Tag Archives: travel

The one about the honeymoon

Now the jet lag has started to pass and the first day back at work is over, Cuba seems like a distant dream away.

This time last week I had just left Havana with the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine and was trying hard to quell a large lump in my throat at the thought of being away from Frog for four more days. Continue reading

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Silent Sunday

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T is for Turkey

It’s 10 o’clock at night and we’ve just landed in Turkey. It’s our first family holiday with our baby, who is 9 months old. Despite my concerns about the flight, she slept through the entire journey. Easy.

Fast forward two hours and we still haven’t found our villa. Between the four adults on this trip, not one of us has remembered to bring the directions.

Another hour in and still no sign of the villa. We’re driving down a deserted dirt track with no idea where we’re heading. I look at my sleeping baby, in her rickety Turkish carseat and feel sick. Continue reading

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The week I left my baby

So, I left my child to go off on a jolly. I dumped my 16 month old daughter on her grandparents so I could indulge in some mature adult fun with her father… Continue reading

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April

Forget the Royal Wedding. For us, April’s been all about the holidays.

Our first family holiday abroad and bank holidays spent in the garden, enjoying our first barbecues of the summer.

This time last year, I looked like this…

I was nervous and excited, with no idea what to expect of the future (well, obviously I realised the future involved a baby, but that was pretty much it).

And now, here we are. Frog’s nearly one and I can’t imagine life without her. We’re finally doing all the things I imagined we’d do together as a family; holidays, day trips, picnics and barbecues. Life’s easier now we’re past the half-hourly feeds and the colicky cries and the adjustment to parenthood. Life’s good.

This picture was taken on our holiday to Turkey a couple of weeks ago. We visited the site of Aspendos, an incredibly preserved amphitheatre. I broke every health and safety law in the book and climbed to the top of the theatre, Frog in tow….

Head over to Sticky Fingers to see the rest of the entries to this week’s Gallery.

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Turkey: not just for Christmas

You’ve never known true fear until you land in a foreign country and realise you’ve forgotten the directions to your holiday destination.

Yes, I really am that stupid.

It turns out after spending a week packing and fretting about the number of nappies to take on our first family holiday, I forgot the finer details. I was so embroiled in which toys and hats to take, that I forgot to print off the directions to our villa in Turkey. And realised mid-air, somewhere over Bulgaria.

The flight was fine. I mean, really fine. The baby slept and then woke up and happily munched on a corn on the cob for an hour. Despite my aggressive efforts to thrust a nipple into her mouth during take off and landing (after reading that breastfeeding can stop the baby’s ears hurting), Frog was happy and content.

But then we landed at Antalya airport. There the fun began, as our predicament slowly dawned on us. The thing is, when you’re backpacking around Southeast Asia, you can easily rock up to a country with no idea where you’re going to end up. That’s part of the fun. But it’s quite a different story when you have a baby in tow and are still struggling to come to terms with the huge weight of responsibility that is parenthood. I now know why my mum used to take her role as Chief Navigator so seriously.

With Grandad F behind the steering wheel and the (self proclaimed) Northern Love Machine as his right-hand man, we slowly made our way in the hire car out of the airport, each blaming the other for the fact we had no directions. Getting used to driving on the other side of the road and closing our eyes to the fact the baby car seat we’d rented was totally unfit for purpose, we found a road and followed it. In the dark. But after managing to get hold of the friend who we’d rented the villa from we started to relax.

And that was our mistake.

Because after the “dual carriageway” we were following petered out into a dusty dirt track, it became clear we were well and truly marooned in the middle of Turkey. With a baby. In the dark. Did I mention it was dark?

Midnight came and went and still we had no idea where we were or where we were going. We were searching for an elusive dual carriageway that stubbornly refused to be found. As Grandad F kept up the “this is all part of the adventure” patter, I looked over to my sleeping baby and felt sick. Adventure is no fun with a baby. I just wanted to unpack the car and have a cup of tea, relaxing in the knowledge my baby was safe asleep in her travel cot, rather than a flimsy piece of plastic in a car lost down the end of a dirt track.

The situation was made worse by the fact I couldn’t shout at anyone and pass on the blame as a) the whole situation was entirely my fault and b) the baby was asleep and I didn’t want to wake her.

But, like all good stories (apart from Titanic), it was all alright in the end. Obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this. We found a friendly Turkish fisherman who pointed us in the right direction after unhooking his fish. An hour later, we were safely tucked up in our lovely villa almost laughing at our stupidity.

And that was it really. The holiday was a huge success. I ate too much, as I always do. And then moaned every day about the fact I was putting on weight and Boot Camp had been for nothing, while simultaneously stuffing my face with Kebaps and wine and cheese and stuffed vine leaves and Baclava and more Kebaps.

Frog spent the entire fortnight being accosted for her photo in the street. (There’s nothing like a bit of Turkish baby love to make you think your baby is the most beautiful in the world). And she swam and played and swam some more.

And now we’re home and I’m triumphant. I’ve survived the middle of the night flight with a baby (tried to check in at the wrong terminal and nearly missed our flight but that’s another post). I’ve survived the unpacking. I haven’t had a nervous breakdown.

And my relationship is intact, which is always a bonus.

Holiday Frog

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Packing the Prime Minister

You know me, ever the drama queen.

But this week has seen dramatics taken to a new height, with the terrifying and almost impossible task of packing for our first family holiday.

I used to quite enjoy packing for holidays. It was a leisurely and relaxing activity, part of the build-up to the holiday itself. I’d write lists with sub-headings like “Toiletries” and “Swimwear” (I agree, far too much time on my hands). I carefully browsed the shops to find the perfect new bikini. I took my time painting my nails and making sure there were no unruly stragglers in the bikini line area. My legs were shaved and moisterised and I had at least three new outfits for the trip. I even plucked my hairy toes. Yes, it’s fair to say the pre-holiday experience was a pleasant one.

And then I had a baby.

I have been packing for a week. Yes, a full week. I’ve written a notebook full of lists. I’ve packed and then unpacked and then packed again. I’ve decided to take nappies, changed my mind in an attempt to slim-line the luggage, then changed my mind again. I’ve packed a bag of toys for the plane, panicked and added more, then chucked them all on the floor to make my choices from scratch.

What if she doesn’t like those toys? What if it’s cold and she doesn’t have enough clothes? What if it’s hot and she doesn’t like the choice of four hats I’ve taken? What if she gets hungry at the airport? What if two magic blankets aren’t enough? What about milk? What about books? What about sheets? Towels? Nappies? Should I take more nappies? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

Last night saw the culmination of my huge over-packing efforts. I collapsed in a heap on the floor wailing “I just can’t do it anymore. I’ve got more responsibility than the Prime Minister!”

Needless to say, the (self proclaimed) Northern Love Machine laughed at me and told me to get a grip.

But I still haven’t finished. This bloody packing lark is taking longer than my university dissertation and a heck of a lot more research. I haven’t even started on my own clothes yet. And don’t even ask about the bikini line area. Or the hairy toes.

So on that note I’m going to go and attempt some kind of conclusion to my packing nightmare. I realise I’ve turned this into a far more complicated activity than it ever needed to be. But if I could just make up my mind about those damn nappies…

See you all in two weeks, when you can hear all about the unpacking at the other end. Bet you can’t wait.

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Box of tricks

I have a new secret weapon.

This weapon helps me in the fight against tantrums and hunger pangs, teething pain and general moodiness.

My secret? Rice cakes.

Yes, it really is that simple. We’ve added rice cakes to our list of must-have items, along with the magic blanket, nappies and Calpol.

So imagine my glee when this stash turned up from HiPP Organic, to add to our growing armoury:

Cache of weapons

Frog being the impatient girl that she is, she couldn’t wait to get stuck in.


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As well as three bottles of juice (which I’ll review in a separate post), we were sent three packets of rice cakes and another packet of rather exciting (yes, I did say exciting – I really am that sad) looking snacks called Squiggly Puffs.

And they went down a storm.

The HiPP food products are all made from organic ingredients, with no added salt. We were sent three different packets of rice cakes, one was pumpkin and carrot flavour, another was apple and the third was tomato and sweet red pepper.

Frog’s not fussy, she’ll eat anything (and I mean, literally, anything – I caught her trying to eat her own poo last week) but she particularly seems to like the tomato and sweet red pepper flavour rice cakes. I do too, actually. They’re really rather tasty and a lot fewer calories than a packet of Pringles.

As for the Squiggly Puffs, they didn’t get devoured with quite the same relish. They were eaten, but when offered a Squiggly Puff and a rice cake, Frog went for the rice cake every time.

We’re going on holiday this weekend, it’ll be Frog’s first time on a plane. I’m going to make sure I’ve got a cache of rice cakes for the airport. And the plane. And the car journey.  Actually lovely HiPP people, can I have a lorry-load please? We’ve run out…

"I've eaten them all"

 

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