Save. Spend. Splurge.

Week of Money: Blackberries for all!


??:?? — What in fresh hell is… Little Bun is UP!? It feels early. My body says it’s early. I drank a lot of homemade wine last night which re-confirmed my alcohol allergy (I knew I had it, but you forget after like 10 years and think — what’s the harm!?)… and my entire body broke out in red splotches. Won’t be repeating that ish again.

7:00 a.m. — SEVEN A.M. THIS TIME. Little Bun is killing me…. he is adapting so well to the jet lag that I am losing sleep trying to keep up.

7:12 a.m. — I log in and start working.

11:15 a.m. — Time for lunch. Pasta with fresh tomato sauce this time, and prawns. Looks like my annoyed remark yesterday hit home and now at least, I am expecting a sauce with the plain pasta, even if there is no meat… Don’t care much for meat, but I need SOMETHING.

12:48 p.m. — Lunch over, Little Bun and I go downstairs to do math together. I bought a book called Math Drills – Grade 3, and he has been powering through it. He is shaky on the money bit (doesn’t know coin values), and multiplication but overall he managed to do half the book with minimal help and every day he has been HASSLING me to do “More Math Drills Mommy“…

1:26 p.m. — Time for a nap.

4:04 p.m. — He is still conked out so I wake him up, and we get ready to head out.

4:25 p.m. — We head downtown, stop for a coffee/tea/piece of cake and then buy a few things to eat. We stop by a pharmacy and for SIX BAND-AIDS they were asking for TEN euros. Ten. Freaking. Euros. She looked completely innocent too, when saying: Oh that will be “ten —something”. All I heard was “ten” and I said: NO. EFFING. WAY.  and we put our money away and walked out.

5:48 p.m. — Back home, Little Bun runs around and plays ball while I do laundry and try to relax… but no dice, he wants me to play with him…

6:42 p.m. — Dinner time, we have grilled chicken, and I make a tomato & basil salad from the garden.

7:32 p.m. — Big, effing screaming epic fight. Little Bun refused to speak to his grandmother (he was being silly and acting like a child going — woo wooo woooooo) and it ticked off my partner and his grandmother. SCREAMING MATCH between the two of us, Little Bun bursts into tears… I have a post coming up on this, I’m furious at them.

10:15 p.m. — I finally get him calm, and he has a little cake and clings to me all night, sad and bursting into tears intermittently.

12:03 a.m. — No signs of being tired. We stay up and watch a bit of TV..

1:22 a.m. — Bedtime, finally.

Spent: $0


9:03 a.m. — Little Bun gets me up (with a groan), and I go upstairs with him to make tea, and have some morning biscuits. He eats his yoghurt happily dangling his legs and taking massive scoops.

9:15 a.m. — “The bus leaves at 9:30” my partner says, and I quickly gulp down my tea, eat my biscuits and get ready, and get Little Bun ready to go out. I am slathered in sunscreen…

10:06 a.m. — At the mall, I break off from the group and Little Bun and I do a “One for One” spree, where Mommy gets to go to one store, and Little Bun gets to do something HE wants to do, like ride an escalator three times up and down, or look for toys to play with in-store.

10:31 a.m. — I pick up two blouses for my mother in all white and this very nice stripe, and a cobalt blue striped blouse that looks easy and comfortable. 55.90 EUR

11:22 a.m. — We leave the mall and take the bus to an interchange station where we pass the bus we were supposed to take. Sigh. Another half an hour wait. We have a little snack while we wait in the shade.

11:58 a.m. — We catch the second bus back, a newer, air-conditioned one. Sweet!

12:08 p.m. — Little Bun curls up and conks out on my lap while riding back in a nice, air-conditioned bus. Who could blame him? I would too.

12:28 p.m. — I hoist him on my shoulders and carefully carry him in down the slope, and just sit on the couch, fully dressed with him snoring away, sweating buckets into my chest. I don’t dare move. I’m trapped under a sleeping child…

1:09 p.m. — He snuffles a bit and I take the opportunity and dump him on the couch beside me. At last! I AM FREE! I quickly change out of my sweat-soaked shirt, and fan him gently as he sleeps, making sure he doesn’t fall off the couch.

1:35 p.m. — Lunch time. I eat some rice and mushrooms, and avoid the chicken breast. I prefer the vegetarian version of this.

2:14 p.m. — Little Bun finally wakes up. I feed him a full bowl of soup, pasta, he has a yoghurt afterwards “Mommy, after I eat my lunch, I can have a yoghurt!“, and then we share a delicious super expensive air-flown Brazilian mango together. It tastes MUCH better here than in Canada.

2:49 p.m. — I log in and work.

3:50 p.m. — Suddenly, I am hit with a migraine and dizziness out of nowhere. Later, I realize it was because it was about to rain and the drop in pressure caused my motion sickness to be triggered BIG TIME. I am lying there, whimpering in dizziness and mental pain, and then OF ALL THE DAYS, cousins come to visit and hang out. I’m rude AF, lying down trying to nurse my pain and I can’t even explain myself.

4:02 p.m. — I’m knocked out. My partner brings me pills and realizes I am really OUT. I can’t even move.

6:56 p.m. — I try to go upstairs to eat, take two bites and go back downstairs to lie down. I’m really sick.

10:56 p.m. — Bedtime. I haven’t moved except to wash my face for bed.

Spent: 55.90 EUR


8:04 a.m. — I wake up slightly better.. I pop a few pills to control my nausea which I feel bubbling below the surface. I also make a bad decision to go out today instead of staying in to rest.

11:59 a.m. — Back home, I’m glad I wore a Transderm patch out but I am really tired. And nauseous. And Little Bun is grumpy and HOT. Ugh.

1:15 p.m. — Lunch time. We eat well, and I finish with a mango with Little Bun after he has his vegetable stew and pasta. Then I have a the yummy lunch of fried beef tongue (OMG SO GOOD)… This is country cooking.

2:08 p.m. — Nap time.

4:26 p.m. — I wake him up early from his nap because it is getting too late.

5:10 p.m. — We are downtown walking around and Little Bun wants to go HERE, not THERE. And he wants to do THIS, not THAT. OMFG. I am going to… LOSE IT. He won’t listen to me.

6:27 p.m. — At home, food, and then a massive, huge epic family screaming match between me and my partner, instigated by Mamie’s declaration that Little Bun is rude, unlovable and hates her. OMFG…. HE IS A CHILD. He is SHY. Why do you think he doesn’t warm up to anyone? He is a KID. He is not speaking his mother tongue, and is not comfortable in any language BUT English. He is just shy and needs time to warm up to you. Plus, you need to also make an effort to play with him and connect.

10:22 p.m. — I am fuming. FUMING. I finally calm him and myself down.

Spent: $0


8:04 a.m. — I wake up slightly better.. I pop a few pills to control my nausea which I feel bubbling below the surface. I also make a bad decision to go out today instead of staying in to rest.

11:59 a.m. — Back home, I’m glad I wore a Transderm patch out but I am really tired. And nauseous. And Little Bun is grumpy and HOT. Ugh.

1:15 p.m. — Lunch time. We eat well, and I finish with a mango with Little Bun after he has his vegetable stew and pasta. Then I have a the yummy lunch of fried beef tongue (OMG SO GOOD)… This is country cooking.

2:08 p.m. — Nap time.

3:45 p.m. — Up from the nap, it is a mad rush to get ready to catch the 4 p.m. bus. Sunscreen (another layer, I didn’t even remember to remove the layer I had when I came back), and getting dressed and slathering on more sunscreen on my arms. Little Bun is excited to go on the bus again…

4:33 p.m. — The downtown is closed for some event. Ugh. All the buses are being re-routed and traffic in this sleepy little village is now HORRIFIC.

5:38 p.m. — I spy some VERY cute 100% cotton red culottes but don’t have time to try them on before we have to make the 6 p.m. bus back home. Little Bun wants to be carried and keeps saying: I am a BABY. Babies get carried!.. to which I refuse to carry him because.. no. He is 7 kilograms now, for sure. Way too heavy for me.

6:12 p.m. — At home, laundry. I help Mamie hang up all the washed, wet towels without her knowledge, and I do my own laundry, with the new shirts he got. Mamie bought a pair of shorts for Little Bun which he won’t wear (he only likes comfy, loose sweatpants and that sort of thing), so we had traded it for 3 long-sleeved shirts instead that are on sale.

7:14 p.m. — Little Bun hassles me, then his father, and then gets a yoghurt from his Mamie. She is over the moon and how he is finally responding to her after almost a week and a half of being frozen. HE IS JUST SHY, EVERYONE. Ugh… this is part of the screaming family fight I had the other night, about how “rude” Little Bun is and how “unlovable” he is in not wanting to run up to everyone and be their friends all the time. What’s wrong with that? Stranger danger, and all that crap, right? I’d rather he be cautious and careful than super friendly and open to dangers.7

7:37 p.m. — He is still hungry and asks for soup and pasta. I feed him a vegetable stew and pasta to everyone’s astonishment. This kid WANTS vegetable stew? Amazing.

8:10 p.m. — A lot of wind outside. At least I don’t have a migraine from the rain any more. My partner is cooking fresh fish on the BBQ, and plans to make a pizza sometime this week, and some sort of other dish… lots of good stuff to come, I’ll bet.

9:55 p.m. — More cakes and snacks, a tisane and then it is time for bed.

Spent: $0


8:30 a.m. — We are slowly adjusting to the jet lag here. CRAP. We were trying to keep to Montreal time so the transition back would not be so rough but it was inevitable considering how long we are here…

8:45 a.m. — I feed Little Bun yoghurt, have a tea, then rush to get ready for the bus. No one tells me we are going out daily *grumble* so I don’t prep ahead of time properly.

9:08 a.m. — On the bus, we head to the local market. There are old women here who grow things in their gardens and sell them for dirt cheap, like 1 EUR for a KILOGRAM of the best, organic fruit you will ever taste and find. This stuff sells for at least 4 EUR per kilogram in the grocery stores and that stuff is not as good as this homemade, natural fruit and vegetables. They’re dang ugly but they’re very flavourful.

10:19 a.m. — I stop by and admire this very pretty plant. It is like a cross between a gingko leaf and a maple.. very intricate and lacey. Would make a great print for a skirt or dress..

11:22 a.m. — Back at home, I feed Little Bun vegetable stew and pasta. Then we have a nice lunch of fried rice and some leftover beef tongue, and then we just clean up.

12:28 p.m. — Time for a nap.

3:43 p.m. — Up from the nap, we rush and get ready to make the bus to go to the pool. We take a bus, then walk a pretty long way (long for a small child anyway), and when we finally make it there, we are shocked it is 4 EUR per adult to enter, although Little Bun is free. 8 EUR for a day at the pool? Then you have to rent a lounge chair, etc, and that will bring you up to at least 15 EUR. If you have more than one kid, they are not all under the age of 5, surely, so that gets $$$ too….. – 4 EUR for my entry

4:56 p.m. — Little Bun LOVES THE POOL. He is going against the ‘waves’ and is having such a good time. He loves swimming now and finds it fun. All the times I have tried at home to take him to the pool for lessons he has balked, and he hates being dunked, etc.. but HERE??!?! He is putting his face in the water, trying to make bubbles, I am doing high-fives with him to encourage him no matter how much I see he was spluttering so he isn’t scared of the water…. it helps with his father there. I have to make this a regular occurrence. I need him to swim properly.

5:01 p.m. — We walk to the grocery store which is another 8 blocks away….

5:15 p.m. — At the grocery store now, my partner buys fresh fish for tonight, while I go and snag my coveted red cotton culottes that look like a skirt. XS (Extra Small)? Not even going up over my KNEES, so I go up to a S (Small) size. I find European sizing less vain than North American sizing. I am truly a “Small” but sometimes I fit into XS and wonder how. – 23 EUR

6:49 p.m. — We were at the bus stop for 6 p.m. but we end up catching it nearer to 7. These bus times are all screwed up in tiny little towns/villages….. :-\

9:20 p.m. — At home, my partner grills fish (it was DELICIOUS but very bony, Little Bun ate half my share), and grilled zucchini for me, with grilled green peppers for Mamie.

9:59 p.m. — Time for bed. The plan is to wake up early to go to the market tomorrow. I am not sure this is going to happen.

Spent: 27 EUR


??:?? — My partner tries to get me up but I look over at a conked out Little Bun and veto waking him up. He will be a MONSTER and I do not want to deal with that all morning or carrying him everywhere.

7:25 a.m. — My partner gets up and I hear them leaving as the church bells toll the time (yes this actually happens).

7:41 a.m. — Little Bun wakes up. Of all the times!! LOL …. I guess we are staying in for a quiet morning. Good. I can do my emails, blog a bit, and relax. Sometimes being on a curvy country road and going all the way to the market each morning can really be trying and exhausting when I get motion sickness so easily.

8:38 a.m. — Biscuits and a cup of tea later, I feel better.

9:33 a.m. — My partner and Mamie come back. They made out like bandits at the market and bought all the wild strawberries they could find. This whole bowl, about 2 pints for 0.60 EUR!!!! We would have paid at least $10 CAD for them back home. People have no idea of the value they are selling.

11:15 a.m. — We eat some fish with potatoes and tomatoes, topped with chives and really GOOD country bread.

…and this bread is stunning:

12:34 p.m. — Time for a nap. Nonsense from Little Bun means he doesn’t nap until muchhhh later.

1:29 p.m. — Little Bun wakes up and we don’t realize that he didn’t nap enough, so he basically is a monster the whole time we are out. I am threat-whispering, then finally screaming at him. I am UP TO HERE with frustration and anger.

5:32 p.m. — We are home and I am mentally, exhausted. I feed him vegetable stew and bread, snag a few pieces of Mamie’s battered parsnips (she knows I love them), and then try to breathe.

6:20 p.m. — I start a bath for Little Bun and he cleans up.

6:38 p.m. — I sit down in the bath, about to relax into what I think is a warm, comforting bath when I realize there is no more hot water. This is what country living is all about. Bug bites all over your body, intermittent hot water, things that spray in odd places (I hate washing dishes or my hands here), and it just reminds me of how nice and modern comfort is in the city. I am definitely a City Mouse. I would never, ever retire in the country unless I had the place completely outfitted with proper taps, hot water, air conditioning, you know, the whole bit. I’m too bougie for this #(%*#%(….

6:51 p.m. — I finish my cold shower. Yes folks. I felt so grimy and gross, and tired from today’s Little Bun HASSLE… that I took a cold shower, washed my hair in cold water under the tap, and sucked it up. I’m not that much of a princess but I would not choose this over modern comfort.

7:15 p.m. — I head outside and snack and chat with everyone.

8:56 p.m. — Dinner, we have a huge sea bass on the grill and then fruit to finish, eating all of the wild strawberries in one go:

10:34 p.m. — Time for bed. I’m covered in bug bites. No matter what I do, I end up getting fresh ones daily.

Spent: $0


8:30 a.m. — Little Bun wakes me up. I could have gone longer… I make a cup of tea, and I have a biscuit. My partner gets angry because Little Bun wants one too, and this is a lot of sugar for a kid. He has a point but … WE ARE ON VACATION. OMFG.

8:58 a.m. — My partner starts doing mini chores because Mamie is at church and we are heathens. He cleans his boots (they look like new now), and preps the dough for the pizza he is attempting for the first time here. We aren’t sure it will work out.

9:17 a.m. — I browse around and end up dreaming about a really fluffy tulle skirt but know it will be one THOUSAND percent impractical. I do however, think a magenta maxi skirt would be an interesting piece to have… No? 🙂

10:19 a.m. — I create little fashion trios with notes and start posting them on Instagram. If you want to see all of them, you can add me on Instagram here @saverspender…. Here are the two I have done so far, with more to come:

“Inspired by this white on white onslaught in fashion. It looks so crisp..”

“Pink is one of my favourite colours, I love magenta or fuchsia the best (omg that maxi skirt is everything) but even a pink blazer on @seeannajane or in a chiffon top belted with a studded belt is just as stunning.”

12:28 p.m. — After a GREAT pizza lunch, down for a nap.

3:00 p.m. — Up from his nap, I get him ready to go out. The buses all run about an hour later than usual today because it’s a weekend, so we will not be back as soon as possible. A market trip will take us 4 hours.

4:15 p.m. — Little Bun starts his nonsense. Monster nonsense. Wants water. Wants this. Wants that. Doesn’t want to go here. Wants to go there. Wants to do this.

4:39 p.m. — I am doing math with him, CONSTANT. FREAKING. MATH. This is good but it is really really TIRING to keep giving him questions to do, and then having to do the math yourself as well to make sure you teach him the right answer. I am constantly speaking, I just want a break. I want a goddamn #%(#&%ING BREAK. I want SILENCE. I am considering duct taping his mouth I am so tired.

5:15 p.m. — Why are people wearing these flip flops on their hooves as if it is proper footwear??? Unless you’re going to the pool, gym or for a pedicure, flip flops are unacceptable in my eyes. I see people with them on at WORK. This is really not acceptable footwear for the office, unless you work at one of the places above. I hate the sound of them too. Flip, flop, flip, flop. Lastly I hear it is also a danger when driving as it can come off easily and jam the pedals. Mostly, I just don’t know why it seems to be more of a hassle to wear regular shoes like flats, slip on sneakers, regular sandals or anything really. How much lazier do you have to be to decide between wearing flip flops today and regular shoes? Takes the same amount of time to put them on.

5:46 p.m. — Little Bun starts his #%(* again. I drag him to the bathroom away from public eyes, and he loses his #%(#… I manage to get him to behave, and he bursts into tears.

6:03 p.m. — WHERE IS THE BUS? I AM READY TO KILL A LITTLE SOMEONE. At least my outfit is cute — I pretty much wore this:

6:47 p.m. — The bus just didn’t show up. So we caught the NEXT one. OMFG. I am…. livid. I need silence. Luckily he is quiet on the way home, lying down on my lap like an angel. I never knew as a parent I could equally love 100% all the time and at times have intense hate for my child. I am never, goddamn coming back here with him. He can go back with his father as a side trip when he is older but I am done. I am not doing this any more and this is not a relaxing trip for me or a vacation. I am fed up.

7:12 p.m. — Back home, I am mentally SPENT.

7:34 p.m. — I feed Little Bun vegetable stew, bread and pasta when we’re back. Now he’s behaving perfectly. WTF.

8:07 p.m. — I find more kids apps and just do the free trial for a week. I’ll just keep doing free trials and deleting them if it KEEPS HIM QUIET and gives me a mental break. I cannot handle this. He is like a constant radio “More Math Mommy, Mommy Mommy Mommy I said more math. I said I wanted water. WATER. WATER. I want water. I am THIRSTY. MOMMY. WATER. NO! NOT SO LOUD. Softer voice. I want Mommy to have a softer voice. Softer I said. SOFTER. SOFT. VOICE. Only one person can be sad. One person. Not two. One sad one happy. I’m SAD. I AM SAD MOMMY ” <—- this, for 3 hours straight, no break. You’d go crazy too.

8:59 p.m. —  Time for the actual dinner. Duck confit with some country bread. Little Bun has a helping too, but he cannot wait so long for dinner so I always feed him a mid-afternoon supper of sorts, and he just eats twice.

10:54 p.m. — Bedtime.

Spent: $0


Want more? Read all of my previous Week of Money Diaries.


  • Me

    These last two week of money posts have been fascinating because it’s not about the money – it’s about the tension of travelling. I have three kids 5 and under and now when we travel we realize:
    1. We will do stuff but we have to do stuff in the best interest of our kids because it makes our lives easier – we rent cars so we aren’t dependent on other people and can control our situation (and that’s like whether we are in Italy or in Edmonton where we have family). Sometimes when you have to pull the chute, hustle those kids in a car and gtfo
    2. Any trip with kids is a family trip not a vacation – not relaxing.
    3. Travel to places where there is a kid friendly and kid loving culture is a big deal and makes life so much more enjoyable. Turkey, Sri Lanka, Bali, Italy – kids aren’t a nuisance. They are part of life and people go out of their way to help you. But in places where kids are not as joyfully welcomed (parts of Europe and North America) you spend too much time trying to make sure your kid isn’t bothering people and it’s exhausting
    4. Sometimes you gotta split up on a trip sometimes. My husband will take the older two and stay at his moms and I stay at a hotel w the baby bc they are smokers and I’m allergic. Just so much easier to cope and parent separately and do our own things and have gone away from the in laws (who are lovely but I don’t need 24-7 with them). I’ve also left husband and kids and gone elsewhere and it is truly relaxing for a few days then I miss them
    5. Money solves a lot of problems – I don’t feel the need to put myself in situations to save a couple bucks when travelling. I backpacked when I was in my 20s. I’m a grownup now so I will pay for convenience!
    6. Going to the beach with kids is a delight because they can sit on the sand for hours and I just have to watch them if they are in the ocean 🌊
    7. You mag need a vacation from your “vacation”!

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      We tried to rent a car when we were there but apparently all cars are stick not automatic unless you pay $$$$$ …

      Any trip with kids is NOT RELAXING AT ALL.

      I will take a look at these other countries though. I need a break.

      I already told my partner that I’m leaving with or without him in the Spring to visit MY friends and family this time. No more of this….

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