Geezers Or Guysers?

Yesterday we spent almost 9 hours being driven around Iceland by a Spaniard in a minibus with 10 Americans.

It wasn’t a big minibus and we were one of the last groups on, so the look on everyone’s faces as we rocked up and climbed in was priceless. But I apologised in advance as we got on board, the other passengers laughed and from then on all was well.

We managed to get the back seat for the kids and DH and I sat in the seat in front, well within ‘dealing’ distance. And it wasn’t long before we had cries of ‘I’m bored’ and ‘What can we do?’

The guy driving was also commentating and imparting knowledge at such speed that I had to concentrate on what he was saying to keep up. I really didn’t need the kids whining in the background. read more

Adventures In Iceland; Looking For Whales, Finding Puffins And Coping With A Bit Of Rain

I slept badly last night. Fears about the lack of dark affecting the kids’ sleep proved accurate and we had a lot of little visitors. I had trouble falling asleep too and it wasn’t until we had used some spare pillows to block the light coming around the sides of the slightly too small blackout blinds that I managed to drift off.

So it was after 9 before we were all up, showered, dressed and breakfasted. A quick peek out the door told us that it wasn’t raining at all, so we decided we would go down to the harbour and see if we could get on a whale watching cruise. We’ve been on a few of these over the years, so it wasn’t a biggie if we didn’t make it.

First of all we had to talk DD2 into going on a boat. She gets quite queasy on the ocean but agreed to give it a go again so off we traipsed. Luckily there was room on one of the Elding cruises. We went on a rather small boat with about 30 others and first headed out to one of the puffin islands to take a look at these birds. read more

Mymumdom Does Iceland: Day One

 

The hardest part of any holiday, when you are a family of 6, seems to be getting there.

To get to Iceland today we took a cab to LHR T1, caught an Iceland Air flight to Reykjavik, then caught a couple of buses to get to our ‘Apartment Hotel’.

DS was in heaven, all those vehicles in one day; I wasn’t quite so enthusiastic. But it had to be done and everything went pretty smoothly.

We were 40 minutes late for the cab ( first we delayed it 20 minutes, then took as long again to get everyone and all bags in the car), but the traffic was much better than we thought it might have been and we got to Heathrow in plenty of time.

DH had checked us in online; this is well worth doing by the way, so we whizzed through the baggage drop and security. By this time everyone was starving, so we had a quick Pret snack, then raced for the gate to board the plane.

We’ve never flown Iceland Air before but we were pretty impressed. The seats were imitation leather and looked quite flash, and everyone had their own personal TV screens, even though it was only a 3 hour flight. The kids got free food and free head phones, but adults had to pay for both these things . You get to keep the phones but it would be worthwhile bringing your own. And the middle armrests don’t move, which is a nuisance when you are sitting next to a small child and could do with a little extra room. Both DD3 and DS would have liked to have slept, but neither could get comfy with the armrests in situ, so they both watched The Simpsons Movie instead (Bad Mother Alert!)

The three hour flight whizzed by, spoiled only by DS having a tantrum when we had to get off the plane once we had landed. I was ushering DD3 in front of me, and looked behind to see DS holding up everyone by lying in the middle of the aisle and refusing to move.

He soon cheered up once we got to the terminal at Keflavick. It’s a lovely airy building with plenty of room for small boys to run around with their sisters.

 

There is also plenty to see and do, free WiFi and plenty of shopping to be had. We grabbed some alcohol from Duty-Free , collected our bags and started looking for the bus that was supposed to take us in to Reykjavik and to our hotel. At this point we realised exactly how shitty the weather was. Typical that we left summer behind in London, and ended up in last weeks weather  almost 1200 miles away.

We have come prepared with fleeces and raincoats, so manned up and sprinted for the bus, dragging our cases behind us. Travelling is so much easier now all the kids can handle their own luggage.

The coach ride was around 40 minutes and went through the volcanic plateau along the coast. The kids were kept quiet with iPads and Nintendos; there was more WiFi  to keep DH and I amused.

At the bus terminal we transferred to a small minivan with a load of other people, and we were dropped off at out hotels one by one.

We are staying at a little apartment hotel in central Reykjavik. It’s clean and spacious, with 3 bedrooms, separate dining and living rooms, a washing machine and clothes drier and , wat for it, free WiFi.

About 5 minutes after we arrived , the front door opened and 5 complete strangers trudged in and said they were staying here too.  Some excitment ensued, but it turned out they had the wrong apartment. I think they are staying upstairs instead, judging by the noise.

Still, it was a good way to learn whether the front door is locked properly or not.

The kids watched a bit of TV as there were a few British channels available, but finally decleared themselves hungry,  so we went out in search of some tea.

We went past a lot of cool graffiti/ installations as we walked down to the harbour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We wandered into a few cafes but there were no spare tables. It seems to be very much a seat yourself type of culture, for casual dining at least.

In the end we found The Laundromat Cafe and enjoyed wonderful hamburgers and homemade chips. The kids loved their chocolate milkshakes. This cafe has a fully functioning laundromat in the basement as well as a kids play area, lots of books and games and this very breast-feeding friendly sign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are ever in Reykjavik with empty stomachs and hungry kids, then The Laundramt Cafe is the place to go!

After dinner we trudged uphill back to the Hotel and got the kids showered and into bed. Unfortunately we’d failed to appreciate just how light it stayed all night in Iceland at this time of the year.

Still, they all went to sleep eventually, leaving us mulling over what to do with 4 hyperactive, over excited kids tomorrow when it’s going to be absolutely tipping it down.

No Llamas Were Harmed In The Baking Of These Bites

The day three packets of Llama’s bites arrived in the post had not been a good one for me. I was waiting in for a delivery whose arrival time was doomed to coincide with the afternoon school run, and so I hadn’t been able to get out to the shops to get an after-school snack for the kids.

Of course an after-school snack isn’t one of life’s essentials, it’s more a luxury, but it shuts the offspring up for 10 minutes when they get in the door after the school run. And of course they get used to having a snack, so whinge when they have to make do with fruit or cheese. Yeah, yeah, I know- the words ‘rod’ and ‘back’ spring to mind don’t they? read more

Triqo Review: Fun With Squares And Triangles

Triqo caught my eye a couple of weeks ago at Christmas In July. I liked the 10 bright colours and the idea that there were only two shapes.

So when I was offered a box to review, I said yes please. I knew my children would be delighted to have the opportunity to play with it.

They love building things so were immediately engaged by the idea. It did take DD3 a while to work out how to click the pieces together as kids do need to have a certain amount of strength in their hands to build with it.

DS, who is 4, just can’t manage to click the pieces together yet but he loves helping his sisters sort the pieces by colour and shape and pouring through the ‘ideas’ book that came with the set.

The girls started off making the simple shapes and objects pictured on the side of the box, but soon began creating masterpieces of their own.

Triqo is very light and flexible, and it wasn’t long before they were making clothes and accessories with the set. They made hats, belts and even shoes. They tried to make a skirt as well but ran out of pieces half way through.

Our Triqo has been in the bath and paddling pool, and also outside, where it’s been used to make cages for various animals in a small world zoo.

Triqo is very versatile construction toy that has the potential to keep the kids quiet for hours over the holidays. I also think it would be beneficial for children who need to work on developing strength in their hands. The pieces do get easier to click together the more they are used, but because they are firmly joined together in the first place, creations don’t fall apart easily.

I think Triqo is reasonably priced compared to a lot of construction toys. A box of 100 pieces, 60 triangles and 40 squares, costs £29.99, while the larger set of 250 pieces will set you back £59.99.

We were given to smaller box to try out, and while 100 pieces is a good number to be starting with, I can see we will need to be adding to our collection very soon.

Although I was given a box of Triqo for the purpose of writing this review, the opinions expressed are all my own.

The First Day Of The Rest Of The Holidays

Our school broke up yesterday. Only the teachers will go to school today and tomorrow. I’m not entirely clear about what they get up to on INSET days but I like to think that they are running down the halls, shouting in the classrooms and using the computers to cause trouble on Mumsnet.

On Thursday night we had a lot of fun making these ‘gold at the end of the rainbow’ jars for the girls’ teachers.

There are chocolate coins at the bottom with layers of different coloured M&Ms and skittles on top. One of the jars has white marshmallows at the top as well.

We then printed out a label that said Thanks For Being Such A Sweet Teacher and the girls drew a picture and signed their names. I figured that even if the teachers didn’t like sweets, they are bound to know someone who does and will have a nice jar to put their tea bags or whatever in when the sweets are gone.

The two older girls took their jars in yesterday, and both arrived intact despite my misgivings. I took DD3’s one in yesterday for the last pick up of the year; I didn’t trust her not to open the jar and share the sweets out in the playground!

So yesterday was the last day of school. It rained on the final school run, of course but it didn’t spoil the traditional last day of  school photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note the umbrella!

So today, we’ve had a lazy day and a slow start. I had to take our old dog up to the Veterinary Hospital for a scan as he’s got terrible diarrhoea at the moment, and we are wondering if he’s got a tumour.

DH had arranged to leave  for work late this morning, so I could drop off the dog without having to uproot the children from their beds.

I drove smugly past the hoards of parents ushering their offspring through the various school gates I passed on the way, and exchanged what I hoped were sympathetic glances with a mum driving the school run. She had three kids in uniform in the back seat eating what looked like dry cheerios out of plastic bags; that’s one way of doing it I suppose! All the while I  imagined that when I returned home my children would be downstairs, dressed and eating breakfast, thanks to DH’s efforts.

I dropped the Old Boy at the clinic and headed home. It was 8:30 am which means rush hour around here. What should have been a 10 minute drive took closer to 30 minutes and I was no longer feeling smug.

When I arrived home, I could hear voices from downstairs so assumed all was well.

Nope.

Instead I found 4 children sitting downstairs in their night clothes, playing on their Nintendos. No one was dressed, teeth and hair were unbrushed and nobody had had breakfast. To say I was unimpressed is a slight understatement.

Unfortunately this has set the tone for the rest of the day. I’m trying to do some work,  make some phone calls and tidy up the house before we go away this weekend. I’m not having much success today.

It took two hours to get everyone dressed and downstairs, and there have been fights and arguments all morning. Now I’ve had to separate DD1 and DD2 during lunch because they can’t seem to coexist peacefully in the same room for even a couple of minutes.

I hope things calm down a little, otherwise it’s going to be a long 7 weeks.

 

 

The Gallery: Plane, Trains and Automobiles

We’ve done a lot of travelling as a family and have used various modes of transport over the years.

My favourite ways to travel are the ones where we have wheels on the ground; I like driving and I love taking the train. We regularly take our car to France and Switzerland. Lately our family train trips have been restricted to the tube and the Chunnel but one day, I’d like to ride on the Orient Express.

I accept that a lot of travel is done by air these days but I can’t imagine ever being a happy flyer. No matter how many times I get on a plane, I can’t help knowing it is going to crash and we are all going to die horribly. I have to mentally force myself onto the plane every time we fly and I never, ever, ever show the kids how I feel. As far as they are concerned I love air travel! read more