Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Hot bottoms and bubbles

The weekend away was great! We ended up in a 5 star hotel in Austria! The first night we had an 8 course meal - I have never had an eight course meal before. By course six I was stuffed and could barely manage more than a bite of the two desserts! I learnt from that and on the second night paced myself for the seven course meal!!! Couldn't miss dessert two nights running could I???

We went skiing in a resort that crosses the German/Austrian border. I knew whenever we were close to the border as my mobile phone provider would send me a SMS telling me I had changed providers!! The first day the snow was fabulous but we couldn't see much. Sunday the weather was sunny but the snow was a little crispy! What was fun about the resort though were the chair lifts. One of our friends with us (who was French and a very good skier) was amazed! First there were the little travellators - as you went through the gate you went on one which took you to the right place at supposedly the right time for the chair lift to pick you up. It has to be said though that one such travellator brought you very close to falling off the edge if you were a little too enthusiastic going through the gate! Next were the bubbles - many of the lifts had lids that kept the wind off - bliss! But best of all were the heated seats - nice warm bottom by the time you got to the top! Must try to encourage the local ski stations to invest in them!!

So that was our weekend in a nutshell! he children had a ball at granny's! Now all I need to do is work on granny for those 10 days in Boston we want to plan.......

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Gadgets I didn't know I couldn't live without!!

There aren't that many gadgets that I really really need but I got one recently (not by design but it just came with the car!!) that I can really see the benefit of! What is it - the bluetooth. When J said it was in the new car I was not really impressed - being that I don't really use my mobile phone that much (another gadget I could almost live without - except that it is a means of the children's school getting in touch with me in an emergency!!)! However, it is really useful. Before I leave work I can call and chat to J or friends, and I can actually take any calls (before I would obviously leave them!!) Probably not essential but I am getting very used to it - and not in a good way!!

What gadgets would you not like to give up!!?

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Weekend away!

O is 7 1/2 years old. In all that time J and I have never been away for the weekend alone! Heck - since F was born there has only been 2 nights when both have been away at the same time - and both times it was not so we could go away but for other far more practical reasons!!

But next month all that is to change! We have had the opportunity to go to Munich for the weekend. Well actually, a long weekend! MIL is having the children - though O is going to sleep at a friend's one night (for practical reasons known as swimmming and handball!!!) I am so looking forward to it. Friday will be a day in Munich before we head to the mountains for a weekend of skiing!

And lets not talk about a possible week in Boston in June!!!!!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009


So the children are on school holidays this week (and next - don't get me started on French school holidays!!!) And O is on a day theatre camp in the next town up! It finishes at 4.30pm. The town is a minimum of 30 minutes from work - if all the lights are green and I don't get behind a lorry.

It is 4.15pm. I am still at work. The penny drops - the children are not at school. O's camp finishes in 15 minutes. I rush out. Thankfully the traffic fairies are on my side! I am "only" 15 minutes late!

The worse thing - it was not just O but his friend I was picking up. Thankfully the camp director was very undestanding - she knows me well!

So for tomorrow - note to self - the children are NOT at school!!!!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Holiday plans

Or lack of that should be!

We can't make our mind up in the first place if we should actually go on holiday this summer. Last summer we went to Munich and then on to the German Alps and had a good time. It was tiring though - he children were boisterous to say the least and bickered every night as hey were sharing a room. For the New Year we went skiing in the French Alps. We stayed this time in a hotel which we liked a lot. However I don't think our budget will stretch to a hotel this time, especially for two weeks. Added to that J is hopeless at sitting down to discuss it!!

I think if we do go it will be in France - and probably the beach because we haven't had a beach holiday in a long time! If it is the beach - then I much prefer the Atlantic coast. I don't know why but the Med coast has never really done it for me! I know the children would love a beach holiday.

Off on a tangent but I managed to see how many airmiles J has on his AF card today - he never gets statements so we had no idea really! Anyway, here is enough for a return flight with Europe - now where could I go!!!!!

Monday, 2 February 2009

Flying high!

I was working out of a different office this morning which necessitated me taking a completely different route than normal!

This being Toulouse and the very fact I was skirting the airport I shouldn't have been surprised by what I saw but somehow I was. It was the A380 - something I see daily as it lands at the airport (my office is at one end of the runway!!) but this one was parked and at such an angle that at first I could just see the nose and wings - and that made me really appreciate its size and marvel at the fact that this beast flies!

Two minutes later I passed another icon of the aviation world - Concorde. I have seen this one many times - but even so I am always amazed at how small it is and how it has never been rivalled as far as speed goes! It is just a shame that I will never fly on it!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

What a week!

As I can hear the wind blowing outside again, it reminded me to wite about the last week!

Last weekend, the south west had a big storm - power was lost to many many households, ours included. It eventually came back on 60h later. In the meantime, school was cancelled (they didn't have power either!!) thankfully a dear friend took the children as my ILs didn't have any power either. We ended up sleeping at our friends (though the power did come back late Monday evening)

Tuesday was thankfully normal until I picked the children up from school to find out that the schol was closed on Thursday due to the strike - this was the first time it has happened as generally private schools don't strike. My MIL agreed to have the children so I took them up on Wednesday afternoon. Thursday I got call from my MIL - F was throwing up! Poor love had a gastro. By Friday she was still throwing up - and was very lethargic so my MIL called me at work and we agreed to get her to the doctors! So I left work early and we saw the doctor - thankfully since then she has got better and is much better today!

So last week O had two days and F only one day at school! Hopefully next week they will be there for all 4 days as the week after that it is yet again the school holidays - again!!


I am really not very good at this blog lark am I? It is now nearly a year since I last posted! And when looking at my blog I was amazed to see that in fact I started the blog in 2005. Where does the time go!

So what has happened here in the last 12months?

I have started working 4/5th at the company I was at - I don't work Wednesdays! I don't do so much teaching, mainly admin. My boss is very flexible which helps me a lot!

J has a new job too - that means we basically don't see him during he week. Hard on him and us.

The children are doing very well. O is doing very well at school (he saves his bad behavoir for home). He loves reading - the french version of the Famous Five being his current favourite. F is just getting over a gastro (poor love). She isn't convinced about school but seems to be doing well - is starting to have good letter recognition and can write her letters!

OK - that will do for a start!!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

The first report

F got her first school report this past weekend! We totally didn't expect it! She is doing just fine - this last term she has really settled in and integrated! It helps that now she totally understands French and is also speaking it! There were a few areas she could improve on - such as her listening to ALL the instructions but overall we were really pleased!

F is still a little clingy at times in the morning - but she now does voluntarily go in (before I literally had to hand her over - she wouldn't be crying but she wasn't going to let go of my hand). Whn I pick her up early for her speech therapy she is always happily playing the the playground so I do know that she is OK - doesn't stop me worrying though. In a lot of ways she is a lot stronger character than O (who has never been clingy) bu she does seem to lack some confic=dence away from the family. I guess I put it down to ger speech still being not 100% so at times she struggles to be understood. She isn't going to school tomorow morning (half day tomorrow) as she has speech therapy and then the doctors at 10.30am - she is coughing again and her eye is gunky.

Thursday, 31 January 2008


Why is it that the parcel that you are waiting for comes in the one morning you are out - it could have come yesterday (arrived at the depot yesterday morning - the joy of tracking!!) or this afternoon but no - it came this morning! I can't contact the transport company until tomorrow - hopefully they can deliver on Monday! And what is it I hear you ask - a new coffee machine. Our old one died a death at the weekend so I am having to make coffee using a cafetiere! I can't abide instant coffee. Anyway - we have ordered one that has a milk container so that it will make a latte without the need for me to hold the pipe into the milk! The container clips on and then can clip off and into the fridge! I can't wait! J is more interested in hearing whether his new zapper for the gate has arrived!! I think he has had to climb over the wall one or two times too many!

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

So my first day in my new job!

It went really well - it was tiring in that most of the day was spent listening to and speaking French - which I can do but am out of practice with! I was actually surprised in that I do have a desk and my very own laptop - though it does have a AZERTY keyboard rather than a QWERTY one! I am still trying to find the @ !!!

I really enjoyed it - lots to learn in respect of the actual software I will have to use but I was able to contribute lots of contructive ideas about how we can progress that hadn't been thought of before.

I will still be teaching for the time being - will have to see how that panes out! All in all a good day!

Monday, 28 January 2008

It has been a while!

I know, I know - bad me! I kept on meaning to post and then would get distracted!

So it is catch up time!

Christmas was fun - both kids really enjoyed their gifts - we got it spot on! They are now back at school! At last F seems to be happy about going! Though last week she was sick (coughing and a throat infection) which mean she missed several days. It was a bit tricky getting her back into the routine!

O continues to blow me away. He is now reading brilliantly! I am so proud of him! His end of term report was outstanding! It seems that he is well liked (especially by the girls), he works hard and is ahead of where he should be! He still has his moments - his current "behavoir" is complaining that "it isn't fair" - as in F got more cake etc etc. Our recation to this has now to be to actally give F whatever O complains (wrongly) that she has more of - and it is a tactic that is working!!!

Workwise - I am starting a "new" job tomorrow! Still with the same company but I am moving into the admin side of the business - which is what I used to do before children! I am looking forward to it - it is a move upwards! It will mean working eventually three full days - and very little actual teaching! Plus my written French will need to improve quickly! It is a good challenge though!

i will try to update more regularly - if only for my own self as no-one else seems to read it!!

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

It's a wrap!

I am sure I am not alone in that I am the sole wrapper in the household. Admittedly J would help (and he does wrap my presents!) but (a) he isn't very good at it, (b) he doesn't like doing it and (c) he is rarely here when the children aren't (and due to O's habit of suddenly getting up for no reason when not expected it is hard to do it at night!) So today's objective was to rap the rest of the gifts - and with a little bit of organisation I had it all done in 2 hours! Yay me!

And my handy tip for wrapping - wrap each child's gifts in the different paper (this year green snowflakes for O and Dora for F) which means no labels are required!

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Getting ready for Christmas!

The tree is up. The children decorated it on Friday. Our tradition is that we put the lights on, after that it is down to them. We don't mess with what they have done! This leads to a tree that while not perfect is certainly spectular because they have done it themselves. O has wonderful memories of being allowed to do the tree all on his own last year so I feel that it is a tradition well wroth keeping!

The fabric advent calendar is up - with two chocolate eggs in each pocket! O gets that it is just a once a day activity - F does not!!

The playmobil advent calander is all set up (25minutes my foot - it took me a good hour to unpack, make all the boxes, make the playmobile, put them in the right box and then put the boxes on the cardboard backing!) and the children have agreed to take it turns to open a box!

Other than that, I still haven't made my cards (oh dear!) but most of the shopping has been done! It certainly won't be long before Christmas is upon us!

Soup update!

Well so far this week we have had:
Carrot and coriander soup
Tomato and pasta soup
Curried parsnip soup
Dutch pea soup

As our scales are useless he hasn't weighed himself yet so no idea if it is actually working! He is trying to calorie count but I still see him nicking the odd biscuit!! He is out running at the moment - he has decided to try to do next year's marathon! Run J run!

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Soups and Cake!

J is on a diet. He went to see the doctor this week as he needed a new prescription for his asthma drugs. She commented that he could do with losing some weight. He isn't fat per se but he probably could do with losing a bit. He will never be a skinny minny - he hasn't got the frame for it! So he is calorie counting and trying to cut out all the sugary treats. I am doing my bit by making soups each night - we both like soups (shame I can't tempt the children - have tried on many occasions to no avail!), they are easy to make and fairly good on the calorie front (especially if I don't add cream!!). Tonight it is going to be a veggie and bean broth - no recipe just a bit of chuck in and see!

However I am also at the moment baking a spiced pear cake - I just felt like baking and am tired of always doing chocolate cakes - plus I had just bought a load of pears. It is in the oven as I speak and it smells lovely! J will just have to resist! Or hope that the children eat it quickly!!

Thursday, 22 November 2007


I have already mentioned that O's reading has come on so quickly - and daily I am staggered by how much he has progressed. Over the weekend he actually read a book (albeit it a very short one!) and tonight he went through his homework so quickly - it seems to becoming more and more instinctive! I am so proud of him - he works so hard at school. He was so chuffed tonight as he got a reply to his letter to father cristmas. It was just a pre-printed standard thingy but he was happy!

I have just ordered him an elf costume - last year he got a Santa costume which I wrapped in brown paper, addressed and put it in our mail box. When he found it he was so amazed. i figure this could be his last year believing so I am gong all out to make it special! I have also ordered F an angel costume so she isn't left out. I just home they arrive in time - we have sent them to a colleague of J's who lives in the UK and he will bring them over (he is here every week!)

I also went out and bought crackers today - Trauffault the garden centre sells them. Christmas isn't Christmas without them!

Monday, 12 November 2007


O is a demon jigsaw puzzler - has been since he was about 18m old. He seems to have an eye for the right shape. F, on the other hand, had never seemed bothered. She was always more interested in throwing the jigsaw pieces all over the play. Until last week that is! For her birthday she got three Dora puzzles. Have I ever said how obsessed she is by Dora. The really funny thing is though that she is not that bothered about watching her! Anyway - to get back to the point - suddenly she is doing these 20 piece puzzles on her own with ease! Me thinks I need to try to find one that is a bit more challenging while she is enjoying doing them!

Completely off subject too I have to say how blown away we were by F's work book from school - in a short 2 months she is coming on in leaps and bounds. Not bad for a little girl who went into petite section with very little French!

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Letter to father Christmas

Christmas has to be O's favourite time of the year - he just loves all aspects of it - from the reason why there is Christmas to the decorations to the gift giving and receiving and best of all - to Father Christmas.

J and I figure this may be the last year he actually believes in F.C. Last night he decided that he really did have to write his letter to father christmas. The list thankfully was not that long! He is actually not very materialistic and would be happy with whatever he received! I addressed the envelope to:

Pere Noel
Le Pole Nord

and we took it to the post office this morning! I had no idea of what the system is here (you would have thought I would know after 10 years!) The guy behind the desk took it from O and just stanped it - no money was exchanged! Hopefully a reply will be forthcoming - O would just be so excited!

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Back to my roots!

Well my baking roots that is! I have hardly done any baking recently - with the return to work taking up much of my time I just haven't felt like it much! However this weekend I have no choice - I have to bake! First off on Saturday will be my Fridge Brownies - we are off to a Bonfire party and apparently the brownies have been requested by lots of people!

Sunday it is F's birthday party - there are five of her little shool friends plus two other friends who are coming. on the baking menu is a chocolate fudge cake (decorated with smarties - what else!), my mars bar cake (not sure if that really counts as baking) and some cookies (not yet decided what type!) Monday is her actual birthday - I am ever hopeful that my MIL who is looking after the two children on monday as we are both working will make one! Then on Tuesday I need to make a big enough cake for 27 children for her school party on Wednesday when they go back to school! I have booked a massage (a birthday present from J) on Wednesday morning - I might need it!

Friday, 26 October 2007

Lice, that's nice

Now don't start itching!

F has had her first dose - I had washed her hair and noticed an insect in there. I called J who looked at it, got his insect book and decided it was a nasty louse. We checked and couldn't find any more, but still washed all our hairs in the lice shampoo, changed all the beds, put all the towels through the wash and every night since I have been nit combing their hair - so far nothing found - fingers crossed!

My sister swears by tea tree oil as a means of keeping them away - so I have been dabbing it on their necks each morning. I just hope that all the other parents at school treat their children over the toussaint break so that we don't have to go through all the palaver again!

Sunday, 21 October 2007

A Rant

Those of you who know me know that I don't publically rant very often (J will say otherwise!!) But yesterday I was so annoyed that when poor J walked in the door after having been out all afternoon doing his stint at scouts I almost bit his poor head off. What was it that caused this unusual (really) burst? it was our neighbours. Actually when I say neighbours thay are actually market gardeners who have greenhouses on the land adjoining our house. First I have to say that local byelaws make it illegal to have a bonfire - unfortunately it seems that many of the local market gardeners (there are a lot round here owing to the good soil quality)totally ignore this ban. yesterday morning I did several loads of washing to clear the backlog. I hung it out to dry to take advantage of tis good weather. They lit a blinking bonfire - the wind took the billows of smoke right in the direction of my washing. It stank. I have had to wash it all again today and because the bonfire is STILL going dry it all in the dryer.


PS I hate doing the washing - which is why this has bugged me so much!

I forgot to say...

It is October- mid October (yes I know that you know that!!) On Wednesday we went into the pool - the outside pool! Granted, it has an "abri" ( a dome like cover) but we even pushed that back and swam in it for a good hour. O was thrilled. I admit it was a little cold at the start but we soon warmed up!

The weather has been amazing this month - while it is cold at night during the day we are getting t-shirt weather! Bliss!

Saturday, 13 October 2007

He can read!

Children in France start learning to read in CP - which they start in the September of the year they are six! O has really been picking up the sounds they have been doing (which has been hard for me as of course they are completely different that those in English!) and yesterday he had to do some reading for his homeowrk - and he read a whole sentence! It really is incredible to see him sounding out the words!

Well done my little man!

Friday, 12 October 2007

What a nice surprise!

It has been an incredibly busy week.J has been away virtually all week, my timetable for teaching was 6 h each day I worked, on my one day off (well child free day off!) I went skating with O's class and then in the afternoon I had to go to an induction meeting at work and then on Wednesday the children didn't have school. Add into that a blocked nose for F which meant she didn't sleep that well (she sucks her fingers so she can't breathe through her nose!) and you can imagine that I feel worn out!

So it was such a lovely surprise to come out of my class this morning to be told that my afternoon class has been cancelled - though I still get paid! Bliss - a quiet afternoon at home!

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Almost payday!

After six years with no payday, next week should see an small increase in our bank account THANKS TO ME!!! Woohoo!! It isn't much but it makes me feel happy to have contributed to the household finances. Work is going well - I think! I have five regular classes each week (12h of teaching) plus if there are any intensives then I may get additional hours too. While it doesn't sound much, with preparation time it is enough! The main thing is that I am enjoying it - even this week when I have been sick!

Talking of being sick, J took F back to the doctors today. despite the antibiotics her cough wasn't sounding any better - if anything it sounded worse. We were right to go - it has gone onto her chest. She has stronger antibiotics plus she is back on he becotide/ventoline route. On a plus note, she has a little friend in her class - Bertille (a girl - just in case you are wondering!!) I think finally she is enjoying school!

O had his first swim class today - he was, as usual, apprehensive beforehand but came out saying it was fantastic! I just hope that this is the push he needs to get him swimming properly and confidently. With a pool at home he should already be but J and i find it impossible to teach him and he gets lazy on us - though with others he will do so much more!

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

It is the little things!

This morning I don't feel wonderful. I saw the doctor last night and I have bronchitus. Thankfully I am not working again until Thursday so I can put my feet up today and just relax!

After dropping the children off at school I went to the pharmacy to pick up my antibiotics and on the way back home, while waiting at the roundabout, a bus carrying O went past! He saw me and his grin was a sight to behold! Made my day! And why was he on a bus? His class has 8 weekly ice skating classes and today is the first class. He was so excited today!

Not to be left out, F also has a trip today - to a vineyard (start them young!!)to pick grapes!

Saturday, 22 September 2007

The rentree bug

Usually it is the children who come down with a bug at the start of term - this time it is me! They have been coughing a little but nothing that bad that they have been complaining. Me, on the other hand, seems to have caught the flu. I should say that I am the ox in this family. All around me can be sick and I will be fine. This time my defences must be low as whatever I have has knocked me for six. I have just about managed to work bu today after a rough night (where I even decamped to the very uncomfortable spare bed)I have taken not one but TWO naps! Once this morning after encouraging O to watch TV (F was at gym with J) and then once F went for her nap (the boys have gone to an adventure park for the afternoon - we had tickets for it that needed to be used this weekend) I had another two hour nap - unheard of for me. I still feel completely wiped out and have resorted to letting F watch Dora!

Here's hoping that whatever is in my system is out of it soon. I hate feeling sick (and I am so not a good patient!) And fingers crossed that the children (or even worse J!!) don't get it!

Monday, 17 September 2007

Into the groove

It is hard this work thing! Well not so much just the work but the juggling that goes on all around. I know I am not saying anything new and I am in a lucky position to live in a place that has a good pre-school care system and a husband who does a lot. Even so, I am tired!

F was up last night - not something that happens often but she needed a cuddle. Then this morning was the usual running around to get two children and one Mum out of the house to school. F at least did not start crying until we actually went INTO the garderie at school which is an improvement on last week! Then I rush down to near the Cite d'espace for the first lesson of the day. How I love seeing the rocket - silly really but it always signifies to me a world far outside of anything I can imagine! Then after that a dash into the office to get ready for the next group. It was so close this afternoon too but opening the windows isn't really an option as the office is near to the end of the runway! After that lesson i dashed home, got drenched getting the washing in and then out again o a meeting at school where I learnt a bit more about O will be doing this year. Poor lad is going to have to endure English lessons - though they did assure me they put him in the best group. I think the teacher will have to be creative to keep him involved as otherwise it is going to be so very very boring for him. he is also starting ice skating next week which he is so excited about! F had a better day - so we are slowly getting there with her!

Came home, had dinner and then the children had a quick bath. O then had homework - his writing has come on so much! He writes all joined up so easily!

Now thankfully they are fast asleep and I am relaxing for the first time! It is fun though - and not so far until pay day!!!

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Back to school - and work!

What a week!

First event was "la rentree" on Tuesday. Both children started at a new school - it is the local private Catholic school. We chose this school rather than the public one mainly because both children were on the same site and they understood the Montessori method - O was in a Montessori maternelle.

O was so excited - he is so keen to learn to read and write properly. He literally ran into school! Poor lad though was at the back of the class due to the children going in alphabetically - and we are at the end of the alphabet! Apparently O was struggling to understand (I think he panicked a little as his French is superb) but the teacher had the forethought to move him forward and since then he has been great!

F didn't cry either - on the first day but did yesterday and today! It is a big transition for her - full days every day and all in French! She did come home on day one with "I need a caca"!! I think once we leave she is fine!

Today was my big day too - back to work. I think it went well (well they haven't complained yet!) - I did let it slip I was my first day back at work so they may be giving me a sympathy vote!! J got the children to school OK - but we do need to work out how to use the garderie - it won't be every day and certainly should never be both morning and afternoon but we do need to get it sorted!

It is nice to be back at work - and feeling that I am contributing to the household finances! Not that J has ever been bothered by the fact that he was the sole contributor to the coffers but it did bother me! Roll on the first pay day!

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Back to work

I have been a SAHM for six years now - virtually since O was born. For me there was no other choice - particularly as in Germany (where O was born)childcare was non-existant! F starts full time school next week and I knew that once that happened I would want to return to work. I just didn't expect it to happen quite so quickly!

Through a series of coincidences I have found myself gainfully employed as a English language trainer (which is what I did before the children were born (well since moving abroad that is!!). I will only be working three days a week which is just what I wanted. I will always have Wednesdays off (half day at school here) and one other day which will change. I DO still need to talk money with them (J thinks I should have already - I hate that bit though!!) but an ex-colleague of mine who works there said they paid more than where we both worked before - so hopefully it will be within my expectations!

I am nervous - it is a big step and to be honest it probably would have been better had it happened a month later so I could settle the children in school but it is a great opportunity to get back to work doing something I enjoy with a company that seems to be very flexible.

Wish me luck!