Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Breaking the rules

We have been in our house now for almost three weeks and been in France for three months - hard to believe really. We are starting to settle into the everyday routine and have had to adjust from staying in a hotel to living in a house. We now have to pay bills, garden and clean - a bit of a Reality Check after just really living like holiday makers for two and a half months! The up side is so much more space with the children each having their own rooms and two to spare.

Recent developments are that James and I are having French lessons. We have found a lovely French lady who has just moved to Toulouse from Bristol where she has lived for twenty years. She is going to come to our house once a week for an hour. James is a bit further on then me so hopefully I will catch up soon.

We have also found a local English speaking doctor due to the fact that Penelope has been sick and she has bronchitis! We went to the doctor on Monday morning but couldn't get her medicine until Monday afternoon as the pharmacy was closed till 2pm on Mondays. I don't really understand the not working on a Monday morning - as someone here said France is special like that!

We have also found a speech language therapist for Hannah. She is really nice and it will be good for Hannah to have some help with her speech again.

Today James has gone to look at some plane wings in Bordeaux so I promised the kids lunch at the mall as they finish school at 12.30 on Wednesdays. There is a great restaurant called flunch. There are all sorts of rules around paying and ordering and I thought I had it all sorted and they have changed the systems - very painful! The system is that you get your tray and cutlery then pay and order then go and get your food. It is buffet so Hannah loves it as she can have as many fries as she likes. The new system is that now you have to order the kids meals right by the cutlery on a computer and get a docket then exchange that docket for another docket when you pay. Even though I was right at the counter the lady told me I had to go back to the start to order the kids meals - no flexibility in France rules are rules!

So we trudged back to the start and the kids put what they wanted into the computer. It is a better system but they could have been flexible for a non French speaker with three kids surely?

I had my own private little rebellion at my table though as you are suppose to have your plate on your tray on the table so then the wait staff can stack the trays easier to clear the table. We just put our plates straight onto the table with no trays - such rebels that will teach them for messing with me!

We were heading for home but I spotted the Santas grotto so got the kids to pose in front of it. Penelope is such a trouper though as she is actually still quite sick but managed a great smile for the camera!

Managed to get home safely thanks to my gps as I had no idea where I was heading!-
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Thursday, 15 November 2012

Settling in

It is beautiful day today, hot with no wind. Such a nice change as Tuesday was freezing and was only 5 degrees at lunch time. I had no idea it was going to be that cold so the kids went to school without coats so yesterday and today they have taken their coats and its been hot! Reminds me of Christchurch in autumn - have to be prepared for all weather.

The house is great and is very sunny and warm. We have central heating which will be great in winter.



Penelope's room

Our room


Hannah's room

Jasper's room

Spare room

Spare room and will be media room


The house is fully furnished but is missing a few things especially anything for baking so I decided to go to ikea to get some supplies! I managed to navigate my way around although got a bit confused when the first part is all show rooms with nothing to buy! I was glad to discover the actual shop downstairs. Like all shops in France there was huge queues at the check out but at least I didn't get behind someone paying for their goods with 1 and 2 cent pieces. I think they could fix the economic crisis in France by getting rid of the 1,2 and 5 cent pieces plus by charging for using cheques. I reckon about half the people still use cheques to pay for goods - and it is not a quick process!

After ikea I decided to go to school to get the kids on the motorway. It was my first time and it went really well and I am feeling a bit more confident now. I just followed the GPS and it was fine.

Hannah has done four days of school now and is loving it. She is finding it a bit hard coming home at lunch time but will hopefully be able to stay till 1pm soon. Today on the way home we stopped at a playground we pass every day so she loved that.

Tonight James and I are off to a work wine tasting then dinner so we have got a baby sitter coming. It is nice for me to be able to tag along to one of the work functions as James gets to go to lots of fancy lunches!

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Saturday, 10 November 2012


Sitting in the car blogging again! Yesterday the plan was to go to Versailles then go to our friends Amy and Luuk, who are from Christchurch,for dinner.

Things just seemed to go wrong from start to finish starting with James having problems posting the blog as the file was too big and then losing half of it!

We then went to the mega mall to get some Christmas presents for cousins but couldn't find what we wanted - should have done it at Disneyland. I went in search of a home store to buy a duvet cover. For some reason there seems to be a very limited selection of duvet covers in any of the shops I've been in, not sure why. We have no linen so need something for our bed tonight. I saw an ok one in Toulouse so will go and buy it tonight when we get to our new house. On top of this pen walked into a post!

Off to Versailles and we managed to give ken the wrong place to go to and we ended up in some random little village. Back on track and we found a great park on the street right next to the palace.

Versailles is amazing the luxury and splendour quite breathtaking. There were automatic ticket machines so no queuing - great! Walking round a building looking at paintings and furniture isn't really Hannah's idea of fun so we had a very quick tour of the palace!

We have found it easy to find places that serve gluten free - steak and chips but going to a restaurant every day for lunch gets expensive. We did a bit of research and found that there were a few crepiers in Versailles that serve buckwheat pancakes which are glutenfree. Buckwheat is the flour used for the savoury style galletes and is a heaps cheaper lunch option.
We found the creperie from trip advisor and had a yummy lunch.

The sweet creeps aren't gluten free which we managed to work out by James using google translator. But they had so many yummy toppings James and the kids just ate the top.

We then headed to the palace gardens and had a walk through the maze before heading back to the car as the meter was about to run out.

We arrived back to find someone had tried to squeeze into the park behind us and had damaged our car in the process. James was less then impressed and took photos and their number plate. I left a note on there windscreen saying our insurance company would be in touch. Just a bit of paint has been scraped off but still a nuisance.

We then headed to a playground near Amy's house she had recommended.

It was great and so nice for the kids to have a run around. We met Amy and her two gorgeous children Louie and elena. Pen and I caught the train with Amy and got some supplies for dinner and James drove to their place with jas and Hannah. We had a lovely meal of risotto and a great time comparing notes about moving to and living on France - they have been here since February. They live in a lovely Parisian village - very pretty and close to nice shops.

We headed home and unfortunately got stuck on the motorway for about 45 mins as there had been an accident. We got home at 10.30 very thankful to be back safe and sound.

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Friday, 9 November 2012

The Eiffel Tower

We are heading home from a great day in Paris and have been stuck in traffic jams which is where I am blogging from! We had planned on catching the train to Paris but had trouble finding an all day car park near the train station so just decided to drive. The drive in was good but the traffic tonight is really slow.

We found a great parking building near the Eiffel Tower where someone parks your car for you . Heaps easier and no more expensive. We walked to the Eiffel Tower and decided to catch the lift up to the summit. The queue was quite quick especially for expert queuers like us! The view was amazing.

We then walked up the Place de Varsovie to Place du Trocadero and found a great Parisian cafe which was busy and chaotic but friendly with great food and quick and efficient service. We then walked back to the Seine by the Eiffel Tower and went on a boat trip for an hour.

We had seen a great playground in the morning so James took the kids to that while I had a look at some shops. A great stress free day fill of lots of lovely memories! Am looking forward to bringing my mum here in June and have a few places I'd like to go back too!

I have just finished this as we arrive at the hotel - perfect.

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Thursday, 8 November 2012

Day 2 Disneyland

We all slept in including Hannah. The hotel we're staying at is a budget self service one but is very quiet and close to Disneyland. We knew the drill for the parks so things were much quicker. We went straight to the studio park and watched a movie about animation . We then split up and the girls And I headed for slinky the dog ride and James and jasper went to the hot wheels ride.

YouTube Video

We hadn't been in the queue long when the boys joined us as the hot wheels queue was too long.

Slinky was great although a bit tame in comparison to some of the other rides jasper had been on. They then went on the tower of terror which is when you get into an elevator and it drops down - doesn't sound fun to me!
(Let us know if you want the video link)

The girls and I went on a magic carpet ride which was a long queue and short ride so not that great. I had noticed a few people using special passes to queue and wondered if Hannah would be eligible so went and asked at information and discovered that yes she was! Once we got that we managed to short cut a few lines which made things heaps easier. After lunch we headed to the stunt show which was fantastic!

We then went on a buzz lightyear ride all together.

Penelope dropped her Mickey Mouse ears around the ride so James got a bonus ride going to retrieve it! We then got some candy floss and split up again.

The boys had tickets to the rocker roller coaster but Jasper was worried he'd be sick after eating his candy floss so they skipped that. They queued for another roller coaster but gave up as we were meant to be meeting up but James couldn't get hold of me. That was because we were under ground quing for pirates of the Caribbean which was great. We had also been on Alice in wonderlands maze and had had a great time. Once we met up Hannah went with them so they could short cut the queue and they went on the Star Wars flight simulation.

I'm not sure how much Hannah enjoyed it but at least the boys got to have one more ride! We then did some shopping and headed home.

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