That’s been asked quite a lot. And I did, it was great. Highlights included eating crepes and drinking beer in the squares of Lille, the kids excitement over tarantulas and stick insects in Lille’s natural history museum, watching a star-struck Girlbug splutter and stammer in front of Cinderella, watching Boybug follow Grandpa round like a shadow, Girlbug meeting her namesake (a rocket), and getting some kid-free time courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa.
Well…while this was going to be a light hearted post, I felt I had to at least mention that all our holiday strife was nothing in comparison to the awful, heartbreaking attack in Nice.
The impact of Brexit
I love a French supermarket, but not anymore. I’m too poor to buy strawberries at 7€ a punnet! That and any French person who could speak more than a spattering of English wanted to know our thoughts!
Now onto the lighter holiday challenges!
Lille: our first city break with kids
Our idea of a romantic city break was always a little ambitious, but we enjoyed Lille. The hotel was fine, one of the apartment-hotels so the kids had their own bedroom. Nothing flashy, but a good base. However, the room offered plenty of opportunity to escape, which when travelling with Boybug is less than ideal.
Windows: There was no air con, which we knew about in advance, and isn’t unusual – northern France not being particularly hot. But it was hot. We could have opened the windows, in fact, even Boybug could open the waist high, wide opening windows with no locks on which lead to a seven storey drop onto a roof below. We chose to keep the kids window closed, briefed Girlbug (almost four) not to touch the window and to call us immediately if Boybug tried to open it. Yup, we effectively left a three year old in charge of safeguarding her two year old brother…while she was supposed to be asleep – what could go wrong? I just slept with one eye open and both ears listening for any middle of the night window opening antics!
Door: Boybog is a wanderer, turn your back and he’s off. So, as well as listening for him opening the window, I also laid awake all night listening for him attempting to open the hotel room door. Which obviously you couldn’t lock from the inside.
Actual sleep: both of these problems were smaller than they would normally be, given that Boybug gave up sleeping for the whole holiday. To be fair, in Lille he had a couple of things keeping him up. 1) the heat because I daren’t keep the window open 2) the excitement of sharing with his sister and 3) the noise from the “fanzone” – the massive screens and crowds next to our hotel due to the Football. The husband follows the football intensely, but apparently didn’t know there was a football thing in France this summer.
All this left Boybug strapped in the buggy watching the football at 10pm, while the husband and myself had a romantic bottle of wine on the sofa.
Disney: the bit for the kids
This went more smoothly than I could possibly imagine. Boybug still didn’t go to bed when we asked him, Girlbug had some monumental over-tired, over-excited meltdowns, and there was a fair amount of whinging when I wouldn’t spend €80 on an Elsa dress. But other than that, we had a lot of fun.
A week in the south of France: the relaxing bit
Boybug still wouldn’t sleep. Girlbug did. Or so we thought…but then we caught her practicing the parallel bars using a rather thin looking curtain pole in her room – whose idea were those gymnastics lessons?
Both kids loved the rural location. Boybug loves poking wildlife, and I’ve tried to warn him in the past. No suprise when he came howling with a massive stag beetle attached to his finger then! And he revelled in the chance to further perfect his escaping skills too. This time getting his sister to open the gate so that he could go visit Grandpa (who lives 250m down the road)! Luckily we found him before he reached the road!
And finally…the 12 hour drive
Yes, we chose to drive for 12 hours, over night with two children under four in the back of the car. It was kind of OK. Though when we swapped drivers at 11pm Girlbug was too excited to see a “car in a train under the sea” that she stayed awake for the next five hours just to witness it. Luckily it wasn’t very exciting so she went to sleep as soon as we were aboard. Boybug slept for most of it, waking up to see the joys of the Paris peripherique at 2am. The busiest stretch of the journey and Girlbug was asking questions and Boybug wanted to “get down”. Joy. But we made it.
Now to plan the next holiday!