Last month I did something pretty unusual. I said goodbye to Husband and the kids, and I went off to Italy for three days. I hadn't traveled on my own for almost 20 years. I was a bit anxious beforehand, but it felt quite liberating to do something on my own. It was like 'Eat, Pray, Love' with just the eating. And it turns out that Catania is a great city if you love food.
If you've never heard of Catania, it is located in Sicily by the sea. This means that you will find the most amazing fish and seafood. And with the growing popularity of wine being grown near Mt Etna, your meal will be complemented by some terrific wines. And because it is Italy, it is beautiful and the people are absolutely lovely.
Last week was spent visiting The Netherlands and Belgium for the half-term break. And while I will put together a proper post about it another time, I wanted to write about my boy. For years we only had UK holidays. He was such a handful from the ages of 18 months to about 4 1/4. He would throw a tantrum about everything. He didn't want to leave the house. He didn't want to come home. He didn't like the colour of his cup of water.
My father-in-law turned 70 this year and he wanted to commemorate this special birthday with a family trip. So a few weeks ago we drove to Normandy to spend four days with Husband's extended family. I wouldn't think to spend a long weekend in France, as it seems to far away, but it was actually an easy trip.
The drive from south west London to Folkestone was about 1 1/2 hours, and then we drove onto the Eurotunnel train which only took 30 minutes to get to Calais. It was cool driving right onto the train. People mostly just sat in their cars, but there were toilets if needed. We drove swiftly off the train and then two hours later and we reached Luneray.
This journey was about the same as when we went to North Cornwall last month, but this time we were in France which naturally feels more exciting. Luneray is in Haute-Normandy. Not only does this mean that it's closer to the UK, but it means you're not far from the sea.
My family and I have been to many dinosaur experiences. Many. And although Dubz isn't obsessed with dinosaurs anymore, he still adores them. And to be honest, the rest of the family quite like them. I mean, what's not to like?! Cool creatures that we'd normally be afraid of but are extinct so we can be fascinated without fear. And one of the newest attractions in London showcasing them is Dinosaurs in the Wild.
When we first arrived at the giant warehouse that housed Dinosaurs in the Wild, I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought it was going to be an exhibit of animatronic dinosaurs. But I was wrong. I don't want to give too much away (the element of surprise helps to make this such a cool experience).
Cornwall has always been in the top five of my UK destination wishlist. It is known for its beautiful beaches, great seafood and many attractions. Really, who wouldn't want to visit?! So I was thrilled when the lovely folks from Baby Friendly Boltholes invited us to stay at one of their North Cornwall properties for two nights over the Easter holiday.
My family and I have stayed in a few cottages in the UK, but this was our first time with Baby Friendly Boltholes. And although we don't have a baby (my youngest is almost six), a family-friendly property really does make all the difference. As a parent, you're already packing a ridiculous amount of things when you go on holiday with your children, and it helps to stay somewhere that has some of the things you need. At Red Barn, there were games, DVDs and toys (Dubz was partial to the transformers and the army men, which I had to make sure didn't end up in his suitcase).
Oh, this is 10.
But I can remember back when,
You were placed in my arms
And I was introduced to your charms.
My family and I were invited to Kidzania this Easter. And since Moozles and I love it, we decided to take Husband and Dubz along. And right now, in honour of WrestleMania34, there are some WWE-related activities in addition to all the regular fun stuff. So we knew Dubz would enjoy himself.
Located at Westfield in Shepherd's Bush, Kidzania is a city (all indoors) made for children. Before arriving, you queue as if you're at the airport. Children are given 50 Kidzos each, which they can use to spend on fun activities or save and earn more money through jobs. It's probably one of the few times your child will want to work. Dubz started off as a policeman while Moozles worked at the library and then a hotel. Then she became a surgeon while he went to work at the Cadbury chocolate factory.
I have never read any Roald Dahl. But my daughter has read all his books. Even his biography. And every spring we go to the Rose Theatre Kingston to watch an adaptation of his stories. This past weekend we watched George's Marvellous Medicine.
If you're not familiar with George's Marvellous Medicine (like me), the story is about a little boy named George. George's grandmother comes for a visit. But she's not the typical sweet grandmother. She is quite horrid, so George decides to make a potion that will make her into a nicer person.
I can't believe this is my 10th Mother's Day. I feel like I should be full of confidence in my mothering. But I'm still working things out. I expect I'll still be winging it in 10 years' time. But one things continues, I keep giving it my best. I feel like worrying takes about 15% of my time. No one wants to screw their kids up. But you have to keep trying, and keep hoping that they don't publish a memoir entitled 'Why My Mother is the Worst'.
Anyway, we had a lovely day, for the most part. My son ran into our bedroom at 6.20am shouting, 'can we bring Mummy tea in bed now?!'. After Husband and I yelled at him, he ran off and I slept til almost 9am. Moozles and Dubz love bringing me breakfast in bed on Mother's Day. And apparently they love watching me eat my breakfast. Every little bite of toast. Every sip of Earl Grey. Every damn year.
My son is in Year One, and this term they are learning about space. Dubz is constantly talking about the Milky Way galaxy, so we thought a family trip to the planetarium was in order. It turns out that London's only planetarium is located in Greenwich (south east London). We decided to combine our visit with the National Maritime Museum, as well as sneak in a boat ride and lunch. And what a fun day it was.
If like us, you live in south west London, you may know that it's a bit of a pain to go from west to east London. But sometimes you have to bite the bullet, especially when there's a cool attraction that you don't want to miss. So, after we arrived at Waterloo, we decided to take the Jubilee line to Canary Wharf, and then hop onto the DLR to Greenwich. While the latter offers lovely views to Greenwich - this ended up taking 45 minutes. It would have taken half the time if we had just taken two trains from Waterloo East. But sometimes it's nice to take the scenic route.