Friday, 25 October 2013

Travelogue: Road Trip to France - Part 2 Loire Valley

After reaching Calais, we had a 6 hours drive to our holiday rental south of Loches. Loire Valley is a huge area and we have decided to concentrate on the area east of Tours. We found a holiday rental which was doggie friendly just south of Loches.

After a night's rest, we headed to the beautiful town of Amboise for the day. Unfortunately, the weather was bad. The rain was coming down non-stop. Despite that, you can see how beautiful Amboise is. The town sits on left bank of Loire with the Chateau towers above the town and the river.


You can't come to Amboise without visiting the Chateau. The tickets are 10.50 Euros each. There is plenty to cover inside, so take your time. I am not going to go into the history, just enjoy the pictures :)

Going up to Chateau 'd Amboise

The Chapel of Saint Hubert where Leonardo da Vinci is buried

Top Left: View of Amboise town below, Top Right: Chateau d'Amboise, Bottom left: View of Amboise, Bottom Right: View across Loire

View of Chateau d'Amboise Grounds

Friday, 18 October 2013

Travelogue: Road Trip to France - Part 1 Crossing the Channel

At the end of August, the whole family (parents, husband and dogs included) went on a 2 week road trip to France. We planned a week in the Loire Valley, and a week in Brittany. It went fantastic!!! This was our second time bringing the dogs on a road trip to France. Armed with their pet passport and our 4x4 packed, we drove from home all the way down to Folkestone to catch the Eurotunnel over to Calais. Last time, we took the Ferry due to a strike on the Eurotunnel. So we were quite apprenhensive as we didn't know what to expect. All fears were blown out of the window, once we started our journey. It was raining cats and dogs on the day itself which was horrible as we got there early and had to make sure the doggies had their wee before we packed them back in the car to go on our merry way.

Rainy day at the Eurotunnel

The experience of driving into a train carriage was amazing. We had a tall 4x4, so ended up booking to go in the single deck carriage. If you have a normal car, you would go into a double deck carriage which I think is much more interesting.

The carriages open out to allow the cars to drive into the train

Once you are in the train carriage, the Eurotunnel staff would guide you and all loaded, they would closed down the gates between the carriages. The journey itself took 35 minutes, and the loading of all vehicles were really quick. We reached France really quickly, and the carriages reopened and you drove off into France. It was super easy and the waiting time was very reasonable. Best of all, the dogs get to stay with you in the car. Unlike taking the Ferry from Dover across to Calais, where the trip takes 1.5 hours, you have to leave your dogs in the car during the entire journey. A bit unnerving I would say, so if you are travelling with your dogs, I would definitely recommend taking the Eurotunnel. It is more costly, but the shorter journey time and for the dogs, it is the far superior choice. You pay £15 for each animal each way and it is very easy. At check in, you just have to let the attendant know that you have animals in the car, and they will give you a sticker to place on your car so that any Eurotunnel staff will know there are animals in your vehicle, and that's it. No red tape, special queues etc, very easy to take your dogs with you.

We are in France

On arrival, we just drive out of the train and voila! we are in France. Just bear in mind to drive on the right and you will be alright.

Join me next on the Loire Valley Leg of our trip. It was a 6 hours drive from Calais to where our gite rental was in the Loire Valley, south of Loches. Stay tune.

Friday, 11 October 2013

We went to France on a road trip and came back with a holiday home!

I am so sorry!!! I went AWOL for 3 more months!!!I thought moving back to the UK means a slower pace of life......but I am afraid it's not. Life has its up and its down, you can plan for everything but in the end, it is not going to go exactly as planned.

We went to France on a two week road trip, a week in Loire Valley and a week in Brittany. Since the husband is French, he had always wanted to buy a second home in France. We toyed with the idea a few years back in the Perpignan area, but never took the plunge. We procrastinated for too long and the inertia kicked in and we ended up with nothing.

So it was super out of character that we bought something. I found several properties that were interested and great value for the money, so I had arrange a viewing with the agent prior to leaving on our holiday. Three properties were lined out and the second one was a love at first sight. It had everything we wanted and more. So long story short, we went for a second viewing, two days later, made an offer on the day and had it accepted. One thing great about the French buying system is everything goes on smoothly. There is no gazumping like in the British system, so in less than 3 weeks time, the house will be ours!!!

It is call La Coyere Gites, situated in the peaceful hamlet of La Coyere outside of Noyant in Maine-et-Loire area of the Loire Valley. It consists of 3 houses, the farmhouse (owner's accommodation) with 4 bedrooms, the Cottage with 2 bedrooms and the Wine Store with 1 bedroom. The Cottage and the Wine Store are let out as holiday lets or gites as they called it in France. And we will continue with what the previous owners did, and will continue to let it out as holiday rentals.

This is why I have been busy with and have not been blogging. So stay tune to my new adventure of running a pair of French Gites. If you are looking for accommodation for your up and coming holiday in the Loire Valley, why not check us out. We are having Christmas promotions if you are looking for a short break for your Christmas/ New Year holidays. Check out our website at for more details and photos.

Our Logo and website

Top: Front Courtyard, Left: View of the pool and grounds, Right: Swimming pool with large deck

Top left: View of the Cottage & Wine Store, Top right: The Cottage, Bottom Left: Bedroom in the Wine Store, Bottom Right: View of Farmhouse

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

MIA for half a year!

First - a big apology for being missing in action for more than half a year! Life has taken an unexpected turn. The family has been moved back to the UK due to my husband's work. Boy, has it been a hectic few months!! Since we had gotten the news back in last September, it had been a whirlwind of a time. Moving, dealing with so many things had taken me away from my blog. Furthermore, now that I am back in the UK, the title of my blog is  irrelevant? Should I keep it? Changed it? Maybe put " No more" at the back of the title to signify that I'm no longer stuck in Singapore?? Anyway, that all aside, I'm back and settled ....sort of. Hopefully, the worst is over, and now I will have more time to dedicate to writing about my travels again and life back in this side of the world?

Okay, let's do a short summary first. It would explain why I didn't have time to blog. It's been so crazy.
September 2012 - News broke that we were moving back to the UK.
September 2012 - Trip back to UK to do house hunting. We sold our UK house a year back, and so we needed a place as finding a rental for my whole gang of furries = impossible.
October 2012 - Did a trip to South Island in New Zealand since it would be really too far to travel from the UK.

October 2012 - Another trip back to UK, as previous trip was a failure as we didn't find a house to buy.
November 2012 - Did several trips to Malaysia - Malacca, Kuala Lumpur & Penang before leaving Singapore. (Why? 3 years in Singapore and we barely visited Malaysia. The usual - procastination, thought one had more time and then we didn't. So in a mad rush, we decided to do a few keys places in Malaysia)

January 2013 - Third trip back to the UK - another househunting trip as the previous two did not yield any results. Husband stayed on and started work in the UK
March 2013 - The big move. The rest of the family including furries embarked on our move back to the UK. We spent almost 2 months in a holiday rental while waiting for our house to be finished before moving in.
May 2013 - Finally we moved into our house. Chaos as we had not broadband and thus no blogging, no nothing!!! Tom, my cat had also been diagnosed with Squamous cell cancer of his nose. So after many trips to the vets, he ended up with a nosectomy etc etc.

June 2013 - Off on our holiday which we booked last year - our 2nd Alaska Cruise. This time it was a Northbound cruise. My parents joined us on this trip, so we did the Canadian Rockies again, followed by the cruise and we took them to Las Vegas. Almost a repetition of 2012 trip!

July 2013 - Finally all the madness is over, I can breathe again.

Now that I've explained myself, I feel better. I can't believe that we have moved 4 times across 3 countries in 4 years. However, during this 4 years, I've done so much of travelling and seen more of the world, that I don't regret a moment of it. It's been stressful but exciting. I've reconnected with old friends and made great new friends. Now I'm starting another new chapter of my life, I am both apprehensive and excited. Where my life will lead to, I have no idea. Let's just follow me on this new journey :) Thanks for your patience and please continue to support my blog.

We are back!!!