Je t’aime Paris!

Je t’aime Paris!

Back in the Easter holidays we took our two over to France again. As I hold a degree in French, and spent the best part of a year there while at University, we do like to go over frequently. It helps that holidays with Eurocamp are loved by all of us and don’t break the bank (which is equally important)

So, once again we packed up our little Golf and set off to France. We stopped for two nights just outside Paris, and then spent seven nights near Sarlat in the Dordogne before returning to another campsite on the east side of Paris for another couple of nights before heading home.

On our second Paris stop, we decided to spend a whole day in the city. We’ve been there a few times with the boys now. This time we chose to stay away from the key tourist areas, as we’d been up the Eiffel tower with the boys only last year, and they are still a little bit too young to appreciate museums (or to let us appreciate them!) We wanted to go at a slower pace and really enjoy the city, rather than rushing around trying to see everything.

I therefore present our plan for a lovely day in Paris, without ever getting cross about the tourists!

Morning – Montmartre and the Sacre-Coeur

After a narrow miss with a near pickpocket incident on the funicular car leading up to the basilica (note, always be alert!) we didn’t join the queue to go inside the Sacre-Coeur this time (see note above about kids being small!) but we enjoyed the view and Elliot loved looking through the binoculars to see what landmarks he could spot.

We then walked through to the main square in Montmartre and enjoyed a coffee outside La Mere Catherine (my mum’s name is Catherine too, hence why we like it!) whilst watching the street artists. It’s such a busy and bustling place – and we’re not naturally people who enjoy being amid the hustle and bustle for any length of time – that it was nice to go in the morning when it is perhaps slightly quieter (?) but then have plans for a more sedate afternoon.

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Afternoon – picnic in Le Jardin du Luxembourg, bookshops and memory walks

Hopping back on the metro (we had day passes) we stopped off to pick up essentials for lunch (baguette, boursin, brie, crisps, fruit and cake!) and headed to the wonderfully parisian Jardin du Luxembourg in the 6th arrondissement.

We found a bench and laid out our picnic, and then realised that several locals were busy playing a lunchtime game of petanque nearby. We did wonder if we could get any more parisian 🙂

A key point for families is that the Jardin du Luxembourg houses a most wonderful play ground, which you do have to pay to enter but is well kept with areas for children of all ages. The boys had a wonderful time and we honestly could have stayed there for the rest of the day.

We walked through the Jardin, finding a boating lake which we will have to explore next time, before finding our way to Shakespeare and Company bookshop on the Left bank. This is always on our list of places to visit in Paris. I can’t really explain why, other than the fact that we are definite bibliophiles in this house, both boys included. There’s just something about it which attracts us again and again. We noticed the cafe next door too this time, so perhaps we’ll be tempted to stay even longer next time.

We were on a bit of a mission though as one of the places we visit without fail each time we go to Paris is the Ile St Louis – a small island which I fear is often overlooked next to it’s neighbour Ile de la Cite with the famous cathedral, Notre Dame.

Several years ago now, however, Ile St Louis was really where our story began. It was here, on a Saturday evening in January 2008, that we got engaged (using scrabble tiles – that’s another story!) We always go back there when we visit and each time remark on how lovely it would be to visit a) with no kids, b) with more money, c) for a week! You never know, it’s nearly 10 years ago now so that’s worth a celebration!

Anyway, we normally stop for a coffee at the St Regis. This time we opted for a light dinner as it was approaching that time of day. I can say with confidence that the burrata and tomato salad is amazing!

We then walked through Le Marais, before finding ourselves back on the RER to our campsite.

I will never get tired of Paris. It is a truly special place for us, and one which I hope our boys grow up to love and enjoy too.

 

 

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Alexander James – you are three!

Oh Alexander, you’re somehow, unbelievably, THREE!

How did that happen?

I can’t quite put into words how bizarre it is that our tiny baby is now a chatty, inquisitive, three year old. Suddently, we’re no longer a family with a baby in it and that is taking some getting used to!

You’re a bundle of loveliness, cuddles, kisses and such a wonderful giggle and your favourite thing above all is definitely your big brother, Elliot.

We couldn’t be prouder of our littlest boy. Three years since you came along on that blissful (no lie!) Monday morning. Three years since you completed our family, and made me a mother of two. Double the love, and double the fun.

You’re amazing and we love you!! Happy (belated) birthday!

All my love,

Mummy xxx

 

Elliot Thomas – Now you are six!

When I was one,
I had just begun.

When I was two,
I was nearly new.

When I was three,
I was hardly me.

When I was four,
I was not much more.

When I was five,
I was just alive.

But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six
now and forever.

A.A. Milne’s, “The End”, from “Now we are six”

Dear Elliot,

You’ve grown so much since I last wrote on here to you. You are now in Year One at school and doing fantastically. A little timid boy started in Reception, and what emerged in July was a bouncy, articulate, friendly child. One who has made a little band of friends to share these important years with.

You amaze us daily. What other six year old chooses to buy a desk light in IKEA so they can turn a play table into a “proper desk”, and then compliments this with a Maths workbook (for age 7+) using vouchers that could have been used on Superhero magazines? I’m seriously going to have to swot up on my own maths skills!

We love you little man. You’re an ace big brother and a wonderful son. We’re so proud to call you ours and I can’t believe it is six years since you came crashing into our lives and made me a mummy. Thank you for making my life so amazing, you’ve single handedly made me a better person.

Happy (belated) birthday!

Love,

Mummy (not Mum, yet, please!) xx

This is me

As mentioned in my previous post, I’m itching to get my blogging mojo back.

To get me back in the mood, I thought I’d take a trawl through old posts and remind myself of the reason why I started this thing in the first place – to keep memories for my children.

So, without further ado – some of (what I like to think of as) my best posts:

I joined the Siblings linky for a couple of years – one of the most poignant for me was the post just before I returned to work after my second maternity leave in November 2014

I wrote a poem to each of my boys. Elliot’s was on his first birthday,  and Alexander’s was earlier, within a few weeks of his arrival during those early days of settling in to life with a baby – I tried to capture the wonder and awe of that precious time, now 3 years ago!

Speaking of three year olds, I also came across a warning to my future self regarding the joys(?) of parenting at this age. This was particularly interesting as Alexander turned three in December. Will have to bear this in mind.

I attempted to get better at photography after splashing out on a Nikon D3200 a couple of years ago, which resulted in some improvements in photos around here. Having said that I still like my iPhone for on-the-fly photos (and because I’m never actually that good at remembering to take the Nikon out!) My iPhone has captured some pretty lovely shots of my two in the past.

I have also used this little spot on the internet to keep hold of some recipes we’ve tried and loved, and ones which have been passed down through family. My all time favourite will always be my Grandmother’s gingerbread. It’s always a hit around here!

I’ve loved looking through my old posts. The boys are now 6 and 3, as of last month (yes two children born three years and three days apart, in December. #badplanning) so we’ve already missed quite a bit.

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My task now is to find that tricky balance in parenting and working to enable more time for writing…I’ll aim to share monthly updates on our family life at the very least, hopefully more. I’m excited to start filling in the gaps and documenting our adventures. Parenting these two is lots of fun!

Breaking the silence


I feel trapped. Like a butterfly in a cocoon, a lion in a cage. 
I know deep down that I want desperately to write everything in my head. But I’m fearful.

Fearful that I can’t dedicate the time any more to make this good. Worried that people in my “real life” will find out and think of me differently – will I be labelled as an oversharer? What is the point in a blog? Who do I think I am posting my life online? Who even cares about my life anyway? 

Recently I’ve ignored the tiny space on the internet that I lovingly created and crafted on maternity leave back in 2011 – and got quite good at (I was shortlisted for an award you know!) In truth, I’ve found it exceptionally hard since going back to work to carry on. 

My days are, quite simply, full.  It’s only during times like these few days between Christmas and New Year where I can pull my head up and review the past year. Only I’ve got very little to go on as there’s just tumbleweed blowing about on here. 

I’m in awe of other more established bloggers, many of whom have started and excelled in the time I’ve been blithering about over here. How do they do it? 

For one thing, I genuinely struggle to find the time, but also I’m deep down worried about people judging what I do and my decisions and pigeonholing me into the stereotype of a bragging blogger Mum. 
It has also been harder since Elliot started at school, we’re now in a new community of school mums and I don’t want to come across as an  oversharer, or be consided to be bragging about my life and my children. 

I also worry about what the boys will think when they’re older. Will they understand that I captured all of this for them? Will they forgive the absence of memories captured here from the past couple of years? Alexander turned 3 and Elliot was 6 (6!) this month. They’re growing up fast and I’m not capturing it at all, apart from some grainy photos on my phone. 

All I know is that I just want to write about my family. So what do I do? Carry on writing here? Create a new, anonymous, space, or give up and write it all in a private blog or a good old fashioned diary?? 

Who knows? I’m hoping 2017 will have the answer. 2015 and 2016 have largely been absent from this little blog of mine and it’s time for that to change. 

The only one who can make that change is me. Time to be a bit braver me thinks!