Friday, November 26, 2010

Remember, Remember

It was a very wet and windy Bonfire Night, but we headed out to the local fireworks display anyway and it was pretty spectacular. It was lovely going home though, drying off and tucking into fish and chips!

Angry Birds

Coby loves playing Angry Birds on dad's iPhone,
he even has the cuddly toy!

Baby Ruby

My beloved mate Louise, who I've been friends with for 30 years, gave birth in June to a beautiful girl, Ruby Louise. How many expressions can you spot in one gorgeous face?

Halloween Disco

Coby attended his first Halloween disco at school this week and in spite of his initial excitement at the prospect, it took him some time to warm up. Fortunately, his pals Harley & Kaden were on hand to change his mind. There was a lucky dip and snacks for the kids and Coby, Harley & Kaden all won magic wands for the silliest dancing!

The Cactus Strangler

After weeks of deliberation, Coby finally decided that his Halloween alter ego would be 'The Cactus Strangler', a mean, gun slinging, zombie cowboy. Mummy was a cat! Less than 24 hours of returning from holiday, we ventured to Hollywood Bowl for Louis' 5th birthday celebrations. The kids had a great game of bowling followed by a feast of food at Frankie & Benny's.....

"Don't mess with the Cactus Strangler"

"Seriously, don't mess with the Cactus Strangler"

"Didn't I tell you not to mess with the Cactus Strangler?"

The Cactus Strangler & his mummy

Jasmine, the good witch!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Holiday memories

As some of you may know we recently went on a holiday to the island of Gran Canaria off the west coast of Africa. We had awesome weather thanks to a Kalima so it was 33ish every day with clear blue the end of October! Great result. Perfect weather, perfect food, perfect everything. Sarah & I felt a bit rough for the first couple of days as we were shaking off a bit of a chesty one. But only four hours flight time from London and no bloody mosquitos. Plus, I could not get an iphone signal and had left my charger at home. the universe was telling me particularly to switch off. Perfect!

When we got there I organised a cheeky upgrade to a junior suite on the top floor with a fantastic dunes, ocean and pool view. The scene was set for an awesome week.

The first morning we went down to breakfast and started tucking in to pancakes, french toast, fresh papaya, mango, melon and the usual cooked fare. After a magnificent group hug (there were loads all holiday) I observed that Sarah looked like Audrey Hepburn with her large shades and commented as much. Coby responded by calling Sarah 'Ordinary Hepburn' and to be honest we fell about laughing for a while. The perfect start to the perfect day of what was shaping up to be a perfect holiday. Coby was in hysterics about it and was just cracking us up with his laughter.

After breakfast we made straight for the pool visible from our large L-shaped balcony with two gorgeous sun loungers on, yes thats right, the balcony with the gorgeous view. Did I mention that already? Anyway, the pool visible was called 'The Lazy River': a ribbon of water 15 feet wide, 500 feet long in a large squarish shape with loads of bends and water jets to create a gentle current. Lovely warm(ish) water more than warm enough for me to jump into without a thought.

So Coby & I got ready, Sarah proceeded to sunbathe. I jumped in and helped Coby in via his Tweetie-pie rubber ring. Coby & I drifted round taking 45 minutes to do a full circuit. When we got back to Sarah he was having a great time. So we did another circuit. Drifting. Lazing. Bobbing. Spinning. Splashing. Laughing. With various gaps, mucking about and so on by the time we got back to Sarah after the 3rd circuit it was time for lunch (massive buffet with loads of freshly grilled meats and fish, salads and so on...bliss).

By the way it turns out I love Fanta Lemon. Every meal we had apart from Breakfast, that would be Dad's drink. It became known as my Holiday Drink. So refreshing. Is it my fault it's so bloody refreshing? Anyway, by the end of the holiday Coby was pleading with me not to have another single Fanta Lemon. "Anything else Dad, but not another Fanta Lemon. Please Dad, Please!!!" Hysterical.

When I suggested to Coby we get out of the Lazy River this previously water-shy little monkey went mad and said he didnt want lunch and wanted to stay in the water instead. Sarah & I could not believe the transformation possible in under a few hours. We had to bribe Coby to go for lunch by promising him we would come straight back and would not have dessert! He chose swimming over dessert. We were frankly in shock. Coby's issues with water and swimming were clearly resolved.

Next day we had organised a 4x4 Safari around the island. It was a full-day adventure that took us way up into the mountainous volcanic peaks and origins of the island with awesome views. We then ventured down to a Camel Park and had lunch followed by a hilarious trip on a camel. I was dismayed to see myself equated with a bag of sand on Sarah's side to even things out. Coby perched on top really did give it the full Lawrence of Arabia style. Our camel (Isabel) really earned her dinner that day I can tell you.

After lunch and the camel ride we went seriously off-road through a dried out river bed. Seriously rough. Seriously dusty. Highlight being Coby trying to drink a drink whilst our driver (Sweeney) navigated some of the tougher terrain. He did not spill a drop but to be honest it was hysterical to watch. Like something out of an Airplane movie.

Every mid-to-late afternoon we would retire to our suite, the one with the awesome view, and freshen up, chill out, mooch about, read, nap etc before the no-doubt challenging evening of more eating and some entertainment etc. The TV would invariably get switched on (Sarah & I did not care to know what was happening in the world so no news at all) and Coby would be allowed to explore and try to locate something to watch for 30 minutes or so. He was devasted (we were delighted) to discover Spanish and German kids TV is awful. He managed to tolerate some shows he recognised even though they were in another language. I'm sure he picked up a few words.

All of this tv disappointment made cracking on with his half-term homework that much easier. We had great fun playing various spelling, word and maths related games. Best of all was when Coby lined up all his letters he was learning in phonics and asked me to pronounce them. For example: ganscafritelopogogiritisadich - easy peasy. Again, we found ourselves howling with laughter as I pulled off insane word after insane word. Coby found it astonishing and would peel with laughter as I reached the end with a graceful flourish.

One afternoon Cobes asked Sarah to paint his big toenails red with her nail polish. She obliged and rather predictably, he went bananas and regretted it. We had no remover so he was well and truly stuck with it. He was distraught and would not be consoled. There was only one thing to do: I had my nails done too. Suddenly the whole thing became transformed into Coby, Sarah & I being transformed in to the Red Toe Pirate Gang with Sarah as the Pirate Queen. What a result!

One night we were sat waiting for the entertainment which that particular night was a talented bunch of drumming, dancing and singing guys from Senegal. A chap was sat next to us and he got up with his partner and started dancing to the music that was playing. His dancing was clearly of a very high standard and he had a touch of the Michael Jackson to his moves. Everyone applauded when they sat down (it was that good!) and we started talking. Turns out he is a well-known MJ impersonator and dancer. He also did other stuff including magic and he proceeded to wow Coby with various magic tricks. Coby, of course, then wowed him with a trick or two. Such a showman!

What really blew us away though was Coby's use of his eyebrows. He would raise them and drop them whilst smiling cheekily as if it was an integral part of his act. Next time you see him, ask him to show you The Eyebrows of Chooch! I'm sure he'll oblige.

One afternoon when we had retired to our room (yeah, the one with awesome view) Coby & I came up with a plan to put on a play for Sarah - she had felt rough and headachey that day and not ventured out, so Cobes & I had missed her and wanted to make it up to her. So, Coby took charge (shocking!) and decided we were to do a finger puppet show of the story of Three Little Pigs. He even came up with a sort of 'Scarface' variant ending where the wolf locked the pigs and himself in the bathroom and ate them all up. But apparently it still ended up happy ever after as far as Cobes was concerned.

As we were more or less living in the Lazy River and saying the words multiple times it was inevitable we would rename it and so it became known as the Razy Liver with emphasis on the R in Razy and the end of liver. Cobes & I really hammed it up! Living in the Razy Liver was divine and it was not long before Coby, one day whilst at a local shop, spied a small inflatable boat with a see-through panel and decided it was time to move on from Tweetie-Pie. So, we bought the boat and he loved the freedom it gave him and the pirate potential it brought. One day we were playing in the water with some friends he had made and their mum when all of a sudden the mum said 'Oh My God, he's fallen in!' Coby had no armbands at all this holiday so he was in the boat without them and he had fallen in the one time I took my eye off him. It took about 2-3 seconds to get to him and he was scooped out of the water understandably shaken. Milliseconds later he was fine and ready for more. I however needed a JD & Coke - total nervous wreck! He was fine though and straight back in the water.

And so the holiday drew to a close but we brought one key thing with us back home, something to remind us of our holiday each weekend. The Holiday Breakfast. Every Saturday morning from now on. Feel free to try and wangle an invite, you won't regret it! No Razy Liver though sadly ;)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Harvest At Jimmy's

Where do you go for your first camping trip with your little one? Al did his research and discovered a very family friendly festival full of food and frolics! The location was Jimmy Doherty's farm in Ipswich, he of TV fame and friend of Jamie Oliver. The line up was great: The Futureheads, Scouting for Girls, Newton Faulkner, The Hairy Bikers and loads of food stalls and entertainment for kids. We did pretty well for our first adventure, just one night was all we did and I happily hold my hands up now and admit I'm a hotel and hairdryer kind of gal. I don't mind roughing it for a time, but God bless my shower and toilet.

Coby loved it! He thought the tent was great and enjoyed tucking into our picnic once all the pegs where in. He enjoyed building a den in the wood and chasing a frog into his hideaway. He rolled with laughter in a sumo suit made for someone twice his size. He loved the double decker bus with the secret ball pit on the top deck

The 'Caspian' Crowd

Its a long story for those that don't know it, but in short, Teresa, Al and I all used to work at the same company in Central London, Caspian Publishing. I resigned in 2006 at the end of my maternity leave and Al in 2007. Over the years, we made many friends with our colleagues, one of which is Lara. She actually announced her pregnancy as I was leaving to have Coby. And now, she and her husband, Howard, have a seriously gorgeous daughter called Hannah. Teresa, of course, has the beautiful Amber. Despite being outnumbered 2 to 1, Coby enjoyed hanging out with the little ladies at Lara's house recently. Hannah's dad is a pilot and was able to spend some time with us before heading out on a flight to Zambia. Coby tried on his hat and enjoyed a minute or so of male pride!!

Lara cooked us all dinner and I spent some lovely sunshine time in the garden with the kids while Teresa had a rest.....

I am the captain!