What am I currently reading?

I am reading three books at the moment: one from my book club, un en français et the book I’m always reading.

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse – the book club

Midnight, Texas – Simples Mortel, Passez votre Chemin, Charlaine Harris – le français

In the Buddha’s words by Bhikkhu Bodhi

Obviously, I’ll be doing a review on each when I finish them. The Charlaine Harris book is to see if I can read the books from the adult section of the library – if my language skills have improved! I figured the language that she writes in isn’t higher class English, so it should translate okay and I hopefully will be able to follow the story.

I’m going to London for this weekend and I hope that book will see me through the horrible waiting around period between flights and on the flights etc. I haven’t decided if I’ll push my skills even further and try to write a review in French. That could be interesting and super difficult, because French is no joke. Even the French struggle to write French correctly!


And that’s it! Have a good day and thanks for stopping by Open-mouthed smile


A post I’ve been meaning to write…

I started an Instagram account for my bullet journal and for my writing, @elegancesicy. If you want to keep up to date on the state of my bujo, journal and writing journal follow me on that!

I have a couple of little goals for this year.

Writing goal: to bloody well do this freaking draft that has been blocked inside my head for the last few years. And also work on the graphic novel collaboration I’m doing with my good friend.

    1. Descriptions. Improve, practice, observe!
    2. Discipline. I’m great in my working life but my life? Discipline goes out the window. Have to make this a habit.
    3. Enjoy it. I’ve to stop making it a chore. I love creating worlds and telling stories.

Journal goal: I had a voucher for €20 and I bought a beautiful notebook which is half lined, half blank pages. I want to write a little bit about my day into this and also draw something. The drawing progress will be put up on my Instagram account.

Bullet journal: keep using it because it organises my whole life! However, I’m starting to keep my writing stuff out of it. Doesn’t help my progress.

Reading goal: 24 books in 2019, not including re-reads. The breakdown:

    1. 3 French books
    2. 6 Irish themed books
    3. 6 books from my book club
    4. 9 new books

Fitness goals: currently, I’m running 5km every Saturday morning and going to a yoga group on the Wednesday. I would like to add a Pahla B Fitness workout once or twice a week too.

Buddhism goals: listen to the weekly podcasts of Buddhist Society of Western Australia. Maybe do some meditations with them on the Friday evening. Carry on meditating myself. And continue reading In the Buddha’s Words. My motto from last year: Stay positive and mindful, was a huge help in the darker moments of my year. I will carry that through.

TESOL goals: keep working on getting that certificate. Keep trying new challenges at work.

And that about covers it! I think in about 3 months I’ll do an update on how my goals are going for the year. I’m not going to be super strict about everything. No more “I have to do this every single day.” I know with the meditation, it’s supposed to be a daily habit, but honestly, I’m just not there yet. Instead, I’m going to tip away at things. No pressure. Enjoy life.

Hoarder’s House

That’s what my life used to be like, chock full of stuff. Piles and piles of issues and problems and toxic people mixed in with the awesome people I have a habit of stumbling into even in my worst moments. Did you ever have to tidy up a truly messy room? I was one of those messy room kids. I had a carpet of clothes and books and teddy bears, wardrobe stuffed with more clothes – who knew what was clean—desk piled high with bits of paper, books and copybooks and of course all the glass and spoons and plates that were missing from the kitchen.

It took so much effort to tidy up that small space and I always knew that in two days it’d be back to the same state. It drags you down. I had the real life messy room but I also had the messy space inside my head. My life, my head and my room were my hoarding house. I kept all the good and bad, not having the skill-set to separate and throw out what I did not need. The fear of throwing out the valuable memories forced me to keep the toxic ones. The scary thing was that I was convinced for years that some of those truly toxic memories were good ones.

My changing point, my rebirth (yeah, I went to the cliché, deal with it), was when I arrived in the Toulouse train station and had yet another mental breakdown. I sat outside the station, on the ground with all the homeless people and their dogs nearby, trying to find the train station on the map book I had purchased. I couldn’t find it. Took me nearly an hour to work it out.

To this day, I have absolutely no idea how I survived those first few months. Yes, I broke down crying in shaded areas throughout Toulouse. Random people would just chat with me on the street. There was a young bloke who would walk along one of the main streets with me and ask me did I get a job yet, then say good luck and disappear. The homeless guys would nod a hello at me. People would offer help when they saw me flipping my map book around trying to work out what street I was on. There were bad experiences too, men would tell me I had to go to their apartment to have sex with them right now, I was followed down streets, and the big one: my flatmate fell in love with me and proceeded to stalk me. Which always impressed me, in a dark way, because you have to be very dedicated to stalk a person you live with! Oh yeah, he was a heroin addict. Good times…

I got a job, then I got a second job. I had a room in an alright apartment with the dodgy flatmate in an equally dodgy area. I got a bank account and they instantly started to screw me charging me €16 a month for two magazines I never signed up for. Nice of them. Then I met Smoky (7 months mark, he likes his privacy). The greatest lesson he has ever taught me is that going to therapy does not make you a crazy person.

There I was, after several weeks of night terrors so bad I’d wake up and just not sleep again for the night. I was starring at my hoarding house full of crap. Contemplating burning the whole thing down. I had tried to do that by moving to France and the damn thing was weighing me down. So I started going to therapy. I put on my rubber gloves, tied my hair back, opened a pile of black bags and started clearing and sorting out my life.

Here I am, now, nearly five years later. I’m working in a job that I never even dreamed I could do. I love it, and I’m improving every day. My house isn’t completely cleared yet, there’s a room or two that I’m still sorting through. It’s no longer the impossible task it once felt like. My goal when I moved to France was to be happy. I realised after a few years that that was a silly goal to have. Now, I want to be okay. I will be happy when there are reasons to be happy, I will feel the emotions I’m supposed to feel in the right moments.

I’m a strong, confident, independent woman. My partner is an awesome, intelligent, fun loving man (I could name adjectives for hours but I’ll stick with three). And we have a beautiful meowing fluff ball of a cat. I’m saying farewell to my hoarding house.

My last few days…

… working two jobs!

Hello all,

I’m finally here. I have two more days of being both a nanny and an English teacher. And boy is Friday a tough day to end on:

  • 7.45 to 8.45 Nanny work
  • 9.00 to 11.30 first class
  • 11.30 to 13.30 second class
  • 14.00 to 15.30 third class
  • 17.00 to 18.45 nanny work

And then home time and chances are I’ll have a migraine.

The next few weeks, I’ll be sorting out my organization. I’ve to make time for class prep, my 2 books that I’m working on (the one you know about and the secret one), re-start my French lessons, and do all my extra hobbies: my carpet, my drawings and paintings, my zentangles etc.

I wanted to drop a line to let you know that this week is a high anticipation week for me and I may be too tired to do any blogging this weekend. And a special hello to all my new followers, thanks for joining me!

I hope your week is as exciting as mine,

Enjoy yourselves,

Elegances Icy

My hectic life

Hello all,

My life is changing again. I have now been teaching business English for six months and for the past two months I have been working 2 jobs. That is one job too many. As of 12/11/18 I will only be working one job, thankfully. My goal is to work 15 hours per week teaching. I’ve calculated that I will be able to pay my rent (everything included: electricity, gas, etc.), pay for half the groceries and be able to save. The saving option is the most exciting thing for me. Imagine actually having an emergency fund? Shocking!

I am currently working on a certificate to teach English. And when I’m finished the second job I’ll be spending more time on that. It all comes down to time management. I ended up in hospital last weekend, I’ll tell you more later. It showed me just how much time I was spending on lesson planning. I now have a strict rule: only spend half the time of the class on the lesson plan. On average the class lasts 1h30m which means I spend 45 minutes preparing that class. And no working on the weekend!

All my hobbies and my writing have gone out the window since I’ve been so focused on the teaching. The last few days I’ve had more free time and it has been very strange. I’m in that period where I don’t want to do anything in my free time. I know that will break soon and then I’ll be slowly picking up my hobbies and my writing. I’m already in an online writing group, it’s not active for the moment but once again, when the 12th of November rolls along, I’ll see if I can get anyone to respond.

My health problems! I have 2 fairly major health problems at the moment. My lungs and my pancreas. I keep loosing my voice and coughing a lot so I’ve an appointment with a specialist at the end of November to see if I’m allergic to something or if I’ve asthma, or if it’s something else.

Thursday the 18th of October I took a tablet of codeine for a migraine and woke up in terrible pain. And then proceeded to have a panic attack. I now, completely understand why people stay locked up indoors to avoid experiencing a panic attack. It is by far the most horrible thing I’ve ever felt. And I have awful period cramps, so I know pain. I lost feeling in my hands and thought someone had a belt wrapped around my chest and was yanking at it. I full sure thought I was going to die. I spent 5 days in the hospital. The codeine had blocked my pancreas from working and my pancreas had started to digest itself. There are 3 main causes:

  • Gall stones No sign of these
  • Alcohol Don’t drink
  • Medical ?? Please be the codeine!

I have a long list of things I have to do so that the doctor is sure I’m ok which I’ll be doing in the next 2 months. To finish I want to say the staff of the Valence Hospital are amazing. So polite and kind and I really felt taken care of and safe. Also the SAMU who I yelled at on the phone, I’m very sorry, it was not you, I just couldn’t figure out how to breath. And the guys who brought me to the hospital, thanks so much, I felt so safe.

That’s really it for now. I will try to blog more often in the future. I really want to do NaNoWriMo but I’ve nothing prepared and life is a bit hectic right now…so we’ll see! Good luck to everyone who is doing it.

Have a good week!

Elegances Icy