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France 2016

Car all packed up ready, excited kids, hubby and I checking and double checking that we have got everything…. Right!! Off we go!

We got about 2 miles from home, just come off a roundabout which takes you onto a dual carriageway towards the M23. Car starts revving as if I have my foot to the floor, all power has died and to my horror I look out of my rear view mirror to discover my view is completely obstructed by THICK white smoke!! On to the hard shoulder we go!

GREAT!!!

I had not long changed over car insurance which included my breakdown cover… So I ring them and they tell me they will come out to us within an hour…. not so bad. BUT because we were still within a 2 week period of taking out the policy I had to pay £75 for the recovery truck to rescue us!! Could really have done without that when you’re off on your holidays!! Breaking down was enough of a kick in the teeth!

Izzys was crying as she was gutted we weren’t going to be able to get to France! Xavier was having a complete meltdown up on the bank at the side of the road because he thought the car was going to blow up. He was shaking. I was quite shaky myself to be honest.

We waited about half an hour and I had a call on my mobile from the recovery truck driver saying he wasn’t too far away. Great news. So we got towed home. Back to square one. We had no front door key as both Mums had them to come in and feed the cats. Luckily Eds mum only lives around the corner so she was round in a few mins once we had called her to tell her we were home.

Called my parents to let them know we were back too. Basically will cut a long story short but Thanks to the Bank of Mum and Dad we were able to hire a car for 8 days and get on our way to France and still have our holiday!! For that I will be eternally grateful!!

We were travelling by Eurotunnel and Ed had called them when we had broken down earlier and we were told our ticket was valid until lunchtime the following day, so once we had hired the car and knew the registration of the car we called them back. This was approx 4pm. They were very accommodation and helpful which was great as we had already had such a stressful day! The next available train they could fit us on to was 7.30pm so we agreed and set off for Folkestone.

We arrived for our train in plenty of time so we went for a bite to eat in the terminal. There are various shops there and a few different places to eat. Once fed we headed back to the car and got in the queue for our train. Boarding was all very well organised and straight forward. There are safety and security announcements into the carriages once on the train. You are allowed out of your car during the journey too. So we got out and stretched our legs. The journey time is 35 minutes and a trillion times better than the ferry! I really am not a fan of boats! This was perfect!! Smooth ride and the journey seemed to go really quickly!

Before we knew it we were in France!! YAY! Bonjour!!!

Only thing is …. it was just getting dark and we knew we had a 2 and a half hour journey ahead of us to the campsite!! Now Hubby doesn’t drive so it was all on my shoulders. I was in an unfamiliar car, in a foreign country, on the opposite side of the road, in the dark….and it had been a very stressful day and i was VERY tired!

These two beauties were absolutely amazing considering the stress that was radiating off me and Ed! Xavier coped incredibly well!

I was struggling as the car was really uncomfortable, I was having to overtake lorries in the fast lane and it was scary, I was tired, so very tired… Ed kept putting the air con on in the car which was freezing, but in the hope it would keep me more alert. I was concentrating so hard my brain actually hurt! I had to stop for a break at one point, as much as I just wanted to get there, my back was killing me and I was exhausted! We pulled off the motorway into services but i missed the turn for the carpark and we ended up sitting in-between loads of parked up lorries!! I had to get out and have a cigarette. I was stressed to the max by this point… well what I thought was the max!

We got back on the road, bearing in mind we had already done this journey 2 years ago, came off at the junction that was on our directions print out. Or so we thought…. again… long story short WE WERE LOST!!! We were driving around all these little towns and over all these little roundabouts, they all looked the bloody same, in fact some of them probably were as were driving round in circles!! I can laugh about it now but at the time I was close to a nervous breakdown. By this point too at was about midnight. It was like a bloody ghost town so no-one was even around to ask. NOW I was stressed to the max!!

Ed got on the phone to the campsite to let them know we were lost and they worked out that we had come off the motorway far too early and pointed us in the right direction and told us what signs to look for and follow. TWO HOURS later and we started recognising things from before and FINALLY we reached our destination! I felt like an absolute zombie!!

We were given the keys to our home for the week and we emptied the car and went straight to bed!! It was 2am!!!!

The next morning, after a very beautiful lay in and probably the best sleep I’ve had in a long time, it was coffee and pain au chocolate time on the decking and time to start our little holiday!

We wandered into the town, got a bit of food shopping at the Intermarche down the road, wandered around the familiar campsite that we fell in love with 2 years ago. The kids couldn’t wait to go to the man made beach there. Its fabulous.

The water is freezing though. But it was so quiet as we went in term time and we pretty much had the place to ourselves. It was wonderful.

Xavier new found water confidence blew me away on holiday. He has come so so far! He was letting me pull him around the swimming pool by his hands as he kicked his legs behind him. I videoed him going out quite deep at the man made beach with a rubber ring around him then him kicking his legs till he got back to shore. This is the boy who used to scream blue murder just getting in his bath! I have so much to thank his amazing school for. So very proud!

We had a meal out in the on site restaurant which we didn’t do last time. It was a tiny bit expensive but sod it! We deserved it and it was absolutely delicious!! I had steak and chips with a red wine sauce. The others had speciality burgers. Everyone was very impressed with the food and service and for me it was nice not to cook for an evening!! Beautiful meal!

We spent so much time on holiday laughing. I mean real belly laughs! I was laughing so much I was crying at times and that was so lovely and so needed. We all needed it. It was such a lovely holiday despite the nightmare start. We spent a week of quality time together. No strops from the teen, no meltdowns from the boy, just good quality fun and happy times…. just the 4 of us!

Xavier will probably kill me for that photo but its a memory, a reminder of the silliness and messing around that was plentiful whilst we were away! Its such a beautiful, serene and lovely place that we do enjoy visiting. We have been twice now and even though we had the issues at the beginning, we would do it all over again.

We left earlier than we needed to for our train home and were able to get on an earlier one which was another fab thing about Eurotunnel! We got back to the UK in no time and had a (THANKFULLY) smooth, breakdown and hiccup free journey home!

We LOVE France!