Joined November 2017
  • Day 20

    Last hurrah

    March 9 in England ⋅ 🌧 10 °C

    Today we said Au revior to France and headed back to London on the Eurostar for our last night before jet setting back home tomorrow night.
    The metro with bags and kids was pretty stressful (I actually slightly blubbered when we managed to all get off intact and not lose anyone…or any limbs) and I know why the French are so fit- they have a love for stairs. Even in the underground and at train stations. Great big flights of steps. This with suitcases is a winning combination for biceps of steel. And more so, a wife that huffed and puffed and thought she could… with a face like the little red engine. Needless to say- we made it!!
    And realistically, we have put the kids through a lot, and in hindsight, expected them to be very responsible little people, considering their age. And they have (mostly- there have definitely been moments!!) taken it completely in their stride, and just gotten on with it. We are very proud of the capable little people they can be.
    So we are back in London! For our last hurrah, the girls have some precious spending money they have been saving for one particular shop… the Harry Potter shop at Kings Cross Station (platform 9 3/4 of course… you know if you know…).
    Yes Nan! Audrey finally used her birthday money here!!!! Poor Nick was left outside for… awhile… while the girls and I meandered our way through HP merchandise headquarters. It was epic 😀 There is no longer a closet for me to hide in. I was just as excited as the girls. Nick continued to wait…
    We got a photo on the platform (this was an experience in itself. A persons ACTUAL job is to let you chose a house scarf, place it on you and throw the end of it in the air at the photographers instruction to create a perfect picture. An ACTUAL job. Sign me up for retirement.)
    We had our last hurrah (cause why not keep supporting the local economy right?!) and took the girls to see Matilda the musical. It. Was. FABULOUS. Really, I would be doing it an injustice to have my mere mortal words explain how fantastic this production is. And the majority of the cast are kids. Very very talented kids. Audrey has now put this on her list of things she wants to do other than being an author and Olympic gymnast. I told her she was already dramatic enough 😏 (Olive still happy to join her sister in the Olympics… and also walk dogs for a job… 😜). I digress- the show was fab, the cast was wonderful, the stage was amazing and the music was indescribably great (Tim Minchin, one of our fave Aussie comedian/singers/actors wrote the words and music for this show). The girls loved it and sat mesmerized. But the person who loved it the most was the big fella (as Olive now refers to Nick).
    All in all, a really wonderful way to go out with a bang.
    Back to home tomorrow,, we are missing our family and friends (and our fur babies). We are happy and slightly weary, but mostly very thankful and grateful that we have gotten to have so many wonderful experiences and spent so much precious time together as a family.
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    Priceless experience & memories. Go fam Ingold! xx 😘


    Wow - it has been so amazing being able to share your adventures! Safe journey home x

  • Day 19

    Sometimes you win, sometimes you Louvre

    March 8 in France ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

    We smashed out some culture today! Making up for a lost day yesterday due to the strike, we headed first to the Pantheon 🏛. An amazing building (haven’t mentioned the impressive architecture for awhile 😉) that was built a long time ago (dates are a bit fuzzy) but still looks like it could have been designed last year. The crypts underneath are beautiful (if there ever was an oxymoron, that would be it- beautiful crypts) and the girls expertly navigated us to the one tomb we have all been hanging on to see- Madame Marie Curie. Such significance she holds to our house, that it was even more apt that we visited her on international women’s day. Our girls have read about her discoveries since they were tiny, and even Nick and I had a star crossed moment, when reading about her and Pierres contributions to science- he the discoverer of Piezoelectric effect (the basis for ultrasound) and her the scientist to discover radium and polonium (the basis for some radiation that nuclear medicine uses). We were a little (a lot) in awe that the founders of the first sparks of our fields were lying entombed before us. Even the girls seemed to understand the significance, and were in awe of where they were and who was lying before them. It really was a special moment that we jagged before the hoards of school groups came trudging past.
    We made our way to Museum D’Orsay, after the Louvre were having a minor breakdown due to yesterday’s protest, and it didn’t disappoint. Full credit to the girls, they were SO into looking at the art here. They have shown lots of interest on and off in art since they were little, and it was quite astounding listening to them excitedly rattling off names of artists and paintings as we walked past them (I was a little overwhelmed at actually seeing these masterpieces in the flesh; rooms and rooms of famous artists that I have seen in books actually physically right THERE in front of our eyes!)
    Our kids are no where near perfect, and far from highly cultured! But I was absolutely astounded at our little people pointing out artists like Seurat (Audrey- commenting that his most famous painting wasn’t there….. sorry… what?!) and Olive telling me he used ‘pointillism’ as his painting technique… and she liked Degas because he painted the ballerinas but Monet was still her favourite. Yep… I need to give our kids more credit!!
    So after the kids took Nick and I on a guided tour of the gallery (we paid them in chocolate eclairs…) we got really lucky and squeezed into last minute tickets to the Louvre (because we hadn’t smashed the culture enough today!). The girls really only wanted to see one thing- the Mona Lisa. We found her by the 750 phones in the air wildly snapping pictures of the smaller than expected painting. The girls snuck into the front of the Instagram hungry crowd, and managed to get a good look at her (and a couple of photos). Nick and I have seen her before, and I know a lot of people think she is underwhelming (mostly due to her size… like most things underwhelming…) but we all agreed she really was something very special to behold.
    We walked around getting very lost for the next hour or so (the Egyptian section and King Louis apartments were definite highlights) before we took our weary little feet home. 22,000+ steps, heads full of inspiration and happy hearts for our last night in France.
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    Kay Sullivan

    Did you not see the signs everywhere that said that you were strictly forbidden to photograph the Mona Lisa


    No! They don’t exist anymore! I thought that was strange too- I swear last time there were signs everywhere

  • Day 18

    A pastry and a protest

    March 7 in France ⋅ ☁️ 7 °C

    When I married Nick, one of the Sullivan traditions I integrated into the Ingold family (thank me later hun) was the spectacular ability when on holidays to have a significant event occur whilst we are there- hurricanes…fires…COVID hitting mid Asia…and now- a riot! Never a dull moment when on holidays with us 👍🏻
    The French do protests exceptionally well. The city’s infrastructure was basically shut down, 48 hours notice was given, and much politeness was carried out to ensure everyone knew what was going on. We assumed we wouldn’t see much of the action, but turns out a million people would protest throughout France (the government has proposed to lift the retirement age 2 years; to 64) and the main rally in Paris weaved its way along the street adjacent to us. So we saw lots! We ventured down to have a look- the atmosphere was passionate but polite (the grey nomads were the average age of protestors, many of who marched with a banner and a baguette, or a flare and a coffee… not kidding).
    We had been walking the streets of Paris this morning (we headed to the Pantheon , but it was closed due to the impending protest, the museum D’orsay and Louvre also closed…) and there were police and riot squads everywhere, closing off streets and the Seine to any traffic. We wondered if things might get heated, so purchased some essentials (patisserie goods…..😉) and headed inside our hotel. We certainly heard lots of noise over the next hour or two- mostly people singing and shouting slogans. A few loud bangs splintered the air over the next 10 mins or so, and then total calm, and it was all over! Probably time for afternoon tea for the will-be-pensioners.
    So we sat and ate our delicious treats, and listened to the French try and have another revolution 😉
    We did manage to have a beautifully leisurely walk around Paris this morning (including a visit to Norte-dame, where we saw the sad reconstruction efforts happening after the fire of such a beautiful building), had an award winning croissant and famous macaroons. But… on the never ending quest to find clean toilets whilst out, we did venture into a McDonalds where the girls had some chicken nuggs and a cheeseburger… 🙊. Let’s just say, I didn’t take a photo of this experience… Fun fact- The sweet and sour sauce here is interestingly called ‘Chinese sauce’…
    Because balance is everything, we did have an AMAZING dinner. We took the girls to a Michelin star restaurant. We had €13 ramen, that has won a Michelin star in 2021 for how good it is. And it didn’t disappoint. The 4 of us happily slurped Ramen until our bellies were full. And one of the least expensive meals we have eaten… go figure!
    A day of many contrasts. We hope to get our skates on tomorrow and make up for a lost day of museums. But it was an indulgence to be able to walk through a beautiful city at a leisurely pace, with limited traffic to navigate and not a lot on the agenda… 🌟
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    Nothing like a protest. After all I've been in a few. Go Grey Nomads.

    Kay Sullivan

    I'm pleased to see that you are keeping up the family tradition of causing chaos where ever you go


    Haha I know 🤣 thought you’d be glad to see the tradition lives on


    Can’t break with tradition!

  • Day 17

    A whole new world

    March 6 in France ⋅ ☁️ 6 °C

    A huge day, and a short blog today. We made the trip out to Disneyland and had an epic 10 hours, 20,000 step adventure through the Disney park. The weather was cold, and we even had a small flurry of snow while waiting for the carousel 🎠- but the toe numbing temps didn’t dampen down the girls enthusiasm. The lines weren’t too bad (all considering how long Disney lines can be). The kids were at an ideal age for peak Disney magic, the rides are very much catered for smaller children… meaning Nick had a fabulous time riding the carousel, teacups and (his favourite) the Peter Pan ride. After a 40 minute line (the longest of the day) we floated above London in a magical ship, dodging Captain Hook and his crocodiles… Nick whispered to me ‘this is sh*t’ in the same breath as Olive turned to us and said ‘I feel magical!!’ ✨… and that theme continued throughout the day 🤣
    The girls wandered happily through the park wearing mouse ears, eating dodgy theme park food, in the cold happy as little pigs in mud. We wandered around behind them, happy at the joy on their faces (with frostbitten toes…).
    The culmination of the day was the firework spectacular at the Disney castle. Olive on my shoulders, Auds in Nicks arms (the parents couldn’t see a thing 🤣), the music swelled to a crescendo, the fountains sprayed geysers high in the air, the fireworks came thick and fast and the girls both bawled their eyes out… we thought that it might have been because the day was ending, but both said it was because they were ‘so happy’… ❤️ we think it might have been the sheer exhaustion combined with poor nutrition and the emotive way Disney pulls at the heartstrings… but we will go with their interpretation 😘
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  • Day 16

    Paris in Rouge

    March 5 in France ⋅ ☁️ 6 °C

    Today was like a little bag of popping candy. Lots of unexpected fizz, and mouth tingling fun.
    We explored the area of Montmartre; a quirky little area nestled amongst the clouds overlooking the entirety of Paris. We hobbled up hundreds of uneven stone stairs, the sky a background of grey, mottled with a tinge of blue as the sun struggled to break free. At the top, we turned around and saw the whole of Paris laying before us, like a worn out and much loved patchwork quilt.
    The areas cobblestone streets are lined with little Parisian cafes, and art galleries, and many famous artists have been known to roam the district over the decades. A small square at the top of the converging streets held a mass of artists, selling their paintings and doing portraits for a fee. We have a tradition to bring home a piece of art from significant trips we take, and they adorn the walls of our house- each representing a time and a place (and a budget!) of our lives. The girls (ie. Audrey) has always been desperate to have her portrait done, so we agreed that this would be our piece of art for this trip. As we walked around, we had many people vying to draw the girls (they looked particularly cute today- more on that later), but we stumbled upon an unassuming artist with a very unique style of work that we all agreed was strikingly beautiful. We commissioned him to draw the girls and it was such a magical thing to watch our little people appear on his paper in front of our eyes, and through the eyes of a stranger. By the end of the sitting (about 30 mins) he had drawn such a crowd watching that it was about 4 people deep, and many photos of our girls are now floating around the world on random peoples cameras 😂 (the girls- ie Audrey was in her element).
    It is a beautiful piece of art that will hang in our house to remind us of both this adventure, and this gorgeous stage of the girls lives. 💖
    But!! The fizz didn’t end there!! This afternoon we ticked a massive bucket list item, we got frocked up and went to the Moulin Rouge!! It was… hard to describe…! It was dazzling, and sparkly and filled with beautiful women with legs up to the skies. The dancing was overshadowed by the stunning costumes and stage sets, and the most magnificent performance by a team of two men who’s strength and agility to lift and contort themselves really was something I think I’ll never forget.
    We could see 2 other children in the entire area, and Nick and I were the next youngest by I would say…30- 40 years. The demographic was a little like you get on the scenic river cruises down the Rhine (yep mum- I’m looking at you- you would ROCK this place). The girls LOVED it, and Nick had the breast time (I mean BEST time🙊…). Most of the girls it seemed had forgotten to wear their brassieres to work today, and the costumes seemed to be missing the front section of their tops (I suppose the costume departments budget couldn’t stretch that far. I imagine crystals are very expensive…) and the show was QUITE cheeky 😉 but no one seemed to mind (especially the 80 year olds in the front sections). They actually (legitimately) had an first aid crew in the foyer on standby. I guess cardiac arrests might be quite common at these shows… hmmm…
    But to be honest, a little top nudity aside, the show was really well done, and the girls beamed the whole time (pun intended for the dancers…). Potentially the best part was the bottle of champagne the man plopped infront of Nick and I that we didn’t realise was included in our ticket… the fizz was good 👍🏻
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    Kay Sullivan

    that would be my ultimate dream to see that show


    A lovely piece or art to cherish

  • Day 15

    Food glorious food

    March 4 in France ⋅ ☁️ 5 °C

    Today was all about the gastronomical delights of France. I am both proud and a little (a very little) embarrassed to say that today’s blog entry literally only consists of food 🤣
    We discovered a walking tour, designed especially for kids to explore the best of Parisian food- walking the streets of Paris with a ‘local’ (Rachel) who took us to all the places the locals love to eat at. And boy do the French take their food seriously. Like, rockstars in France are not famous actors or singers… they are chefs. No word of a joke (our English is getting sketchy…) Good chefs over here are household names; they are held in such esteem that blood has been drawn between friends over which Chef is better (venison blood I’m sure…)
    It was SUCH a fascinating tour. It ended up being just the 4 of us with Rachel, and she was knowledgeable, and captivating and had a great dry sense of humour. The kids were fascinated with her tales of food woven through a very in-depth history lesson of France- ask the kids about Louis XIV (thats 14 for those lacking in the Roman numeral department). He was the Sun King (he predated the fun King- kids like him better). In fact, Nick and I learnt more on her tour than I’ve ever learnt about the French Revolution (which was pretty much zilch), and it was FASCINATING. I have a much better understanding of the French way of life, knowing more of its history. Like why food is such a massive thing here- when King Louis XVI (16- the done King) and Marie Antoinette were overthrown by the oppressed French peasants (and had their heads chopped off… as the kids say), a huge number of amazing Chefs found themselves with no job (as they were all hired to be private chefs of the Royalty) and so… restaurants were invented! And what went from only a handful of restaurants in Paris, overnight bloomed into thousands of top notch places selling fine grub. And so the tradition has continued. And we spent a good chunk of the day sampling this slice of history (full disclosure… not just one slice…)
    I can’t pronounce any of the delights we consumed (except eclair… seems Audrey’s new favourite word) but the photos will do it more justice than my ramblings anyway.
    Our lovely guide was having such a nice time (or she forgot her watch?) that she ended up spending an extra hour with us- and snuck us into one of her fave shops where we sampled a hundred (I swear it felt that many) different jams. The shop madame was so wonderful and played a ‘guess the ingredients of this jam’ (kids vs adults) for a good 20 jams (ignoring the couple of customers that came into the shop during this time…). We left high as kites on sugar and very jammy indeed.
    The verdict: French food is delicious (and not that nutritious… but we are currently ignoring that). Liv ate lots of cheese (lady was impressed), Nick ate lots of escargot (lady was very impressed) and Audrey ate lots of desserts (Audrey was very very impressed). And I had a balanced diet today… from all the good French food groups 😉🍫🍰🍾
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    Food heaven! Yum! xx 💞


    Yes, Balance is so important! 🤤🤤🤤


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