2014 draws to a close

After a quiet family Christmas, our final days of 2014 were packed full of celebrations, fun and and friends.

We headed up to Northamptonshire for a second Christmas celebration with my side of the family on Boxing Day.  It was lovely getting out of London for a couple of days, especially when the weather was so clear, cold and sunny – it’s a gorgeous part of the country. We enjoyed a trip into Towcester’s excellent leisure centre for a fun swimming trip.  The kids loved the big waves!

When we got back to my parents’ house, my brother and his family had arrived. We spent a relaxing afternoon catching up, exchanging gifts, eating vast quantities of food and playing with the children.

GNGrandma and Grandpa certainly enjoyed being surrounded by their brood!

GnGHere’s Sophie having fun with baby Rose.  Sophie and Alex were both fascinated by their twin cousins – and haven’t stopped talking about them since!

SophieRoseThey are growing up so fast – and keeping my brother and sister-in-law on their toes!

VanMichaelAfter a lazy Sunday morning, we headed back into London, stopping off for our first family trip ten pin bowling in Elephant and Castle.  Both children were enthusiastic to begin with, but I must admit it wasn’t hugely successful.  Alex enjoyed the first few games, but got bored pretty quickly! Alex bowlingSophie got distressed about losing her bowling ball with every go, and ended up with her bottom lip out for much of the time.  But she did look very glam in her new tutu!!
Sophie bowlingOn Monday and Tuesday we had a couple of quiet days in London.  Christmas is one of my favourite times in the city as its so quiet.  We usually hit the museums and see some exhibitions while most people are out of town – and this year was no exception.  We decided to visit the newly refurbished Imperial War Museum together.  It was really impressive and I’ll definitely go back on my own to explore the exhibits properly, but the kid seemed to enjoy a whistle stop tour around the amazing space.  They loved the planes hanging from the ceiling.  Its a challenging museum for little ones though – pretty tough to explain some of the exhibits to a four year old.

After an all day breakfast in a great little cafe, we parted ways for a couple of hours.  I hired a Boris Bike and cycled along the river to do a spot of sale shopping (and cake shopping) while Matt took the kids home for naptime / movie time.  By amazing coincidence, they bumped into one of Alex’s best friends, Rosita, on the bus home.  She’s lived in the USA for 6 months and literally just arrived home in the country for good!  Their reunion was very very cute!

On Tuesday, we headed East to the Olympic Park. This time Matt had a break and went swimming in the Olympic Park while I took the children for a couple of hours.  We went to the brilliant Discover Story Centre.  We’ve been a few times, but this was the first time where Sophie could really experience it all – and she loved it.  The children ran around the story trail together exploring and climbing everywhere, Sophie hot on Alex’s heels wherever he went.  She’s like his shadow.

The centre always has an interactive experience in their basement, and this year, it features the beautiful books of author, Oliver Jeffers.   We read a lot of his books at bedtime, and the children weren’t disappointed with the immersive experience.  They tried to catch stars, sailed in a boat with a penguin, helped fix a spare rocket and dressed up as some of the characters.  It was such fun!

JeffersOnce they were tired out, we met daddy for lunch before driving home to run errands around Dulwich to prepare for New Year’s Eve and get the kids into bed before our friends Caroline and Paul came over for a curry!

We had a very busy New Year’s Eve, starting early with a 40 minute queue in our local fishmonger for ingredients for our planned evening extravaganza!  The children were not impressed!

I made up for it with a playdate for them and their friend Anna, and then another reunion with old friends for lunch.  Our friends Catherine and Charlie have been living in Zurich for two years, and it’s been at least a year since we’ve all been together.  So it was a real treat to have a long, leisurely lunch with them all in Herne Hill.  It wasn’t long before Alex and Henry remembered they were firm friends and they were getting up to mischief in the restaurant:

HenryAlexAnd Sophie made a new friend in Phoebe, who is looking ridiculously grown up at nearly seven years old!

SophiePhoebeIt was wonderful to have our brood together again – we must get to Zurich this year to visit.


When we finally got the children to say goodbye to each other, we had a busy couple of hours getting dinner prepped for New Year’s Eve.  We saw the new year in with friends Caroline and Dave, and their children Sam and Una.  Alex and Sam were very excited about sleeping in the same room, and after the craziness of bathtime with four little ones in the tub, I wasn’t sure we’d get them to sleep at all.  But they were all exhausted, and they all passed out quickly.  Phew!


That left us lots of time to enjoy a great evening of amazing food, wine and conversation – including Matt’s first homemade pasta.  Yum.

We watched the fireworks and then made a hasty retreat to bed.  Glad I did too, as Sophie chose the first day of the year to break her brilliant run of 8am wake-ups with a 6am rise 😦

I can’t quite believe it’s 2015 already – 2014 has flown by.  It is amazing to me that my little baby boy will be starting school this year.  How is that possible?!

Got lots of new year’s resolutions to break

  • Less time on my phone – especially when the children are about
  • More time with Matt – sort out a regular babysitter so we can go to the cinema again and get away from our laptops!
  • Less time working – I don’t want every single evening to be dominated by my work inbox
  • And of course the usual – taking better care of myself – less coca-cola and chocolate and much more exercise! We’ll see how that turns out (as I type this, I have both within arms reach!!)

Happy new year everyone!


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