Sandy toes & Salty kisses – no such thing as perfect

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This year the summer has come around oh so quickly.  In the blink of an eye my girl finished nursery for the very last time, and my boy said goodbye to his Year One days with glee (I note here that his keenness for school is beginning to evaporate).

This time last year I recall making a promise with myself to take as much of the summer off with the children as possible, so as not to miss a single minute of them growing up.  And much though I would love to have done the same this year – it just is not as realistic as it seems.  The beginning of the holidays saw a summer sports camp for three days while I had to sit at work wondering how each child was doing.  I knew they would be enjoying themselves, running around a cricket field all day in the fresh air and making new friends, but nevertheless my girl seemed to be the smallest one there.  I am glad that I trusted my instincts because they did have a lovely time and it helped me to loosen the apron strings just a little too.

Two weeks sped past, and soon we were on count down to our little seaside holiday. I think it is fair to say that the children whipped themselves up into a frenzy before we went.  Counting down the number of ‘sleeps’ and asking all of the details of the planned trip. It was so sweet to see them both so excited as they tried to remember all of the things that we had done in previous years.  I think this is perhaps my most favourite thing about having children, the excitement that is injected into everything you do that almost seems infectious at times (and makes you excited aswell).

For the first time I was organised, and I mean the ‘mum’ kind of organised that I always expect myself to be but never quite reach.  I spent an entire day packing, ironing and thinking ahead to the things we may need. For once I was ahead of the game, and the usual morning chaos that ensues upon leaving did not happen this year.

As always we found ourselves at the mercy of the Great British weather yet it didn’t dampen our enthusiasm.  We spent a day on the beach with friends, strolled down the sea front with family at the nearby town, and ate fish n chips and too many icecreams.

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We hilariously tried to fly a kite as is our little tradition, and we failed miserably due to the wind being too strong.

We had tantrums and tears about broken cricket bats and dropped icecreams, and the sand got into places it really shouldn’t have.

It was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, in fact it is fair to say that at times we all fell out in one way or another (the children about who got into the car first, the grown ups about who forgot the all important suncream).

Overall though, I realised that I was truly happy.

Trying to sit on a picnic blanket that was being blown away for five minutes before being called to get up by one of the children.

Laughing at my little girl squealing as the waves chased her back to the beach & making everyone go on the odd walk to take in the sea air.  I slowly began to understand that ‘perfect’ is not always how you picture it, and that the high standards I seem to have in my head don’t always apply.  I started to relax and let things go, all the things that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things…

In the evenings we let the children stay up later and we went to watch the shows put on at the holiday resort (this was their most favourite part, but not necessarily an easy thing for grown ups).  We had wine and gave in to the pleas for sweeties.  There was a pantomime and a circus show, and a fair few discos.  There were noisy arcade games that no one ever wins at.

Up every morning at the crack of dawn I realised that we would never get that coveted ‘lie in’ no matter how late we let the children stay up for.  And I suppose the day that we actually do get that lie in will be the day that they are beginning to grow up, as the teenage years come closer.

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More than anything I was thankful for the energy.

Last year we had the very same holiday, at the very same place and I have to admit I found it hard.  I could not get through a day, and the days at the beach took another full day to recover from.  The children were younger I suppose, and I was in a very different place too.

This year though, there were sandy toes and salty kisses.

This year I got to explain what the different plants and birds were along our walks.  This year I had to reassure my son that the shape out in the sea was not, in fact, a shark.  This year I taught the children how to catch the dandelion fairies dancing around our caravan and to make a wish when you set them free.

My perfect it seems, isn’t perfect at all.  My perfect is actually being in the picture (on my hands & knees making the all important sand castle) and being there with a giant warm towel after jumping those waves.

 

Poem by Erin Hanson

What is it like to be a mummy?

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Both of my children delight in asking me very random and spontaneous questions.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am pleased that they come to ask, it is just that these questions often begin at around 6.30am.  Upon opening my eyes I more often than not come face-to-face with that little face waiting for an all important answer.

I always try my best to answer, although of late I am much slower to.  It takes me while to come round in a morning nowadays, and ‘quick fire rounds’ of multiplication or addition take much longer than they should to answer – and sometimes I am ashamed to say that I cannot find the answer at all.  This of course, is unacceptable to the child who loves his numbers.

And the curious questions about the world continue all day long.

Why is the lady in front of us in the queue wearing those clothes (a sari)?

Why does the man walking with a dog have a white stick?

Can men marry men, and women marry women?

Why do some people not have mummies or daddies?

Why are people different colours?

Why shouldn’t we eat too many biscuits?

When are we going on holiday? Followed by, how many sleeps will it be?

When will daddy be home? (x100)

More recently though my girl has taken to asking me repeatedly how old I am.

The thing is, she knows how old I am, and yet she insists on asking all the same.  ‘Mummy, how old are you?’  ‘Isla, you know how old I am.’  ‘Are you thirty three or thirty four?’  ‘I am thirty four now, I had my birthday remember?’  This is followed swiftly by, ‘Will you be going up to Heaven?’ I more often than not answer with the same thing.  ‘No, not yet darling.’  Sometimes it ends there as she drifts off to sleep, sometimes she checks how old daddy is too.  And I am happy to answer, of course I am – non of us will live forever that is a certainty, and yet it breaks my heart a little more every time she asks because I know her, and I know why she is asking me.

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For all that I thought my children coped with my year of illness well, it seems that the fall out of our family’s change has in fact left its mark on them, whether I like it or not.  My baby doesn’t want me to leave her, and the feeling is mutual. So I sit for that little bit longer where all the books would tell you to leave – I let her hold my hand or cuddle in, if she needs.  Next I wander into her brother, who always stirs as I kiss his forehead and always asks me to stay a little while, and the answer is always, and will always be the same.  For some reason, no matter how steadily I answer the Heaven question it never seems to get any easier, because in truth I do not know when or how long I have left with them and it would not be fair for me to say otherwise.  To any of us.

I have noticed that as the day draws to a close all of the sporadic thoughts or worries often tumble out at bath time or, as a last ditch attempt to keep you talking instead of lying down in bed.

This evening was no different, after a busy day and a chosen story book, the question came out of the blue as I tucked my girl in.  She looked me square in the eye and said, what is it like to be a mummy?  And I was taken aback for a moment, searching her eyes to see if she had asked in jest or the words had somehow been jumbled up in a way only a four year old can.  I wondered if I could in turn explain myself, the way I wanted to in that moment?  So I replied.

To be a mummy is one of the proudest, most wonderful things that you could ever feel.  It is like being in love more and more everyday and you both make me very happy.  I stop and check her eyes to see if my hurried answer has met with her approval, and she flashes me a smile as I kiss her forehead.

I think I did it justice, I hope I did it justice.  Had I been given more warning, more time, and perhaps had she been a little older, I could have articulated the feelings a little better.  I could have explained that it is the hardest job in the world in one way, to feel so responsible for the things that you love the most in the world.  The never-ending feelings of letting them down when I am cross or grumpy or shouty.  Followed oh so closely by the surges of pride and emotion that accompany either of them doing or saying something for the very first time.

So for now I will look forward to my next question tomorrow morning, jumping straight into the day ahead.  I will continue to be thankful that I have another day to answer as many questions thrown at me as I possibly can (no matter how big or small), and hope that I answer them correctly.

What is it like to be a mummy?  It is exhaustingly, most wonderfully, most frustratingly the best job in the world. (even though I am not particularly good at it, most days) More than anything I hope that I will one day get to see my girl become a mummy, because I know she will be the very best that she can be.

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My Complicated Gorgeous Niece

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In my purse tucked away in the pockets somewhere is a small Polaroid picture of a little girl who stole my heart, from the very moment she made her entrance into the world.  Anyone who has a niece will know that there is a special bond, almost difficult to explain, the moment you are handed a baby who may as well be your own.  Freya Ysobella was the most beautiful baby girl and stirred up many emotions in me that I have since experienced with my own children.

As my first niece (I have two) I have  watched her grow into a beautiful young lady who very much knows her own mind.  She is bright and intelligent, sensitive and very clever.  She has a good heart and is very passionate about what she deems to be right and wrong.  Indeed her younger sister and my own daughter are all ‘cut from the same cloth’ and they are spirited to say the least.

Over the years there have been ups and downs – most noteably the day we took her to the park and pushed her on a big swing, of which she promptly fell off.  We then took her to the sweet shop to try to bribe her silence.  Her silence could not be bought.  As she grew up she found her love of dance, regularly twirling down supermarket isles and singing the words to her favourite songs.

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She also loves politics or rather social behaviour, and I am not sure how someone so young can be so aware of the elements of our society, our rules and human rights but she is.  She always tells us that one day she will be the Prime Minister of our country.  I do not doubt this for a single second.  She is determined, very determined, but in a Martin Luther King sort of way which may not necessarily suit the current climate of politics and party ‘values’ that we all know.  I truly hope she does go down this path because I need to believe that the next generation will bring with them a new honesty and integrity to our country.  More than anything I hope that she does not have her spirit knocked out of her because it is so refreshing to see.

Last year I faced the most difficult conversation that I have ever had with her.  She knew something was wrong, she sensed it, and we had to tell her.  I wondered to myself – how on earth do I tell someone so young who depends on me so much that I am very ill?  So I wrote her a card and bought a small keyring, and reassured her that I would be alright when I in fact had no idea that I would be.  I felt like I was shattering her childhood and her innocence all in one go, but the reality of life meant that honesty was the only way.  Without a shadow of a doubt it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.  At the time it felt like the younger the person was, the harder it was to tell them – and so we hugged and she was brave, and I willed myself not to cry.

A year on, and she has changed beyond recognition.  She is leggy and tall (now my height).  She shares adult conversation and attempts to teach me things about technology and teenagers, neither of which I am ready for.  As all teenagers seem to do she regularly disappears into her room craving space and time to grow into herself.  A once quiet girl now clashes with her mum with a cheek and opinion that I know awaits me too when my own reach teenage years.

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We recently took her to a concert and she came along as one of the girls. She wore a leather jacket and jeans and a t- shirt with a touch of makeup and she just looked stunning.  It almost panics me to see how fast she is maturing and the pressure of guiding her along the right path is always on my mind.  I needn’t worry though because it is quite evident that she has her head screwed on the right way.  She is sensible (for the most part) and I know that part of growing up will mean letting her go to find her own way, and to make her own mistakes.

It always makes me smile when she asks my opinion or permission because she is met by exactly the same response her own mother would give her, and I remind her that her mother and I are sisters and so essentially the same person (much to her frustration).  She has two other Aunties too who are just like me and she is a lucky, lucky girl.

As her Auntie, I hope that I will be there for her as her shoulder to cry on when her heart is broken for the very first time.  I hope I get to see her on the day she gets her exam results or even on the day that she graduates.  I would love to help her settle into her first home or even have tears in my eyes as she walks down the aisle one day.  I would love to be there for all of those things, so much so that I almost dare not say it out loud, in case it should never come true.

My complicated gorgeous niece is without doubt one of the things I am the most proud of in my life, and I did not even make her myself – but I might as well have.

 

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To my Freya Belle, love you x

(p.s Lauren you are doing a fantastic job)

 

 

A Trip to London to visit the Queen

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I need to write something down.  You see of all the things that we have done together my darlings, this is possibly the most important one.  I have no doubt that you will remember bits of it.  It was after all a fantastic day, but I want to help you remember it all, every little bit.  I want you to know why we did it.  Why we did it together as a family and even that grandma came.

For the days running up to our big trip you were beyond excited until there were finally no more sleeps.  After all the games we have played, it was finally the day that we went to London ‘to visit the Queen’.

Now bear with me, I need to remember every little detail of this because I know how important it will be to you.  More important than your sports day which you graciously bowed out of, because your family means a thousand times more to you.

It all began as we boarded the train (this was your most favourite part).  You clutched your tickets like they were made of gold and we waited for the conductor to check them.  He took them from you and spent a long time looking over them.  When he returned each ticket he had drawn a picture of your face and it made you both laugh out loud.

It was a long journey and the taxi ride seemed to make it even longer.  I started to wonder if I had made a mistake bringing you all this way.  It was late and it was past your bedtime as we drove on through the night.  We arrived at our hotel and you delighted in jumping on the hotel room beds – you had found a second wind it seemed.

In the morning you woke us early keen to go down to breakfast.  There was a secret door in the wall outside of our room and we pushed on it, of course, and it lead to a mysterious corridor.  Just like a magic door from our story books.  You even loved the breakfast part of our stay. (although you decided that you did not actually want any of the sausage, bacon or beans on your plate).  Soon after breakfast it was time to meet our host.  You see we had been invited to London to do a very important job.  A charity very close to my heart had asked us to help them plant a very special garden.

Cancer Research had created a garden at The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016 in memory of all those who had lost their battle with cancer.  The Life Garden.  A legacy, and a tribute to all those who left money in their wills to fund the research towards finding a cure for cancer.

At the entrance I watched your little faces as you stared open mouthed at the horse drawn carriage that passed us by.  Giant Shire horses with heads held high, trotting at speed around the beautiful Palace grounds.  I doubt you had ever seen horse so big before.  We were taken to the garden and we had our pictures taken.  Although it was pretend gardening, we decided to plant magic beans there – all spread out (incase they should grow into beanstalks).

Even when it rained we cuddled and smiled because, well, there was something quite special about the garden I think.

All too soon it was over with, but we had done it all together. The Garden of Life born out of the most lovely concept.  Legacy and remembering.  You can even visit it ‘virtually’ and see the beautiful meadow with one hundred thousand flowers on display.  Each flower represents a person, a person who has fought their own fight, yet had one thing in common a belief that finding a cure is possible.

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It was past lunchtime now and you had both done so well.  We headed to the city centre hoping to find somewhere to eat before our next showing.  We sat outside hurriedly eating our burgers, and shooing away the pigeons and one little duck who just kept coming back.  You laughed and laughed at my efforts to move him on as he quacked back at me.

Eventually Big Ben chimed and we headed to our show at Shrek Adventures.  It may have been the tiredness but we had tears about the unknown and the darkness of the show (I admit this was not the reaction I had expected from you).  We listened to the story of witches, Rapunzel, the Gingerbread man and Puss in Boots and eventually we were transported back to the streets of London.  You both cried in the shop for various overpriced merchandise but as I tried to explain through gritted teeth, I could have bought you a real donkey for a hundred pounds!  Instead we agreed on a real London teddy bear from the obligatory tourist shop on our way to the Underground.

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We were tired, so tired and again it crossed my mind again if it had perhaps been too much for us all?  We did it though, we finally went to London as we always promised you, and although we did not see the Queen this time we did see Big Ben, the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and the infamous Thames River.  I hope that we do have the opportunity to visit Buckingham Palace one day when we have a little more time, but on that day we did as much as your little legs would carry you to do.

In your own words it was the ‘best day of your life’ and I am proud that you helped me do something so nice for others who have lost their loved ones.

 love mum x

If you would like to visit the Garden of Life you can see the virtual meadow and the 100,000 flowers each representing a person who left money to this worthy charity.  Friends and family can search for the name of their loved one – such a wonderful legacy.

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/donate/leave-a-legacy-gift-in-your-will/guidance-for-executors/welcome-to-the-life-garden

A Yorkshire Rose

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Something happened in our community this afternoon that has shocked us all.  Something so barbaric and full of hatred that it has made us all stop and think, truly think about how we live our lives.

Jo Cox, a local mum and wife was brutally murdered while carrying out her job as a local MP.  As an MP she was tireless in her campaign of values that she believed in, both internationally on the Syrian crisis and locally in recognising the true values of our community.  As she travelled around her community she noted the closeness and harmony of all race and religions throughout Yorkshire and that really is the greatest testament that anyone could ever tell.

I am not a political person, but I know kindness and honesty when I see it.  And yet as the hours go by after the news of this event reached me, I cannot seem to get this out of my mind – it has been playing over and over ever since I heard the news.  Jo was a Yorkshire lass through and through it seems (I did not know her) and she was going about her daily job, as we all do.  She was not murdered for any reason, just some deluded individual who wanted to make her a reason for his own hatred- and that is the saddest thing of all.

In my eyes, Jo was a mother first and foremost, and a wife. Tonight her babies will be going off to sleep without her for the very first time.  How cruel and unfair life can be.  That thought made me string out bedtime for that little bit longer tonight, and cast my eyes over my own children, taking everything in about them for as long as I could.

What world am I bringing them up in?  Should I be fearful of the hatred that we seem to have in certain sections of our society?  Any questions that came to mind were answered with a statement made by Jo’s husband Brendan,

“I and Jo’s friends and family are going to work every moment of our lives to love and nurture our kids and to fight against the hate that killed Jo.  Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it everyday of her life with an energy, and a zest for life that would exhaust most people.”

“She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her.”

When I read that I thought to myself – bloody hell I would be so proud if my husband had made a statement with such powerful words of determination.  What a way to honour somebody you love than to promise to take care of the two things she loved the most in the world.  Not only that, but to add a defiant rejection of hatred, surely must teach us all a lesson?

Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.

There have been many times over the past year when I have wondered what important life lessons I would like to teach my own children and I think Jo’s husband just summed up what every parent in Yorkshire, or indeed the country is probably thinking this evening.

Teach our own children tolerance of all race and religion and stand up to the fear brought about by such terrible acts.  There will no doubt be plenty of aspersions and comments cast over the next few days with a view to denote blame, but I believe that it is important that we all come together after such a terrible day, as it has no place here.

Perhaps my children will never remember this day as they innocently carry on with their own little lives of school and nursery – but they certainly will grow up in the very same city as Jo’s children will.   I hope that one day no matter what they all become, that they emulate the love and kindness taught to them and learn to stand up against the things in the world that look to do them harm.

From one local mum to another I am giving a nod to that special lady and the legacy that she has undoubtedly left behind.  I know that her family will be as proud of her as we all are in Leeds – a true Yorkshire Rose.

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My condolences to Jo’s family this evening.

A Smile of Recognition

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There have been many people who have held my hand over the past year or so, metaphorically speaking, and they know who they are without me needing to say. (the indicator here is if your heart skips a little as you read this – then yes, I am talking about you)

I remember during my recovery watching the drama The C Word, and wondering how Lisa Lynch could have possibly mustered up the courage to meet the girls she befriended during her illness?

These were girls that she had never even met in real life before.

I recall the scene set so clearly on the sea front as she stood there waiting for them with nervous anticipation & then the smile of recognition when they all finally met each other.  The three of them sat on the pebble beach and made a toast to the one who had not made it. They chatted and laughed like old friends, as if they had known each other for many many years.

I could never do that, I thought.

I had avoided the offers of group sessions at all costs, as the idea of talking to people I did not know was just ‘not my cup of tea’.  And yet somehow or other through the wonders of social media I have been lucky enough to have met two other ladies who wrote just like me.  They wrote about their own stories in their own way, each with their own individual style. Rosemary and Allie.

Rosemary’s blog Cystaract [cystaract.wordpress.com] caught my attention on the day that her own mum wrote a post about how she had felt throughout her illness.  It made me sit back and think of everything from a differing point of view.  She writes of her family, her husband, her son and her parents.  Rosemary’s writing is clever and thoughtful – while at the same time searingly honest, just as she is. #TeamPositive is the overriding theme (as much as it can possibly be when writing of something so difficult)

Allie’s blog AllieMoonJourney [alliemoonjourney.wordpress.com] also caught my attention the day that she read a post I had angrily written about IVF choices (tentatively hoping that it would not offend anyone). Allie writes about her beloved Pats and their friends and family too. I went on to read her blog in turn which is about a girl, very much like myself, who decided to write about her own rollercoaster ride with a hope to help others going through the same thing. Allie’s writing is honest and insightful, with a burning positivity.

imageIn all honesty I am not sure how we became three and my memory will not allow for me to re-tell the finer points.  It is just that we seemed to have formed a bond of familiarity and understanding between us along the way – no group sessions, no awkward questions, just three very normal girls going through illness at the same time, as chance would have it.

And so it came to be shortly after writing my own bucket list and as the New Year arrived, I decided to ask if perhaps we should all meet one day?  I had been thinking about it for a while and I decided to honour my ‘don’t put off til tomorrow, what you can do today’ promise to myself.  The others excitedly agreed and we pencilled a date in the diary despite ongoing appointments, scans and the pending arrival of a very special little grandchild.

The day finally arrived and I found myself driving to meet these two special people.  Doing the very thing that I had been convinced I would never have the strength to do.  I was nervous and the butterflies in my stomach fluttered and lurched around.  What if they don’t like me?  What if we don’t get on? Neither of which were particularly necessary because the friendship was already there, meeting or no meeting.

And yet there is something about illness that wipes your confidence and makes you less sure about yourself.  Somehow the carpet is pulled out from under your feet & when you stand up again you are unsure and unsteady.  You are definitely not the same person who fell down.  Time is a healer it is true, but when you carry battle wounds it is something that can never be taken away.

So I found myself driving, regardless of nerves with a smile on my face.  I knew that I would be meeting friends who understood it all.

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It is true that each of us is very different with our own unique story to tell, and yet each the same somehow.  We are part of a kind of club or ‘tribe’ as Rosemary once wrote.  Nobody wants to be a member of it, but as soon as you are you stand tall and lift your head up high as best you can.

Our meeting was very special, sharing good food and wine and most of all laughter.  We met Rosemary’s new grandson too who was the perfect reminder that life goes on and that every moment is one to be cherished.

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This post is dedicated to Flynn David Albone – the little ray of light that we all very much needed.

Art credit: Yolande Sanchez

 

A Ferry Cross the Mersey

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We have been meaning to make a little trip to Liverpool for some time now.

We packed up the car on the morning of our trip and as we did so I noticed that we had taken slightly less than we would have normally done.  The children are older now and so the need for emergency items is becoming less and less.  It made my heart grow a little sad to think that all of the ‘necessities’ of travel would one day no longer be needed as they become more and more self sufficient.

There were however, some little special touches that could not be left.  As we all jumped into the car I caught sight of a special teddy bear that my boy has had since he was a baby.  ‘Liverpool bear’ as he is fondly named, has become and old favourite and I explained that he must come along to visit his home city.  Every toy is named very simply in our house.  The large baby doll is called ‘Big baby’, the monkey is called ‘Monkey’ and so on – that is, all apart from one very special elephant named Edmund who rode along side his bear partner on this sunny day.

image Liverpool Bear 2016

The children were excited as we planned a night at Nana and Grandad’s house as our first stop.  Leaving the gloomy weather behind in Yorkshire, it soon became apparent that we were all over dressed as the Southport skies were cloudless and the sun was warm.  We were greeted by a very excited little cousin upon our arrival who could not wait to see his ‘partners in crime’.  We watched him squeal with delight and jump up and down when we gave him his first ever Spiderman toy, his new hero. The rest of the day was spent enjoying the local park, eating ice-creams, sitting out in the garden and even the first barbeque of the year.

The next day the children woke early, excited to be finally visiting Liverpool and their auntie and uncle’s apartment.  We packed up the car again, remembering sun hats and we made our way along the long road to Liverpool.  We were greeted on our arrival with hugs and kisses, and my daughter hid behind my legs as she demonstrated her usual initial shyness. Our plan was to take a trip on the famous Ferry on the Mersey and the children were beyond excited to be allowed to go on the big boat.

Liverpool did not disappoint.  The weather was stunning and the City of Culture of which it was once entitled was well deserved.  As we walked along we pointed out the famous Liverbirds that were perched on the buildings overhead watching over the city.  We wandered down onto the docks and sat on the benches outside the Museum to eat our sandwiches as we waited for the ferry to arrive.  The children were delighted to see the ‘Dazzle’ ferry approaching the docks painted in its bright colours and adorned with flags flapping in the wind.

imageThe ferry across the Mersey – June 2016

It was the ultimate tourist activity, and when I think about it perhaps it has no interest to anybody but to our little family.  Nana and Grandad, little Lucas, uncle Alun and auntie Katy and of course, us four.  And yet it is another memory for my children and I know that they will be glad that I captured that picture on that beautiful day.  The song ‘Ferry Cross the Mersey’ was blasted out intermittently with the tour guide’s voice as she explained each and every landmark.  The children clung to the sides pointing out everything that they could see and they truly loved every minute of it.  I am not sure that we could have picked a more perfect day to take a boat trip and when we moored we did not want it to come to an end.

Tired and weary in the heat, both children took their turn in throwing wobblers over who would be allowed to hitch a ride on their daddy and uncle’s shoulders.  They invariably got their own way as we were too tired to argue with the unreasonableness.  Not to be defeated though, we decided to take a walk up to the World Museum following a promise of an aquarium, dinosaurs and much more.  Again we were not to be disappointed.  As we entered a giant pterodactyl skeleton suspended overhead made the children gasp in awe.  We took our time peering at the exotic fish in the aquarium, colouring in turtles as an activity and playing in the sensory room where we were greeted by a giant eyeball.  As we were leaving we caught sight of the ‘Bug room’ and we saw giant African ants, locusts and spiders all capturing the children’s interest.

Finally it was time to leave.  Nobody’s legs were now working, and so a quick trip to the museum shop was used as a distraction.  Here we bought drinks and a large display of marbles of every shape and colour caught our attention.  Each child was allowed to pick a marble bag and fill it with the glassy treasures much to their delight. It was the perfect end to a lovely trip.  A small memento of their day, they left clutching their bags and once again riding high on shoulders as we headed home.

Just a day. Probably special to nobody but us, to our little family, and yet one to remember I think.

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Noah and Isla, I hope you always remember our trip to that very special city. 

Lots of love always, mummy xxx