Posted in Living in France, General

Just because you travel, doesn’t mean you don’t accumulate more stuff!

Travelling with your family and pets is great fun, but it means that you have to be selective with what you take with you and carry around. For us it means what we can get into our car. Well it is supposed to be, but somehow we just keep adding more things!

When we left the UK for our trip we had the car (Meriva), two kids, two adults and one quite large dog. It was tough deciding what to bring and what to store, but we did it. Maybe looking back we only had our eyes on the short term as we did not know how long we were going to be away and the fact it was summer and we would be doing lots of stuff outside.

That was 18 months ago, still away and now we have so much more stuff and still only the Meriva!

Some of the things we have picked up on the way:

  1. 1 x extra dog (very big and weighing about 45kg!)
  2. 75kg free weights
  3. Pogo stick
  4. 1 adult bike
  5. 1 x childs bike
  6. 1 x toddler bike
  7. 1 x rug
  8. Toy horses, cars and a garage
  9. Christmas lights
  10. A childs desk
  11. 2 x dining chairs

So, our last move came after our long term house sitting assignment ended and we moved about 4 hours away to a rented house for a bit to contemplate what our next adventure would be. This time we sent 4 x boxes of toys and books by delivery van and just about managed to get everyone and thing in though it was a squeeze!

We did buy a roof bag.

No matter where you are or what you live in sometimes you just end up with stuff! We are pretty lucky that my parents in the UK store our things at their home – though this is sometimes not that helpful. The kids (mainly my 9 year old) know that they can ask for something to be brought over on a visit with the promise that it will be for something to be sent back. Usually nothing goes back and we have everything here!

It may seem a random set of things, and looking at the list I can see we might look a bit crazy, but there are reasons for some of the purchases. The desk and chairs are for my daughter and husband to do their work on. They were bought, (and will be returned) at the local charity recycling store when we leave. The bikes have been great, and we have a bike rack now.

The weights, whilst not essentials are for our my husband mainly who likes to keep fit and it is cheaper than joining a gym wherever we go. Despite being heavy they don’t actually take up much space, we can always sell them if we need to.

The extra dog. Not really in our plans, didn’t really need one but was the right thing to do for us (adopted from lesamisdesanimaux.com) Yes, it has made the travel a bit more of a squeeze, yes we have had to change what we do, and yes she can be challenging when she jumps the fence but what we get is so much more.

Who knows where we will be off to next, but it will be with a full car and happy people.

Posted in Reviews

Funky Little People

When my son was born (now 3) I came across a website, Funky Little People, that had some really awesome clothes for kids. I was really impressed by the choice available. The clothes were bright, cheerful and fun. Importantly, they are ethically made. Three years on I am still a huge fan of this online shop, and the fantastic range of clothes that is on offer, as well as the service.

The website is easy to use and the payment system is secure. There is a facility to earn loyalty points and redeem them against clothes or delivery at the point of order.

The service that I have received has always been great, with very fast delivery. Over the past year I have needed my deliveries to be sent to different addresses in France and this has never been a problem. They have arrived swiftly and in one piece! I recently contacted Anna (the owner) about purchasing an item as a present. I wanted the item to be sent out without and invoice, but if possible a little note. This was no problem for them and the recipient was delighted with the clothing, and with the personal touches from Anna.

What is great about Anna, is that she is always looking for ways to package and send out the deliveries so they arrive undamaged, but also in a way that is least damaging to the environment.

Not only are the clothes great for kids, but they have an adult section too. I have to admit though, that I am happy to be able to get into the largest kids sizes (they are pretty generous, and I am quite short!) and I have been able to indulge myself in some of my favourite patterns (radishes, tomatoes and boom boxes!)

As for sizes for kids, my daughter is 9 years old. She is small for her age so we go for the 128cm set of clothes which generally give her a bit of growing room, but do not swamp her. My 3 year old boy, is tall for his age so we normally go for the 3-4 year group. Again, these are sometimes a bit big (especially the waist) but they are still fine for wearing.

Overall, I really like the clothes and service I get from Anna, and Funky Little People. The clothes are great, keep their shape and colours when washed and get lots of nice comment for being a bit unusual.

I am not affiliated to Funky Little People, just someone who loves the clothes and service I get from them.

Posted in Home Schooling

Den Building

As the rain has stopped we headed out to the woods behind our house and to work on the den that my daughter had started building. The rain and winds had taken a bit of a toll on it so we had to fix the roof!

Using sticks, leaves, moss and fallen pine tree branches we fixed the roof and hopefully made it a bit more stable!

Next time it is time to add some walls using longer sticks, and an ambitious idea to use mud to seal the walls.

Lets hope the rain holds, and the roof stays in place.

Posted in Home Schooling

Our first week back!

So today is the first day back at ‘school’ for my daughter. As we home school the lines are blurred somewhat as we have done things over the holiday that are actual learning opportunities, but today it is back to more formal stuff

This week we will be looking at:

  1. Solids, Liquids and Gases: what they are, how they work and examples we can find. Design a hot drink cup, concentrating on what made of (insulating etc), how you carry it, does it get hot on the outside or do you need a handle, anything else?
  2. Stickpeople: Make Stickpeople from resources found in our woods. Give them some background and make an animation.
  3. Make a mini den for something / someone. Discuss what is needed and why, who will use it (fairies, bugs). Take photos and present your findings.
  4. French Conversation practice. (design a conversation to have with horse riding teacher – we live in France at the moment so this is not as bizarre as it sounds!)

This is not exhaustive, there will be Maths, Coding, sport and random things we decide to look at they may just present themselves. Reading too! though luckily I have to admit that getting her to read is never a problem!

Whatever you choose to do, I hope you have fun!

Posted in General

Happy New Year

Today is the first day of a new decade. It’s the 2020’s – how did it get to that? So much has changed over the last year never mind the last 20 or 30 years.

I am not a great one for resolutions, but this year I am hoping to do things that will push me creatively and make me challenge myself.

I already home school my kids and it has been a steep learning curve, but one that is immensely rewarding. I am hoping that we can continue to learn together and have fun at the same time.

On a more personal note, there are things I would like to do this year that I have not been able to do before.

  • I would like to learn how to draw using computer packages as I find them so inspiring and full of opportunity, even for a beginner.
  • I would like to write a kids book, even if it is just for my kids!
  • Get better (again) at running, and try and sort out my posture as it could be better.

So, not many things maybe but things that I hope to be able to achieve, or have fun trying.