Vices – Why We all Need Them

Tea and Wine Vices 2

Back in the mid-1990s my vice of choice was Bacardi and Coke I used to drink a lot of it before going out clubbing with my friends. Then one night I got so sick on it that still to this day, I can’t bear the smell of Bacardi.

I’ve dabbled a bit with the vice of smoking over the years, I’m lucky in that I was never addicted, it was more a casual flirtation with Marlborough Lights which I pursued whenever I had a drink in hand.

After the Bacardi episode, I moved on to drinking white wine but I soon discovered that had its own issues; it used to make me emotional or worse, aggressive so I ditched that and began my love affair with red wine.

It has been my vice of choice ever since. I have been known on particularly stressful days to have a glass or two at the kids’ tea time, sometimes out of a mug if I’m feeling guilty about drinking in front of the children, I mostly manage to hold off until the kids are in bed before cracking open a bottle.

My 2 Main Vices

Red Wine

Tea is my daytime saviour I drink a lot and it helps to power me through especially as our daily wake up time now seems to be inexplicably set at 5.30am. I wish I drank coffee as it sounds so much more glamorous and I’m sure it’s a lot stronger!

So these two vices – red wine and strong tea I look upon as dear friends of mine. Without meaning to sound like an absolute nutter, I treasure them, they absolutely help me in coping on a regular basis to get through the stress and strains of the day. Anything from trying to placate a raging, foot-stamping 2 year old about why she can’t wear a sundress in February, to wrestling the 4 year old into the car to make her go to school, to chasing down a payment from a freelance client.

These 2 vices are so dear to me that I named my blog after them.

Other Mum Vices

I know other mums have vices which include regular massages, manicures, chocolate binges, cinema nights and frequent gorging on cakes.

Along with tea and red wine, my other vices are: writing. I’ve always enjoyed writing whether it’s scribbling the random musings as part of this blog, or writing for clients as part of my freelancing work. I love the creative process of getting things out of my head and on to paper. It can be very cathartic!

My only real other vice is spending a bit too much time on social media which I think everyone does.

Lincoln Vices

Guilt and Vices

Most vices carry a set amount of guilt don’t they?

Whilst I don’t have any problem with my tea drinking, I am aware that my love of red wine is a bit of a bad habit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s in check, but I don’t ever want it to become a complete crutch. I make a conscious effort to have a few nights off a week (which can be tough!)

My writing can at times cause me some level of guilt, mostly because outside of my few childfree hours during the day, I’m trying to snatch bits of time here and there whilst juggling the kids before doing more once they’re in bed. I regularly have guilty moments where I worry that I’ve just plonked the kids in front of the TV for an hour or so whilst I try and get scribbling.

But what I’m realising is that unless you have a hard core drug or drink vice, or a vice that is so out of control that it becomes all consuming, we really need to ease up on the guilt.

It’s OK to have vices. In fact, it’s positively necessary to have our vices in order to get through the day.

We are all doing our best. Whether we’re a stay-at-home mum battling with a feisty toddler, working mums that are juggling the demands of trying to fit everything into the day or a part-time mum like me who is trying to fit my working life in around the children.

I’m realising that letting the kids sit in front of the TV for an hour or so is not going to kill them, they have enough stimulation from me during the rest of the day. And more than that, if I’m happier at having snatched a bit of “me” time, then the kids are happier too.

Most of us seem to have worries or general anxieties about something in our life. Most of us are openly or secretly dealing with some kind of problem, some kind of pain, fear, or self-confidence crisis. Is it really so bad that we get through it by having a little bit of what makes us happy?

I don’t think so.

Unless it’s Bacardi.

Do you have any vices? I’d love to hear what they are and if you have any intention of giving them up!

Vices Bacardi

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6 Reasons To Love Paris (& 3 to Not)

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The Husband and I have just got back from Paris, we all survived. We didn’t die and leave the kids orphans. Everyone coped at home although typically our youngest was sick all of the first night, throwing up in every single bed. We were oblivious, enjoying 3 nights; our longest break away from the kids ever, having a fantastic time!

It felt brilliant to have some real time away from the kids. To talk and walk at an adult pace and spend time together being someone other than “Mummy” for just 3 days. It also really made me appreciate the kids more coming home after a break.

Here’s why I love Paris:

1) Café Culture

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No matter that it was absolutely freezing cold, the Parisians insist on sitting outside, cosy beneath heaters to drink their coffee or wine and watch the world go by. I lost count of the number of pit stops we had over our weekend, but they were always a welcome break from trekking miles across the city. I love the fact that people in Paris seem to have time or MAKE time to stop and talk. I’ve done a lot of people watching this weekend and I can confirm that the Parisians spend hours and hours over lunch and dinner. They take their time to eat, drink and talk with their friends and family.

2) Language

Ahhh! There’s something so special about the French language, it’s so soft. I absolutely adore listening to French people gabbling away. I also enjoy TRYING to speak it. I’m nowhere near fluent, and I can just about get by, but I think the French really appreciate you having a go. The husband and I haven’t been to France for 3 years, but it’s amazing how, when surrounded by people speaking the language, words and phrases come back to you. Strange, odd words came back to us when we needed them like “hats” and “gloves”. I know my French leaves a lot to be desired, but I enjoyed trying to speak it and it felt a real shame when we got home thinking that we wouldn’t be speaking it again for a long time.

3) Close By

My husband is not a fan of flying and so this is the reason we’ve been to Paris 4 times together. Getting the Eurostar is such a pleasant and relaxing way to travel. It took us 2 hours and 40 minutes to get from London to Paris. Strange to think it could take me that time to get to Manchester and yet the difference in culture is immense. Strange also to think that it took us nearly the same amount of time to get home from London to Essex on a Sunday with the rail replacement bus service!

4) Fantastic Food and Drink

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The French love taking their time over their food and I can understand why, it’s amazing! For breakfast, lunch and dinner all of our meals were outstanding. On our last night, we stumbled across an old authentic French restaurant that hasn’t really changed since it was first opened in 1845 (photo above). They prided themselves on this and so the toilet was the old fashioned type (hole in the ground job), they didn’t accept credit or debit cards (the husband had to run out for cash) and the décor was pretty simple (red and white check table cloths). We were the only customers that weren’t French. The food was unpretentious and fantastic.

I love red wine but I tend to drink Riojca or Malbec, I’ve never really drink much French wine. But when in Paris, I drank Bordeaux and it was very good. Perhaps the French wine I’ve previously had was the cheaper stuff?!

5) Love

I’m not sure whether it’s down to all that red wine, lots of good food or just because they’re a happy bunch, but the Parisians all seemed to be in love. Most of the couples I saw whether on their own or with kids were constantly draped all over each other. I guess it’s infectious because it made The Husband and I feel a little bit romantic.

6) Artists

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Paris always has and still does seem to attract the real artist types. From painters, writers, musicians and dancers, there still seems to be this attraction to the arts which adds to the romance of the city.

Here’s a Few Minor Qualms about What I Dislike About Paris:

 1) Smoking

It’s really noticeable coming from the UK where not many people smoke now. In Paris everyone is at it. Young and old and I think this is why so many people sit outside so that they can chuff away. I used to smoke socially when I was younger but the thought of it now makes me feel sick. I was a bit annoyed with The Husband who caved in on the last day and bought a packet of cigarettes to join in.

2) Expensive

We’ve known this since our first time in Paris that it’s very expensive. A beer can cost the equivalent of £16. We naively said “yes” when asked if we wanted water with our breakfast one morning and was charged 11 Euros (about £8.50) for the priviledge! I’d love to have stayed longer in Paris, but I think we would have to re-mortgage the house.

3) No Tea

Again, this is another fact that I’m well aware of in France. They are NOT tea drinkers. As a complete addict, I found it hard, especially in the mornings not to have a cuppa to get me going. Despite asking for “The au lait” I always managed to get an odd assortment of herbal tea or hot milk or both. I guess Parisians love coffee and this is one thing we have to differ on.

On balance, I think the good definitely outweighs the bad. I love red wine, the café culture, the food and the language. I think I could have been born a Parisian.

“Could we live here?” I asked the husband. “Could we move here?”

“Not at these prices,” he grumbled.

Ultimately, I love Paris and I’m sure we’ll be back again.

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