Tag Archives: moving

Looking back, looking forwards


When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us ~ Helen Keller

Things I will miss about being in France (in no particular order!)

  • My parents
  • Stepping outside the front door and into mountains
  • Incredible fresh air
  • Peace and quiet
  • Our cats
  • Spending so much quality time with my husband
  • French produce
  • Beautiful scenery
  • An amazing baby club with like-minded, kind, generous mamas and their sweet babies

Things I am looking forward to:

  • Access to more people, more activities, more choice
  • Being nearer to my brother
  • My dear friends being nearby
  • Understanding what people are saying to me
  • The NHS!
  • Realistic work opportunities
  • C seeing his cousins
  • Being walking distance from the park
  • Public transport`
  • Finding a pilates class
  • Abel and Cole

Thanks for humouring me. Sometimes I just need to write these things down.



Our everyday life: week 10

After days of rain (most unusual here) the room we had stored our packing flooded…great start to the week ;)


C’s first taste of lavashak


C loves to hide toys under things and then ask you to fetch them. Of course Mama humours him!


Hazelnuts, pre-roasting.


Post-roast and lazily peeled. There were so many!


C in love with his reflection…


…and also in love with the dog!


It was Mother’s Day in the UK on Sunday, but it’s in May in France, so technically I miss both. However, I did get a sweet little card (with some help from Papa!).


Hazelnuts used in this birthday cake, as well as two jars of nutella (notella?)


I think he enjoyed his birthday cake :)





english-lights In preparation for taking the car back to the UK, I had to undo this little job. Cars don’t have that nice ctrl-z feature you get on computers, but it was a lot quicker the second time around. I must have actually learnt something.

Also, I’d been looking around for somewhere to buy those light deflectors for the French part of the long drive, and was pleasantly surprised to find these still stuck the old lights.

Home is whenever I’m with you

I’ve been avoiding writing this for a while now, but I guess now is the time.

We are moving. We’re going back to the UK for the short term, but we don’t know how long for.

Plans are funny. You make them, then you live them, and for whatever reason (and sure, there are many) things just don’t happen as you expected.

So we are off in just over two weeks (urgh packing!)

We’ll keep you updated on what we are up to.

For now, this is keeping us going:



A few things I have learnt since moving to France

A neighbour…

:: The first things people ask when they meet baby and I:

  • Are you breastfeeding? (yes)
  • Does he sleep through the night? (not yet…)

:: Having visitors is lovely. Make the most of it.

:: There are some things you will miss (family & friends, baby groups, baking powder) and some things you won’t (tv, traffic, miserable weather)

:: The accent down here makes you feel like you are learning two languages. What little French you thought you knew sounds completely bizarre!

:: Babies make people smile.

:: WalkieTalkies in French is TalkieWalkies ;)

:: If you don’t close your shutters properly before you go to bed they will probably bang during the night, wake up your baby and you’ll need to get up to close them…

:: People think you are strange if you try and get your baby to sleep before 9pm.

:: You can always talk about the weather

:: French websites are ugly.

Some thoughts about carrots

Grated carrots

Today I prepared some carrots. I topped and tailed, peeled and then grated them. Some were huge, some were small and there seemed to be hundreds of them.

This isn’t particularly interesting I know, but whilst I was doing this I kept thinking to myself “If only I had my *insert brand name here* food processor”. There was a great attachment for grating vegetables really quickly and efficiently.

I then scolded myself for thinking this. I intentionally left the food processor in the U.K. as I didn’t use it enough to justify transporting it. I use a wooden spoon for mixing cakes. I really only used it for grating!

Another point I kept reminding myself was that we are here to live a simple life.

Why was I in such a hurry to grate these carrots? I’m not late for a meeting; I don’t have anything urgent to do; my baby is happily playing on his own; my husband is (always!) busy; the washing up is done; clothes are drying on the line..etc etc.

So I took a deep breath and carried on grating.

Yes, my hands are orange. Yes, I made more mess. Yes, it took some time (1kg of carrots!). But, I have the luxury of time and I couldn’t be more lucky.

Preparing for the move


Chunnel © by I

During the past year Shake and I have spent a lot of time sorting through all of our belongings in order to minimise what we need to take to France.

We had decided a while ago that it didn’t make financial sense to hire a van and drive all our belongings to France, especially as our new home is fully furnished. Instead, we plan to take just as much as we can fit in our car and Shake’s parents car, hence why we really needed to minimise.

It has been more difficult for me than Shake (my nickname is squirrel!) but having finished I must say it has been really therapeutic.

The easiest area to minimise I found was our clothes. It probably helped that I was pregnant when we were looking through them and doubtful as to what would ever fit me again!

As I know our lifestyle is going to change, it didn’t make sense to keep the numerous boring black suits which I occasionally wore for work, nor the expensive high-heeled shoes which I used to treasure. Of course, I kept a couple of pairs of shoes and my favourite dress for special occasions such as weddings, but anything else went to charity or to friends. What remains is mostly practical clothing for working outdoors and other casual items.

Paper Weaving © by FeatheredTar

The most satisfying area we worked through was our filing! My mother is extremely organised and when I left for University she tried to instill her good practices in me. I therefore had receipts and bank statements from over 9 years ago and we couldn’t think of any reason why I needed to keep these! We were reminded of Baz Luhrmann’s “Sunscreen”:

“Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements”.

And so we did.

Shake and I consolidated the paperwork we felt would be useful going forward into one file and recycled/used in our wood burning stove anything else.

The two areas where I struggled the most were my academic records and the kitchen.
I still had all of the ring-binders from my Mathematics degree, approximately 36, and was sad to discover that they meant almost nothing to me when I flicked through them. There were symbols, formulae, proofs etc that I no longer understood! I had to remind myself that I understood these at the time of my degree which is what matters the most. I kept a study book with a few proofs I had written, just to be able to show my son, but the rest went into recycling.

For whatever reason, I was far more comfortable recycling my accountancy studies. I suppose because the information becomes outdated each year and the it was through the working environment that my knowledge was maintained and developed.

Rhubarb crisp - Ramekins © by grongar

Shake and I spent the most time going through the kitchen. Initially as a means to reduce our washing up (which had a tendency to build up over a few days), we decided to select one plate, one bowl, one side plate, one mug, one set of cutlery and one glass each. The more we thought about it, there wasn’t any need for anything else, provided we washed up as soon as we had finished our meals. When guests came over we selected what was needed for the meal we were preparing, but once they left we stored them away again.

For everything else that was in the kitchen, appliances, baking equipment etc, Shake would ask me:

“How often do you use it?”
“Are you keeping it for sentimental reasons? If so, are you going to forget that person or that memory without this item?”
“Does something else we have do the same job?”
“Is it really worth transporting, given our limited space?”

This was frustrating at the start if I’m honest, but he really did help me to reduce things. We didn’t need all of those random knives if we kept our good quality set with sharpener. We didn’t need to keep the ramekins from the deserts we very occasionally bought. It really didn’t make sense to have a loose based baking tin without the base…

So with 2 months to go all our belongings, apart from our clothes, are packed into boxes and ready for the move.

The countdown has begun…