We don’t want something too obvious or too presumptuous and, although we need something light and easy to pick up on our commute and between meetings, we certainly don’t want something so vacuous we lose interest.

Of course, O’Porter ensured that her book avoided this.

The plot line is strong, the characters are believable. A perfect, realistic combination of being both insufferable and endearing, she captures the essence of all of us, with Tara being my favourite. Actually, no. Maybe Cam.

Poor Stella.

These women are all women we know. Or perhaps, are. It sounds cliché but the book gets me, and will probably get you too.

I would recommend this book as holiday reading for all you women who enjoy reading my blog, or any other similar sites. I would recommend it to any woman who needs to turn a bad situation into a good one right now. To women who are thinking about motherhood – and not just those who are keen to grow a human, but those who aren’t, too. It’s a really interesting narrative, centred around blogging, social media, career, family and mental health. Relationships are, refreshingly, a side note. It’s everything you would expect from a book targeting you or I, in the best way possible. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s predictable though, because it’s really not.

I never like to give anything away in book reviews, but basically, I would recommend it to anyone who wants just a really good bit of a fiction about what it’s like to be a woman in 2017.

Truth be told, finishing it has really given me the lift I needed, and I’m keen to pass my copy onto someone who deserves a similar boost, so let me know if you’d like it (or nominate a friend) and I will happily pay it forward.

Thanks, Dawn, for another great read.

dawn o'porter | the cows | dawn porter

THE SUNDAY PAPERS

If you’re as hungover as I am and are looking for something to do, grab some snacks and a cup of tea, dive back under your duvet and tuck into my favourite reads from the last seven days.

An Ode to Summer in London

Men Shouldn’t Wear Flip Flops

Pool Party Etiquette

A Grown Up Glastonbury

My Best Friend’s Wedding

THAT Snow White Poster

Keeping a Diary Isn’t Just for Teenagers

Breastfeeding in Parliament

Boys Taking a Stand in Skirts

Being a Radical Woman

Don’t Be a Political Outsider

Achieve the Perfect Fake Tan

Wanna Go Vulva Watching?

Katie Price

Have a good week!

HOW TO SPEND 48HRS IN PARIS (PART I)

If you are trawling the Internet looking for posts about how to spend 48hrs in Paris (much like mum and I did before we went) you’ve found the holy grail. With the help of the wonderful Lou Lou in Paris and an embarrassingly old-school (but actually pretty great) guidebook mum bought a couple of days before we set off, we managed to plan and get to see everything we wanted to in just 48 (very busy) hours. If you are looking for a whistle stop tour of the world’s most romantic city, then you’re in the right place. Read on to find out how to best utilise your time – and squeeze in most of the sights – in under 48 hours.

We arrived in Paris at around 10.30am, and as soon as we hopped off the Eurostar, we headed north to Montmartre, as we were staying in Le Marais and knew we wouldn’t get the chance to head up there again. The area is most famous for the grandiose Sacre Coeur and, of course, the Moulin Rouge, but is now a haven for hipsters; sex shops selling toys in the shape of the Eiffel Tower (for those who love it more than others, I guess!) and enough graffiti to rival Shoreditch. Although we didn’t find any absinthe or spot Satine, it was nice to be hit in the face by two iconic buildings as soon as we arrived.

Mum’s friend had given her some newspaper clippings about Paris ahead of our trip, and within these, she found an article written by Florence Welch (mum’s ultimate woman crush) who recommended visiting Le Rue des Martyrs, an avenue close to Montmartre, so we just had to go. There are tons of gorgeous eateries to choose from along the route, as well as lots of really cool shops. We decided on a breakfast of coffee and warm breads with condiments at MARLETTE (would highly recommend) before heading to the Metro to check into our hotel, Le Chambre du Marais.

Once we had unpacked our things and put our feet up for half a second, we set out on our self-made walking tour of the city. Le Marais is quite a cool part of Paris and is quite close to the epic Centre Pompidou, so we walked via there, just so mum could see it. If you have time, definitely head up to Restaurant Cafe Georges at the top where you can enjoy a drink, a snack or some lunch while taking in impressive views of the whole of the city.

From the Pompidou, we simply followed The Seine and allowed it to guide us. It was a gorgeous day, so we just sort of wandered, trying to catch our first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower en route and listening to the sounds of accordion players and watching the happy sunbathers relax along the banks of the Seine.

As mum’s a huge Dan Brown fan, she was really keen to get to The Louvre, so we stomped it to there. We stopped off for a gelato in the sun and spotted these chaps in front of a church. We thought they were quite a nice contrast to the romantic architecture of Paris, so I took a snap of them. Do make sure to constantly look around as you wander; Paris is beautiful and is filled with hidden highlights.

By the time we got to the museum, it was actually closed for the day and was also closed the following day (always closed on Tuesdays), so we didn’t manage to get inside at all, but would definitely suggest heading in if you can. It’s free (which I didn’t realise until I went in December). If you get time, definitely explore Jardin des Tuileries that are situated in front of the pyramid. On a summer’s day, it’s such a nice place to just hang out and soak up the busy atmosphere. Plus, this woman who you might have seen on my Instagram is #assgoals.

We wandered back towards our hotel from The Louvre, popping into shops and having a nosey along the way, laughing at how all coffee shops place their tables in such a way that customers can just sit and stare at passersby. We hopped across the river to try and peek into the Musee D’Orsay but the queues were huge and we were in need of a rest, so we walked on home. We did come across this street, the Rue St Sauveu, though, which was filled with really gorgeous bars, eateries, shops and intimate galleries and is definitely worth a mooch if you’re in the area.

Once we had chilled out, showered and changed back at the hotel, we headed out for dinner on the recommendation of the lovely Lou. She had given us the most amazing Google map of recommendations for places to eat and drink and we decided on Biglove Caffe, which you’ll find on Rue Debelleyme, just around the corner from our hotel. It serves fresh pasta dishes and doughy pizzas, as well as antipasti and a gorgeous selection of wines and I cannot recommend it enough – we had a really good time with food on this trip, thanks to Lou, so thank you, lady!

Of course, we had to walk off our carb-heavy dinner, so what better excuse than to head to the Eiffel Tower for the hourly nighttime light show the residents despise? I, of course, loved the flashing lights and mum enjoyed the novelty of it all as it was her first time in the city. We walked around the tower and along the banks of the river onto the other side, passing by the amazing Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Flamme de la Liberte before hopping onto the Metro for one of the most comfortable night’s sleep back at our hotel.

Stay tuned for what we got up to on day 2 of our 48 hours in Paris…

THE BILL

Is it just me or is expecting the guy to pay for dinner on a first date a little… outdated?

I watch Channel 4’s First Dates religiously and can’t help but have noticed that so many of the women who appear on the show expect the guy to foot the whole bill. They get turned off when they don’t automatically jump to it or insist on paying. Twitter goes into meltdown, condemning him to eternal singlehood for treating her as an equal, and it really frustrates me because, at a time where we are fighting for – and actually getting somewhere with – women’s rights, we are undermining our entire cause by picking and choosing when to enforce the rules. Equality shouldn’t only be something we fight for in the workplace or in the House of Commons, it should be something we pay attention to in our personal relationships with the opposite sex, too.

I, for one, would not be caused offence if someone I was dating didn’t pay for my meal. If, since the day we met, we split what we ate, drank or did together, equally. Because after all, we are equal and should behave as such. Granted, it would make it a little easier on the old purse strings if women were being paid the same wages as men, but you can’t blame the guy sitting opposite you for that (unless he’s your boss, of course).

There are obviously instances where I’m not averse to letting him pay. If it’s a birthday treat or a congratulatory cocktail for bagging that dream job, then sure. But for the love of god, I don’t expect it.

Before you even think it, you should know that chivalry, to me, is as outdated as your nan’s curtains, so don’t even bother flying in with that one as an excuse. I like to be wooed as much as the next girl, but the best sort of wooing comes in the form of good manners, making me laugh and wearing an excellent pair of shoes, not someone’s wallet.

From what I know, same-sex couples have it down. Whenever they appear on the show, they split the bill without question and, to me, it just makes perfect sense. You both applied for the show, you are both there because you want to be, so pay your way.

The truth is, if we want men to understand feminism, we need to make it clear for them. So ladies, if you call yourself a feminist and want to be treated equally, then behave as such and pay your way or alternate who picks up the bill each time. Don’t just pick and choose when the rules suit and when they don’t.

My boyfriend and I take it in turns to pay for meals, which works for us, so to the waiter who handed my boyfriend the card reader at brunch on Sunday with such certainty: it’s not your fault, and sorry for snatching it back, but please don’t assume in future; we’re feminists.

THE SUNDAY PAPERS

After a big, fat gap in Sunday Papers posts of late, I thought I would start them back up again. However, the sun is shining and most of you are probably tucking into brunch, sipping on cocktails with friends, or baking in the midday sun, and probably won’t be interested in scrolling through online articles at this moment in time. However, once you’re home and have enjoyed a cold shower, moisturised those shoulders and fixed yourself up a little light, summertime supper, why not tuck into these reads from the last 7 days? Sometimes it’s good to reflect.

In Memory of Jo Cox

Is it Always Painful to Be Dumped?

Pay Back Your Student Loan (Lol)

How Britain Fails Migrants

Daddy Issues

Why Do People Cheat?

Is the Tradition of Marriage a Little Out of Date?

Labour Must Keep Fighting

Why the Love Island Feminist Debate Was So Important

Being Popular

Justice for Grenfell

Do We Need a Plan?

The Dating Time Continuum

The Joy of Being Unhealthy

Have a fantastic week!

THE VENT

When I get home from work or dinner with friends and need to vent about something, I need my boyfriend to do the very opposite of what he does.

Instead of flying off the handle with me, spitting with exuberance and joining me in berating all and sundry for something no doubt trivial, he remains as cool, calm and collected as he would be on a sun lounger, sipping on an ice cold mojito in the med. He will kiss my head, laugh and tell me everything will be okay. That there’s a reason for everybody’s actions and that I’ll think differently in the morning.

All well and good, but where’s the fucking satisfaction in that?

I need him to agree with me and flail his arms in annoyance with whoever it is that has wound me up that day, if only for a minute or two. I need him to get as worked up as my friends do when I vent to them on Whatsapp – even through my phone, I can feel the hot air rising as I tell my best friend about the colleague who bought the same dress as me and wore it into the office. Instead, he behaves completely rationally and politely declines the offer to revel in my frustrations. Each and every time.

I thought this infuriating dynamic was one only we shared. We’re very different, so I assumed it was just another discrepancy between us, but the other day, my little cousin shared a hilarious meme about this very issue and I quickly came to realise it was a worldwide problem for women to add to their list.

Be them life-long mates, recent additions to my phone book or online acquaintances, this is one of the many reasons why I will always need my girlfriends. To frantically text at 2 am until my thumbs are sore and shout loudly with each other about someone we’ve never even heard of over too many beers, just to make each other feel better.

No, this doesn’t serve to facilitate the age-old assumption that women are hysterical and men are rational human beings. It’s basically just like the male version of a punch up. Do this, and we move on. Don’t do this, and we will accuse you of siding with them.

The choice is yours, fellas.