Category Archives: Holidays

We’re all going on a winter holiday

A holiday is approaching – which means we’ll all be coming down with colds, the iPad will be groaning with the Sesame Street and Peppa Pig downloads and I’ll pack three times the amount of clothes I need and four times the amount Scrip needs.
If I sound ungrateful I don’t mean to – we’re really excited about going away and are very lucky to be able to. But as Scrip grows, so does the amount of prep and organisation needed.
This year I’ve taken a tip from a friend and mum of an almost two year old and bought some Continue reading

Cornwall: Callestick, Cyder and Children’s Choppers

At the risk of sounding very English, we’ve been so lucky with the weather this week – we’ve been enjoying a week of sand, sea and child-size pasties in my native Cornwall. I can’t remember it being this hot consistently for a week – it’s so much warmer than our week in Limoges was, back in June.

Cornwall beach

Scrip’s done a lot of running around, too – we’ve hardly had the pushchair out. We’re fortunate enough to be able to stay with my parents with lots of things to see and do – like feeding the chickens, putting pebbles in the paddling pool (she’s not that keen on putting herself in it just yet) and destroying the sand castles we enthusiastically and carefully make for her. We’ve been to the beach, which is just 5 minutes down the road, each day – going after her dinner which has been perfect timing for low tide, the temperature and to tire her out before bedtime, which has crept back to 8pm this week…

I’m keen that Scrip gets used to the sea – so we’ve had lots of encouragement and shallow paddling. It’s helped that there are quite a few little ones running in and out of the water for her to copy. She’s christened the wetsuit she had for Christmas from her Cornwall grandparents – it’s been great. It’s easier to put on than the wetsuits I remember struggling in and out of when I was little, and there’s room to grow, so that it should still be useful next year. It’s a baby shortie from Two Bare Feet. It’s also helped that there’s been very little surf each day – so even though we’re on the north coast we haven’t had to worry about waves crashing around her.

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Five things we’ve learnt on holiday

We’re just back from a week near Limoges in France – freshly bronzed (those of us who weren’t plastered in factor 50) and so relaxed that we feel even more tired than when we went away. We had a lovely week and we’ve come back wiser (on at least five things):

IMG_50251.¬† Swimming pool alarms are no substitute for a gate. Apparently, it’s the law in France to have either an alarm on your pool or a gate around the outside – ours had an alarm. It was fiddly and temperamental – we forgot about it on one occasion and my husband was half way through a length when it sudden went off. We watched Scrip at all times and introduced the ‘holding hands near the pool rule’ (rather unpopular) but I’d have felt a lot happier if there was a gate instead.

2. Saying ‘thank you’ works. Those repetitions have finally paid off – Scrip can now say thank you (in her own rather appealing way) and seems to understand what it means. Unfortunately, she also thinks if she points at Continue reading

Time and space

When I first went back to work, one of the things I realised I hadn’t missed at all during my ten months off was my daily commute. I’d hardly used the tube since Scrip was born – apart from struggling into town from one step-free access station to another, a handful of times. As an adopted Londoner, the tube should be my default mode of transport – so how, I wondered, had I never realised how crowded and claustrophobic and generally unpleasant it was?

photoI’m now back into the working groove and hardly notice when I’m squashed up against someone’s shoulder for 30 minutes on a rainy morning – I can keep my head down and read my soggy Metro with the best of them. But I do still long for the luxury of space – and time, as I rush from one meeting to the next and then home again. And that was one of the benefits about my husband’s wonderful birthday surprise to me.

On Saturday, we set off from Kent for a day trip to France that he’d arranged. It was just the two of us – we did consider taking Scrip but the idea was that this was a day to do exactly what we wanted to do – and that we didn’t compromise her routine and our mini mini-break along the way. And it was lovely.

Scrip spent the day playing with her Nana and Grandpa and we spent the day pootling down the coast road from Calais to Boulogne, stopping wherever we fancied and enjoying the bright sunshine and gorgeous scenery along the way. There couldn’t have been more open space to roam around – on the beaches, the promenade in Wimereux and around the edge of Boulogne Old Town. We had a lovely French lunch outside, stocked up at the supermarch√© and took our time along the way. And we were even back in time for bathtime.

I couldn’t believe all this freedom was just a 35 minute Eurotunnel train ride away – a very different kind of train journey to my daily commute and one I’d wholeheartedly recommend.

The ABC of a first Christmas


A is for ‘all’
As in ‘all together’ for a lovely family Christmas and ‘Having it all’, as Scrip’s present count was ridiculously high. So much so that we reached bedtime and still had a wide range of colourfully wrapped boxes under the tree. There was I, rushing around Westfield the week before Christmas, panicking that I hadn’t bought her enough, when I could have actually just picked up a bag of satsumas and we still would have filled a car with her haul. The ‘all together’ bit was the best, though. I couldn’t have wished for more.

B is for ‘bubbles’
Not particularly festive but it was Scrip’s first proper word, recently uttered, and it’s led to lots of others – although maybe we’re imagining some. So far various family members have claimed to witness her attempts at ‘paper’, ‘bird’ and ‘Grandma’. If she did say the last one, in particular, she’s made someone special very happy.

C is for ‘carols
Actually, not just carols but songs in general have been a major Christmas hit. Now that Scrip’s clapping has been perfected, any music – from the sugary children’s songs I bought on my mad shopping dash to the theme for Desert Island Discs – prompts a smile, a clap and a bounce. And sometimes even a ‘sing’ along.

As we prepare to brave Scrip’s first post-Christmas sales, and I reflect on the merriest of first Christmases, I could have written a whole alphabet of happy memories.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like…

It’s here, with all its festive jingles, glittery tinsel and sparkly lights. Not to mention midnight masses and harmonious carols. I’m certainly getting into the spirit – I had a lovely evening at Regent’s Park on Monday listening to some beautiful Christmas songs sung by some amazing singers. And much as I thought it would be just another season for Scrip, passing her by in much the same way our first summer holiday and first Autumn walk did, she actually seems to be taking note. The baubles are a frequent source of wonder and the advent calendar is better than any pop up book.


I won’t be rushing out buying mammoth lists of toys and games and helping her write a letter to Santa just yet, but we’ve agreed she would actually like a stocking and a few bits and pieces wrapped up in tissue to open on Christmas morning. Not to mention a satsuma or two, which randomly seem to be a good teething aid (provided by Abel and Cole, of course…)

I can’t wait for the break – to spend more time with her and equally to be able to let other people enjoy time with her too. And for her to see both sets of grandparents – particularly my dad (or ‘Grandy’, as we affectionately call him, repeatedly) who hasn’t seen her since August. She might even enjoy her first taste of turkey (I’m hoping it goes down better than chicken which, judging by her reaction, is akin to sprout pate for her fledgling taste buds). And I can’t wait for our annual (or now every other year) trip to the beach on Christmas day. She may not be able to walk off her lunch independently, but she’ll definitely enjoy a look at the roaring sea and dogs racing up and down the shore.

So, I’m pleased to say the first Christmas may just be marked in 9-month old Scrip’s calendar as much as it will be in ours.

Happy holidays

Quite relieved to be back from our second family holiday. That’s not to say it wasn’t a lovely place – it really was. Periyali in Zakynthos is made for parents and pre-school age children in particular, with a friendly creche, plenty of safety features and toys on tap. No, it was more about the tummy bug Scrip picked up just before going away. That made for some long grisly days and us seeing far too much of the inside of our pretty villa, plus my husband succumbing to the nasty virus.

As Scrip is so small, bugs tend to hang around so the plane ride home was probably the most challenging part – luckily for me my husband was in the aisle seat and so had to do the majority of the changes (and there were quite a few). So we’ve vowed to return next year to the same place – something we’ve never actually done before – and see much more of Zakynthos.Image

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