Category Archives: Lifestyle

How not to be a journalist in Paris- part 2

how not to be a journalist in paris


My experiences as an intern journalist in Paris.


Working in Paris doesn’t get any easier, apparently. The feeling of being like a rabbit caught in the headlights is still there, and it’s still as difficult to gain the trust of the Parisians, who wonder why I want to ask them so many questions.  As my internship progresses, and the workload piles on, I find myself writing in my sleep and walking through the streets of Paris in my dreams. Here’s some more of what I’ve learned about how not to be a journalist in Paris.

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Do not wait patiently at the traffic lights, looking for the green man as you do at home- you will get nowhere. In Paris, it is perfectly acceptable to run into moving traffic when trying to cross the road. Ignore everyone else, calculate the minute amount of seconds that exist between you and the tourist bus that is coming up ahead, and make a run for it. Nobody will bat an eyelid.

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Reveal your nationality to no-one. British people will talk about you loudly as they stand beside you, because they assume they are the only people in the whole of France who have the ability to understand a second language…Let them, and laugh about it unashamedly.

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Some people will refuse to have their photo taken despite the fact you have just crossed ten metro stations, spent seventy euros, two hours, and a perfectly good pair of heels (not to mention feet) getting there. No, Stephanie, not everyone is interested in your journalism. Note to self: ring before turning up and asking strangers to pose for the camera.

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Be prepared for people to stare at you as you take notes for your latest article- and then ask “is it for a school project, dear?” Nope, I’m writing for a magazine, believe it or not. Please let me at least pretend that I am a fully functioning and independent adult.They’ll then ask you who you’re writing for- and their faces fall when you don’t say Vogue.

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Be nice to everyone. You’ll need help when your phone runs out of battery, containing your booking reference for your ticket back home. (You know something’s wrong when you start travelling first class just so you can be guaranteed a plug socket…)

“Paris is a place in which we can forget ourselves, reinvent, expunge the dead weight of our past”- Michael Simkins


Image credits:
1. A Paris Street Scene via Wikipedia Commons
2-6. Images my own.  

How not to be a journalist in Paris- Part 1

How not to be a journalist in paris 1


My experiences as an intern journalist in Paris.


This year finds me on my year abroad as part of the third year of my 4 year university degree. I am interning with My French Life™ magazine, an online publication for lovers of everything French. This means living in the Northern city of Lille in France, freelancing from home and travelling into Paris a couple of days a week. I don’t think I could have found a more perfect placement!

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I’m learning, albeit slowly, the do’s and dont’s of the world of online journalism, and how to survive the busy streets of Paris. And so an idea for a new blog series came to me- a documentation of my experience as a intern journalist in Paris, the successes, catastrophes and lessons I learn trying to be a journalist in the famous City of Light, where so many extraordinary writers have lived and worked in the past.

So far, so good for the writing side of things. I get to write about challenging subjects that interest me and create conversation on social media, and have a satisfying pile of free French literature on my desk for review, which I think makes an enlightening change from what I usually read.

I thought university work was stressful until I started this internship. I was told it would be challenging, and it is. I have so much work to do, writing, editing, interviewing and formatting- but all of it is teaching me so much and I wake up excited about starting every day.

How not to be a journalist in Paris? Don’t count on being anywhere on time, and don’t expect travel to be cheap. The French railway system is awful and there are constant delays. My train was an hour and 20 minutes late getting home a couple of weeks ago- it hit a deer. No, they won’t refund me.

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Don’t believe the cliché that all Parisians are un-friendly snobs. I have learned from a fellow Parisian My French Life™ writer Jacqueline that this is far from true (she invites me to her house for cake and we talk about books and France and feminism. What could be better?). That said, don’t expect them all to be nice, either. So far, I have been stood up by a designer after travelling 3 hours by coach to interview her, and have been told by the DELIGHTFUL secretary of a Very Important French Person that it is out of the question that I will EVER be able to speak with him.

Do not turn up to France’s prestigious Prix Goncourt with only your iPhone to take photos on. Seriously, you will be the only one. Note to self: buy a big, complicated looking camera with flashing lights and its own leather case.

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Do not leave said iPhone in full view when getting the metro. I discovered this the hard way when my hand met the hand of a pickpocket…in my coat-pocket! Thankfully, he ran away before I could karate chop him and iPhone number 3 is still with me. Thank God.

Don’t expect to love (or understand) Paris straight away. I still can’t find my way around, and my only geographical knowledge of the city is the metro route between Gare du Nord and Strasbourg Saint-Denis (where Jacqueline and all her books live.) I can say now though, that I am slowly falling in love with Paris. Every street is different and there is diversity in every neigbourhood. One time I turned a corner and found myself in Japan (the sushi was great).

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I recently met the owners of the new Shakespeare and Company Café, and as I sipped my (6.50 €!!!) fruit juice I found myself eavesdropping on a conversation between two women, one an expat in Paris living off her writing, and the other who had just got a job at American Vogue…living the dream, as My French Life™ would say.

Paris is definitely full of opportunties, especially for writers, and I can’t wait to get to know this city more. Stay tuned for the next post in ‘How not to be a journalist in Paris’.

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” -Ernest Hemingway


Note: This post was written before the November terrorist attacks in Paris. I am going ahead with this series because I believe that it is important to continue visiting Paris, not only as an act of defiance and solidarity, but because it is a city of culture and history that should continue to be celebrated.


Image credits:
  1. Wikipedia Commons

Smart Girls Conference 2015

SMARTGIRLSGROUPAs a contributing writer at the Smart Girls Group and member of the Smart Girls Media Sisters, I am excited to announce that the Smart Girls second annual conference, the Live Smart Series, is taking place on July 10th and 11th in New York, followed by the Live Smart Series for Digital Influencers on July 12th! And the line up looks incredible. Smart Girls from all over the world will be able to join together for an experience full of empowerment and inspiration. The Live Smart Series will give Smart Girls tips on how to discover their potential, passion and purpose and feature talks from powerful women such as Anne Fulenwider, editor-in-chief of Marie Claire, Erin Clift, Executive Vice President of Spotify and Carly Heitlinger, author and blogger at The College Prepster. These are only three examples of many!

Attendees will not only benefit from networking opportunities, but will also receive complimentary breakfast, lunch and snacks, free workout classes and experiences and a Goody Bag worth over $300 of women-owned products (girls, this includes Erin Condren!!!)

Click here for the conference schedule.

IMG_6466Live Smart Series for Digital Influencers is for women passionate about blogging, vlogging and the world of social and digital media, and will be jam-packed with tips on media strategy and how to succeed in the digital space. Click here for the schedule.

If you would like to take part in this fantastic opportunity, you can buy your ticket here. Thank you so much to Emily and the other organisers at the Smart Girls Group for giving smart girls everywhere a chance to meet up and learn from each other!

To the Royal Princess, and Other Little Girls

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You are one day old, yet the press is already discussing what kind of fashion icon you will be. Never mind the question of your brains, of your interests, of the type of person you will become or of what you will do.

Some will look at your brother and judge him by his academic achievements, his role in society, his kindness or his honesty. These same people will look at you and judge you by what you wear, by how well groomed your hair is, and by how much you look like your mother.

The idea of a two year old boy being born a leader in the fashion industry is absurd, yet you, a newborn baby girl, have already been proclaimed “the youngest fashion icon in the world.” And we don’t even know your name yet.

To the Royal Princess and other little girls,

What you wear on your body doesn’t matter. It’s what’s in your head that counts. Forgive those people who see you as pretty before they see you as clever, and those who comment on your weight instead of your latest achievement. Their ignorance is beyond our help. Read the books you want, even if they are marketed to boys. Play all sorts of games- the ones that involve mud and climbing trees are for you, too. A mix of scraped knees and tea parties might sound just right. Surround yourself with people who expect you to be able to hold an intelligent conversation, and who will engage with you without feeling they have the right to interrupt you or talk over you because you are female.

Keep in mind the fact that sexism still exists, even in today’s society, and that the best way you can overcome it is to be who you want to be, regardless of what the world thinks of your appearance.

 A girl, princess or not, is never just a pretty face.

*image source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk

A Trip to Italy

image (14)I went to Italy for the first time during my inter-semester break, with some of my best friends. I’ve always associated Italy with the stereo-typical sprawling vineyards and olive fields, dirt roads and brick farmhouses, and steaming plates of spaghetti shared by large families on warm evenings. While I hope that this is what the South might be like when I get to visit this summer, Milan was far from it.IMG_2613

It’s a cosmopolitan city, where well dressed Italians sip tiny cups of coffee, fingers tapping away on the keyboards of their Macbooks, scarves draped effortlessly around their necks. People linger in designer stores, hop from metro to tram and eat overpriced but utterly delicious pizza, baked in wood-fire ovens, of course. Thinking about it makes me want to be back on the balcony terrace of the apartment we stayed in, footsteps away from the sunlit Duomo, with coffee, patisseries and a blank page moleskine.

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We did a lot of shopping. Being in Italy with that holiday feeling made clothes seem so much more attractive and money somewhat less important… We wandered through La Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II and flicked through books whose words we pretended we could learn to decipher on the plane back. There were many “let’s stop for a photo” moments and times we couldn’t resist sitting down for a drink to gaze at passers by and revel in how cultured we felt.

Processed with Moldiv

Processed with Moldiv

The Milanese have an “in and out” attitude to café stops. Coffee shops rarely have sitting areas, and instead there are table tops that line the walls, where customers can perch on rickety stools and grab a quick latte on their lunch break. Needless to say, this didn’t deter us, and we had many of these coffee breaks, consuming endless amounts of hot chocolate as thick as ganache, miniature fruit tarts, intricate hand made chocolate and colourful macarons. In fact, much of our sightseeing was done between stops at gelato counters, tearooms and delis!

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We climbed up to the top of the Duomo (Milan Catherdral) just in time to watch the sunset one evening. The detail carved into the stone is breathtaking and it was mind-boggling to think about how it was built- it took six centuries to complete. Without trying to sound cheesy and philosophical, that moment of sunset while standing high above the streets of Milan was one of inner-peace. It was cold but refreshing, and as I stood on the edge with my friends, looking down at the people going about their daily lives, oblivious of me watching, I felt amazed at the world. Just the fact that the sun that was currently going down in front of my eyes was rising on the other side of the world made me marvel at what kind of force made this planet so perfect, different parts of it working together in harmony to create something that provides everything we need to stay alive.

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On the last day we discovered the city bikes, the ones you can pick up in one area and drop off in another. We cycled to a different neighbourhood for lunch, where I ate salmon rigatoni with shallots and leeks (gorgeous!) and then around a big, woodland park with views of L’Arc de la Paix. It was so peaceful (I’m not saying that because of the Arc) and the idea of cycling to and from work if I end up on placement in Milan is really quite lovely. Dreams of a cream painted bicycle with a leather seat, a basket and bell come to mind…

IMG_2676It was a sweet and short trip, but one which gave a good first impresson of Italy. As expected, it wasn’t perfect. We met Italians who went out of their way to point us in the right direction, who were polite and loved that we made an effort with the language, and others who literally expected us to part and make way for them as they walked by. We spent some evenings with wine, good food and interesting conversation, and others that involved missing our metro stop and finding ourselves on the abandoned outskirts of the city.

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Hearing the language, fast and fluid, full of warm tones and muscial rhythm, always accompanied by hand gestures and expression, confirmed my belief that Italian is one of the most beautiful languages ever spoken. I am loving learning to speak it and cannot wait to visit Italy again!

2014 on Typewritered

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I started blogging this year in April and I am still learning the ropes. It has opened up some fantastic opportunities. I have been able to talk to some great people including bloggers such as ForeverRebbeka and author Rebeccca Mascull, and share ideas with people about university and the learning process. I’ve been able to document what I read and what I’ve learned in my Learning Opportunities series. I have loved posting about alternative education, which eventually led to a published article in Life Learning Magazine. I have joined the Smart Girls Group as a sister, the Smart Girls Loop as a writer and Smart Girls Media Sisters as a blogger, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2015! I have loved being part of the blogging community and reading posts by my favourites Scarphelia, Lauryn’s Notebook, Amy V Norris, Write Like No One’s Watching and Carrots for Michaelmas. I’ve only been blogging for 8 months and have a very small following, but so far it’s been so fulfilling. Tomorrow I will write up a content plan for the coming year, as I will be blogging more regularly and really want to develop the personality of this blog and post more creative pieces. I would love to know what you would like to read more of here on Typewritered! ✒️
Thank you so much for reading and Happy New Year! 🎉

Some Books on Alternative Education Methods and Learning

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Processed with Moldiv