Monday, 30 June 2008

Nos Recentes Perigrinations

Isn't that a groovy word? Bertie taught me it this week and I have been dying to use it somewhere! I'll leave you to find out what it means!

After 7 years in our flat, many of our things have been falling apart. Bertie kindly repaired the chest of drawers for us and the girls were quick to profit from this new empty space in our flat!
Baby JoJo keeps working on his neck strength
I have been enjoying listening to Wimbledon on Radio 5 - and endless debates with Bertie as to whether Nadal or Federer will be this year's champion. Federer, no question!
Strawberries...ummm! There aren't any in Guadeloupe so we are eating as many as we can before we go!

Our recent discovery is BBC iPlayer - and Bertie has got us into Doctor Who, just in time for the end of the series! Exciting, if somewhat bizarre, stuff...

Fun At The Pool

Aren't these two so cute? CassCass took a while to get changed and only stayed in the pool a few minutes, but long enough for some photos of her in her very girly cozzie and her little friend who I am sure looks just like Baby JoJo will in a few years time!

Baby JoJo enjoyed a few minutes up front in the buggy
Whilst CassCass preferred the swings to the pool by far!

Ingredients For A Fine Day

Plenty of sunshine
Great friends
Wonderful hospitality
Delicious BBQ
A very bouncy trampoline
PYO strawberries
With plenty of cream
Put together...and chill!

26 Stops And Back

Friday saw us heading off to Heathrow to see Evie during a stopover as she travelled Hawaii - Chicago - London - Johannesburg. Wow, I'm tired just writing it! Mum and LissaLou went early to meet her off the plane, but their plans were foiled by United Airlines losing one of her bags. When she was finally let out, an impromptu shopping trip was necessary!

Dad and I had the pleasure of bringing CassCass and Baby JoJo the 26 stops on the Piccadilly Line and once we had mastered the lift system from the tube to the airport, and worked out where exactly all the rest of the family was, twas a very pleasant family reunion. Okay, so Evie was exhausted from 2 previous flights, LissaLou was exhausted from getting up so early, CassCass was exhausted from no afternoon nap...! (If you want to know just how tired Evie was - we didn't see her camera out once!)

We annexed four seats, settled ourselves there (to the amused looks of passers-by) and spent a couple of hours chatting, eating, and shouting "Girls! Get back here!" We survived the 26 stops back, then got the bus home - the highlight of which was someone letting off a stink bomb on it! How nice to be home again, and to have tea waiting on the table (thanks honey!).

Here is Tatie Evie being reacquainted with her growing nephew
Our Most Organised Mum came equipped with crunchy nut cornflakes for a late breakfast...

...and lentil bake for lunch!But nothing could rival Granpa's packet of crisps, for which the girls came a-begging
Then it was time for afternoon naps - no bed? No problem!
CassCass finally gave Tatie a hug - when she wanted a bit of hair!For some more photos, visit Mum's site here.

4 Weeks And Counting!

Yep, in four weeks time (and perhaps one hour) we will be sitting on the plane to Guadeloupe, very exciting! Although, having spent the day at an airport on Friday, I am not entirely looking forward to it....hopefully the girls will be a bit less tired and more cheerful!

So, how are you getting on in your preparations I hear you ask. In fact, I hear that question at least twice a day! No I haven't started packing yet - I have been trying to work out box sizes and how much is a cubit metre. I think I have got it figured so will order some this week. One website recommends not filling boxes with more than 30 kilos in weight so it is easy for those carrying it to do so carefully.

All the admin continues to get done. I have booked the ferry over for Bertie and our friend Lloyd who is kindly accompanying him and taking the car back. I have also got us some travel insurance. Did you know you could buy one way travel insurance? It covers not only the journey (in our case from 23 to 28 July) but also 17 days after...I can't quite see what is different from normal travel insurance! Apart from no return journey of course.

I have purchased a new driving licence, having lost YET AGAIN the paper version. It has all sorts of groovy security features and holographic pictures on it. But unfortunately the picture (now black and white) is awful. Oh dear!

The girls can't read this, so I can tell you that I have got them some new Thomas the tank engine trains for the journey. Molly, Skarloey, Donald and Gordon for anyone who is interested!

Bertie rang the airline to book a skycot and ended up making about 12 calls as it turns out ebookers had put our names wrongly on the tickets. All sorted hopefully.
LissaLou has been given a place at Bertie's old nursery so that is sorted.

Grrr...a seagull just visited our balcony and nudged two defrosting organic chicken breasts over into our neighbour's garden! That has never happened before!! I was just deliberating knocking on their door and asking for them back, when the same seagull swooped down after them...may be a chicken-free chicken curry tonight!

Well, plenty more to do but nice to see the list going down.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Visiting Malvern Manor

We sent Bertie off for his belated Father's Day present of a day of golf with his friend LL Cool J and Pastor Julio. A round of 87 I believe, plus he is showing promise as a golfing tutor - could be useful if the teaching posts ever dry up!

We had the pleasure of visiting my parents at Malvern Manor. We had hoped to spend the afternoon on the bouncy castle in the garden, but the weather said otherwise, so we turned to inside pursuits. Mum helped us make a groovy book from the photos of our visit to the zoo last week and she and LissaLou made a delicious cake. We also had fish n chips! Grandpa knows the way to a grandaughter's heart is through her stomach!

I foolishly forgot my camera, but Mum and I captured a few shots on hers of the day. Have a look at them here.

Computer Things

Bertie downloaded Mozilla Firefox (not sure whether it was deliberate or not!) and since then my computer has gone a bit haywire! The Internet Explorer (which I much prefer) no longer allows add-ons, and I don't know how to change that. So I can't check my email on it or watch Youtube and iplayer. Mozilla does allow wikipedia (which for some bizarre reason always crashes on IE) but it didn't allow me to drag text and photos on my blog and changed all the text. Any suggestions on getting back my add ons?

Tracksy has gone down - this site allows me to look at all the visitors that come to my site...and then wonder, just WHO are you?? and how can I have had 10 visitors today and yet no comments left???!! (I never understood all those bloggers obsessed with comments until I had my own blog!) I will be trying my brother's suggestion of another site, Sitemeter, but in the meantime, be kind and leave me a comment to say you have visited! For those who are unsure how to, just click on the 0 comments at the bottom of the post, and fill in your name under Name/URL.
(May I also take this opportunity to recognise and thank those of you who are faithful commenters!)

Our faithful second-hand laptop is gradually getting slower and the keys are sticking lots. Hopefully it will continue for a while longer though, as it would be like losing an old friend...


Always nice to have friends willing to venture up into north London, not least because it motivates me to clean the flat (and boy do I need that motivation at the moment!) but it is also great to see the difference in the girls when they are interacting with people on their own turf - they go craaaazy!

Trying to avoid the camera!

What a cutie! He beat LissaLou to the big wide world by 10 days (though she still tries to insist she is the eldest!)
Green-fingered trio Group hug
In honour of a long-anticipated visit from some church friends, Bertie provided us with a marvellous Sunday lunch - many thanks! It was his favourite Guadeloupean meal of accras and colombo, but this time he used a whole chicken for the colombo, which was delicious!

Finally holding Baby JoJo after three months of admiring him from afar!
I was worried that our house would prove uninteresting to this 8 yr old boy, but not only did he win Bertie's heart by eating two servings, he patiently played with the girls for hours......even when under attack!

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

London Zoo

People ask how I manage with three small kids and I say it is usually long as I keep my expectations low for what I can get done. And I mean very low! I would add to that, as long as I don't have to get anywhere important by a specific time! This morning we had to be at LissaLou's nursery by 9.30am with all our packed lunches etc ready for our day out at the zoo, and it was nothing short of a miracle that we were there on time. With more or less everything we needed. If you don't count CassCass telling me at the bottom of the outside stairs (where there is no going back!) that she didn't have any knickers on...!

With LissaLou waiting for her nursery coach, we dashed along to the bus stop and waited...and waited...and waited... As typical of London buses, we saw many go by without space for us to squeeze in and I began to lose hope that we would be there on time, so I did a very exceptional thing and waved down a taxi! Normally we wouldn't consider such a frivolity, but it was great fun and CassCass was delighted to sit next to me with her seatbelt and survey the world from this new perspective! The great thing with black cabs is that they fit even the largest buggies in with no need to fold. Bliss!

CassCass enjoying taxi life
When we had all finally arrived at the zoo, we wandered around and enjoyed the animals. The giraffes and gorillas were particular favourites - there was a mother with her new baby, very cute! We marvelled at the messiness of the camels (the sign next to them said "Bad hair day"! apparently they shed their hair in spring). It was fun to see some animals mentioned in one of our current favourite books, Happy I'm A Hippo - meerkats and warthogs. The girls were pleased to see the lions, though they were pretty inactive (and the daddy lion was called Lucifer as his lion number is 666 - hmm). I stayed clear of the snakes etc - shudder - but we all loved the butterfly house and marvelled at moths that are born with no mouth as they just live a few days and live entirely from the food supplies they were born with. The monkeys were great too, especially the ones that use their tail as a fifth arm - so agile! The otters can be seen both above and below water and there was so many of them rolling around on one another.
Above - gorilla, girls, warthog, okapi
zebra, giraffes, meerkat
otters, penguins, butterflies, pelicans
heron, flamingoes, camel
and finally, we didn't see any crocodiles, so we had to make do with the one on Baby JoJo's top!

But the highlight of the day was...THE BOUNCY CASTLE!!! Sigh! Which, I hasten to add, cost £1 per 5 minutes! I will get on my high horse about these places which add in such features at a high cost and in very obvious places, making it very hard for poor parents to resist all the nagging that ensues...If you must put them in (and I don't see why, as the point of going is to see the animals), either include them in the price or hide them away somewhere, please!

In the end (and due to an empty purse) we gave LissaLou the choice of an ice cream or a go on the bouncy castle. She went for the later (waiting 10 minutes for the pleasure!) and on getting off immediately requested the ice cream because she was hot! Needless to say, she was offered water! CassCass was a bit subdued all day and just went with the ice lolly, spending most the day in the buggy. She made it out to play in the playpark though!
Our overall conclusion was that it was a pleasant day out - free for LissaLou and reduced for us as we were with the school - but it was just too overwhelming for the girls. LissaLou complained that there was too much to see. It would also have been nice for them to have had more hands on activities with the animals. I wouldn't recommend taking little children for the full price of some £50 for a family!

Monday, 16 June 2008

Three Months!

We have seen lots of changes this month, not only in size
We get lots and lots of smiles, some so big that they look like his face is going to split! Given a bit of time and attention, you can enjoy a lengthy conversation with him, on the lines of oooh, ahhh, awawawaw...
He feeds every three hours or so, for 15 minutes or so on each side. The day starts around 6.30am and the final feed is around 9 or 10pm. After which, this wonderful child will sleep right through!! Bliss! He will be welcomed back to the bedroom when he gets rid of the latest cold - makes him such a noisy roommate!! He tends to be wakeful in the evening if I let him sleep too much in the day. (I aim for an hour at 9am, an hour at midday and an hour at 3pm, though this doesn't always happen.)He is much more alert and very contented for the most part, even when being squashed by his sisters (all too often!)
So much steadier now than that still quite wobbly newborn a month ago. Not only does he lift his head pretty high when he is on his tummy or being zoomed to the moon, but he will try and pull himself up to sitting position when leaning back against me. He also kicks his legs high in the air now and grasps anything he can - toys, sick cloth, hair... He is practically kicking himself out of his bath seat too.The consensus is still that he looks like his daddy - any opinion from you readers?
NB Thanks to Kamila for this beautiful outfit - it was actually one she brought back for LissaLou after her trip around Asia, I believe it came from Laos or Vietnam. The only downside is that they evidently aren't so practically minded there - the legs don't undo for ease of nappy changing!

Picnicking With The Brethren

This delightful little boy was one (already!) today, so we celebrated with a picnic after church in the local park
Food, fellowship and football were plentifulAdmittedly, we women didn't go anywhere near the football (or tennis or rugby or frisbee...) we just sat and chatted and kept an eye on...
...these lovely girls as they had a good run around! Getting them to stand still for this photo was no easy task!LissaLou is blessed at church with two friends who were born within two months of her. CassCass still misses her special friend Caitlyn, who celebrated two years this week in New Zealand - HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAITLYN! However, she enjoyed running after the big girls and did a good job of keeping up with them!

Father's Day Fun

To honour this special person on this special day, we popped into see Dad on the way home from our church picnic. We got to enjoy the marvellous garden - the girls particularly loved the swing, ball pit and log cabin that the upstairs neighbour has installed for her daughter.
Dad bonded with his youngest grandchild
The beautiful Giulietta arrived at the end to show off her new John Rocha (no less!) dress...We had been intending to carry on our Mother's/Father's Day tradition of some patisseries at our preferred cafe on the way to church but Bertie gallantly spent his Father's Day morning preparing quiche and rolls for our church picnic so we delayed it till this morning. Armed with our vouchers for a free breakfast at Cafe Rouge (you can get them on Bonne Maman jam jars! Thanks to Eline for sending hers over to us!) we headed up to Highgate this morning...only to be told no availability. Hmph! However, no need to worry, we just picked up some patisseries and cherries in the local shop and had a lovely picnic in our local park instead!
Papa and his children (Papa et timoun-ay - I am practising my creole for our trip!)
We took LissaLou out of school for the day to enjoy her company - but by the end of the day and a LOT of non-stop chatter (now who does that remind me of?), I could see the advantage of her being at school...Oh, and she wanted me to write how beautiful she looks here!
CassCass in cousin Valerie's old dress (merci France-lise!)
Baby JoJo is now much more alert when we go out and will lie happily in our Phil and Ted buggy looking at the sky and his octopus - here is the view I have of him when I push the buggy!

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Dedicated To Dad

The best kind of Dad...
- is interested in all that you are up to, letting you chat away for hours at the end of the day about school, life, the universe...
- teaches you the importance of frugality, requiring justification for the smallest purchase
- makes terrible jokes
- writes fun stories, where you get a starring role to fly to the moon
- takes you on interesting excursions to historic houses, foreign countries, pretty gardens
- ends up being the unofficial tour guide for every one else visiting that historic house
- is faithful in prayer, day after day
- never takes you on the same route twice
- buys you toffee apples after a trip round sainsburys
- instils in you a love of music and playing
- can be twisted round your little finger...
- plays all kinds of board games with you
- gives a bilingual speech at your wedding
- drives you back from university...even if it means coming to Scotland or France
- pays for many, many driving lessons
- lets you practice in his car
- finishes off your half-completed crosswords
- pops up to Archway to drop off/collect forgotten or needed items...including British Open tickets!
- faithfully reads and comments on your blog, day after day

Well Dad, you score top points based on the above criteria! Many thanks and

love Heather xxx

PS If you want to meet the man himself, don't forget to visit

Fish 'n' Chips

I think I have revealed previously on this blog that LissaLou has a penchant for that great British tradition - fish and chips. Well, she put in a request for possibly our last meal of it before we set off to Guadeloupe (and enjoy fresh fish from the sea...maybe even caught ourselves!) (not to mention chips grown from potatoes in our own garden!) so we made a picnic of it and set off the Heath.

Scaring the birds away from our food
We didn't set off till quite late, so the toddler section (all enclosed, stops the little darlings making a run for it!) was very quiet - it was very like having our own big garden to play in! The girls demolished their food and then had a good play and chase. This was CassCass's first visit to the scene of her Tooth Disaster since the accident, so we were rather relieved that we all came back unscathed!
Daddy keeping an eye on CassCass and the slide...just in case!Baby JoJo gets his first taste of horseridingI love the way you can see all the family in this photo!Hmm, I don't think Baby JoJo was overly impressed with this camel ride!
He much preferred zooming to the moon! Look at that blue sky...!
It was a beautiful warm evening, and I am relishing the light evenings before we change to constantly seeing the sun set at 6pm. There are also tons of roses in bloom in our area, which makes walking along the streets a real sensory delight.