Archive for the ‘Out & About’ Category

Highlights from Lewis – Part 2


2010
06.15

We were based in the tiny village of Tolsta Chaolais which isn’t pronounced anything like you’d think it would be – it’s more like Tolssa Hurlish, except the ‘H’ of Hurlish is one of those back of the throat type sounds. And that spelling is the English version…Gaelic is a really unusual language! It’s my dad’s first language, but I only speak a handful of phrases, and my pronunciation is pretty awful according to Dad. Squishy’s name is the Gaelic version of a fairly common name, and as such is not so much uncommon as unheard of down here in the South of England. Being able to tell people her name and have them accept it as easily as if it were Jane or Lucy was one of the unexpected highlights of the trip. Just today I went to another baby group where someone immediately repeated her name back as the English version…which obviously I had to correct. On Lewis, if people commented at all, it was to tell me that some member of their family have the same name. Her name means quite a lot to me as my mum suggested it four and a half years ago when she was ill in hospital, & she died shortly afterwards. I love the fact that she has a connection with her granny even though she can never meet her.

Sunday started badly – I’d hung some nappies out to dry the night before, completely forgetting that you can’t have laundry hanging out on a Sunday for religious reasons. So instead we lit a lovely peat fire and draped the nappies over chairs and footstools to dry. We then managed to find a petrol station shop that was open for two hours on a Sunday so we could buy some milk and bread! It really is a whole other world up there, and the Sunday rules underlined that. We’re so used to everything being available almost 24:7, so the idea that we weren’t allowed to do certain things on a certain day was very strange for us.

On Monday we visited Garenin which is the village my grandad was born in. It’s now a tourist site as all the houses are traditional black houses. It’s right by the sea, although we couldn’t go down to the beach as a seal had died there and was smelling awful…still, we had a bit of a wander, & my dad had a go on the loom making some Harris tweed (something he did a lot when he was younger apparently). Twink found that hilarious…I just found it noisy!

Tuesday we went to Melbost Borve which is the village my dad is from. I say village, but it’s even smaller than Tolsta Chaolais! Ten houses, maybe fifteen at the most. This was my granny’s house. Dad helped build it when he was 12, having been born in a black house in the field opposite. I have lots of happy memories of this little house.

Where's he taking me now...

This is my granny’s old chicken house…I can remember it hanging off the cliff 15 years ago, so I was a bit surprised it was still there. However the floor has fallen out since I saw it last 4 years ago. Oh & I’m not an odd lumpy shape – there’s a baby under my sweater! It was exceptionally windy, and she was sleeping so I’d tucked her away.

There are some really beautiful beaches on the island. On Wednesday we visited Uig beach (not the same Uig as in the first highlights post…there are a few of them around!) which is huge when the tide is out – we only made it half way before the gale drove us back (I may be exaggerating, but it was very windy and I am still washing wind blown sand out of my hair!).

There was important shell collecting work to be done.

Rocks to climb.

Ponds to examine.

And Daddies to wear out.

Thursday was Hubby’s birthday, and we visited ¬†Borgh Pottery (pronounced Borve) to buy him a mug to compliment (but not match) the one we bought for me 4 years ago. While there we also bought a bag made of patchwork Harris tweed for me to use as a change bag, and a toy Oskar & Ellen Doctor’s bag for Ethan as he wouldn’t let go of it! The hand written label which came with my bag, had the name of the lovely lady who made the bag along with her mobile number…for all those bag related emergencies I imagine!

My parents (whose house we live in as I inherited it, and which is still full of their stuff) have collected lots of Borgh pottery pieces, so it’s lucky we both like the style! I particularly like the mugs – they’re chunky and sturdy feeling, the handle has a thumb rest at the top which is perfect for the way Hubby holds his cup (by the handle), and they’re concave which is perfect for how I hold a mug (backwards with my hand round the body of the mug and the handle opposite me). Now we have one each!

Friday was our last day, and we visited the Callanish Stones. Twink loved racing around and helping to prop up the stones!

We finished our holiday and headed for the ferry at 2pm on Friday. The ferry arrived in Uig in Skye just before 6pm. We decided to risk driving through the night and just headed straight home. It was definitely the right thing to do – we stopped for a bedtime stop about 8pm as both children were awake, and after that, they pretty much slept the whole journey. They both woke up briefly around midnight as we stopped for a while, but they went back to sleep quickly. At 3ish (yep, that’d be a.m.!) Twink woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. From 4 to 4.30 was the worst bit – he just screamed as he was so frustrated and tired. But then he fell asleep, so when we arrived home at 5.15am he was happy to be transferred to his bed and stay there until 11!

We’ve just about recovered now – everyone’s sleep is more or less back to normal, and we’re eating at sensible times again. The first few days we didn’t want breakfast until lunchtime and it just throws the whole day off!

Highlights from Lewis – Part 1


2010
06.14

I haven’t just been ignoring this blog, I’ve been away having fun and adventures. Some good…some not so good (as you may have noticed if you follow me on twitter!). We survived. We even enjoyed parts of it! I could write a zillion blogs on everything that happened, but for now at least, I’ll restrain myself and just give you the highlights. In fact, just the highlights of the drive up as I seem to have got a bit carried away!

To get to the Isle of Lewis we drove all the way up to Uig on the Isle of Skye. That’s about 570 miles. With a toddler and a baby. A baby who doesn’t like cars. Then we took a ferry to Harris & after driving for another hour we arrived at our destination, a small village (they’re all small villages on the island!) called Tolsta Chaolais. As it was such a long way, and we have a petrol guzzling, 5.5 litre beast of a car, we were borrowing our friend’s diesel Golf. Very practical, but slightly smaller boot!

We packed up the car and, having decided to leave at night, we got the children out of bed and into the car. It was midnight by this point, and we’d just made our first mistake. Twink did not react well to being taken out of bed. Sure, at first it was fun and games, but he didn’t go back to sleep. When he did start dozing, he’d wake himself up and scream. It sounded like he was scared, maybe by the flashing streetlights. By 3.30am, we’d had enough and found a travelodge to sleep in. Except Twink didn’t want to sleep. I think we managed about 2 or 3 hours in the end, before heading down for breakfast. Squishy had been absolutely perfect throughout this. Usually she screams constantly in the car, but it seems that she doesn’t mind it at night if she’s asleep.

Drumlanrig Castle

It didn’t take long until Hubby & I were getting drowsy again, so I just took the next turning and we figured we’d find somewhere we could stop, stretch our legs and eat lunch. Did we ever! Along windy roads we found Drumlanrig Castle. As well as a lovely tearoom, this castle has a fantastic adventure playground. You wouldn’t believe the things Twink did, or the heights he scaled! With sandpits, slides (including a really tall one!), zip wires and a climbing wall, I really would recommend a stop here.

Climbing up the wall!...well, holding on!

Up so high

Eeek!

Fearless

Phew. That’s a lot of photos! We had an AMAZING time there. Twink absolutely didn’t want to leave. We stopped for much longer than we expected, resulting in us not arriving at the B & B in Uig till past eleven at night. The ferry trip the following morning was Twink’s first boat, and he loved it! Racing around pointing at everything, climbing all the ridiculously steep stairs and smiling at everyone (even if they did think he was a girl!). We arrived at Tolsta Chaolais by lunch…utterly exhausted!

My Birthday Trip


2010
05.28

I had a whole day off. Twenty four whole, child free hours. I have the best best friend EVER! And the best husband of course ;-)

Twink woke some time after 9 on Saturday, and Hubby started trying to get me out of bed. He kept saying we were going to Starbucks for breakfast, but was being really urgent about it. It takes time to nurse two children, get them both dressed and in the car, but we were at the babysitters by 11…yep, the babysitters, not Starbucks! We were on a train to London with the hour.

A wander round Covent Garden shops and the food market, ended in a quick trip into Fred Perry resulting in these fab new shoes

and then we finally made it to Starbucks for Hubby’s first coffee of the day (he’s an addict!). Hubby then suggested Bond Street…where we happened to bump into Yo! Sushi. Convenient that ;-) We love love LOVE sushi. Completely stuffed we then continued with the shopping challenge – find me an outfit that I don’t feel hideous in (not easy since I put 3 stone on during a stressful time pre-children and obviously having 2 children hasn’t helped). We went in lots of ridiculously expensive shops pretending we could afford to buy things when they had clearly put the decimal point in the wrong place!

Shopping was starting to get stressful (see point above re. 3 additional stone!), but Hubby saved the day by spotting this lovely ¬†shop where I found two tops and a dress which were almost flattering (okay, so I may have a slightly negative view of myself…or an honest one, depending on your point of view!).

By this point it had been about ten hours since I fed Squishy and I was getting a little uncomfortable (although thankfully no leaking – I’m lucky as I never leak), and trying on clothes was slightly amusing with the Dolly Parton chest! So we decided to head home rather than find somewhere for dinner in London. I think we got home a bit 9.00 and stopped by KFC (classy, huh!). When we called the babysitter to check everything was okay (and to ask if we had time to eat our junk food), she said Squishy had been absolutely fine, had no problems taking a bottle (unlike Twink who refused point blank and would wait, fairly, patiently) even holding it herself!! Little traitor ;-) She also said she was happy to keep them both overnight! Result!

So I had a lovely long lie in on my birthday, followed by breakfast in Starbucks (there’s a theme here…Hubby is trying to turn me into an addict too!). We spent the day pottering in the garden, with the paddling pool out and a BBQ to finish the day.

And now we are thirty.

Woop Woop!


2010
04.16

I need to tell you a secret…

This cheeky mummy has had a cheeky drink tonight. A fantabulous Cosmopolitan style cocktail in fact. Citron vodka and pomegranate…LUSH! Yes, I know I’m breastfeeding, but I’m allowed one, and here’s the best bit…I’ve got the evening off!! Twink is staying overnight at his Aunt’s and we’ll be picking Squishy up at about 11 as I didn’t have time to express enough milk for overnight. This is the first time Squishy has been offered a bottle, so we’ll see how it goes. I’m hoping to be able to have a night off for my birthday (it’s my 30th…shhh…) next month, so hopefully she’ll accept milk from a bottle. Twink never did. He was (is) a stubborn little baby who would just go hungry and wait for me to return. It never seemed to bother him how long he had to wait, but us more grown up types were concerned about things like dehydration, so we had to wait months for our first night off with him.

I should probably explain that his Aunt is actually my best friend who I am incredibly lucky to have (you may remember she was at the birth and caught Squishy). Our family all live miles and miles away, so I’ve pretty much just hijacked hers. I can’t think of anyone else I would trust to look after my babies from so young. Without her we wouldn’t have had a break for nearly two years, and more importantly, Twink loves her and her family. I’m sure Squishy will too.

So tonight we have had a proper evening off. We went to our favourite pub/restaurant for a lovely meal, and discovered they’ve started having a ‘cocktail of the week’. This week is the Cosmopolitan with a twist. The Cosmopolitan holds a lot of memories for me. Hubby and I must have drunk gallons of them on our honeymoon. They may have just tasted better because the beach actually invaded the bar. We were sitting inside but with our bare feet in the sand (I didn’t wear shoes for the whole holiday – I love the feeling of sand between my toes!), and the sun was always sunny, and the heat was just the right side of hot…seriously, those were the best drinks I’ve ever had, and the best holiday (so far!). I could go on about the fabulousness of my honeymoon forever, but this is supposed to be a blog about the Cosmopolitan (well, vaguely, I am a little blurry after my one drink…I’m a lightweight these days, so sorry if I’m not making much sense!).

So, back to the point – do any of you remember Twister ice lollies? Green and white spirals with a red centre, on a stick. That is what my Cosmo tasted like tonight. A twister in a glass. Lush! As much as I adore my children, a few hours without needing to be responsible for anyone and a cheeky drink was exactly what I needed at the end of this oh so long week. Now what? Well, Hubby has chosen an action film (predictably!), so I’m off to enjoy some baby-free snuggles on the sofa….except he’s fallen asleep!


Various Animal Attacks


2010
04.12

We had a FANTASTIC weekend here in Cheeky Mummy Land!

Saturday was a lovely sunny, hot (yes, I did say hot – I have the tan lines to prove it!) day and we randomly decided to go to a Safari Park. Twink oddly decided he would fall asleep on the way there leading to a very comical scene where Hubby and I kept trying to poke Twink awake so he could see the animals in the wild animal section. After a few shouts of ‘Twink’, and repeated prods, he opened his eyes enough to look out the window and saw a tiger. He then rolled his eyes and went back to sleep…so Hubby and I drove round oohing and aahing at the animals while the children slept in the back…not sure that’s quite how it’s meant to be!

Once we had parked up & tied both children on (Squishy in the Moby on me, & Twink in our brand new Beco on Hubby) our first stop was for an ice cream. Except Twink decided he didn’t want an ice cream…yes…really! I can only assume he was too tired having only just woken up as usually he would fight me for the ice cream. So, sadly, I had to eat his as well as mine…except half way through he took offence to that and insisted on holding his half eaten ice cream cone while we walked round the park. Didn’t bother me, but I don’t think Hubby liked having ice cream randomly dripping down him as Twink waved it around!

Since Twink missed the safari drive through on the way in, we decided to drive round it again on the way out. Now, we have a nice car…old, but top of the range…we like cars! The car is Hubby’s extra baby. So you can imagine how thrilled he was when one of the Patas monkeys leaped onto the roof! Hubby did try to foil it by slamming his foot on the accelerator, but that just caused the monkey to hammer at the roof in anger :-P I could see Hubby’s heart sinking, although Twink loved it when the monkey then somehow sat on the window trim next to Hubby so he could peer in through the window and screech at us. I tried to take a photo for you, but the monkey got bored of posing and ran off.

I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know the car suffered no injuries as a result of the monkey attack.

…but we were almost rammed by a rhino!

It was by the side of the road calmly eating grass. We stopped next to it to marvel at its size and attempt to interest Twink (he really was non-plussed by the wild animals just outside the car…think he thought it was just like seeing them on tv…). Then the rhino decided to cross the road. Being the size of a small tank, it didn’t stop to check both ways, or even to make sure there wasn’t a car right in front of it. It just headed towards the road…and us. Again, Hubby saved the day by putting his foot down sharpish! I think my heart actually stopped!

***

As today is Monday, I thought I’d set myself a little challenge for the week. If you’ve read the ‘Who Am I?’ page, you’ll know I like to get a bit crafty now and then, but I haven’t managed to do anything since Squishy was born. She is a bit of a velcro baby, and doesn’t currently settle for anyone who isn’t me :( . So my challenge for this week is to do something crafty. Anything really, although high up on my to do list is finish Twink’s crayon bag that I gave him at Christmas *blush* and I have a couple of months to sort out Hubby’s birthday present, which I’m hoping will be a lovingly handmade shirt. I may also do some freezer paper stencilling, or some crocheting. Basically, I have lots of options for the craft itself, it’s finding the time and the free hands that will be the challenge! I’ll leave you with a picture of the crayon bags I made for Twink’s cousins…leaving my poor son’s bag for last…

Crayon bags I made earlier


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