Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Have I really been too busy to blog?

It all started so well – a few blog posts listed soon after this page was launched. But then it fell silent … I hadn’t forgotten about it – I actually felt rather guilty that I appeared to be avoiding it. But life has undergone lots of twists and turns these last few months that writing a blog was way down my list of ‘must do’s’.

What happened? Well, my youngest started school full time meaning I had two under 8s in school – and I found myself continually on the school run – picking up/dropping off on playdates, after school clubs … my days were dictated to by them. I bought a puppy – not an excuse, but having chosen a working Springer Spaniel I knew that I’d be walking her, a LOT.

But the biggest change was my husband going back to college to train to be a chemistry teacher. Having worked together for over 12 years, the house suddenly felt very quiet with just me kicking around in it! The demands of a trainee teacher cannot be underestimated either – we’ve hardly seen him since September …
So I’ve just been ‘adjusting’ to my new lifestyle and my new sole support role to both children and Huw. And of course, pushing on with WowThankYou.

With Christmas approaching I started to crave a family holiday. For those who know me, this isn’t unusual, but I wanted to go to Lapland and with a student in the house, this really wasn’t going to happen! My little boy Toby asked me one day if we could make a snowman (it was a miserable autumn day) and I found myself promising that he would make one before Christmas. Not one to forget my promises, and with no snow on the horizon, I cashed in some Tesco Clubcard vouchers to pay for a Eurotunnel crossing, found a comfortable budget hotel in Les Houches in the French Alps, and bought roof bars for my little economical car … and when the children broke up from school last week, we loaded ourselves, our bags, and dog, into the car and set off on our mini adventure. We may only have had two days away (we are hosting Christmas Day so need to be home the evening before), but it has been fabulous family time.

Putting aside the slight issue of getting our car stuck down an icy slope and Huw slipping on black ice resulting in Izzy the dog nearly getting hit by a bus – I never said it wasn’t eventful! – we filled our two days with lots of fun things. We spent a day in the wonderful town of Chamonix, sampling some of the best coffee I’ve had in Europe (served in really groovy glass mugs!), shopping in some rather swish and contemporary stores, sampling the souvenir shops and staring at the most amazing cakes in the many patisseries … and sampling a couple, it would be rude not to! We took the mountain railway high up into the mountains to see, and walk inside, a glacier. The ice was bright blue and the cable car ride down was fun too. In our rustic hotel room we ate bread, cheese and ham with hot chocolate (I never travel without my kettle!) Our balcony looked out over some snow-capped mountains and we watched skiers slalom their way down the pistes. So very far removed from the view from our suburban home.

 The second day was spent in Annecy, a favourite place of mine. A beautiful clear day, cold though – the perfect setting to walk around their Christmas market, with lots of food stalls, including one selling the largest blocks of nougat I’ve ever seen (the size of a footstool!) Yes, yes, you only buy a slice – but the uncut versions looked rather impressive! We ate croques and waffles and again hit the shops! After purchasing a fluffy toy husky, a toy snow plough and a locally made Christmas tree decoration, and yet another Swiss Army knife (Huw’s a ‘collector’ or should I say hoarder?) we headed back to our hotel, and then out for a last walk in the snow. 

Annecy Christmas Stall

The view from our balcony
It took 8 hours of driving across France to reach Chamonix (slightly longer actually when our Sat Nav went a bit mad and sent us in the wrong direction) – but was it worth it? Definitely! Did Toby make his snowman? Well, the truth is, he was so pleased to just be playing in the snow, he never got around to it! So the inflatable one we spotted in Annecy will have to do. We have brought home some amazing memories – of the snow, the car slipping down a hill, the coffees and cakes – but above everything, we left work and our daily lives at home and had a proper family adventure. As Barclaycard would say – it was priceless x

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