The second week of our month long working trip to France was one for exploring and enjoying our new normal. It was no longer just new, in so many ways it no longer felt like a holiday at all, yet nor were we on the countdown to returning home. It was just normal, and exciting in equal measures.
We really wanted to make the most of this week. To go out and adventure, soak up the culture and make the most of the time when Eddy wasn’t working. We did so much research and packed our time, especially the weekend, going to many different places. Thankfully the owners of the house were brilliant and left lots of information for local attractions and Eddy also spoke to people at work about what was the best to do. It was amazing to have this local knowledge and insight (I am thankful that Eddy can speak some French as this is definitely a sticking point for me!) It really is wonderful what you can get from people who know the place inside and out.
In our first week which you can see here we focused on settling in and as we had a family bereavement back home too it was all a bit of a whirlwind and was spent mostly at the house or the local beach. Which was lovely of course and we did indeed spend some time there this week too, especially the early part to recharge from the weekend and because, well the sun was shining and what child doesn’t love making sand cars, sand castles and fetching water from the sea in little buckets!
I introduced Eva to the joys of making seats to sit in with sand like I remember doing as a child with my sisters. Although she definitely has less patience than I did as she was already sat in it before I could make it a work of art! Very quickly followed by her sister. But it was so wonderful to see them making fun out of the simplest things, and sometimes playing long enough to let me sunbathe too!
Although I am a huge hater of sand (it just gets everywhere!) there was such peace when we were there and to see the girls loving it makes ALL of the sand almost worthwhile. I adore this picture of Eva looking like she in contemplating life.
This here is ‘our beach’ as we liked to call it. Our beach in the evening. Some nights I would come here on my own when Eddy got home from work and just sit and relax. I would walk along and think or sometimes take my camera too. It’s hard to capture the beauty of the place when I am with the children. Not because I can’t, but just because my focus is on them and I love to capture their moments of childhood so inevitably when I have a camera in hand, it is directed towards them.
It was one of my favourite things to do though, it helped me alot with the enormity of being away for a month with the children in a place I didn’t really know and didn’t speak the language – I mean unless being able to tell someone where I lived when I was a teenager and the type of town it was counts, pretty sure that wouldn’t have helped me!
I love these photos as they take me right back in an instant, they make me smile and I feel so calm. Although this one below, is Eddy’s biggest regret. He never did get the chance to jump off of this into the sea. It was either the wrong time for the tide or full of young locals throwing themselves in. I know he was always itching to find the time and I am also pretty sure he would return for this alone!
Eddy worked a short drive away from where we were staying and despite taking his bike with us with the intention of cycling there, he generally drove. It was lovely to be able to have that little bit more time at home, he could come home for lunch everyday and we were able to make the most of the time after work. It did mean however that in the day the children and I didn’t have a car (hence the beach days which was a very short few minute stroll away). So one day we decided to make the 25 minute walk to Roscoff where we could meet Eddy after work and avoid the walk back.
It was really lovely, we had been there a few times already and discovered a gorgeous coffee shop which became my favourite to visit, there was an ice cream cart that did amazing strawberry sorbet for Eva and this time we walked all the way along the coast as everywhere was just so beautiful. Eva walked down into the harbour as the tide was out and searched for shells to add to our growing collection.
I mean it wasn’t perfect. Eddy had taken all the money we had to work with him, I got to the cash point and realised I had left my bank card at the house and Eva fell over (caught on camera in the video below!) But I guess we are kind of used to the chaos that life invariably brings and we had a play in the park whilst Eddy came to our rescue and spent a lovely extra hour with us. It actually worked out for the best as we sat in the harbour together, Moules Frites for dinner and an extra big sorbet for Eva for being so patient and brave.
When Eddy finished on Friday we started our weekend of adventures by heading straight to a little town called Morlaix about a 30 min drive away. It has a huge viaduct that runs through it and so we climbed the crazy amount of steps to walk on it and take in the breathtaking views. Be warned Morlaix is made up of steep hills, streets and lots and lots of steps. It is not in the least bit pushchair friendly unless, like me, you have a husband who doesn’t mind carrying it up and down all of the said steps. But it is well worth it for the view.
A view so nice in fact that I wanted to get some footage from the other side with my video camera, which I stupidly put on a ledge. And the strong wind blew it off again and smashed it (a moment also captured on camera in the video below).
I only got this camera the week before we came away and so like the crazy emotional lady that I am, I cried! I think it was the fact that I couldn’t believe I had been that careless and the fact that I knew we weren’t even half way through our adventures and I wanted to capture as much of it as I could as we would probably never get this chance again, or at least not when the children were 1 and 5 again.
I cried so much in fact that Eddy ran off whilst me and the girls sat at a cafe having a drink and ringing my sister to calm down. And returned with the best replacement he could find. It wasn’t as good quality and it didn’t have a flip screen for ease of vlogging but I am so glad that he was so thoughtful because was it not for that rush purchase and the luck that we were even in a place that had a camera shop, I wouldn’t have any footage at all. So all of this video below, no matter how shaky, is precious to me. And hey I am just glad that it wasn’t my DSLR, now that would have been a tantrum and a half!
The weather was so beautiful at the weekend we decided to get a 15 minute boat ride from Roscoff to the nearby Ile De Batz. Which was a little island and was by far my most favourite place.
It was just so so beautiful and unspoilt.
We walked across to the exotic gardens there and on the way stopped off at a lovely little cafe when we noticed they served dark chocolate sorbet. Eva is allergic to milk so it isn’t very often she can have this when we are out or away, she often has sorbet but never has she enjoyed a chocolate one quite as much as this, she still talks about it now! Roma also had her very first taste of ice cream there. It is fair to say that after the shock of the cold, she absolutely loved it and is now the biggest ice cream fan ever, although it has to be vanilla.
The Jardin Exotique which has 2500 species of plants with flowers, palm trees and herb garden, was so beautiful and absolutely packed with colour. There was so much to see, lots of little steps and walkways to adventure, signs to read, which Eva loved, and also plenty of open spaces to run around and enjoy the views across the Island.
There was also a very interesting cactus area which I spent some time in whilst Eddy took the girls somewhere where they were less likely to come out with a hand full of spikes to deal with!
As we came out Eddy noticed that the beach right next door did Paddle boarding which is something he has always wanted to have a go at and so we stayed there for the day. The beaches were all so lovely and although the sand was coarse here, so not exactly sand castle friendly, you can still dig a good hole and the waters, much like all of the beaches we visited in Brittany, were so clear and just gorgeous.
Oh my gosh did we have fun. Maybe not for exactly the right reasons but it is not inaccurate to say that Eddy wasn’t the best at Paddle boarding. In fact he could barely keep on the board at all and I think the tact of going into deeper water first in order to get on, maybe put him at a disadvantage from the start as he was soaking wet and trying to get back on again!
It did come as a surprise for my ‘can pretty much put his hand to any sport and be good at it within about a minute’ husband, but he just couldn’t get the hang of it and no sooner had he managed to stand up and he was in the water once again. Much to the amusement of Eva and I watching from dry land. We were actually howling with laughter and Roma was shouting Daddy at the top of her voice too!
Here is a rare moment where he is standing up and I have reserved all of the falling off footage for the video. He couldn’t last the whole hour hire as it was such hard work so I decided to have a go.
Now I am the least sporty person ever as I have a joint condition but balance, I do have, and I think that, and the fact that I got on in shallow waters first, is what fared me well. I did have to sit down in order to get back as I wasn’t strong enough to stop myself getting taken out to sea in the tides standing up, but I am pleased to report I did not fall in once. I actually really enjoyed it, and showed my little ladies that sometimes people can surprise you. Although I am pretty sure Eddy is never going to live it down!
After Eddy’s showcase this little one didn’t fancy a try so just sat on it instead.
Like I said before the sea was so beautifully clear that we went in for a swim and I even got Eva in for a little while. She isn’t the biggest fan of the sea. Partly because she has eczema so it does sting a little at first but I think she is also scared that something will bite her even though it never has! But it was lovely to have those few minutes of fun.
I love this picture of Eva. We were just waiting for the boat ride back and I couldn’t help but just look at her beautiful face and take in how much she has changed since she started school last year and I was just instantly thankful for this uninterrupted time together.
On the Sunday we drove 45 minutes to the city of Brest to go to Oceanopolis, a huge aquarium which has so much to do both inside and out. It was a lovely sunny day and we did think maybe we should be spending it outside but actually there was the best of both worlds here. And I guess the bonus of it being so sunny is that it was not busy at all.
We were really impressed with the amount there was to do. Unfortunately I hadn’t charged my video camera up but there was so many different areas to visit that I am pretty sure Eva just went off and barely stood still she was so fascinated. Roma would just stand at the glass too and especially loved the sharks and penguins.
Outside there was a gorgeous little picnic area which was covered in sand and had these beautiful bright beach huts on. They were just stunning, we stopped and had lunch before heading back and I took some photos that I shared for our siblings photos that month too.
We finally got in the car to head home, until we spied these fountains in a little square in Brest and decided to make a detour. The square was so beautiful lined with restaurants and littered with crates of flowers and at the top were these water fountains. At first we hesitantly said as it was a nice day and Eva was so keen she could go and play in them.
She walked through the middle avoiding the water as it shot up around her and she shrieked with joy. She even got us involved too.
Although Roma was a little less than impressed!
And before we knew it she was standing right on top of the water and was completely and utterly soaked to the bone. To see my little, shy, reserved and sometimes cautious little 5 year old run through the water with wild abandon. To not care than she had no change of clothes and would have to sit on the 45 min drive home wrapped in one of her uncles tshirts we found in the back of the car. Was so heartwarming.
Honestly I cannot tell you how happy it makes me that she decided to throw caution to the wind and just be a child in the throws of pure and utter excitement. I just sat there and watched her and almost never wanted to tell her to stop as I let her screaming joy ring in my ears. This is one of the moments that I know I will remember forever. Not one we planned, or expected and yet one of the very best of all. A perfect way to end our second week.
Thank you if you got to the end of this post and sorry for the sheer amount of photos. Here is the video of our second week complete with aforementioned falling over of little girls, falling off of grown men and smashing of little cameras. Check back soon for week 3 and 4.