Sunday, May 17, 2009

Recaro: holiday super hero

We recently took a week off work to go to the Isle of Mull. Recaro did a great job of pre planning what we would eat, preparing a cool box of treats (from steak to cherry chocolates) and finding the last superstore before the ferry.

All this foodie preparation meant that once we arrived at our remote farmyard cottage, we wouldn't have to trek out to any of the island's understocked corner shops. They are good for tins and frozen stuff, but for some reason despite the wealth of sheep and cows on the hillsides, there's precious little local produce in the shops.

Recaro also made sure Peaches had a bag of beach toys (we did get some sunshine) and a Shrek DVD for rainy weather.

My contribution? While - I packed clothes for me and Peaches and made sure I got home from work in time to jump in the car for our overnight drive from Kent to Lancaster and on to the Scottish highlands and islands the next morning.

And I made this splendid robot outfit out of a wine box and an egg carton. Over the course of the week, we added switches, dials and antennae.

Who says I'm not crafty?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wedding belles

My experience of Yorkshire has previously been limited to a couple of business trips to Leeds, a school visit to a transport museum in York and being given a speeding ticket on the M1 by Wakefield.

That's not to say I hadn't heard about what a fine county it's supposed to be. Every typically bluff Yorkshire man I've ever met is only too willing to share their views on how it's God's own county. Yorkshire women don't seem to be under the same compulsion (if anyone knows why that is, please tell).

Recently, I had the opportunity to see for myself how lovely Yorkshire is. The patchwork of fields and dry stone walls are chocolate-box cute. Just as I got used to this pretty scenery, we found ourselves driving across broad, windswept moors before plunging down into a leafy green valley into the town of Hebden Bridge. Where I'm sad to say there was no time to shop, but if I'd had the time I suspect I could have spent a small fortune.

Yorkshire hadn't been on our list of places to visit, but we were there for a wedding. Call us Vince Vaughan and Owen Wilson - but we are a couple that love a good wedding. We'll travel anywhere for a three course dinner, champagne and a cheesy disco.

Plus it would give us a chance to dress Peaches up and pressurise complete strangers into admiring our supa-cute daughter. Yes, we are THAT couple.

Ce, a colleague of Recaro's was getting married in her home town of Hebden Bridge and after a long campaign by Recaro to make sure she knew just how easy it would be for us to break our journey home from a week in Scotland... she invited us. It had been a tense few weeks in the strangely lush household, but at last we could relax and pack our wedding outfits.

If she found Peaches' unwavering attention bewildering, Ce didn't let it show...

There were a few problems - our bed and breakfast was depressing and we arrived in church several minutes after the bride - but Peaches was good in church, made friends with the other children, spent most of her time at dinner sitting at another table (does this mean she's already embarrassed to be seen with us), didn't fall in the nearby river and did take some good (in focus) candid photos.In case you wonder, the church had a spare, derelict church in the grounds. I wouldn't want anyone to go away with the impression that people in Yorkshire don't believe in roofs.

I was pleased Peaches took a photo of the cake. The flowers on our wedding cake were RUBBISH. So much so that we skipped the cake cutting photos at our wedding. I always feel an incredible feeling of relief when I see other people get it right.

Another surprise for me, was seeing that this wasn't just a three course dinner. Between the starter and main course we had Yorkshire pudding and red onion gravy. I am a naive southerner. I had no idea that's what they do up north. It makes so much sense - I've always thought a roast beef dinner looks ridiculous with a Yorkshire pudding sat on top. This could be a tradition we'll be introducing to Whitstable.

The wanderer returns

Woah - life just tipped out of balance. My job is mostly about business development, writing bids, preparing presentations, that sort of thing. Since everyone's chasing all the work they can right now. Despite my success in hanging on to a four-day week, I have found myself working on the laptop on the train to and from work. It's not a good look - I'd far rather read or sleep. I'm also spending more time in London - but without finding the time to go window shopping. Where's the fun in that?

I don't mean this to sound 'woe is me'. The challenge of it all is interesting - I just needed to cut myself some slack and blogging was what had to go. (For some reason, Recaro thought I should keep some spare time for chatting to him - he's demanding like that...)

But today is different. After a fun Friday morning of taking Peaches cycling and to a drama class, she's now sleeping (yay for the early afternoon nap!) and I have time to blog.

It's like catching up with an old friend. I've been wondering what you've all been up to. Does one particular mummy blogger out there still have 'bathroom ceramics' in her back garden? Is another working mum managing to stay healthy while working, blogging, singing and creating avators? Has a certain Kiwi managed to take a photo of her family without at least one of her daughters mugging at the camera? How are sales going for Canadian crochet?

Excuse me for a moment while I remind myself how long it takes to upload photos to Blogger.