Saturday (and Sunday strolls)

The only thing better than a weekend in Paris is a bank holiday weekend in Paris. Three days to further explore this city which I am still getting to know in more detail.

Friday got the weekend off to a good start as we got to finish early so of course, with the sun shining, I let my feet guide me to les Jardins des Tuileries.

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On Saturday I decided to wander by La Defense and Neuilly sur Seine. This stroll was inspired by the previous weekend, where I took the bus to Beauvais to catch my flight home for a couple of days in Dublin. Whilst I wasn’t overexcited about a long trek out to the airport after a long day at work, I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw on the way. The bus took us from Porte Maillot and made it’s way by Neuilly sur Seine (the Blackrock of Paris), then out to La Defense, taking a turn to the right which brought us along a part of the Seine I hadn’t travelled before. Whatsmore the weather was gorgeous and I made a mental note to come back and venture by these parts when I would return.

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Doing just that, I got off at Pont de Neuilly metro stop (line 1) and walked up to La Defense (sneaked into Quatre Temps) for about an hour and continued strolling until I realised I was in Courbevoie!

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Luckily, the Eiffel Tower was in my eyeline and I eventually found my way back to the centre. However, completely missing the walking along the Seine part of my stroll, I returned again on Sunday, this time getting the metro to Porte Maillot and walking through the tree lined avenues of Neuilly sur Seine centre.

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Neuilly sur Seine town hall

Once I finally came to the Seine, I took a right and walked along, in the cool shade of the trees by the road side and eventually crossed over to the sunnier side and descended on to the river bank, taking in the rays.  

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To be continued…

Sixteen Tons

How do you feel about your job? Do you spring out of bed, looking forward to work? Or, is your job a soul-destroying monotony of pure drudgery, or somewhere in between?

This is a really interesting topic for me to write about at the moment. I have had the best and worst experience of my budding professional career in the space of two years and there are definitely stark contrasts. I really don’t want to dedicate an entire blog post to how I feel about my current job as there are experiences to be gained from everything in life and as a generally upbeat person I try to look on the good side (emphasis on try!). Instead, I prefer to focus on what I hope to gain in my next venture. I am relatively new to the world of work and my first experience of working in an open plan office, 9 to 5, was an absolute treat. Not only was it a great atmosphere to work in (thanks to lovely colleagues) but I had a sense of purpose, was given heaps of responsibility and plenty of freedom to work on my own initiative. And although I was primarily behind a computer screen, I was able to put my writing skills to use and further develop them in terms of communicating with clients. My phone skills also greatly improved and I found myself really coming out of my shell. And when I was in face to face contact with clients, I shined. This made me realise that on the job front, I excel when in contact with others and enjoy roles where I am helping people, whether giving advice or passing on knowledge. I grew in confidence as I was given more tasks and learned to work under pressure,  realising that I am actually this relaxed all of the time! The feedback I received from colleagues and clients was extremely humbling as I made an impact with my friendly and upbeat attitude. Respect, trust and acknowledgement are perhaps aspects of work that we may take for granted but once these are absent in one’s role it becomes very easy to begin to feel demotivated, unconfident in oneself and ones abilities and can even begin to have an effect on ones mental health. A bad experience in the workplace can also leave you doubting your own abilities in moving to another role. I’m still not sure what the perfect job for me will be but I know it will give weight to the following: Respect, trust, acknowledgement, the opportunity to express my creativity, whether through written or visual and allow me to communicate with others and encourage/help/motivate them.

Inspired by Daily Prompt

Young at heart

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What are your thoughts on aging? How will you stay young at heart as you get older?

I am a firm believer in the saying “you are as young as you feel”. I feel like society puts a lot of pressure on people by telling us what we should have accomplished and by what age this is acceptable e.g. first kiss no later than 13, moving out after graduation and getting a steady job by 22, climbing the corporate ladder in your 20s so by the time you reach 30 you should be settled and ready to start a family (which would require you to meet your should mate at least a couple years before this). It all sounds great and before I ever acknowledged I was a fully fledged adult (only late last year!) the above example is what I envisaged as my road map…but then reality set in and I realised the unlikeliness as well as impracticality of these things happening to me within a scheduled timeframe…and also the fact that maybe I don’t prioritise the same things that society tells me I should prioritise at this point in my life.

I have always been a big kid at heart and I can’t see that changing any time soon. I should have known this when I was in my last years of school, making prank calls to people during lunch time and running around with a coconut we christened and drew a face on, instead of engaging in “adult” conversations relating to boys as some of my more “mature” classmates used to…as I look back on those final years of school, I realise everyone else was so obsessed with trying to seem older for their age that I actually thought that I was perhaps immature but now I realise it was in fact the opposite.

You may marvel at how I can remember this far back but when I was just five years old, I remember my mother watching the news as she always does in the evenings whilst I would be doing my homework and I remember thinking to myself “Will the news suddenly become more interesting to me when I become an adult?”…Almost 20 years later I am still wondering when news programmes will become more interesting to me…or if they ever will. It’s not that I don’t realise the importance of politics, taxes, finance and other such topics to our lives but my attention always seems to slip away when these come on air.

Ageing is something I try not to think about although my future is always on my mind but I never see myself as older in the future but rather think about what I might be doing and where. As a woman, the physical transformations that come with ageing are of more discomfort to me, encouraged by society’s view that we should be eternally young e.g. anti-aging cream adverts, as if ageing is negative.

My key to staying young at heart is by keeping the innocence and good nature that I’ve always had (thanks to my family who have instilled this in me) and lifting people’s spirits with lots of laughter. I am constantly surrounded by serious faces, whether it be in the metro or at work, and sometimes it’s good to laugh and act a bit silly. Life is too short to take yourself too seriously so let go and have fun, no matter what your age!

Inspired by Daily Prompt

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Acts #5 and #6 – showing gratitude and reaching out

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On my second week of 40 acts of kindness and this week is particularly interesting. Yesterday’s act was about taking the time to express gratitude to those who we might not think to thank or who’s services we take for granted e.g. postman, bus driver etc. Thus, jotting down a few words of gratitude in the form of a thank you note and giving to someone to whom you are genuinely grateful to can bring an immense feeling of appreciation and sense of worth to the person receiving the note. There is a lady in work who has been nothing but helpful to me since I arrived in Paris, helping me with the constant administration and paperwork required to do anything in this country. Although I always say thank you to her, I decided to express this in a handwritten sentiment (on a post it) and let her know how much I appreciate her help. And I think she appreciated feeling appreciated 🙂

Today’s act is about reaching out and acknowledging the influence we have on people. In your journal (created in Act #1), write a list of those people you influence…if you think you don’t influence anyone, think about those people in your phonebook who would rush to your aid in an emergency or those that would attend your wedding, graduation etc. Those people in your life that would do that are in fact influenced by you…so reach out today to those people be it via your church, school or even online realm e.g. blog (like this one!) and share a message of kindness.

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Act # 4

Hi all,

Act #4 in 40 acts of kindness is about connecting with those people around you that you might encounter every day but have yet to learn their name. Today’s the day to do just that. Strike up a conversation with that person in your building you you always take the lift with, or the baker who you buy your baguette from every morning, or your neighbour. Unfortunately I read this too late yesterday so missed the opportunity to get to know the lady who always serves me in the supermarket but that doesn’t matter. 40 acts has so far inspired me to incorporate these small but meaningful acts into my life and make a difference to someones day. 🙂 And I will find out my cashier’s name!

Act # 3

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Heyyyyy

So i’m falling a little bit behind already, tiring day so it was, but I WILL take this on over the weekend. Act #3 is all about embracing the ensemble of your skills, talents or competencies e.g. creativity, computer skills, problem solving skills and using these to benefit someone on your ‘wish list’ (see my post on Act #1). Write out a list of the skills or tools in your ‘toolbox’ and use one or more of these to bring a bit of kindness to someone around you 🙂

Bon weekend à tous!

x

40 acts – Act 2

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I’m on the second day of the 40 acts of kindness. Act number 2 is “keep a generosity jar” i.e. collect any loose change over the forty days and put it towards a generous act or gift towards someone else. I’ve already been keeping a stash of coins under my kitchen  sink since October with no real purpose than to just clear than from my counter tops, drawers and bottom of my handbag. Now I’m excited at the thought that this will go towards something meaningful…not sure what yet and for who but will be interesting to see how much it amounts to after the forty days and how it can make even a small difference to someones day, week etc 🙂

x

40 acts of kindness

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Today is the first day of Lent. Lent always reminds me of school when it was seen as that dreaded time where you’d have to give something “naughty” up, most commonly sweets,chocolates and biscuits. I’ve never really taken part, firstly as I wasn’t raised Catholic, (despite attending a Catholic school) and secondly as I’ve always seen Lent much like New Year’s resolutions. Why bother when I know I’m not going to stick to it? I know sweets aren’t good for me and I need to eat more veg, do more exercise etc but I’ve never fully had the will power, especially with excuses like “Sure tomorrow’s another day”. That was until yesterday, when I found out about the 40 acts of kindness. This is an alternative way of looking at Lent, not as a period of giving up but rather giving back. Basically 40 acts is about doing a different act of kindness for every day of Lent. I think this is a fantastic idea, whether you’re religious or not. Kindness is so rare these days and one tiny act can really make the world of difference to someone. If you want to join me in completing these 40 acts, check out www.40acts.org.uk and sign up to receive a reminder with the act of the day. Act number one is to “Keep a journal” and note what you are thankful for each day. Also write a wish list – a list of those people you wish to bless with these 40 acts of kindness. See mine above^^

Hoping you’ll follow me in my journey and maybe even join me in spreading a little kindness to others 🙂

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