My Anti – Rosie The Londoner style: let’s talk Paris

A while ago I went to Paris. With “the chap”, obviously. We didn’t “pop” and “hop”, we planned in advance, because this is what people with jobs do. Employers like their employees to ask for vacation days in advance, they don’t believe in free spirits that “pop” and “hop” to places out of the blue. 

So, as I was saying, we booked train tickets and we used www.airbnb.co.uk for accommodation (we are free spirits with a limited budget). 

Before “hopping” on the train, I had to make a quick stop at Harry Potter’s shop. I just had to. I love love love the wizarding world. I read the books in March and I am still trying to make some time to watch the movies as well. 

I couldn't help it!

I couldn’t help it!

We travelled to Paris at first class, please envy us. (We paid £5 extra, it was a special offer but please don’t tell anyone, we want to look posh). I didn’t take pictures of the carriage or of the food or of me at first class. I know I should have but I was busy reading a Paris travel guide as it was my first trip ever to Paris and snoozing from time to time as I went to the station straight from work. Not glamorous at all, right? Right! So then I won’t mention I had sand in my shoes from a play at the sandpit that day (I am a nanny).

Now I feel sorry I didn’t document the trip and made a big deal out of it. It was a great achievement for a Romanian girl, not even from Bucharest but from a random town, who grew up in communism with scarce food and electricity. Silly me, not putting this trip in my CV!

In Paris we had breakfast in our little studio every day, mostly because I am one lazy bum and I like sipping my coffee in bed, for an hour or so, before I actually start doing something productive. I can’t always spoil myself, so weekends and holidays are for lazy mornings.

We had lunch and supper in cozy brasseries, in quiet neighbourhoods, far from the tourist crowds (“the chap” is Parisian, he knew what he was doing). We didn’t take pictures of food, of course. We ate it to the last bit. Every single time. 

Rosie’s chap takes lots of photos of Rosie, especially crossing streets. Mine couldn’t be bothered. He would have probably given me the most bewildered look if I had asked him to stay on the pavement and take pics of me while I was crossing the street in a daze, taking my time.

He did take some, though:

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Fooling around on the narrowest street in Paris, Rue du Chat-qui-Pêche. Not so stylish but oh, so fun!

Fooling around on the narrowest street in Paris, Rue du Chat-qui-Pêche. Not so stylish but oh, so fun!

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Last picture was taken in Jardin des Tuileries. I don’t know where the scarf or the dress are from but the cardigan is from Boden. God no, I didn’t buy it! My boss gave it to me after she shrank it when washing it. As always, best item of my outfit is the book. That time I think it was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Reading makes you smart and smart makes you sexy. Trust me on this.

Rosie went to see a football game and so did I. Except I went to a big stadium, I forgot the name, where there was a finale going on, I forgot which finale. The teams playing were Paris St. Germain and Lyon. With the chap being Parisian and all, I had to cheer for the Paris team, which won, only because I cheered for them, I am sure.

Football game

Football game

Few days later we “hopped” on the train, not first class this time as no promotion was going on and “popped” back to London, to our ordinary, out of style but real lives. 

Speaking of real lives, I’ll end this entry here because I have to go grocery shopping. There is no Waitrose where I live, not even a Sainsbury. But for the sake of poshness, I’ll go to Tesco, instead of Aldi. That’s all I can do upscale today. Oh, last night I had a £6 Peroni at Salvatore’s Bar in Mayfair. Is that glamorous or what? I went there for the Sinatra-like music, by the way…You should give it a try. No, the bar didn’t pay me to say this. They gave us lots of free nuts, though. 

Lavinia and public transport

I was too stupid to get a driver’s licence when I was younger and now I have lost interest. I will only buy a car if I can afford a driver as well. Therefore I am prepared for a lifetime spent in public transport.

I have lived in three countries so far: Romania (in Craiova and Bucharest), Canada (Toronto) and UK (London) and I have travelled around Europe a little bit. Here is my two cents about public transport:

London has the best public transport system, complex yet easy to get around it, thanks to the arrows pointing you to the right direction all the time. Honestly, you have to be completely illiterate not to find your way in London. 

Toronto has the most polite bus drivers ever, always saying hi, how are you and bye to passengers, giving directions when asked, unlike the London bus drivers who sometimes gave me the impression they have no idea on what route they are on.

But Toronto’s tube is a joke. Bucharest has more lines than Toronto and that’s ridiculous.

Italy is the worst ever. Worse than Romania.

In Rome you never ever know when the buses are coming or if they are coming. They don’t seem to run according to any schedule whatsoever. I feel for people in Rome that have to go to work every single day. 

In Milan I couldn’t use the tube because I had no idea how. No map, no arrows, no employees to ask for directions. I walked instead. 

In Barcelona I used the touristic bus only and it was great. But that was ages ago. I will have to go back and check. 

In Berlin was pretty much like in London, including people drinking beer in the trains.

Paris has great connections but the trains are so dirty it makes me sad. A city like Paris deserves better trains. Not to mention I was terribly embarrassed by all the Romanian gypsies singing and begging around. I love good music in the tube, London has plenty of it and I always spare some change for the musicians. But Paris was another story…

Greece is pretty much like Italy. I almost missed my plane once because they diverted a bus and didn’t announce it. 

In London I am trying my best at all times to catch the last train home. I fear the night bus. I once had to take it and not because I partied too much, but because the queue at the cloak room was huge! 

For starters, on my way to the bus station, a guy approached me, all smiles, asking me if I wanted to take him home with me because he had a big penis. I said “good for you” but no, thanks. He asked me if he could have a hug instead. And no, he couldn’t. I come from Romania, where people knick your wallet when they come to close to you, so yeah…let’s call it a cultural thing…I don’t hug strangers. 

Then, in the bus, I had to go to the upper deck, for a free seat. There, people smoking pot. They were polite, they didn’t want me to feel left out: “Love, do you fancy some pot?” No, I didn’t. I was getting high already anyway, from the smell only. What a sad night: to have to take the night bus because a long queue at the cloak room and to get high from other people’s smoking.

Later on, some party girls got on the bus. And they had their eye on a cute Latino boy, most likely coming from a late shift somewhere. Apparently his name was Felipe and he was Brazilian and one of the girls tried to persuade him to come home with her but Felipe stood his ground. So the heart broken girl did a wee wee on the floor, close to the stairs, that much wee wee that is got all the way to the lower deck. There must have been at least two beers there. 

This is why I am done with the night bus in London. I am too old for this shit. So I am leaving all parties Cinderella style, by midnight. Anyway I like a good night sleep so it is all for the better.

But in Toronto I had a different kind of experience.

I was in a bus trying to get to a tube station to catch my last train home. I was reading a book and missed the stop (it happens a lot, I am hopeless). I realised what I did at the end of the route and complained to the driver. He showed me which bus to take to go back but I told him it was useless, as my last train home was gone. The good driver didn’t leave me stranded, no! He said he had a break anyway and he turned the bus around, drove it to my front door and waited until I was safe inside. How cute was that?

 

 

Dreaming dreamy dreams

I sometimes wake up tired and confused because of the heavy dreaming I do at night. My dreams are so complex that I am sure I wake up with less brain cells every morning. 

Apparently, for now I am done with my old dream of not graduating from high school because I am failing French. Now I keep dreaming of stairs and lifts, in the weirdest shapes and colours.

The other night, for instance, I was riding this Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sort of lift, that was going left and right and back and forth but quite far from the ground. It was a convertible lift and the wind was going through my hair and the speed was making the scenery go by in a mist and there was somebody with me that almost fell from the lift and we didn’t know how to stop it.

Another selection of my weird dreams include colourful landscapes. They are mostly rocky and I am mostly climbing. Then there is the weird geography I am dreaming, like Barcelona starting somewhere on Oxford St. therefore in my dreams I go to Barcelona by tube while laughing at other people that go there by plane. Or Thessaloniki being somewhere in my neighbourhood in Romania.

Dali

Dali

Then are the sex dreams. Almost always featuring girls. Except for once when I had a sex dream with an alien. Aliens were taking over the Earth and I was hooking up with one of them. He was fuchsia with turquoise lips. Very handsome! 

I frequently dream in other languages, sometimes in languages I don’t even speak. Like the dream I had once when I was in a train and two people were talking in front of me and I knew they were talking in Norwegian. Except that, by that time, I had never heard any sentence in Norwegian. Or I dream about foreign friends of mine talking in Romanian slang. 

Last but not least, I dream a lot about being in prison and always having a blast there. And sometimes I dream about me trying to stop crime or me going to Japan by car. 

What are your most unusual and frequent dreams?

This morning I stumbled upon some of Dali works on the internet and this is how I ended up thinking about my dreams.  This picture was taken at his museum in Figueres, Spain and it is my favourite museum in the world.

This morning I stumbled upon some of Dali works on the internet and this is how I ended up thinking about my dreams.
This picture was taken at his museum in Figueres, Spain which is my favourite museum in the world.

 

My Anti – Rosie The Londoner style: Box Park sleepover and Tamesis Dock late lunch

A few days back I wrote this article.

I meant it to be a bit sarcastic (without offending Rosie) and empowering at the same time. Most women, me included, live on a budget and I wanted to show my readers how being content has nothing to do with the label of the bag you are carrying your tampons in. Because I am content and God knows I have no labels bursting out of my wardrobe.

About Rosie the Londoner, I honestly thought she was a rich girl letting us have a glimpse at her privileged life. I couldn’t have been farther from the truth, silly me. 

My last article was very successful and following some links I found in the referrals, I was exposed to the naked truth about Rosie. I am not going to comment about it because what she does and how she does it is none of my business. Whatever rocks her boat, there is room for all of us under the sun.

What I’ll do instead is a weekly style entry which I am going to label Anti-Rosie. She inspired me, with her Anti-diet :)

The purpose of this will be for us to come back to Earth, where the economy is down and the bills are high, to show women a low cost way of being happy and looking pretty while having decent aspirations (no, sobbing after shoes you cannot afford and feeling like you could sell a kidney for them is not okay). What I would like is for Rosie’s young readers to come to my blog for a reality check from time to time, after fantasizing about having Rosie’s life. After all the research I’ve made, I am now sure her life is as real as her boobs. 

So, let’s do this.

Rosie’s busy schedule sometimes sends her from a Ralph Lauren party to a Mayfair dinner, you know, almost similar to me last Thursday, when I had to hurry up from house sitting at Queen’s Park to sleeping in a box in Shoreditch.

Here is what I flaunted then and read about sleeping at Box Park here. Maybe you are curious about the morning after as well?

Ready to rock the box

Ready to rock the box

Room: God, no, not mine. I wish it was but, like I said, I was only house sitting. 

Hair: Washed with Aussie shampoo, treated with Aussie conditioner, tamed with a John Frieda thing and straightened by yours truly with ultimate disgust (I find the activity of making my hair straight extremely boring and life-sucking, that’s why I don’t do it often).

Blings: The Fossil watch that stopped more than a week ago at 8.30 pm. It is still 8.30 pm. I forgot to buy a new battery. And my Pandora charm bracelet, which used to have three charms and now it only has two (I lost one at the airport when heading to Oslo. That was in January. I should have replaced it. But I am lazy. So I didn’t.)

Dress: I don’t remember and it’s in the laundry now and I don’t really feel like looking for it and check the label, to be honest. Also, maybe the label is already gone, I sometimes cut the labels off because they are itchy. But it does look cute. My boss was sweet enough to adjust the sleeves for me, as they were too tight. It has a nice black collar which makes me look so innocent that I feel like I am cheating on people.

Leggings: Primark, £4

Shoes: Aldo, £35 (were 45 but I waited for the sales).

Bag: from TK Max, maybe £20, but I am not sure, I forgot.

You can’t see it in the picture, but I was wearing a jeans jacket as well (it was rather chilly that evening). It is a jacket my sister bought when she was about 15 years old, from a cheap shop in Romania. Considering my sister is now 29, I disagree the jacket is old. I think it is on its way to be very vintage. (I am 33, by the way).

I apologize I suck at selfies, I feel like I need to take a class or something. I never know what to arch/spin/twist for a sexy look. 

And despite of the low cost look, I had great fun that night! :)

Sunday Stroll

Sunday Stroll

Rosie likes stripes so let’s do stripes. This is the look she went for when she had some meetings a while ago. (With the amounts of pics she took before the meeting, I wonder if she made it on time)?

One Sunday this summer I had a late lunch with a friend, at 4 pm to be more precise, which consisted in a Full English Breakfast. I know, weird. Nothing fancy, on the deck of Tamesis Dock, one of the most entertaining places in London, if you ask me. I had a nine hours first date there and it was not because I was so lovely, if you know what I mean…

Top from H&M with £8 and skirt from Top Shop but bought in a charity shop with maybe £2.99.

Leggings from Primark and shoes from Shoe Zone, £8. I like Toms but until I get to afford them, these ones make a pretty comfortable substitute. When it comes to shoes, I am all about comfort. I am an old lady with a bad back.

Bag from a discounted shop in Romania bought ages ago and half price sunnies from Guess bought at Boots.

The best part of my attire is the book: The Infinite Plan by Isabel Allende, which I recommend to all the soul searchers out there. 

Sorry I don’t have pics with the Full English Breakfast but when I order food, I eat it, I don’t document it. 

And I don’t have links to send you to buy stuff but I am sure you can find your way around internet to get them :) 

Thrilled about Thriller

Once upon a time, Michael Jackson was my God. I think I was 11 or 12 when I started listening to his music. Remember the old music cassette tapes?

The first one I had was Bad. Then I managed to buy Thriller. I never had Dangerous, but I had some of the songs on different mixed tapes.

Back in Craiova, my town in Romania, we didn’t have cable until 1993 or 1994. I remember how I used to wait in front of MTV or MCM for a Michael Jackson song. How I used to stare at the video and live every second of it!

How did we survive this, I don’t know. Kids nowadays, with their youtube can’t even comprehend what I am talking about. Just like they can’t comprehend the black and white television sets or no television whatsoever (Romania until 1989 when communism ended).

I used to have a certain fantasy about Michael. I was imagining I would grow up to be a tall and beautiful journalist, with long legs and big breast and, wearing a sexy red dress I would go to Michael’s house for an interview. We would be thousands of journalists at his gates and he would choose me. During the interview he would fall in love with me and then we would get married.

And here I am today, at 33, short, small breast, not a journalist but a nanny. Not to mention Michael is dead. Oh, and I don’t even have a red dress. Talk about shattered dreams…

Anyway, Michael made me learn English. I was singing his songs before knowing what they meant. I remember taking the lyrics to Dirty Diana to school, asking my English teacher to translate them for me. The looks she gave me! I could at least have chosen Heal the World, I know…

I have never been to one of his concerts and it is one of my biggest regrets in life so far.

But later today I will celebrate his work by going to see Thriller Live, the musical.

“Now in its record breaking 6th year, THRILLER LIVE is a spectacular Musical created to celebrate the career of the world’s greatest entertainer, Michael Jackson. After opening in the Lyric Theatre in London on 2 January 2009 to rave reviews, Thriller Live has celebrated its fifth birthday in the West End, embarked on a world tour and a sell-out UK arena tour, played over 3000 shows globally to 2.5 million fans, visited over 26 counties and entered the West end record books by becoming the longest running show in the Lyric Theatres 125 year history.

THRILLER LIVE continues to moonwalk around the world, taking you on a visual, audio and electrifying journey through the magic of Michael’s 45 year musical history.

Experience over two hours of non-stop hits from pop to rock, soul to disco in a show that pays homage Jackson’s legendary live performances and innovative dance moves executed with flair, precision and passion in a show that you will never forget.”

I refuse to look at anything about it online because I want to be surprised.

I may even shed a tear or two.

I’ll let you know.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJ7qXHjxj_0