Alpine Mummy

A new life in the middle of nowhere


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Alpine Mummy’s celebrity interview

Ever wondered why Alpine Mummy is actually in the middle of nowhere, and not working her way up the corporate ladder in good old London…?

Ever wondered what she’s thinking when signing off yet more orders for paperclips?

Ever wonder what life is really like as an expat in the French mountains, with dog poo and bureaucracy galore?

Wonder no more!

For all the juicy details (kind of), check out this candid and exclusive interview for the fantastic Multicoolty.com.  Forget Hello, Vogue, or Paris Match – this is where it’s at!

The perfect combination

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How to get a job after maternity leave

Looking for an example cover letter to jettiston you into that new career following a little bit of “time off” (ahem) after having kids? Look no further! Just shamelessly cut and paste Alpine Mummy’s model letter below, and that dream job is yours.  Guaranteed. *

Here’s a motivational pic of a mountain to set the aspirational mood…

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The truthful testimony of a full-time working mum

I’m a mum of three (did I ever mention that…?!). And I work full-time. Properly full-time.  Swiss full-time is 40 hours per week – 9.00am till 6.00pm, minimum, and I seem to do a lot more than that.  Plus I commute. At least an hour each way (and up to two hours on a very bad day when accidents and road works and snow and fog and other random incidents that can’t ever be predicted end up conspiring against me).

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Believe me, I’m very grateful to have a good job which pays the bills and keeps us in the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed (ski passes and new bikes ain’t cheap). Plus I think it’s important for my kids (and, I have to say, my girls especially) to see me go to work, to learn the value of a job (both personally and financially), and to realise that snow is free but not much else in life is.

Living in paradise comes at a price...

Living in paradise comes at a price…

But it’s pretty tough, no matter how much I try and sell it to myself (and to others out there, pretending not to judge).

Here’s what being a full-time working mum means to me: Continue reading


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On the road with Alpine Mummy

Giving up life in the UK and moving to the Middle of Nowhere, Lost in the French Alps (my official address), was supposed to result in a healthier, more outdoors-y life, away from the smog and grime and roads and cars and traffic that is London life.

That has half worked.

The great outdoors is so much closer to our great indoors now – we can walk and ski and cycle mountains galore without needing to ever drive for more than four and a half minutes (I’ve timed it).

But recently, I have spent a LOT of my time sitting in a car – and it makes me wonder if we can ever leave the world of traffic behind us…

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Alpine Mummy’s carefree life…

Life isn’t exactly carefree at the moment, that’s for sure.  I leave home in the dark, at 7.23 each morning, before the kids are up.  I get home in the dark, any time between 7.45 and 8.15 each evening, just as the kids are going to bed.  Well, actually, just as the kids are successfully avoiding going to bed by joining forces (for once) to create as much noise, naughtiness and general chaos as possible.26102014391 Continue reading


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Feeling forever foreign

Well I made it through my first week at work in one piece.  Bonus.  I’m absolutely exhausted (I’m really not used to this full-time work malarkey, never mind with a 3-and-a-half-hour total commute added to each day).  And a bit grumpy (nostalgically remembering what a jammy life I had before, working three days a week from home in my jogging bottoms).  But mainly, it’s just fine.

A new job in a new country has, however, made me feel funnily foreign.  All over again.

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On the move again…

I start full-time work tomorrow. Gosh.

Midweek Alpine Mummy fun will be no more. Gone are the days of frolicking in the mountains on a Monday afternoon, or cycling round the lake on a Wednesday, or spending the entire day eating cake and drinking lots of tea with other English mummies every Tuesday (and Thursday. And Friday. And… OK – I do more cake-eating and socialising than I do mountain-frolicking and cycling. Life is tough).

I think I can cope with having to wear vaguely presentable clothes every day, rather than the knackered jeans and holey t-shirts that have become my usual uniform (on the days I actually get out my pyjamas…). I can probably even cope with brushing my hair every day (I got it all hacked off on Friday to ease this pain), and I am certainly looking forward to speaking to grown-ups about things other than sick, poo, sleep, poo and sick. (Forget career aspirations – I’ll just be proud to get through a day without threatening to put my colleagues on the naughty step, or absent-mindedly spoon-feeding my boss at lunchtime…)

Anyway, all that will be fine. What I’m not looking forward to is my commute. I live about an hour and a quarter away from Geneva. More (a lot more) at peak times. I am working a full day. Every day.  I will never (and I mean never) see my kids if we stay here.

So the Alpine Family are on the move again… But where to?

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Me… revisited

In July 2012 Alpine Family, then a somewhat smaller unit than we are now, embarked on a new adventure: giving up hectic London life for a new start in the French Alps.

It was a temporary move – I had a year’s maternity leave, and what better way to spend it than gallivanting up and down mountainsides with the soundtrack of cow bells echoing around us. The hills were indeed alive, and the Von Trapps had nothing on us (although admittedly I am yet to dress my little darlings in curtains…). Life couldn’t have been more different had we moved to the moon – life as a City lawyer was a distant memory as I got used to life as a stay-at-home mummy in the middle of nowhere with two kids (Alpine Boy aged 3 and a half; Alpine Girl aged 7 weeks when we moved here). Doctors’ appointments, supermarket trips, and snow (lots of snow): all was new, all was in French, and I blogged about the lot (well, some of it).

 

My dream house... (shame it's not ours)

My dream house… (shame it’s not ours)

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The best of times, the worst of times – a trip abroad with Alpine Mummy

The end of November 2013 saw the amazingly perfect wedding of my bestest friend ever.  No lie – it was really fantastic.  The bride was (of course) beautiful, the venue was amazing, the weather was gorgeous (in London, in November?! Not sure how she managed that but she did!), and her shiny new husband was certainly shiny and new in his rather fetching RAF uniform.  She put so much work into every little detail – she is a total goddess, my friend Helen, and her stunning crafty talents were on display in the most perfect fashion.  If you need a wedding planning and you want it to be amazing – call on her. 

Don’t, however, call on me to organise any kind of travel plans to said wedding.  That will result in epic failure.  (What else would you expect from Alpine Mummy?  Helen and I are a strange match in that respect:  the things she touches turn to gold, whilst my faffing fiddly fingers turn most stuff to dust.  I’m not really sure why she stays friends with me – especially as it’s been this way since we met, nearly 18 years ago, and is unlikely to ever change…!). 

Beautiful venue

Beautiful venue

So, yes, as I said:  a perfect wedding.  Slotted into the middle of a disastrous weekend.  It went a little something like this: Continue reading


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5 blog posts I could have written. But didn’t.

Well going back to work certainly changed my life.  I only work three days a week (albeit in another country twice a month, with a 6-and-a-half-hour commute).  It’s not much at all, really, but it’s as if a little Time Fairy has sneaked into my life and brazenly stolen all my ‘me’ time.

I used to have ‘me’ time, I’m sure.  Maternity leave last year now feels like a perfect dream (though I’m sure it wasn’t always) – gallivanting up and down mountainsides with a baby on my back and a camera round my neck.  I had time for stuff like that!  And I still managed to cook fresh meals for my family, clean the house (from time to time. A bit. OK, let’s not exaggerate…), see my friends, and even write blogs.

The good old days

The good old days

(I’d love to know what that damn fairy has done with it that time.  If I found her stash I’d make a fortune.)

These days I’m lucky if my children get to eat pasta pesto or fish fingers less than three days in a row.  I haven’t seen the sofa for a good few weeks – I think it must be buried under that pile of jumpers, books, DVDs, toys, handbags and letters from school demanding lunch money, but I couldn’t be sure.  Despite the constant running of the washing machine and the fact that the house resembles a laundry, no one’s ever got anything to wear, and I’m so disorganised in the mornings that Alpine Boy regularly goes to school without gloves or a hat.   Usually when it’s -10°c .  I’m such a great mum.

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And I have no time to write blogs!  The little ‘me’ time that the Time Fairy has begrudgingly left behind is generally spent crashing on the sofa propping my eyes open with matchsticks – I’m in no fit state to talk, never mind write.  (I just want to mention that it’s not pure laziness on my part, all this exhaustion… there’s a real reason, see below…).

So my lack of posts recently (ok, for months) doesn’t mean I’ve got nothing to say (as if).  Au contraire, mes petits, I’m sure you all want to hear about my exciting life of working, washing and not so much walking!

Here are the ‘best’ bits then.  Here are 5 posts that I would have written had I been bothered/had the time: Continue reading