Happy new year and thanks for reading the first post of 2021. 2020 may have been a rubbish year for many, so let me start by sharing my condolences with the people who have suffered or lost a loved one.
With Lockdown 3.0 starting as I write this, it’s hard to be optimistic about the year ahead. Hopefully, people will realise the importance of following the rules this time around, and we can approach the light at the end of the tunnel which is there, albeit a tiny glimmer.
With 2020 done and dusted, I would like to send my appreciation to anyone who reads my mutterings. I feel justified in buying the domain now as 2020 saw ~400 visitors jump by more than 230% and for that I am eternally grateful. If you missed any posts from 2020 I’ve added them all to the post carousel below.
So onto a new year of blogging. Facing 2021 with the same trepidation as last year, with little ideas for new posts, but comfortable knowing I felt this way last year but managed to put out 10 more posts than the previous year.
Thanks for reading, following our journey and being there for us.
Is there anything you’d like to see in a future post?
Whilst this isn’t a normal Christmas, like I spoke about in my last post ‘A Covid Cursed Christmas‘. The magic of Christmas is definitely starting to build in Munchkin.
The start of the magic was first spotted when the decorations went up. We have a large bunting spelling ‘Christmas’ (believe it or not) near the dinner table. When it went up he immediately was drawn, point out the ‘S’ and ‘T’ sounds. ‘Christmas (baby please come home)’ came on the playlist, and I sang along with my arms above my head to the ‘Christmassss’ bit. Munchkin immediately copied, and now does it nearly every meal time.
Christmas has come around perfectly with how now he seems to learn a new word each day. He loves to point out the various ‘Reindeeeeer’ decorations (everything he says is cutely drawn out), when there is snow in books, the Chrisssssmass tee (Christmas Tree) and baubles (which sounds more like bubbles). You also can’t stop him pointing out the lights.
Oh and my, he loves the lights and sounds. He always notices when we have forgotten to put them on demanding ‘lights, ON!’. One time, when i picked him up from nursery I pointed out some new lights that had gone up. It must have been the night everyone decided to put them up as the whole 20 minutes home was ‘lights…lights….lights, lights lights…. short pause… lights!’
Whilst Munchkin may have been scared the first time he met Santa (his face was as if he had seen a ghost), we didn’t expect much on his street visit. However, when we flew past on his car towed sleigh he was mesmorised! It’ll come as no surprise the next day he came down, saw a Christmas book, pointed and said ‘Santa!’
It’s a shame we won’t get to see all the ones we love this Christmas, but will the magic starting to build in Munchkin, I’m sure we will have a exceptional Christmas.
While we have it better than most, being in tier two, not locked down alone in London, or self isolating and suffering with the wretched virus, its safe to say this has and will be a Christmas to remember.
Rewind six weeks or so, My Mum (You may know her as Nannyofmunchkin when she writes on here) had the perfect rule of six plan. We would see everyone in slots, and we would host Munchkin’s Auntie and Uncle (my Sister and my Bil (brother in law). It was the perfect, covid-guideline friendly plan.
Then came the three household plan. This changed it to a traditional Christmas at Nanny’s but without seeing my wife’s side of the family. This was tough but accepted.
We were just getting used to that idea when tier four struck. We are now down to just five: my sister and her hubby, me, Munchkin and Natalie. The first Christmas I won’t see my Mum, Nan, or Natalie’s family, and Munchkin won’t see either Nan or Grandad or Great Nan. Let’s hope Zoom/Teams/Skype hold out!
So it’ll be different this year. I’m currently desperately trying to find my Christmas spirit again. But with Munchkin, I’m sure it’ll be magical as always. Different, but still a wonderful Christmas.
Even though now, just 3 days away, I’m expecting further changes to our plans….
Stay safe this Christmas, and as ever, my inbox is open if you need a chat or a cute festive Munchkin photo.
Sending our love and ‘big cuddles’ to everyone struggling this Christmas.
Sadly, Chessington came up with the Howl-oween pun, but I just had to use it for the title.
Chessington World of Adventures was our second day activity for our trip away. We thought it was a perfect choice with Julia Donaldson themed rides, zoo animals and a sea life centre all covered in the entry price. The entry price also can easily be lowered by using a Carex bottle too with £38.50 per adult knocked down to £24.
Lets start with Covid. I felt Chessington was the least prepared of our four spots we visited over our break. The website said numbers had been reduced, however cars absolutely packed the car park on arrival. Everyone also arrived simultaneously, and only the temperatures of adults were checked. That was a little disappointing.
The park opens at 10 am, which in hindsight is a little late for a toddler who woke at 6 am that morning and naps in the afternoon. That said, we had a good day. Although, we managed a grand total of three rides (queues were still up to an hour).
We quickly found out Munchkin wasn’t a fan of a the dark, starting on an indoor Mummified shooting ride, as he clutched to Mummy. It was a better, but similar experience for the Gruffalo ride too, but there was a mix of excitement and fear on that one. We won with the third choice though, a car ride where Munchkin got to ride and point out the animals. He loved that.
When it came to lunch, with a lot of the takeaway eateries closed, to help with Covid restrictions, and with a constant drizzle of rain, everyone was forced to eat indoors. This resulted in huge queues from 11:30, the worst time to try and get Munchkin to wait.
In the afternoon, it wasn’t long before Munchkin nodded off in his pushchair. Sadly, by napping he missed the zoo and sea life centre too which I rated highly. We must have tired him out at Cliveden National Trust. You can read about day one, with a double helping of National Trust by clicking here.
In hindsight it wasn’t the best location for a toddler, even with the 13 rides he could go on, there simply wasn’t the time with the late entry and his afternoon nap. It would be much better for us if it opened early for parents with toddlers, to make the most of that morning energy. This would also space out guests in light of the pandemic.
That said, the park is a perfect attraction for children of all ages, with gentle rides up to the slightly more thrilling (nothing upside down here). It’s a great park and on our revisit list!
If you follow me or know me its no surprise I’ve hit the big 3 – 0. While I had always said I didn’t want something big for it I deep down did want to get drunk with my family and my friends on a dancefloor to ‘All of the Lights’. So actually I’d consider that I did want something rather big.
However, its lockdown, so none of that was possible of course. I was, however, fortunate at least that the lockdown had entered a new stage and small groups could congregate outside if they stayed 2 metres apart. But that still didn’t allow my secret dream of a drunken dance party.
So, I was unsure what was going to happen, especially as it was all kept hush. Natalie merely told me that there would be surprises throughout the weekend.
The surprises started Friday (with my birthday being on the Sunday) when a cake arrived. In particular, this was a Millie’s cookie cake which I had recently has a secret lockdown pining for). How did she know?
The surprises and activities then continued with cards handed to me throughout the weekend. We did some cake baking with Munchkin, I had a lovely back massage, we had a film night with prosecco and snacks, I had a fry up and a BBQ, there were lots of Munchkin snuggles and more…
On my actual birthday we went to my Nans. It was pouring on and off so was an ideal location as she had an outdoor car port. We arrived with our mats and toys for Munchkin, and sat on the floor between my family members on either side.
My sister had put together a playlist of my life, they collected a takeaway afternoon tea, we had a good natter and laughed at Munchkin’s booty dance to ‘Who let the dogs out’. Meanwhile we had gin prosecco (this is deadly). The visit was short, but it was perfect. I got to see my closest family, have some laughs, enjoy good food and music and they got to see Munchkin’s latest developments 😊.
I wouldn’t change a thing in the whole weekend, given the circumstances we are under. At least I got to see my family and get spoilt rotten, have an amazing weekend of surprises, get a little tipsy (though admittedly at home with just Natalie), and have a 30th to remember.
So while lockdown is still in force, it is possible to make these hard times pleasant. I can honestly say I had a brilliant birthday. Huge thanks to everyone involved.
Although… I do still want that drunk dance with all my family and friends when its all over.
Christmas for Munchkin really began early December when the tree entered the house. He’s always been mesmerised by nature and now there was a tree standing in his living room. Then came the shiny decorations, tinsel and most importantly, the lights. Woooah!
All the rest of the lights went up around the house and then you could tell he had an air of ‘I could certainly get used to this’ although in photos it could be seen as total fear.
To continue the build up of magic, the week before Christmas me and Nanny took him to a garden centre. The look of his face as we saw the singing characters, the bright flashing trees and fake snow. He had no idea what was going on, but we knew he loved it.
The three day extravaganza (Christmas Eve to Boxing day) came around but then also did the joys of hand, foot and mouth for Munchkin. What a time for this! Not only were we worried about it ruining his first Christmas experience, we also had to live in fear about catching it ourselves!
On Christmas Eve we went to Auntie Nicole’s and Uncle James’. He had his first round of presents. Whilst cute to watch him open then, it took forever. But still ate like a champ considering the sores around his mouth.
Christmas Day was at Natalie’s parents. Whilst Munchkin felt a little more rough with his hand foot and mouth, and we felt rough with the alcohol and lack of sleep from a late night Christmas eve, we all powered through the mountains of food and hours of games and had a bloomin’ good day as expected.
We hosted boxing day. I pre-empted by thinking how tired I get when I don’t have a baby by boxing day so suggested we split the prep and cooking with my family. This was wise. By now, Munchkin was confused, what was this all about? More wrapped toys?!
By the end of day three and after three days of hand foot and mouth, we were all exhausted. Luckily we were all off work and nursery was yet to begin so had a good few days to recover.
The holidays are one of the things I just couldn’t wait to share with our Munchkin. As an adult who never went trick or treating as a child, I can’t wait to take him in the years to come. For this year though, it was seeing his first glowing pumpkin, and wear all the scarily cute Halloween outfits.
The night before the zombies rose, Munchkin watched with intent as Mummy and Daddy carved a hole in the top of a large orange ball, only to scoop out its googy seedy centre. He then saw them carve Billy (Saw) and a ghost, and stared in wonder as they were first lit and glowed in our dark lounge.
He started the day of Halloween in his ‘too cute to spook’ shirt with skinny black jeans. Halloween morning was a Thursday, so we took this snap in the morning before going to scare the Mummys and babies at swimming!
After the first outfit was ruined by some mixture of baby sick and teething drool, it was onto number two. Now he was back to being Mummy’s little monster. Although I’m sure she’d tell you he never ever lives up to this title.
When the sun went down and the local little monsters came out, Munchkin was ready to win the title of our favourite pumpkin this year and be an additional ‘treat’ to greet the little visitors.
What came next was a great juggling of a Munchkin, opening the door and balancing the very large sweetie bowl.
Luckily, Auntie Nicole came to the rescue and she carried the pumpkin Munchkin to ‘scare’ the kids.
Although it may have been confusing at first, with all the strange dressed visitors we gave darkly coloured wrapped pebbles to (you can only imagine how mad this may seem to an 8 month old mind), I think it was great for Munchkin to see all the children dressed up and hearing how they communicated politely and trick or treated safely.
Munchkin is ready to scare you next Halloween.
Thanks for reading, we hope you had a good Halloween.