Hi guys, since I started blogging I’ve kind of been forced into a world that previously I made an effort to avoid.
I barely even knew what Instagram was…to be honest I’m still not sure that I get it!
As far as I can gather, it’s a collection of images from people’s everyday lives. Only often their ‘everyday life’ involves having a ‘passer-by’ who just happens to be a professional photographer take a beautiful shot or 6 of them. #onlyslightlyjealous
The photo above is what happens when we ask someone to take a family photo for us. Yes, we managed to get a photo in beautiful La Rochelle without the beautiful view AND with one child missing 😂 (he was sat in the pushchair)!
So, it’s pretty obvious, we’re not your typical Insta family! My kids’ (and husband’s) go-to pose is tongues-out or something similar. I’m usually feeding babies rather than snapping perfect sunset shots and if it’s too cold for shorts and a t-shirt then I’m basically wearing pj’s all day!
I know when I’ve been on Instagram too long as it usually leaves me feeling pretty inferior.
Feeling like your failing at life is not a great place to be and I would hate to think that anyone ever looked at our pictures and felt bad about themselves or their family life.
In my early 20’s I suffered from ‘mild’ bulimia (although the word mild doesn’t sound quite right in that context). Having got that under control a series of events ranging from unfortunate to horrific meant that my anxiety resurfaced for about a year. If I’m honest, I don’t massively remember my wedding or my honeymoon…it’s kind of a blur of several irrational fears.
So, while feeling inferior, I remembered a conversation I had with my best friend not long after we both had our babies.
She asked me how we had so much time to do so many lovely things together as a family. Why we always looked so organised. Why we were always smiling.
“You’re kidding right!?” was my response.
I had literally had a sulk with my long-suffering husband the previous night while scrolling through my social media feeds…
Why was everyone else having these perfect days out while we could barely get out the door without a nappy explosion. And, when we did get out the door we ended up bickering over who forgot to pack shoes for the toddler! (believe it or not this has happened more than once!)
Basically, it’s lovely to look at these beautiful images and I’ll admit to feeling a teeny bit jealous. However, I sometimes wish that they came with small print so that we all knew that they took just a little bit of effort!
Then, I forgot all of the above and started writing an update about our travels in France.
Then I felt like a total hypocrite, deleted it and wrote this instead…
Here, in no particular order are my least favourite days in France so far…
1. The day we realised that Summer was over!
We had an awesome long Summer in Burgundy while our Welsh family were whatapping me photos of grey skies and mud. So, we shouldn’t really mind a little wind and rain in November right!?
The trouble with cold weather is that my kids hate wearing clothes. I swear, Leo insisted on wearing his Spiderman jumper more when it was 36°C in August than he will now that it’s hovering above freezing.
This means that our daily ritual has become…
I suggest a walk to the park as we’ve been in all day.
Leo insists he doesn’t want to go because it’s cold.
I remind him that he loves to climb the rocks at the park while pretending to be Catboy.
Leo decides that the park is an excellent idea.
I suggest that wearing a coat is a good idea because it’s freezing outside.
No-one wants to wear a coat but we manage to get one on Bastien by playing a game with his tractor up the sleeve…phew!
We agree to pack Leo’s coat incase he’s cold later.
We skip off happily to the park (it’s freezing and I resist the urge to lecture him about catching pneumonia).
Forty-five minutes later we ring Daddy to pick us up as Bastien is freezing, tired and getting upset. (And Mum hasn’t got the energy to carry them both a mile up the hill!)
I shelter in the car with Bastien…(see photos above).
Daddy and Leo play in the park.
We go home. Everyone is freezing…except the three year old in a t-shirt!
2. The day we basically just ate bread!
At home in Wales I loved cooking but our house in France has a small gas cooker. I have no idea if all gas ovens are crap but this one definitely is!
Also, we tend to eek out our groceries because food in France is expensive and well, because I miss supermarket shopping delivered to our door!
The boys quite enjoyed their first few trips to the supermarché…then they realised that they couldn’t add whatever they wanted to the trolley!
So, having put-off a ‘big shop’ as long as possible we finally decided we had to go as we had like one tin of sweet corn a stale baguette and a few bendy carrots.
Off we go, mostly dressed to the local Lidl (I like it because it’s small and I can go on a hunt for tinned tomatoes without ending up down an aisle full of electric bikes or outdoor furniture).
Anyway, we arrive. Bastien is napping in his car-seat! #parentingwin
BUT, we forgot that shops in France are closed on Mondays! Thanks France!
3. Wash day!
Our boys hate the shower…enough said!
This counts as a bath right!?
3. The day we realised that our house had approximately zero insulation!
We knew when we found this house that it wasn’t going to be ‘perfect’. We chose it because it was walking distance to the places we wanted to be.
It was a glorious summers day when we viewed it first. It’s now freezing…did I mention that already!?
It’s a funny house…not old enough to have solid stone walls but not new enough to actually be well insulated.
The front door is literally a panel of loose glass with an elaborate metal design protecting it. As if that wasn’t bad enough, instead of having a sitting room downstairs we have garages.
In an effort to torment me the landlord has even left the old flue pipe visible…oh how I miss our wood burning stove!
Heating the entire house would not only use all our savings in a month, it would also be entirely pointless due to the gale force wind blowing up the stairs.
So, we did bedtime cuddles on the sofa in our one warmish room for a while.
That was until we discovered that the front bedroom is somehow much better insulated than the one we were in!
It happens to be the room that we weren’t using because it smelt of drains but you can’t win ’em all!
Gotta love an old French house!
4. The day we went to find a new playground.
Don’t get me wrong…I love a good playground (climbing up slides is my favourite rule to break!).
This particular playground was 30 minutes drive and another 20 minutes of going around in circles because neither the sat nav nor my phone could locate it!
When we arrived no-one wanted the play ground because there was a massive pile of bright orange grit in the carpark.
Leo got it all over his gloves, got some in his mouth, wiped his tongue with previously mentioned dirty glove!
I poured water on his tongue. He said ‘Thanks that’s better” and did it again!
Anyway, no one played in the park and we now have orange grit everywhere.
5. The day(s) our sons decided they were cats.🐱
You know when you’re meeting people for the first time and you kind of want things to go well…especially when their opening question is “wouldn’t school/nursery be good for their socalisation?”
That folks is when your toddlers will suddenly decide that they are cats and won’t break character..not even for chocolate!
I still remember doing this as a kid so I’m pretty sure they’ll grow out of it…miaww!🐈🐈
In many ways travelling with kids really is no different to being at home with kids. Despite the above we still love it. But, we were never doing it because we thought we’d be sipping coffee and nibbling croissants in a local cafe. We did it because we wanted to and because life is to short to not do what you want.
Our life is orange grit and muddy puddles and summer-time baths in the lake…and we love it (most of the time!)
It might not look great on Instagram but it’s perfect to us.
AND…if you’ve stayed with me this far the title of this post “Show me yours and I’ll show you mine!” finally makes sense.
If you’re up for it then I’d love for you to share some real-life photos/stories of your perfectly imperfect days! You can join in here.