If Paris would ever have the Hammond family back after our noisy clan invaded it this week, then I know we would visit again in a flash. We have sight seen, shopped and eaten ourselves into oblivion this week and done quite a bit of walking too, much to the girls disgust. A fantastic city break (on trend there, see what I did!) and some lovely family memories to treasure too. Organised by Mrs Hammond, who the family like to call on such occasions 'German Itinerary lady!', we visited all the main attractions and not a minute of the break was wasted. I have to say we would have been lost without her meticulous planning, even if it can be slightly oppressive and dictatorial! The girls loved it, as at the end of each monument, church or tourist area was a gift shop full of some of the most collectable and at times awful crap and tat you could ever find in the world. They were simply in heaven - collecting Eiffel Tower key rings, commemorative coins, postcards, tickets and guide books. Amy even had them doing scrap books each evening, apart from the atrocious spelling, they really are rather good! Thank you Amy, if it were down to me, we would not have made it past the nearest café and expresso (I have drunk way too much coffee this week). Highlights of the week - Anna street dancing near the Champs-Élysée with some guys from Africa and the States - her pronunciation of this area of Paris will become family legend! Amy and Anna's quest for the perfect Parisian steak and Lucy calling out 'watermelon' in only the way she could when going under each bridge on the Seine boat trip. My highlight was the Eiffel Tower - on the day we went up it was the most beautiful Autumn day, the sky was bright blue and the view of this wonderful city was stunning. Not so sure about the sections of glass floor where you can see hundreds of metres down though! Anna recreating the moment from 'Lost World' and pretending the glass was going to crack gave me the jitters! I think the girls did really enjoy themselves, at first taking some time to settle into such a big place, the likes of which they have never seen and being around so many people. Lucy, especially a little anxious at times about taking trains, things not always going to plan and out of her comfort zone and the comforts of home too. By the end of the week, she was in full Parisian sarcastic flow and winding up her sister. They are both asleep now and delighted not to be sharing a bed, as they have all week. Lucy - as Anna, despite her diminutive stature seemed to need the whole bed and Anna - as Lucy was prone to a bit of French wind throughout the night! 'Bon soir, mes enfants et merci' x
Saturday, 22 October 2016
I am sitting watching Strictly this evening and quietly reflecting on a busy week of birthdays, lots and lots of cake (thank you Granny - your icing is to die for) meals out and presents and cash all over the place. If you think of the Strictly scoring methodology, then poor Lucy has just tipped off the scale from a 'ten from Len' in reaching the ripe old age of eleven and Mrs Hammond has hit perfection and a full house with the top score of forty. You have to agree she scrubs up well for an old bird! After the mayhem, socialising and partying, finishing off our work and school projects for this half term, we have just finished packing and are locked and loaded, ready to go for our spectacular trip to Paris in the morning. Sooooooooooo excited!! See you in France....
Saturday, 15 October 2016
My baby girl is not so much of a baby anymore. On Wednesday evening we looked around the Fakenham academy for Lucy to see what it is like and think about where she wants to go to high school next year. Yes high school! Oh my god! Press the parental panic button, go into denial mode and pray for time to stand still was how I approached the evening! Lucy was a combination of a bit overwhelmed, red faced, embarrassed and at times shy, then after an hour or so she got into it, started asking all the teachers questions and really embracing it. She has made her choice and wants to go there with all her buddies. She was slightly worried that she would get lost as it was so big compared to the junior school though! No such worries last night as she and her buddies rocked and bopped to all their favourite tunes as the party of the year with confidence and a bloodstream full of e-numbers and sugar. They were jumping up and down so vigorously I thought the floor in the bistro would cave in at one point. From my point of view it was one of the noisiest evenings I have had in years. A joy and a pleasure though to watch my Lucy have such a great time. What really shone through was the real bond she had with her friends and the generosity they showed in their gifts to her was amazing....
Tuesday, 11 October 2016
Never underestimate the love of a mother, especially with their first born. There are no boundaries to what they will do for them. Birthday fever is mounting, the excitement is building, scheming, ducking and diving are the order of the day as we enter the great Hammond birthday week count down. Brace yourself, its going to be full on and quite a ride! Only six days to go. First up in the festivities is Lucy's birthday disco at the bistro on Friday evening. In preparation for this momentous event, Mrs Hammond spent hours (and I mean hours) baking Pineapple biscuits as favours for the guests to take home on Friday night. This to me, is the ultimate motherly gesture and one I commend and greatly respect. Amy's commitment to linking all things that Lucy likes and loves to her birthday celebrations and making that level of effort, including also hand making and printing pineapple wrapping paper, shows the bond and the love they share. This did turn and after weeks of plans re the menu for the party and plans for lots of other lovely treats, Amy went out and bought loads of cheap crap from Aldi and that was job done! Lucy - perhaps we should call it 'conditional' love instead as it has it limits and time constraints! Joking aside, I have loved watching Amy's excitement as she puts these things together for Lucy and her generous and kind nature shining through. I am proud and full of love (shame about the cop out with the snacks - a major crime to taste buds has been committed and we have not even purchased proper Frazzles!!) Makes me think that all this creativity and baking was just a ruse to get out of the housework Mrs Hammond!
Sunday, 2 October 2016
Today I have undertaken, endured (only kidding - its been a lovely day) and survived a shopping trip extravaganza like no other! Thank god there was lots of coffee involved!. Amy birthday presents bought (brand spanking new sewing machine for a creative genius) and new wardrobes for all the Hammond ladies. Anna, by default became my shopping buddy for the day, as I helped her choose her clothes in the boys section of H & M. Anna - 'I am not sure if I want to wear skinny jeans' as she tried on some 'super-skinny' ones. I tutted, sighed and told her to take the hit for the rest of the family, make the sacrifice and wear the bloody things as none of the rest of us would ever get in them. Possibly with the exception of the 'ever decreasing' Mrs Hammond, who has lost over a stone now recently and looked breathtakingly beautiful modelling her new outfits today. I know, this comment about Anna is one spiced with pure jealousy - she is a skinny little runt though and she revelled in telling me for the rest of the day. I feel considerably lighter in the wallet department and emotionally drained to the point the only thing I am good for is a sleep on the couch. I wish I was lighter in other departments then maybe one day I will wear skinny jeans. I will leave you with that slightly disturbing thought!