The last supper for her one year old self saw Iz hit Frankie and Benny’s and proceed to demolish three courses, she would need her strength for that weekend to be fair, including a lovely looking chocolate brownie dessert that Charley Bear (thanks to Julia and Grant) didn’t get a look in at.
Part of the Saturday was spent buying food and drink, somehow I think Sarah ended up visiting about three supermarkets, but Isabelle was more than happy to help pack at one of them (not that she helped bring it in from the car or put it away mind!)
My mum and dad also arrived the day before the party for some catch up time with Iz and I think my dad was pleasantly surprised, nay delighted, that she took to them both staright away whereas in the past its taken Iz a while to get in the Granddad and Nana swing of things, no such worry this time round.
To be fair to Iz, I think its a huge dollop of her growing up and becoming more aware of both who she is and others around her and also seeing and speaking to my mum and dad both on the phone and via Skype.
Iz also got a prelude of what was to come and she tried out one of her presents, inbetween the showers of rain, a see saw, which she loved from the first sit on it.
Soon though it was time to think about rocking herself to sleep as Iz went to bed aged one for the very last time and technically would wake up as a two year old (okay, so she wasn’t born until 10:26 am but who is counting).
One year old Isabelle Jane Newman, you’ve certainly been testing and caused tiredness at times but you’ve been far more of a pleasure than a pain that is for sure and are changing on a daily basis. Sleep tight x
It may just look like a little girl walking down the stairs, but it is so much more, it is a girl growing up and growing with confidence with each and every step and us as parents growing with pride with each and every day.
I’ve kissed her goodbye in a morning, after she has had to kiss Missy as well of course, can’t leave without saying goodbye to Missy, hundreds of times before but it felt a little bit different that morning, a bit more chatter, a bit more animated, growing up before us with each and every step that she takes down the stairs
The day before the day before Isabelle’s second birthday marked her final day in little nursery before she graduated into the ‘big room’. She has come on in leaps and bounds since going to nursery and has been dipping her toe in the big room for sometime to get her used to it and the older children, but today was that day that was to be the end of a happy era but as you can see she wasn’t fazed or fussed about the beginning of her next big adventure…and nor should she be, Isabelle Newman, taking the whole world on the other side of that door one stair step at a time.
“Take me to the beach”, so warbled All Saints, with their song, Pure Shores, that acompanied the Danny Boyle directed ‘The Beach’. Swansea may not have been Thailand but you know what, as we walked up and down every twist and turn of the path as we headed to our sandy destination, each new reveal of coast was more impressive than the last.
The expanse of rock, sand and surf, which drew lots of folks with boards, was made all the more fantastic by the sun deciding to make a special appearance at Langland, near Swansea in South Wales.
We were visiting our friends Alison and Mark, who were lucky enough to have the use of some rather lovely beach huts which look over the sea and this rather lovely stretch of the Gower Peninsula.
Of course, it wasn’t long before we hit the beach, complete with buckets and spades.
The day before Evie and Isabelle had been drawn to water in the form of puddles, today it was in the shape of the sea which they could soon be found racing towards…and Isabelle could sound be found sans trousers and just in her nappy and top, not that she ever let such a small thing as clothes stop her from doing anything!
Living in Southend-on-Sea (a trade descripton in terms as the Sea section is in actual fact the Thames Estuary – which to be fair Southend-on-Estuary doesn’t exactly have the same ring or fit on postcards quite so snuggly) we have rather got used to the sight of chimney stacks on our sea horizon and our pebbled beaches.
But this was something else entirely, this was a delightful assault on the senses and almost felt as if we had come across an undiscovered cove.
Never needing much of an excuse to let her (increasingly not so) little legs raceaway as fast as they will carry here, Isabelle mustered a pretty fine Chariots of Fire run across the beach homage, or should that be Highlander?
Despite the sun and blue skies (or should that be blew skies) it was still pretty windy, which no doubt is the reason I ended up catching a bit of colour.
Sarah even took to the sand, no mean feat as she is a well known hater of the gritty stuff when it gets between your toes etc. Still, anything for Isabelle.
Both Evie and Isabelle were pretty much inseperable all weekend and on the beach they could often be found being practically one another’s shadows – each one keeping up with the other no matter how fast they went or what direction they went in.
After sunning ourselves on the warm golden sand it was time to head back on up to the beach hut where we were fortunate – if that is indeed the right word – to witness the world premiere of a joint interpritive dance that could only be described as bucket dancing. See those handles twist through the air with the greatest of ease…sure to be an Olympic event by Rio 2016.
Taking a break from spinning round the pair then went back out and hit the sand, discovering the largest puddle – practically a lake by two year old standards – on the beach. Thankfully Isabelle didn’t feel the need to jump up and down in it, especially as we didn’t bring a change of clothes down to the beach.
Having worn themselves out Isabelle and Evie then needed to build ther energy back up with, what else, but some chocolate ice cream. They had to be quick off the mark those as it was the world’s fastest melting ice cream I had ever seen. Needless to say they loved it, even if it did get more than a little bit gloopy.
I took this moment of relative calm and relaxation to do do my best ‘Chief Brody’ impression and borrowed Alison and Mark’s binnoculars to scan the coast which is all part and parcel of doing proper dad stuff. I always remember remember my dad having a giant pair, we are talking the size of those you see in WW2 films, wherever we went on holiday.
Obviously I was doing more dad posing than scanning up and down the coast as I failed to spot the approaching bad weather which came in from practically nowhere!
After spending all day sharing magnetic numbers and letters (okay sharing that might be stretching it a little at times)…
It was perhaps unsurprising that Isabelle and Evie ended up sharing a bath and bubbles as they headed towards bed time, unfortunately they would also share waking each other up and causing tiredness in their mums and dads as well. I’m also not sure how much water remained in the bath.
I guess that makes them Sister Act 2: Back in the Bad Habits!
Wisely, Ruby, Alison and Mark’s dog, stayed well away from all the commotion and decided to just look all lovely and cute on the bed.
Okay, so she is minus the high powered automatic weopon and the Saville Row suit but Isabelle still manged to echo the poster for the last Bond flick, Quantum of Solace as she had a whale of a time on Southend beach last Friday.
Admittedly I don’t recall Daniel Craig moments later picking up a hand full of stones and then relish throwing them up in the air or then to try to proceed to eat them.
Isabelle and Evie have only met once before and that was only nearly a year ago at Isabelle’s christening. When we all visited Evie’s mum and dad, Alison and Mark, in South Wales I guess in retrospect there was no guarantee that both would hit it off, but hit it off they did and each could be found bringing both the best and the mischevious out in each other.
Virtually inseperable from the beginning it wasn’t long before the terrible twosome, well okay one is two and the other is nearly two, were busy scheming and plotting and running and chasing and generally having a ruddy good time.
The way they were both zipping up and down the front you’d think that it was the title sequence from Trainspotting, but I guess being in Wales we’d have to be more Twin Town.
Isabelle zipping here…
Evie zipping there…
Our first destination was Swansea Bay, being Wales it had of course rained so there were plenty of puddles, which was great news for both Iz and Evie who spent most of the time running up to each puddle and jumping up and down in them with great delight.
Despite being hundreds of miles away Southend never seemed too far away, even turning up on this sign!
At the end of this bracing sea front walk was lunch, which was yummy, and saw everyone, kids included, tucking into some lovely food…but what really got Isabelle and Evie really rather excited was the size and choice of desserts which we all more than walked off with the walk back up the “was it really this steep coming down?” hill.
And, just like they had shared their laughter, the puddles, their squeals of delight and the pizza that had come before it, they also shared a stonking great big piece of chocolate cake…
Not that they intended on sharing it with anyone one else of course!
We did of course share in their fun and in several splashes from their puddles as well.
We didn’t spot many parent and child bays on a recent shopping trip but we did find the perfect place to park Isabelle for a couple of hours…even though we weren’t quite sure where to put our pay and display sticker!
Rest assured, we were parked right next to this bay and she never left our sight but with Iz being asleep the image of her being parked up just amused me and yes, she was only there for the time it took to take the photo.
Last time we’d stopped at a hotel was the night before we flew on holiday last August. At that time Iz was crawling all over the floor, this time round she was a lot more independent.
The hotel in question was the Holiday Inn Express Southampton West and although we were staying there due to its close proximity to Peppa Pig World, Isabelle found it so much fun.
In fact to her this must have seemed like Hotel World with it long corridors, lift buttons to press, leaflets to pilfer (a future Countdown co-host methinks with the way she was taking one from the top and another from the bottom – er including the Cress Festival – surely that should have just been called the Crestival)
Sure, it wasn’t groundbreaking but it got big fat ticks in all the boxes that mattered in that it was clean, well maintained and the staff were always really helpful and happy. The breakfast also really helped to set ourselves up for the day ahead, one day Isabelle was a little bit too eager to get to her banana.
As we were at the hotel several days you saw an influx of new families come down to breakfast in the morning, their reason for being here clear, they all had children with something Peppa Pig in tow, such as bags, coats, clothes or toys.
Isabelle loved the lift, especially pressing the buttons that made doors open and close – carefully keeping her wandering fingers away from the alarm button.
She could often be found charging down the corridor toward the lift or, as soon as the door had pinged open, charging out of it into reception.
Although reception led to the entrance and the car park we had little to be worried about as Isabelle’s body weight wasn’t big enough to be recognised by the doors, which did mean she almost go ‘squished’ when she was dawdling on one occasion.
Iz also liked the fact the lobby had an ice machine, a cup full which we would take back for our drinks, well that was if we had any left after Isabelle decided that she’d rather like to have a go at eating it instead. Cheap date at the cinema then!
Her first love though had to be those oh so long corridors that she darted up and down, when not hiding in doorways and shouting boo!
Food wise, in the evening, they had a limited menu that you could order things off that were a tad expensive but they also gave you the option of local takeaways and handily placed menus in reception during the evening. We ate out but thought it was a really good idea and showed that they had thought about young families.
We were in a lovely and sunny (you can close your mouths now) part of South Wales at the weekend near Swansea. Isabelle loves her beaches and her running (I’ve yet to show her that scene from Chariots of Fire or Highlander where they run along the beach but I am sure she will love them), so that is exactly what she did.
In this particular still, Iz is in her nappy as her trousers had got wet in the sea, Isabelle looks more God-iz-lla like or Attack of the 50ft Toddler as she ‘towers’ over the ant-like people* below her.
*No Welsh people were hurt in the taking of this photo (or soon after taking it)