Category Archives: Year Two

Don’t stop her now, she’s having such a good time

As Isabelle races toward her third birthday (adopts best Professor Robert Winston sounding voice of authority) she is really beginning to explore and enjoy the world around her as she experiments with a whole host of new experiences.

She’s like The Bionic Woman meets Peter Duncan via seemingly the whole of Charlie’s Angels, although like all little girls she can be far from and angel and something of a little devil at times as well.

Nothing, but nothing seems to faze her and she is virtually unstoppable. As the song goes there ain’t no mountain high enough and seemingly ain’t no river long enough. Those valleys had probably better watch their backs as well!

She’s like a little Lara Croft meets future Blue Peter presenter and it’s just a joy to watch her taking on the world one increasingly confident step at a time. Iz has come on in quite literally leaps and bounds this past 12 months and its truely exciting to see what new adventures she and we shall encounter over the coming 12 months.



Live and let’s slide

IMG_3121The giant inflatable slide at the park dominated the fair, as it steadily rose into the sky at was almost as it it was breathing by its own accord.

It was a beast of a slide and Isabelle didn’t want to slay it as such, she wanted to lay on it. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any bigger, it did, especially as you stared up its staircase.

Such things weren’t going to stop Isabelle, in her mind clearly inflatable slides were there to be climbed and slid down and who can argue with that.

And so, like someone taking on Everest, Isabelle began her ascent. Okay so the stakes might not have been massive, she didn’t need oxygen or anything but once the money was paid, there was no refund, slide scaled or not.

We watched with genuine baited breath as Iz steadily made her way up her multi-coloured mountain. She slowly but surely made her way up, slipping and sliding a few times but undetered she came back fighting and triuphantly, like Rocky atop his Philadelphia steps, made it.

IMG_3135The whole episode was perhaps more akin to that scene in For Your Eyes Only where Roger Moore has to climb up the monastery but I don’t think that film ended ended up with him going weeeeeeeeeee down a ruddy great slide.

Of course reaching the top was only the first part of it, we ha no guarantee that she’d slide down the giant drop in front of her, think Harrison Ford waiting on top of that dam in The Fugitive.

Like Dr Richard Kimble Iz went for it. There may have been no Tommy Lee Jones waiting at the top but at the bottom there was a police woman who let out an audible gasp as Iz threw herself down the slide. I certainly didn’t spot any one-armed men!

IMG_3133She went for it again and again and again, tiring and slowing down each time she went for the big climb, helpfully given a leg up onto the stairs as her energy got zapped.

IMG_3130Like the Duracell bunny she kept going and going and although her energy may have been waning the wide grin on her face as she reached the bottom was a constant.

A fair to remember

IMG_3081Fairgrounds, I know it’s my own warped mind but they’ve always reminded me of Todd Browning’s Freaks with their carnival-esque atmosphere or The Lost Boys.

Isabelle’s first foray to the fair is likely to forever evoke memories a very different kind, that of planes, trains and automobiles – no not the Steve Martin and John Candy film but more they were the types of rides that attracted her like a moth to a flame.

Okay, so teacups aren’t exactly a mode of everyday transport, no doubt that’ll be part of the next series of Top Gear, but that was the first ride of choice.

And Iz pretty much had all the run of the fair initially as it had just opened for its afternoon session – like being at Michael Jackson’s Neverland with none of the potential downsides!

IMG_3105She was mightily impressed with the spinning qualities of the crockery-inspired ride but that was merely a prologue for her taking to the skies – of sorts – in a plane.

Iz really enjoyed it as it ‘soared’ in the sky. She picked the Cars inspired one over all the typically girly ones but she did look rather magnificent in her flying machine.

IMG_3116From a car inspired plane then to the real deal. These cars were great as they didn’t just go round and round they simulated slewing or drifting round corners, which I think judging by Isabelle’s squeals of delights rather took her by surprise initially.

She still squealed and yelped each time it happened, more the fastened in and the almost furious I guess. And of course it was no accident that she picked a red car as she wanted to be just like her mummy and daddy.

IMG_3120Isabelle was then her own transport down a giant, and I mean in must wear crampons sense, inflatable slide. More on that in my next post.

Post hurtling down to earth at great speed Iz then rounded of her very first visit to the fair with a gentle safari train ride. She went for the carriage with the lions on it…I say it was her final ride of the day, but Iz saved the best ride for last, up on her dad’s shoulders.

The following bedtime story will self destruct in 10 seconds…

Mission Impossible Jim Phelps briefing 6 tape recorder self destructs[1]Ah, the bedtime story, I love them…reading them I mean, although I do have some dim and distant memory of my mum reading Ian Fleming’s The Spy Who Loved Me of all things!

Isabelle’s favourite book (at the time of going to press) isn’t Bond but he is a bounder, The Highway Rat to be precise, by children’s laureate Julia Donaldson, who also gave us the likes of The Grufallo and Room on the Broom.

I’d dug my old dictaphone out and when reading Isabelle The Highway Rat the other night I recorded myself as I did it – for once managing not to actually yawn whilst reading it, it wasn’t boring it’s just reading bedtime stories makes me, well, tired – and thought that might come in handy at some point as Iz sometimes likes her books reading a couple of times.

Turns out I didn’t have to wait very long to try it out on her. It reminded me a little of miming in Church or at school assembly – people always got caught out as they just opened and closed their mouthes like fishes none of this miming to the words lark.

Anyway I read it through once and then Iz wanted it again so I raised the book and pressed play, pausing when Iz asked me a question…I then played it again for good measure as she wasn’t quite asleep. I felt a little bit bad as I wasn’t er, reading live (it’s not as if I was on Top of the Pops) and even lip-synched a couple of times when I was ‘reading’ it to Iz when she could see my face.

How long it will be before I get rumbled I don’t know…we certainly won’t take it as far as Mission: Impossible with fake rubber masks of me for someone else to wear or clothes stuffed full of balloons to look like me…promise.

Cinema Parad-iz-o

IMG_1619The flickering light in the darkness, the giant images, the noise from all around, once it grabs you the power of the cinema never lets you go. It certainly never did for me, first cutting my cinematic going teeth on Spiderman Strikes Back in the late 70s, a time when people could still smoke in the cinema (I used to marvel how it all used to gather and gravitate toward the path of the projector) and time before Um Bongo adverts (they drink it in the Congo don’t you know).

Walking down the dimly lit main corridor before going through the screen doors – it was lit like the corridors in Westworld – I had the same feeling I got building inside when I’m entering for a new Bond film, walked into Universal – it was like the slow mo The Right Stuff moment.

Now it was my daughter’s time to enter into the darkness and light of the cinema screen, her first trip, a defining moment as – like James Spader when he puts his face into the Stargate – she entered into the auditorium and another world, the world of movies.

As we passed through the double doors into the momentary darkness a tracking shot followed Iz until the seemingly inert grey rectangle screen opened to us and revealed the whole cinema. Suitably epic in scope – cinema scope – we entered just as a suite from Lord of the Rings kicked into motion. For a moment it was as if it was only playing in my head. As we took to the climb to our stairs and to our seats, to Gladiator, it couldn’t have been better choreographed by Danny Boyle. We had arrived and Isabelle’s cinema experience had just faded in…

Smash cut to Iz sat happily in her seat and happily mixing the genres of popcorn and Cadbury’s buttons as they nestled melting atop her sweet popcorn sat between Sarah and I. I’d always wanted Isabelle’s first cinematic experience to be one that meant something, one that was deemed a classic film, as I’d foreshadowed in a blog entry before Iz was born as I think these moments can be life-defining. Here is that very entry, With Great Parental Power Comes Great Cinematic Responsibility.

As such, and because we didn’t quite know whether she was ready for the big screen treatment, we took Iz to the Saturday morning kid’s club screening of Finding Nemo at the Empire Cinema at Basildon Festival Leisure Park. Fittingly she even took to a ‘submarine’ before we went into the screen.


Needless to say Iz loved the whole experience and she may have got a little restless towards the close of the film but she really loved it and gasped and jumped and laughed at all the right places and it was just great to be able to share that moment with her. I think I was probably watching her and her reactions as much as I was the film.

IMG_1624As with all good films, it came to an end all too quickly. As we returned, bleary eyed, back into the daylight of our world we were greeted by cardboard standees of Mike and Sully advertising Monsters University. Iz happily posed with the pair, already being a big fan of the first film, already sowing the seeds of the sequel to her first cinematic experience.

Tour De Westcliff

IMG_1535And so the Tour De France starts tomorrow, Iz loves her little bike and takes to the park whenever she gets chance. She’s not exactly Street Hawk or BMX Bandits level yet but she certainly enjoys getting those wheels in motion.

I do love the fact that she is wearing her Muppets t-shirt though as it conjures images of Kermit and Piggy in a London park on their bikes in The Great Muppet Caper.

We’ve got a looooong hallway and she even sometimes insists on going up and down it, which never fails to evoke memories of The Omen or The Shining!

IMG_1537Back to the park, you can really see her determination as the grown man next to her ‘races’ her. To be fair Iz never was a great fan of the colour yellow!

Perhaps she’d have been a little quicker if Anxious the Elephant hadn’t been hitching a ride.

Let sleeping dogs lie

IMG_1606Not if they are on my bed I’m ruddy not! Is perhaps Isabelle’s answer, she might not let them lay on their own but she’ll quite happily have a big old cuddle with them, next to them or nearly on top of them as Missy found out one morning earlier this week.

IMG_1604Again, donning another pair of sunglasses indoors, I blame Psy myself or ‘Style man’ as Isabelle refers to him, Iz was disturbing some of Missy’s early morning sun worship and just generally disturbing the dog.

The two are inseperable though and you won’t ever find Iz leaving the house or going to bed without giving Missy a smacker on the top of her head and a giant cuddle to depart with. It looks as if Iz might have even brought a spare pair of sunglasses for her to don, perhaps she was aiming for an MIB or Jake and Elwood vibe. I don’t know about The Blues Brothers but Missy looks more like a far from amused sister.


Keep cool and carry on

IMG_1554Isabelle may have exuded sheer coolness when we headed into town recently, complete with her ever-growing range of sunglasses, today Minnie Mouse, but soon we all needed a bit of a cool down. Sarah and I plumped for iced coffees and Iz made a bee line for ice-cream topped off with a flake (naturally).

Clearly taking her dessert consumption seriously I think when it comes to eating ice-cream Iz has certainly got it licked!

A shaggy dog story

IMG_1525Isabelle loves her Missy and she loves her books so it was only really going to be a matter of time before the two were flung together.

Here Iz can be seen in her bedroom reading Missy extracts from her latest book. I’m not so sure that Missy is that fussed to be honest about what the story is, she only really looks at the pictures anyway!

IMG_1520I believe Missy is something of a fan of fantasy novels, especially since her favourite sleeping companion is a Unicorn, perhaps that is what Missy had been growing on her head before she had her operation?