So we did it. We made it. We got to France and made it back without any visits to French hospitals. Hooray! Just to re-cap we went to the Vendee region of France (Saint Jean de Monts) and stayed at a Siblu ("French for happy families" so says their slogan) static van camp site. The kids thought they'd arrived in paradise. It had 2 parks, games room, entertainment, table tennis, a pool with slides and much more. I shall speak more of this in another post as we don't normally do these types of holidays and we happened to be next door to some proper hard core Siblu stayers.
My husband vowed never ever to stay in a caravan after a very good holiday in Great Yarmouth - we had lots of great days out but the seating and bed were so uncomfortable. On our previous two visits to France we have stayed in a rented house. The last one was a fabulous, large, new 3 bed with loads of space, 2 minute walk to the beach and all at the bargain price of 1,000 euros for 2 weeks. Thing is you can't guarantee the weather in Normandy - its very much like the UK so you take your chances and given that the UK summer had been so rubbish we were heading for sunshine this year.
In the Vendee you are pretty much guaranteed it and for that reason the houses are far more expensive. In any event we really struggled to find a 3 bed near the beach within our budget so caravan it was.
Well the caravan was lovely - it had decking and was on a quiet part of the site which wasn't that nosey in any event. All was good. The husband had driven 7 1/2 hours and the back was holding out. Then we went to bed. For the love of god the mattress was like a slab of concrete! I mean my back is pretty decent but even I felt like I'd been crushed by a steamroller. Shit. My husband had very little sleep for 2 weeks and would probably be back in hospital had we stayed any longer. His comment on that first night was "Siblu is French for Suicide!"
We did make the best of the time we had though - he certainly took one for the team that's for sure. The kids had a fabulous time and I enjoyed it too although more so if the hubster had been in better order. Our days were filled with discovering new beaches along the 26km to choose from. Some days sandy, some more rocky,crabbing, supermarket shopping with the kids peering at the lobsters and crabs and getting excited at ketchup flavoured crisps. We had bbqs, ate a lot of French bread, the kids used the pool slides, had evenings out along the beach front, a few arcade rides and games, zip wires in the many play areas. It was "action packed" so said my son. My husband couldn't sit for any length of time so he took many walks along the beach with the kids and we were out walking every evening along the beach promenade. On his side of the bed we had folded four duvets to give him a degree of comfort but it was all a bit fruitless. I did think about suggesting bringing in the hard sun lounger for him to sleep on but thought better of it.
The best part for me was the day I hired some bikes for my son and I. I had already worked out the French for my requirements and popped over to the sister Siblu site to arrange them. Of course, he spoke fluent English and before I had even opened my mouth he was jabbering away in English and away we went with our lovely bikes. Mine was a Renault number I have you know. The next day we made our way out to meet the others at a disclosed location along the beach front. We cycled through the forest smelling the lovely pine trees and followed the dedicated bike lanes along the beach front. There was even a little bike air filling station just in case your tyres went flat.
We didn't chance our arm and visit Frances 'best kept secret' the theme park Pay du Fou - and my kind of theme park no rides! Check out its website if you get a chance. Its basically various spectacular shows. We thought it would be a bridge too far and you can actually stay within the park so I'm thinking maybe a separate visit one day and buddy will be able to enjoy it more when he's older.
So what of the food. In the first week I had yogurt for breakfast and lunch was french bread (which is pretty devoid of bread its all crust) and our evening meals did tend to be meat and bread. In the evenings I did enjoy a few Chi Chi's. Basically its a doughnut but not in its normal guise. Its phallic shaped with ribbed edges - oh er. They sell them in cornets and they're lovely and warm. I missed out on the moules this year - last year it took a long time between courses and 2 hours dinning out with kids is a long time. I could have got a take-away version but much like an Indian take-away its not quite the same experience.
I haven't put on any weight - we were very active. I also (look away now if you don't want to hear about woman type matters) delayed my period for the 2 weeks. I had no idea you could do this. Why has it taken me this long (I'm 38) to think of this? I took 3 x pills a day and this prevented any inconvenience so I will have a better idea of weight type matters next week but as it stands I'm no fatter or lighter than I was 2 weeks ago. I normally lose about 3lbs when we go away not because I haven't had a good time but we are so bloody active its not that difficult.
So I did promise a bikini shot - brace yourselves. Now I have to say from the moment I set foot on the beach on the first day I felt very confident. This is because all women wear them on the beach and I would say at least 60/70% are mum's like me with similar figures so I felt in no way out of place. Take from that what you will. We're all greedy bastards or just normal - I don't know. No one gives a hoot. I did admire slimmer mums in their bikinis - fair play to them they haven't given up the ghost and probably work hard for their bikini bods. I did not feel that those same women were judging me in anyway. Its very liberating. I would highly recommend it.
|This one hubby took - I'm not really a sun worshipper as I have pale skin and I don't tan brown I go a kind of orange colour!|
|And this is what it looks like on a fit bod! My size was 36FF with XL bottoms!|