Archive for the ‘Activities’ Category
We’ve recently got back from our first family ski holiday to the French Alps. Hubs learnt to ski when he was 3 and was doing competition skiing by the age of 10. He is a God on skis. End of. I, on the other hand, “learnt” to ski in my early twenties after moving to France (where EVERYONE seems to ski), a good 15 years later I still look like Bambi, in slow motion, as I attempt to come down the slopes.
Despite that fact, for the last 3 years I have been saying we should have a family ski holiday so L can learn to ski while she’s young enough to not have The Fear. Finally 2013 is that year. L is now 6 and I’m glad to say we haven’t left it too late.
Our week was amazing with Hubs and L bonding on the slopes every afternoon, just the two of them, doing something they’re both passionate about. While they were doing that I was chilling with C and doing baby things, but also reading and doing a bit of writing for this poorly abandoned blog while she slept.
This is the summary of our first family ski holiday:
- L learnt to ski, has no fear, loves it and skis like a little champion. Proud mummy moment.
- C learnt to roll over from her tummy to her back. Not quite so momentous, but equally exciting and proud mummy moment. (Also scared mummy moment as that means we’re getting closer to a mobile baby and I can still remember the absolute joy of that from when L was little!)
- I ate my body weight in cheese and charcuterie, but surely that’ll all be burnt off by breast-feeding, non?
- Hubs totally chilled out, switched off from work, skied about 1000 miles and spent the whole week bursting with pride over his daughters’ accomplishments.
- L also caught us out on the second night by pulling a tooth out that was only starting to wobble, leaving it on the bedside table and not telling us as she wanted to surprise us with a coin from the tooth fairy (La Petite Souris in France) in the morning. Eek! Cue some quick thinking from Mummy in the morning when the tooth had not been taken and the coin had not appeared.
- We also used these holidays to work on L’s French; her ski lessons were in French, we only spoke in French and met up with various French friends. We also decided to do some French reading with her, now that she’s pretty solid with her English reading. We were playing a game and she had to pronounce the French word “lapin” (rabbit), however she pronounced it “la pine” which means “dick” in French. On seeing her parents in uncontrolled fits of laughter she decided to shout this louder and louder. In France. Where everyone could understand her. Ah the joys of bilingual children! (We didn’t tell her what it meant.)
It was a ridiculously expensive holiday and may mean we have no other holidays this year, but I don’t regret it one bit, as it was an absolutely fab family break, even if my 6 year old now puts me to shame on the slopes. At least I can roll over better than my 3 month old!
This week’s The Gallery theme, over on the Sticky Fingers blog is Fitness. Now at 34 and a half weeks pregnant, my fitness regime has been toned down somewhat. Before getting pregnant I used to walk 35-40 minutes per day as part of my commute and I was known for getting up early to do the Zumba DVD a couple of times a week.
The commute walking carried on until about 6 months of pregnancy when I had to go on early maternity leave, but the Zumba got stopped fairly early on. I got a yoga pregnancy DVD which I’ve done sporadically and hasn’t been bad. But my biggest source of fitness now, without a shadow of a doubt, is man’s best friend:
He might not look like much here, but he is 25 kg of energy, so even a half hour walk is a good enough work-out for me in this state! Also at the moment we are following a training schedule with him, to try and stop him from running after every squirrel and fox in the district, and this is even more of a work-out than just a normal walk.
Our dog is French and is called “Courage” (pronounced Koo-rarj), and he’s fab because he has overcome almost being put down by the police when we adopted him after he’d been abandoned, and then being left in France by us for 6 months when we moved to the UK and had to wait for his rabies jabs to come into effect, then being transported over here in a crate on a plane. Not only that but he’s a huge softy and lets L and all her friends use him as a horse/toy etc.
When it’s raining or I’m snug in the warm there’s nothing I’d like more than to not walk him, but I’m glad that he does force me out of the house and gets me fit (ish).
You can see other Fitness related posts on The Gallery here.
So this week’s Gallery theme is 8pm and what goes on in your house at 8pm. In our house it varies, depending on if I’m running to schedule, am early or running late, so these are the things I could be doing:
- Walking the dog
- Supervising L as she brushes her teeth, gets into pyjamas etc
- Reading a bedtime story
Last night at 8pm I was doing really well and we were ahead of schedule so it meant L and I got longer time for snuggles and bedtime story reading:
It’s not a great quality picture but I didn’t want to take up too much of our reading time by rushing around looking for the “real” camera.
Now 8pm tonight is going to be a whole different kettle of fish as I’m off to the pub with other parents from L’s class, so I get to have some grown-up “me” time
This post was inspired by this week’s The Gallery theme over at Sticky Fingers.
When we first moved back to the UK from France we were staying with my parents who live quite close to Windsor, so I suggested to B that we take L to Legoland for the day. Fortunately we didn’t actually mention it to L because when I went online to look at prices I was shocked to see that it would cost us around £100 just to get in, we would then need to add travel costs, parking costs, lunch etc. We decided then and there that Legoland would just have to be a one-off very exceptional treat for a birthday in the future.
Shortly after, we moved to London, got jobs, got settled and started looking around for activities to do with L. I am delighted to say that in London you are so totally spoilt for choice when it comes to children’s activities, for all seasons and all budgets, but that will have to wait for another post another day. Because the one thing that I did discover through one of my local Twitter followers, and that has changed our family social life, is the Merlin Annual Pass.
Merlin Entertainment Group is the company behind many of the top attractions in London and the surrounding areas. What I found out is that if you go to one of these just for the day you can expect to pay around £100 (for our family of 3), however if you get the annual pass you can go an unlimited number of times* making it incredibly cost-effective.
So where can you visit with your pass?
Chessington World of Adventures, as we did yesterday to make the most of our lovely late summer’s day.
Legoland in Windsor.
Madame Tussaud’s in London.
The London Eye.
The Sea Life London Aquarium.
It also gets you in to the London Dungeon (which we did one weekend when we were child-free), Thorpe Park and for those wanting to go further afield there is also Alton Towers and more.
Like all these types of annual pass it is only economical if you are going to use it regularly, which we do. The current online price for a family of 3 is £315.90, however renewals are cheaper and we paid just £256 for the 3 of us for our second year. The added bonus for us is that Baby n°2 gets in free until he/she is 3 years old.
We used our pass 12 times in the first year, which worked out as £26 the day out. So far this second year we have used it once a month, and at the lower rate of £256 that means just £21 for a fab day out for the whole family. We tend to go to the same attractions as they are closest to us, but I find you can go time and again. For example I took L on the London Eye just the two of us one day when B was busy, then B and I went on it one evening after work at dusk before going out for dinner which was very romantic; we have been to Legoland 3 times now but still have at least a quarter of the park that we haven’t covered and we haven’t tried out Thorpe Park yet.
I don’t work for Merlin or have anything to do with them and they haven’t provided anything for me for free, but we use this so often and the whole family loves these days out that I just wanted to share. I’m so glad it was shared with me.
* There are some restrictions depending on what type of pass you go for. The above prices refer to the standard annual pass for a family of 3 which has some date limitations, for example it doesn’t work for a lot of attractions in August.