I was planning on writing some blog posts while we were away, after all, it was Scarlett’s first trip abroad, first time on a plane, first time on a family holiday just the three of us. However, with three days in Paris and two days in Brussels, working in both and having never been properly to either city before, there wasn’t really any time to sleep let alone write!
We were nervous about taking a 10 month old on a plane, and not just any 10 month old, our very excitable daughter who does NOT like sitting still. We’ve all been those people who get on a plane, clock a baby and think, ‘oh God I hope they’re not a nightmare!’ Now we were the people walking onto a plane, seeing the people thinking that and thinking the same ourselves!
We flew with three airlines, EasyJet, Brussels Airlines and British Airways so in terms of reputation, we were starting with the worst (that’s not fair, the most basic) and getting better as we went, ending with the most reputable for coming home. Well first of all, although there were slight delays in taking off with all three, they were delays we didn’t really notice as none of them were significant, and although most of the airport staff were relatively joyless. All the air carrier staff we dealt with were very helpful and friendly. EasyJet was slightly more uncomfortable because you really are packed in like sardines and it really is no frills, but overall we have no complaints about any of our flights. Scarlett was excited about her adventure in the air, so excited that she slept through the first two. Luckily the flight she didn’t sleep through, we had a row to ourselves, much more room and she sat in her own chair just entertained by looking around her and apart from quite a bit of laughing and ‘chatting’, she wasn’t at all a problem. We also got complimentary champagne on our last flight so we had a fantastic time!
Anyway, to the trip itself! When I wasn’t working we did a lot of exploring and saw two very beautiful city’s in (apart from one afternoon of rain) beautiful sunshine. We were centrally based in both and walked EVERYWHERE. We worked out that we walked roughly 18 miles in total, so this week, we’ll have to do another 8 so we can say we’ve completed a marathon!! Our favourite part was Montmartre, which is sort of known as the seedy area of Paris but is also the artistic side. So it appealed to us! it’s also home to the Moulin Rouge, which is essentially a strip club that’s been made romantically glamorous by the Baz Luhrmann film and has become quite the tourist attraction! But there was a different venue we had in mind when we explored round and that was the ‘Cafe De Les Moulins’, which some of you may know as a key location in the film Amelie! We went there for breakfast and had the famous creme brûlée!
And of course we saw all the usual tourist spots such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral and Love Lock bridge!
In Brussels we found out that the waffles, chocolate and mussels stereotype was not a joke, that really is 90% of what’s available! We were there as the city was celebrating Pride and it meant that the city had an electric and celebratory atmosphere. Everywhere there were multi coloured flags and even the Grand Place was lit up in multi coloured lights at nighttime! We saw lots of groups dressed up and it made for a fabulously fun and upbeat atmosphere for our two days there!
Throughout the five days, Scarlett had a few firsts, especially with food, and very aptly, she had her first croissant in France, her first waffle and her first proper chocolate in Brussels! She also had her first time on a plane, her first time using her passport and slightly less excitingly her first time on a coach!
However, there was one more purpose of our trip that we’d planned before going. As I’ve mentioned before, on our wedding day, I had quite a lot of sickness while pregnant and my epilepsy had also started causing me problems again. Thanks to that, I remember very little of our day, we also used the legal vows at the registry office which, for anyone who knows us, knows is not really our thing! So we’re planning to renew our vows on our 5 or 10 year anniversary where Scarlett and any other children can be involved but in the meantime, we decided to set a date to make our own vows in a very personal ceremony of our own devising so we could marry each other in our own way.
So we picked out a special outfit, we picked a date, researched some venues and we excitedly wrote our own vows ready for the day. It was especially precious to us that we could involve Scarlett in it. On Tuesday 12th May, we woke up, got ready in our finery and headed to the Amelie cafe to write a few vows to both sign. We then headed to a special venue and with Scarlett as our witness, we said our vows to each other which was very emotional and absolutely perfect. We went for a big celebratory meal and had plenty of champagne and red wine throughout the evening! Although it wasn’t a legal ceremony, it meant more to us than any government mandated vows ever would! And of course with Paris being one of the most romantic cities in the world, we just had the most amazing day! We have some very special memories, and a very special Celtic spoon engraved with our names and the date which will be framed with our vows and put up at home along with some photos. Our wedding day last year in February was obviously an important day but sadly I have very little memory of it and therefore we will cherish the memories of the day we made our personal vows to each other in Paris.
And of course never ones to shy away from celebrating, we have a renewal to plan to celebrate with all our family and friends in 5 or 10 years time!
So we’ve had our first family holiday and have come home exhausted but with many happy memories! In just 11 days we’ll be off again for a family holiday to Portugal but this time there’ll be no work to do at all, just sun, sea and cocktails by the pool! (our life isn’t always this jet setting, it just happened that we had two trips so close together!) Our first trip to Europe will always be very special to us and Scarlett is now a seasoned traveller. I’m sure it won’t be the last time we go to both cities but it will always be the first and to all and everyone going on holiday soon, I wish you a very fond bon voyage!