As we walked down the tunnel to our plane at Manchester airport we could see our breath forming frozen white clouds in front of our faces. Nothing could have made me more anxious to get on that plane and fly away, so desperate was I for the feeling of sun on my skin and to, well, to just not be cold.
Once on board the plane was warm, thank goodness – I’d left my thick winter coat in the car and was praying that I wouldn’t need it once we arrived in Grand Canaria – and we both started to relax and unwind. This was it, is was really happening. We were actually going on a proper holiday, abroad, in the sun. Yikes!
As we sat, dreaming of sun, sea and sand on board the plane I started to realise how comfortable I was. I find the seats on most scheduled flights to be pretty uncomfortable: too narrow and squashed in. I seem to be at the perfect height for optimum annoyance – although not very long of leg my knees are inevitably shoved up hard against the seat in front of me and yet I’m usually too short to sit properly in the contoured seats, the head rest and curve for the back lying at all the wrong places.
The seats aboard the Jet2Holidays plane were a lovely comfy leather seat, not overly wide – about standard for an airline – but with loads of leg room! Dan is about 6ft tall and even he had 3 or 4 inches of space between his knees and the seat in front. I was practically swimming in room.
And the other lovely thing about the flight, because it wasn’t full, was everyone was spread out so that most people, ourselves included, ended up with just two people on a row of three seats. We actually had a really enjoyable flight, reading, snacking and chatting, letting our bodies and minds wind down and prepare for a week of doing nothing.
There were snacks for sale and duty free, the prices of both weren’t bad really. We got a bottle of vodka and a bottle of whiskey for just £20 – £10 each, and they stood us in good stead for our week away. The staff were friendly, the toilets clean and it all just seemed to pass in one long, contented sigh.
After 4 and a half hours of peace and rest, we touched down in Las Palmas and the difference from boarding in Manchester and disembarking in Grand Canaria was stark. Gone was the thick white cloud of your own frozen breath replaced by the gentle touch of warm sunlight caressing skin and a face that was no longer frozen in a chilled grimace, but relaxed into a happy smile.
It should be warm though, cause the Canaries are right next to Africa! I’ll admit I had didn’t realise just how far south they were until we about to leave.
Las Palmas aiport was lovely and quiet, passport control was a breeze and we were soon heading outside with our luggage, ready for a week of fantastic weather. I could feel my wander lust stiring in the pit of my stomach as I stepped out into the sunlight and remembered the wonderful pleasure of travelling.
Still to come is a post all about our gorgeous five star hotel, sand dunes, donkeys, fun and friends…
I love winter. Proper winter. Cold, snowy, hot-chocolate-by-the-fire winter. Wearing thick jumpers and woolly hats winter. And now that it is almost here I find myself getting excited over fluffy things in the shops. Big socks, and scarves. Blankets and fleeces.
It’s such a tactile season to go shopping, isn’t it? Months of running your hands over furry, fluffy and soft materials.
One of my absolute favourite things about winter are slippers and boots. It is now okay to wear them!
The only problem being that I haven’t got any. My slippers got eaten by the dogs and my boots were so stinking I had to throw them out. Which means just one thing – Shopping!
I love shopping. Not actually going outside shopping you understand, but online shopping. I’m much more suited to browsing through catalogs with a glass of wine in hand than pushing and shoving my way through the crowds. After a few evenings of perusing I have narrowed down my boot selection to one of these two lovely specimens.
I can’t decide between a heel or a flat. The flat is the Ecco Angara Expresso at £89.99 and the heel is the Ecco Ponzan Black at £149.95. Both from BellsShoes.co.uk.
And they also do a fab range of Bells Shoes Crocs (I don’t care what you say, I love Crocs) including these gorgeous fleece lined ones which would make ace slippers. They are on sale at only £17.99 right now!
It would almost be rude not to…
Our recent trip to Gran Canaria was wonderful, a real balm for the soul. A perfect escape from everyday life and a chance to sink my toes into warm sand and enjoy the feel of sun on my skin.
The only problem with the holiday at all was that constant feeling of having forgotten something. Of having left something important behind.
And of course we had. The kids.
As lovely as it was to have a whole week to ourselves – and boy was it ever – it made me realise that they’ve never had that. They’ve never been on a holiday abroad and sat in the sun on the beach all day. They have never had a week by the sea, a week of digging in sand and playing in the sun, running butt naked around and splashing in the sea. They have never stayed in a hotel with a pool, been to kids clubs or made holiday friends that they swear will last a life time.
I don’t think they’ve ever even seen someone sail a boat or waterski – let alone had a go themselves.
The best we’ve managed is a couple of weekends away in Norfolk and the odd chilly trip to Formby.
Which were lovely, but not quite the same.
Not the thrill of being abroad, listening to people talk in a foreign language and trying to decipher menus. They haven’t spent those warm evenings out at restaurants with their parents, staying up later than normally allowed and still being in shorts and t-shirts after the sun has set. They have never felt that warm blast of air that hits you as the airplane doors open or seen the heat rising from the tarmac creating a haze in the distance.
It would be nice to give them that, to hand them those memories and experiences. If I give my children no other passions in life, I want to give them the passion of travel, the excitement of new places, new experiences and the knowledge that there is so much out there to be discovered and enjoyed.
If I was to be chosen as a Mark Warner Blogger I could do that – I could start to ignite that little flame of excitement about the rest of the world, and nurture that inquisitive thirst for fun my daughter has by letting her go and try her hand at new things.
Over everything else, travel and adventure would be the thing I would love to pass on to my children. What do you think? Are travel and adventure important to you?
It’s my birthday, it’s my birthday! And I’ve been absolutely spoiled rotten with gorgeous perfume from Dan, snuggly winter slipper socks and wine from my fab Bury Blogger Massive friends Sim, Jenny, Jen, Karen, Emma and Pippa. Wine from my oldest friend, Fiona, vouchers from grandparents and my lovely sister and a gorgeous watch and heart rate monitor from one of my fellow marathon trainee friends, London City Mum.
Yes, you heard right, I’m running a marathon.
I’ll tell you more about it later. Assuming I haven’t died from the shock of it all. Gah! Right now, I need to share the fabulous Afternoon Tea at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel in Manchester that Sim took me to.
It was amazing. The Opus One bar at the Radisson is a gorgeous place and we had seats looking out onto the street so we could do lots of people watching in between our gossiping. We hadn’t seen each other for a week – there was loads to natter about.
There were two choices of menu – a Festive Afternoon Tea and a Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea. Naturally we had one of each. The Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea had a tiny portion of fish and chips, a small yorkshire pudding with roast beef and gravy and a pork pie as well as sandwiches and scones. the Festive Afternoon Tea menu had sandwiches, scones and cake.
Both were utterly delicious.
There was so much food that we simply couldn’t finish it all.
There was much fun and hilarity and much catching up done.
Including something that caused Sim’s face to do this.
Afternoon Tea at the Radisson Blu Edwardian in Manchester costs £18.95 per person and if you want to have a Festive Afternoon Tea, they are available between 1st and 24th December. They even have carol singers to make it just that bit more festive on 10th-12th and 17th-19th December.
Have you seen the Michael Macintyre clip doing the rounds on Facebook recently? The one where he is trying to explain to people without children just what it is like attempting to leave the home with children? This one?
Yeah, you just wait until you get school aged children, Michael. You just wait. Because pretty much every morning in our house goes like this:
Me: “Right you two, breakfast bowls in the sink and go and get dressed.”
Girl: trots upstairs happily
Boy: meanders slowly through the kitchen and dining room, gets distracted by something in the living room; something important like dust, or a curtain.
Me: “Go on, son. Son? Son!”
Boy: Looks round in dazed fashion. “Yes mummy?”
Me: “Go on, upstairs. Uniform on, teeth cleaned. You know the drill.”
5 minutes later
Me: “Why are you sat on the stairs? You haven’t even got your pyjamas off yet. Come on, get dressed.”
Son: “Oh yeah. I forgot.”
Me: “Look, you sister is getting dressed. Go and join her.” I follow him to bedroom to make sure he at least arrives there successfully.
Girl: “Look mummy, look what I made for you. It’s a butterfly.”
Me: “That’s lovely dear, but why are you dressed as a princess? It’s a school day, will you put your uniform on.”
Girl: “Oh, I thought it was Saturday.”
Me: Yes, because that’s why I have been shouting about uniform and school for the last half hour. “Just…please put your uniform on quickly. Please.”
5 minutes later
Me: “Is anybody dressed yet?”
Girl: “I am mummy. But the boy isn’t. He still hasn’t got any clothes on.”
Me: “Will you put some clothes on? Now! Why are you sat naked in the middle of your bedroom staring at the ceiling? Clothes! Go!”
Boy: “I’m just putting my socks on.”
Me: “No you’re not. Your socks are all the way over there on your bed. Get up, pick them up, put them on your feet!”
Girl: “I’m ready mummy.”
Me: “You’ve got no socks on, no cardigan and where’s your tie? Have you cleaned your teeth? Where’s your hairbrush, you hair is like a birds nest!”
10 minutes later
Girl: “I’m ready mummy.”
Me: “No you’re not. Where is your cardigan? It’s freezing. Put your cardigan on! Come on guys, we’ve got two minutes to get out of the house. Hurry up please!”
Boy: “Mummy, where are my trousers?”
Me: “Seriously? Why have you only got knickers and socks on? Where is your uniform? We have to go, we are going to be late!”
Boy: Shrugs. “Can’t find it.”
Me: “Right! Out of my way” I run upstairs and rifle through wardrobe. “Trousers, Shirt, jumper, tie,” I hand them to him. “PUT. THEM. ON!”
5 minutes later
Me: “We are late now. We are already late. Let’s go. Now! Go and put your shoes one!”
Girl: “I still don’t have a cardigan, mummy.”
Me: “For Pete’s sake, why not?”
Girl: “I can’t find one. I think they are all in my school tray.”
Boy: “I can’t do my shirt buttons, mummy. Can you help me? I can’t find my tie”
Me: Does up shirt buttons, find tie hidden in plain sight in the middle of the bedroom floor, locates old too-small cardigan in bag of old clothes, get’s children into remainder of clothes, shoes, coats and out of the front door.
Boy: “But I haven’t cleaned my teeth yet mummy.”
It’s not surprising I drink, is it?
Do anybody else’s children lose so much uniform on a daily basis? Sometimes we never find it; it seems to disappear into a parallel universe like a Cecelia Ahern book. I’ve lost count of the number of new cardigans we’ve bought and we are only three months into the school year. I worry sometimes that one day she will return with them all and we will be drowning under a sea of navy blue cardigans that no-longer fit – cause the only time she is likely to locate them is after she’s grown out of them.
It’s bad enough now, what happens when they become teens and have phones and tablets to lose? Expensive trainers and such like? I’m going to need to sell a non vital organ just to keep them from having to leave the house naked, aren’t I? According to this survey on the cost of going back to school it costs an average of £239 to kit kids out with all the necessary stuff for just going to learn things, £140 for primary school kids (although I think we might have spent that on cardigans alone) raising to £325 when they are at college.
I think it might be time for them to get a part time job…