Sunday, 21 December 2014

UK: Day 17 & Day 18

What a weekend! My legs and feet hurt, and I need some serious shut eye after all the shopping and exploring this pregnant non-shopper has done!

Yesterday Aunty Michelle and Kirsty took us to Wembley to the London Designers Outlet to score some retail bargains, and have a look around. The complex is located just next door to the Wembley Stadium, and has an outdoor ice-skating rink and Christmas market set up for this time of year. It's kind of unfortunate that we weren't there in the evening to see all the lights and everything, but then the benefit of going earlier in the day was that it wasn't quite as full as it would have been later.

The facade of London Designers Outlet

Andel in chocolate heaven: the Lindt store

Wembley Stadium with the Christmas Market in front of it

One of the stalls set up at the market

Walking the 'fan walk' to check out the outside section

Trying to catch the beautiful sunset on camera, while driving

Playtime with aunty Michelle

Then today we took it easy. It's the Winter Solstice today, and we took full advantage of the added darkness by sleeping in. As it happens, the world here doesn't wake up until 11h00 anyway, so it wasn't as though we missed out on anything. And only when we were heading back from the stores after lunch did things really start to get busy.

Waiting for the bus

We just had to take this pic to show Yaya

Zac on his first tram ride

Andel trying out a bike trainer in the store - only £85!

Uncle Neil in his element - shopping!
Now we're easing into the evening preparing for 'lunch' (well, it'll probably be dinner), and watching Christmas movies while stuffing our sweet-teeth with chocolates and warm tea. Good grief - we'll need a detox after this!

Friday, 19 December 2014

UK: Day 15 & Day 16

I've been totally useless at posting. I should have known that when I decided to blog everyday, ala Ashleigh, this was not going to turn out as well as it does for her. I'm definitely much better at posting about the important/interesting things (and even then I struggle to post on time!).

The last two days we've been hanging out with the Wilcox family. Aunty Michelle's school only ended for Christmas break today, so we've been in and around Croydon with Kirsty. Here's a brief photo update:

In this shoe store, Zac could watch the latest Pixar movies while we looked for shoes. In other news, it was wonderful to find that I can buy shoes in the junior section, meaning an at least 30% discount on the price!

Walking through Croydon City Centre. Please note the blinding sunshine. Andel and I are almost like local Britons, laughing off this 'cold' weather after our time in Belfast.

More of my favourite winter Christmas festivities. Here we see a group raising money for charity by playing Christmas carols using bells. It was pretty amazing, and Zac was absolutely captivated.

Zac and his new friend-come-nanny. His new thing is to show us his teeth when he smiles.

We had planned to go out for dinner this evening, but instead are enjoying delicious home-made food, and great company - and Zac is entertaining us by singing every single song he's ever heard. I hope that the Wilcox family survives this!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

UK: Day 13 & Day 14

We spent the better part of the last two days tying up loose ends in Belfast before heading to London. Yesterday was a bit of a rest day. I was beginning to think I may be coming down with something, and wasn't the best company, so  I tried to keep a low profile. Today I didn't really have that luxury.

We spent the morning walking around a local shopping complex this morning looking for some things we were hoping to purchase in the UK, without having to cart them to/from London on a limited luggage allowance. The weather was much warmer (comparatively) today, so we were happy to walk around with Zac in this pram - and, the good child that he's been in his pram, he slept for the most of it.

In other news, Andel entered cycling heaven today when we visited Chain Reaction (well, that's what I assume - what do I know about cycling) and not too long thereafter, the GAP store. Even Zac, when he woke up in Chain Reaction, said "wow Mommy, look at all the bicycles!" - and was very happy with his new GAP jeans his daddy bought for him.

Discussing some or other bicycle related thing

Getting to do all the things he can't do at home!

Having a pit stop while waiting for Tarrin

Later this afternoon Tarrin dropped us at Belfast Airport which, from the front, can be mistaken for a small hole in the wall - until you go through the check in gates. Too bad we spent an hour waiting in the main area at the only cafe there!

Waiting for our flight - drinking like a big boy

Zac's new fascination - he wants to try every one he sees!

The flight to London was quick and uneventful, and Zac (again) after singing Jingle Bells for the entire aircraft, fell asleep half way through making it a quiet landing. After briefly having our pram misplaced, we found uncle Neil and Kirsty waiting for us, and took the train home to aunty Michelle.

Sleeping baby = happy Mommy (when it comes to flying, anyway)

Needless to say, Zac made himself at home almost immediately (despite never having met uncle Neil, aunty Michelle or Kirsty before), and was tearing down the house before the clock struck 00h00, which is when he finally fell asleep!

We are really happy to be in London again, and can't wait to show Zac the lights and sights, but mostly we are so grateful to be able to see the UK family again, and are looking forward to the next two weeks with them.

Monday, 15 December 2014

UK: Day 12

This morning we all lay in a bit, probably due to the food-induced coma we all fell asleep in last night! So after a slow and lazy morning, we made our way to The Ark Pet Farm. Tarrin had originally wanted us to visit a different farm, but since it's closed over the holiday season, we tried this other one out, and we were not disappointed!

Although it's pretty hidden from the road, once you enter you find it's pretty big, with a lot of activities on offer, and animals to pet. They even have a Creepy Crawly Loft with snakes and spiders! Needless to say, we stuck to the farm animal variety.

The cow and its calf - only a few weeks old

Zac feeding the donkey

Getting acquainted with the sheep and her lambs

Getting Andel to feed the animals

Sitting in front of the manger scene - apt, isn't it?

Isla was a little apprehensive at first...

The daddies feeding the alpacas

Zac's favourite was the goats

Isla getting into the swing of things

Outside on the trail en route to the lake

Zac checking out the geese

Isla loves the ducks and readily says "quack, quack"

In the play area driving a pick up truck

Isla gets a turn too

Zac gets to hold a week-old chick

Isla finally gets her chance too

Today was so much fun. Zac and Isla loved it, and despite the biting cold, even the adults had a good time. Plus, is there anything better than ending the day by coming home to left over Christmas lunch? Probably not!

UK: Day 9, Day 10 & Day 11

This past weekend was officially our 'Irish Christmas' with the Grahams. Given that we will no longer be in Ireland over Christmas, and that they themselves will not be in Belfast, we decided that this weekend would be our Christmas one.

Here are some of the highlights in photographs:

Saturday - Belfast City Tour (these pics are courtesy of the world wide web as the camera battery died soon after we boarded the bus)

Before we go anywhere, we play...

...usually with uncle Andel

The Grahams on the bus into town

One of the cathedrals in Belfast

Beautiful Belfast Castle

The Peace Wall that divides part of the city, covered in murals

Crumlin Gaol House

A mural of Madiba

The Titanic Museum

Saturday - our first proper taste of playing in the snow!

White Christmas - check!

Sunday - Christmas lunch with the Grahams and their friends the Fyfes

At the table, stuffed on roast turkey lunch

Isla, Conor, Ewan and Zac in the festive spirit

Karl's Daddy Day Care