the Pregnancy Diaries (8) by Victoria Jelinek


‘There’s no map to human behaviour’  Bjork

I have a dear friend in London whom I met at graduate school there. She’s from Moscow, ‘whip smart,’ speaks three languages fluently, is gorgeous and rich. She’s also a bit over-the-top with labels and ‘bling’ and can consequently seem a bit ‘full on’ when one meets her. I was assigned her as a partner in a class entitled ‘Victorian Representations of Sexuality’ and we’ve been great friends since. 

Check your tetanus jabs


GP's (médécins traitants) are urging patients to check that tetanus vaccinations - part of the DTCPolio Hib vaccine - are up to date following an increase in the number of deaths from tetanus in France.

Children are routinely vaccinated in France, as in the UK, and offered boosters but you should nevertheless check that your child has had a booster in the past five years.

Loans and tuition fees


We have had quite a few enquiries about whether UK nationals living in France are entitled to UK student loans and living allowances if they go to university in the UK.
Both UK nationals living abroad and European students are now eligible for financial help with tuition fees in the UK. To apply for financial help, you’ll need to fill in the relevant application form for your type of course and year of study and then send the completed form to the Student Finance Services European Team by the relevant deadline (www.direct.gov.uk). 

the Pregnancy Diaries (7) by Victoria Jelinek



“I don’t mind that I’m fat. You still get the same money.” Marlon Brando

I went to secondary school in the Highlands of Scotland. My parents were teaching there, I was the youngest child, my siblings were at university, so I went with them. 
Anyway, a friend of mine from there and then, whom I’ve kept in touch with for over twenty years, came to visit me this last week in France. 

Q&A: Can my son be forced to change his bac?


My son is in seconde doing a bac général but because of his poor results (6/20) and the fact that he has already redoubled seconde, his lycée has said that he must switch from a bac général to a bac pro when he goes into première in September and that unless he agrees to this he may not be readmitted into the lycée.

Music for kids?


photo: thsh.co.uk

As the summer season of music festivals kicks off with the fête de la musique, is France doing enough to introduce children to their musical heritage – or is classical music just for the elite? 

Musical education falls into two distinct categories in France: school and music school. You don’t learn an instrument at school, though most school music sections have practicing facilities. The two are parallel and complementary, the amount of interaction depending on the personality and the energy of individual teachers, as well as on available funding. 

Summer holiday reading


English-speaking children attending French schools will, of course, grow up fully bilingual. Bilingual, however, is not the same as bicultural - the ability to slip easily between two cultures and feel at home in each. Not only is this a richer experience than just the ability (impressive though it is!) to speak two languages but the bicultural applicant will have a serious edge at the top end of the of the international jobs market

the Pregnancy Diaries (6) by Victoria Jelinek


Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it. Lily Tomlin

I read somewhere once that stress is the most debilitating thing that you can do your body. 
This week, I’m suffering panic attacks because while I love living in France in theory, in practice, I don’t love living here and I’m not convinced it’s the best place for my unborn child.

Home schooling on the rise


Not found the school you were looking for for next year? You could try home schooling - although it is not an option to embrace lightly.
Nevertheless, home schooling – or distance learning – is enjoying a huge rise in France with five times more lycéens studying for their bac online.

aide à la rentrée 2012


Rates for this year's Allocation Rentrée Scolaire, the ARS and commonly known as the aide à la rentrée, have gone up to:

287.84€ for 6 to 10 year olds

303.68€ for 11 to 14 year olds

314.24€ for 15 to 18 year olds

This is the annual grant towards the costs of school equipment; such as stationary, and payments for children under 16 will be made directly into bank accounts on, or around, 20 August.

For children over 16, still in education, you will need to provide an attestation de scolarité before receiving payment.

For more information on the ARS click here

the Pregnancy Diaries (5)


‘Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired’.  Jules Renard

I went to the specialist in Grenoble this week. The good news is that I do not have uteri (two uterus’), just, simply, a larger womb that’s growing. 
So, with that bit of good news, I’m not facing the high chance of a miscarriage in the second trimester or the elevated odds that my cervix will open and deliver the baby too soon in the third trimester. 
The bleeding that I’ve been experiencing is because I have weak veins in the lining of my womb that are stressed as everything grows. The specialist said that this is nothing to worry about and this will stop within the next few weeks.
He did tell me that, as with every woman who’s pregnant, I should expect to have some nasal congestion due to increased hormones – which surprises me as I feel as though I could get a job as a sniffer dog, my sense of smell is so keen. I first suspected I was pregnant when I walked into a restaurant that was cooking a big batch of pot au feu and thought that I would vomir ungracefully on the floor. READ MORE

the Pregnancy Diaries (5) by Victoria Jelinek








‘Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired’.  Jules Renard



I went to the specialist in Grenoble this week. The good news is that I do not have uteri (two uterus’), just, simply, a larger womb that’s growing. 

So, with that bit of good news, I’m not facing the high chance of a miscarriage in the second trimester or the elevated odds that my cervix will open and deliver the baby too soon in the third trimester. 

The bleeding that I’ve been experiencing is because I have weak veins in the lining of my womb that are stressed as everything grows. The specialist said that this is nothing to worry about and this will stop within the next few weeks.

He did tell me that, as with every woman who’s pregnant, I should expect to have some nasal congestion due to increased hormones – which surprises me as I feel as though I could get a job as a sniffer dog, my sense of smell is so keen. I first suspected I was pregnant when I walked into a restaurant that was cooking a big batch of pot au feu and thought that I would vomir ungracefully on the floor. 

Exam panic


Nail biting, nausea, sweating, eczema attack, knots in your stomach, telling yourself you are rubbish and you’re going to fail – all signs of last minute exam panic, or ‘negative’ stress. 
Good stress, on the other hand, can focus your attention, boost energy and allow you to channel your physical and mental capacities on the task in hand.
So how do you turn bad stress into good?

Higher Education: the new challengers


The University of York takes top place for the UK

The Times Higher Education (THE) supplement's latest listings look at the top 100 universities under 50 years old to find the centres of excellence of the future – the institutions most likely to challenge the dominance of Harvard and Cambridge.

Six nations make the world's top ten including Switzerland, France and the UK, and Europe is the continent with the highest number of entries in the top 100. The UK has more places on the list (20) than any other country while the US, traditionally a powerhouse of higher education slips into third place, behind Australia.

the Pregnancy Diaries (4): a double uterus


by Victoria Jelinek

‘There are some women whose pregnancy would make some sly bachelor smile.’
Honore de Balzac

I woke up in the middle of the night the other night and was bleeding. The next morning, I went to my good doctor for a check up and an ultrasound. He told me that I have two uterus’ (called ‘uteri’, really), which may explain the bleeding.  READ MORE

Best beaches this summer


Bréhal beach in Normandy, a Pavillon Bleu winner

Check on the map here to see if any of your local beaches have won the coveted 2012 Pavillon Bleu award.

The right to fly the internationally recognised blue flag means that the beach is clean and offers quality facilities.