Thursday, 5 December 2013

Renovation Project - Birthday celebrations in the UK

Renovation Project - Birthday celebrations in the UK

I’m all sorted, I have my tickets, it’s time for my mammoth trek to the UK. We set off on time, and arrive at the port with no problems. Whilst booking in I start to think do I really want to spend the next 6 hours getting sea sick and wandering around a boat on my own, it is only an extra £16 to have a cabin. I book the cabin, at least I can be ill in the privacy of my own little space (and these cheap cabins really are little spaces).

They can only be described as floating metal coffins, so for someone who is scared of the water and quite claustrophobic, they are not ideal but compared to spending 6 hours sat at a bar or cafe feeling sick there is not much choice.

One thing we do realise is that even though Brittany Ferries are a French company all transactions are in GBP (British pounds) the exchange rate is not good so if you are using Brittany ferries, try to make sure you have some sterling with you!

The crossing is problem free and I arrive in Plymouth, next part of the trek is to find the bus station, the woman on the customs desk is very helpful and gives me a map which I then duly follow, but as I can get lost with a sat nav, I don’t hold out much luck, I appear to be following a man from the ferry, who also has a suitcase, so I assume he is going to the same place and wonder if I should just follow him. This is something I have done many times in the car, when you are stuck in a traffic jam, if a car pulls out and turns into a side street, I assume they know an alternative route, so I follow and over 50% of the time they do, only once have I ended up stopping at somebody’s drive on a housing estate!

Luckily he changes direction at an obvious point and I check with some women that I am going in the right direction.

I pass the Plymouth Christmas markets and start to feel excited again, I will be seeing my daughter and the baby soon, I also spy a traditional, award winning Cornish pasty stall and have to stop for a cheese and onion pasty, these are unbelievable from Cornwall, so tasty and so much filling, especially award winning ones, this stall lied!!!!!!!!! It was rubbish and I don’t think I tasted any cheese with the potato it was filled with!

I find the bus station and wait for my bus, I cannot remember the last time I caught a bus, but to be honest they were not how I remembered, the seats were comfy, and there were seat belts, reading lights and even a toilet!

I arrive at Bristol and wait for my brother, he arrives with my daughter, it is so good to see her, but she spends the majority of the journey explaining that the baby is going through one of those phases where she won’t go to people she doesn’t know very well, and that I am not to get upset if she won’t go to me, I brace myself, and when I walk in, her little face lights up and she puts her arms out to me, she does remember me, I am so happy, I had been terrified that she would not know me, but she does, thank you so much Skype.

We have a nice night with my brother and his family then head back to Cheshire the following morning.

We spend the week enjoying our time together and get to visit the Christmas Markets in Manchester, these are really amazing and the bratwursts are fantastic.


We also spend a day in Liverpool and I find it funny that the Liverpool football club shop and the Everton Football shop are next to each other only separated by a small perfume shop, it is explained to me that this is to stop the smell from each other going into each other (I am not sure if this is the original reasoning behind the planning of the shops)

I get to spend some quality time with my mum, which involves lots of cakes, the best we found were at the Cheshire Gap, this is a deli in Macclesfield, the cakes in the window are fantastic and you pick the one you like, then walk in the shop and find there are hundreds to choose from, I want them all. Though the staff on duty were a little taken aback when I asked if I could photograph the display for the blog, I’m not sure they were too happy about it, but hey, now the good name has been spread worldwide!

And then we have the birthday party, this is the reason I have come back, my little baby granddaughter is 1, she is now a little girl and she looks so cute, she loves the balloons, and the cake and is mesmerised by the sparkler candle, we Skype John as we are about to sing happy birthday so he can be with us. It was such a special time.

I also get to see the baby take her first step, a very quick one, but one never the less, this means I have never missed a first with her yet.

When you leave family behind, especially babies you panic constantly that you will miss everything, and they will forget you (don’t think that this won’t happen to you, because it will) but if you can get back to visit and use Skype, they know who you are and somehow save up their first for your visits (or they have very nice parents that say that this is the first time).

I am happy and ready to go back to France, I try to talk them into coming with me but they won’t, can’t understand why not, all it means is leaving nursery, partner, work, home...... OK maybe I can see why they won’t come with me, but I can always try.

See you back in France


  1. Jenny, I am thrilled for you that Poppy remembers you!!! Fantastic!

    1. Thanks Gerda, I was so happy, it's still a worry leaving her so young, but Skype really is a wonderful invention

  2. oh for those English shops, I have been totting up just lately what I miss from England but the life we have here far outways it. glad you got to see your granddaughter for her 1st birthday.

  3. I would love to go back near to Christmas to see the Christmas markets, thanks for putting pictures. Your Granddaughter is lovely, glad you got to see her first step.

    1. Thanks Anji. we are both going to go back for a quick visit over Christmas, hope you get also :)

  4. Thanks Roz, we have realised that actually there are very few things that we really miss, though at times to be able to just ring for a take away would be lovely after a hard days work, but on the plus side, I have lost a lot of weight, thanks to no take aways :)