Nicole Forbes | Life in France

Life after
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If I can be that personal cheerleader in your life that whispers: “you really can do this” while the rest of the world is provoking doubt… then I’ll consider my job done.

I'm Holli


NAME Nicole Forbes 

AKA Hikairo Forbes’s Other Half

AGE 32


FROM New Zealand 

LIVE La Rochelle, France 

ALL ABOUT BEING Loyal – Generous – Fun – Optimistic – Mother

JANE OF WHAT TRADE/S Baker + Mama of four

GIVE US THE LOW DOWN Uneeks Cake Design is an online business that I started to keep myself busy in France. It is personalised cakes and cupcakes. I had a passion for baking when I was younger and watched a lot of baking YouTube channels, I am pretty much self-taught.

BUSINESS HIGHS Making my first wedding cake in France for a summer wedding in the south of France. It’s on my Instagram featuring a whole lot of fresh sunflowers.

BUSINESS CHALLENGES Translating cake terms into French and finding the time to consistently post to Instagram as I get busy with the children.

I have had to adapt a lot of my flavour combinations. In New Zealand, we love flavours like banoffee, caramel, milk chocolate, Jaffa, mint choc chip and red velvet. I find that the French are plainer with the flavours, they mostly love dark chocolate and fresh berry flavours.

IDEA – DREAM – REALITY I had a passion for baking when I was younger so taught myself to bake. I had a job at Muffin Break in New Zealand as a baker where I worked for 5 years while going through University. Like Nike says “just do it”. It took me a while to do it because I was afraid I wouldn’t get orders, but one day I just decided to do something out of my comfort zone and I am glad I did.

NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT – WOULD YOU AGREE? Yes most definitely, it helps me to feel like I have a purpose. 

When I have my own thing going on I feel like I have a purpose and I feel fulfilled. It also helps me to keep busy, especially over here as it can get lonely being away from family friends and familiar faces.

LIFE IN FRANCE – BAGUETTES & CHEESE ANYONE We absolutely love France! At the start, it wasn’t easy with the language barrier, not being able to explain yourself in tough situations. Having our children here was also an adjustment. In France they start school at 3 years old which took a while to get my head around as it just felt so young. On top of that the most challenging of all, is little to no family support. I feel that your unit as a husband and wife should be solid if you are planning on moving half way around the world to a non-English speaking country (haha).

SPEAKING THE LINGO When I was 4 months pregnant with my 3rd baby I decided to enrol in a French language school for 3 months. It was 4 days a week, 4 hours a day. It helped me so much. When I started CrossFit no one spoke English and all the workouts were in French, that helped me so much. 

The biggest challenge for me would be balancing speaking French and English. I’m always thinking that once we move home my children will need to know English so I guess I am just hoping they will be okay when we finally move home.

My children speak French, the way they learnt was from nounou (Nanny) and through starting school at 3 years old. In the end, starting school so young benefited my children so much. My son (10 years) is fluent and speaks French without an accent. We help them by speaking French at home, doing their French homework with them and reading French books.

REMEMBERING YOUR ROOTS We always make sure they know about their culture, we often stream Māori TV in the lounge in the background and Kapa Haka YouTube videos. We tell them about our culture and traditions. Although I personally don’t speak fluent Māori, my husband speaks more and teaches the children words and phrases in Māori as well as Māori waiata (songs). My husband is really good at this, as he makes a point to always talk to the children about our culture and what it means to be Māori. 

FRENCH LIFE OBSESSIONS Our family time! We are always together and Hikairo can be home often with the kids. I love that my children are bilingual and get fed at school for no more than 3 euro a day per child. I love how cheap groceries are here and the fresh produce. I love the fresh markets they have in each ville certain days of the week. I love the French summer, and lastly, I love the bond my husband and I have and how much it has grown since moving here as we are almost always together (haha).

RUGBY LOW DOWN I feel blessed that my husband has this career. I have been blessed that I haven’t had to use my degree or work and I can stay and raise my children, it’s truly a blessing. It doesn’t last forever and could change at any moment, so be smart with the choices you make. Invest, save and know that this life isn’t forever.

BEST KEPT RUGBY LIFE SECRET It can be really lonely at times. For example, if you are placed in a club that doesn’t have many foreigners and you don’t speak French.  

YOUR OTHER HALVE’S FAVOURITE BAKE A good old banana cake. He loves banana cake with chocolate ganache. He also begs me to make fried bread with lots of butter and jam. 

WHERE WILL WE FIND YOU IN 5 YEARS Possibly just moved back to New Zealand. Hopefully I have opened my Cake supply shop and working, have a family home in Raglan (my husband’s home town), and Hikairo has the time to figure out his next life move.

WORDS OF WISDOM I always like to think and be positive. Always look for the good in situations and people. Positive vibes. If you want something, go after it and make it happen. Don’t give up, be persistent and determined, these are things I always tell my children.


Instagram: @neeksforbes @uneekscakedesign

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