Wednesday, 14 December 2011

After nearly a year of France....

... I have my French C1 'diplome'. (My friend tells me this is 'nearly bilingual'.)
And i got 81% in it!

I owe this all to God, the amazing people I have met here, and especially JB. It feels so great to have finished the year here and have something to show for it!!

Also, last night, our English Bible study group had a little Christmas party. It was such a lovely occasion and a chance to spend some time with some wonderful friends before going back to England! There was lots of good food, laughter and a 'white elephant' gift exchange which was a lot of fun! We also had a massive group hug and I was really quite emotional leaving. These people are very special to me.

Krista, Jonathan and Noelle, Ian, Maria, Sophie, Lauren C, Lauren D, Cassie, Simon and Doug, you are all awesome, you have completely blessed my life in so many different ways and I will miss you very much!

...more on this amazing year in France to follow!

Less than 3 days till my monsieur gets here and 6 days till home....

Sunday, 11 December 2011

penultimate weekend

Amazing weekend including girly drinks, random parties, kids, (old and current ones) Nancy Gospel Singers Christmas Concert, late night 'Bazaars', Irish Pubs, sleeping on floors, trying not to fall asleep in church, cookie parties and chats outside of front doors.... I also worked.

Bring on my last week in Nancy.. it's gonna be a packed one!

9 days till home!

Saturday, 10 December 2011


I had such a random but awesome night. Then  got home to find I'd been locked out from the inside and had to wake people up at 2am. This put a downer on things. It wasn't even my fault. I love France, but I'm glad it's only 11 days till England...

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

3 down....

1 to go!
(Exams that is!)

Also, 13 days left in France....

So the exams went ok this morning. We had listening/reading/writing (essentially). It took 4 hours. The subjects were so good too - literature, books, and children (with a bit of architecture thrown in!)

Thank you God!!

I mean, I should prob wait till after tomorrow's speaking exam and the results next week to get really chipper, but there you go!!

In other news, my wonderful JB passed his driving test... in the South of France. I assure you, they drive so mentally there!! So proud of you!!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Didn't really think I'd get away with it...

...getting ill that is!
I have finally caught one of the children's colds and am spending Friday night re-couperating and preparing for next week's exams!! This is a fairly scary prospect. It's gonna be 5 1/2 hours of exams over 2 days. We have been doing practice exams this week and I am brushing up on grammar and vocab, reading the news like mad (thats right, we're in a financial crisis!) So exciting times!

In other news, this week I got to go see a girly French movie (L'Art D'Aimer - so charmingly French) with Sophie, Robin and Lauren (more anglophone friends!) and get all Christmassy with the kids writing letters to 'Pere Noel'.

Quite frankly now, I'm looking forward to getting back to England for a family Christmas and seeing my boy, it has been far too long!!

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Sunday, 27 November 2011


I have just celebrated my first Thanksgiving with our English Bible study group + some (there turned out to be 15 of us - Americans, English, Irish, Indian and French)! Obviously, it was hosted by Krista and Jonathan (only people with a place big enough) Everyone brought some food and drink and Krista cooked up three chickens and made stuffing and we had mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes and Lauren's amazing green bean stew thing and ratatouille cheese and then... LOADS of cakes including the traditional Pumpkin Pie, Doug's chocolate cheesecake, Ian's Banoffie Pie and Jonathan's work Colleague, Johnan's eclairs!

Spot the non-American food in that lot!

Then we all went around and said what we were thankful for. That was really great and it really makes you stop and think how blessed your life is.
This year for me has been so incredibly blessed. I have had so many experiences, met some amazing people, learned how to speak French properly and met the most wonderful boyfriend. I really feel like God has done so much in my life this year and yes, there really is a lot to be thankful for. It was awesome to see what everyone else had to say and really share that time with some special people.

Afterwards we played a crazy charades game and just sat around chatting. A really good afternoon.
...and it feels like the Christmas season has really begun now. Lights and decorations are popping up all over town and yesterday, Sophie and I wandered around the Christmas market and drunk a Vin Chaud... it felt very festive. This reminds me that I only have 3 weeks left of this almost-year in Nancy... a year to be really thankful for :)

Saturday, 26 November 2011

best days....

Just sat here babysitting on a friday night and waiting for the parents to come home so that I can go to bed and I started looking through my pictures... and I remembered this amazing day that JB and I spent together about a month ago. It was just one of those days that was realllly good :)
Sometimes when stress, and winter and missing people get a bit too much, (I'm sure you can all relate to some of these things) we can forget how many things we have to be thankful for, and all the amazing memories which often seem so far away.
So in amongst the cold and dark and exam preparation, a little memory of something that made me smile, a lot.

Yeah, it rained. A lot. But there's something amazing about torrential rain in the south of France... especially when you're with your amour....

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


So back in August. before I came back to France, I went shopping with my Mum and Grandma. Being generous souls, they took me out for lunch and bought me various trucs. Grandma, having visited me in the early days in Nancy (January time) never stops going on about how cold she found it and insisted on buying me a pair of (very warm) velvety legging things. Trying them on in the summer heat, it felt absurd to be purchasing such an article, but less than three months down the line, having been living in a freezing cloud for what seems like forever, (I've seen the sun once in the 2 weeks that I've been back and its hardly got above 5oc) these wonderful trousers are coming into their own - THANK YOU GRANDMA :)
So yes, it's been cold, and rather depressing, and we have our exams in 3 weeks - this is scary!!

However, a couple of weeks ago, the autumn colours were incredible...

(Photo's courtesy of fellow Au Pair, Miss Genvieve - merci! )

Another cheery thing here in the perpetual cloud is the kids - they are completely adorable, and right now I can hear them singing loads of nursery rhymes in English while having their shower - it's so gratifying that they are really enjoying learning English, and yet again, I am experiencing the feeling of foreboding at having to say goodbye to three children that I've really grown to love...

I also had a good weekend with the man and the family in law... think meeting your boyfriend's parents is stressful? Throw in the language dimension! ...but seriously, a really good time!

Hope you're all having a good week xxx

Friday, 11 November 2011

nursery rhymes...

This is my life that this morning (being another public holiday - this time for 11/11) I spent teaching my children nursery rhymes with the aid of youtube.

But I found this awesome site that does really cute videos...

Literally love this video for 'twinkle twinkle' !!

In other news, I'm off for a random 'tandom' conversation with a guy I don't know... (a prof at uni set it up) and then to the cinema to see 'The Help'!

Also, the BF is coming tonight... exciteddddddd :)

Have a good weekend :)

Monday, 7 November 2011


Everyone's going on about problems with 'les immigres'... whether it's 'pour' or 'contre', you can't avoid the graffiti written all over the walls of the university, or the countless newspaper articles, the feeling of unrest about the subject...

But this led me to think, aren't I am immigrant, really? Or I would be if I stayed long enough. But no, because I come from privileged Great Britain, one day I will probably be an 'ex-pat'.

What actually is the difference?


An apology for those who like to keep up with my blog, I have been rather lacking in enthusiasm for it of late. It's hard when personal things come along and occupy your thoughts, you don't necessarily want to share them on a public blog. But all is well, France is still great, even though it is now November, my most hated month after January...And then I come to realise that it has been nearly a month since I've posted!

Since then, the family went away to Florida for a bit over two weeks leaving me to do as I pleased. Not missing much of uni as we also had an autumn break, I spent a week in the south with JB which was lovely. General being together, laughing about the little things that make being in a bilingual relationship so funny (including how it is practically impossible to be tactful or subtle in each other's languages -- although this is getting better -- and how wonderful it is that we can be blunt and slightly offensive, but it's just funny cos it's so charming!)

stereotypical scene: southern men, post-petanque chat!

Visiting Montpellier in the rain...

We flew to England from a city called Beziers... it was kind of a bizarre town...full of kebab shops, but hey, we love kebabs!! It was so warm and sunny, and we soaked up our last rays before the inevitable wet and cold of Bristol...

However: England was lovely, its just home. Great food courtesy of Mum (mostly) Erin and Lizzie, Grandma and PUBS! (How I miss pubs!) And of course it was amazing to see family and friends!

The Frenchman got to enjoy english food and beer and the lovely Bath (in the rain), beautiful Stourhead and Shaftsbury!



It was a great time away and I didn't really wanna come back to Nancy. But then when I did get back after a mission of a train journey, I remembered all the good things about being here and realised how much I will miss it - I have only 6 weeks left in Nancy, basically, ever. It would be a lot better for me to really 'profite' from my time here than to wish I wasn't so far away from a certain someone all the time... and so thats what I'm doing through God's grace :)

...more to come soon!

Bisous - Lucy :)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


Wednesdays are still such long days in my french life!
The day starts at 8am at uni with comprehension orale. Nobody, NOBODY wants to transcribe the morning's news articles for nearly 2 hours at that time in the morning, if ever! Then we have two more hours of class, before I run home to have lunch with the family and play with the kids/take english classes (this is really just reading books and talking about them, just talking or singing songs/playing games.) Then the oldest boy goes to piano class and I have the middle one while little one sleeps, then he goes off to piano too and I have a little time to go through my notes form the morning, before they come back and I watch the kids/teach English/play (today they were very hyper) until dinner about 7pm. Today it was slightly stressful as little one is a little poorly and was crying, and their Dad wasn't home...

And now, because I'm so cool, I'm listening to a political debate between the two candidates for the leadership of the French Socialist Party... oh my...  Apparently, if I wanna get this exam, I need to 'reste au courant' with current affairs!  Tomorrow is my free day, but I have to do all my homework cos I have so little time monday tuesday and wednesday!

Also, it is so cold and wet and horrible here, AND I lost my lovely new umbrella and I don't think I'm ever gonna see it again!

But not to moan, all is good, its just that Wednesdays are looong! The family are off on holiday next week and I'm off to the South (which is still baking!) to see the wonderful man before we both go back to England for a few days... :) aaaah!

Anyway, I shouldn't be complaining, I expect when I finally make it into the 'real world' things will be much more hard-core!

Hope you're all having a good week :)

Saturday, 8 October 2011


Last night, Doug and I met some random French people in a bar and spent the evening in lively French discussion. It was a pretty good night, and yet another of the things I love about living here! On returning to the house a lot later than I realised, and having forgotten to let the parents know, I set off the alarm. (They set it at like 12:30am and I'm supposed to let them know if I'm gonna be back late than that. Totally slipped my mind!!) Needless to say I was mortified and so sorry to have woken them. I apologised profusely this morning, and I think things are ok, but yet another of the joys of living with a family, despite it's obvious benefits!

 ...lots has been happening this week, but I'm exhausted and I'd rather not blog it right now... It's been a long week and I'm looking forward to a call with my man, and bed!

Monday, 3 October 2011

le weekend

So Nimes is pretty lovely! ...and incredibly hot: it was well over 30oc when I left yesterday! Its really old and Roman and stuff... My meagre point-n-shoot does not do this justice! (It is also quite ghetto in some places and apparently the crime capital of France ...things I like to put to the back of my mind whilst contemplating my probable demenagement to the city next year!)
The weekend was awesome and the train ride home was also pretty spectacular cruising past, first of all olive trees and vineyards, and then the alps and Rhone river until it got too dark to see anything else.
France is really such an incredible country and I feel so blessed to have to opportunity to not only live here, but to be dating one of it's nicest men ;) ...nobody needs to know about my ridiculous level of smitteness, so I'll leave it here with a few pictures...

Friday, 30 September 2011

Visiting my Frenchman...

Well, after an emotional goodbye with the children (4 days is a long time to them!), and an 8.5 hour journey, I made it to Nimes. I survived the economy night train (next time I think I`ll spend the extra €10 and get a bed. To say it was uncomfortable would be an understatement, but I think I managed a couple of hours sleep!) It was kind of strange to be sleeping in such close proximity with so many other people - a lot of whom were snoring! I also saw one guy fall asleep on the shoulder of the sleeping girl next to hijm - they didn't know each other - bt thankfully he woke up first and realised! I also had to wait over in Avignon between  5 and 6am but that was actually nice and I ended up chatting to some interesting people including an English man who had lost his passport and was watitng to go to Marseille in order to try and sort out his situation! I also ended up giving him a bit of life advice - he did ask! Thats such a bonus of traveling aone - you can be so much more open to people and really be aware of the things around you.
Anyway, after such a long journey, it was great to arrive in Nimes at 6:30am and to be greeted by the best smile and hug! Unfortunately, JB has to work a bit this weekend, (but if he didn't work, we would really struggle to be able to see each other so I guess I can't complain, and it's short shifts! It is SO HOT here. South of France hot. But I see that it is also really hot in England too...mental weather, it's October tomorrow! Looking forward to JB getting back in an hour and going to see the town! :)
Have a good weekend everyone!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

I spent the day playing Frisbee in the super-warm weather and making a railway with the boys. It was really fun! Sometimes, I love this Au Pair business! Also loving this amazingly warm weather and the beautiful views walking down the hill to uni in the morning! Stunning!
Tomorrow I am leaving to see my favourite French man in the sunny South - which involves taking the night-train. A first! I am VERY excited!!

Hope everyone is having a good week!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

loving being back in Nancy!

You may have noticed the change in the name of my blog... I thought it was time, since I'm not strictly an Au Pair anymore...and today it stuck me that I really am living life in franglais! It's an interesting place to be, finally thinking and speaking in two different languages in equal measure...and finally being able to be with a group of people and not even thinking about what anything means in English for hours on end.

After a day at home with the kids, I went out to meet a couple of friends from church, and while waiting for them to show, I met an English guy who had just arrived in Nancy. We went and had a drink with some other people who had randomly all gotton into the same place at the same time and who were a mixture of English French and American. He's a Christian and seemed really happy to meet me then some more people from church.
It reminded me so much of how I felt when I first arrived, and it was so great to be able to speak with him and hopefully make him feel happier about being here and knowing that there is a (non-Catholic) Christian community here!
After that, we went and got kebabs (I swear I'm turning into one - but there are a couple of places that make them sooo good here!) and sat on the Place and chatted. nancy really is so beautiful!!
Athough today was a lovely warm day, Autumn is definitely on it's way and the mornings and evenings are cold. Looking forward to experiencing the heat that will be Nimes next weekend!! (And to seeing a certain somebody who lives there too...)
Home early, and I'm glad - I'm shattered! The family definitely got their money's worth out of me today! These children are practically fluent in English already....


So I bailed on the trying to grow my hair thing (it was just getting to skanky) and it's short again :)

And last night I realised just how horrible it is to walk home from town in heels having missed the last bus! Good one! However, it was a good night with fellow Au Pair, Sophie, and nice end to a long week!!

This morning was spent doing English lessons with the kids (they actually love it!) before being presented with a 'Blanquet de Saumon' (because I said I'd try it!) I didn't like the Salmon but the sauce was good. So far in the last 3 weeks, I have tried about 5 different types of seafood - because I decided it was time to be brave - and I have only been able to tolerate one (children's breaded cod or something). Oh my, this woman loves her fish...

...can't say I do.

Bon weekend a toute et a tous!

Thursday, 22 September 2011


So between starting uni, making new friends, getting used to living with a new family and doing a long-distance relationship, I've slacked off on the blog a bit!
But for those who I know check regularly, (I can think of a few people) everything is going really well!

Week three of the French course, and I can say that so far it has been worth every centime! The teaching is so great, the courses are really interesting and I feel like I have progressed a lot in a short time. I practically speak nothing but French now, as there are no other anglophones in my class (consists of Russians, Spanish, Latin Americans, German, Japanese, Chinese, and we all speak in French together!) 

Although I can definitely say this is the last family I'm going to live with (really looking forward to having my own apartment now and doing whatever I want), they are really lovely and I have a lot of fun with the kids who are getting better and better at English every day! They really do have sponges for brains!
Its such a different situation to my last one, and I really couldn't say which I prefer - having more independence and free reign over the children's activities + massive stress, or no stress, but always having the parents there - I'm not sure. anyway it really is different and I get a lot more time to concentrate on my studies!

Last weekend I met my old family's new English Au Pair! She is really nice and it was funny to discuss our shared experiences and I think it gave her a chance to let off a bit of steam - it was such a hard job! I also saw the family which was so nice. The children have all grown SO MUCH and it was really lovely to spend a bit of time with them. They seemed happy to see me too!

These last couple of weeks have been a bit stressful, but everything seems to be settling down now. God, as always has given me so much to be thankful for, and I constantly feel like my life is so blessed.

Just a picture from last month on holiday which reminds me of the amazing power of God (just look at those clouds!) And the absolute heaven that was the west coast of France this summer!

God bless you all xxx

Friday, 9 September 2011


This week has been a week of adjustments, and this evening was another one. Having to leave town before 11pm to get the last bus because I really didn't want to walk up the hill back home. I have to admit my last place was more conveniently located!
But actually, this new thing is really great!
And I'm really excited because my lovely man is coming tomorrow - albeit he'll be arriving at 7am and I'm not sure the family remember he's coming and I didn't get the chance to speak to them about it. Oh stressful.
So we'll see tomorrow.... :D

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


So today I had one of those days where I started freaking out about everything... actually, mostly, how I'm going to fund my life!
But then I saw this on my sister's blog, and simultaneously remembered what Jesus said (Matthew 6: 25-34) about not worrying. God always provides, always does and always will. And it's really only because I freak out when I have less than £500 in my bank.
That's just stupid. I am incredibly blessed in everything!!

First proper day at uni and Wednesday with the kids - shattering. Tomorrow will be better.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Same city: new start :)

On to the next chapter!

After a wonderful month with family, friends, weddings, and a little bit of heaven on the west coast of France, I am back in Nancy with a new home in a beautiful part of town, away from the busy traffic, a garden full of fruit and vegetables and where the sun is still shining. I'm playing 'English Teacher' to 3 adorable children, and sociable parents. I get my own separate house attached to theirs, and I don't have to get up at 6:45am!! In fact, today I woke up to the sound of the local church clock striking 9:30 and opened my electric blackout blinds to sunshine streaming through the window. Rather heavenly!

I have also started University - to study the French language! 
Yesterday I went to the uni and had 4 tests to determine which group I will be in for the term...they went pretty well and I have been put in the toughest group... looks like a lot of work for me this term if I want to pass the exams!
I also found out the course is going to be rather more expensive than I'd bargained for! ...but what can you do?! It seems to be a great course.
I can't deny that I miss my last children - but as you may know, it was a very hard job, and something I would not want to repeat however rewarding those 6 months were! It's nice to be back somewhere familiar while starting something very different!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


So, I'm just chilling in Paddington station waiting for my final train of the journey! It feels very strange to be back in England!
My lovely friend, Angie and I travelled to London together, watched Desperate Housewives on the train and then heaved our suitcases through sweltering Paris! It was so nice to travel with her, but we've now parted ways and I just can't wait to see my family!

I definitely should have packed before. This morning was super stressful, moving my life out of the apartment, but I did it and even had time for a lovely lunch with my lovely man in the beautiful sunshine - a gorgeous day to leave Nancy! ...and let's be serious, I'll be back so soon!

Fantastic six months with the family, gorgeous 3 children and everything that went with it! A really amazing Au Pair experience!
Now for a holiday, time to relax, and look forward to the next chapter :)


change of plans...

no idea why I'm blogging still...avoiding doing everything I still need to do. 5hours sleep down. Got up super-early to say bye to F. Turns out he hadn't been communicating with his wife and had no idea I wanted to stay here in two weekend's time for my friend's wedding. And he wasn't too happy about it either. So now I have to pack all of my stuff and work out where I'm gonna stay that weekend... haha.

I can't really complain though, lets be honest, he just gave my my 'BONUS' cheque (completely un-expected) for nearly a month's wages!!!

However, 7 1/2 hours to go and packing officially is my worst thing!!!!! STRESSING


no joke. I really need to do it. And sign up to uni for September, and go to the bank. And move half of my stuff across Nancy... and maybe sleep. Train leaves in 15 hours.... plenty of time!

Sunday, 31 July 2011


Officially coming back to Nancy in September.
Roll on a new house, new job, French course, and weekends travelling to the south <3

Gonna keep missing you lovely people in England, but I will be back at Christmas!

Much love xxxxx

Friday, 29 July 2011

last night...

...was a good night!
Ate dinner with F+S for the last time, then spent the rest of the night with three crazy French men, red wine, a guitar and singing random Beatles and Elton John songs. Good times. I will definitely miss this.

This morning I took little one to creche for the last time. And had to say goodbye. And cried.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

byebye baby

This evening was my last evening with the little one. He goes to England with his Mum and Alice and Stanley on Saturday, but they are leaving tomorrow to meet the other children.
It was delightful. We played lots and laughed a lot and I prayed for him. I love these kids so much and I really hope they have a happy future. They have blessed my life and taught me so so much.
They really are special.

SO... now I have days to enjoy as I please (+plus packing) before hitting up the UK.
I really can't believe how fast this time has gone!

God bless xxx

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Sun is back!

This morning I felt a bit down. I had got back pretty late from Matthias's last night where we had played games and watched a British film (the guys totally didn't get it!) and drunk Cointreau. I cycled, and cycling back at 1:30am was pretty peaceful, there was nothing on the road. It was a really reflective time, thinking back on all the great moments of the last 6 months. It really has been amazing!

This morning walking my little one to creche, the weather was kind of chilly and misty and reminiscent of those spring mornings walking the children to school. It brought back such a feeling of nostalgia, and  took a walk through the park where images of memories with the children playing there seemed to flash through my mind. It was almost eerie, I can't really describe it, but it made me really miss the children. Back at home, I was tired and grumpy.

But later on, the sun came out, and my monsieur came over and we went off for a long cycle along the river. (Cycling is definitely my new favourite hobby!) It actually felt pretty hot for the first time in two weeks and it was great to be cycling along the beautiful riverside, with flowers lining the banks and talking and laughing with my favourite Frenchman. It felt like a little holiday, just for a couple of hours.

It kind of reminded me that we need to appreciate these moments of joy in a world where we are bombarded with sadness. My heart goes out to the people of Norway right now in the aftermath of an unbelievable atrocity. But God remains constant and pours out blessings in so many forms. We need to notice God's beauty in the world and try to reflect it, and fight back against evil, pain and sadness.

La vie est encore belle.

my penultimate weekend...

...was spent with two of my favourite people ever!
The weather was a bit chilly to say the least, but the rain kept off and the most important thing was that we were together!!

We spent a lot of time...

EATING. shopping in the markets. (on Sunday, F gave me 70euros to get what we wanted in the market - mad!)
...playing with my little one...
...exploring Nancy with and without VELOS!

We also played Crazy Golf...

...Eddie won!

We also went over to a friend from Church's place for a BBQ which was awesome, although I can't imagine how Erin and Eddie felt with all the French all night!
On Sunday we spent the afternoon cycling, listening to live music in the park and looking at Art Nouveau! In the evening, Erin and Eddie cooked for the family to say thanks :) Afterwards, after beer and wine, the four of us grabbed bikes and headed down to the Place to watch the light show, and chatted for ages afterwards...think this involved French lessons! More wine...back on the bike. Home safe!

Little one came to say goodbye at the station!
Thank you so much for coming, guys, much love to you xxxxxxxx

Saturday, 23 July 2011

waiting for people at the train station...

...has to be one of my favourite things to do here. I love the suspense of the train coming in, everyone getting off then looking around for whoever it is you're waiting for.

Erin got squashed with hugs!!

It was so amazing to see those to dear friends in Nancy, and so much more incredible that they managed to get here at all, over 14 hours after they'd left home (without a passport)!

So we took them back to the apartment, then headed straight down to Place Stan for a later dinner and to catch a bit of the light show!

So amazing to see these friends! Looking forward to a really good weekend!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Mental weather

It is literally raining so hard right now I think this city is gonna flood. But an hour ago it was really hot and sunny! The weather has been changing like this for about a month. I'm starting to lose my tan.
Also, every time I get a visitor from England, it rains. It's like I'm lying about how good the weather is here... hoping for some sun this weekend :)

Just realised how completely British about me to be complaining about the weather...

Yes, you do need a passport to come to France!

Today, my two lovely and very intelligent Oxford Graduate friends, Erin and Eddie are coming to visit.
I got a call from them this morning while I was in the park with my boy and our friend's 3 year old (babysitting other people's kids as well now!) and I was so excited, thinking they were going to say 'We're in Paris' or something like that...
But no,
Erin: 'I forgot my passport!' Gaaaaah!
Thank the Lord, the Eurostar people managed to get them on a later train so they could go back and retrieve the passport, and they will still be arriving today...just slightly later than planned!
Can't wait to see these awesome peeps for a fun-filled penultimate weekend in Nancy!

Bon weekend a tous!

Lots of love xxx

Thursday, 21 July 2011

american beauty

Watched this last night with my two favourite French men... had forgotten how awesome it is!

Favourite quotes: 
"And that's the day I knew there was this entire life behind things, and... this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever... and I need to remember... Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in."

"It's like God is looking right at you, Just for a second, And if you're careful, you can look right back.
"And what do you see? 

It touches me every time. I think it evokes the truth that although there is so much mess in this world, God can speak through it, and in an instant, you can be so close to Him and know he is supreme over everything. 

In other film news... go see 'Beginners' with Ewan McGregor... I don't know if it's out in England but I saw it here. It's really funny and so touching. Again, highlights some real truths of life, something that is so often lacking in a lot of films. 
It also made me miss my Dad like mad!

sleeping child

I'm not even joking. it's 8:45am and little one is STILL SLEEPING!
This is the latest I have EVER known him sleep. (The kids are usually all up before 7 - nightmare!) I put him to bed over 13 hours ago! Crazy. Unfortunately, as he still sleeps in a cot, I kinda have to hear him wake up, because he can't get out by himself, and as my room is at the other end of the apartment, I'm up now, waiting for him to wake up. I did get to stay in bed until after 8 though - a record!

Yesterday he didn't wake until 8:30. All this sleeping combined with his massive appetite at the moment - I sense a growth spurt!

In other news, I think Summer has gone... it wont stop raining... seems to be just in the East of France too. And it's not even very warm any more. Feels like England!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Recovering from the weekend

Fete National in France – 14th of July was on Thursday so we got a 4-day weekend!
Wednesday was the last day I had to look after Alice and Stanley. We went to the cinema and watched ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’ in French…Alice sat on my lap the entire movie…she is not very cuddly normally so I know that meant something. We talked about how I was leaving and that there would be someone else coming to live in my room. They asked why I couldn’t stay longer (always a possibility, but as my future has not been made clear yet, I was not going to suggest that.) We are very close now, the kids and I. We have fun, we talk about things they don’t talk about with their parents. We talk about Jesus.
On the way home from the cinema, in the rain, (yes, after the heat of Tuesday it rained, and rained…and rained) they collected over 30 snails in the empty popcorn box and then deposited all of them outside the front door…poor snails! (Thankfully they didn't suggest cooking them!)

Wednesday night, an American friend, Lauren had a little soiree at her place, various friends – awesome company - great (vegetarian) food, wine, and, bizarrely a raid on her wardrobe which resulted in some of us dressing up, fake moustaches, dancing, 3am finish. Thanks for a good night, Lauren!

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(Oh and for those who are interested… this is my lovely Frenchman, his name is Jean-Baptiste:)

Missing one very special person, though. Betsy, we love you!!!!! 

On Thursday, I was woken up far too early, but seeing as sleep-deprivation is the norm for my life now, I got up and had breakfast with the family. Then we all cycled into town to watch the Bastille Day parade-thingamyjig!

It looked like this…

There was also a fly-past but it was blink-and-you-miss-it!

We then went to the park and took photos:
They looked like this…

We then had lunch and after I went home and had a nap…  before going with JB and Matthias to their family home to meet some of their family…
And then much later we had a little party at Matthias’ house, and on Friday I was even more tired…are you getting the pattern? Good day

On Friday afternoon, I went into town with Alice and we spent about and hour in a huge toy shop and I bought the children presents. Little did I know, they’d brought me presents too! In the evening, with all the family they also gave me pictures and cards that they had made and it was really sweet and I nearly cried.  That night I stayed in and had dinner with the family!

On Saturday morning early, the family left for Paris and I said a tearful goodbye to Alice and Stanley before going back to bed for the best lie-in ever! I did not get dressed till 2pm!

Spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with a friend, Angie, buying wine, and making a slightly strange cake with JB… but by the time the four of us (Matthias joined us for dinner) came to eat it I think we didn’t really care what it tasted like! Really good evening with good food (thanks Angie for cooking!) and staying up far too late again… though we made it to church in the morning!

Sunday was lazy.

The family came back last night with just little one and I realise that there are only two weeks left here. The time has completely flown. 6 months ago, I was about to leave to do a job I had no idea how to do, where I knew no one. Now I have little brothers and a sister, amazing friends, and have experienced how wonderful life can be when you let go and let God lead. His love is everywhere!

<< Mais en tout cela nous remportons la plus complète victoire par celui qui nous a aimés. Oui, j’ai la certitude que rien ne peut nous séparer de son amour… rien ne pourra jamias nous séparer de l’amour que Dieu nous a manifeste en Jésus-Christ notre Seigneur.>>
Romains 8:37-39 

Grab your opportunities, friends, you might just find something amazing!

With love xxx

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

aaaaaaw 5 year old just came running out of his bed and gave me a massive hug and said "YOU FORGOT TO GIVE ME A KISS GOODNIGHT"... and 'i love you'.
OH my, am I gonna miss these kids.

In other news, apparently we're on an 'orange' storm warning.... Laura and I researched this today and this means we must be 'vigilant'... whatever that means! So far it has been insanely hot and there have been dark clouds. Bizarrely the massive park in town was also completely shut because of severe weather warnings, but so far NOTHING has happened!

Tomorrow is my last day looking after Alice and Stanley. I think I might cry. I love them so much.
I think this is making me feel more undecided about my decision to stay and work for a different family come september...

Sunday, 10 July 2011


I love France, but sometimes, I really miss home. BUT: in just over 3 weeks, I will be back with my family. This makes me utterly sad - that I have to leave this lovely family. But completely excited to see my family and friends at home.
This weekend, I missed seeing my sister in her play, missed seeing her dress up for her end of term ball. Missed eating in the garden with my family, chatting to my mum over breakfast and laughing with my Dad about how sunburnt he's got-again!
I am so excited for our family holiday in August where we can be together as a family after so long!

When I go back to England, I will miss the children, my church here, my friends... and calling them up and making plans, fresh baked croissants, sitting on the Place Stanislas with a bottle of wine and good girlfriends (such a good night, Friday, girls!) I will miss lazy Sundays where it's ok to sleep for 4 hours after lunch - thank you God for giving us a day of rest!! (and for France, where it's really honoured!)
And I might just miss someone else too... yes, there is a man in my life and he is French, and just LOVELY :)

I will miss this beautiful city (although I'm almost surely coming back!)

But wherever we go,  God is always with us. I love that one of my best friends is in America, another in Africa, others in the UK, but that when we pray for each other, God answers our prayers, wherever we are, and we are always connected. God is really with us wherever we go, wherever we go, we have His spirit and his joy, and I will forever rejoice in what he has done, and continues to do in my life, and the life of others.

God bless xxxx

Saturday, 9 July 2011


Found this on my sisters blogsite... seemed apt:

When I was a kid, I didn’t have a laptop, iPod, Blackberry, PS3, Wifi or iPads. I played outside with friends, bruised my knees, made up stories and played hide and seek. I ate what my mom made. I would think twice before I said “no” to my parents. Life wasn’t hard, it was good & I survived. Kids these days are spoiled. Re-post this if you appreciate the way you were raised. I think we were happier kids.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Recently... has been really hot!
Sunday before last was the start. It was amazing. I went with the family to a summer picnic with a Christian group that F+S are part of. It was on the top of this hill with a really beautiful church and amazing views....

On Monday and Tuesday it was something crazy like 36oc! 
On Monday, Laura and I decided to hit up the outdoor pool...this involved sunbathing and occasionally dipping in the pool to cool off! 
Picking up the children was very difficult in this weather as amazingly they still seemed to have a crazy amount of energy but it was fine!
On Wednesday the weather broke and it has been a bit cooler but still really nice since!
Wednesday was Stanley's 5th Birthday, so that was all excitement, and as I mentioned before, they children broke up from school on Thursday so on Friday, we were given the challenge of brightening up the cellar playroom! Armed with paints and brushes we started by writing our names, and then decided to paint fish and other such underwater creatures all over the wall! It actually ended up looking pretty awesome and the parents were pleased too! It all looked great for Stanley's Birthday party on Saturday!

The party was so much fun! There were children dressed up running around high on sweeties and I spent my time painting faces and helping with a puppet show!

Later on, we had our last choir concert of the school year at beautiful Lac de Madine about an hour away! It was a really fun evening and beautiful setting!

More photos here...

This week has been pretty crazy in my life... so more on that at another time!

In other news though, I did have a rather nice conversation with 4 old men at a cafe this morning while I was writing my journal. Gotta love the French!

Bisous xxx

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

new opportunities

Something smacked me in the face... and now I don't know what to do! I have been offered a job with a beautiful family in Nancy for September, with the opportunity to do a course at the Uni.... and I really want to take it. I don't want to go back to England yet. And they said I can stay however long I want.
Prayers please... and thoughts on a postcard! ha

Much love xxx

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Jeudi 30 Juin

My rambles from Thursday morning having a coffee...

It really does feel as if the end of my time here is close now. Although I still have a month left here, the children finish school for the summer today (not even kidding - they don't got back until September 5th either! ...thinking it would be great to be a teacher in France!)

So it felt a bit strange doing the morning school run for the last time, handing my keys back to the school and thanking and saying 'au revoir' to the teachers; seeing some of the parents that I have become friendly with for perhaps the last time. And all the was hard to walk away.

Its funny because two of three of the families at the school have been interested in me working for them in September, but much as I'd love to stay, I feel that this has been an amazing phase in my a little snippet of time that I will always cherish...but there will be more.
A friend of mine suggested that maybe going back home is a good place to start again - I agree. I mean, I don't think that I wanna start fresh as such, but build on this amazing life-changing experience in a new way.
However, I think if something really smacks me in the face to make me stay, knowing God, I'd be wise not to ignore it. 

A bientot

Thursday, 30 June 2011

it's been too long!

So, since I last wrote, lots has been going on! Last weekend I did my back in pretty bad. I'm not sure how....
On the Saturday, I went with the family to F's annual work BBQ at his can factory! We ate sausages, saw how cans are made and the children stuffed their faces with sweets and had countless rides on the merry-go round!
Later on, I went with the family to another BBQ at some friends of theirs. The lady was English, married to a French man, and they have two little girls who are completely adorable. They have a really gorgeous house with a little garden so the children had fun playing while we sipped sparkling rose and chatted! They are really nice people, and yet more anglophones in this city! It's been so surprising to find so many here! Their one year old daughter took a bit of a shine to me, and I ended up spending ages bouncing her around on my hip 'dancing' to Michael Buble! Ha... However, I think this is what did my back in as she is a pretty heavy child! I left the BBQ early to meet my new... 'friend', JB in town. We had a really nice evening, waled in the park and hid under the trees while a thunderstorm passed overhead. There have been SO MANY thunderstorms here so far this summer, and when it rains, it really rains!! That cleared up and we went and got a drink on the place and watched the 'sound and light show' on the buildings of the place. It's pretty cool, they project all these images and things onto the buildings and play atmospheric music - hard to describe really, but very cool. They do it every night in summer and I have since taken my lovely sister, Alice who arrived on Monday.
Anyway, after a really nice evening on Saturday which ended up with sharing a bottle of wine with friends and talking till 2:30am, I woke up on Sunday morning with a really bad back.... It felt like something had shifted in my upper back/trapped nerve and it was really very painful to move :(
I went to church and did my tutoring in the afternoon but by evening I was feeling too bad to go to bible study so stayed in and Skyped with Betsy which was a complete joy and eased by back pain no end! - Miss you girl!!!
Monday morning came and I felt even worse. Little Alice was feeling under the weather too, so F+S took the boys to school and creche and we both stayed home and watched DVDs.
Later on I went to the doctors - first time in France and it was really different, like an office in a big old house. Not only did he look at my back but gave me a full-examination...slightly awkward! Anyway, he said he didn't need to scan it but that something wasn't right (this is what I could understand) and he prescribed me two types of pills + paracetamol + rest. (The last one was going to be a bit difficult.) Anyway, a week on and the pills have been working and it is easing up, but it's still not right - ouch!

So, on Monday evening, my dearest sister arrived!! It was AMAZING to see her get off the train at Nancy and to have her here! We got back to the apartment and had a drink and caught up on all the news! She came right after finishing her A levels and I think this was her first bit of freedom!

We had such a good week when she came! The weather wasn't amazing, but we had a really nice time together and she loved the children!
On Tuesday, it was the National 'Fete de la Musique' where all types of music is performed in towns and cities all over France. Little Alice had her flute concert out doors after school, and we packed a picnic and all the family went to see her! She was so good after only a year learning the flute and I felt really proud!
Then afterwards, we rushed off so I could get ready to sing with choir. We sung in the 'Temple Protestant' right in the centre of town for over two hours - it was awesome! So many people wandered in and out and it was a really great atmosphere! Afterwards we went out and about to see what was going on, and I have literally never seen so many people on the streets! It was packed, with music on every street corner, some really good, some just mental drum-n-bass blaring out of speakers, people playing guitars, African drums, jazz-bands! It was such a great atmosphere! We were starving so we went and got some food from the kebab shop - the good kebab shop - and headed down to the place to see the light show, although it wasn't so effective with all the other music going on! Later we wandered back through the old town taking in everything that was going on, with the last bit of light still in the sky. We got back home around midnight - it had been a long day and the next day was Wednesday!

Wednesday was cool though - Alice tagged along with the normal stuff, and in the afternoon, she helped the children make stuff out of felt and sparkly things! Little Alice wanted to make a pencil case, but Stanley decided to make leg and arm warmer things... I'm not really sure how to describe them, but they are pretty special and he throughly enjoyed dancing around wearing them!
In the evening, we went out for dinner :)

On Thursday, Alice helped me out with some singing and stories at the school - much to many of the little girls' delight (it was like two me's and Alice experience the mobbing I get practically every time I go into that school!) Afterwards we wandered into town. I showed Alice the park and the animals (she loved JoJo the 60 year old Chimpanzee!) And we had a picnic on the place. Afterwards we hit the 'soldes' (sales in France are amazing) before getting absolutely drenched in a crazy downpour!
I handled the kids in the evening, and we ate dinner with S and watched Gavin and Stacey. Good times!

On Friday before she left, Alice and I had breakfast out and had just enough time to hit the Musee des Beaux Arts - which is definitely worth a visit - before she had to get her train. We were both really sad to say goodbye, it's been so good to spend some real quality time together.

Love you Alice xxxxxx

Alice found a knitting shop...

In the park


Crazy feature in the Musee des Beaux Arts

Friday, 17 June 2011


...that means exhausted!!
Even though Monday was a holiday, this week has been a pretty tiring one!
Last night both parents were away with work so i had the children all by myself. This was fine really... I had had a really good afternoon (even though it involved lots of walking in the rain) and was feeling pretty chilled!
Anyway, they were actually pretty good, until Maria came over to see them and help me put them to bed, then they started to play up BIG TIME. It was pretty bad because I had hoped they would be really sweet for her.
Anyway, we managed to get them into bed, and spent a really nice evening chatting over dinner and port! :D
She left a bit before 11, and I went online to see that Betsy was back home in the states! So we got chatting on Skype...was so great to speak to her - it's so strange not having her here anymore! When I finally got to sleep I realised that I would have only 6 hours sleep (not hugely abnormal anymore) and this morning, the little one woke up and started running around about 6:30am... that was not great, but being midsummer, it's fairly easy to get up as it looks like the middle of the day outside at that time!
The kids really behaved themselves this morning thank the Lord, and everyone got to school in plenty of time. Then this morning, I have been jumping around singing and dancing to English songs with the kids at the school which was so fun, but super-tiring! I'm now off for a bike ride with Laura!!
Thank goodness it's the weekend tomorrow...and on Monday, my amazing sister, Alice is coming to stay!!!

Have a fantastic weekend all :)
Bisous xxx

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


Sometimes walking back from somewhere at 6pm on a Wednesday with a 4 year old makes me want to kill myself (not literally) can anyone dawdle so much?!!!
But then, I think and I realise that he is merely appreciating all the things that we are too 'grown up' or 'busy' to appreciate. I need to cut him some slack.
That is all.
Bisous xxx

Monday, 13 June 2011

Jour férié!

Today is another public holiday, joy of joys!
I woke up at 9 this morning to the smell of freshly baked pain-au-chocolats and the sound of nicely-behaved children eating breakfast! I even managed to get one of the baked delights before the children gobbled them all up!

However, the children and their Mum were looking at potential Au Pairs on the internet a little while a go... I know it's inevitable, but I could say that I've felt less sick.

Anyway, off to a big lunch party chez a family from church in a bit which should be a lot of fun! I have made a French tart as a contribution, I hope it tastes ok...!

A bientôt!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Au revoir ma cherie! ....and a catch up of some recent events!

On Friday, my best friend here, Betsy left Nancy. It was really sad. Her Mum and sister had been staying this last week too, which has been awesome, and they all went off together first to Italy where they are going to stay for a few days before flying back to The US together. 
Betsy is like a ray of sunshine. She has brought so much joy into a lot of people's lives here. She is such an amazing friend and I am sure that we will always be friends, but it was heart-wrenching to say goodbye. As I saw their night train pull out of Nancy at 10pm on Friday evening, I felt so strange, but I know we will see each other again, and we will continue to be friends, supporting each other and praying for each other, but conversing through skype across and ocean...until our reunion in Wisconsin summer 2012!

Last weekend of the long weekend, we spent some really good quality time with Betsy before her family came.

For the bank holiday weekend, the family went away with the kids, but I stayed here to make the most of my time with Mum and Dad, and with Betsy 

After saying goodbye to Mum and Dad about 3pm on Thursday, I went back to the apartment, booked my tickets home for the summer (2nd August for anyone who cares!) and went to sleep!
Later on, myself, Betsy, Matthias, Ian and Maria ended up going over to Francis's apartment that night. It was a really lovely evening. We chatted, ate pizza and played 'BANG'. I think we're all getting a bit hooked on that game! Maria and Ian left about midnight, but the rest of us, having nothing to do the next day, decided to play scrabble... goodness knows why! Seeing as it was in French, Betsy and I teamed up with a dictionary and the guys went solo! It was actually pretty fun and we did come second - sorry Francis!
We ended up getting home around 2:30am and the next day, I blissfully lay in until around midday! So nice not having the kids waking you up!
It was a really hot day, and after lazing around for a bit, I met up with Betsy and Krista and we went into town and did some shopping.
Then that evening, I had everyone over for dinner and Betsy taught us how to dance! It was a really fun evening! Even Krista and Jonathan came with Noelle!
After we had finished dancing, we decided it was too early for the night to be over and ended up playing scrabble again - but this time in English - till 3am... Serious party animals, us!! Actually, it was really fun and this time we all teamed up to help the French people!

The next day I slept in till midday again, and quickly cleaned up all trace of our soiree as the family were coming back that afternoon and I had neglected to inform them of my plans... not that they would've minded but I wanted to be on the safe side.
That afternoon, Krista, Jonathan and Betsy had organised a wedding shower for Ian and Maria. We all put on our summer frocks and cracked open the bubbly, played wedding showery games and generally had a really nice time! It was such a hot day, but being sensible North Americans, the Pletts have air conditioning which made it more bearable in their loft apartment! 

Betsy and I spent some time in prayer together before saying goodnight, and the next morning, she left early for Paris to meet her Mum and sister!
This last week has been pretty easy for work, and we have spent some nice time hanging out with Betsy's family. On Tuesday we had English bible study which was great, but it was also the evening the hot weather broke, and Ian, Maria and I walked back in the pouring rain and arrived home absolutely soaked!
Wednesday of the children went very well and in the evening, I went to a lovely soiree and BBQ chez Jeany, and with some other people from the church. I left early however to meet Betsy and family on the Place for a late Monaco which was really lovely!
Thursday, I joined the Pletts and the Boersma's for the evening and helped with the packing! And on friday, we had lunch together, and then tea and cake chez Ian to say goodbye. It was really very sad.
But she's going back to her home, and in a month or two, I'm going back to mine, and this time we've had here together will remain such an amazing memory.
Thank you for being such an amazing friend, for making me laugh, cutting my hair, always being up for singing and dancing and doing random last-minute things and for being there! You are the best!
Bon courage, keep smiling, and may God bless you in your final year of uni!

 Missing you so much already. Je t'aime, pour toujours!