After weeks of tension and frantic preparations, followed by a few choice days of insanity spent packing, moving and unpacking, I dragged myself through two days of work in a stupour of exhaustion. I felt deeply unsure and unsettled, the house feeling big and alien around me.

Then came Wednesday, the French mid-week-no-school day, and my own mid-week-day-off work (yes, I know, pretty cool isn’t it?). I managed to stay in bed for an extra half hour this morning (ignoring my children’s insistent calls for breakfast), pottered around a bit, and eventually baked a cake. Tonight, as I hear the dishwasher chugging in the otherwise silent house, I recognise the first signs of feeling at home…

So that’s it, for me, the first cake usually helps me feel at home somewhere new, but what about you? What are your own rituals?

A very cake-sweet French song for today: Abd Al Malik – mon amour


PS. Good to be back in blogland!

This post is for the owners of all the hands which made for lighter work through this move: Annie, Caroline, Maighread, Nathalie, Poute, Nathalie the second & Aude. Thank you all so much.


26 thoughts on “Cake

  1. I think the smell of cake in a new home is perfect. And believe it or not, the aroma of cooking onions smells very home-y to me. Happy vibes in your new space.

  2. That last slice of cake has my name on it for sure!!! Looks super yummy 🙂 I start to feel at home in a new place once my “things” have found new homes- unpacking the essentials and digging out the kettle, favourite mugs, milk and teabags…..yes, very British 😉 xxx

    • Ok, I’ll put the slice of cake in the post for you then, shall I? 😉

      And teeehee, you ARE so British, it’s true, and I guess most of my British friends would give the same answer as you, the rationale being as long as you have tea, everything can be sorted I guess…
      Love it

  3. Welcome to your new home! For me it was getting everything unpacked, and having a bath with lots of bubbles!! And listening to the CD of my Dad playing Chopin.

    I felt he was watching over me that evening as I took stock of my new surroundings.

    • Wow, your dad is a professional piano player?! How amazing…Do you play any instruments too?
      Yes, a bath is good too isn’t it?

      • My Dad was a concert pianist before WW2. Sadly he didn’t continue with it after the war. But he recorded 2 CDS (organised by my ex and one of my brothers) when he was in his late 80s. They’re a lovely legacy to have.

  4. First, the most amazing thing … I’ve learned French! I know this is true because I could understand the words the lady sings in the song. At some point, it stopped working. Perhaps the guy switched to a regional French dialect that I haven’t automagically absorbed yet? 🙂

    Nathalie. I know I recall that name from some past post. A big favour of some kind I think.

    It’s been 10 years since I moved into a new house — this one. At that time, it was late summer and there was no air conditioning, so it was oppressive. But the silence at night was striking. So very very quiet around here.

    For what it’s worth, my routine in a new house is to organize the kitchen.

    Yes, the kitchen.

    I like to walk around it and think about where I will put things. What will I (we) use every day. What will only be needed for some things (baking, for example). What should be thrown away but will instead be kept…just in case. I know it’s a little silly; I like to see if I can find a logical place for everything, I want visitors to look for a spoon or the honey or a teabag and find it in the first place they look.

    Once that stuff is done, it’s time to have a P-A-R-T-Y!
    Make sure you invite all of us!

    • SD, you do realise the lady sings mostly in English, don’t you? 😉
      As for the guy, yep, he uses a lot of slang so it’s certainly more difficult to get him…

      Yup, that’s Nathalie the second you’re thinking about ;). I’m lucky to be surrounded by some great ladies…

      The kitchen was the first room we unpacked, it’s just the essential one I guess when you need to churn out three meals a day. I’d probably need your eagle eye to go over mine though, because I keep looking for things and some of the storage space is not used optimally for me really (you know I’d have trouble with those top-shelves don’t you?).

      As for the party, yup, it’s planned. Sunday the 16th, everyone book your flights 🙂 !!!

      • Hi E,

        I guess you can use all of the top shelves in the kitchen for long-term storage…because day-to-day access to those shelves is going to be complicated without working in the kitchen in heels from the 1970s! 🙂

        Geez, I can’t make the 16th, but it’s OK, we’ll have ‘mirror’ parties around the world to co-celebrate this great event.

        And when I’m next in [deleted by Privacy Police!], I’ll be sure to bring a notebook and do a complete Kitchen Functionality & Utility Analysis. 🙂

  5. Oh I’m so pleased for you and it seems that you are truly enjoying that settling in feeling. I’m with Caroline – for me it’s having a hot bath. I also like that feeling of getting up in the morning when everyone else is sleeping and making tea in the kitchen. I remember that wonderful feeling of the chinks of joy coming through the gloom when I realised the house I was now living in with my son and I was our home. Good luck to you girl!

  6. I hope you are settling in to your new home and being allowed to unwind a bit after the recent upheavals. I have to say the cake looks lovely and just makes me wish there was some way I could enjoy a slice of it, though its probably all gone by now.

    • I’ll fedex you some next time 😉 !
      Yes, good to unwind a bit. I guess things are finally starting to sink in. I now own a house in France and the children and I can feel safe and make it our own… That’s got to be good, right ? 🙂

  7. Lovely cake!! I can’t bake, but I recently bought two cakes baked by local ladies. I sprayed some almond and vanilla oils around the house and it’s almost as good as home baked 😉

        • Awww SG, big hugs. I wish I was around. The grey British winters did tend to drag me down…so I hope what you’re going through is just a blip. Do you have people around who can look after you a bit? How’s your job hunt going? xx

          • Job is another thing that depresses me, I didn’t know it is THAT HARD, this job search. It’s draining. You stop believing in yourself. I mean I believed that I’m great, better than a lot, and then all of a sudden it turns out that I can’t even get a job interview for a RECEPTIONIST! I used to manage a group of 30 people and lots of projects and now I’m not even good enough to pick up phones! I don’t want to be a moaner but it does make one feel discouraged.

            • I know how disheartening it feels, but you ARE a clever and resourceful lady, and you will eventually get a chance to shine. Hang on in there, use your budding local network to find opportunities, we’ll be right behind you cheering you on! x

            • Of course you can’t get an interview to be a receptionist — you’re over-qualified! But I’m sure you have a chance at getting an interview to manage a team based on what you’ve said.

              I don’t know any details about your work background, but Lady E is right to suggest that you try your local buddy network to see what’s available. LinkedIn is a good way to connect with your past employees, managers, and colleagues. It is also becoming a place where more and more jobs are advertised. The ads are placed in the LinkedIn Groups. So, if you try LinkedIn, be sure to join groups relevant to your skill-set.

              I think I’m a member of 10-20 LinkedIn Groups in total, with different specializations. I see jobs there all the time. Try it out…

              • I don’t have any network, and I never worked here before. I have not worked since 2004, that’s quite a career gap. I am a starter, all I can get is entry level jobs, but who wants a middle aged, inflexible (working hours limited as no daddy to help out) and unexperienced starter??? 😮

                • You know people, mums from school, maybe your neighbours, your ex-in laws? I don’t know…I would tell everyone I’m looking for work and see if they have any advice, tips. And as SD mentioned, get your cv onto Linkedin. I’m sure there’s something out there for you…Chin up 🙂

  8. Take your time, relax into your new home. And that cake looks (and smells) great. Sorry I missed out on the last slice. Maybe next time!

  9. Thanks so much for checking out my blog! I’ve been browsing yours and you sound like a pretty impressive lady too. 🙂 I can relate so much to what you’re going through… I’ll say prayers for both of us!

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