mercredi 25 juin 2014

You know you work in a hotel when...

Having worked in a hotel for a year, I now have a pretty clear idea of all the pros and cons of a job in hospitality. Sadly, there are more cons than pros…
The biggest being that working in a hotel pretty much entails you to put aside your personal life. You will either have to work very early or very late, as well as weekends. Forget about bank holidays and Christmas, they are the busiest times in the year so you don't stand a chance if you ask them off. 

This job has been a real struggle in my relationship, as I am working most evenings and weekends, meaning I barely see my partner. Just like me, he is exhausted when I come back home, therefore we just eat and go straight to sleep. Weekends are the worst, they are the days where I just want to be home with my boys but can't, because I have to be on shift at 7am or up until 9pm.
Unfortunately, this is the lifestyle that comes with the job and this is very unlikely to change anytime soon. 

However, there are many other things that you should be prepared to deal with, should you wish to work in a hotel one day. Basically, you know you work in hospitality when...

  • … you don't have a personal life anymore. Your friends are now people from the staff.
  • … you see drunk people, who had a bit too much fun in the bar, starting to dance on tables, in the lifts, etc... Loud and messy, they are pretty bad but not the worst.
  • … you have to clean after dirty guests. Now, THEY are the worst. They mess up with your mini-bar, leave rubbish on the floor, blood or other substances on the bed sheets, wine on the walls… Recently, I came across an used sanitary towel left on the floor. Housekeeping can quickly become a nightmare.
  • … you slowly become scared of your own phone. When you finally have a day off and your phone rings, this can never be good. Half the time, you're sure that they are calling you to come and cover for someone else.
  • … you can't remember the last time you had two days off in a row.
  • … waking up at 4am is standard practice. 
  • … you check in musicians. These are a very special kind of guests. They normally are a mix of everything that you hate in guests. 
  • … everyone in the hotel is starting to date each other because we spent so much time in this place.
  • … your partner think he/she is dating a ghost.
  • … you have a speech ready for guests who think they know how to do your job better than you.
  • … you find a couple at 3am doing their business in the toilets…!
  • … you work 150 hours a month and still earn peanuts.
  • … you run to the closest shop to buy 20L of orange juice because they ran out in the brasserie for breakfast.
  • … you realise what date it is when you day dot your products.
  • … you feel you had a very good day when no one actually shouted at your face. 
  • … you're meant to finish your shift at 4.30 but you're still there at 5.30 and nowhere to be finished.
  • … you walk around the hotel with 5 different card keys in your pocket.
  • … you know most people in town by their drink and food preferences rather than their names.

samedi 21 juin 2014

Driving to France with a dog

"Are we there yet, mommy?"

I just got back from France where I spent a week visiting my family and for the first time, I brought my little Woody with me. I am not going to lie, I was very nervous before leaving... Not only was I going to be on my own, driving for 10 hours, but I had a puppy at the back of my car to look after too.
I wasn't too sure of what to expect so I prepared myself as much as I could and it really helped on the grounds that it was also horribly hot when we arrived on the French soil. 

Here are a few tips that could help you one day if you drive to France with your dog. 
  • Book in ADVANCE! Seriously, plan well ahead! This is very important, purely because they won't let you cross if you don't have all the paperwork ready. I'm not sure about cats, but for a dog to go to the continent, you only need to pay an extra ticket for her. However, when you come back to the UK, this is where you need to be careful. Your dog must have been microchipped, had the rabies vaccinations at least 21 days and a tapeworm treatment (given by a vet) between 1 and 5 days before you return in the UK! Everything has to be stamped, signed and dated in your dog's passport.

  • WATER! Bring loads with you. And I mean loads. My dog drank about 1,5L because of the heat. We didn't plan it to be so hot and I am so glad I had two big bottles with me.

  • Make sure your best friend is comfortable. I drove for more than 7 hours and I can't imagine anything worse than an uncomfortable dog at the back. If they are comfy, they will be more than happy to lay there and have a nap. If your dog tends to be sick in the car, consider asking your vet if they can help with that.

  • Stop often. Because it was so hot, I stopped every hour. I was mostly concerned about Woody dehydrating so we had 15 to 30 minutes breaks every hour. Just enough to give him some water and walk him to stretch his legs.

  • Have everything ready in a place where it's easy to access. A spare lead, harness, a blanket, bowls, food/treats… I put everything at the front, so it was very easy for me to reach without having to remove bags and suitcase.

  • Feed your dog with light meals. Just for practical reasons, you don't want him to die for a poo when you're in the middle of the motorway or worse, stuck in traffic!

  • Get your dog a car belt. They are very easy to use and it could stop your dog from jumping to the front or distract you while driving. There is no law that will force you, but it's a question of safety, both for your dog and yourself. Otherwise, you can also crate him in the boot.

  • Book a room in a dog friendly hotel if your journey is very long. It is best to stop and go progressively.

  • Make a list of vet surgeries, dog friendly places to stop and rest. Don't wait until something goes wrong before trying to find a vet, you'll thank yourself if you already know where to go. Bring along your insurance paperwork too and anything related to his health that could become relevant.

Meeting a horse for the first time
Tired and very hot after a long journey. Nothing better than cool tiles.

mardi 10 juin 2014

Oh no, I am homesick...

Here it is again, that horrible feeling. I am homesick. 
For those who don't know it, I am French and have been living/working in the UK for about 3 years. Now, I never really used to be homesick but since last year, it keeps hitting me very badly and quite regularly. Thankfully enough, I have my lovely boyfriend and my beautiful dog here for me but there are things that I miss desperately.

My cousins, my sister and myself a very long time ago.

I miss my family so bad that it hurts sometimes. You would think that Facebook is a tool to make things easier but it actually makes it even harder for me as I keep seeing photos of my family gathering together and I am here, 700km away, missing absolutely everything. 
Our family has always been very close, especially my cousins and I. We all grew up together in the same small French village, which brought us very close. In fact, I see one of them almost as my brother. We have spent so much time together that it was very strange when I first moved to the UK, but I eventually got used to it. Obviously, we've all grown a lot since the time we used to build tree houses in the woods or go to our grandparents house to nick some strawberries from the garden and we've all started to build our own families but there is this bond between us that keeps getting stronger and stronger as time goes on. 

Gathered for our grandparents 60th anniversary!

To be fair, it is all my fault. I probably should have never left my village in the first place but then, I would have never met my boyfriend and lived all of these cool experiences. It was such a satisfying thing to do, get out of my countryside to live a little, discover new things, new cultures… 
But now, I just wanna go back to my peaceful village in the eastern French countryside and build my life and family there.

Lil' Sister

I don't know if it will ever be possible. My boyfriend can't speak French and really struggles to learn it, so it seems very unlikely that he could find a job over there. He has his own family and friends here in the UK, so it would also be not right if I asked him to leave them all to follow me in France. 
People don't realise how much I wish we could have a life back there. Things are so much easier, so much more quiet and peaceful. There is no drama, just a nice and simple family life. We could build our house there, have children (another thing that is currently a lot on my mind), have more dogs, enjoy the nice weather, have a swimming pool in the garden for the children, go and visit my parents every weekend instead of twice a year. I want my mother to see her grandchildren growing up.

This is my dream. This is all I want. Is it too much?