Stars in Their Iz: Guinness ad homage is pure genius

How it came about, I’m not really sure, but somehow Isabelle ended up jumping over both Sarah and I laying on the bed. She loved it in some crazy Evel Knievel style way, thankfully stopping short of jumping over the pair of us on fire for the added danger (us on fire not Iz).

Iz certainly floated through the air with the greatest of ease…with a rather spectacular landing, which she managed to carry off again and again, hitting her mark each and everytime.

Her prepping and getting ready for the perfect moment to leap reminded me of the classic Guinness advert with the surfers and the horses in the waves from 1998, which has to be one of the best adverts ever. With that in mind I decided to pay homage to that very advert, right down to the moody black and white.

Okay, so instead of the pint of Guinness glass I used an empty drinks cup with the lid acting as the head and black paper representing the pint. Does that make Sarah and I the horses? Here is the classic original that still packs an adrenaline punch today.

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Raid-Iz of the Lost Superm-Ark-et

raidersShe may not have been wearing the brown leather jacket or the fedora but Iz certainly had a bullwhip cracking good time on a short jaunt to the supermarket.

She rode on the front of our trolley just like the intrepid Indiana Jones hanging on the front of the Mercedes truck in Raiders of the Lost Ark (minus the being thrown through the windscreen bit that saw him get there in the first place of course).

She was continuing a long-standing family tradition (sort of) as my brother and I had hung off one of the actual trucks at some war film vehicle display attraction when we were younger – and yes, I do have photos somewhere. Knowing me we probably ‘threw’ each other out of the window as well.

imagesCAXXRIKKBack to the supermarket trolley, I unfortunately just wasn’t quick enough to snap Iz produce her skipping rope and perform the Yakima Canutt Stagecoach-inspired stunt, where Iz climbs down the front of a moving trolley, slides to the back end of the moving trolley dragged along by her rope, and climbs onto the back of the trolley. Cue Raid-Iz March.

untitledAsking Iz whether she’d planned such an elaborate stunt all along, she shrugged her shoulders and said: “I’m making this up as I go along.”

Coming soon: Isabelle Newman and the Tesco of Doom?

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Easter…the time of miracles

izdressThe miracle in question was getting Isabelle in a dress!

I don’t think we’ve seen Iz in a dress since we went on the cruise last year but she was quite happy striking a pose on the runway (read that as the travelator at Sainsburys) as if she were about to board a plane to some sunny clime (we wish).

She’d spotted the girls next door wearing pretty dresses so wanted to do the same and was keen to don her pretty flower dress, which she also wore to hospital to brighten up Grandma’s day when we went to go and see her.

Naturally, she accessorized it with her Anxious the Elephant and a pair of matching blue sunglasses. Not sure what Joan Rivers would have made of it but it got the thumbs up from us.

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The slipper and the rose

photoI asked Isabelle if she could fetch my slippers from the living room and this is how they – well one of them at least – were presented.

She bounded down the hallway Rhubarb and Custard style with single slipper dangling from her mouth, I can confirm that there were no teeth marks in it though.

Looking at the picture though Iz is more Fred Bassett meets the girl crawling out of the TV in The Ring.

Iz was soon tucked up in her bed, no doubt dreaming of chasing rabbits or something, whilst I hobbled round Verbal Kint-like looking for my missing slipper.

The greatest trick my daughter ever pulled was convincing the world that my right foot slipper never existed.

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Daley Inspiration

IMG_6060Isabelle loves swimming and her swimming lessons so much that she is practically The Newman From Atlantis, minus the webbed feet and hands you understand.

What she has done in her one-to-one lessons in nine weeks is nothing short of amazing (much doffing of swimming cap to her teacher, Nicky) as she is now swimming lengths in the big pool without her armbands. That’s right, to paraphrase Westlife, she’s swimming without wings.

Now, as mentioned previously, she generally splashes about (faster than lightning) in the diving pool and this was where she could be found this week.

It’s been used for practice by some of the celebs in this series of Splash! and last week Sarah and Iz saw Perry from Diversity and some of the rest of the er ‘crew’ including Ashley Banjo.

This week though, it was the main main himself. No, not Vernon silly, Tom, Tom Daley.

Sarah recounted that when she saw him she blurted out his name in full, one of those things you only seem to do with famous people.

The Rocketeer meets Louie Spence

The Rocketeer meets Louie Spence

Anyway, Tom, who was fully clothed I hasten to add, was marvelling at how good a swimmer Iz was for someone so young and how cute she looked in her little outfit and goggles.Sarah politely asked for his autograph for Iz (yeah right), ironically I’d have been asking for his boyfriend’s autograph with him being a screenwriter and all.

Unsurprisingly Tom was charming, down to earth and just really genuine and even though I wasn’t there I just thought it was lovely that he took the time to compliment one of the next gen of swimmers.

He was particularly impressed that she was swimming in such deep water, being the diving pool they’d not closed ‘the floor’ (it opens Tracy Island style for when people are diving – minus Thunderbird 1 blasting out of it) and it was over five metres in depth.

I’m sure it’s a (extend, tuck) drop in the ocean as he must make nice encouraging, positive comments to lots of swimmers but he made a real Splash! with Iz…well, I say that but she was kind of more interested in her post-swim Curly Wurly (sorry Tom), but I know it is something she will cherish in the future and no doubt clock him come Saturday night when he’s stood atop his diving board.

tom-daley1_2308057c[1]And whatever you think of the programme, it and he are certainly inspiring more people to get back in the pool. Perhaps it will only be a matter of time then before someone brings back ‘We Are The Champions’. Everybody in the pool!

Thanks Tom.

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Form Your Eyes Only: primary school applications

We gave our school form our best bash

We gave our school form our best bash

Ah, primary school forms…they make UCAS forms and job applications look like small fry. Or that is how it feels, perhaps it is because we are making decisions for someone else’s future and not our own? I guess that’s where with great parental power comes great responsibility…

We’ve done the touring round local schools, asked the intelligent questions and sat on chairs where our knees touched our chins.

As far as I was aware, back in my day (my day being back in infant school when you still did PE in vest and pants – er Tom Baker pants as I recall) it was that just that you went to the school nearest to you…not so these days.

dr_who_pants[1]It really is like looking round houses or prospective universities though as you get to absorb each classroom, corridor and corner of the playground. Some of them you know whether they have that certain vibe straight away but it’s always worth comparing and contrasting them all as school has just changed sooooo much since we were last there – and Tom Baker pants aside details are a tad foggy.

And certainly we saw some that seemed really good, but one really was head, shoulders, knees and toes above the competition and ticked each and every box. It didn’t just fulfil expectations it far exceeded them.

Well, we’ve now filled our form in (ahead of deadline, which was a good thing as it seemed to be bursting under pressure – we had to fill the ruddy thing about four times after getting it oh so perfect first time) and reasons for our first choice and now have about three months to find out whether we, and more importantly Iz, gets her first choice at the school that we think will be best for her.

And, working in education, I know it just doesn’t all boil down to Ofsted reports and the like, it’s the whole package.

At this school, the head teacher knew every child’s name and they all wanted to give the head teacher a hug or read to them, and the head had genuine time for each and every one of them.

You almost couldn’t have scripted it, it reminded of those scenes in Groundhog Day where Bill Murray knows everyone and can just do anything.

People say that a Head can make a school and I think we actually experienced that phenomena throughout our whole tour, it was practically infectious and was far from an act. In marked contrast in other schools we went round the Heads felt like snow queens – sure they were pleasant enough and said the sort of right things that we wanted to hear and find out about but there was just a certain something missing – in comparison. There was just no interaction with students, they just seemed slightly more feared than revered.

The other rather rubbish foot that one of the schools started off on was that we buzzed to be let in and was let into a fairly open school with no conversation, no asking who we were or what we were there for. They had never met us, not even asked us for our names and that didn’t really smack of a great environment.

imagesCA2ZMWGYFrom then on in it really was a bit like the dissolving skull and heartbeat from Knightmare as confidence was eroded by one thing and another, from not having trips for swimming lessons (I mean really, and in a seaside town as well. shame on them they didn’t deem it of importance) to having no green space.

Well, the form is in now in, our reasons for our first choice in black and white and soon we shall know where we shall be dropping Iz off from September.

It’s hard to believe that in less than nine months she will be starting proper school and growing up so fast. Like everything else she will no doubt take it all in her increasingly long leg stride…

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Isabelle makes a splash!

The Rocketeer meets Louie Spence

The Rocketeer meets Louie Spence

As reported in Pool-Iz Academy, Isabelle had been having swimming lessons in a small group. The first week was great, as reported, but after that both Iz and I were pretty much left to our own (floating) devices and felt like a spare arm(band).

This continued for the remainder of the lessons after promises things would get better so we voted with our kicking feet and left after our paid sessions were up…and dived straight into one-to-one lessons at Southend Tennis and Leisure Centre.
It just so happens that this is also one of the locations for the celebrity training in the second series of Splash! with Tom Daley , with the training action taking place in the very pool that the celebs were hurling/falling into as if they’d been shot.
Iz exclaimed ‘that’s my pool’, but was clear she wasn’t doing any jumping off diving boards just yet…perhaps February.
I actually saw Isabelle swimming in her new location for the first time this week – as you can see she is going for a whole The Rocketeer meets Louie Spence vibe – and she has come on in leaps and bounds compared to exactly the same period with the other people.
And she is already swimming without armbands, with her head in the water and doing the backstroke unaided, so she has really come on in leaps and bounds, or should that be strokes and bobs?
Iz may not have been making a splash on TV but she certainly did with me a she was just so full of smiles and energy. She was really loving each and every second in the pool and certainly wouldn’t have looked out of place on Splash!, giving TOWIE’s Gemma Collins a run for her money with her very own glamorous outfit.
From crash

From splash…to crash

It was all change though when we got home and Iz was soon nice and snug in her Sophia the First PJs zonked out with her Anxious the Elephant and the Snowdog on the sofa.

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