lundi 30 décembre 2013


We bought some programming books for kids this Christmas and so far we have downloaded Kodu for Kids. I have to admit that I'm really happy with this purchase and MK and Alexis seem to love it already, without needing the book, whereas I do, and I have taken the book to bed to be able to understand exactly what you have to do  to build your own  game.

samedi 28 décembre 2013


 Some of the presents the children received this Christmas this year include a guitar for Alexis.
A furby for MK that drives me crazy and the children too, they even played "operation Furby" on it, but didn't get round to dissecting it (just yet), just taking the batteries out covering him with cling film!
They have a new gamer PC that we keep downstairs so we can monitor how much time they play.
We have bought some programming books for children too, more to come later
Also a present for all the artists in the family is due to come this morning, so it's quite exciting.

Meanwhile, Alain has arrived in Walvis Bay this morning and will sail and while performing tests until the ship arrives of the coast of Nigeria for its operation.

college drawings

 When Alexis drew and shaded his picture above, his teacher didn't believe him at first that he did it (looks better in reality)  but he did.  He spent hours on it too.  Apparently , the other drawings  in the class were so bad, she assumed he had help (he finished it off at home, like all his classmates). He did do it and has proved it since. He got a 19 for this dog.  Alexis loves drawing portraits and now can drawing great noses which he is happy about.
When Gaby was in 6eme, she had a similar topic to do, but she only had the half of the picture to complete, she did it on her own too and got a 17.
Gaby's speciality is drawing mangas.

vendredi 27 décembre 2013


 I bought a vintage desk way back when we lived in Sanary which now is in Alexis' room. I miss having a desk at home, I work better with one...
While visiting our local thrift shop a couple of month's ago, Alain found this desk to take its place that we snapped up, perhaps they didn't manage to sell it quicker due to its size, it's huge.  It came with its original keys and has a  secret compartment too!!!
We placed it up against one of our sofa's and gave our square table (thrift again) to our neighbour.
 Since buying it, our children, especially Alexis, have commandeered it. This wasn't supposed to happen.  Alexis can be found sitting there, morning and evening, his workbooks cover it and are usually stored under it.  It's only now, during the festive period that I have managed to move him and his stuff from my desk....
Now I have just got to get rid of Gaby's math, Marie Kate's Furby (scary creature) and other kids paraphernalia....wish me luck (photos date from ages ago).

August in December

Christmas has already past, the children have been spoilt a little less than in past years but that's not a bad thing. 
Christmas was good, time went too fast and now it's the 27th December and I have actually some time to blog, read, spend quality time with the children (not in that order).
Alain left for Nigeria today for an operation off-shore, it's going to be weird to not spend New Year's with him. 

 I have many photos to go through and here's the first few, this time from our holiday this summer in Guadeloupe.  I wish we were still there.  
We stayed in an fantastic villa about 10 minutes drive from Saint Anne's  We climbed to the top of La Grande Soufière, visited main parts of the island, ate great food and basically had a wonderful time

dimanche 10 novembre 2013

Back after nearly four months

Since working full time, it's really hard to find time to update this blog, well to do anything other than, eat sleep, look after the  children and their homework et cetera still I can't belief it's been four months since I have logged in here.
And it's November already!

  So much as happened in the last four months,  for example:

  • Oliver left home for the first time for his internship in the UK during the summer, only to come back to move into an apartment near his campus..which costs a fortune.
  • MK and Alexis went away on their first summer camp for two weeks and loved it
  • Gaby went away for three week tour of Scandinavia and hated the first week but loved the rest of her time there
  • Charlotte went to India for three weeks, and had a fantastic time
  • Charlotte's taking driving lessons
  • Took the children to see Les Fourberies de Scapin at Versailles 
  • We went to Guadeloupe for a couple of weeks with Gaby, Alexis and MK..lucky us
  • Back to school happened, Alexis is now in 6eme!
  • Only MK left in primary, yikes
  • We bought a water rower and a new desk
  • We have started Christmas shopping rather late
  • We have been reading a lot, especially Game of Thrones..watching it too
  • Loving House of Cards, Scandal, Homeland...
Back soon with some photos:)

dimanche 14 juillet 2013

Water Slide

The house is feeling a little empty without the children.  It's strange not to be woken up at 6 on a Sunday.   Having a tidy  house. Not having to stop squabbling  children several times a day.
Cooking for two. Still being in bed at 10.40!!  

Before the children left they asked for a swimming pool, but instead we bought a water slide and it's turned out to be the perfect choice.  Friends have been to play most weekends and even after school.  Even without a squirt of washing-up liquid, they almost fly down the 10 meters so fast.

I tidied the slide away yesterday and mowed the lawn which took hours ( our battery-powered lawn mower hates long grass).

Alexis and MK arrive back next Saturday, Alexis at 13h and MK at 20h.  For our last night before they get back, we have reserved a super suite in a Parisian hotel and a great restaurant. I'm looking forward to this, but I'm looking forward to Saturday and seeing A and MK a million times more.  

samedi 13 juillet 2013

Summer Camp "Survivors" camp

Alexis really didn't want to go on his summer camp, his first ever summer camp, and it took a lot of persuasion, I mean really a lot and a fews promises about which phone he could chose when he came back home.... he is an extremely good negotiator, so you can imagine the phone he's going to get!

His camp is in La Creuse and we can catch up with what they have been doing via a blog (photo taken from there).  Alexis is on the photo, he's the one with the green t-shirt on. 

We had a call two days ago from the camp leader, Gabrielle took a confusing message about Alexis that had been bitten or stung something beginning by a T.

We phoned straight back after returning from work.  It turned out that he'd been bitten by a tick and he had to go and have it removed by a doctor.  He's on antibiotics and he's fine, in fact it turns out after speaking with Alexis on the telephone that he is loving his camp.  I thought he'd beg us to pick him up...what a pessimist I am!  
We are use so happy that he's having fun and making new friends whilst sailing, cabin building. And for the next two nights he is going to sleep à la belle étoile.  

Spring and Summer update...and some photos from Amsterdam

Where does the time go?  We have been so busy:

  • working a lot 
  • trying to balance family time and work
  • visting Amsterdam
  • watching the children take part in their end of year concert 
  • waiting for the visa that never came (A was supposed to go to Angola)
  • wrapping up the last term at school before the holiday's.  Alexis enters college in September (he came out top of his class this year and had 98% for national exam all CM2' sit!
  • shopping for summer camps
  • Seeing Oliver leave for England for an internship...three months without no dirty laundry being left in the middle of the bathroom and a tidy room that smells kind-of fresh for once
                                                                                                                       On a beach a long bike ride              
                                                                                                                       from Haarlem

I could go on but I won't.  Now it's the 12th July.  We have one of five children at home which is weird but ok.  Charlotte is here, she goes to India on a humanitarian holiday (half of the time) and the other half sightseeing.  She will visit the Taj-Mahal, visit the town of the Dalai Lama (meet him if he's there).  Help make a new classroom...she's going to take lots of stationary for the school over there.

                                                In our big house boat in Amsterdam
Where are the other four?  Well you know that Oliver is in the UK getting some work experience. 
Alexis and Marie-Kate left last Sunday for their summer camps.  Alexis is on a "Survivor's" theme camp.  More to come in another post
Marie-Kate is on a "Graine de Veto" camp.  Basically, she's getting a first look at what it's like to be a Vet;  More later on her camp.
                                                      Our house boat at night
Gabrielle left at the crack of dawn yesterday (we were at CDG and 5 in the morning!) She's off on a Scandinavian tour, where she'll visit Denmark, Norway and Sweden). Once again more later.

Finally, us, two parents, with one 17 year old who is capable of looking after herself.  We are off on a hiking holiday, a short one, and we'll leave when the pile of clothes have been ironed, and the house is tidy, the grass has been cut and the plants watered.

Two more photos and then I have to tidy

 We didn't really find the food that great in Amsterdam, however in Haarlem we ate a  small organic café and the children loved the hamburgers they served.
 Bye bye house boat.  Last day before catching the plane to come back home
This is one of two floating house boats that have been transformed into a super playground that the children loved.

mercredi 24 avril 2013

Mix' Art 2013 and Gaby

Gaby's school is participating in a national competition called "Mix'Art this year.
Gaby and her friend Marjolaine, chose the theme "Fight Against Discriminations", and guess what...

Their art work was chosen to represent the school and it's won 1st prize in this category for our Academy which is Versailles. Now, we have to wait and see if they are chosen for the national prize, which would be fantastic.  If not, just getting this far is just amazing, the girls have really worked hard and we are really proud of Gabrielle.

mardi 23 avril 2013

9 Years Old

Marie-Kate turned nine yesterday. Our little girl is growing up so fast.

Her papa took the day off, so she could come home for lunch, where they shared a delicious cheese and onion omelette.
 She opened one present in advance, "Sims Supernatural" for her PC.  
We have three girls who are crazy for Sims...  She had a couple of books (not enough), a scarf making kit from her grandparents in Brittany, clothes and some money from Grannie in the UK (ear-marked for books), and lots of pony accessories and new boots, johhpurs et cetera...

Marie-Kate is a sweet girl, very sensitive, thoughtful, who if crossed can become "very" hot tempered and very loud.  She loves school, reading comic books and manga's, playing Sims and hanging out with Gaby and Alexis.
Her favourite meal is breakfast, although her favourite food is probably cheese, she is gourmand and hates fast food.

Happy Birthday Marie-Kate!

dimanche 21 avril 2013

Children's bathroom

 Ok we have been busy, and  procrastinating when it come to the children's bathroom, but seven month's later, we have made some progress. a new sink, and new cupboards, new shower and bath ( a real bath that delighted all) later, this room is slowly taking shape.
We work slowly, but it is so much better, especially when you look at what it looked liked before.

 More photos to come...eventually. Here's one photo before.

And before, the old sink, which was giant and took up so much place.

Alexis the Journalist

 It's Alexis' last year in primary school, next year he will join Gaby at college.  Alexis had a great teacher last year and this year Mr L has turned out to be equally as good. In the last 18 months, Alexis has grown to be extremely competitive and his school results are fantastic, he is very proud to still be holding on to a 20 of average in Geography. 
Overall for the last term, he had a almost 20 of average for all subjects.

Alexis' class have been writing again in the school newspaper,  the class had to write about the short movies they had watched.  Alexis' is above, he finished his article by saying that, since watching them, he has he sees the world through a different eye now. He later told us that this was just him using  journalistic license.
Here's another article Alexis wrote, this time about Biodiversity (the other one, was written by Jeremy, Alexis' best friend.

Back...Catching up from Easter

I'm really trying to juggle family, work, the house and very occasionally a blog post, but it's not easy.  Alain came back from Congo weeks ago and was supposed to leave weeks ago to Angola.  He's still waiting though, as he has a visa issue, that should be resolved next week.  If he leaves too late, it would mean that we'd have to cancel our long weekend in Amsterdam, four night on a canal boat:(

For the first time, this Easter, only Gaby, Alexis and Marie-Kate hunted for Easter eggs, Oliver and Charlotte chose their comfortable beds and 15 euros each.

 The weather was good and the eggs were fairly easy to fine as our garden was still in mode "winter".
This year, Gaby remembered no to put her big Easter egg on top of her radiator, and got to devour this one in record time.

dimanche 10 mars 2013


Gaby turned thirteen on Friday.  
Friday, I had to supervise our office move and her papa was and still is in Congo, so this year wasn't quite like the others before. However Gaby, mature as ever has taken it all in her stride and we have had an excellent weekend.  Friday we ate her favorite food, Chinese.
Saturday we spent a lot of time in the garden as the weather was quite exceptional (unlike today).

 She never had a cake till today, so it had to be good, and as she's crazy for Ben and Jerry's ice-cream, we made a Baked Alaska
 Alexis and Marie-Kate decorated it and it looked and tasted great.

Gaby hasn't had all of her birthday presents yet, we are waiting for her papa to return (sometime) but she did get to open her beautiful charm bracelet...that incidentally now to scared to wear just in-case she were to lose it.

samedi 16 février 2013

Alexis' 11th birthday

Eleven.  Easy-going, intelligent, sensitive, loyal, shy, competitive, business boy, and owner of many odd socks, as well as being a Harry Potter specialist.  

He is now in his last year of primary school, next year he will join Gabrielle who will then be in 3eme (last year of college).  Time really does fly and my children are growing up so fast.
Alexis had three different cakes for his birthday, this one was his favourite, A no bake Rocky Road cake (Hairy Biker's recipe)  and it was so good.
 Here are a couple of the presents Alexis received this year from us.  Above a water colour bought in Brittany, painted by an Irish painter who lived in Brittany.  Gaby had another of his works for her birthday...If I can make my way through her mess, I'll take a photo.
We found, probably the best present ever, for Alexis' 11th birthday, an ice hockey table, the problem is that Alexis has perfected his game since he received it and no-one is able to beat him...  His friends all want one for their birthdays now...Looks like we've started a new trend.

 Things have been busy around here recently...whats new!   A couple of weeks ago we had quite a lot of snow which made the children happy. Alain managed to leave on a business trip to Kuala Lumpur just before , leaving us to have fun snow ball fighting and making some snow people/animals.   

Marie-Kate opted for a snow pony,  it looked great when she had finished (no photo).

The children are really social at the moment (unlike their parents), even Marie-Kate has invited three friends over today, which is amazing...I forgot how noisy eight year olds could be!  
We have been busy working on the children's bathroom which is still unfinished... A couple of weeks ago we went over to Pantin after successfully bidding on a new super comfy chair with footstool.  Alain loves it, the problem is, finding time to just sit down and relax with all the children around.
If I see him sitting down on it, I take a photo.

dimanche 6 janvier 2013

A cloud inside the house

With the thousands of photos we have, plus 15 wifi users and more... we have being looking for a solution to back up our data for a while. Finally, after much wavering, we bought our own little cloud, a Synology DS213+. Since November it's been sitting in its box waiting for me to stop procrastinating and install it.  I was a little hesitant, as some work colleagues said I wouldn't find it easy, even just the installation!

Like most NAS's, this one came without any hard disks, so we bought two Western Digital NAS 1To red.
Eight screws later, and two trays slotted into place and I was ready to go. 
The rest was just child's play, after linking it to our Livebox, and typing some like //find Synology, our NAS was located. Formatting the disks took a little bit longer then10 minutes, and then the welcome page popped up.  

Above, there's the DSM (Disk Station Manager 4.1), which has a user-friendly interface and seems really intuitive to use (so far). I have created some shared folders and now my next task is to transfer all of our photos which are currently on my MB pro onto the NAS.  Also we have to give this little cloud a name.
So far, so good, why did I listen to those guys in the first place...

Catching up with Christmas 2012

For the first time ever, I worked on Christmas Eve.  I was the only one through at work and things were really quiet, so I finished early.  When I arrived home, the children had already written out  menus for everyone
All the cooking was done by Alain, Gaby, Alexis and MK.  Oliver stayed far away from any work, while Charlotte was with her boyfriend.  Alexis is really starting to like helping out in the kitchen.  Above he's preparing salmon canapés.
The girls made lots, including Devils on Horsebacks.
After many tasty aperitifs 

The table was laid

and this year we ate duck, a recipe inspired from a one of MK's cook books. Our  "Magret de Canard en Croûte de Noël" main course was yummy, served with parsnip and carrot chips.
To finish, we had a boulangerie bought Christmas Log.
To finish off, we were treated to a amazing harmonica concert by Alexis.

He's been learning harmonica since the beginning of this school year and he's really good, really, and it was a perfect ending, listening to our nearly 11 year old son, on Christmas Eve.