We kicked off 2014 with a slightly crazy New Year’s Day plan – we aimed to have lunch in Berkshire with Matt’s dad and Michele and then have dinner in Southampton at Katharine’s house, before driving back to London in time for bed – with all travel timed to coincide with naps and children’s bedtime!
Quite a lot of miles to cover in one day, particularly given the torrential rain, but we managed it – and really rather enjoyed ourselves in the process! It was made significantly easier by having new Thomas movies available for Alex on the iPad!
Sadly the rain meant that Alex couldn’t enjoy his Grandad and Nanny Michele’s garden and pond, but he still had lots of somewhat hyperactive fun. He clearly enjoys visiting them! Sophie, as usual, focused her visit on trying to climb their stairs and cuddling the dogs. After eating as much lasagne and chocolate caramel tart as possible, we packed up the car and continued South.
The few hours we spent with Katharine were a complete treat as it involved lots of cuddles with her beautiful newborn daughter, Emilia. Sophie and Alex were fascinated – and Matt and I were surprised about how little I can remember Sophie being that small! I came straight home to read the early blog posts about her. And I already can’t wait for the day when Emilia and Sophie are running around after each other – I’m sure it’ll be upon me in a flash.
For the final days of our Christmas break, we eased back into London life and had four quiet days as a family. I had to pop into work for a few hours to help with the announcement of Imperial’s new President, so Matt braved the Science Museum with two toddling children. We wrote our phone numbers on Alex just in case – but as far as I’m aware, Matt managed not to lose either child! Sophie absolutely loved it, refusing to be carried or restrained in her buggy, and enjoying exploring on her own for the first time.
We also spent some time at the London Transport Museum – Alex’s current favourite spot.
Once he’d exhausted climbing on everything, playing with ticket stamping machines and looking at all the trains and buses, we had a lovely family lunch at Wagamamas. I mention this because this was pretty much the first time I can remember where all four of us have had a meal in a public restaurant where we all stayed in our seats for the entire duration, ate a good portion of food, didn’t demolish the place settings and no-one cried! It was such fun – and hopefully a sign of things to come. Noodles are clearly a success!
The day got even better with a late afternoon playdate with Alex’s friend Arlo – and some quality catching up time with my NCT friend, Jess. The boys had a blast playing trains and giggling upstairs in Alex’s room – I’ve loving getting to the point where Alex wants to take his friends to play in his room! He’s very proud to show it off!
On Saturday, with the weather rubbish again, we piled in the car and headed to Stratford in East London for some playtime in the fabulous Discover Story Centre. Sophie is getting so independent, it was such a pleasure to just follow her around as she explored. She even sat down with colouring pencils and paper and did a spot of doodling.
The trip East went so well, we even found some time for a spot of sale shopping in Westfield and another lovely family lunch. Alex’s steller behaviour was rewarded with the highlight of his day – a chocolate ice cream served to him on a vespa!
We raced back home in time for another playdate, this time with Matt’s brother Jonathan and two of the children’s cousins – Jessica and Max. The cousins immediately gathered around the play table and set to work getting all the toys out:
And once they’d finished that, they tucked in to a pizza together – Alex clearly ruling the roost!
We had a very quiet Sunday – my birthday – with a special breakfast at the Cafe on Peckham Rye
We spent the rest of the day swimming in Brixton, wandering around East Dulwich and enjoying the Goose Green playground. Matt and I were really sad to reach the end of our two weeks off – the children were so well behaved, so interesting and such a pleasure to be around. And we both enjoyed some proper downtime, catching up on movies and avoiding our work emails as much as possible. Roll on our next family break!