Tuesday, 26 July 2011

On Anniversaries and Proposals

James and I have been together for four years tomorrow.  I not only remember the date but that it was a Friday and that he called my mobile to ask me out; that he was at the park at the time, and that it was five weeks after our first kiss.

A lot has happened in the last four years.  Two children have been created, for a start.  Beautiful, intelligent, hilarious children of whom I am very proud.  There have been bad times as well as good but I'm sure I speak for us both when I say that it has all made our relationship stronger.

So: four years of love, fun, laughter, holidays, new homes and tiny babies.

And now a proposal.

Though I have hoped and quietly assumed for some time that we would marry one day, I was never really expecting a proposal.  I suppose you would have to know James to understand what I mean by this, but it was genuinely a surprise to hear him actually asking those four magic words.

Four words after four years; almost like it was planned or something.

I have a ring, albeit a temporary one while we save for a more durable piece of jewellery.  It is not really the ring that is important anyway, more the love that it symbolises.  I may not be rich in materials but I have someone who is happy to give me all that he has and who will love me til the end of the World.

What could be better than that?

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Exam time

Mini has an exam on Sunday, at the grand old age of two years and eight months.  It is her first ballet exam and nothing too complex but yet another reminder of the speed at which she is growing up.

She knows what she has to do and will ace this exam providing she keeps her concentration.  I'm not saying she's easily distracted or anything but today was a show day at ballet where all the parents can admire the progress of their offspring and, in amidst the pointing of toes, the curtseys and the swooping, Mini stopped to tell a little girl in the audience that she had the same shoes as her.

And so her fate lies in the hands of her examiner - let's hope they don't wear anything that Mini recognises as her own...

Monday, 18 July 2011

Things To Do In Bournemouth When You're Skint

My sisters expressed an interest in taking Mini out for the day on Saturday and I decided to take advantage of this offer, which resulted in Daddy and I having approximately 48 hours to ourselves.  We both love Bournemouth (and its surrounding area) and try to get down there as often as possible, and so this is where we ended up at the weekend.

Being parents, we are perpetually cash poor but tend to view this as rather exciting as it gives us the opportunity to look for cheap or, preferably, free things to do when we are out and about.  And Bournemouth provides a number of great things that fall into the "affordable" category.

We started out with a trip to Dean Court to pick up tickets for the EC Cup, which were very reasonably priced.  We then headed to the Sovereign Centre in neighbouring Boscombe for a bit of window shopping (the weather was awful at this stage) and lunch.  There was a market on the street outside, selling a variety of fresh foods including fish presumably caught in the sea not 5 miles from where it was being sold.

After lunch, we headed back to Dean Court to watch an obscure German team hammer a premier league side from Russia, and to see the cherries struggle against the Glenn Hoddle Academy team who were eventually beaten on penalties.  The stadium itself is interesting in the fact that it has only three sides (north, west and east stands), though I would only recommend you visit Dean Court if you're a football fan and it is match day.

By the time the football was over, it was nearing 6pm, the sky had cleared and the sun was out.  We drove to the cliffs that run the length of the coast and parked between Boscombe and Bournemouth piers.  We decided that it was a little late to try out the Urban Surf Reef just east of Boscombe Pier but vowed to add it to our next Dorset itinerary.
We took in the view from the clifftop for a few minutes before heading down one of the zigzag paths that takes you all the way down to the beach (the cliff lift was closed!).

And what a beach!  As one more accustomed to the unattractive pebbles, smelly seaweed and murky water of Worthing beach, it is always a delight to take in the sights and sounds of Bournemouth's golden sands and warm, aquamarine surf.

We walked to the amusements at the head of the pier and spent a fair amount of money trying to win some 2 pence pieces before stepping outside just in time to see two people fired skyward in a human catapult disguising itself as a fairground ride.  The fact that they had paid £25 between them for the privilege only caused me more bemusement.

We made our way to the spectacular gardens, which remained busy well into the evening, the majority of the activity coming from tourists and students.  The crazy golf was still open at 7pm and though the Bournemouth Eye (a tethered balloon) was not, it still makes for an impressive sight.  We looked for somewhere to eat on the streets directly north of the gardens and eventually decided on Pizza Hut as, though everywhere looked busy, it seemed the least full.  This seemed to change once we were settled at our table as a group of eight loud teenagers were crammed in next to us; the meal was nice, though.
Finally, we walked off our dinner by strolling back through the gardens via the vibrant aviary and the majestic Russel Coates museum.

If you are heading to Dorset anytime soon, do not be afraid to stop in Bournemouth; there is plenty to keep everyone entertained and a lot of it is free.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Baby Steps

Sunshine can walk, unaided.  He doesn't do it very often, but he can.  He is (precisely) 9 months and three weeks old, which is around the time that his sister started walking.

He prefers to hold hands with you when he walks, it is like he doesn't trust himself to take his first steps all on his own. 

One of the most beautiful things I have seen in all my days is his sister taking him by the hand and walking with him, wherever he decides to lead her.

She is so proud of her brother.

Obviously, I am proud of them both.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Gallery: Travel

Paris, March 2010.

My first view of the Eiffel Tower:

It was a Tuesday morning, cool but hazy.  I think this was the furthest I've been from home.  I was about 10 weeks pregnant and missing our daughter but it was still the best holiday I've been on.

I cannot wait to go further afield.  Watch this space!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Do Ducks Have Knees?

On the way home from ballet this afternoon, Mini sat down in the middle of a conservation area, folded her legs and told us a story.

"Once upon a time," she said, "a duck went for a walk.  He climbed a tree and tried to pick an apple but he couldn't reach so he jumped down and hurt his knee."

She smiled and stood up to continue our walk home.

"Do ducks have knees?"  I asked, after a few moments.

"Of course they do, Mummy," she replied, running ahead.

And that was that.  An interesting insight into the mind of a two year old.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Happy Birthday, Sam

This little boy is 13 today.  Happy birthday, Sam.


This is what he looked like when I met him.  Happy birthday, Sam.

This is what he looks like nowadays.  Happy birthday, Sam.

Hope you've had a great day.  See you soon.

Sunday, 3 July 2011


I love to photograph my children as they sleep, their beautiful faces smooth and peaceful.  To illustrate this point, I have images.  Lots of them...

Love it!