Bordeaux

We spent a week here in August. If you read my previous post you will know the first few days were absolutely freezing, but thankfully we managed to have a few glorious days of swimming

We were staying just outside of Bordeaux near a huge lake. As an Australian I’ve never really experienced lakes before, and this beautiful body of water made me wish I had a few more days of sunshine. I love how the French really enjoy their holiday time. People would come to the lake, set up and then spend the entire day there. I also love that there was elegant cafe looking over the lake. I loved swimming for a couple of hours and then going to drink coffee and eat icecream. Even when it was pouring with rain it was nice to sit and watch the view.
Some interesting things I noticed, we were the only ones on the beach before midday and the only ones with kids in hats and rashies. But in France, unlike Australia, it only really heats up at 2pm, instead of midday. So my Australian instincts were to rush out the door in the morning so we could leave by 10am, but sometimes it was still too cold to swim by ten even if the temperatures reached 30 degrees during the day.
I didn’t get to properly look around the city of Bordeaux because both times I tried my eldest daughter wasn’t feeling well. Traveling with kids generally means that sometimes you just have to let go of any plans. I hope to return one day and see it for all its beauty.

Living Without “Stuff”

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I recently read this post by the blogger londonminimalists and it got me thinking about our present situation living without “stuff”. We are currently living in our friend’s apartment. Monsieur P isn’t living there at the moment and, luckily for us, had a fully furnished apartment in the city in France we wanted to live in. Monsieur P is a minimalist without even knowing it’s a thing. His apartment is sparsely furnished, but has all the necessities such as fridge, washing machine, couch, beds etc.

Being the (hopefully reformed) maximalists that we are, naturally when we were faced with this situation, our automatic response was to go shopping and get all the extras we “needed”. However, because we want to save our money, and try to be minimalists, we did not do that. One of the few things we did buy was a couple of baskets for the kids toys to make cleaning up easier. After a couple of weeks I was getting annoyed that there was no washing basket to carry my clothes from the bathroom onto the balcony. So I emptied one of the toy baskets, which were probably already emptied by the kids, and I used it. Now a few months on I genuinely cannot think why you would want a specific basket just for washing. It makes sense that if you have to have “stuff” then make sure they have more than one use. For example we don’t have wine glasses, but now I love drinking out of the basic IKEA glasses we have, and it also makes me feel very French. We don’t have a kettle and just use a saucepan on the stove.

A couple of years ago I read this article by Sarah Wilson. It is all about what things she doesn’t own in her home. I loved the idea, but at that time I was living in a fully stocked house, so naturally it made no sense to get rid of perfectly functioning things, because at the end of the day, it’s not only about having less, its about not consuming more. I didn’t think I would ever be in the situation I am now, and I still have a whole bunch of “stuff” in storage in Australia, but for now it is so nice to have less. And whilst I love that for Sarah Wilson her house is easier to tidy, my house only ever stays tidy for about a minute because I have two daughters who wreak havoc wherever they go. For more on double use items I highly recommend reading the blog paris-to-go, she is so inspiring. I have read some of her posts numerous times.

 

 

Bordeaux And The Hilarious Failure Of Minimalist Packing

Lisa 1 HN

How did I end up, in Bordeaux, impulse buying a new pair of jeans, that were too big for me you ask? After all my proclamations of minimalism…

We headed to Bordeaux for a week in a friend’s car. I was excited because I thought it would be the perfect rehearsal for going to Paris in a couple of weeks, where I will be dealing with a stroller, suitcase and Ergo baby carrier on my own. (Side note my husband had to fly back to Australia for a conference and we were meeting him in Paris). I ended up taking a larger suitcase than I want for Paris because I packed towels for the lake. But the most important thing is is that it was not full! I packed less for me and the girls than I ever have before. I checked the forecast and it was predicted to be hot, this was confirmed by our friend Monsieur P who said that it is always hot in Bordeaux. If I had any reservations they were put to rest but the 5.5 hr drive in 35 degree heat with out air conditioning. So I was feeling confident in my week of clothing choices ahead, plus there would be a washing machine.

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Well I could not have been more wrong. Oh black skinny jeans and cardigan that I put back in my cupboard at the last minute, how I missed you. Who would have predicted that our very first day, and the following few days, it would be pouring with rain and not go over 17 degrees? Not me. I had travelled in my new beloved Isabel Marant pants and planned that they would fulfill any need I would have for pants. However after said 5.5 hours in 35 degrees the last thing I wanted to do was wear them again, without washing. Lessons learned:

  • Always pack a just in case outfit that isn’t your travel outfit
  • Don’t buy jeans with out trying them on.
  • Bring a belt with you.
  • Don’t pack only one pair of shoes for kids, because it’s likely to rain and they will jump in puddles.

I ended up running around Bordeaux, in the pouring rain, trying to find a pair of pants to wear. I had the baby strapped to me in the Ergo, and my eldest feeling unwell, patiently waiting in a cafe. All I wanted was a pair of high waisted black skinny jeans because i’ve been wanting a pair for awhile and I knew I would probably get a bit of wear out of them. But there were none in Zara and the three other stores I ran though. I could find nothing that wasn’t ripped, or required trying on. I ended up getting a pair of cigarette style jeans which are mean to be not super tight. I figured that way it wouldn’t matter. But again I was wrong. They are slightly too big in the waist. Not terrible, but enough that I resorted to tying them up at the back with a piece  of rope. Because naturally I hadn’t packed the unnecessary belt.

Lisa 2 HN

footnotes:
-This was actually written 3 months ago in August
-Sadly I have never worn these jeans again, I really don’t like them and hopefully I can give them away to someone who will appreciate them