Sunday, 31 May 2009

Go Ape Giveaway - Calling All Gorillas

I have always wanted to Go Ape. Something about dangling 40ft in the air, being a tad scared and challenging my inner ape appeals. Myself and Mary from Caution Woman at Work are donning gorilla suits going to be twittering from the treetops, taking photos and then telling you all about it when we return. I will also be writing a piece for a great new family travel blog.

I have 3 pairs of tickets (possibly more) up for grabs and I want to offer them to my lovely readers. All you need to do is leave a comment and my independent adjudicators (the 3 and 4 year old) will pull names out of a hat a week today.

Before you comment make sure you can attend the location on the time and date below.

The date - Sunday 12 July 2009
Time - 11.30am
Location - Dalby Forest, Near Pickering, North Yorkshire
Minimum age - 10yrs
Minimum height - 1.4m (4ft7")
Maximum weight - 20.5 stones (130kg)

Do me a favour and hit the button to the bottom right to retweet this competition!

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Our local supermarket - the height of sophistication

The husband sent me an email at work the other day asking me to get some guacamole to go with some nachos we were having that evening.

I had a nagging feeling that our local supermarket, which I work opposite, may not be up to the task.

I gave them the benefit of my doubt, after all last week they reopened after moving things from one aisle to another and giving the staff new fleeces undergoing a huge revamp which was launched with a massive strawberry frightening small children out of their wits and making them cry wandering round tapping people on the shoulder and giving out fridge magnets and free bananas.

I perused the shelves and couldn't find any guacamole. Finding a supermarket employee I approached her.

"Do you have any guacamole?" said I

"Gwakkawot?" said she with a look of confusion

"A Mexican dip made from avocados. If you don't stock it we could make our own with avocados" said I

"Avvawot?" Said she

I decided that maybe the village wasn't ready to embrace Mexican dips and gave up.

Two days later, husband sent me an email at work asking for fresh mint and thyme for some meatballs. Again, no joy. The nearest thing to mint was a Polo. At this rate the husband is going to have to tone down his menu choices.

Last month one of my colleagues bought some apples from the same supermarket. Biting into one he announced that his apple tasted of ... cheese. Some others tried apples out of the same bag.

Yes, cheese was the general consensus.

If I could get them to make the apples taste of avocado I could make my own gwakkawot.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

The perils of face painting ...

The 3 year old is really quite shy. He would rather hide in a dark cupboard full of spiders than be the centre of attention.

So, on Monday when we were at a game fair (as in pheasant, ferrets, polo and tractors; Not Buckaroo, Twister or Hungry Hippos). There was a face painting stand. The 4 year old, not shy at all decided she was having her face painted and she was having a dalmation. Fairy nuff.

In the past the 3 year old has been forced against his will persuaded to have a spider painted on his wrist, which he has then washed off immediately.

No sireeee, not today. He wanted to be a clown ... or at least he thought he did, until he saw himself in the mirror ...

It took a while, but he did get used to it as you can see ...

That night he had a bath and the clown was washed away ... or so we thought.

The following morning he still had a tinge of yellow running through his eyebrows, a red moustache and nose.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

A miracle ...

We witnessed a miracle at Walt Disney World, Florida.

We were sat in a VIP area with a couple of families watching the amazing Spectromagic evening. Floats (they were actually far more fabulous than that) floated (what else) along the paths in the Magic Kingdom outside Cinderella's castle, each one lit up with characters wearing outfits speckled with lights. Just beautiful.

There was a family of five who were all celebrating their birthday. I kid you not, all five in the same week. This meant that every cast member (that's Disney speak for employee) had to wish each and everyone of them a Happy Birthday with great gusto, which they of course did.

... that was not the miracle.

Then there was the girl, on the front row, sitting with her father. When Snow White walked past and stopped to kiss her she nearly fainted. It was a sight to behold, so lovely and something she won't forget in a hurry.

... that wasn't the miracle either ...

The miracle we all witnessed was the woman sat in a wheelchair at the end of our row, who happened to be the mother of the girl kissed by Snow White.

She had been fairly calm, just watching the parade. However, on seeing The Little Mermaid float coasting round the corner towards us she started bouncing up and down in her wheelchair clapping wildly.

When the float came level with our seating and Ursula and Ariel waved she actually jumped up, did a jig which included some booty shaking, waved as if she were drowning at sea, blew kisses, checked that her family hadn't seen her and sat down again.

Walt Disney World, where dreams come true.

And so this leads me to one of my favourite Little Britain clips ...

Monday, 25 May 2009

I ain't gittin' on no plane!

The 4 year old brought a picture home from school last week ...

It is the 4 year old and God hanging out in the sunshine.

I'm not sure which part I like best ... God's wild beard or his backcombed hair.

He has a look of BA Baracus don't you think?

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Bedtime Stories according to the children (all 3 of them)

The people at Think Parents asked us to review Bedtime Stories.

MarMar came to babysit and, well ... we went out for the evening and she watched it with them.

Disclaimer : Just as we were leaving the 3 year old asked if it had started yet ... it was 15 minutes in. Based on that you can discount absolutely anything he says in the following review.

So, a review according to the 3, 4 and 13 year old.

So, kids, how was the film?

3 year old - There were sweets coming down

4 year old - It was good

13 year old - I didn't get it in the beginning, I thought it would be a bedtime story. By the end though it made sense and I thought it was really good.

What was the film about?

3 year old - There were sweets coming down

4 year old - Lots of stories that came true

13 year old - Bedtime stories that came true

What did you like?

3 year old - The man had a bee on his tongue. It stinged him.

4 year old - The hamster was really funny. It was running on a wheel and watching telly. And I liked the mermaid. And the really funny man, he kept trying to kiss the lady and another man kept kicking him.

13 year old - I liked that the Bedtime Stories linked with his life. It was really clever the way it connected and things happened.

Anything you disliked?

3 year old - Yeah, no

4 year old - When the boy kicks the man, it was really nasty

13 year old - The little guy, he kept kicking the couple as they were about to kiss

Did the film have a happy ending?

3 year old - Yes, it's off now

4 year old - Yes, because they kissed and no one kicked them

13 year old - Umm, I can't remember, but they kissed

Marks out of 5?

3 year old - 5/5 (probably copying his sisters)

4 year old - 5/5 (and has since asked to watch it again ... twice)

13 year old - 4/5

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Shhhhht ...

We've had some potential for child/toddler tourettes again this week ....

Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stafani was on Radio 1 on Friday. I was in the car with both children at the time. Bear in mind the chorus for a moment please;

Ooh, this my sh*t, this my sh*t
Ooh, this my sh*t, this my sh*t
Ooh, this my sh*t, this my sh*t
Ooh, this my sh*t, this my sh*t

Instead of saying sh*t, they changed it to shhhhht, so it sounded exactly like ... well, sh*t.

Delighted I was not.

The 4 year old said nothing at the time, but I am well aware she will be digesting it for another more suitable time, like our once yearly trip to church, when we are sat in the Dr’s waiting room or travelling in a full but silent lift.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Update on life as we know it ...

I reached new professional heights this week when I was on the phone to our advertising agency. I was giving some amendments for some advert copy and I said the following;

“Yes, put a curly ‘c’ in front of the salary?”

As I said it, I knew I had forgotten that I was indeed speaking to a 40+ year old man and not my 4 year old daughter. I hastily ended the conversation and put down the phone. I then had an ‘I carried a watermelon’ moment (Haven't you seen Dirty Dancing?).

I am starting to notice changes to my body. So far this week I have noticed huge wrinkles around my eyes when I smile to myself in the mirror. Please note I do not spend time smiling at myself in the mirror, it was an accidental find. Nor do I chant 'Go get them Laura, you are the fabulous!' three times before I go to work.

Clearly these lines are caused by laughing. I like to laugh. I do not like the wrinkles. Also, nasal hair. After 30 years of just being there out of view it's suddenly grown. At the grand age of 30 is it time to invest in some anti ageing creams and find some way to stop the nasal hair before I can plait it upwards and into my eyebrows. Not an attractive look.

We have a house, the dream house in fact. Hooray! We move in 4ish weeks. I am particularly excited by the fact that we will have a dishwasher after 3 years without and a normal persons bath. We currently have a corner bath, being tall means this is not remotely comfortable.

I have started de-cluttering the house. A natural hoarder, I have found de-cluttering quite cathartic. I pick on a room armed with a bin liner and get rid of anything that has no use.

The 4 year old is fine, a little wobbly about the new house but she will be fine. "You'll have a bigger bedroom" I keep saying animatedly with a big smile as if that will make her feel more at ease.

She has said to me on three separate occasions this week that she doesn't like her dreams, that they are always bad. I have started giving her happy memories to think about when she starts to think about her bad dreams. The latest one was when I was pregnant with her and she kept me and the husband amused of an evening by hiccuping from within. She thinks this is amusing and I have told her it will ward off the bad dreams. Let's see how long that lasts.

She is still skipping with her rope at every opportunity and lassoing random people in the school playground. She keeps her skipping rope in a powder pink shoe box she got from school ... "It's the skipping ropes house". Who am I to argue.

The 3 year old is fine and dandy. He seems unfazed by our house move. He has recently added to his people collection (Mickey Mouse and Tramp) and soon will not be able to get into bed for his people. He has his post op (grommets) check on Friday which I'm sure will go fine. I'm paranoid that his hearing has dropped again ... it could be selective. If only they could do something about his foghorn voice and his snoring too ... Jeez ... the snoring. Each snore shakes the house.

He loves pre-school, more so when it doesn't rain and he can play outside on the bikes, pulling wheelies and handbrake turns, much to the horror of 'the ladies' as he affectionately calls them. He thinks it's OK to burp every time we sit down for a family meal, but it's alright because he says 'excuse me'.

The Husband doesn't burp during family meals or snore, in fact he makes no noise when he sleeps. Occasionally I have to check that he is even breathing. This week he has discovered Twitter, Wordpress and that he doesn't like iced muffins. he is designing a new website (to be unveiled sometime soon) for his freelance work and is about to embark on redesigning my blog. All this rain has accelerated the cabbages, peas and onions in his vegetable patch which he will be unable to transport to the new house. A case of 'look at what you could have won'.

The Tadpoles worry me and I think we shall be leaving them here. We had 30 tadpoles, stolen from Auntie Kate's pond. I thought it would be great for the children to see them morph into frogs. They are currently living on the decking in a large box. I feed them, but they much prefer the taste of fresh tadpole. We now have around 12 giant tadpoles.

A Muffin Off By The Ovenly Challenged

It was with GREAT optimism that I challenged Single Parent Dad to a ‘Muffin Off’.

Knowing what I know now I'm wondering if I was just plain delusional with a hint of foolishness thrown in for good measure. At the time of the challenge I was confident that I could produce beautiful muffins far superior to his.

He is the maker of 'packet bish bash bosh buns' and I am just 'ovenly challenged'.

After putting on my daughter’s apron (there is no photographic evidence of this, but if you imagine an elephant sporting a flannel you are there) and putting the Police with Reggatta de Blanc on the ipod (classic muffin making music) I followed English Mum’s recipe which I found really easy to follow.

I was delighted with her tip about overworking the gluten and decided that this was the reason that everything I bake looks and tastes like concrete.

It started so well, I even used the special Mickey spatula for luck.

Everything sniffed (the 3 year old) and mixed (me) I nervously waited whilst the oven did its thang. I kept chanting the well known mantra ‘A watched muffin doesn’t flourish’ or something like that and kept my eyes averted.

The failed noise From Family Fortunes rang out as I removed my muffins from the oven (Uh Urrrrrr doesn’t quite do it). I imagine the husband was sat in the office (next door to the kitchen) rolling his eyes back in his head as I swore repeatedly.

They weren't burnt, they were cooked but there was something wrong ...

Only I could produce ‘Dwarf Muffins’. Please note the pony at the front is there only to distract your eye for the shortcomings of my baking, not to make my muffins look bigger than they are. Note also the dimmed lighting ... Ahem.

Not only did they come out dwarfed but they were also peaked. This meant that when I tried to disguise them for any photographic evidence each one ended up looking like a hillock with a moat. Even the chocolate sprinklies decided to bugger off into the moat for a swim pushing the humongous muffin cases further away from the teeny tiny muffins.

The only saving grace is that they tasted ‘alright’ and ‘not bad’ (husband). ‘Alright’ is actually about a 6 out of 10; after all he has endured nearly 9 years of my deliberate poisoning baking attempts. The 3 year old ate one and the 4 year old who doesn't eat buns ate two muffins.

I made husband do a repeat tasting post icing. The icing was still runny and he agreed that the muffins were far tastier without. The phrase 'you can't polish a turd' springs to mind.

Tonight, when I asked for a direct muffin quote from the 4 year old she simply coughed over the remaining muffins and went on her way.

I have let English Mum down. What kind of baking ambassador am I? I'd like to blame the baking powder ... or the overworking of my mix.

As for Single Parent Dad, at the time of writing I haven't seen his attempts, but I don't need to. I know that they will be much better than mine.

Now, where did I put that recipe for humble pie?

To find out how Single parent Dad got on meander over on here.
If anyone would like to take on the muffin meme, just let me know!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Clicking My Heels and a 'Muffin Off'

The headline will read;


As you all know I went on a jolly trip of great importance to the US of A a few weeks ago.

Tonight we engaged MarMar for babysitting duties so that we could go to the cinema.

Husband - Goodnight, see you in the morning

3 year old - Are you going to America with Mummy?

Clearly the 3 year old is still in some confusion about time and distance ... or he is scarred by my abandoning him for the best pomegranate mojitos ever Mickey Mouse ... or he thinks I can click my heels like Dorothy.

I think I shall buy him a globe.

In other news ... on Wednesday I will be presenting the results of my 'Muffin Off' with Single Parent Dad (He of packet bun shame) where we shall both be judged by englishmum when we attempt to recreate her vanilla muffins. I'm still not sure what the criteria is, I'll just be glad if my embarrasing efforts beautiful muffins are not charred.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

My Knitted Naked Family?

bloggerdad was tweeting about this site yesterday. Curiosity got the better of me and I took a look.

It is hilarious.

I automatically passed it on to some friends.

My friend, Facebook Wife Mother of One, was sharing the hilarity of awkward family photos with her father last night and they were chortling, in particular, at this photo.

Her mother came into the room in the middle of their chortling and got the wrong end of the stick (albeit a knitted one). She thought that I had sent the photo to Facebook Wife Mother of One and that it was in fact me and my family.

I'm torn. Do I feel disturbed or amused.

Am erring on the side of amused.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

The Cork Collection

The 4 year old used her imagination and created a piece of modern art on the living room carpet using our cork collection.

It took her a while, she enjoyed putting each of the corks out and talking to some of them(?).

Her 3 year old brother enjoyed knocking them all down. He was a human bowling ball. She took it in good spirit, for a change

Answering the inevitable questions;

You have a cork collection?
Yes, we have a cork collection.

Why do we have a cork collection?
I don't actually know. They just sit in those vases up there. We don't get out our corks of a night and compare them, they just sit.

How many corks do you have?
I am not entirely sure how many corks we have.

How long have you been collecting them?
Umm ... so you can work out our wine intake per day/month/year? Surely you have better things to do. Let's just say we've enjoyed every drop.

Monday, 11 May 2009

The virtual burglar pays a visit ... in my head

Occasionally I have irrational thoughts. For instance;

What if a burglar were to break into the house in the middle of the night?

Last week I gave it too much thought, it went a little something like this;

So, the burglar breaks in. I don’t know how, he just does OK?

The dog who is having one of those dreams where she’s running in the park stirs. She doesn’t bark. Instead she vomits on the burglar’s shoes and proceeds to wag her tail and lick him. She welcomes him into our home. Not only has she been sick but earlier in the evening she was cleaning her arse with that tongue.

He fumbles to switch on his torch and surveys the kitchen for car keys to the shiny motor on the drive. Plates are piled high on the work surface. Don’t these people have a dishwasher? No, not unless you count me and the husband.

His torch light falls upon a picture on a pinboard of a gay couple. One of them is dressed as Adam Ant, the other is dressed as himself and has a fetching moustache. This picture is me (Magnum PI) and the husband (Adam Ant) at my sisters 40th birthday party. Note the chest hair (For the record and those of you who were wondering ... this is not my own chest hair).

There’s no hope of finding keys amongst the clutter. He locates a handbag on the worktop and opens it. He takes out the contents looking for a purse; a box of raisins, a soggy tissue, a broken Cinderella necklace, a sock, a notebook with extensive Disney notes … a purse with a faulty zip, several receipts for the Co-op and just three ten pence pieces.

He finds a mobile phone right at the bottom of the handbag, hiding. Not the latest model but worth a bob or two. The screen flashes bright. A picture of two small children wearing underpants on their heads greets him. Oh my god, what kinds of people are parenting these children?
I believe in nature over nurture … my children are truly bonkers, is that really my fault? … Ahem.

He decides to venture into the living room to check out the electrical goods. Suddenly there is a piercing shriek. He stops dead in his tracks, terrified that there is a beast upstairs. The 4 year old is having night terrors again.

In his panic to leave the house he goes into the downstairs toilet and is met a child’s floater bobbing alone. “Of course I flushed the toilet Mummy”

Recoiling in horror and running back towards the door he stands on a toy fire engine and falls to the floor crashing into the intricate marble run of the previous day.

As he crawls to his knees he kneels on a piece of Lego. OH THE PAIN!
For those of you not accustomed to the pain a piece of Lego can cause when kneeled upon, I have confirmed, after a lengthy conversation with the husband, that is equal to standing on an upturned plug.

Clutching his knee he notices some car keys hanging out of a coat pocket in the hall. Bingo!

Relieved to be leaving the house of horrors he realises that the keys are not for the shiny motor, they are indeed for the rusty, dusty old motor parked beside it.

He sits in the car, the first thing to hit him is the lingering smell of wet dog. He puts the key in the ignition. The car stereo signals its awakening with a loud rasping farting noise and The Wind in The Willows blares out of the speakers. The faulty hand brake alarm starts and the petrol gauge is glowing on empty.

What burglar, in his right mind would pick on us?!

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Housekeeping Bits & The Disney Design-a-Tee

Housekeeping bits first then on with business ...

My interview with My Child editor Tara is up here. Go have a look if you want to know a bit more about me.

Don't forget the Lego Duplo giveaway deadline is 4pm Tuesday. The Duplo has arrived and the boxes are bigger than I expected! For a chance to enter just leave a comment here.

The answer to my answers on a postcard ... or a comment box post on Saturday was SNAIL ... obviously

Disney Design-a-Tee

Whilst at Walt Disney World we got to design our own t-shirts at the Disney Design-a-Tee shop.

We customised our t-shirts on a touch screen where we could select our favourite T-shirt colour, size and style and choose from more than 400 pieces of character art. we added our own words, but you can also add pre-selected phrases too.

My friend the Dulwich Divorcee was told that Mickey and divorce don't go together when she tried to make her t-shirt. You can read about her hilarious and heart warming quest for Mickey here.

Erica, who has a penchant for Baileys (but never drinks, oh no) was also told that Mickey and alcohol don't go together.

Realising that I wouldn't be able to make a wholesome t-shirt for myself I made one for the 4 year old with her name and some blatant advertising of my blog and she loves it.

It came in a great little bag that has already been utilised as a sleeping bag for a variety of soft toys.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Answers on a postcard ... or a comment box

The 3 year old brought this back from pre-school last week.

Can you tell what it is?

The first one to guess wins ...

(drum roll)

... general blogging kudos.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

I'm British, I'm cynical ... did I have a good time? Hell yeah!

Now that I've got over the jet lag, my children have almost forgiven me for abandoning them, my ankles have reduced to their normal size, and I've stopped grieving the company of my fellow bloggers (that bit's actually a lie) I thought I'd give you an overview of my trip.

I was aware of Walt Disney World, Florida before, but the thought of going there had never crossed my mind. I wasn't against it per se, I really didn't have any thoughts about it ... I had an open mind.

So, that's not completely true. I assumed it would be too expensive, fast food and only fast food, lots of big rides, nothing for little ones to do, huge crowds of huge people and queues that go on forever.

I had even heard people speak of their holidays to Walt Disney World with huge smiles on their animated faces. I didn't believe them, how could something be so good?

"Take some pictures of really fat people" someone texted before I left. That, by the way, was the same person who told me to avoid anyone wearing a sombrero.

I only saw a handful of obese people and they were ensconced on sit down scooters. When we were having our walk round tour of Typhoon Lagoon our lovely guide Sindy told us that one of the rides has an elevator as well as steps to get to the top. I made a comment that surely if you are too fat to climb the stairs you are too fat travel down a water slide tube. She glared at me and it was then that I considered that there may be disabled people wishing to use the slides too ... Walt thought of everything.

"All you'll eat is burgers, weeners and chips" my friend said ... "What's a weener?" I replied

"You'll need two seats on your return flight" husband said.

I didn't eat any fast food when I was there. So much so that on the last day when we drove past a McDonald's on the way to the mall I was almost clawing my way through the window of the 'oven bus'.

Whilst away I ate some of the best food I have ever eaten, the oak grilled filet of beef at Citrico's being the outright winner, closely followed by the goats cheese truffles and we tried a variety of the options available. There are restaurants which serve what we would class fast food but the menus are dominated by healthy options which makes a refreshing change.

The rides themselves were ... awesome. I haven't been on a rollercoaster for ten years or more. My favourite ride was the Aerosmith Rock 'n' Roller. I have never laughed and cried so much at the same time and it only lasted a few minutes.

We got fast passes which sounds very VIP, however, anyone can get fast passes, you just have to be organised. This means you can walk past the main queue to an alternative queue which gets you onto the ride quicker.

The Tower of Terror was ... well, terrifying ... dropping 13 floors in a lift. It is the only ride at Disney which has a randomiser (Disney fact), meaning each time you ride you have a different experience. I'm happy to have tried it, but won't be testing the randomiser! At one point (between floors 12 amd 2) I shouted "I can't bear this" in a very dramatic and English manner, much to the amusement of the American Mom in front.

We went on several children's rides which were great fun and we found there was something for everyone from toddler all the way up to over excited adult. Toy Story Mania was my favourite of the children's rides we tried.

There were loads of attractions that didn't include doing loop the loop in the dark or screaming louder than you knew you could. For instance, you could take a tour of Minnie's house, go on safari, play on a playground, have a chat with Crush from Finding Nemo or watch one of many shows ... Mickey's Philharmonic, Finding Nemo the Musical, Muppet Show, American Idol to name but a few.

What I wasn't expecting was to be mesmerised by the magical aspect of everything. Seeing children's faces as they ate their breakfast and turned to find Mickey tapping them on their shoulder almost reduced most of us to tears (English Mum).

The fireworks ... oh the fireworks ... I don't even think I can't even describe them to do them justice. Awesome, amazing, fanbloodytastic? Especially the Wishes show in the Magical Kingdom ... seeing Cinderella's castle lit up at night with fireworks blasting above, Tinkerbell flying out of the castle window and the music playing .... I don't do emotional, but I did that night. I may have welled up a little (though not as much as Linda).

I had such a fantastic time and I'm an adult (of sorts). How can I not let my beautiful children, lights of my life, experience this magic whilst they are still young enough to believe?!

My only concern would be that once you've holidayed at Walt Disney World with your children nothing else could ever live up to it! When I take them, the following year, to a campsite in the Lakes with an adventure playground and communal facilities they'll be wondering, as I will, where the self flushing toilets, fireworks and Mickey ears are.

Abandon Ship

Whilst I was getting the 3 year old out of the bath last night I heard the following being shouted downstairs ...


Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Roll Up Roll Up ... Lego Duplo Giveaway

Some lovely people have sent me a couple of boxes of Lego Duplo for my fab readers!

Leave a comment if you'd like to be entered. On Tuesday 12 May at approximately 4pm (give me chance to get home from work will you) my independent adjudicators (the 3 and 4 year old) will pick two people at random out of a hat ... there will be photographic evidence.

Can't say fairer than that.

The competition is open to residents of the UK (sorry everyone else) and the only thing I ask is that you give honest feedback about the product on the Lego Duplo website once your child has used it.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy

12 May - So the independent adjudicators took a break from eating their apples and delved intoo the Minnie Mouse ears hat of names.

The Legu Duplo Giveaway Winners are ...

Audrey and Katherine! Well done, your Lego Duplo will be winging it's way to you asap!

If it’s not one thing it’s another.

This month’s ‘thing’ is that our landlady called the day before I went to Walt Disney World, Florida to say she’s decided to sell our house. We have lived here for almost three years and thought we’d be here for at least one more. She said we could stay … bottom lip quivering.

So, this morning I have been on the house trail. Because we need something with four bedrooms it is proving difficult. Today we have seen three.

Dream Home … The first house was absolutely beautiful with loads of period features and five bedrooms. There is a nice garden to the front, a large yard perfect for Barbie and Spiderman bikes at the back, two minutes from the train station and ten minutes from the 4 year olds school. The problem: it is slightly more than we are paying for this, plus someone else is interested and can move in before us.

Bunga Bunga … There is a house that backs onto ours. Over the fence and from the outside it is splendid with a huge garden complete with small stream running through it. The removal costs would be minimal as we would just pass things back and forth over the fence. Husband would be able to check on the progress of his cabbages and peas with the possibility of taking them with him. Appearances can be deceptive though, especially in this case. Everything is botched and falling apart. I couldn’t swing a rabbit in the bedrooms for fitted wardrobes … if I had a rabbit that is.

Ukrainian Topsy Turvy Bunga Bunga… The third house, owned by a lovely Ukrainian man had the right amount of bedrooms but was an upside down house, with all living space on the upper floor. It was very strange, an upside down bungalow. The lovely Ukrainian man told us that he was moving to the Ukraine to die … which was nice. I don’t think he meant straight away, more of an “I was born there and I shall die there” way.

Elephantitis, auras, chuntering and narcolepsy

The wonderful Sarah (Disney Head of PR for the UK) looked after us all week and it was only when she left us at Orlando airport that it was apparent how much we had relied upon her. After Linda got a bottle of champagne confiscated at bag scanning we got onto the wrong monorail. Poor lost bloggers.

There was no Premium Economy upgrade this time. Jane checked our auras whilst we waited to be called for boarding. We were all fine apart from English Mum whose aura was depleted. At least she had one though. No aura, no fly.

Further integration into normal life followed when I stood back aghast that the toilets at the airport were not self flushing and the taps were not sensor led. We had been spoilt.

The flight was as expected … chewy beef stew, watching films with one working headphone (at one point I thought I may have gone deaf in one ear due to the screaming on the rollerccoasters), a breakfast muffin which had runny cheese covering its innards. The cheese had a consistency I have never experienced before and hopefully will never again.

When we reached Gatwick I said goodbye to my six new friends. It was a sad moment. We had experienced so much in our week away and I felt bereft as I wandered aimlessly round the South Terminal. Who would make me laugh now?

The fatigue slowly crept up. I had five hours to waste and I could have slept standing up. I felt like a cross between Tom Hanks in The Terminal and a zombie in Night of the Living Dead.

As I slowly lost the will to live the music in the terminal got more bizarre. It swung from plinky plonky show tunes to suicide inducing Russian love ballads. I considered falling asleep on a bench but panicked that I would never wake and miss my flight.

Every time I thought of my children I got teary. At times I heard Linda’s chuntering or Lulu laughing. Of course I was hallucinating.

Finally I got my flight. It was pain free and I slept in a bobbing head fashion on and off. I think the woman next to me thought I had narcolepsy.

In desperate anticipation of seeing my children I got my 100th and final wind. My bag couldn’t come out on the conveyor belt fast enough and I nearly sprinted through arrivals.

The 4 year old clung to me for dear life, the 3 year old looked at me all red cheeked and asked for his present. I wondered if he had missed me as much as his sister, but then he grabbed my hand and didn’t let go until we reached the car.

When we got home and the children had stroked all their presents and the 4 year old had stared at me repeatedly (just checking I was really back) I put them to bed and realised just how much I had missed their cuddles and reading to them at night.

I lay on the sofa, ate pizza and admired my swollen ankles. I looked like I had elephantitis. I went to bed at 8.45 and only woke in the middle of the night when husband came to bed. I was having a beautiful Disney dream … all sparkly and awesome.

Husband has been brilliant. Apart from doing a sterling job with the children he let me waffle on all the way back from the airport (a bit like the irritating 'when I was at band camp' girl from American Pie), let me sleep in this morning and has brought me a cup of tea. The only problem I have now is weaning the children off midget gems.

This morning I am walking around as if I have pooed myself. I haven't but I am aching all over. It's either whiplash or my body has seized up because I have stopped walking everywhere at top speed. Either way I wish I could have another swedish massage.

Things I have thought about this morning and laughed to myself in a slightly crazy manner about;

Linda sending a text message accidentally telling people she had tried crack for the first time, when in fact she was eating crab

Seeing the Wishes firework show and getting teary – I don’t do emotional

The US blogger uber mummy who kept asking us to say ‘brilliant’ and ‘lovely’

Linda’s synopsis of Gran Torino on our return flight … grumpy bigoted bugger … chunter … Chinese girl … chunter … next door neighbour … chunter … bloody dead …. Chunter … crap.

The best beef I’ve EVER tasted at Citricos

Travelling Premium Economy and bonding with Jane over hot towels, Woody Allen and the skymap

Seeing Cinderella’s castle for the first time which filled me with joy

Mr Incredible doing press ups at the Move it Shake it Celebrate it street party – I think I fell in love momentarily with a cartoon character

Erica squeezing my arm so hard on Dinosaur that I have a bruise

The Aerosmith Rock ‘n’ Roller rollercoaster which was the by far the best and English Mum confessing as we were about to step onto it that this was her 'first time' in a laid back manner

Saturday, 2 May 2009

I fell asleep and started snoring ...

I thought I’d better post in case you thought I’d fallen in love with Mickey and run off into the sunset. I am still alive and … well … I just don’t have time to blog. Until I return next week I’ll just have to give you bits and bobs.

The Grand Floridian Spa

I had never had a spa experience before … or a proper massage … unless you call sitting on the living room floor whilst husband rubs my shoulders then declares he’s finished when he gets bored … until yesterday where I had a Swedish massage at the Grand Floridian.

I was more nervous before my massage than I was in the queue for any of the rides. I just didn’t know what to expect. How naked would I have to be?

After changing into a robe I sat in the luxury waiting area. I overheard snippets of conversations … “She pummeled my boobs” … “I fell asleep and started snoring” … “what if I fart?” and the panic rose

Terrified that a Russian shot putter would open the door, crack her knuckles and shout my name in a very deep voice then give me a fireman’s lift to the treatment room I shuddered in my robe.

As with all these things I needn’t have worried. I got little Lisa, a lovely lady who put me instantly at ease, rubbed away my aches and pains for 50 minutes and made me feel pampered.

Just for the record I can vouch that there was no snoring, farting or pummeling of boobs.