Getting to know you…

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 3 - 2014

Getting to know you,
Getting to know all about you,
Getting to like you,
Getting to hope you like me.

The King and I

Leila Joe Kiss

Leila Joe Love

Leila Joe Reading (2)

Leila Joe Reading

My heart, I think it might burst.

I don’t mind admitting that I was nervous of having another baby… an “intrusion” into our little world of three.

But, well… as you can see, with the help of someone special, he’s making a perfectly-proportioned, little Joe-shaped hole to squeeze his bum into.

♥  ♥  ♥


Leila. Today, you are FIVE!

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 16 - 2014

I usually have a little more time to myself while writing my annual birthday letter to you beautiful, but just last week… we welcomed your baby brother into the world.  I keep looking at you, wondering what you’re thinking about this latest installment into our family but you know, if you don’t end up being Daddy’s chief game designer, I’m sure you’d make a great poker player.  When I think of you, the phrase “still waters run deep” springs to mind.  It’s not that you’re not vocal… it’s just that you’re always, always thinking, far more deeply and analytically than any child I’ve known.

For a Mum, this is something that I both cherish and despise.  Shouldn’t you just be living in the moment, shouldn’t I be the one doing all this deep-thinking for you?  The truth is, you love nothing more.  If you’re not applying this analysis to your own thoughts and feelings, you’re asking me and Daddy to quiz you on the Universe.  You want to know where you came from (not like that) and why you’re here.  You want to know all about Earth’s gravity and just how big is the Sun anyway?  But despite your adoration for all things planetary, you know for sure that you never want to be an astronaut.  Far too scary.  Clever girl, we don’t want you to be an astronaut either.

We’ve bought you a telescope for your birthday.  You may only be able to see into next door’s garden with it but all the same, I know you’ll cherish it for the way you’ll feel as though you’ve been given a key to another portal.  Let alone the opportunity to stay up a bit later for some moon-gazing.  You have a glow in the dark solar system hanging from your ceiling and your favourite planet, despite its rugged and inhospitable surface is Mercury.  I think that Venus, with its poisonous clouds, makes you feel a little in awe of just how incredible it is up there.

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This is the year in which you started infant school, and after the tribulations of starting nursery, both Daddy and I were terrified.  Not about how you’d fit into an academic environment and the stresses of a work-load, but fearful of how you’d socialise with your friends.  Let’s face it… you still struggle to mount a climbing frame with any kind of grace at all, the monkey-bars don’t even stand a chance.  This makes you a little sad.  I know that for once, you’d love to be able to catch your best friend Issy whilst playing tag… but just like your Mum before you, we simply weren’t built for speed my love.  Unlike your Mum, however, just recently… we’ve noticed that you seem to have been blessed with a generous side-order of humour… comical timing and a quick wit that endears you to both adults and children alike.  This is something that, if we’re honest, has caught us by surprise… our little girl is a funny one!  Please stay self-confident enough to know that the things you have to say are worth the smile of others.

School is going really well, you’re almost up to box 6 for reading.  You love a bit of maths (though hate being wrong) and we often catch you belting out school assembly songs about all the different year groups and classes.  You’re not top of the class but slightly better than average and you know what?  That’s a very comfortable place to be in life.  One of my favourite things about your school life is the way you come home with a newly-learned word that simply must be slotted into our every conversation… “Hey Mum, let’s collaborate!”

Just recently, you’ve developed the kind of sass that makes me both roar with laughter and hold my head in my hands as I catch glimpses of the future teenager you’ll become.  From your street-dancing (single person grinding) in Asda to your desperate desire to have the last word, you’re finding your own way.  For now, I can hold my own but I know that a time will come when I need to allow you the occasional victory if I don’t want you to experience too many of those teenage feelings of resentment.  Give me a few more years of reminding you who the Mummy is though, eh?

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When you see us looking at houses to buy, you worry that we’re going to move too far away for you to have your weekly sleepover at Nanny and Pop’s house.  We do our very best to reassure you that this will never happen and it’s true.  Our initial desire to roam further afield in the quest for a more affordable home has been quelled by the simple knowledge that such a move would break your heart.  So important are your Nanny and Pop to you, we understand and realise that they’re more like second-parents than grandparents.  You are so very lucky to be so very loved.

Hot on Nanny and Pop’s heels is your infatuation for your cousins.  If you’re not making cards and notes for Mummy and Daddy, you’re inventing ways to express your adoration for the cousins you get to see frequently: Mildred, Ava, Eli, and Ola.  From simple scraps of paper to sophisticated Cool Cardz, from Post-It Notes to hand-crafted greeting’s cards… our flat is awash with your arty creations.  Only around 10% of these find their way to their intended targets once life has gotten in the way… but still, they keep coming.  “I love you!”, “Thanks for being my friend!”.  They love you too stinky-bum.

Your brother is wakimg up and so I must find a way to close this letter to you.  I just want to thank you for being so bloody brilliant, so genuinely reasonable, and so infinitely enchanting.

Leila Jean (beauty queen), Happy 5th Birthday big girl.  We love you to Pluto and back.

xxxxx

Previous “Birthday” Letters: Four, Three, Two, Four Months

Something a little bit different…

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 31 - 2014

…I’m so pleased with how these party invitations turned out, I had to share!

Mostly because my poor husband is absolutely sick of giving me constant “they look great!” validation, so I’m turning to you instead.  Of course, you can tell me they look terrible if you want, it’s ok… I can totally handle criticism, that’s if… you can handle a DDOS attack.

JUST KIDDING.

Anyway, this is kind of a big deal, Leila has been waiting for a proper “friends” birthday party since she turned 3 and I told her that in her first year of BIG school, she could invite the whole class if she wanted but until then, she had to make do with family-only birthdays.  So she has.  Not that she minded the family parties at all, but you know… when you’re that age, nothing in life is more important than your PARTY, right?  She also knows that she doesn’t get another “big” party until she turns 10… so, she’s keen to make the most of it!

Anyway, as fate would have it… my due-date for baby number two coincides with her 5th Birthday.  Which means that I’ll be 38-and-a-half-weeks pregnant on the day of her party.  The party with 35-children coming.  Speshul award for me please!

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The invitations are going in to school today to be given out just before home-time.  I don’t know about you but I hate the idea of giving out invitations during school-time if there’s only a select few kids being invited.  I’m of the opinion that if the whole class isn’t invited, the invitation “thing” should be done out of school completely.  The thought of leaving a few 4 or 5 year olds disappointed while others get invited makes my heart do a sob.

Because she’s having a Disco Party, we made VIP DISCO PASSES.  If you’re not wearing your lanyard, you’re not getting in! (or something like that).

Each lanyard has a glowstick and a candy watch attached.  To be honest, I really wanted to attach candy-dummies to the lanyards but I was a bit worried the parents might think I’d be playing Happy Hardcore and handing out Speed and Ecstasy during the interval.  I also considered a whistle… but then came to my senses, because that wouldn’t be at all annoying for Mum and Dad on the way home, right?

I bought most of the components for the invites from eBay.  The lanyards, I think, are mobile-phone ones from Hong Kong… the “VIP card” holders I bought separately and the glow-sticks were bought in a bulk pack of 50.  The candy watches came from Amazon.  All in all, to make 35 invitations, it came to just over £18.  Not including printer ink/card or the blood, sweat, and tears.

I was pleasantly surprised because I always embark on these projects and then start lying to my husband when I realise just how much it’s gonna cost to DIY it!  I also have some leftover glow-sticks/watches to put in goody bags.

Between the almost-5-year-old and the almost-33-year-old, you can guess who had more fun making these invitations can’t you? *blush*

A pyjama day of snots, coughs, fun and sniffles!

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 26 - 2013

I did plan on catching up with my beauty blogging today, jumping back into the routine of photo-taking, editing, and tapping away at the keyboard that I’ve missed dearly.  What is it they say the best laid plans of mice and men?

Well, my plans went awry the moment Leila came snotting her way into our bedroom at 2 o’ clock this morning, coupled with a raging temperature and a hacking cough that made me want to throw one of us out of the window by the time 7am rolled around.  One quick phonecall to the school office later and our fates were decided… 11 hours later, we’re still in our pyjamas!

Starting with a bit of card-making (her current crafty obsession), some clothes-sorting and drawer rearranging… and a couple of books later… boredom struck.  Until I remembered a pack of Shrinkables that my friend Soraya from Powder Rooms had gifted Leila over the weekend.  If you’ve ever watched an empty crisp packet shrink in a pre-heated oven, you’ll know exactly what to expect from this novel little stocking filler!

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We coloured and cut, scribbled and snipped until we were satisfied with our creations… our attention spans held strong until the last prince needed decorating, and while Madam was busying herself stealing a piece of her Dad’s fudge, I took over and ensured that the final Prince Charming was suitably suited and booted!  To be honest, it’s not often I can summon up the patience to do this kind of thing (making Play-Doh ice cream cones makes me want to go on a killing spree) but there was just enough colouring to keep her occupied and not too much to start her on a one-colour, screw-staying-in-the-lines rampage.

Three minutes in the oven later (our noses practically pressed to the glass) and we’d created a full set of mini (shrunk to about a 1/4 of their original size), hard plastic fairytale characters.  We discarded the stands (they weren’t very easy to attach) and Leila has lined them up lovingly along her windowsill, calling them her “stained glass” people.

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Shrinkables are available in a Fairy Tale and Pirate variety from powderrooms.com. Priced at only £5 each, they make an excellent and original stocking filler for both big *cough* and small kids alike!

All in all, a lazy afternoon well spent.  When was your last pyjama day and was it as fun as mine?!

Leila’s big adventure…

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 1 - 2013

I didn’t think it would bother me.  I thought that I was immune from the neuroses of the Mum at the school gates, sniffing into her hanky and waving goodbye to a piece of her woman-hood.  I mean… seriously, I’m better than that?  I don’t need validation through my offspring!  Sure, I’m not the self-validating “woman” I should be… heck, the word “womb” still makes me feel a bit squirmy, stuff of a feminist’s wet dream I am not… but neither am I reliant on other people to make me complete.

And yet, as I sit here… a few nights before Leila starts school, I’m a mess.

You see, I feel like I’m losing my little friend.  My beautiful little creature.  Someone I’ve nurtured, led, and loved for the past 4-years.  It’s not even as though I’m letting her spread her wings to go and fly amongst the clouds.  We’re being parted… unwillingly.  Whenever I ask her about school, she says… “it’s boring”.  She had a couple of trial days, and on the basis of this, has decided that school involves never leaving you chair as you please… putting your hand up to go to the toilet, and being told what to do and when to do it.  And let’s face it… she’s a little bit right.

A wee bit rebellious in my psyche, I think of school as a fast-track to learning how to “sit still, shut up, and listen”.  Ideal for working life.  Wear a tie, wear a blazer… do what you’re told, and conform.  But at the same time, it does give you (in a round-about way) the tools to question our world… the most powerful gift of education.  Leila loves to learn, I watch her confidence grow with every number and letter mastered.  I don’t push her… I’m a huge underachiever myself, quietly disappointing people around me but learning to the beat of my own drum.  She thrives, as most children do, from praise… and the satisfaction that she’s doing a good job.  How could I ever wish for her not to experience that joy?

Of course, I don’t.  But I worry….

I worry that she won’t make friends readily.  I worry that she won’t have anyone to sit with at lunch-time.  I worry that she won’t push herself to make connections… just reach out Leila, please reach out.

She has a good heart, one of the best I’ve come across.  I say that with as much bias as I do earnest-ness.  She has a kindness in her that makes her give pause after a strop… a sense of right and wrong that allows her, despite her young age, to apologise without prompting when she’s done wrong.  I’m not saying that she’s rare… but she is a good egg.  That’s all I want for her… to love, and to be loved.

So my darling girl… as I prepare to leave you outside your classroom on your first day of school.  Shoes as shiny as they can be, lunchbox as imaginative as it is tasty…. show your true colours to your friends.  Let them know that you are good, that you won’t ridicule, that you won’t judge without good reason.  You will go a long way.  A long way.  And ultimately, you will be happy.

And then I will be happy.  And proud to watch you every step of the way.

Good luck Leila, you’ll be grand!

Leila turns 4…

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 20 - 2013

In what has become a bit of a blog tradition, please excuse me as I take a moment again this year to pen a letter to Leila in honour of her birthday.  Sorry for the self-indulgence, it’s long and not terribly interesting.

Where did the last 12 months go bub-a-lubs?  It seems like only yesterday we were Thomas-the-Tanking it up for your third birthday and here we are now, tidying the remnants of your Alice in Wonderland extraordinaire!  So much has happened this past year as you’ve taken some serious steps towards becoming a proper kid, no longer a sproglet but a bonafide little girl with the sass to back it up.  As I sit here trying to recall the moments and peculiarities that have made this past year such a joy to share with you, I’m overtaken by the realisation at just how much you’ve had to adapt in this time.

In 2012, we moved from Nanny and Pop’s house to our new flat… a monumental occasion that you would have done absolutely anything to reverse.  “Do you like your new flat?” we’d ask, ever more hopeful each time…

“No”.  Would come the reply.  “Can we go back to Pop’s now?”

Each Thursday night, when I take you for your sleepover with Nanny and Pop, it’s a grand reunion with more melodrama than a night at the TV Soap Awards.  “But I’ll miss you Mummy!” you say with all the sincerity of a politician.  Sometimes, you even phone me an hour later just to remind me that you’re still missing me.  “Would you like me to come and pick you up?” I offer.  “Oh no! I’mokMum, seeyoutomorrow!” you say faster than Usain Bolt on speed.  *Click* goes the phone.  You big spoofer.

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As if that weren’t change enough… last September, you started pre-school and things didn’t run smoothly.  Your usual, cheerful little self turned upside down and inside out as you struggled to cope with such a huge watershed in your life.  Not used to the company of so many other children, you rejected the noise and clamor of the environment you’d been thrust into… that is, until you actually stepped through the door.  And so this continued for months, dismayed by the thought of returning to nursery while at home… but not wanting to leave it whilst there.  Apparently, this is pretty common for children who haven’t been brought up with other children around them.  Knowing this didn’t help ease the transition at the time though.

But now, as you turn four… you’re desperate not to have to leave pre-school this Summer.  You know that “big” school is around the corner and I can see the cogs turning as you think about what this means for your future.  The thought of leaving your beloved “teacher” Susan behind at nursery is too much to contemplate, even though you seem to be the only child there who likes the rather prickly, older lady (and I can’t help but love you even more for that).  I’ve heard that you and her sing show-tunes together while you do all the jobs that the other kids don’t have the patience for.  Susan tells me that you are a methodical child who completes her tasks with care and precision, I secretly think that this may be code for OCD but either way, you’re definitely your father’s daughter when it comes to your perfectionist tendencies.  God help me.

Talking about your inherited personality traits… today, I watched you dance around on a makeshift stage that you’d conjured up from a set of paving stones and I wondered where you could have possibly come from.  Unlike both me and your dad, you love nothing more than to perform.  I always roll my eyes and say “trust me to have gotten the jazz-hands kid”, feeling terribly disloyal all the while.  Because you see, it’s not a fair description of your passion for a performance.  You’re a storyteller my little girl, and a good one at that.  You’re actually a bit of a shocking dancer, with the grace of a thousand, heavily sedated elephants but what you lack in finesse, you make up for in your sheer determination to put on a good show.

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But perhaps, out of all the things that have happened this year, the most groundbreaking has been your discovery of The Princess.  You told me yesterday to save a birthday cupcake for your “prince”.  When I asked if you meant Daddy, you couldn’t have looked more horrified (poor Daddy).  I don’t know much about this mystery prince of yours but apparently he has red hair and a kind heart.  He sounds alright to me, just make sure you leave it until your 32nd birthday before introducing him to Dad.  And how could I forget Galahad, your imaginary steed who accompanies us wherever we go, helping you ride safely over kerbstones whilst avoiding the cracks in the pavement.  You don’t know it yet, but you’re going on a pony-trek as your birthday surprise next week.  I can’t even wait to see your face.

Other memorable milestones of your third full year included a trip to Disnleyland Paris (where you met the beautiful Snow White), a Christmas spent with your family from Australia, a bout of chickenpox (and croup), a couple of day-trips to Chessington (you’re a daredevil rollercoaster rider), and a summer holiday in the exotic climes of Liverpool & Manchester where you could barely contain your excitement at the trams, no really.

You still only really like chicken nuggets and IKEA meatballs.  Sometimes tomato soup and always, always cheese.  Like a little mouse, I know your Pop sometimes sneaks you a slice to eat in bed after you’ve brushed your teeth on a Thursday.  Co-conspirators.  I pray you are gifted with many more years to bask in your Grandparent’s adoration for you.  You refuse to get your hair cut.  After watching Tangled, you’re convinced that, like Rapunzel’s, your hair will turn brown if it meets with a pair of scissors and I haven’t got the heart to tell you that your blonde locks are already looking darker than they were six months ago.

You’re still fascinated by people’s earlobes.  You reach up to play with mine at least 10 times a day, a comfort thing I’m sure.  I shall be one of those old ladies with ear lobes that reach their shoulders and I shall blame you for it.

The final thing I want to remind you of in years to come is your solemn promise to never grow too old for a cwtch.  Right now, as I write this after putting you to bed, you love me to the moon and back… although sometimes you only love me “zero” and I have to tickle it out of you until your arms are outstretched in demonstration of how big your love is.  You’ve taken to calling me “Mama” and although it sounds so frightfully middle-class, it melts me every time.  I’m sure you know this.  You’re not daft my girl.

Happy birthday my dearest darling duck, you’re such a plonker and I love you more than “baninna” ice-cream.

Wordless Wednesday

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 1 - 2013

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LEILA SAYS HAPPY HUMP DAY!

The St. Ives Natural Beauty Challenge #StIvesNaturalBeauty

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 21 - 2013

So, what does natural beauty mean to you?

Is it poreless skin without the help of foundation?  Laughter lines that show a life well-lived?  Perhaps it’s simply the beauty of an unspoilt vista lifting your soul in a way that city-life never could?

St. Ives – creators of iconic skin-scrubbiness – recently approached a selection of bloggers with a creative challenge which celebrates the company ethos of imparting confidence and exploring the radiance of natural beauty.

The brand, who have been around for over 25 years now, are dedicated to harnessing the power of nature within their skincare range.  To this end, their formulas do not contain parabens or phthalates, the brand use sustainably-sourced ingredients wherever possible, cut waste, and employ eco-friendly packaging for all their products.

The brief itself was simple: “capture and share an image of natural beauty”.  So simple in fact that it left a lot of room for interpretation, perhaps too much for a procrastinator like me!

I’m incredibly fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the world with the New Forest on my doorstep, beaches a few miles down the road and the rolling hills of the South Downs only a stone’s throw away.  But the problem was, that despite a wealth of inspiration surrounding me… beauty that I was itching to go and photograph.  I couldn’t get over one small detail…

The greatest source of natural beauty was sitting right next to me.

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A brush through the tangles, a crown of flowers, and a couple of “knock knock” jokes later and I had all the inspiration I could have ever needed.

Despite the rather obvious fact that she’s not pumping half a gallon of Double Wear onto her face every morning, Leila’s natural beauty lies in the fact that she is so wonderfully oblivious.  Every inner thought and feeling, like most children, is reflected upon her face: from the doughnut she can’t get enough of to the wonderment of seeing Sleeping Beauty’s castle.  From the pride that correctly identifying her ABCs brings her to the chutzpah that follows when she utters the words “I am rather marvellous, aren’t I?”

Her eyes are not only a window into her soul but a porthole, skylight, dormer, and sunroof… all untainted by the self-consciousness that adulthood brings with it.  She feels no need to mask her feelings or to “tone-down” her excitement, fearful of looking too eager or heaven-forbid, uncool.  If only we could all recapture some of that day-to-day, unbridled honesty in our faces.

And that is why she, and other children of a similar age, are such a joy to be around (in moderation, of course!) and for me, an unparalleled definition of natural beauty.

Do you allow your natural beauty to shine through in certain company or are you focused on maintaining a facade? 

If you fancy talking about what “natural beauty” means to you, feel free to use the dedicated #StIvesNaturalBeauty hashtag on Twitter.

* In the interests of full-disclosure, all photographic entries will be judged by beauty photographer Claire Harrison on behalf of St. Ives and displayed at a gallery-style event in London next month.  The eventual winner will receive a fabulous prize (and one to give away to a reader!) 

** On a plate beside Leila, sat a sausage roll… looking particularly beautiful.  To be honest, it was a close-run thing.

Leila’s Instagram Poster (and a download for you!)

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 9 - 2013

I decided to put my (many) Instagram photos of Leila to good use and create a framed poster for her bedroom.

Unfortunately, most of the Instagram printing services based in the UK are rather expensive and/or prohibitive when it comes to creating customised prints, some would only allow me to print x-amount of my most recent photos and not pick and choose just the ones that contained Leila!  I also knew that I wanted a square poster to fit an inexpensive IKEA RIBBA frame and custom-sized printing usually pushed the price way up!

So, I went for it and made my own template, here’s the finished result.

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I’ve created a Photoshop template for anyone wanting to do something similar which can be downloaded here (let me know if the downloads stop working as I’m using a free service/may need to sell my soul for more bandwidth).

It will allow you to create a 50cm x 50cm poster (when having it printed, ensure that you select “full bleed”) containing a total of 81 instagram photos.  The PSD consists of a simple two-layer template, all photos should be resized (to roughly 540px) and placed on the bottom layer, you can then arrange/drag the images however you wish within the template.  Before saving, ensure that you’ve converted it to a CMYK file (Image>Mode>CMYK Color) for printing.

I had this printed at my local printers who I’ve used a few times, they charged me only £8 to have it printed onto 120gsm paper (not fly poster paper) and I collected it two days after uploading my image to them.  The total cost, including the frame, came to £17 – I’m really pleased with my bargain!

Would you consider making a poster of your favourite Instagram photos?

Lipglossiping (and family) do Disneyland Paris!

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 1 - 2013

Happy Bank Holiday Monday, you can put the chocolate down now. Put it down.

I’ve spent the last seven days enjoying all the wonders (mostly food-related) that France has to offer, and loving every minute of it.  We spent two days at Disneyland Paris (on a budget) and three days at my parent’s house in the Vendee, encompassing a 1000 mile+ round-trip seated uncomfortably in the back of a Citroen C3 Picasso.  My daughter was an angel, not once did I hear an “are we there yet” emanate from her lips, I am truly blessed.

If you follow me on instagram, you will have seen plenty of photographic evidence of the aforementioned wonders, both food AND Disney-related… but in the event that you haven’t already been treated to these out-of-focus, overly filtered delights, allow me…

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It really is a bit magical

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I got photobombed by the happiest face EVER

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The Disney Dons

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The view from the Queen of Heart’s castle is pretty impressive

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New best friend. Could she be any prouder?

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New best friend also!

I know that some of you on Twitter were interested in the logistics of my budget Disney break, so… to quickly break it down… we got 2-days of park tickets via a Sun newspaper promotion last November (they do these regularly) for the grand price of £40, our return ferry trip with LDLines came to just under £80 (Dunkirk out, Le Havre back), and a three-night hotel/motel stay on the outskirts of Paris in Torcy (Premiere Classe) came to £110 in total for the three of us (though I think I’d stretch the budget for the next door Campanile hotel next time!)

For lunch, we picnic’ed on sandwiches and pain au chocolat bought from the hotel’s nearby Carrefour, whilst dinner consisted of the 12.99€ menus at the Disney Village Sports Bar and Billy Bob’s Country Western Saloon, both of which were extremely reasonable and included dessert and a beer!  Finally, we bought a carnet of train tickets on arrival at Torcy for 26€ which covered travel to/from Disneyland to the hotel for the entire period.  I wish I’d factored in another day to travel into Paris itself but I wanted to visit my Mum and Dad’s house which I hadn’t seen since 2003-ish.

We may have scrimped in places but it certainly didn’t dampen our enthusiasm or enjoyment, it just meant that Leila got to bring home loads of Disney tat to be honest *le grand sigh*.

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It was quite busy and the fast-pass system was out of action on a few of the rides but we still managed to make the most of the 48hrs at our disposal.  Leila’s favourite rides (useful for parents of toddlers?) included: Alice’s Curious Labyrinth (mostly because I chased her around, calling her “Alice”), It’s a Small World (I still have the song stuck in my head), Dumbo, The Flying Elephant (but the queues are not worth it!), Casey Jr. – The Little Circus Train, Orbitron, and Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast.

Being rotten parents, we also dragged her on Phantom Manor (“noooo, it’s not scary!”), Pirates of the Carribbean (“nooo you won’t get wet!”)… etc. etc.  The shows were also great, Leila thought that Stitch Live! was pretty much the best thing she’d ever witnessed.

The only ride we missed out on (that wasn’t subject to height restrictions) was the Studio Tram Tour, everytime we went past, the queues were horrible.

Being only 3, I wasn’t sure if Leila was still a little too young to fully enjoy the experience but with the benefit of hindsight, I’d say that it’s a great age to take a little one – she was enchanted by the characters, shows and princesses in a way that only a 3-year old can be.  When she’s older, hopefully we will take her back to enjoy some of the more thrilling rides.

I hope my recap helps anyone who hasn’t been to Disneyland Paris before.  Being a bit of a cynical type who gets wound-up by the up-selling (“would you like to buy a bag/pen/DVD?”) at the local Disney store, I honestly didn’t think I’d enjoy it that much… but the truth is, I may have loved it even more than Leila.

Have you been to Disneyland Paris?  Want to go?  What were your favourite bits?

Leila is three today!

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 16 - 2012

To my darling girl,

Before you were born, we were terrified of the changes that your presence would mean for our lives – not ready to grow-up ourselves, neither your Daddy nor I really wanted to share our hearts with another soul. We fretted that we’d lose the depth to our connection over time, as if adding another molecule to the formula might dilute its overall strength.

Which is why I need to tell you today that over the last three years, you have brought so much happiness and belly-laughter. You have inherited your father’s awful sense of direction, groan-worthy humour, and brilliant brain for problem-solving. From me, you’ve been fated with an inane desire to share your every thought and feeling. You are so wickedly funny, and you know it – a terrible tease with a penchant for giving me the side-eye just when you know I won’t be able to resist a smile.

That’s not to say you’re without fault my girl, for when tempers flare, you shake with rage, screw up your nose and stamp your right foot for all it’s worth. You whine like a dog when being taken away from your favourite activities and your incessant desire for independence tests my patience on a daily basis. But you have a wonderful capacity for reason, I would never have dreamt that such a small one could have the ability to be able to listen, contemplate and without fail, always do the right thing.

It’s impossible to put into words just how much I love you. A feeling that extends beyond my comprehension, a force that is both immeasurable and bottomless in its reach. When I spend an afternoon without you beside me, I get butterflies as I approach the front door, bounding through it like you’re the Mum and I’m the child. I tell you all that I’ve done that day, and you quietly listen before making me promise that next time, we’ll do it together.

Time moves so quickly, it’s a cliché that every mother tells me but a relentless reminder that one day, we won’t be the first people you think of upon waking. You won’t call out for me when you stir in the middle of the night and I won’t be able to instinctively lift you into my arms when something needs to be made better. Time has always been a cruel mistress, but for all the dreams and hopes I have for you, it’s the one that I pray for most of all. Every minute of every day. I… we, both Daddy and I, want nothing more than to share it with you.

Happy 3rd birthday Leila, you are so very loved.

Leila’s 3rd Birthday Party

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 13 - 2012

I may have mentioned once or twice (or seven or eight times) that Leila was having her 3rd birthday party this weekend and barring a mild-meltdown the day before – it all went well, the meltdown being from me, not Leila by the way!  I couldn’t find a cake… who knew it was so bloody difficult to find a Thomas the Tank Engine cake that hadn’t been horrifically disfigured in some kind of supermarket shelf accident.  I phoned stores across the county and every single store, bar one (who didn’t pick up) told me that they had a cake… but that it was damaged.  Sort it out supermarkets.

Anyway, just before midnight on the eve of her party, I found a lovely train one in an Asda quite a few miles away, it wasn’t Thomas but it was carrying a cargo of jelly sweets!  I pretty much did the happy dance in the middle of the aisle!  Thank you to all the lovely tweeters who calmed my frayed nerves, gave me great suggestions on Thomas alternatives and brilliant recipes for train biscuits!

I’ve just compiled a video of some clips from her party and as I’m uploading to facebook for our far-away relatives, I thought I’d stick it on here too seeing as she considers many of you her internet Aunties anyway!

I’m knackered and have to do it all over again on the 16th (her actual birthday), we’re also heading into London together on Tuesday for some serious Hamleys/Rainforest Cafe/girly time!

Hope you’re all having a brilliant weekend and (if you’re in the UK), finally enjoying a little bit of sunshine!  A Happy Mother’s Day to my international ladies too!

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