Mommy life tactics

Parc Georges Brassens Paris 15

So in France the maternity leave is 10 weeks, yes, two and half months. Most people generously extend this with their annual leave, up to three or four months. As a Nordic mama, I took a few extra months of parental leave and now I’m already back to work, which I find actually quite relaxing in comparison to the maternity leave. My initial plan was to enjoy my maternity leave sitting in a sunny park, drinking take away coffee and reading magazines while the baby is sleeping in a stroller. Or have coffee with girlfriends while baby sleeping next to me peacefully. Well I did have quite a few cups of coffee, alone and with friends or hubby, even in the park, but usually this scenario included a curious little one wide awake, ready to have a meltdown any moment. During the first months I also walked countless kilometers through Paris with a baby in a carrier as he disliked the stroller, which is not so much fun as it sounds in those early weeks post partum (luckily French social security pays for getting one’s pelvic floor fixed.)

Some people told me that I will have time for myself during the first months when the baby is sleeping the most of the time. Muahahaha, our baby was wide awake long stretches of time straight after we got back from hospital, needing constant attention. The most time was spent actually figuring out how to put him to sleep. Some people might start a new project during their maternity leave, such as learning a new language or writing a book or a blog. I barely had time to order sushi during the first months.

McCafe Coffee

Little did I know that babies can be fussy most of the time. They have physical growth spurts and mental growth leaps when they require more attention. Then they can get upset after vaccinations or when they are sick, most are irritated when they are teething. Even easygoing babies can get cranky at these times, but the ones who are already demanding, need even extra attention. And these phases are frequent, actually it is more rare to have some calm days in between. Oh and did you know that during the first 3 months most babies have stomach pains and colic wits? No, I did not know either.

Luckily from early on our little muppet was very curious and communicative, and when he soon started to smile, we did forgave him everything, such a charmer he is. Now at 7 months he’s a big boy, sleeping and eating well and getting more independent so it’s a very different ball game. But in the beginning there were some rough days, for which I have developed survival strategies.

  • Go out. No matter how tired you are, always go out to get some fresh air and fresh ideas. If you can have a cup of coffee with another mama / daddy for some peer support, even better, but even a chat with sales person or a granny will do. (Yes, unlike in Finland, in France people actually strike a conversation when you are out with a baby)
  • Take a shower every morning. Even if the little one will cry a bit despite your desperate attempt to place his bouncer close to the shower and sing to him, it is worth it to feel fresh.
  • Forget about reading morning news in peace. When the little buddy gets upset after following me preparing coffee and breakfast, I take him in my arms and we drink coffee together (not him yet) and sometimes I read newspaper headlines out loud to him. He knows already a lot about Saudi Iranian conflict and the implications of Hizbollah interfering in Israel, so he can soon impress his peers in the day care with all this knowledge.
  • Forget about reading paper books. I have started to read e-books with my phone, as you can easily do this while breastfeeding. I tend to avoid reading child psychiatrists and likes that might make you feel guilty for not looking your kiddo in the eye while breastfeeding – hello, this is the only moment of peace! In the first weeks after baby’s birth when everything was confusing, Yösyöttö by Eve Hietamies and Vuoden mutsi by Satu Rämö and Katja Lahti were life saviors (sorry non-Finnish readers, I’m not sure if these have been translated). You need a good laugh at that stage. Later I found The Wonder Weeks also helpful.
  • After singing Saku Sammakko, a Finnish children’s song, a five hundred times in one day – by the way the song is a bit sexist, Hillevi Hiiri running away with that musician Hepokatti Heikki instead of good old Matias Myyrä and saying that woman is always a woman – I decided to make him listen all the Finnhits (and some world music too). Our favorite is Pariisi – Helsinki by Jari Sillanpää.
  • I do some yoga and exercise with Youtube videos while baby is napping, I rather use the 30 minutes that he finally sleeps to clear my head rather than clean. I like Sarah Beth postnatal yoga classes, especially this one and I did Lucile Woodward post-grossesse series that my French midwife suggested. You will find only 15 minutes long episodes so there are no excuses.
  • Instant glow beauty serum by Lumene – some people actually thought that I have slept through a night during the past 6 months, I wish… Thank god for the hormones whatsoever that keep me going. And coffee. Lots of coffee.

Now being back to work I can only say that despite the rough start, the past 6 months were the best time. For all new mamas and daddies I’d say relax, eventually they will grow up and cry less and eventually they will fall asleep every time. For the Finnish mamas I wish that you enjoy the long maternity leave, but remember that in some parts of the world the leaves are way shorter, so don’t feel guilty if you sometimes miss the calmness of the office. And the fact that you can actually finish your lunch in peace.

Parisian baby


Notions of a baby life in Paris

Strolling in Champs de Mars

It has been now three months and two weeks of a hectic baby life in Paris. Time for a recap.

  • It is easy to lose those few pregnancy kilos as you live in the fifth floor without an elevator. Just try to climb five floors with a baby, a stroller carry cot and the groceries.
  • You are likely to be a relaxed mom, once the baby drops his pacifier on the floor in the hall on your way out, you certainly don’t climb back to the 5th to wash it. (Note to self: Carry a bottle of water with you)
  • Parisian grannies love babies, they might even attack the stroller or the baby carrier, so be aware (I have heard this applies to some Asian tourists too). My favorite was the granny who told me to enjoy my time with the baby since when he grows up “il va te faire chier“, he will piss you off. Thanks for the tip, lady.
  • All french women seem to have the same manner and tone while talking to babies, it’s kind of cute. Ça va mon coeur / Au revoir petit crapaud… tui tui tui
  • Instead of believing in all things baby led (sleeping, eating), the French believe in all things parent led. If parents are happy, then baby is too. I try to tell this to my three month old, but he has hard time understanding it.
  • Literally everyone, including a guy at the Orly airport passport control desk, are asking if the baby “fait ses nuits“, sleeps through the night. They are obsessed about this. Well he did sleep through quite a few nights before the three months’ growth spurt, sleep regression and whatsoever. They should see the dark circles around my eyes and know better not to ask.
  • When out and about with the baby, and also while pregnant, you are prioritaire. This means that you can basically skip most of the queues and avoid waiting for your turn in line. This comes in very handy in Primark on a Saturday afternoon or in the airport taxi stop late at night. Muahahahaha, some compensation for those sleepless nights.
  • People treat you as a champion and congratulate you when you are still breastfeeding your three month old. It’s nice to be good at something!
  • French social security pays most part of your pelvic floor and abdominal reeducation sessions. Luckily I had my baby before Macron gets to cancel this policy.
  • If the baby refuses to take a nap at home, he is likely to fall asleep quickly in Paris metro, that strange little creature.
  • If you have a horrible day and the baby is only taking 20 minute naps, you can always use half of those 20 minutes to take a petit verre de rouge in a local brasserie on your way home from park. This naturally only when chocolate does not help.

All in all, baby life in Paris is not too bad at all, but the next chapter will take place in banlieu.

Good things lately


Meanwhile Spring has arrived to Paris and we’ve had +17 degrees and sun this weekend, yay! Warm enough to take the winter jacket off when you find a non-windy spot in the sun. We tested this weekend the mazy garden between Louvre and Tuileries, worked perfectly. After a long grey winter, here are some good things of the moment:

  • Spring spring spring! Some trees are already blooming (don’t ask me what are those) and the magnolias will be blooming in a couple of days.
  • First ice creams of the year eaten outside. McFlurry and Amorino are always safe choices. Amorino is the best though.
  • Park lunch to assure the daily sun intake, food always tastes better outside.
  • Tulips from Lidl for 1,99 euros in all colors. I buy them every week.
  • Listening to Gangsta rap in the metro. Nothing cheers you up in morning metro like N.W.A. Ok there is a reason to this, I’ve been of course following the Norwegian teenager TV series SKAM (like everyone else it seems) and then downloaded the series’playlist on my Spotify. Slightly embarrassing, I admit.
  • Following malamutes on instagram (they are like huskies but cuter). Try @lifewithmalamutes. In this era of too many depressing news, some malamutes make my day. Yet I think I will go to malamute rehab now, too much cuteness.
  • Did I not mention our weekend trip to Venice already? Oh Italy. I just realized this was the 4th time we went to Italy in 3 years time. There is a reason, food and the dolce vita in general. In Venice I loved not having cars around, but I could not spend too many days there as there is no greenery, at least in Paris we have trees! Of course the city is ridiculously pretty and romantic, just perfect for a weekend getaway.


That’s pretty much what’s up here, long walks in the city are my favorite Spring activity, with ice cream stops of course. I should take my camera with me more often, I am a bad aspiring blogger. Oh well. Next time.

Have a lovely week everybody!

Brunching in Barbes

Brasserie Barbes Paris

It’s been a while since I wrote something on the blog, it’s been hard to find motivation lately. It’s been still cold and grey in Paris, so basically I have been spending most of the time indoors. If I have dared to venture outside, it’s straight from place A to place B. Meanwhile we have also celebrated a wedding in Tunisia and for work I have traveled to Alger, the rest of the time I’ve been pretty much curled up on the couch. Needless to say I have a lot of Netflix recommendations, currently I’m hooked on the American Crime Story. That O.J Simpson case is fascinating. To my defense, I’ve also managed to almost complete a course in Coursera, after all you can do this also from your couch, not disturbing the hibernation.

Yesterday we ventured bravely out and headed to Barbes, a previously threaded neighborhood in Paris were you can easily buy illegally imported cigarettes or even drugs (they say, I’m not buying of course). I needed to fix my Samsung’s screen that went black and my trusted (ok the cheapest), phone repair shop is in Barbes. In one hour they fix everything and you end up paying way less than in official repair (in your face corporate giants who always find a reason why your guarantee does not apply). Already last time while visiting the area I noticed that bobo Parisians have adopted Barbes, the eventual destiny of all formerly shady neighborhoods, and a new brasserie has opened in the corner just outside the metro station. As we had one hour to wait for my phone to be fixed, we went to test it.

Brasserie Barbes

Brasserie Barbes was a nice experience all in all, service was very friendly and the brunch formula, 18 euros for a few salty pieces that was sufficient for lunch and dessert pancake, was not too bad at all. Food was not exceptional but correct, we both enjoyed the meal. Other than brunch they have a traditional bistro menu with sandwiches, salads, burgers and a few other dishes. Best thing was nice decoration and cozy atmosphere, there is even a fireplace, you’re lucky to get a table in front of it on a cold winter day.

Brasserie Barbes Paris

Since we were already in the North of Paris far from our hoods, we went to check Pavillon des Canaux as I had red about an exhibition “Gueules de Parisiens” that was going on in there. The exhibition itself turned out to be pretty small, but the place was the cutest! The pavillon has two floors and several rooms that are decorated in different random styles, you can even enjoy your coffee or beer in a bath tub in a decorated bathroom. I will definitely come back to sit on a terrace when the weather gets better, they also do brunch in the weekend.

Pavillons des Canaux Paris


Gueules de Parisiens

To end the city day well, we headed to movies to see the Moonlight in MK2 in Stalingrad. The movie theater is actually in two buildings on the opposite sides of the canal and there is a small ferry ride between them. No need to say I’m always excited to take this ferry to the movies! Moonlight was worth watching, after napping a bit in the beginning of the movie (oops) the rest was captivating.

MK2 in Stalingrad

The weather is supposed to get better next week, I’m looking forward to end the winter hibernation period and discover more things in Paris! Have a nice Sunday you all xx

January blues

Winter in Paris

January is my most dreaded month in Paris. There is only one word to describe it: grey. Until the new year life goes on in Paris as usual, the city is charming in all its Christmas decoration, people are merry and you can keep yourself warm by sipping the famous vin chaud. Usually in December the temperature is still decent. Suddenly after new year’s it seems like the whole city has woken up with a collective hangover and is brooding. Or at least dieting. The weather is cold and grey, the city seems hostile, you just don’t want to put your nose outside of the door. What makes it worse this year, it has been extremely cold since the new year’s weekend, we’ve had a few minus degrees every night. The city hall in our district needed to put on signs to a nearby park to alert people from approaching the fountain that has perhaps 1 mm thin layer of ice on it. Hilarious. Mostly it has just been cold and foggy, or cold, foggy and rainy.

Then, because you come from Finland, every other person is telling you how much you must feel like home now when it’s cold. At first I tried explaining to them about the dry cold we have up North, about double windows, central heating and so on, but then I just gave up and started nodding and smiling with them. They wouldn’t understand why I feel uncomfortable wearing two pairs of woolen socks at night, putting a cloth under the front door because the cold air is coming in straight from the stair case or being cold in my kitchen in the morning as the electric heating doesn’t quite reach there. As I cannot be cold since I come from Finland! Truth is that the only time I’ve been more cold is while I was living in Tunis one winter, there was no heating at all in my flat so it was +13 degrees inside too. After sleeping for a week with most of my clothes on I finally went to Carrefour to by a heater. What a luxury. If people only knew how comfortable it is in a Finnish house even when it’s -20 degrees outside.

So what can you do in Paris in January? You can go discover cozy new cafés. But don’t take it for granted that you will be warm in a café or in a restaurant, at least if you are sitting by the window. Yesterday I found some new places by Canal Saint Martin, cute vegetarian café / restaurant called IMA and Pouya, French-Iranian cultural center, such a pearl. Cozy atmosphere and you will get delicious dates (by date I mean the fruit, not a date date, even if that might be possible too) with your hot drink. Food smelled pretty good too. You can also finally visit museums, perfect time to catch up with all those exhibitions you didn’t have time to see before.

Otherwise you can just console yourself that the winter here is soon over. In February you already have glimpses of sunlight and promise of the Spring and in March, if you are lucky, you can be sipping rosé by the Seine in your T-shirt with your sunglasses and a big smile on your face (ok you will risk being sick the next day but it is worth it), making your friends up North jealous. I’m waiting for this moment to take my revenge for all beautiful snowy landscape and skiing pictures that Finns have been posting for the past few days. Snow of course fell in Helsinki only after we were back in Paris from Christmas hols.

So good luck with January and have a happy new year you all! ❤

Parisian Winter Day

View from Montmartre

Lately it has truly felt like winter in Paris, we’ve had sunny and cold days, even a few minus degrees during the night and early morning. This is the Parisian winter I like! Today we wondered to Montmartre for an afternoon stroll, it is  one of my favorite places in Paris before Christmas to have a cup of vin chaud or hot chocolate. Despite all the tourists it is worth it, just to see the amazing view over the city. There is also a Christmas market close to Sacre Coeur church that has an oyster and wine bar. Classy eats for charity! We didn’t have oysters this time (well I never eat them actually, I can’t stand the idea of something living in my throat), but instead we opted for hot chocolate in lively Rue Abbesses. If you want to combine strolling with shopping, the shops are open on Sundays in this area.

AbbessesStreet in MontmartreTourist stuff in MontmartreSacre CoeurView over ParisPlace de TertreHot chocolate

Too bad that next week it’s getting warm again.. I prefer this kind of wintery days!

Holiday at home

Parisian Balcony

Hey y’all. It has been a long weekend in Paris. Today is a Toussaint, All Saints’ Day, so I took also the Monday off to have a little mini break. This time I had no trips ahead and stayed in Paris, not too bad after a few hectic months. Actually I feel more rested than in a long time! Here are some of my favorite things during this mini holiday at home:

  • Sunshine in November
  • Geraniums in my French balcony that are still blooming
  • The Lebanese coffee table that I found on Sunday from our neighbourhood’s Vide-Grenier, sort of a street flea market that is organized about once a year in each Parisian neighbourhood
  • Baraka documentary (oldie but goodie)
  • Home yoga videos, I’m currently hooked on Yoga with Adriene
  • Ping pong match in the park (except when I lose and that’s often)
  • Jogging in Petite Ceinture, old railway line close to our place
  • Walking late in the evening and listening to Finnish top 50 from Spotify
  • Sleeping and reading a book in bed
  • Did I mention sleeping?
  • Having coffee or dinner with friend(s)
  • Uusi Muusa that finally opened today (Yep it is in Finnish)
  • Icelandic Police series Trapped 
  • Homemade Guacamole with nachos

Oh yes, I think this might have been one of the best holidays ever. Tomorrow back to the office, but before that, a movie night (with Guacamole of course)!

Qi Gong and stuff

Riquet Paris

This weekend started zen with a Qi Gong practice in 104 center in north of Paris, Riquet neighborhood. It was now the second time that I went there, it just makes me feel good. 104 is an inspiring place, it is a cultural center hosting theater, dance and visual arts, spectacles and exhibitions. The place has a really good wibe, you just feel comfortable and welcome there. Qi Gong classes take place once in a month and the crowd is a nice mix of grannies and random people. A friend took me there once last Spring and ever since I’ve wanted to go again. Best thing is that the classes are for free!

Centre 104 Paris

If you want to hang out in the center after the class, you find the Grand Central bistro that is not bad at all for a late brunch. If you are lucky there might be some exhibition going on or you can just watch people dancing. This time there was a bio market selling vegetables, bread and cheese in the courtyard. 104 center is in 19th arrondissement, close to Canal de l’Ourcq or bassin de la villette. So after the Qi Gong class we headed with a friend to a café by the canal to enjoy some fresh orange juice (I was tempted to have prosecco but was wise this time) and felt really zen.


It appeared that we were not the only ones enjoying the sunny day by the Canal. There were many people picnicking and playing petanque and mölkky. Yes, Parisians love mölkky, probably because it resembles petanque but it is way more hipster. They don’t know that in Finland it is only played in cottages wearing jogging pants that have seen their better days, haha.

Bassin de la villette Paris

The day continued in the Marais district, more about that later. I ended up hanging out the whole day in my yoga, sorry Qi Gong, leggings. They were so comfy to wear that I might repeat that. I just need to buy longer tops, my husband said I look like a teenager on my way to the technoparade that was going on the city at the same time. Oh well..

hanging out in yoga pants in Marais

That’s it for now. I’m off to watch War and Peace, BBC miniseries recommended to me by my mother. I’m not sure what to think of my mom giving me recommendations for TV series, seems that she is more IN than I am. But the series is good, strong recommendation to this one.

Have a good night! x

Paris lately

Sunset in Paris Pasteur

You know you have lived in Paris too long when:

  • You get desperate when you just miss the metro and next one is coming in 4 minutes
  • You get very upset when you get out of the metro and you realize that your exit is on the other side of the platform
  • You avoid by all means making an eye contact in a metro, at least during rush hours (Actually eye contact would be difficult anyway when somebody’s hair/shoulder/arm is between you and your book.)

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A week of a Parisian

Monday: I’m not a morning person, as many of you know. This means that my weekdays rarely start well – please don’t talk to me before 10am! On the way to work in metro everyone is either sleepy or just cranky, metro is too full and people are pushing around. When I arrive to the office my blood pressure is already high. Then the weekly Monday meetings start… By lunch time I’m ready to move back to Espoo. Continue reading