Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Ladies Who Brunch

Be prepared for me to sound very hipster for the next several hundred words. Right, now you've been warned I can begin. Today's subject is brunch. I'm currently sat in work, stomach rumbling thinking of all the places I could go and eat this weekend. On a Saturday morning do you really want to drag yourself out of bed any earlier than 10am? The answer to that is of course: NO! Therefore brunch is the only solution. What other meal offers sweet and savoury, alcohol and soft? I've decided to compile my top list of brunching establishments for your perusal so that you never go without. 

This has to be top of the list. I went before my graduation ceremony and I can honestly say it was the best part of the day. Their slogan "It's good because we care" is an understatement, because it's not just good it is AMAZING. Can you tell I feel quite strongly about brunch? Especially here though because the atmosphere is buzzing, there is always a queue (great sign) and the food is fab. I had pancakes and bacon which I have to say were life-changingly good. My mum had the same as me and Mike had all sorts of things. Tip: when out somewhere new take a bloke with you who will be able to eat the menu! He had bacon, eggs and a sausage meat patty that was flavoured with fennel that was to die for. 

I tend to end up brunching here alone, but don't feel too sorry for me! After a cheeky wander around the Musée Rodin I nip in for something different, usually with seasonal fruit/veg and a really interesting coffee. There is a large table at the back which is fun to sit at and watch everyone around you while pretending to read your book! A relaxed vibe and friendly staff make this spot a great place to brunch or lunch for that matter. 

Breakfast in America
Unlimited coffee. Do I really need to say anymore? Probably not but if I do then I'll just give you a tad more information! BIA does what it says on the tin. An American style dinner that provides Parisians with their much needed caffeine and French toast fixes. If you are feeling a little fragile from the night before then this is the perfect place for you. The soul music and perky servers are more than enough to sort your guele de bois out. 

There we have it. My shortlist of establishments for sorting out those Saturday morning cravings. If any of my readers have any top notch suggestions though please send me a message with them, I'm always looking for new spots to explore! 

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Water Cooler Thoughts

I've been working in an office now for over a month. It was never really something I pictured for myself, sat behind a desk at a computer. I always imagined myself as someone who would work from home or who would be out and about all of the time. Maybe I just hoped for that. 
I won't lie to you it has been hard. I've been having to work through panic attacks quite literally which is amazingly difficult. Before I started working full-time I could take the timeout I needed to recover but now I have to adapt to it. This means I've been a bit rubbish at keeping up with friends, cooking dinner and doing anything other than sleeping when I get in but it does prove that mental illness is not a barrier to a normal life. Trying to explain why you are struggling to do paperwork or making conversation at lunch time is a struggle when you don't want to let everyone know about your illness. It is the kind of thing you don't want everyone to know about you at work, you don't want them to think you will be worse at your job for it or that you will flake out if things get tough. If anything I find the work I do quite cathartic in terms of my health. I throw myself into it when I'm having a bad day and feel rewarded when I see goals being achieved. I am struggling though, especially with the language barrier. During my worst period earlier this year my level of French really dropped. Luckily I'm getting slowly back up to where I was but it isn't easy when all you want to do is just talk to someone in your own language, or you can't pause and rewind a conversation. All this is normal among language students of course, it just manifests itself in me as stress, anxiety and self-doubt that I have to work out how to deal with it. 
Working in an office has a positive side to it though. I get to practice everything I have been working on in terms of social skills. Saying yes to going for drinks, spending time with people I don't know all that well and having to pluck up the courage to talk to people because it's your job to work with them are all things that have helped me incredibly. We have fun. We laugh together. We moan together. It's just what you would expect from any young office. All in all I'm loving it. The difficulties can seem enormous some days. I just have to remember how far I've come and that this isn't the end of the road. I can still improve. I'm still learning to deal with this so any blip is understandable. 
The benefits of working in a French office are numerous though. I get to practice my language skills and learn lots of new words. Some of the weird things we learnt at school are finally coming in handy. We have discussion about all sorts of subjects at lunch, today's was obesity and health scares! Another benefit is that no one tries to steal my Yorkshire tea so I am safe to leave it wherever safe in knowledge that it will still be there when I come back. We do yoga at lunchtime which is great for my well-being. I hate that phrase but it really is. You need to pause in the middle of the day and reflect on things. My sleep has improved. A thing with people who suffer from anxiety is that you can quite often suffer from insomnia and have panic attacks in your sleep. I've been so tired recently that I haven't even been able of a coherent sentence let alone any complicated worries. 
Being an adult really does have its ups and downs but at the moment caffeine, Beyoncé and my loved ones are helping me to cope with this new stage in my life. 
PS. Ive just returned from the entire office having to go and have a photo taken on Santa's knee. Mum you were right my office is a playground!

Sunday, 13 November 2016

One Year On

What can I say? It hasn't exactly been a year of plain sailing since the events of 13 November 2015. I've had ups and downs along the way, a few have even been documented here. I always knew that today would be a difficult day for me mentally, but I found it hard to predict exactly how I would feel. Even as I write this I am trying to assess my feelings.
It is true that I have come a long way since the attacks. There was a time when I couldn't leave the flat without having a panic attack and still to this day I get flashbacks from that night. Nevertheless in the face of all of that I finished my degree, I have now got a job I love and I am in a much happier place mentally. My journey has not finished by any stretch of the imagination and I still struggle. I would however like to thank all of the friends and family who have been such a support in the last 12 months. Without you I would still be paralysed by fear and would have never sought help for what I was going through.
My chest is tight and there is a tear in my eye as I write this but I feel it is important to do so to prove to myself how far I have come. We won't let the terrorists in this world affect how we live our lives. Paris has truly bounced back stronger than ever before and I feel proud to call this city my adoptive home.