The Countdown Begins

It’s going to be a busy week while I ready my little family for our Christmas trip … so I apologise in advance if blog posts become a bit sporadic this week. I promise I’ll step it up when I have good subject material … aka Paris (Paris! I still can’t believe I am going to show my boys Paris!) I’m getting ridiculously excited now … the sort of excitement that just blows jetlag out of the program and keeps you awake for 2 weeks on adrenalin (speaking from New York experience).

My packing resembles nothing like my ‘3 frock, travelling light, summer in New York sojourn’. It’s winter and my suitcase is ‘bulk central’ with a ski suit and snow/hiking boots, 4 million/kilos of accessories … as I am going to ‘frock the hell up’ as Faux Fuchsia would instruct me to do. Compulsory for Paris.  We’re going via Singapore for a few days (which is hot) so we can’t even wear the bulky stuff on the plane. No ski suit or yeti boots for plane attire this time around!

Speaking of ‘yeti’s’. I am already editing my luggage so I can fit in my yeti coat. On principle. I bought it at a friend’s wholesale fashion sale. It’s so soft and warm and I have never had a chance to wear it, living in the sweatbox we call Brisbane, so I am taking it. End. Of. Story. Sad thing is, there will be no room for shopping … which is good … as it’s all about the experiences … not things…

…as I am already stressing over the magnitude of feeding a family of four on the road. Doing the maths … 40 days … in the gastronomical capital of the world … 4 mouths … one of them a ‘never-not-eating teenager’, who inhales his food. He looks at me with fear in his eyes when I tell him that eating in Paris is all about savouring the food. He thinks he’s going to starve if he ‘savours’! I’ll be shoving baguettes under his arm as soon as we start out for the day.

… and speaking of shopping … this is the extent of my Christmas shopping, in it’s entirety.  2 gifts for the boys from Santa. Already masked and shoved into the side pocket of my hand luggage. Here boys, here’s your Christmas present, a trip of a lifetime around snow covered Europe. They get the picture. I am sure when we head to ‘Au Nain Bleu’ we might find a few extra little, portable goodies for Christmas Day.

So this week is all about getting our house and work into order so we can have a guilt free month or so away from our everyday lives. I cannot remember the last time we ever, as a family, had a month’s holiday. Actually we have never had a month’s holiday. Ever. I remember, 18 years ago, day dreaming with my husband about travelling Europe one day with our future children. When they were babies, we couldn’t even fathom it … and then ‘life got in the way’. It’s an amazing feeling embarking on something that you know will feature significantly in the future memories of your children. That’s the reason we have been pushing the French. We want them to get the most out of the whole experience.

And we have already had the talk … “listen here boys, what you are about to experience took me 5 years at University working bum part-time jobs and 2 years of full time work, scheming and saving, to afford. And even then, I never got to do what you will be doing as I had to work as soon as I got overseas to fund my budget/limited-food adventures. You will appreciate this.”

They have no idea. And I can’t believe I am bringing out the ‘back in my day’ stories. Anyway, it’s going to be a busy week, starting with the shed this morning.

Finish hard, as they say.

Back soon,

Happy Monday!

A-M xx




This is where I muse about home design, interiors, life with my boys and other stuff that stops my heart. I own my own Real Estate agency, 'Cape Cod Residential', through which I stage, style and sell beautiful homes all over Brisbane, Australia.

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  • Deanne
    December 10, 2012 at 6:28 am

    Have a fabulous time!- I could imagine feeding your family as you travel would be quite a job!

    • A-M
      December 11, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      Thanks Deanne. My biggest concern is the food! Not only for my little peanut allergy boy but keeping big son full! He’s going to be chewing on a lot of baguettes! xx

  • Ness
    December 10, 2012 at 7:02 am

    We mixed in the self catering with meals out in Italy and France. It was my partner and I, (but he eats like a horse…) and we were a bit older, but on a budget. But wanted to experience everything France had to offer-including the food.
    The restaurants we went to were incredible, but the meals we ate from the patisseries, and the markets make my mouth water to this day. We would eat out once a day, and self cater the rest. A picnic of bread and cheese and wine, under the Eiffel Tower was incredible.
    Like you said-it is about the experience!

    • A-M
      December 11, 2012 at 7:06 pm

      Yes, we will be near markets so there will be much self catering also! xx

  • Fiona, Lilyfield Life
    December 10, 2012 at 7:02 am

    You are going to have an amazing time – even if it wasnt for France, just being on holiday as a family for a month. A few years ago Phil and I took the kids in an RV around America’s national parks for a month. it was such a good family time. Phil and I have spent a lot of time over the years in France and I look forward to taking the kids back there sometime.
    good luck for the last few days before you head out!

    • A-M
      December 11, 2012 at 7:07 pm

      Thanks lovely. xx Oh that America trip sounds like a dream! Straight to the wish list!

  • Priya
    December 10, 2012 at 7:02 am

    So glad you have got to do this , your passion for travel is so inspiring . I am sure you guys will have heaps of fun and make a more than a million memories for keepsakes …. Now what’s the price on those 🙂 take everything in your stride and go LIVE !!!!Priyaxx

    • A-M
      December 11, 2012 at 7:08 pm

      Thanks Priya. Looking forward to the ‘million memories’. xx

  • Michelle
    December 10, 2012 at 7:32 am

    A-M, enjoy this magic experience and in case I do not get to pop back to your blog before Christmas I wish you all a very happy and memorable Christmas. I look forward to reading all about it:-)

    • A-M
      December 11, 2012 at 7:09 pm

      Thanks Michelle. Happy Christmas to you too. xx

  • Tammie
    December 10, 2012 at 8:03 am

    It’s going to be a trip of a life time. I’m getting excited for you just reading your blog post!!!! I know you will have the most wonderful time!!! Enjoy xx

    • A-M
      December 11, 2012 at 7:09 pm

      Thank you Tammie. Hard to believe. I will breathe out when I get on that plane. xx

  • Elements at Home
    December 10, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I have to go back a couple of posts, because i have really missed something. Wow, Paris, with your family, for a month. So many wows in there. What an experience A-M. So excited for you and yes, good on you for letting the boys know its a special trip that so many of us work so hard for and they need to savour it all. Happy packing. XK

    • A-M
      December 11, 2012 at 7:10 pm

      Oh yes, we move fast here. Decided to put the house on hold and LIVE! Thanks for coming by! xx

  • jules @ The Diversion Project
    December 10, 2012 at 9:03 am

    You’re going to love it and so will they! I loved showing my boys Paris, and they loved it back!! Have a great trip darl xxx

    • A-M
      December 11, 2012 at 7:12 pm

      Oh that is so good to hear. I hope my boys love Paris as much as I do. I will be seeing it through their eyes. The itinerary is their’s…. lots of museums! They have a long list! xx

  • Sarah B
    December 10, 2012 at 9:16 am

    It will be amazing! I will be looking forward to hear all about it 🙂

    • A-M
      December 11, 2012 at 7:12 pm

      Thanks Sarah. I will try to do that beautiful city justice in my pictures and my words. xx

  • Kitty
    December 10, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Enjoy every moment of your journey!

    We adored the markets in Paris. The Rue de Grenelle Market was just fabulous. Roast meats, chickens and potatoes. Wonderful. Great patisseries and vegetables. Poilane is just down the road for fabulous bread.

    You will have a ball.

    K xx

    • A-M
      December 11, 2012 at 7:13 pm

      Rue De Grenelle…. noted. Thank you Kitty xx

  • KL
    December 10, 2012 at 10:26 am

    You are going to have a ball! How very exciting! I haven’t travelled very much but my sister has done a similarly timed Euro trip and my daughters are just back from Japan. The trick (according to them) in packing lightly for winter destinations are thermals. Proper wool ones. Kathmandoo have a great selection that are 50% off at this time here. (My girls bought $99 spencers for $49 for example) and they wore them under thin top layers & their coats. Great for ‘stripping off’ in highly heated indoors too. I hope I’m not telling you how-to-suck-eggs! Have a wonderful trip. x KL

  • Robin
    December 10, 2012 at 11:42 am

    So excited for you and looking forward to living vicariously through your travels. I went to France with my 16-year-old god-daughter this summer and it was an experience we will never forget. Safe travels!

  • Miss Vintage
    December 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Hi AM – Just wanted to give you a local update – Eastern / Northern Europe is about -12 at the moment and the local news says its going to head West so pack warm and layer layer layer. Also I am finding that this particular cold is pretty dry and I am using stacks of moisturiser. I am almost through my whole bottle and its only been one week over here!

    On a less practical note I am a big believer in taking clothes that make you happy … you are on holidays and looking glamorous can make things so much better … especially the holiday snaps! I hope you can fit in the yetti coat!

    I hope your flight is quick and trouble free – best wishes from the Ukraine! Miss V

  • Siobhan
    December 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    It’s going to be UNREAL. I can imagine you hurtling through the week and to the airport. Bet you can’t wait to breathe out and realise you are in the air, on the way to Paris!!

  • Liz N
    December 11, 2012 at 5:13 am

    Jealous as hell, but ENJOY 🙂 🙂

  • Andrea Lauder
    December 11, 2012 at 9:48 am

    They may not understand or appreciate it now but ask them about the experience after you’re back. You can bet they’ll understand the gravity of the situation. And these memories will be what will ignite their curiosity as they grow and share their world with others. Setting them up for success A-M, that’s what you’re doing. I can’t wait to live vicariously through you!


  • Kek
    December 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    So close now, how exciting! Your boys are going to love it. x

  • boomerang jane
    December 11, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Have a fantastic time Anne-Maree! What an amazing experience for your family. Pricless really. I was fortunate enough to take my two children to America when they were 9 and 11. We spent 6 weeks on both the East and West Coasts and Hawaii. Even though it was 7 years ago now, it still comes up in conversation almost every week. They really treasured their life-time experience, as I know your family will too. Bon voyage!!

    • boomerang jane
      December 11, 2012 at 11:31 pm

      Priceless even 😉

  • Leisa Flanigan
    December 12, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Sounds wonderful, enjoy x

  • Chie
    December 13, 2012 at 6:08 am

    Excited AM… You have to bring downpants, jackets, fur caps etc. etc.

    The weather here in Europe is absolutely freezing. Stockholm and it’s neighbouring countries are drown with snow. But it is an enjoyable time for my lil AM’s. Bring them in the mountains for skiing.

    Wish you could drop by Stockholm and see the beauty of Scandinavia. Wish you all the happiness.

    Keep in touch if you want to have a detour… no visas needed as long you enter a Schengen countries.

    God Bless,

  • Engineer Mum
    December 13, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    This is gripping stuff! I think this whole trip will be one amazing bonding experience. What a blessing! Enjoy!!!

  • Jane
    December 16, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Oh A-M! I am soooo excited for you. Have an absolute ball, my friend – what a precious time for you all to share. Can’t wait to follow you – you know I travel vicariously through you, don’t you?! J x

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About ‘A-M’

This is where I muse about home design, real estate, interiors and life with my boys. I am starting my next house build, 'The Next House That A-M Built', and hope to have some action on site in January 2018. While I am building I will continue to run my Real Estate agency, 'Cape Cod Residential', through which I stage, style and sell beautiful homes all over Brisbane, Australia. I have an unrivalled staging inventory which enables me to present all manner of homes in their absolute best light for sale. It brings me such joy to be able to do Real Estate so differently and achieve great results for my clients. I am so grateful to be living such a creative and exciting life ... that I have created through blood, sweat, tears and physio appointments!
A-M xx

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Anne-Maree Russell in Brisbane, QLD, AU on Houzz
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