Thursday 31 May 2012

Spain 2012 Part 1

Regular readers will remember that last year was a particularly difficult year for my family, namely my parents. So we decided to book a well deserved family holiday.

10 of us; Mike, myself, my Mum, my Brother Steve, his girlfriend Kate, my Sister Nicola, her boyfriend Dan, my two nieces Charley and Koran and my nephew Martin (my Dad and other brother Mike opted to stay at home in peace!) decided on a week in Spain at the Estival Park Resort in La Pineda.

We booked 4 rooms with an all inclusive package via Thompson’s. Making the booking was an hour long trauma for our sales rep Jenny; 7 adults, 3 kids, 1 wheelchair and special assistance, 1 cot and 1 pushchair – she earned her commission!

Our flight was booked at Luton for 5:55am so we had to get a bus at 1:30am, most of us had a brief nap before being picked up, but the lack of sleep would kick in later leaving us, grumpy and short with each other – even me – can you imagine such a thing!!

Luton Special Assistance were quite helpful, although some of their staff could do with a short lesson in manners and a rocket up their bottom!

Of the ten of us flying only four had ever been on a plane; I was intrigued to see how they’d all cope, annoyingly we were all split into different sections of the plane; as much as I wanted to see them squirm (how cruel am I?) they were all fine, even two year old Martin who thought he was on Buzz Lightyear‘s rocket; “To infinity and beyond”.

Estival Park is a three park resort; three hotels, six pools, three restaurants, three different show’s and bars to chose from every might. There’s an onsite kids club running 10am - 8pm, kids disco’s every night and fully equipped gym, tennis court and spa too.

On arrival we were put into three rooms and then realised that I, the one with the wheelchair had been booked into a 2nd floor apartment where there was no lift.

In the resort foyer there are two receptions one for the hotel and the other for the apartments, we spent a good 15 minutes having to walk between the two relaying messages regarding the apartment and moving into the hotel, instead of them having a phone conversation or God forbid walking to meet each other in the middle!! I was something out of Faulty Towers; the end result Nicola and Dan took the apartment in mine and Mike’s place – we could have told them that without the 5 miles back and forth!

Our rooms were clean, spacious and light; they were cleaned every day – the cleaning ladies were lovely and we used my nephew's charm to get extra tissues and shower gel!

At lunch we decided to head for the huge restaurant were the maître d' took one look at the wheelchair, pushchair and 10 people huddled together and said that he would have our own table booked every meal with a wheelchair sign on the table; and that they did, we didn’t have to queue at all and were able to eat together every meal time.

After lunch we braved the very cold outdoor pools but once in we enjoyed it, the trail blazers that we are once we got in so did a load of other guests; none of us died of hypothermia – bonus!

The resort was opposite the sea so after dinner we took a walk along the promenade and made our way to the beach; more excited than the three children my sister and I got in fully clothed before realising we had to get through the hotel reception sopping wet without being told off – the rebels that 
we are!
By 9pm, everyone was dying on their feet so after a couple of drinks in the snack bar (there were only 7hrs between 11pm and 6am where there was no food available!) we hit the sack!

L x

Thursday 24 May 2012

I’m still standing.... just!

It’s been two weeks since my last post – apologies! I went on my family holiday to Spain and the hotel internet was horrendously slow! I got home Tuesday and tomorrow (Friday) I’m off for a 4 day Hen do!

So between continuing to destroy our flat, washing & packing to go away again, and trying to rest, I’ve not had time to write at all, but I thought I’d let you know; I’m alive, albeit a broken toe and a touch of man flu (but on the plus side I bought you all some Sunshine home with me!).

There will be several Spain posts, Hen do happenings, two weddings and my Birthday in the coming weeks, so lots to write about!

L x

Thursday 10 May 2012

Never Say Never

In the glorious words of the annoying man child; Justin Bieber – “Never say Never” - how many of you sang that? Lol!

Some of you may remember I did the photography for my friend’s Kit and Leanne’s wedding last year. I was a nervous wotsit for days running up to the event, what if the camera broke? What if the tripod was wonky? Worst of all what if I missed “those” moments – the first kiss, the first dance the general joy of the day, not to mention the agony from a health point of view.... you catch my anxious drift?

So knowing all of the above, why did I say yes to my younger cousin’s request for a wedding photographer?

Some have said it’s the neon sign above my head “MUG”, other’s have said it’s the subconscious need to get married myself  - driving me to be involved in other’s big days but I personally feel it’s because for one day, for a few hours, and the day’s after editing the photo’s - I feel a have a job, neigh a career – this was my second wedding, someone had liked the first photo’s enough to request my skills.

I love the thought of having a career; writer, photographer and wedding planner were always top of my career’s day lists..... okay, okay... and a pop star. But in all seriousness I thought I’d be at least one of the realistic idea’s. Having the conditions I do, have taken these options out of my hands, but writing my blog, doing the odd wedding and being involved in a dozen big day’s so far (I’m even a witness to the next wedding I’m attending) I get to have moment’s of those dream’s.

My cousin’s wedding was in East London with four parts; civil ceremony, a church blessing, a buffet dinner for close family and friends and a good old knee’s up in the evening. I had my work cut out; different lighting in each place, kid’s not staying still, carrying equipment; all with sweaty palms and (more than usual) wobbly legs.

Luckily the day went perfectly; I managed to get 571 pictures that I’m currently editing and I had a brilliant time seeing my family, so much so my cousin Lee and I didn’t get in until 4:30am (I don’t think I’ve ever got in that late/early!).

All a girl need's; camera, beer and pretty dress

The only hitch of the day was when we eventually got home the taxi driver said to Lee “Your fare is £5.00, but because you’ve bought her and used the boot for her wheelchair that’ll be £10 please” – the cheek of it!? I told Lee to pay, I was freezing and beyond tired. But the next day both he and my Aunt Tracey complained had the £5.00 reimbursed and got an apology – don’t mess with my lot lol!

L  x

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Last OZ Blog; Coming home

My last day in OZ was spent in Mike’s office, we had to check out of our apartment at 10am so after several sweeps of the place to make sure we hadn’t forgotten anything we headed to work.

I sat blogging, e-mailing, tweeting; all the while Mike did actual work coming back occasionally to check I was okay, bless his heart it was home from home sat there, laptop, coffee, camera full of photo’s – I was fine!

We went out to eat with a few of the guys from the office to the Arrivederci Pizzeria where they make metre long rectangle pizzas! Between five of us we ended up with 1 ½ metre’s of the stuff! I opted for the sea food one, instead of a salad; my tummy roll named OZ wasn’t going to mind another layer and hey it was the last day – I needed pizza!

Pizza - Now you see it

...Now you don't

The two flights home went very well, I slept through the first, watched 6 films on the second, I even managed to act relaxed in the business lounges; or was I just too tired to care? lol!

Getting to Heathrow we had a moment of déjà vue when staff informed us they couldn’t find my wheelchair and that there was no note made of any in the holdall  (same thing happened last year – it had been taken to 1st class - lucky chair!) Mike looked over the co-ordinators shoulder and pointed that in bold letters next to my name was – OWN WHEELCHAIR!

After some frantic radio communications it was finally located!

Sadly Mike and I had to say Goodbye at Heathrow, he was off to Texas the next morning for a conference; I admit that even after all that time in Australia together I found myself tearing up; what can I say 6 years and dozens of goodbyes and it still gets me.

My lovely friend Karen had arranged for our friend Frank to pick me up from the airport and he took me on a guided tour around central London; I was beyond exhausted at this point but as we all know I love old London and enjoyed my personalised trip.

Coming home I somehow forgot what we had done to the flat before leaving; half a kitchen, no carpets or wall paper and all manner of kitchen equipment stored in our bedroom. After 5 hours sleep in two days I just collapsed into bed.

For my wonderful time in Oz I completely deserve the jet lag, but the pain of coming home to cold damp England was dreadful, a moment crying at 4am, I thought “I’m not going on any more holidays – too much pain to come home to” which is of course completely ridiculous lol! I wouldn’t have given up this trip for anything. I just have to get used to home again and anyway being the jammy moo that I am I have 12 days until I’m holidaying in Spain lol! – A very lucky girl I know!

As for my weight and the extra tummy roll called OZ, he must have been a figment of my imagination as I did my 1st official weigh in, in four weeks today and I’m exactly the same weight I was before I left, for all the pancakes, steaks, lamb, pizza’s, scones, wine, sushi and taco’s I ate I actually managed to maintain my waist line – who’d have thought eh? Certainly not me!

L x