Paris is so beautiful, and only just over an hour flight from Cardiff. I took my eight-year-old to see it and not only was I taken aback at how beautiful a city it is but I was also genuinely surprised at how much there is to do in Paris with kids.

  1. Air Bnb experiences

Most people are quite au fait (a little French there) with using Air Bnb now for accommodation but have you ever looked at their experiences? From intimate jazz performances at secret locations only disclosed on the night to wine tasting tours, Air Bnb experiences are a great way to find something unique. Listed among them are a few walking tours of Paris especially for families and groups with children. We did one of these and our tour guide was a nanny so she knew how to engage with my daughter and really help her feel immersed in the surrounding culture of Paris and comfortable to ask questions. We visited a playground by the canal and at the end of the tour an ice cream was included for her at the famous ice cream shop Berthillon.

Eiffel Tower Paris

  1. See the Eiffel Tower at night.

Be the best parent ever and let them stay up past their bedtime. Plan an evening visit to the iconic Eiffel Tower. At dusk the lights switch on which casts a lovely old-fashioned type of yellow glow over the tower and then every hour on the hour there is a magnificent light show. We visited Paris in the summer and dusk was around 9.30pm. At 10pm the tower sparkled with crystal white lights. Groups of people lounged on the grass in the Champs De Mars (the garden in front of the Eiffel Tower). A busker played guitar and a warm breeze blew while people picnicked and drank wine. The ambience was exquisite and a loud cheer erupted when the tower lit up. An experience not to be missed.

  1. Get an aerial view

Save money by booking tickets ahead of time online for Montparnasse tower and wow the kids when they see it’s outdoor observation deck. See if they can feel the lift moving as it ascends 56 floors in 38 seconds and get a stunning 360° view of the city of light. Top tip-visit Montparnasse tower at the end of your Paris trip and use the information boards to pick out all the places you have been to.

Montparnasse tower Paris

  1. Museums and Art

Paris is stuffed to the brim with art galleries and museums. The world-famous Louvre is a building unlike any they will have previously experienced. The Pompidou centre is a modern art gallery and has all it’s pipes and escalators on the outside of the building. If you fancy showing them works by Picasso, the Musee D’Orsay is a good bet. Along the Seine is the Jardin Des Plantes which has plants from all over the world and it is free to walk through. And the fashion museum is within walking distance of the natural history museum.

 5. Time to play

We were only there for two nights and we went to two different play parks. They are dotted throughout the city. There is one at the back of Notre Dame cathedral which was a nice shady spot for some respite from the city busy-ness. There is an urban beach which is put up every summer. We missed it unfortunately but this could be a good pit stop for children to take a break.

General Tips for Enjoying Paris with Kids.

Travel

You can buy Metro tickets at any Metro station. The machines are really easy to use and have a translate to English button on them. Buy a carnet of 10 tickets for travel all across Paris on the Metro and buses for around €13.90. Children’s tickets are half price. I had to use my card which incurred a 40p charge for using it abroad. Or you can go to the booth.

When in Paris

Give your kids a couple of French phrases for them to try out. My daughter heard me saying ‘merci’ when buying things and began to use it as well. She gained confidence as people responded to her in French.

Notre Dame Paris with kids

Walking our tour guide’s dog along the River Seine toward Notre Dame

Safety

I left my two-year-old at home with his dad and I was glad I didn’t take him along on our trip. Paris is a very busy city even in August when a lot of Parisians leave for most of the month. There are lots of busy roads. Some road crossings are light marshalled but some are not. I noticed a lot of spots where I felt thankful I did not have an active toddler in tow such as along the river Seine where there were big drops off into the river with no railings or barriers. Saying that if you are comfortable in London with a toddler you’d be fine in Paris too.

Check out our vid of our 2 night trip to Paris here.

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things to do in Paris with kids

Something really sad just happened. Sad as in the middle-aged way of saying something is ‘not cool’. I had waited for Rich to get home from work to go and fill up the car and go through the car wash (baby doesn’t like the car wash). When he got home we were deciding who should mow the lawn. I said ‘I’ll be all hot and sticky for my date with the car wash’ ‘Your date with Carlos?’ Rich replied ‘I wish!’ I said and we both laughed. The sad bit is, we both laughed.

From sharing a joke about casual infidelity to conversations about mowing the lawn, we couldn’t get any more comfortably married. He does the bins, I do my daughter’s hair for school. We are the average stereotypical married couple, and there’s no escaping it.

The Romance is Dead

What does that mean? Basically when you’ve been married for 10 years, you kind of get used to each other. If that sounds really boring, it’s because it is, for the majority of the time. The romance is officially dead. The Valentine’s day candle lit dinners and public declarations of love are at least. But I never counted that as romance anyway. It’s easy to adorn someone new with praise and admiration. If Rich confessed his undying love for me on Facebook I’d comment asking why he didn’t say it to my face.

Married

The thing about long time stereotypical marriage, is that although it can be boring, when it rocks it rocks big time. Nothing comes close to the feeling of someone knowing you so well. Someone who loves you enough to take care of things when you’re sick or who gets as excited as you about your personal goals. It’s the in jokes shared between just us two, the history, the shared stories, the knowing each other inside and out and the anticipation of the years ahead to continue getting to know each other. I would never trade all that for the initial lust of the beginning.

Beware of the Receptionists

I don’t really bang on about how great marriage is because I know people don’t want to hear it. It’s not cool or ‘in’ and people assume I’m promoting one way of life over another. That’s not what I’m saying here at all. Also, I feel like it could be thrown in my face at any minute. What if when the kids leave home we don’t have anything to talk about? Or he decides his receptionist is sexy and I end up on the singles market aged 50? I can’t say that’s never going to happen but I can enjoy the now. The the security of the banal texts saying ‘please put my wash on spin’ and sending photo messages of our kids being cute together because he’s the only other person in the world who cares about them as much as me. Close friends know it’s not always perfect, and it’s highly probably there will be more to face in the future. But I feel like God is saying to me ‘ENJOY’! Enjoy where you are, right now. Enjoy the familiarity, the security, the shared dark humour. Enjoy it for what it is today, not for what might be tomorrow.

Roots

There’s a bit about being comfortably married in ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ which I chose as a reading for our wedding. I had read this book not long before we got married and was quite taken with it. The extract is a part of the book where Pelagia’s father is talking to her about love. These are her father’s words of wisdom to her on the subject.

‘Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.  And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is.

Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.

Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and, when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.’

Louis de Bernieres

If you liked this one, you’ll love this one about our kind-of-awkward date night.

Date Night

 

I watched the latest royal wedding avidly. I don’t know about being a royalist or non-royal supporter but when it comes to a wedding video, I’m in. I didn’t realise how much I wanted to see it until the day it was on actually, I was transfixed.

It was a beautiful affair. The bride very demure and understated glamour, the groom waiting with his big brother who had gone before him. All very lovely. What I found most interesting was the focus on Meghan’s mum Doria after the wedding.

There was a lot of posts about how brave she was to sit alone and others about how she is fearless. It was as if the world suddenly got really snooty about how families work. I haven’t looked at the stats but I’m pretty sure there are a fair few of us who did not find it unusual at all.

wedding-alone

I realised my mum came to my wedding alone. There were no posts after about how amazing that was, I don’t think anyone really noticed. I didn’t even think about it. There were other members of my family at my wedding unlike at Meghan’s wedding. Perhaps that was why it was so brought up.

What I did notice was that her mum went in the car with her but then Meghan had to walk into the church alone to meet Prince Charles who was to walk her down the aisle. I wonder why her mum was moved out of shot at that point? I don’t know the answer.

It was as if Meghan’s family set up was being measured against a yard stick set by the royal family’s circumstances. But when you think about it, their family history of relationships is not exactly something to live up to. The Crown series I have been watching has painted Prince Phillip as a right cad and we know infidelity abounded during Charles and Diana’s marriage also.

However, I am not here to cast judgement. And I can appreciate those ‘warrior mom’ posts about Doria Ragland came from a place of respect and admiration. But really, it’s not such a huge thing. It is what it is. Some families have one parent, some people don’t have a lot of extended family. I bet  if you asked Meghan and her mum Doria they probably didn’t think anything of it either. They were probably both distracted with celebrating happiness.

single-mum-india

Mum and I on a beach in India

I really didn’t see Doria as a downtrodden poor old maid who had no strapping man to take care of her for the day, or alternatively as a militant feminist woman who never accepts help from anyone. I just saw a mum sitting in awe of that cathedral, looking on in love at her daughter getting wed.

Families come in all shapes and sizes, let’s not be so easily led to believe that one shape or size is the right one. As long as there is love, that’s all that matters.

 

If you liked this post you might enjoy this one about how women support each other.

I didn’t get my act together in time to make a sponsored gift guide for Mother’s Day this year (March 11th 2018 if you were wondering). These are all the things I myself would love to receive for Mother’s Day. It’s basically an elaborate post it note to my husband Richard. This is what I like (insert big flashy arrow here). I’ve already scored a couple of hours for an afternoon tea with my 7yr/o which I planned, shopped for, and booked myself and I am really looking forward to. Of course no material thing compares to the love and adoration of my wonderful angelic children and perfect husband, but here are a few things you (YOU RICH) could buy me just to say ‘we might not say it a lot, but you’re totally bossing this whole mum thing’. 😉

  1. Benefit roller lash mascara.

I’ve been binge watching Jeffree Star videos lately (girrrl) and he is living and dying for this mascara so now I want it too.

2. A cutsie or funny travel mug.

Not that I’m ever that sort of organised mum who thinks far enough ahead to have a coffee prepped in a stylish to-go reusable coffee mug but I would like to have one on the side that looks pretty so I can pretend I am. I love this one from ‘Be.’ but I think they’re in Australia, and I haven’t checked their shipping.

mum fuel travel mug

Photo credit: Be. living and homeware website.

3. A pretty spring scarf.

Anything sort of light and airy. This is one he might not think of because I don’t wear them often but they’re great to chuck on and I feel like they disguise my belly a bit. They are also oh-so-feminine so that’s nice too. This one is £25 from Monsoon.

S

photo credit: Monsoon website

4. A cake stand

I saw some lovely ones in Tesco but now I’m totally lusting after this wedgwood one with a gold trim. It’s my daughter’s birthday in March and we are having a princess afternoon tea so this present is *essential*. While there, just as well get some lovely little cake plates from John Lewis to go with it really.

cake plates

Photo credit: John Lewis website

5. Basically anything from the Lush shop

 

If all else fails a big bunch of bright flowers from Morrisons will do the trick lovely. Or you can order from Prestige Flowers. Don’t give me chocolate (I’m on a diet, obvs) or wine because I don’t really like it & I’m happy to just drink your gin, or vouchers (totally not thoughtful and lazy). Oh unless it’s make up vouchers and a lot of them for posh make up then I can completely understand.

 

MAY THE ODDS BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOUR.

 

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

PIN IT FOR LATER

 

Date Night – do you do it or do you think it’s overrated? It had been 2 years since me and my husband had been out on our own without the kids. If you’re a married maid like me I’m sure you can appreciate how rare a nice date night is. So, we booked a table and a babysitter and went out for a slap-up meal.

10 year wedding anniversary

In two months’ time I will have been married for 10 years. Like most people, we’ve been together longer, so it’s 13 years altogether. We used to go out a lot. We’d go to the cinema all the time, we even had monthly passes. We’d go out to eat together just if we fancied and with both of us working and just one cat to take care of it was easy to do. We went out with our friends every weekend. Things have changed on that front since having our children and it hit me a couple of weeks ago that it had actually been 2 years since we had been out together!

We went out to a local Italian restaurant. I had been there before with friends but Rich had never been. We knew it was within running distance of the house. It worked out well that we could walk there and back and both have a teensy drink too. I wanted to wear something nice and make a bit of an effort but it was cold and as my mum used to say ‘You can’t make a silk purse of a sow’s ear’ so I wore jeans as usual and just put extra eyeliner on.

That thong, th-thong, thong, thong

It was in the getting ready that my contemplation began about the term date night. It really was not like dating at all. It started in the daytime, making sure the baby didn’t nap too long. I started getting ready at 5pm so that I could do the baby’s bedtime. Instead of wine and music and thongs I struggled with a pair of spanx, which I’m now convinced are too small for me. Realising he could probably find my naked body in a line up with a blindfold on I realised the futility of the spanx and thought I’d rather enjoy my meal so took them off again. Already it was more like a scene off Bridget Jones than anything else.

When you’re dating you’re trying to get a measure of someone else. Trying to find a snapshot of that person’s life and seeing if you would fit well together sharing life. When you’ve been married for ten years you couldn’t know a person more. I would just feel like a twat trying to do flirty conversation with Rich, he’d look at me stupid. Also there’s nothing I can ask him about himself that I don’t already know. I could chart out this man’s bowel movements. I know he likes football, I know he’s kind and caring. We’ve spent the last 13 years side by side. I know what he’s capable of. Equally, he can tell if I think the person two tables over is being too loud, if I don’t like the food or I’m trying to stifle a laugh at someone who just tripped over. More than this, I can’t hide from him if I am bored out of my wits with the conversation!

A shared sense of humour

Luckily for me, I married good and this fella makes me laugh so much (when we get chance to actually finish a sentence or two between us). We had a nice time and after -I must admit- an initial sort of ‘oh shit what am I going to say’ when I realised I had no fall backs, I relaxed into it and enjoyed myself.

We were only out for two and a half hours, and as I’m sure is quite normal we had one of two little beings still awake when we got home but it was totally worth it and it definitely filled up my cup. Walking home I thought I would rephrase ‘Date Night’ to ‘Keeping in Touch night’ and he was already talking about planning the next one so I can’t have been too boring either!

Date Night

 

If you liked this post, you might like to read one I wrote about how me and Rich work as a team even though I’m a SAHM.