Happy New Year!

Oh wait is Christmas already over?!

This year I was really looking forward to it but then I blinked and it was all over. We woke up on the 26th of December most of us ill with temperature. It was wet outside and we were fighting each others bad mood as well as nasty bugs.

We had lovely plans for New Year’s Eve with friends which are cancelled due to us being a “germ” family…

But you know what, we are a family, we love and have each other to share germs with, the World hasn’t ended and for all of that l am forever grateful.

As always I am ready for a New Year full of hope and faith that it will be a bloody good one and I hope you are too!

Happy New Year to all of you! Make 2013 an amazing one! Look forward to new exciting gifts but don’t forget to be grateful for the ones you already have…

Santé! (Cheers!)

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Breaking News!

You only have 5 days left to shop for Christmas!!

Do you feel agitated?

Fear not! You can still shop RIGHT NOW and count on Parcelforce to have your presents delivered right on time.

As for me, well I am feeling very smug, on the brink of arrogance really: the house is looking pretty with suddenly a lot of red, gold and green in every corner…

My shopping is done! Like ALL my shopping is done! The meat, the cheeses, the chutneys, the smoked salmon, the chocolates and mince pies, even the Brussels sprouts… All ready to be chopped, seasoned, mixed, cooked, eaten and ending in a tummy, hips, bottom expansion… Of course that is if nothing has suffered a midnight feast in between.

The presents are bought too of course and that thanks to the wonderful land of internet shopping. By the 1st of December it was mainly done AND a lot of Ebay feedback had been added.

I am ready for the FIRST time ever! Never in history by now you would have found me relaxed and chilled, ready to scoff the mince pies and drink the Baileys, so allow me to be smug. It might never happen again…

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Oh Christmas Tree!

We’ve done it! We’ve decorated the house and it looks very Chrimassy and lovely.

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This year and for the first of many I am sure, the boys decorated the tree by themselves. Our input was minimal and I didn’t have to re-do it all after they’ve gone to bed. Having the house decorated created confusion in Victor’s mind though who expected to find presents at the bottom of the tree this morning…

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Closing chapters and moving on…

A week ago tomorrow the boys were finishing school for the Summer and it also coincided with Summer starting in the UK. Real summer with the sun and the heat.

Since then we have spent many hours in the playground, we have been practicing reading and keywords, we have had fun with friends and there is so much more to look forward to.

I can’t believe that Elliott has already gone through a whole year in school.
These two photos were taken on the first and last day at school. It amazes me how much bigger he looks.

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The little boy who started last September has morphed into a confident boy who enjoys having long conversations, writing and playing on a computer. He has grown in so many ways but mostly has become so much more mature. He is my wise, sometime too grown up boy for his age.

Victor is so excited about starting big school next September that he could burst! He wants to learn, he wants to read and write. He wants to be like his big brother and he is ready for it.
He has outgrown his pre-school by now and I know he will thrive in Reception.

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My life in September is going to change. A lot.
I will have more time for me and to think about me. I some ways I find it exciting but in others it scares me how quickly time goes. This is the end of my boys being my babies. We are moving on another step and closing a big chapter of our lives.
We are living our life the way it is supposed to be…

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The things I have learned during the Diamond Jubilee weekend

This post was going to be live in a much more timely manner, but unfortunately half term, the boys getting over tonsillitis and then it was my turn, so here you go a very delayed Jubilee post… oops…

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1- My boys can walk

Meaning they can walk miles and not complain about it.
Saturday morning I got the urge to get a slice of London during this exciting time that was the Diamond Jubilee. I wanted to be drowned in the spirit, Union Jacks flying over our heads, and a view of Buckingham Palace.

In reality what we got was a sea of tourists, too keen to respect children in their way, no view of Buckingham, because (dammit how did I forget!) there was an entire stage and its sitting area blocking the view, plus I got a bout of hay fever in St James Park and the Mall (even though I am not a Hay Fever sufferer).

We loved it no matter what, we walked and walked, we had lunch and walked some more. No buggies, really, no buggies and that was so cool… OK I did complain on a couple of occasion that we didn’t have the damn buggy… Especially when the tourists insisted on stepping over my children or the said children decided to run forever in the most crowded areas. But that was fine, we brought them home safe and very tired. A real parents’ dream who want to have an early evening to themselves.

2- Street Parties are the best thing ever

This was my first street party and I loved every minute of it.

Ok it wasn’t my street, so I got to meet people who are not my neighbours, but next time we visit our friends (the ones who live on that street) we’ll happily say hello to their neighbours, somehow feeling at home.

The spirit was great and you know, one thing makes me really fond of the British nation, is that not even heavy raindrops will stop a good Fiddle concert. As for me and my French friend we were quite happy watching from her windows by then, cheering with all our heart.

3- Taking the bus on a rainy bank holiday sucks!

The original idea was good. Really good in fact.
We were taking the bus to
a – Entertain the kids. They have rarely been on a double decker bus so that’s the coolest thing ever.
b – Solve the problem of parking the car. We assumed that if everyone who lived on the street where the party was, parked in the neighbouring streets that would leave no space for us.
c – Allow both parents to drink Pimms without so much moderation (as long as we remained sober enough to recognise our own children in the street that would be OK)

The reality turned out not so good.
The bus was late. Of course it was. Buses are always late! So not only we got wet while waiting 30 min, with in the background resounding “when is the bus coming?” “why is it late?” “V/E stop pushing/kicking/hitting me!!” “Mum, can you make the bus come now??”… HELL.ON.EARTH

Then we managed to sit right behind a lovely, yet very very annoying kid, whose mum was busy painting her nails while her son was poking mine and getting them to repeat obscene stuff such as “your mum is a poo-poo bum” or “I smell like poop”. Pretty disgraceful stuff. The boys being boys, were more than delighted to repeat any sentence, especially if it contained the word “poop” in it.

Of course we had to sit through another 30 min of waiting for the bus heading back home, thank goodness with the right kids (we controlled the Pimms intake beautifully) but through more rain.

4- I am living with two competitive boys (the third one probably waiting to discover the spirit)…

That’s my husband and E.
Give them a competition to build the best crown, an egg and spoon or sack race, hidden stuff to find to win a chocolate bar and OH.MY.GOD they are in it! But in it, to WIN IT!

So they won the crown competition, probably due to the fact that Craig spent a good couple of days planning the process, drafting the crown, purchasing material and cutting awkward shapes (that he gave up on and handed for me to do). The sticking of feathers and precious gems was left to the boys, under Craig’s supervision of course.

E then went on to win egg and spoon race, sack race and got second for another race (pardon me for forgetting what it was, by then I started to yawn). He came running to me to announce “Mummy, I WON SECOND!!” so I suppose all that counts is winning…

I have loved every minutes this 4 day weekend. It was full of fun and noone throws a party like the Queen, so my last words will be

God Saves the Queen!!

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Go to Corsica this summer!!

corsica, holidays, sea, trips

Why? because my friend Celine and two of her friends have created a concept that will help you have the best holiday ever!

They have just recently launched Friendly Corsica because they love their island so much that they want to share it with you the way you should discover it.

Corsica is an amazing Mediterranean island, one that I have the chance to live on when I was a really young girl. It is called l’Ile de Beaute (The Island of Beauty) and Celine will tell you all about why. She has a passion for her home and you can tell that just by looking at her eyes brightening up when she talks about it.

The idea behind their concept is that they taylor a stay exactly how you want it! All you have to do is fill in a questionnaire to give them an indication of who you are, what you like doing or seeing when on holiday and they will come back with the right place for you to stay and what to do when you are there.

They are your personal travel agent and local friend to ensure that you are having the best time. They don’t offer standard package, they create yours!

What Friendly Corsica offers:

  • Personalized advices, without any intermediary, on the phone or via e-mails, our goal is to create a friendly and trustworthy relationship with you!
  • Individual and customized trips, which will impart the real Corsica and will avoid mass tourism traps
  • The comforts of letting us organize your trip for you, with the safety of knowing that we will always choose authentic places
  • Values of conviviality and simplicity
  • A presence during your stay
  • The opportunity to enjoy a large range of experiences in one stay

So if you like a holiday made of delicious local gastronomy, sandy beaches, boat trips, hiking, discovering, you don’t need to look further than this! You can find the perfect holidays only a couple of hours from home.

Note: if you are flying from London, Easyjet offers amazing deals to either Bastia or Ajaccio.

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Gamble on

The highlight of our first day away on holiday has been the two penny falls.

While V thought collecting pennies was lots fun, E couldn’t wait to part with them hoping for more to fall in his hands…

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One more sleep…

It’s Christmas eve and I am finally feeling the Christmas spirit! I have no ideas what happened to me this year but maybe it was the lack of food shopping at the earliest hours or fighting with the rest of the nation for a couple of wrapping paper rolls or toys!

This year I was exceptionally organised and thanks to online shopping I pretty much did everything with the iPad in one hand and scoffing mince pies with the other. I loved every single minute of it! However I suspect the lack of repetitive songs like “Last Christmas” or “All I want for Christmas” have spoiled my spirit a bit.

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Anyway at the time I am writing it has finally showed up, thanks to a fab panto this morning, followed by lunch and last bit of shopping. Add to that A Christmas Carol and a glass of Baileys and it’s totally Christmas!!

The boys are overjoyed to know that there is now only ONE sleep left before Santa’s visit and I am already panicking at the idea that I won’t have anymore backup for blackmail for at least another 6 months…

The atmosphere in the house is lovely and I am probably as excited as my boys waiting to see their faces in the morning.

We have just watched The Snowman which has two benefits, calm down the boys and annoy Craig who hates it so much that he refuses to be the one putting the DVD in the player!

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We have prepared Santa and Rudolph’ snacks and blew out the candles in the fireplace so Santa doesn’t burn his bottom before reading a Christmas story.

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Now that they are in bed, it is time for mummy and daddy to put their feet up and to put Craig through another one of his favourite thing on TV, the Eastenders special Christmas build up… Aaahhh bliss…

Before I go I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a New Year full of the most amazing things!

From all of us to all of you!

Oh and because I was asked so nicely by the gorgeous Claire at Bad Fiction who asked me to nominate my favourite Christmas song, well since she took my all time favourite “Last Christmas” I have to give you my next favourite…

TAAADDDAAAH…

 

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Why we love Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

This year, for the third year running, we were lucky to attend the Press Preview evening of Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and as always it has that magical effect of kick starting the Christmas season the minute we step in.

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As a child, probably the same as for most children, Christmas has always been a magical time to me.

When I think of Christmas I think of pine tree smell in our lounge, the fresh smell of a clementine just being peeled, Christmas movies and these chocolates that we used to find in France where I was growing up called Papillotes. They were chocolate wrapped up in the most colourful wrapping and you would always get some left in your slippers for you to find on Christmas morning.

It’s a fact that Christmas is a business in itself, but even if it is, don’t you still keep those feelings deep down, the magical ones? You know the excitement as you count down the days in anticipation, or as you wake up in the morning desperate to run to the tree to see what Santa has left you.

I am a fan of Christmas and nothing will ever change this. For as long as I see the magic in my children’s eyes, Christmas will always be my favourite time of the year.

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A place like Winter Wonderland is like a concentration of all these good feelings. The smells, the colours, the music, the atmosphere… They got it all right.

If you are anything like me, then go, you so won’t regret it! you can have a look at all the attractions available on site right here and they cater for a wide age range, so go and have lots of fun!

Disclaimer: for the purpose of this post we were given passes to the Press Preview evening.

Photo credit www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com except the ones watermarked otherwise

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Camping? Really?

20110803-082528.jpg Now if someone had told me that one day I would have been considering camping to discover the country I would have nearly chocked on the idea, then laughed hard. Very hard.

I hate camping!

I hate anything that involves even just a remote possibility of being in contact with mud and insects. I can’t bear the idea of not having a proper bathroom. One that I would only share with my family.

I can’t bear the idea of being stuck under just fabric (even the most waterproof one) in a thunderstorm and even worse, with 2 young boys to entertain.

But then, THEN, one day I had the brilliant idea to nonchalantly say to Craig: “I don’t know why, but lately I have been thinking that camping could be fun for the boys…”

Actually what he heard is “shall we buy a tent RIGHT NOW and start exploring the whole of the UK like pioneers looking for gold and maybe we could even light fires?!”

This innocent sentence said outloud over dinner, the same way as I would have said “you know, I have seen the most gorgeous dress on ASOS…. Do you mind passing on the salt please?” seems to have completely turned around my future holiday plans.

I have a husband who is planning the size of the tent we should have (one with 3 rooms as we need space for bags), the equipment we MUST have (special lamps, stuff to heat the kettle, etc) and the sort of absolute requirement for the campsite (must welcome dogs and maybe even have a fish and chip restaurant on site).

As for me, inside I am wondering if I will ever be able to go through the process without needing a therapy following each trip, especially when I am surrounded by 3 smelly, excited boys believing that they turned explorers…

I have decided that as long as wifi is available on site then I am ready to compromise and lose the benefit of having MY OWN bathroom… But two nights maximum!

Photo credit

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