Friday, July 18, 2014

Back in Jolly Old

We went from this, the picture-postcard perfect Lac Annecy, surrounded by the foothills of the French Alps...

To this, Fairhaven Lake at the end of out street, just on the cusp of the sea ....

To rolling sand dunes ...

To the sea. A rugged, windswept beauty.

We don't miss Annecy at all.

We're back in the land of the friendly people, and we couldn't be happier.

The house is gorgeous, the weather's been wonderful since we arrived a month ago (locals tell me it's abnormal to have such a stretch of warm, sunny weather - yeeks!), and I'm having fun exploring nearby Lytham with Adam, and reacquainting myself with St Annes.

St Annes Carnival Day last weekend.

Though we're spending heaps on all the things we need for the house, I'm continually amazed at how much cheaper day-to-day items like fruit, milk and other basics are here. It's a refreshing change from France to not practically have a heart attack every time you see the grocery store bill.

I didn't realize Lytham and Fairhaven are so posh. I've never seen so many luxury cars and gargantuan gated homes in my life. That doesn't mean much to me, except for the fact that crime is low and it's deathly quiet at night - the latter being a welcome change from the din of Old Town Annecy.

(Wool carpet bought at my local charity shop for six pounds!).

Little Man has grown up since moving here. He's now walking, climbing up the stairs (baby gates going up today, thankfully), eating solids and on milk instead of formula. He's also in his own big boy room.

Our super private back yard - guess I should be saying garden now, eh?

Even though the house has been renovated, we still have a ton of stuff to do and buy. It'll be fun settling in. Life is crazy busy and there's not a lot of down time for me, but I'm getting used to the sleep-deprivation, being a new and responsible home-owner (so much more to do!), and running after a busy toddler.

Way back when, in Annecy: sundress & ballet flats, retail, Annecy
Denim jacket: thrifted in Canada
Bling: thrifted in Annecy
Tom Ford shades: Annecy consignment shop
Amazing Italian hobo bag: 1 euro at Annecy thrift shop vide grenier.

Since this is, ostensibly, a style blog, it's time to show you what I've been wearing of late. The last month or so in Annecy was glorious, with 30 degree C temps and no humidity. Needless to say, I lived in sundresses, my summer staple.

Spanish sandals, Banana Republic dress and light wool French scarf: Annecy thrift shop.

In between packing and cleaning, we spent our final days in Annecy soaking up the beauty of the Old Town and the lake.

Fave Ikat sundress: bought new in the Old Town, Annecy.

As I intimated in my last post, even with the awesome beauty of the place, we were more than ready to leave and begin the next chapter of our lives.

A.X.L. (now defunct Canadian brand) dress: end-of-line shop in Toronto
Kenneth Cole shoes, used: 2-dollar-sale in Toronto
Vintage Turkish scarf: Etsy
Rayban shades: Annecy market
Crossbody purse: see below.

Here I am the other day in St Annes. I'm wearing a vintage Turkish silk scarf I found on Etsy and my fave new wee bag purchased with some birthday money (I turned 44 a few days after we moved in June): a vintage Kantha quilt purse by London designer Tamara Fogle, which I've been lusting after since we left the UK two years ago. I snatched up one of the last ones as the designer has since moved on to making bags with different vintage fabrics.

Vintage 1970s Avon necklace: Toronto thrift shop
Bump: my husband.

As you can see, I've been secretive about a somewhat recent development in our lives. And now that the cat is out of the proverbial bag, I think I can most definitively say that my penchant for Slob Chic - ie: wearing loose, comfy clothing, for four straight months in the spring - was most certainly related to constant nausea and debilitating fatigue. Placenta making is a hard biz!

I find it funny that the French doc's estimation has pegged me at 21 weeks, while this week's appointment and ultrasound yielded a 22-week calculation. I'm happier with the latter as I already feel like the Titanic, and besides, I always had the feeling that I was further along than initially supposed. If you can't trust your own bod, who can you trust?

Oops: definitely wear a bra next time!
Silver shoes made in Spain: Annecy thrift shop
Vintage ring, Toronto thrift shop; necklace, had forever
Maternity jeans: retail
Top: St Annes thrift shop.

Of course, we're thrilled, though I must admit to feeling a certain sense of un-reality about the whole thing, even given my expanding girth. And yes, there is some existential angst over our being older parents. But Adam will have a younger bro, and we couldn't be happier about that.

French dress: Annecy consignment shop
Italian suede boots: Toronto thrift shop
Limoges enamel pendant: gift from hubs.

Since getting married 2.5 years ago, life sure has been a whirlwind! We're in for a crazy ride with two kids, but thankfully we're living in an area that we love, in a lovely home, surrounded by kind people who have a sense of humour. People, we discovered in France, can make or break a place.

After moving country three times, the prospect of putting down roots is an appealing one. And it's kinda cool that we've ended up in the same place, geographically, at least, from where we started. Because in every other sense, we've changed completely, and for the better.