Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Take the bait and create

I'm rather excited to tell you about our latest card-making project; just look how cute it turned out. It came about when I asked my children if they might make some baby congratulations cards for our friends' new arrivals, and they happily accepted the challenge. 

They told me that they wanted to make cards that would also be a sort of present; a kind of toy to look at. So, I collected the materials for the cards a few weeks ago - when the babies were brand new. My children know that new-born babies respond very well to black-and-white, so they approved of my selection of collage materials; craft foam, card, cartridge paper, tissue paper and a few googly eyes - only in black and white. 

I arranged all the materials on a large tray along with some scissors, a couple of pencils and a glue-stick, and left them out in a kind of no-pressure-but-look-what-lovely-thing-is-here-for-you-to-do way, hoping one or both of my children might take the bait and create. But still no-one took up the challenge. Until tonight, that is - when my daughter suddenly appeared in the kitchen to make her cards just as I was loading the dishwasher. 

I had no idea what she was going to make, and I just let her get on with it as I cleared up after dinner. But imagine my delight when I finally saw what she'd created. As you can see, she made two cards, one with a rather striking gentleman on the front, and another featuring an elegant lady. This is ideal, because two of the new arrivals happen to be a boy and girl pair of twins. Perfect. I really hope they like their card/present combos. 

Now to work on my son - I hope he gets round to making his card before the baby in question starts appreciating colour; otherwise we'll have to re-think the whole thing. 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Honeymoon revisited

Last week, as part of our tenth wedding anniversary celebrations, we took the children to our honeymoon location - Italy's Amalfi coast. Rather wonderfully, nothing much had changed; the coastal hills were still laden with lemon groves, rose gardens and vegetable patches. The air was warm and sweet with jasmine, the turquoise Mediterranean sea sparkled as the sun played with its waves, and the luxury yachts were still to-ing and fro-ing from the harbour just as they had been ten years ago. What had changed, of course, was our situation - we were no longer the childless newly-weds of 2003; rising at midday, sunbathing and reading by the pool, boldly trekking the cliff-routes fancy-free and often map-free, or feasting on fabulous local food and wine till the early hours.

However, our honeymoon-revisited was actually far from hindered by the presence of our children. They really were brilliant company; they loved the idea of relaxing whilst reading their holiday books like Mummy and Daddy, they had the stamina to walk for miles - often up and down hundreds of hillside steps  - and they got the whole 'lying-in' thing brilliantly. And of course, as is the wondrous thing about children, they saw the whole holiday as a series of new and exciting opportunities to play. And for me, that alone made going back absolutely worthwhile. Our children helped us see it, and experience it, through their playful eyes. We reminisced a little, yes - it's impossible not get a little misty-eyed when returning to such a paradise - but there wasn't time to let wistful memories bring us down, or make us feel old for too long. Our two full-of-beans lovelies soon brought us back to the present; wanting to show us what they'd found, or to tell us what they were doing. Here are a few of the invitations to play they so cleverly discovered during our holiday:

Amalfi's fountain turned out to be a very classy outdoor water-table...

Atrani's piazza floor, with its distinctive design, was great for all manner of running and jumping games...

... and the winding footpaths leading to and from the piazza became an exciting spot for many a game of Sardines and 40-40.

Amalfi's beach was perfect for paddling...

...and for treasure-seeking - there were some amazing sea-ceramics to be found.

Al fresco dining was made hilarious with fun and games with napkins...

... and walking up lots of steps was almost easy-peasy when looking out for lurking lizards.

With rose gardens aplenty, fallen petal collection was a must for perfume-making sessions back at base...

.... and a boat-trip to the isle of Capri allowed Daisy to stay up front, and in an imaginary world of her own no doubt, for the entire journey.

A beautiful garden provided a chance to become statues...

...and a crystal clear swimming pool was an invitation not to be missed by my little water-baby.

I know going on a honeymoon with children isn't everyone's cup-of-tea - but revisiting the location of ours with our kids was simply fantastic. Who knows what we'll all be doing in ten years time, maybe our children won't want to go anywhere with us by then, but I'm pencilling in Honeymoon Part III to Amalfi in my diary anyway. From here it looks like a fine idea.