Friday, 3 May 2013
After researching different holidays, your typical package one, booking flights and accommodation separately, city breaks etc, we decided on a cruise, on a ship leaving from the UK, so there would be no long flight with a small child on your knee!
Me and my OH have been on cruises before. Our first was our honeymoon and after that we got a bit hooked on them. It was a completely different holiday experience, waited on hand and foot, ships the size of 3 football pitches filled with shops, bars, cafes, swimming pools. spas and theatres. Everything you could ever want. We picked the same company that we had always used before, P&O and chose their most 'family friendly' ship Ventura.
Arriving on departure day, we drove down to Southampton and to the cruise terminal, where you are greeted, and your car and luggage are taken off you and you check in. B was very interested in his new surroundings, lots of new people and other small children! We checked in, then had a bit of a wait to get through security (airport style). At this point B was getting very restless and frustrated. He had had a quick nap in the car, but was still tired. I was beginning to think was this what the whole holiday would be like.
We eventually got on board and went to our cabin. We had chosen a quiet deck at the back of the ship, with a balcony, to hopefully enjoy the views and the weather when we got to where we were going! The room was pretty much the same as usual. Huge bed, tv, walk in wardrobe, fridge, dressing table, but this time we also had a cot, for B. We unpacked and began to explore the ship. First port of call (haha) was the kids club. Having never used any child care facilities on board, we were keen to see what was available. There was a room for the under 2's, filled with loads of toys, a table to sit and draw, plenty of books to read, a little play kitchen, a train track and lots of lay musical instruments. The unders 2's have to be supervised by the parents during the day here, but at night, the night nursery is available and we liked this A LOT. It meant we could drop a sleepy B off and enjoy a drink and dinner one our own whilst he slept under the watchful eye of the staff.
Once we set sale the entertainment gets under way. There was a children's entertainer call 'Bobs your uncle' who did magic shows for the kids. He would always come and chat to B if he ever saw us around. Another great feature was they did a special children's Noddy Tea every evening, so the kids could all eat on their own and food especially prepared for the, (it was rather yummy!!).
We had 3 days at sea before we reach our first port, Madeira. After that we had about 3 ports around the Canary Islands. The weather was glorious! We took B to the beach and built sand castles, went to long walks around the little towns we stopped in, did some shopping and found some great parks to play in.
After the Canary Islands we had another sea day before the next port in southern Spain. By this time B was being recognised by a lot of the other passengers and staff, and he was trying to communicate with them. He knew what 'bye' meant and would wave at you. Also if anyone got out of the lifts he would wave at them - so cute, everyone loved him!
We had another 2 stops in Lisbon and Cadiz before the journey home. We docked with another P&O ship, which was rare in Lisbon.
By the time we got home 2 weeks later, I was exhausted. It was a completely different type of holiday. Up at 6ish most mornings with an 'excited' B, eating breakfast by 8, having playtime, activities, lunch, then a nap, then more activities, then dinner, the bed. We were constantly on the go, but I enjoyed it no end. On previous cruises I would spend hours sat on a sun lounger reading a book, but this cruise was different. We made the most of all the facilities on board. I took B swimming for the first time and he loved it. He got to experience so many different things and see so many different places, he is a lucky one year old!
We are already thinking about the next cruise, different ship, maybe up to the fjords, or Iceland (in the summer months of course) and by this time B will be 2 so we can make the most of the kids clubs by then!
Cruises are now definitely family holidays. Families are made to feel welcome and special on board and every need is catered for. We had no problems with getting milk for B or finding him a high chair for a meal. All included in what we had paid. Yes granted that cruises aren't cheap, and there are cheaper holidays out there, but we enjoy them so much not to give them up. We save up for them, I never put a holiday on a credit card! We shop at discount supermarkets and only have one car which means we can afford to take these kind of holidays and I'm not going to feel guilty about that.
Sunday, 24 March 2013
On the Sunday, we held a little tea party for him. My brother and his partner came over from London and we invited some of our close friends too. We had sandwiches, tea and birthday cake of course. It was lovely.
I guess the only thing missing would have been a visit from B's grandparents (my mum and dad) and I was quite upset that they have made no effort or suggestion as to when they will come and see us next. Last time B saw them was Christmas.
Anyway, on his birthday, we got up early (well 7am ish), and opened his presents and cards. We tried not to buy him too much, as it feels as though the house is overflowing with toys! We bought him a ball pit, a whirlee, some happy land sets, a little life backpack (bumble bee one, so cute and a bargain at £5 in the Boots Sale!) and some books. He also got money from family, so that's been put in his junior ISA.
B obviously didn't really know what was going on on his birthday. We took him out to Pizza Hut for lunch on his birthday, and he loves the pasta from the buffet, and the bonus is they don't charge us for him, so it was a good deal all round!
My OH took the week off work too, so we could have some family time. We had a nice week going to walks, went to the library, out for meals, fed the ducks and just spent quality time together. It's probably the last time for a while this will happen, as I return to work in (gulp) 6 weeks. Still my goal is only ever to work part time whilst B is young. My mum didn't return to work until we were about 9 years old, and I really enjoyed having her around. I want the same for B, I want to be around for him and not be working constantly, being exhausted, or pre-occupied with my job. I'm working 3 days a week when I go back, and I'm secretly hoping to only do that a couple of years, until our mortgage can be paid off, and then I could reduce my hours further, and maybe only work during school hours and term time only.... Fingers crossed things work out like that!
Monday, 4 March 2013
The set consists of a bowl, lid and spoon. The bowl is made from a lovely transparent blue colour, and is diamond shape. There is a nice handle with a soft grip on it to make holding the bowl easy and comfortable. The bowl is made from good quality thick plastic, so no concerns over it breaking. It is dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe, perfect! The bowl comes with a lid, which fits the bowl nicely, stopping any spillages. In the lid, there is also a section for the spoon to be stored. It keeps the end of the spoon in place and clean whilst travelling. The spoon itself has a plastic handle and the actual spoon is rubber. This means it is flexible and easier to get into baby's mouth.
My son is approaching his first birthday and since 6 months old we have predominantly been doing baby lead weaning. I did wonder how much use the weaning set would get, but I was pleasantly surprised. I spooned some yogurt into the bowl with chopped up fruit. I then offered baby the spoon loaded up. My son has been trying to feed himself with a spoon for a while, but struggles to get it in his mouth the right way up without the food falling off the spoon. Because this spoon is flexible, he had no trouble putting it in his mouth, chewing on it and getting the food off it. The spoon is fabulous.
On the whole I really like this set. It's ideal for feeding baby almost anything. And whether you decide to start off on purée or baby lead weaning, this set suits both. The bowl is also ideal for being out and about, as the lid ensures the spoon stays cleans, and it is secure so no mess and spills. We are going away shortly, and I will definitely be taking the weaning set with us :)
Friday, 1 March 2013
The last year has gone so fast, but I must admit I was looking forward to getting paid again. So I check my account on Thursday and they have paid me very little, which I didn't think was right.
I phone my HR department, who told me my manager hasn't filled in the forms for my return to work. So I left in their hands to sort it out, and I thought that was the end of it.
No. Today I get a long winded email from my manager telling me he had worked my return to work date wrong. By a month. So instead of me returning to work on 9th May, this was now changed to 16th April. I couldn't believe it. I decided not to reply straight away as I was angry, and didn't want to say something I would later regret. Anyway, I replied saying it wasn't possible to return any earlier, as a) nursery place didn't start till May and b) we were going on holiday for 2 weeks on 14th April! I was really panicking at this time, we couldn't cancel our holiday and lose the £3k we had spent on it, and I couldn't change his nursery start date because of a waiting list!
I stood my ground and told them I would only be returning on 9th May, as previously agreed. After much to-ing and fro-ing, we finally agreed to 9th May, with a bit of jiggling of when I officially go part time, it's sorted. In fact, I'm still on a full time salary for longer than expected, that'll give me a nice bit of spending money for the holiday!
I never thought being on maternity leave would be so stressful. I might actually be glad to get back to the place now and earn some cash!
Wednesday, 6 February 2013
Today I deactivated my Facebook account. It's not the first time I've done it, but this time is permanent.
I joined Facebook years ago, mainly to keep in touch with friends. As I had moved from my home town of Sheffield to Newbury, I knew keeping in contact with some people would be difficult.
At first I loved it. Finding out about what your old school friends were now up to, what jobs people had and where people were living.
However for me recently Facebook lost its appeal. You would post updated on there and no one would comment. Think everyone knows full well people read their status/photos etc, but adding someone as a 'friend' and then totally ignoring you isn't being a friend if you ask me.
Last night, one of these 'friends' posted something that upset me. I know it wasn't deliberately aimed at me, but she obviously knew I would see it - even she isn't that stupid. At that point I decided enough was enough. Facebook was becoming a place to have indirect digs at people, bullying as far as I'm concerned. Facebook hasn't really gained me any friends, more like made me hate more people than ever.
Have come to the conclusion if people are real 'friends' they will stay in touch. By phone, text, email etc, I don't mind, just not through Facebook anymore.
Monday, 28 January 2013
Everyone is also commenting on his size. The Health Visitors say he is really tall for his age , but he's not big round his tummy, he's average. I'm not sure where he's getting his height from. I'm fairly tall at 5ft 8, my OH is 5ft 9 (he's says he's 5ft 10 - yeah right). My dad is quite tall, as is my brother, but my in laws are really short. I really hope B is tall when he's older.
So what the hell as I going to do for B's first birthday - truth be told I haven't got a clue. Cake will be involved and hopefully some kind of party, but this is all new territory to me! Help!
In the next few months B will start nursery and I will return to work part time. Big steps back to reality I suppose, but I'm glad I have managed to spend the first year of my little boy's life with him full time, watching him grow and develop in a lovely little person.
Wednesday, 23 January 2013
A friend was due to visit tomorrow for a couple of days. I've not seen her since I was pregnant with B, she's never met B. Yes to be fair she lives 150 miles away, but she was once I considered my best friend. Despite not seeing her for ages, we had a heart to heart and she promised to come and visit more, so I was really looking forward to her visit. Now I get a text saying she's not coming.
I'm upset by this. I really am. Our friendship hasn't been the same for some time now, but this might be the straw that broke the camels back.