Some thoughts on holiday budgets and July in Instagram

I've just spent a very pleasant hour sitting at my mother-in-law's table with a cup of tea catching up on some blog reading. At least four of the posts I read today were all about holidays in France and I enjoyed every one of them. We are going to France soon (two weeks today in fact!) and John asked me this morning if I was looking forward to it. I took so long to answer that I kind of answered his question. I have so much to do between now and then, so much to occupy me and think about, that I can't really see beyond that. We get back the Sunday before term starts so I need to feel organised before our holiday begins. 

And I'm worried about money. I've been told by someone who just returned from France that everything was horribly, ludicrously expensive. Whether this is due to the exchange rate or their expectations I don't know. People who've recently been to France - did you find this to be the case? I'm worried that what we've budgeted for spending money wont be nearly enough but I don't want to penny-pinch all through the holiday either. I am used to (and good at) living on a tight budget at home but on holiday I find it depressing. I want to indulge the kids in ice creams and myself in the odd coffee or glass of beer and pizzas for lunch for all of us without worrying about how overpriced things are or how far the euros will stretch. And I love to browse the shops and bring trinkets and bits and bobs home with me - it makes the holiday feeling stretch further. Am I the only person who worries about such things?

So John and I sat down a wrote a list of all the things that needed to be done before we go and did two of them today (new school shoes for the kids and fix the rear brake light on the car). I feel better. And the posts I read today made me remember how I love France and what a beautiful country it is. And two weeks with my parents, sisters, partners, nieces and nephews...that will be heaven.

We'll find a balance. We'll muddle through, we always do.

Anyway, the reason I originally started this post was to make a pretty mosaic of my July photos on Instagram. My Instagram love increases all the time. I like the quick glance back over a month of photos, they way it just gives you a feel for the rhythm of daily life and the seasons, nothing more. Of course you don't need Instagram for this but since my camera is heavy it's nice just to use my phone sometimes when I'm out and about. I'm also loving the social side if it too, that's a lot of fun.

So above, we have a month of unbelievably good weather, hot and sunny just like summer should be. Nearly all those photos were taken outside. There are lots of blue skies, plenty of lush greens and a few pops of berry-fruit red. July was a month of picking flowers, picking fruit, enjoying time at home and away, road trips, days out, enjoying the garden, mainly just enjoying the sunshine and life in general. 

I hope August is as good.