Monday, 20 October 2014

It's Been a While

I must first of all apologise for my horrific lack of blogness - it is completely inexcusable and I am truly sorry.
There has just been SO much going on!
Firstly - we bought the house and have spent every possible moment we could back and to from France. 
A took her first steps in the new house (which seems forever ago) - she was 11 months when that happened! 
N had his birthday and started school (which he loves by the way!) 
A is now 15 months old and the most chilled out, happy little girl ever - everyone comments on how calm and smiley she is.
In 10 days, we will have sold the business and then we will be listing the houses for sale.
Hopefully just after Christmas will be moving day and we are *so* ready for the next chapter.
I have so much to update you all on so I am planning a massive update post, which should be ready by the end of the week. 
I just really wanted to pop my head in and say that I haven't disappeared, things have just gotten really exciting and started moving really fast!
France is actually almost a reality guys - and I am so blooming excited!!
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Friday, 30 May 2014

Funny How Things Happen

Yesterday, I took N for a taster session at the local language academy.  He loved it and will be starting his lessons properly from tomorrow morning, 3 hours a week until we leave for France in the Winter.
While he was in his lesson, we had a chat with the academy director about some private French tuition for us 'grown ups'.  During the course of the chat, the director asked about what we plan on doing over there.  We mentioned the small holding and various other plans, I also mentioned that I planned on giving English Lessons. 
Long story short - I've been offered a position at the academy, with my first clients being two little Italian children needing 10 days of intensive English Tuition!!
I literally cannot believe my luck!  Someone is offering to give me professional training and a position teaching a few clients before we leave the UK.  Opportunities like this don't come along very often and I feel really thankful to be given this chance to get some practical experience under my belt.
We were only saying the other day that it'll be things that we weren't planning on that will prove to be the successes for us in France - and while Teaching isn't something I've fallen into (it was always part of my 'life plan'), it was only supposed to be something to supplement our income.  I'm so excited to get into actually teaching people; perhaps it might be more than just a supplement when we're in France!? 
Happy Friday
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Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Shaking It Like a Qualified Teacher (and Other Fabulous Updates!)

I have been a useless blogger this past couple of weeks!
But thanks for sticking with me!
I have a massive amount to update you with ... it is literally all going on at the moment.
So from a France perspective - the Ferry, Car and Money Transfers have all been booked, our appointment with the Notaire is set for 2pm on Friday 13th (!) June.  N starts French tuition with the local Language Academy and I've leant my M-I-L my French CD course.
From a TEFL perspective - I PASSED!!!  I got confirmation today of my newly qualified status, which is A-Mazing!  I spent a whole 2 days of my Bank Holiday weekend doing the coursework and final exam.  I'm so pleased to have passed as it gives us another opportunity to make things work when we're over in France!  I am beyond excited now!
From a mothering perspective - 17 of 18 invites for N's party have RSVP'd and everything is booked.  The bouncy castle is booked and so is the hall and face painter.  If you head over to my Pinterest account, you'll find the centre piece fruit monster that I'll be attempting to create! 
We've been busy preparing for our Little's Birthdays, which are both coming up in the next few weeks - and in honour of that, and our upcoming anniversary - we had some beautiful photos taken by a local photographer - who is fantastic!
We Got Some Beautiful Photos Taken Of Our Little Family

In other mothering news - N decided to bump his head off the living room door frame, resulting in a visit from the paramedics, a trip to A & E and a glued together forehead.  (Funny Fact - I did exactly the same at exactly the same age, I have the scar to prove it!)
Oh - and A is *almost* walking!
I hope you're all good, I promise to get some catch up done with regards my blog reading - I've missed reading all of my regulars.
Have a Fantastic Day x
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Wednesday, 7 May 2014


No words - Just Sending Love
You Can Read About Ryan and His Family By Clicking On the Balloons
A fundraising page has been set up for the family here.
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Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Questions, Questions

Whenever we speak to people about our decision to move to France, there are always (understandably) a lot of questions.  I'd like to think that any questions are genuinely asked through interest - and some of the questions are ones that we haven't asked ourselves and they give us a new angle that perhaps we hadn't considered before. 

A few of the questions that we get repeatedly are laid out below - with my answers.  Of course, if you have anything you'd like to ask - go ahead and leave me a comment.

"Why France?"

To this I usually answer - why not France?  It's close enough that we can easily come back to visit family (our new house is located close enough to travel links that we can come back to the UK quickly if there was an emergency).  It's somewhere we've all visited and like to visit.  The land isn't charged at a premium as it is here - meaning we can buy somewhere that has enough land to accommodate horses and gives us the opportunity to have a go at being reasonably self sufficient.  It's a more agreeable climate and you could (if you wanted) just hop down to the Med for a bit of sun if you do get a particularly rubbish summer. 

"Do you actually speak French?"

I am by no means fluent yet, and may never be completely - but I have done some study of the French Language in preparation for this move.  My spoken French extends to slightly more than "Deux cafés et l'addition s'il-vous plait."  N also has some experience of the French Language due to learning it at Nursery.  Granted, Hubs has limited use of the language, but could probably get his meaning across at a push!  His M&D are probably going to be much the same.

"What about the children's schools?"

I think that we are fortunate that the children are young enough that French will be a major part of their early years education - and as someone who spent my pre-school and first year of school in Germany - I'm not overly concerned about the language barrier for them.  Sure, N will find it new and probably challenging - but he's shown a real enthusiasm for the language at nursery and he often gets involved when I have my CDs on in  the car!!  A is young enough that she will know nothing else! Life isn't about ensuring that children don't face difficulties and I believe that this move will be nothing but beneficial to them in the long term.  And yes, they will go to French Schools (much to the disbelief of some of my friends) - we are, after all, planning to integrate.

"Won't you be stuck out in the countryside on your own?"

We will be living in the countryside, yes, but the nearest town is about 5 minutes away.  We are fully intending on integrating ourselves in to the local community as much as possible, for our own sakes as well as the children's.  We're prepared for that to be challenging at times.  The thing about us - (Hubs and Myself, at least) is that family is pretty much all we need anyway.  That's the good thing about being married to your best friend.

"What are you going to do while you're there for a job?" and "I think you're expecting this to be easier than it will be"

(I've stuck these two together, as one usually follows the other.)  We have so much scope to do things that make the property work for us.  One stream of revenue will hopefully come for Gîte and B&B rentals.  We're also installing a ramp (as Hubs is a Mechanic) which might be useful to anyone using the Gîte/B&B as a base for their visit to the Val De Vienne Racetrack - which is nearby.  Another of the possibilities of income will be me teaching English on a one-to-one basis at home.  Another possibility is selling produce from the vegetable plot, or from the animals (of which we will hopefully have many).  Another possibility is renting out bicycles and maps for local cycling holidays.  We could also do something with the horses. 

If all of this fails, we'll do something else.  The main thing we have at the back of our minds, is that our financial burden will be as minimal as we can make it - and as long as the children are fed, clothed, happy and healthy, what else will we need to worry about?

So there we go.  Many answers to the many questions we've had.

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Friday, 25 April 2014

Here I Am!

Hi Guys.
Firstly, please allow me to apologise for my absence; we had a busy week last week followed by a lovely Easter Weekend break to Weymouth.  This week, N went back to nursery and we've had adjustments to make and a meeting with the Room Senior and the Manager (I'll blog that post later)
Whilst there have been no major developments regarding The Move, I have made a fairly major decision regarding my plans for once we get to France.  I've always wanted to teach - my original life plan was college (which I did), Uni (nope) and Teach (again, nope).  I'm not making excuses, but life kind of got in the way - I got the grades to get into Uni, I just decided against it once I'd taken the obligatory 'break from education' and got a job etc.  I met Hubby towards the end of my time at college and by the time enrolment came around the following year, we were already living together. 
Long story short - it just hasn't really fit with my life.
Until now.
A week or so ago, I was reading this article and one of the points (#3) struck a chord with me.  I'd been thinking about the possibility of offering informal English tuition as an aside from the daily growing veg/mucking out/collection of eggs we're planning on - I just hadn't considered making it an official thing.
The article prompted me to do some research and in the end, I enrolled on LoveTEFL's 120 hour comprehensive course.
Another reason why my blog has been lacking fresh postage.  I only have until 10/7/14 (Goodness, that's A's Bday) to complete it - so usual service will resume after that.
For now though, it's Friday and I have a date planned with my man.
Happy Friday all, have a great weekend
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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The Date Is Set

I got an email late yesterday afternoon from the vendor's Agent confirming our completion date!  It's been set for Friday 13th June 2014 at 2pm! 
(<<-Check out the shiny new countdown timer in the sidebar.)
Roll on 10 days here - I cannot wait! 
That's about it for updates today - unless anything exciting happens today.  It looks like the weather is going to be good today, so I'll be out and about with the Littles for most of the day.
Have a Lovely Tuesday
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Monday, 7 April 2014

The Beginning of The End

Whilst we're still waiting on hearing from France about our completion date, there is an ever growing list of jobs I need to get done in the house before a) we can sell it and b) we can leave once it's sold.

As I'm sure is the same in everyone else's homes, there is a lot of 'accumulated stuff' from the past (almost) 6 years of us living here.  There are the clothes that the children have grown out of, the boxes of stuff I've kept to keep us occupied on a rainy day (I didn't realise quite how many packs of coloured card and paper I had!) and various other donated items and bric-a-brac.  Our tiny two-bed is full to the rafters!!  So I started off in our bedroom today.   

I think it's fair to say that I (in the past) may have suffered from a slight shopping addiction.  There are plenty of clothes bagged up for the clothes recycling bins up at our local Tesco, put it that way!  Since having N, my weight has fluctuated a fair bit and obviously my pregnancy with A added to those fluctuations.  I've now kind of settled at a well fitted 10/small 12 now (if only they made a size 11!), so anything that isn't that size is going.  (I'm hoping the self-sufficient/country lifestyle in France will agree with my metabolism and I'll slip back down to a comfy 10 - but who knows!?)

N is now firmly in his age 3-4 clothes and A in her 9-12m stuff (#SadFace) and so all of the stuff that I can't offload onto friends with new babies/toddler boys has also sadly been bagged ready for donation. (I'm leaving Hubs to sort his own clothes mountain - it'll save me from donating something he wanted to keep.)

I've also started to box up some of the non-essentials and emptied the dresser in the living room ready for taking down.  Of course, this being all new to N, his imagination is running wild.  My packing boxes are now Moshi Monster houses and bridges, spare a thought for my nerves as he bashed jumped his Moshis on my packed up new crockery box, because "they're pretending it's a trampoline." (!)

So there we have it.  Our first home as a married couple is slowly but surely being packed up.  It's contents thinned out ready for the (hopefully) hoards of prospective buyers that will be visiting in the summer.

Do you know anyone who is in the market for a nice little two-bed mid-terrace just out of town ...??

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Saturday, 5 April 2014

Moving Forward and Standing Still

The original plan for completion was that we'd complete on August 1st.  The SAFER period would take up to 3 months from signing and then we'd need a while to get organised with travel arrangements etc.

I was informed last week that the August date was a no-go and the Notaire would want things signed and sealed by at least the end of June.  Apparently the SAFER period ends on May 10th! So we've moved all of our plans forward to mid-June. 

But now, we're being held at a standstill because we're waiting on confirmation from the Notaire of the suggested date.

It's true what they say - things do take longer in France.  When we bought our house here, I thought things took a while to get sorted - but it was nothing compared to this.  We've waited a week so far for someone to say - 'Yes, that date is good!'

It's not like I don't have lots to keep me occupied though - we are busy this year!  Here's a rundown of our events calendar for the year ...

Easter Weekend - Family Caravan Holiday (4Days)
June - LEGOLAND, N's Birthday (4Years), N's Birthday Party (20+Kids), Hub's Birthday (30SomethingYears), Travel To France (10Days), Wedding Anniversary (7Years!)
July - A's Birthday (1Already!?), Family Party
August - Brighton (2Days - LEE EVANS!!)
September - My Birthday (OneYearAwayFrom30)
October - MOVING DAY!!!

As well as trying to sell 2 houses and a business!

As I say - Busy Busy!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Changing Expectations

I mentioned in a previous post that we were having some ups and downs with N's behaviour.  He seems to be angry a lot of the time since A came along - and I think I've got it figured out.

You see, N has always been very able.  He walked early, talked early and at the moment seems to be ahead of his peers in many things. (I sound braggy, but bare with me - I promise it's going somewhere.)  As a mother, I've come to rely on the fact that N can just do things - he can dress himself, he can take himself to the toilet, he feeds himself and often goes ahead and helps himself to snacks etc.  My fault here is that I rely on that ability.

Obviously, with A being here - and being a baby; she cannot do anything for herself (OK, so now I'm being obvious!) So N sees me doing everything for her - and he reverts to being 'unable'.  He creates fuss when dressing in the mornings before nursery.  He acts like a baby when he has to wait for me to get him a snack.  He refuses to feed himself his dinner. 

So I've changed the way I deal with N's 'issues'.  I don't ask him to dress himself, I offer to help and hand him things with a "I bet you can't do this one by yourself" - and lay on the praise when he does it.

Changing our expectations with N seems to have calmed the storm - there are still issues, but we aren't finding ourselves frustrated and cross when he creates instead of doing what we know he is capable of.

Sometimes, the balance is hard to find - I'm hoping that once we aren't juggling working with parenting and moving, our family will return to the harmonious unit it once was. 

Until then, we're testing out our theory.

It seems to be working.

For now!