Meet the PJs 
(yup, that’s us. We just also happen to be in our PJs)

I’m just starting out with this blogging lark, so thought it only fitting that one of my first posts should be a little bit about me and my little family of PJs.  PJ is short for Pignal-Jacquard, and we’ve got my French husband to thank for that mouthful. My name’s Ruth and this is me in bed with Frenchie and our two little monkeys, Gabriella and Raphaël. We don’t always look this smiley (especially Gabriella) at 6am on a weekend, but Frenchie had just bought himself a selfie stick and we were having fun messing about before it all kicked off.


Gabriella with her baby brother Raphaël 

Here are my first top five facts about the PJs

1. I used to be my husband’s teacher

Before you call child services, you’ll be pleased to know he was at uni, not at school. After I graduated I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with myself so I went off to live in Dijon for a year as a lectrice, or teaching assistant. Little did I know he’d end up following me back to the UK, much to my mother’s horror.  She’d warned me about Frenchmen, ‘they all have mistresses, you know’.  Let’s just hope I’ll never have to write THAT post. Oh, and for the record, I never did end up becoming a teacher even though, 20 years on, my dentist still asks me how school’s going (maybe he mistakes me for a student thanks to my youthful glow?)

our wedding day

The PJs on our wedding day in 2009

2. My husband never wanted kids

We got together when we were a very young 22, so never really had the ‘do you want kids’ conversation. Our twenties were taken up with years of studying, moving to London and being skint as we started our early careers and paid a fortune in rent. Our early thirties were spend saving to buy a flat followed by getting married and finally having some nice holidays. And then, boom. Suddenly I wanted kids. But it turned out Frenchie really wasn’t that fussed. I won’t deny it, it was a particularly challenging few years in our marriage, but he finally came around to the idea, even if he then said he’d only ever have one child. All I can say is that I married a wonderful man who lives by the motto ‘il n’y a qu’on con qui ne change pas d’avis’ (only a fool never changes his mind) so here we are, two kids later. And back to being skint.

Frenchie with two kids


The man who never wanted kids

3.  We all speak French at home

My hubby and I have always spoken a bit of Franglais at home, but when it came to having kids, it made sense to make it a French household. Many people have heard of the ‘one parent, one language’ (or OPOL) approach, but there are so many ways to bring up your kids bilingually and this works well for us (so far). Living in the UK, English will be picked up anyway and we thought it wouldn’t be enough to just hear French from their dad on an evening or at weekends while I’m off on maternity leave. Thankfully my French is just about fluent enough that I can speak it to them even when I’m on my own. I just hope they’ll forgive me one day when they realise they speak French with a Geordie accent.

4.  We’re in this together, alone

Teddington in South West London is our home, which is miles away from what little family we have between us. I’m originally from Durham in the NE of England and I don’t get to see my brother and his gorgeous family as often as I’d like to thanks to the torturous 5-6 hour journey up the M1.  Frenchie’s brother and sister live in different parts of France with their families, so we don’t get to see them often enough, either. We’re also pretty unique in that none of our parents are with us any more. This often leaves a big gaping hole in my heart as I think of how much our parents have missed out on over the years, especially recently with the arrival of more grandchildren.  So all in all, we’re pretty much running this ship on our own. It can be tough when I hear other people complaining about their parents or in-laws and especially when they pop over to help out now and again. I suppose our kids won’t know any differently, but I really do wish they had more family involved in their everyday lives.

5.  ‘We’re going to need a bigger boat’ (Jaws)

Teddington is a lovely part of the country but, like most of the outer London area, house prices are ridiculously expensive. We never quite made the jump to a house, so here we are, still, in our two bedroom flat.  On the 3rd floor.  Without a lift.  But of course, we’d never really planned on having two kids.  It does my head in on a daily basis, but I just keep reminding myself that I’d rather have a small house full of sleepless, whining toddlers people and laughter than a big house that’s pretty, but empty (on second thoughts…). And when I’m having a particularly bad day, I think of my poor late mam who had to share a bed with two of her sisters when she was little. Then I remember even they didn’t have to go up and down 42 steps every day…

not our house

This is not our house

What about you?

I’d love to hear a little known fact about your family in the comments below

       Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Mudpie Fridays
Mr and Mrs T Plus Three
Diary of an imperfect mum
My Petit Canard


  1. November 12, 2016 / 16:01

    I would never have known that photo was a selfie! Who is holding the selfie stick!?
    I think it’s great that you’re raising your children bilingually.
    A little known fact about us: my husband and I both grew up in the UK and moved to Australia with our families. We met at high school over here and have been together since then xx
    Lucy recently posted…Q&A Blogger TagMy Profile

    • topfivemum
      November 21, 2016 / 23:53

      My hubby was holding the selfie stick, although Gabriella thought it was her toy. This was probably the ONLY shot without her reaching up and trying to grab it LOL. How lovely to hear about how you met your childhood sweetheart! Who’d have thought you’d have to go to the other side of the world to meet almost your neighbour from back home?! Lovely story!

    • topfivemum
      November 1, 2016 / 15:05

      Thanks so much Cherry! I thought it would be a fun way to kick off my blog – everyone needs a starting point eh? Looking forward to reading your blog and getting to know you better too xx

  2. October 31, 2016 / 19:38

    I love reading posts like this and getting to know bloggers better. French with a geordie accent sounds very interesting! Why aye monsieur! Thanks for joining us for #marvmondays x

    • topfivemum
      November 1, 2016 / 15:08

      haha that’s exactly how it sounds Fran LOL

      • Melinda
        December 9, 2016 / 23:30

        Hi just joined in from Antigua!! I was born on th island of St. Lucia… where there is a French dialect called creole… I wish I did French at school. I grew up in Barbados, married to a wonderful Antiguan man, with Welch and English roots!

        • Melinda
          December 9, 2016 / 23:32

          Forgot to mention I am the author of The Dancing PJ’s
          The Dancing Pyjamas!!!

          • topfivemum
            December 22, 2016 / 22:48

            Of course! That book is treasured in this household Melinda. Signed copy too, how lucky are we? Naughty Dillan… HAHA

        • topfivemum
          December 22, 2016 / 22:47

          Our dearest Melinda, French, French creole, or neither – we love you just as you are! And we know you’re very blessed with your gorgeous man and daughter xx

  3. October 31, 2016 / 17:50

    Hello! Welcomes to blogging 🙂 I’m with you in the flat issue – we bought our current house while I was pregnant as I didn’t fancy negotiating stairs to our old flat with a buggy and a baby! #marvmondays
    OddHogg recently posted…Menu Plan Monday – 31st October 2016My Profile

    • topfivemum
      November 1, 2016 / 15:09

      well done on moving during pregnancy. That must have been pretty full on, but it definitely sounds like it was worth it xx

  4. October 31, 2016 / 09:38

    Oh lovely to read this on the start of your blogging venture! Wonderful to raise bilingual children – wish I had that skill. And welcome to this wonderful community of parent bloggers – in this together and definitely not alone! x #MarvMondays

    • topfivemum
      October 31, 2016 / 15:11

      Thanks so much for the warm welcome Helen. I wasn’t expecting the blogging hobby to become so sociable, but that’s the best bit isn’t it!?!

  5. October 9, 2016 / 17:15

    aw what a cute introduction of yourselves! loved the bit of french with geordie accent! haha I sound very Spanish whenever I try to speak Portuguese (my husband’s language) so we stick to OPOL as well. It is great you’re making them bilingual. Mine have to add English to the mix, so we’ll see how everything turns out.. 🙂 xx #ablogginggoodtime

    • topfivemum
      October 13, 2016 / 23:07

      Lovely to hear from you Eliana and glad I’m not the only one speaking with a funny accent. I just keep telling myself the French think it’s pretty charming. Agree re bringing them up speaking different languages, not always easy, but they’ll (hopefully) thank us for it all one day 🙂

  6. October 6, 2016 / 13:50

    Lovely to get to know more about you and see we have a few things in common. I’m a fellow not herb girl (Middlesbrough). I’m raising bilingual kids too. We speak English at home Dutch outside, living in Holland and married to a Dutchie. Not getting to spend time with your family can be hard! Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

      • October 6, 2016 / 15:59

        Haha damn autocorrect. Hello fellow northerner. So lovely to hear of another bi-lingual family! They reckon if you live in the country, they’ll pick up the community language naturally anyway, so glad to know we’re not alone speaking the minority language at home. It’s tricky sometimes though when out and about and I do wobble with my choice sometimes when my daughter can’t communicate with other kids. I know it’ll all come with time though. Thanks for your lovely comment xx

  7. October 6, 2016 / 13:40

    I enjoyed reading about your family. I used to work in Teddington but now I’m on the other side of Surrey. My husband and I also live a long way from our respective families and I feel for you about wishing your kids had more extended family relationships. #ablogginggoodtime

    • October 6, 2016 / 16:22

      Thanks for your lovely message! Such a small world isn’t it?! It definitely sucks being far away from everyone. I hope you get to see yours as often as you can xx

  8. October 6, 2016 / 11:49

    Oooh we move to Dijon in June! I NEED the low down 🙂 Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

    • topfivemum
      October 6, 2016 / 15:00

      OOOH, exciting move! I was there as a student and early graduate, so I’m not sure a list of all the bars would come in useful LOL. But it’s a beautiful place and I’m very jealous. All that cheese. And Wine. All that SPACE!! I’m working on getting my hubby to move back to France for all those reasons alone. Do let me know if you have any specifics I can help you with xx

  9. October 4, 2016 / 23:27

    oh yes that house is nice isn’t it! He looks very happy being daddy doesn’t he, and I love that you introduces us to you in your PJ’s awesome idea! Thanks for linking up and letting us know more about you and your family #mg

    • October 5, 2016 / 07:25

      Glad I could take part after discovering your links on Instagram from the other side of the world 🙂

  10. October 4, 2016 / 22:05

    Welcome pjs to blog world x this has helped me know more about you and I’ll defo be back soon #mg

    • October 5, 2016 / 07:24

      Thanks so much for reading! I look forward to hearing more of your adventures too

  11. George
    September 27, 2016 / 20:10

    Such amazing pictures – I love them all

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