Just What Kind of Mother Are You? #weektoview

DSC02263Hope you had an amazing Easter break? Ours was great, although a huge challenge to juggle work and children. I really enjoyed just hanging out in Nottingham with the kids for once. It was a chance to reconnect, to recharge some flagging batteries and to rethink. Having worked hard on some travel blogging press trips as a family we kept our days out low key, and the photos too. Although we did go to one blogging event, Next’s Summer 14 for Kids day, more on that in another post. hello Continue reading

Will the Easter Rabbit come now that we have a greyhound?


Happy Easter!

Two traditions I hate to miss at Easter. Firstly the kids waking up to find chocolate eggs hidden all round the house, or in recent years, the caravan. No mean feat in a small space with a greyhound, but the Easter Rabbit is clearly both able to access caravans and give greyhounds a run for their money.

The kids were amazed to find eggs everywhere (and that Max hadn’t eaten them).

In fact the only rabbit injured was the tiny Lindt gold one that fell in our bed in the night and got squashed. Uncharacteristically, rough, tough Mister G cried when he found it.

Secondly egg rolling is a family tradition. It was big in Lancashire where my mum grew up.

You hard boil your egg and decorate it, then head for a big hill. Or the garden. You take turns to roll and see who can go the furthest.

Like my Dad I’ve always fought to go the furthest, be in the longest and still eat my egg. This year Miss L and I were ‘in’ the longest. Mr A and Mister G like the satisfaction of smashing theirs against the garden wall.

This year though, nothing was wasted, having been denied Easter rabbit and chocolate, Max was around to pick up any leftovers.

Happy Easter!

How did you celebrate?

One rainy Saturday a film crew appeared…


As part of our role as Carnival Cruise Lines funnest family we are making a series of little films with them about what it is like to go on a Cruise for the first time as a family. The first episode is all about meeting us as a family pre cruise.

Saturday saw it rain and rain, but we had tea and biscuits and a film crew to welcome into the Alexander Residence. Some members of the family took to filming like water off a duck’s back, for others – the one with the drama degree and PGCE in Drama and Media – it took a bit more effort. Continue reading

My weekend: Bouquets, cocktails and climbing the walls

I hit a wall at the weekend, we completely wore ourselves out at Lollibop and visiting my brother, his girlfriend and baby B in London. It was lovely to see their new flat and to hang out with them. They took us to see the dinosaurs in Crystal Palace.

Lollibop wasn’t quite the same as last year. We loved the Science and National Geographic tents, but we missed Regents Park as a lovely leafy venue, being able to lounge around more and just be entertained by street theatre. Still we had fun, made some memories and it was great to catch up with Gemma and Noo.

The kids slept on me on the train, all the way from St Pancras to Nottingham. We found the car in the dark station car park, empty of fuel, both us and the car. I hoped frantically it would at least make us to a petrol station. It did. Friday at 10pm I fell asleep on the sofa and didn’t leave it until Saturday lunchtime. I had reached a summer holiday wall.

Fortunately Mr A and I had our first night out in ages on Saturday night to look forward, a hot date it was too, I had an awesome gin and chilli cocktail in the Plaza cocktail bar, followed by a fab curry at 4550 Miles from Delhi, one of my favourite Indian restaurants in Nottingham.

On Sunday Mr A announced he had tonsillitis and so I was left a bit deflated at the thought of having to work my way through piles of washing and entertain the kids some more on my own, before our next adventure to see the Carnival cruise ship in Dover.

Then at around 5pm on Sunday my brother called. He asked me how my weekend was but I could tell he wasn’t really listening to my tales of washing woes. So I said, How was your weekend?

Brother – I’ve taken S away for her birthday, we’re having a lovely time, and guess what I asked her…

Me – You’re getting married?

Brother – Yes.

Me – Scream.

L – Why are you screaming Mummy?

Me – A and S are getting married!

L – I thought they were already married, how did they have a baby if they weren’t married?

Oh dear. the birds and the bees are swooping and buzzing closer.  But such wonderful news. I’m so proud of my little bro and excited to have a sister ‘officially’.

I’m off to choose some lovely surprises to greet them when they get home. I’m feeling much more like summer flowers and holidays again today. How about these? I never knew you could title a bouquet after a cocktail!

Linking up with:

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Switch on the Fun: The Alexanders are Carnival Cruise Lines’ funnest family

Carnival Cruise Lines have selected us to be their fun ambassadors. That is how we reacted. Then it sank in… This means a tough few weeks, all hands on deck, thoroughly testing out the fun factor of their cruise ships. It’s not a holiday of course, have you seen how gigantic and fun packed those ships are? Plus Carnival just spent 100 million on making Carnival Sunshine even more fun. Meaning even more ‘work’ for us. It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it.

I quote from the press release:

The family’s adventurous nature, good humour and travel experience will be put to good use trying out every aspect of life on board a Carnival cruise.

Reading between the lines you can see they intend to make us work hard at this fun. Carnival gave us a long list of things to test and rate, some of the most desirable locations in the world, the delicious cuisine, the luxury spa, the EA sports bar, award winning comedy, The Hasbro Game Show, the kid’s club, the pool, the waterworks, West End standard shows. Frankly I think we are going to have our work cut out with all this fun.

Fortunately we’re no lily livered land lubbers and are quite accustomed to life on board a ship. I think with our newly purchased cruise attire we’re going to blend in perfectly with life on board. That or Carnival Sunshine won’t know what’s hit it.

Shall we plan a stop to pick you up? Barcelona? Venice? Sicily? Rome? Marseilles? Athens?

Joking aside, we’re absolutely over the moon about this chance to take our kids around the world, I can’t imagine a more painless way to take a 4 and a 6 year old to sightseeing around Europe, and further afield. We’ll be visiting Carnival Sunshine next week in Dover and doing a bit of a rekkie. Later this year we’ll be embarking on a cruise on board the newly revamped Carnival Sunshine, around the Mediterranean, taking in the amazing sights of Greece, Croatia, Italy, France and Spain.

Our second cruise will be to the Caribbean, onboard the Carnival Breeze, where we can fully indulge our love of all things piratey.

We’re excited about having some time together as a family, and perhaps as a couple, as I think the kids are going to love the kid’s club. Mr A has worked in video games all his working life so I think he will be well placed to test the EA sports bar and the Hasbro Game Show. I’m excited about the shows, the spa and the international cuisine, I also fancy trying out the running track, running at sea, mad right!

The kids are looking forward to all a boat has to offer, especially the swimming and waterworks. We’ve not quite managed to communicate how big a cruise ship is, the River Trent doesn’t offer many big boats:

L: Is it bigger than that one Mummy?.

Me: Lots, it’s like a hotel, a leisure centre, a kid’s club, a disco, a theatre, lots of cafes and pubs, on a boat.

L: All on the same boat?

Me: All on the same boat.

L: That’s big.

Me: Huge.

Follow our antics over on Carnival’s facebook page!

About Carnival

Carnival is “The World’s Most Popular Cruise Line®” with 24 ships operating three- to 16-day voyages to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, NewEngland, Europe, Panama Canal, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Norway, the Baltic and the British Isles. The company’s 25th ship, the Carnival Vista, a 135,000-ton vessel, is scheduled for delivery in winter 2016. www.carnival.co.uk


We came, we saw, we conquered, Camp Bestival 2013


This was our second year at Camp Bestival and we still found loads of new things to keep us busy. I think it took us longer to get into the festival mood this year, Mr A and I had less time to switch off from work, and the kids being older, wiser and more used to the site, had very strong ideas about what they wanted to do which caused some frictions. (TIP: On Friday everyone is fresh faced and wants to do everything, so there are more queues and people, so try to save some things for other days!)


No I will not wait ’til Sunday when it is quieter to make slime in the Science tent Mummy!

But I always think festivals are a winding down, transformative kind of ritual, and by Sunday breakfast, Camp Bestival’s magical work on us was complete, look: Continue reading

We’ve come a long, long way together. Mr A and I celebrate 15 years.

15 years ago I walked into a pub in my home town with my best mate from school. We’d finished Uni and had enough of signing on and applying for jobs, we wanted to let our hair down. We spotted a Mr A, who we’d known for years, he was up from London dog sitting for his Mum. We dragged him to a club and the rest is history. Continue reading

An amazing Cornish wedding

We went to an amazing wedding in Cornwall at the weekend. The groom is a good friend, and colleague of Mr A who goes back to our Brighton days. The bride, one of the self-titled WAGS, the gang of gorgeous girls I befriended when we all found ourselves following our other halves to new lives in Nottingham a few year’s back. They are a lovely couple, the sort of people you would happily drive to the end of the UK for, which is lucky, as that is what we did. Continue reading

Two tales of Legoland…30 years and 30 minutes #maddayout

That’s my Dad in Miniland at Legoland Windsor, Father’s Day 2013.

That’s my Dad in Miniland, Denmark c1984.

My photography skills improved a little, or maybe it’s just technology.

It meant a lot to take my Dad to Legoland, nearly 30 years on. To take my kids, just a little bit younger than I was when I went. To take a glimpse into my own childhood, to remember and be reminded how it felt to be a child and to see being a parent in a whole new light.  Continue reading