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Surviving a foreign country as a “single” parent

Today is my last (half)day in Lille on my lonesome with Busby.

Thankfully.

Nick has been on a course, so I’ve effectively been a single parent for the past five days. I’m not going to lie – it has been tough. Really tough. I’ve had some… interesting… experiences, which I’ll cover on Sunday, but it’s certainly not something I’m about to repeat in a hurry. Especially not in Lille; it’s not the nicest of places, for want of a better phrase!

Anyway, whilst wandering around the Gotham City of France with a baby, I’ve been thinking about this post, and I’ve come up with some key things you’ll need if you find yourself in a similar situation!

Tea bags
Take them with you. Tea that is not from the UK is disgusting; you’ll have to use at least three tea bags in your cup. Luckily we knew this and our handy freezer bag full of tea bags accompanied us.

Phrase book
If you don’t want to spend a ludicrous amount of money on roaming data then this is a must have! I had a teeny one with me and it was extremely useful – if not just to wave in people’s faces…

Charades mad skills
Enough said really. If you don’t speak the language and your phrase book fails you, you better get your mime on!

Paper and a pen
If your phrase book fails you and you can’t mime then how about drawing what you need? Pictionary style!

Eyes in the back of your head
Lille is super dodgy, but this applies to any city really. If you’re concentrating on your baby make sure you also concentrate on your bag and any excess bags on the pram. People are crafty. Be aware.

Also, if you’re using a sling or carrier don’t neglect your bag. Ensure the zip is facing towards you and hold it close.

ID
France has a policy where you have to carry ID with you at all times. Make sure you check out the policies of the country you’re visiting to see if they have similar, otherwise you could be subject to an on the spot fine.

Money
If you’ve changed your money in the UK don’t take it all out with you on day trips just in case your purse or bag is stolen. Leave some in the apartment or hotel. This is also handy if you’re on a daily budget.

Emergencies
Find out what the emergency services numbers are for the country you’re staying in. If, God forbid, anything were to happen, you’ll have the number to hand. I realised on day three, whilst being followed by a very scary man, that I had no idea what the emergency services numbers were… which made me panic even more.

Baby changing facilities?
They don’t really exist… apparently. I spent about 20 minutes wandering around trying to find somewhere to change Busby. I ended up doing it in the park on the grass as there was nowhere. Don’t expect them, if you find any then it’s a bonus!

I hope this helps! If anyone can think of anymore please comment below.

We’re heading home today and I can’t wait to get back and relax! I feel like I’ve been on edge for the whole time we’ve been here.
Hannah

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6 Comments

  1. Franglaise Mummy

    12th September 2013 at 6:36 am

    Oh lovely, I’m so sorry you’ve not had a good time πŸ™ I have to say that France is a wonderful country but I feel safer walking the streets of London.

    1. Hannah

      12th September 2013 at 7:56 pm

      Yes definitely true re London!! xx

  2. Belle du Brighton

    12th September 2013 at 9:23 am

    blimey… poor you and B! I plan on taking le bebe to Germany at some point (post 6 months probably) to stay with a friend, but when she’s at work we’ll have to entertain ourselves! and yes, thank god for teabags in hand luggage!

    1. Hannah

      12th September 2013 at 7:57 pm

      I think I’d have coped better in Germany as can speak enough to get around…! It was very tough though! xx

  3. Julia Edwards

    12th September 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Oh lovely such a shame but just glad you’re all back safe and sound!! Love the advice on tea bags that’s just brilliant xxx ps huge thanks for linking up my post, never knew it existed *scurries off to check it out* thank you!!

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