Saturday, 4 July 2015

Roundhay Park Leeds & Piper's first Lolita Meet Up

Bit late posting this but last Saturday we had a lovely day in Roundhay park Leeds. We used to visit Leeds for shopping quite a bit and we have had lots of trips to the armouries but never visited this park before. What a wonderful surprise then to find such a huge, green, lovely outdoors space! We had only gone along to take Piper to her first Lolita meet. She had been quite nervous this week and even thought about not going along but in the end she was so excited to meet lots of new Lolita's and see some of her online friends for real! She looked so cute in all her Lolita gear:


While Piper enjoyed her picnic with over 20 other Lolita's we headed round to the other side of the park with Cordelia and Ruben for our own picnic. We came prepared with Magyk and Harry Potter books..



We also bought the frisbee..



You can see how happy Cordelia was to have this picture taken, ahem...


We found our own fountain!!!


There was a very swanky wedding on at Mansion House, several birthday parties in the lovely little bandstands and just a really wonderful feel to the park. We even passed some swans with their cygnets:


We even found a Mr Whippy van for an old fashioned ice cream called a double dipper! Cordelia and Ruben went instead for slush puppies.


We had a really lovely, chilled 5 hours in the park with just our youngest two before Piper finished and we picked her up. She'd had a lovely picnic and met several new Lolita friends so a good day all round :D

Hospitals, a birthday and being everything to everybody all of the time

We've not had the most fun this week. Starting with Monday where Piper had an appointment to have 4 teeth taken out ready for her brace fitting in two weeks time.We have very patiently (18 months!) waited for Piper's top right fang to come through but sadly it has decided to stay buried under her gum and so there is nothing else for it but to be put under general anaesthetic and have it along with another fang and two bottom teeth taken out. I stress that there is nothing wrong with her teeth-they are very healthy, since she has been visiting the dentist since she was 6 months old! I had the exact same thing and so did Bailey two years ago-except he didn't have to be put to sleep to have his removed as they were all through.

Its been a long time since I've had to be inside the Children's Hospital, thankfully we have only ever had to stay in on one occasion when Piper was 8 weeks old and had a water infection. We had to stay in for 5 nights and its not a fond memory of mine to be honest. We've had the odd trip to A & E with accidents-bead stuck in ear-Piper, bumped heads-Bailey, Chest Infection-Cordelia and a fall down stairs-Ruben but thankfully nothing too serious. I had forgotten quite how much I dislike being in hospital, time moves so much slower in there...

We arrived at 12, hubby dropping us off, to get lost in the maze of corridors and different lifts. Finally found our department and then we were sat in there for 3 1/2 hours! Piper had to have her temperature and pulse checked, numbing cream on the back of her both hands ready for the anaesthetic, she was given these lovely NHS gowns to put on too:


We had quite a laugh getting her changed in the toilets and she even managed to make these look fashionable somehow!! She was so hungry bless her and couldn't eat from 7.30 am, neither of us expected to be sat for so long but it was so busy. I had such a headache and was pretty hungry/thirsty too. Then things to move so quickly, she was bumped up nearly an hour before the time she was scheduled to go down and in a room looking through a Where's Wally picture book whilst they put the cannula in her hand, then they put in the anaesthetic and she was gone in seconds. The abruptness of it all made me feel very teary and I was whisked out into the lobby, given a pager and told to come back in an hour and a half. On the way out to go to get a coffee I saw a private ambulance which was rather upsetting and did nothing to settle my nerves at all.

I was already in the waiting room when the pager started buzzing so was allowed to go straight in, she had just opened her eyes and was so vacant-she didn't have a clue who I was for a minute or so. She was so chatty and actually quite funny, she asked the nurse how she was meant to be a vampire now they had taken her fangs away?! She was really serious too! Then she was swearing. again quite funny, she kept talking about Grey's Anatomy and all the characters. Back on the ward and it took her quite a while to come round, she found it hard to drink as her lips were so swollen and numb-we gave up with the straw! She did eat an entire pot of yogurt and we got her clothes on before they took out the cannula. There were a couple of younger children crying after coming round from the anaesthetic so it was really noisy, I've never had a general anaesthetic but can understand how confusing it must be for younger children. Piper got much quieter so I knew it was wearing off, I rang hubby to pick us up and it was so nice to get outside in the sunshine, only 6 hours in there but it felt like days... She did manage to eat a full bowl of soup and two slices of bread when we got home.

She slept in quite late on Tuesday, I think she must have still had some anaesthetic in her and that mixed with the tablets knocked her out till around 9.30, which is late for Piper. Her poor face was really red and swollen on one side. I kept giving her alternate nurofen and paracetamol so she wasn't in any pain. We noticed one of her stitches had come loose so had to ring the hospital but they said it was okay as long as it wasn't bleeding.

A day of rest for poor Pippi, who has been an absolute star about all of it, not even complaining. The tooth fairy put a special order in to Japan for some Lolita shoes so that has cheered her up a bit!




I meanwhile made Pecan Pie for hubby's birthday, it was such a hot day-too hot for baking! Ruben played Lego with Bailey, there was Minecraft, Horrible Histories and Cordelia did her art. The girls and I popped to Sainsburys for birthday cards, we were only out for less than an hour but Piper was pretty wiped poor thing.


Wednesday morning Piper was still feeling very sore and in a fair bit of pain, she didn't get up until 9 again so there was only Ruben and I up to wish Hubby a very happy birthday. I made him some fresh pastries and coffee with a new cafetiere we had bought him. I'm not much of a coffee drinker but the kitchen smelt lovely! Slowly everyone else came down for breakfast and all the pastries were gone!


The hottest day of the year here, hitting 32 degrees Celsius! We had a lovely BBQ before a huge thunderstorm hit. Hubby and Cordelia sat under the beach parasol to watch it:



Bailey headed out to meet up with friends once the storm had passed, and we headed out to the cinema to see the much anticipated Jurrassic World. In the heat it was by far the best decision we'd made, the cinema was quiet and lovely and cool. We all enjoyed the film and it took Piper's mind off her swollen face and pain.

Back home for Pecan Pie, although only Hubby and I because no one else was hungry and Piper couldn't chew it! I took some silly shots of the children with their dad:




We all sat out until about 10pm because it was so hot, still 24 degrees at 10pm! No one slept very well, Ruben was up at 3am Thursday morning!!

He ended up going back to bed for a 3 hour nap and was in a much better mood when he came down. Was a much cooler day on Thursday but another home day. I had kept the calendar clear knowing Piper wouldn't feel up to anything. Was a good job as ended up taking Cordelia to the GP about her painful, heavy periods. Finally managed to get something for her which is already helping so she was in a really good mood for the rest of the day. She had a horse riding lesson, her first one outside but only for 10 minutes and then it started raining! The first lesson back since she came of the horse so I was a bit worried-hubby took her and she was fine thankfully!

Friday we popped to the local shopping centre and the library, was actually nice to be out of the house! Ruben decided he wanted to make tea so we bought some ingredients from Sainbury's and he made fresh pizza's for tea. Including a fresh pasta sauce from scratch-they were delicious!



It's been lovely to have such warm weather this week and its definitely been nice to sit in the garden, I think I might have gone a bit stir crazy in the house all week. We were all woken up at 3am this morning to a huge thunderstorm right over the top of the house, the rain was so loud and so everyone is tired today after being disturbed over night. piper got up in the night for pain relief too. I can't believe how much we have gone through this week, the letter says 2-3 days of discomfort but we are on day 5 since the op now.

Ruben has spent most of the day online today playing with a friend, Cordelia has spent most of the day in her room hanging out with Piper and drawing. We took Piper out to the supermarket with us to get her out of the house for a bit, she's feeling very fed up. Especially since her face has come out in a rather large yellow/green bruise :'( We took her to Mcdonalds for lunch and she has been much perkier since, she hasn't even had any painkillers since we got home, so hoping that is a good sign even though we had to replenish them all today!

This week its occurred to me that its hard to be everything to everyone all the time and more so when you have a poorly child! I've found it hard to concentrate on anything so I've been rubbish at blogging, messaging friends, replying to texts and emails. I feel like we have hardly done anything this past week and that there's been too much online time, something I'm not comfortable with. We have another busy week next week and plans with friends, its Ruben's BFF's birthday so we will get a chance to meet up and also a trip to the National Video Game Arcade in Nottingham-Ruben has been wanting to go for ages and we are meeting up with different friends there. Hoping Pippi is feeling much better in the next day or so....



Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Sacre Couer, Montemarte, Moulin Rouge and Bailey turns 17!!!!

Oh my goodness my boy Bailey is 17!!!! I can't believe he is the same age I was when I had him-this means I've been a parent for half of my life...Its without a doubt the best half of my life. I wouldn't change it for the world, and I got to celebrate my eldest child turning 17 in the most beautiful city of Paris-how wonderful!

After having some very tired children with very tired legs we decided to brave the Paris Metro today. Bailey had chosen to visit the Paris Catacombs so we headed onto the metro from Chatalet to Denfert Rochereau, it was all very straight forward and we were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves until we got outside the station and saw the queue for the catacombs that is! I was all for getting lunch-it was 12 by this time-and waiting in the queue but birthday boy decided he did not want to wait...So after navigating the metro ticket machines we managed to work out the stop at Montemarte so we could go and see the Sacre-Coeur. Coming out of the station at Chateau Rouge was a bit overwhelming and chaotic to be honest, the area was so different to the very touristy parts of Paris we had visited so far. But we navigated our way through the busy streets and found a very nice Patisserie and I managed to order six fresh cream cakes and two baguettes in French-thankfully I can apologise in French pretty well too!

We then headed off up the very steep hill and steps to the church.


We stopped just below the church to eat our cakes, here is the birthday boy with his chosen millefeuille...they were delicious by the way!


Cordelia also went for the millefeuille, Piper chose a chocolate éclair and Ruben a chocolate brioche. We were all a bit transfixed with both the view and the sellers of fake bags and mini Eiffel towers..


The beautiful Sacre-Coeur (its called the self-cleaning church because of the limestone its made of, when it rains it produces a chemical reaction which bleaches the outside of the church!)


No photos inside unfortunately but it was very beautiful, I'd like to say it was very quiet too as you were supposed to be there in silence but then there are these huge coin machines, the kind that you have in lots of museums now where you can buy a memorable coin? Was a bit like Vegas with several noisy machines in an otherwise very quiet place. A little bit surreal....

There was a funny moment when we got to the bottom of the church stairs and a police patrol car drove past, all the street sellers (that were pretty rife around all of Paris selling fake bags and mini Eiffel towers) grabbed their sheets (which had all their stock on) and bombed down the stairs. The noise of 100's of mini Eiffel towers clattering together and the large crowd moving out of the way to let them pass was quite a scene....

The view is pretty amazing from this high up, in the distance on this photo you can see Gare Du Nord-a big train station, the business area around Paris, we could even see the huge square of La Defense which we saw from the Arch Du Triumph, Notre Dame but no Eiffel Tower in the distance as it was too far to the right!


The back of the church, there was even a French lady singing-reminded me of Edith Piaf!! Amazing ambience...


The fantastic area of Montemarte, lots of narrow streets, lovely little gift shops and cafes-full of tourists. It just started to rain but thankfully it was only very light...


Connections everywhere, this time in the form of Van Gogh's painting of the church which was featured in a Dr Who episode (which we had just happened to watch recently!) Van Gogh lived here for a while so there was a pretty big display on this wall of his work and some information about him.


Ruben asked what would happen if there was an earthquake here outside this beautiful ceramic shop...told him it was highly unlikely!


Saw this in the guidebook and it looked so pretty...


I'm sure this house had a connection to Napoleon but I can't remember where I read that now so I may have gotten my wires crossed...it was still a lovely house....


We found a little playground that was also advertising free wifi and toilets so we had a little break and a sit down. Sadly the toilets were closed and there didn't seem to be any wifi available. Still Rube was happy to have a little play and found it rather funny that his legs were nearly as long as the climbing wall itself!


The Moulin de la Galette which was built in 1604 and inspired the 1866 Renoir painting! I love windmills so was really excited to see this, it was quite tucked away behind houses/trees.


The famous Moulin Rouge, I would have so loved to go inside and see a show here and Hubby has promised we shall come back and do just that when it is the two of us! I am a huge fan of the 2001 film and if Ruben had been born a girl the name at the top of our list was Satine...It was so funny as we were just taking a photo, a guy came out and started re painting the windmill, over the graffiti!


We found a Starbucks over the road and spent some time sat in there having a coffee, using the toilets and working out where to go to next. Cordelia started with a sore throat and everyone was so tired from so much walking so we headed to the nearest metro station and headed to the area near the Bastille to try and get something to eat.

So many stunning buildings, this one which I think was the national archives was hidden behind two massive wooden gates:


The Bastille used to be a notorious prison but is no longer there. There is a very modern  opera house:


And the grand Colonne de Juillet or the July Column which was erected in the 19th century to honour victims of both revolutions. The golden statue on the top represents "liberty"





We managed to find some food for Ruben-a pizza slice nearly as big as his face!! Its funny that in France they don't have the same kind of street food/junk food type of shop. Its very much cafes and bistros, which I think if there is just the two of you must be lovely but not when there is 6 of you to feed, it can get rather expensive. They do have McDonalds but we had already had one on our first day here so no one was keen to eat it again so soon. We managed to get the girls some pain au chocolat from a little supermarket.


And then we finally found what we were heading here for! The Baby The Stars Shine Bright Lolita shop. This is the nearest shop to us that sells brand Lolita clothing so it was #1 on top of Ppippi's list to see. The clothes inside are really gorgeous but also really expensive! A dress costs around 400 euros...None the less Piper was so happy to be in there and see all the things she has spent ages looking at on the Japanese website.


She had a little bit of money so she did buy some over the knee socks which are really cute, not the cheapest at 26 euros but it was worth it to see how much effort went into the wrapping of them. I'd definitely give it 10 out of 10 for customer services, the guy there even bowed to Piper when he presented her with the bag!! I thought Piper might actually faint from the excitement....



She didn't open the bag until we were home and she could take photographs, here they are!



So glad we managed to fit in a visit to the shop for Piper because despite our plans for anther day in Paris we had a bad night with Cordelia and ended up having to book an earlier tunnel crossing. She was pretty sick all the way back up through France so we definitely made the right decision. I still can't believe how much we fit in to the three days we had in Paris. I knew I would love it there but it was even more amazing than I had ever imagined and I can't wait to go back and see more of it!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Finally...The Eiffel Tower (and Les Invalides..)

Resuming my Paris posts, had a bit of a week so no chance to blog......

Anyway, after our fantastic walk down the Champs D' Elysees we headed down towards the tower, we headed to the beautiful (and very symmetrical!) Palais De Chaillot, we walked through the middle of both buildings, past beautiful golden statues and there it was-the Eiffel Tower!!!!!! I actually felt really emotional seeing it, good job I was wearing my sunglasses to hide the tears! We only booked this holiday four weeks before we went but I have being wanting to visit Paris for many years and seeing the tower just made me feel "We are really in Paris".  


The symmetry in Paris is amazing, it is so beautifully and perfectly planned out, its like the city has been planned with a protractor and a ruler. Just when you think you have seen so many beautiful buildings around the corner is more too look at! The Jardin Du Trocadero, which is right before the bridge where the tower is, is really stunning, We took advantage of the cool fountains and dipped out very hot, tired feet in. Except for Ruben who actually went in up to his waist! 



It was so hot we took some shade in the park/playground area and ate our baguettes, how is that for a view?........


Bailey and Ruben took five minutes to take some photos of the lego minifigures which the tower in the background:



We then walked over the bridge to stand under the tower! I really wanted to go up but by this point everyone was tired and hot, the queues were pretty long too. And I think it was even bigger than any of us had imagined so some of us that are not fans of heights really didn't fancy it. Putting it on my ever increasing list of things to do next time.....


You can see right up to the bottom of the second floor, the glass floor really puts me about I have to say, I would not be standing on that...


Its such a beautiful structure up close. I think I could sit here and look at it all day!

But we didn't! We headed back through Champs De Mars to the Wall of Peace. There was nothing in the guidebook about the wall of peace but I had read about it somewhere else (forget where!) unfortunately, it had been vandalised, the glass had been smashed, it was overgrown and covered in weeds and had mesh fencing all around. It looked a really sorry state and it was such a shame because it lines the tower up perfectly for photos!


Onwards with some very tired, hot and bothered boys!




Past the Ecole Militaire,


Then on to the beautiful Les Invalides, I love how the sun is gleaming of the gold top..


It was just closing for the day, I'd love to go inside and see Napoleon's tomb...next time!


This is the other side of Les Invalides! Its a pretty impressive building.....


Walking back to Auber train station past the beautiful Ste Marie Madeleine Church, which had flowers covering the steps......



Not sure I've ever done three posts about one day before?! But when you are covering so much distance and seeing so many beautiful, beautiful buildings its hard to resist taking so many photographs!