A Taste of Garlic

A Mother in France - Midi-Pyrénées

midi pyrenees  A Mother in France   because we all love reading blogs about life in France I normally wait until a new blog has been going for at least 3 months and has more than 30 posts before I review it.

Although, that is a rule that I have broken a few times (Kirsty and Delana come to mind)

And I’m going to break that rule again today!

You just see if I don’t!

You see, I just can’t wait any longer to see what Nikki at A Mother in France has been getting up to!

This is what she has to say for herself…

“Hello and welcome to my blog. I’m a busy English mother of 5, who 7 years ago swapped my life in England as an IT trainer and hotelier, to live the good live in rural South West France.

I live with my husband Gary and our children in a very large watermill in Haute-Garonne, which we will be renovating for the rest of our lives! We run 3 holiday apartments, Kingdom Vegetal Garden Centre and Landscaping business and a Gardening Club. I am in the process of writing a book about our experiences as a family living in France and decided to start a blog to offload ideas and see what people are really interested in reading about.”

So, as long as you don’t say anything to the A Taste Of Garlic Compliance and Sticking to the Rules Department

I’ll just dive in and….

See what I can find!

midi pyrenees  A Mother in France   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceThe School Inspector Bits….

Nikki seems to have a lot to say about the French education system

In French Rural Village Schools – shouldn’t we be able to choose what’s best for our children? she discusses the pros and cons of sending your children to the local village school.

It’s rather a serious post which is why I didn’t chip in and suggest sending children down the mines as soon as they are old enough to tie their shoe laces as a solution.

Along similar lines, The Problem With English Teachers in France looks at how non-native speakers are treated differently from the locals.

I suspect that there’s a lot of truth in Nikki’s suggestion that the teacher (of English) must… “feel threatened by having an English student in their class and obviously feel that they are at an unfair advantage.”

The French educational system does have some great rituals though.

And La Rentree – Back to School “French Style” is one of the best!

I love seeing those mothers surrounded by hoards of kids, in the supermarkets, going through their lists of things they need to buy!

Of course, in my day it was a lot easier…

“One slate, two pieces of chalk and an apple for the teacher!”

The other ritual (to be avoided at all costs) is The School Spectacle in Rural France (yawn)

Now, I have never witnessed one of these events (having successfully avoided them at all costs) but I have been in the bar when one of these events has finished and have seen the poor parents rush in (with a desperate look of imminent contraception on their faces – no more kids!) and have heard them cry out…

“Barman, two Ricards here, in a hurry – this is an emergency! No! not glasses; we need bottles of the stuff!”

So I guess I can count myself lucky?

midi pyrenees  A Mother in France   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceThe Being British Bits….

Of course, Nikki does have a British perspective on life in France and in Welcome to my world she explains the family’s background and what they we up top before they moved to France seven years ago.

And, with a bit of a smile on her face I rather suspect, Nikki then goes on to detail the 7 Characteristics that define being British.

I’m not sure I agree with all of what Nikki says (but what would I know, I’m a Breton who just happened to be accidentally born in England to English parents!) but I do like… “We like things to be clean and discreet i.e. “proper” toilets (not a hole in the ground), separate toilets and changing rooms for men and women; none of this walking through the urinals to get to the Ladies, and certainly not stripping off in front of everyone else in the swimming pool changing rooms.”

Although personally I don’t think a toilet is a real toilet unless it has a copy of the Radio Times in it, for something to read?

And, talking of toilets (you knew this was coming, didn’t you?)…

Nikki’s forlorn plea… No Peeing Outside Please, We’re British! may run the risk of falling on deaf ears.

Certainly among the men!

Because, as I can attest (after living here for 9 years), there is no greater feeling of freedom than whipping your todger out in public and sprinkling the daisies!

From reading the post carefully, it would appear that the menfolk in Nikki’s family have already discovered this!

midi pyrenees  A Mother in France   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceThe Road Trip From Hell Bits…

Nikki’s cry for help in 16 hour road trip alone with 3 young children, Help! asked for advice in entertaining 5 kids during a 16 hour road trip to England.

I was about to suggest “buy a convertible and leave the kids at home!” but Mrs A Taste Of Garlic spotted me and yanked the internet cord out of the back of the PC just in time!

But Nikki did report in Road Trip to England with Little Ones on Board that they all arrived safely, none of the kids had been accidentally left at a service station and that she only had to shout “SHUT UP, EVERYONE!” once!

Obviously, it should come as no surprise that the return trip didn’t go quite to plan!

In Help, medical emergency with kids on board! Nikki tells us that, on the way home, she decided to make a little detour to Brittany (big mistake; I did that once and, nine years later, I’m still here!)

Now, I’m not going to spoil your entertainment by re-telling the story here but I will say…

The police were involved; the pompiers were involved, someone got wrapped in tinfoil and Nikki’s (female) cousin, Ginny, gets a catheter and, as a result, can pee outside, just like a man!

And I thought my family was strange!

midi pyrenees  A Mother in France   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceThe Family Bits….

To show that it’s not all catheters, weeing on the grass and getting wrapped in tinfoil, Nikki does talk a bit about her family life.

In Family Life in France – Is It Really Any Better? she lists all the great things she and her family appreciate about Life in France.

Then she goes on to tells us all about A Day in the Life of a Mother in France.

It all seems a bit hectic to me but Nikki seems to be coping?

Anyway, she finds time to tell us What It’s Like To Have A Girl After 4 Boys!

And whilst I’d be sort of tempted to mutter.. “Well, that’s buggered up the five a side footie then, hasn’t it?”, Nikki doesn’t seem to too worried about the football related aspects of her childbearing – although she does mention David Beckham at the end of the post?

Actually, guys…

If you’re reading this…

This post does get a bit anatomical and gynecological and all that stuff…

So you might want to give it a miss

Even though Nikki does mention the great David Beckham at the end of the post!

midi pyrenees  A Mother in France   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceThe Other Bits….

There a lovely description of The French Rural Village “En Fête” that would have me jacking in the job and moving to France myself…

If I didn’t already live here!

And then, before you know it, summer is over as is explained in And the there were five.

And I slightly suspect that Nikki is a little bit grateful that… “today, for the first time since June, there were only 5 settings to lay at the dinner table”?

A bit different to the… “average table settings of 14” during the summer?

midi pyrenees  A Mother in France   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceSo, Summing Up….

Well, if you could see the smile on my face you might assume that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this blog!

And you’d be right!

A Mother in France is a blog for any one who has got kids to read.

It’s a blog that any one who one day may have kids should read!

And, even if you don’t have kids but like reading posts about outdoor peeing and catheters and such like…

Then A Mother in France will be right up your street!

And me? Well, I’ve heard a little rumour about Nikki (Al Capone) McArthur!

Now, I don’t know if I should tell you this but, if i do, you’ll keep it to yourself?

Well, I heard that Nikki had… A Close Shave with the Police!

I’m not sure if she’s still on the run or if the police finally believe that she’s not a Ukrainian in disguise?

And, to find out more…

You’ll have to visit A Mother in France!

All the best

midi pyrenees  A Mother in France   because we all love reading blogs about life in France


  • By Nikki A Mother in France, September 24, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

    Thanks for breaking your rules for me. It came as a complete shock as I wasn’t expecting you for at least another month or two. If I’d have known you were coming I’d at least have tidied up a bit!
    I thought my blog might be a bit girly so I’m pleased you enjoyed it(yes I know the having a girl after 4 boys post was a bit too gynecological in places, but it had to be done and many of my female readers loved it).
    Anyway, thanks for dropping by and for the great review (and giving my stats an instant boost, not to mention my confidence). You’ve given me the incentive to carry on 🙂

  • By Keith Eckstein, September 24, 2011 @ 8:53 pm


    We did notice that you hadn’t tidied up quite as much as you could have (all those empty beer cans on the floor!) but we’ll let you off!

    I hope that many of your new visitors continue to come and visit – you mums in France are a special breed!

    Have you met Kirsty or Aidan yet!

    They’ve got loads of kids and seem to be coping with all that Gyno stuff as well!

    All the best


    P.S; I don’t think you need an incentive – what I think you need is another Road Trip with all your kids!

  • By Paris Paul, September 25, 2011 @ 1:32 am

    Ahh, “A ‘Mother’ in France”. I’ve been called this so many times I was sure the post was about me.

  • By Susie @ DesperateAngloHousewives, September 25, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

    Thanks Keith! A great find..
    Hope all well,

  • By Keith Eckstein, September 26, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

    Paris Paul

    That’s probably the kindest thing they say about you behind your back when you’re not listening!

    All the best


    P.S. How’s married life?

    When’s your missus going to do a post that’s more than 526 words long?

    When are you going to write some more fiction?

    When are they all going to stop talking about you behind your back when you’re not listening?

  • By Keith Eckstein, September 26, 2011 @ 6:30 pm


    All going well here – nice to see that you’ve been as bad and mad as ever at desperateanglohousewivesfr.blogspot.com

    Keep up the good work!

    All the best


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