Thursday, 26 July 2012

Childhood - Blog Hop

Despite also struggling with anything on the social media front I am willing to give this one a go for a good cause (see

I was lucky enough to have a fantastic childhood & since my siblings are the ones also blogging on this I thought it worth mentioning a few of the tales that made it so special...

Was it that both of them convinced me that there existed a certain 'Mr Winkle'. A little friendly man (not unlike a borrower I suppose) who lived under the radiator for about 4 years of my life up until the age of about 5 (yes I was quite naive as a child).

Or that my big sister and her husband ('to be' at that point) let me walk about with a condom blown up telling me it was a balloon on holiday (until Mum firmly told me take it back to them, only years later did I get why, wrong on so many levels).

Or that my brother (probably after years of learning from the master) used to give me a 5 second head start up the stairs before running after me with a rolled up tea towel as a weapon. Even now if G Kisby runs up the stairs behind me I instinctively turn round and stop.

Being the youngest meant that I was teased and ridiculed but all that aside I wouldn't swap my family and my childhood for the world. I sadly have only a few memories of my Dad since he died when I was little but Mum did an amazing job of bringing me up on her own and, I hope, passing on to me lots of what was important to our Dad. 

I am often reflective nowadays about what makes a good childhood and how we can ensure Mabel is safe, happy and secure. And who am I kidding, advanced for her age! 

Whilst in France the book I was reading described a parent trying to keep her child safe during war time. I read it too late one night & then couldn't sleep thinking of how on earth you would manage in such a situation. 

And I am lucky enough just to have a sleepless night. I am definitely more troubled and upset by the thought of any kind of child poverty since becoming a Mum. It is another thing which brings everything else into context.

The purpose of the blog hop is to highlight the gulf in differences between our own childhoods and those of youngsters around the world who don’t even know the meaning of the word childhood, let alone share in any of the joys each one should include as a guaranteed minimum entitlement. Surely a cause worth supporting...
As part of the campaign, every £1 donated will be matched by DFID so there really is no better time to donate than today, and it’s dead easy, just follow this link … Word Vision – Single Gifts

Hope I have done this last blog hop bit right...

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Good Moaning

Do you have to have a point for a blog post? Still playing the rookie card I'm wondering.

We were gathered around the ping pong table at the Gite complex this evening, exchanging pleasantries with other holiday makers from as far afield as Scotland (Ayrshire nonetheless Granny) and Ireland whilst tucking into our hosts' complimentary sparkling wine and gala pie, when... Ok, to clarify we are not on a complex - we are staying in one of four converted outbuildings in the grounds of the owner's house - but yes, we were congregated around a ping pong table (far too underused this holiday, my topspin will be going rusty at this rate) on the invitation of Marie, our lovely host for the week. She had asked everyone to join them for drinks and homemade nibbles, one of which was sausage meat and egg in a delicious pastry crust. Gala pie?

This was one of those occasions when you're a bit cautious. You definitely don't want to be the first ones there and you hope it isn't going to be awkwardly formal. And it wasn't. It would have made a better blog if it was. But during it someone commented on Mabel's extensive vocabulary (ok, they sighed under their breath about how she wittered on and on and on, constantly asking 'what's that?') and I made a comment which in some quarters may be bracketed with other 'dad comments': "Well, you should see her asking about the horses in the next field, she sounds like the policeman off of 'Allo Allo. Arses! Arses, are you?"! For those of you that need this transcribing it's obviously "Horses, where are you?", it just feels like it should be prefaced with "I was just pissing by the window".

Enough of that, today we went to the Loire Valley's answer to Knowsley Safari Park (but a bit like the substitute version when all you've got to fill the fields are countless 'different' breeds of deer). I let Mabes drive the car (perfectly legal if you're driving at less than 30km/hr) and everyone had a good time. The premise here is that you drive a bit and then you walk/ride a bit. Laughing in the face of sleep yet again we decided to cut our losses on the pram walk and hire bikes instead. If she doesn't want to sleep now when it's convenient for us we'll make it impossible for her to sleep all day. Not true - see below.

Plus, I returned from this morning's boulangerie trip, handed deux baguettes to my child through the window then walked round to the front door to be met with this. A girl after my own heart.

No real point to any of this but still...

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

G Kisby says hello...

Now, there's a lot of pressure on me as I enter the blogging world.

Unfortunately it is not the pressure of being better at spelling and punctuation than Nelly (Mabel's now proof reading her posts) or of being a better writer (I'm nigh on a professional journalist, check out that 15 word intro - I'd get a job at The Sun, no sweat). No, I'm under pressure to be funny. Not a situation I normally find myself in, let alone when the competition is my wife. For years I have lived with 'I reckon I could do stand-up' or 'man, sometimes I make myself laugh' coming at me from the other end of the sofa and I've rarely returned comment but now it feels like I'm Crowe in Gladiator or something. So I'm just not going to be funny.

The thing is I don't really have anything that makes me suitable for blogging. If I was left to my own devices I'd spend Saturday morning cleaning the house, Saturday afternoon watching Soccer Saturday and Saturday night eating curry. Which is pretty dull. Nelly asked me to blog throughout Nelly's Eggs but she was dead good at it so I didn't feel I could add anything. However, like any discussion with a Bryce woman I lost. You always lose, never have a discussion with them. So here I am.

We're in France which I've always juggled with Devon as my favourite place in the world. Lots of similarities - nice to look at, nice food, nice drink, bit more sun than Hudds - but as Devon appeared to be on floodwatch this week I think we made the right choice. Plus, France has the bread. With Nutella in the morning? Oh yes. Normally we're in France (replace with anywhere really) with one of the other Bryce women in my life, Fee, plus Al and the boys. In said scenario we all have very distinct roles - Fee and I sort stuff out and Nelly and Al sing Disney. This always involves Fee and I going to the supermarket on day one and stocking up as many trollies as we can humanely push around L'Eclerc - one with cheese and salami and the rest with BWS (sorry, I work for a supermarket). Without my shopping buddy I was left to my own devices but old habits die hard. Turns out buying a 1kg jar of chocolate spread for a 6 day jaunt because 'the boys eat most of it' just will not wash and I now have to drink my weight in Beer D'Or just to prove that I did need that much.

We have had a great time in the first three days - it's a far cry from getting up at 5am to go to work for 12 hours - but I won't repeat the tales Nelly has already regaled you with. She gets the good days I get the challenging ones. Today we went to a garden exhibition. Which was far better than it sounds. And I'd hope so too at ten pound a pop. Nelly and I went five years ago when we were jobless bums touring France in Billy Punto and it was quite interesting. I'll call it garden art. Anyway, there's a children's garden and what we thought would be all sorts of sensory experiences for the Mabes. Trouble is I think we over-stimulated her (for a change) so that every time she had to come out of a 'garden' she did so kicking and screaming and often slapping me in the face with alternate hands. This is tricky when you only have one hand free to block. We called it a day early and fed her cheese crackers all the way home just to keep her happy.

I've just made coq au vin and am well on the way to finishing the bottle I was forced to open to cook with. Debut over. I'm blogging from a blogger app but can't figure out how to stick photos in the middle of text so they'll all have to be tagged on at the end, sorry. A couple of the garden extravaganza and one of some cute girl in a pool...

Monday, 16 July 2012

En vacance

This week we are in France in the beautiful Loire Valley. Surprisingly for us the journey here was relatively plain sailing, or should I say flying. Unbelievably we managed to get a spare seat next to us on the plane which then arrived 30 mins earlier than scheduled. When does that ever happen? When you land in a field in Tours at an airport that literally only receives one commercial flight a day.
Luckily our wonderfully helpful hosts had pre booked us a taxi since there was no car hire from the airport ( found out after booking, obviously) and the bus I planned for us to get went to the wrong train station. Could have been our usual near disaster I feel. And we couldn't have just got a taxi since said field did not have the usual all hours taxi rank that city girl presumed it would.

However, we arrived safely and cannot recommend our gite / the little congregation of gites highly enough ( if interested). Exceptionally clean and heated pool with glass dome that they remove if sunny, gorgeous local cheese, bread, wine etc. upon arrival at our lovely gite (gaz pulled rank on the cheese front, think the mould and lack of any real label was a step too far and I couldn't even do my normal, "it says pasteurised". Though I did pop a slice of some sort of local meat in my mouth before that was vetoed also). Marie, the owner, cannot do enough for us including ringing local restaurants to check they have a high chair and choosing us a selection of leaflets for age relevant attractions for when we arrived. An hours drive from the airport and an hours flight from the UK! Yes I should work for the tourist board!

The only slight hiccup was that the cigarette lighter didn't work in the hire car so no sat nav. I sent G Kisby back in to complain (I am too polite/ rubbish of course) but they had no other cars. He returned saying we would just have to follow signs for the nearest big place.
"Oh my God are you serious?" came my response. Driving out of a city on the wrong side of the road with nothing more than a hope to see a sign to another biggish place.
Luckily he saw sense and ran back in to find a tourist leaflet with a map. So we pretty much found our way out of Tours using a map displaying cartoon symbols for tourist attractions. After an agreement to not get mad with each other (G Kisby gets stroppy with my directions, I get despondent and come out with phrases like, 'there's no point, we will be sleeping in the car', G Kisby gets more moody and so on until we end up with silence. We all know the routine) we eventually struck lucky and did indeed see a sign pointing us in the right direction.

Anyhow, since then I have made the outlandish statement, "this has been my favourite day in ages". Not a reflection on our everyday lives you understand but a testimony to just how lovely it is here.

I spent yesterday morning lying in bed listening to birds with the sunshine streaming in whilst my wee family went to the local boulangerie. We ate, we swam, we ate, we went to a local lake with a man-made beach which Mabel loved then we lay on the grass at our gite and played. No real routine, outside all day, no time constraints, late bedtime then a massive pan of garlic prawns and yet more bread with my favourite person to spend time with. Bliss.

However, today was possibly even better. After completely knackering Mabes out with new things yesterday ( yes granny you were right, very few plastic toys needed, outside the gite is a stoney path which might as well be a pebbled beach. She has literally filled her bucket, emptied her bucket, dug, raked, transported, drawn with and sorted stones for hours) she slept until 9 this morning. Longest sleep we have had since she was born 18 months ago. I woke up giddy, obviously at 6 checking she was alive and then every half hour afterwards just revelling at our luck and my misfortune at being desperate for a wee. After the obligatory eating of our weight in bread we then went up the road to France's biggest zoo, home to the giant pandas.

Now we both know Mabel is too little to fully appreciate a zoo and that actually this was a trip for one for the whole family, confirmed by us discussing en route which animals we were most excited to see. For G Kisby monkeys and birds of prey (what the hell?) Me, penguins and pandas. And it was a really good day out, expensive but worth it. Mabes missed half of it due to an unfortunately planned afternoon doze (unfortunate for her, we whizzed round as much as we could while things were quiet) but did enjoy the, er greenery at the side of every footpath, the ducks (wasted) and the a push.

I am obviously now reflective about how we can make our lives more like this at home, loving being outside so much and feeling truly grateful about how lucky we are....

Nelly x

Ps G Kisby has promised his first blog post this holiday...

Saturday, 7 July 2012

At last...

So it has taken a while and I am still not convinced that the design is quite right but our new baby will be here before we know it so I have decided to make a start.

This is the continuation of Nelly's Eggs and a lot has changed since the previous blog came to an end. 

Not least the fact that we are now pregnant with our second baby (Baby BK), due 27th October. Notably the photo below was at Jubilee but I am feeling positively fat this week so would like to pretend that I am still this size.

Our house is on the market (so not that much changes, still like to do things all at once and in the wrong order). Though to be fair it could take a long time to sell in the current climate. We somehow own 3 cars but only need 2 but can't sell the third (don't ask) and are busy planning our first proper family holiday to France next week. 

Work is still good, almost relaxing I'd say.

I won't comment on G Kisby, he can record this himself since scarily I have managed to convince him to share the blog this time. Though not on this post, he was quite clear tonight that he draws the line at post sharing. 

And as for Mabel, well she is older, wiser, faster and trixier. I am repeating the mantra 'I am in control' on a whole new level at the moment and did find myself asking Granny this week, "when will everything stop being a battle?" as she managed to climb out of her pram in John Lewis. Granny kept holding on to her where I turned a blind eye (she will surely only fall out once?)

Tried the reins for about a week until she led me around Mamas & Papas and I found myself saying, "could I just look at....oh o.k maybe not". Took them off and she managed to get her head stuck in a window display. Don't ask how she got in there, I literally took my eye off her for a second. And yes if you were wondering, it is difficult to climb into a window display discretely whilst pregnant. Needless to say I then left quickly using the 'under the arm pencil' hold. 

I am really looking forward to keeping up to date with all the blogs I used to love reading and found inspirational. 

Hopefully writing again will encourage me to take more photos, remember more stories and reflect on the whirlwind that is life. And with a bit of luck it might be the main way G Kisby and I now communicate ( I joke obviously, we talk at least once a week). 

Nelly x