We are a small, happy family of four. My husband, a baby, a dog and me. My husband works on a yacht. A large, luxury megayacht which tends to be based in some fairly fabulous places. The thing is, where the boat goes, we go! When she was was just eight weeks old our daughter, Coco, boarded her first trans-Atlantic flight and since then we haven't stopped. This is a blog of our rather unusual yet adventurous life. No two days are the same.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Leaving on a jet-plane

Have I ever mentioned that I am terrified of flying? I would say that my terror is verging on phobia – terrible anxiety for about two weeks before each flight, palpitations, shakes and trouble breathing. Unfortunately, our life choice makes flying absolutely necessary for me. Not only do I have to do it, but I always have Coco with me and 90% of the time I am on my own.

Earlier this week we flew back to the Sates. Miami this time, a full 10 hours of enduring cramped seats, dehydration, intense baby entertainment and full-blown fear! Oh joy! In retrospect, it actually wasn’t bad at all. I am in love with Heathrow’s Terminal 5; the lack of crowds, helpful staff, clean loo’s and excellent shopping makes a huge difference when travelling solo with an infant. I did feel (and probably looked) like the world’s biggest lush as I stood at the bar next to our gate at 8.30 in the morning downing half a pint of Carlsberg! It’s my way of coping with the flight you see. Actually getting on the plane is sometimes a little tricky and so a soupcon of Dutch courage and I am up, up and away – literally! What must people have thought as they sat around drinking coffee and eating croissants whilst I fed Coco bits of egg sandwich as I downed my pint?

Once I am settled in my seat, deep breaths and I feel a little better. I am determined that Coco doesn’t inherit this fear so externally I try and portray an illusion of complete calm and serenity whereas actually the terror makes my head swim and my heart thump so hard it feels as though it will break through my rib-cage. My moment of relief is when the cabin crew get up and start moving around, in my head, if we have got that far and everything is OK we have a good chance of making it – plus, it means it won’t be long until I can have another beer! That’s it, I just have the two, one before boarding and one when we first take-off. It is enough to keep the nerves just about under control.

Now I have to focus on the next task – keeping a 14 month old entertained for a 10-hour daytime flight! I had chopped fruit, which I fed her intermittently (it makes her sound like a monkey), and a bag full of books and toys, which would hold her attention for the odd ten-minute time slot. I tried to encourage her to get excited about the Noddy cartoon on our entertainment system but the headphones were ripped off before they got anywhere near her ears and she then proceeded to wrap the black cord around her precious neck like a fetching necklace! The headphones were banished to the overhead locker along with the hundreds of plastic bags that contained blankets, socks and eye-masks. Seriously, there are potential hazards everywhere and you can guarantee that if there is anything dangerous lying around, Coco will find it!

Walking up and down the aisles is an obvious distraction, but let’s be honest, there is a limit to how many times you can disturb the people around you and those sitting in the aisle seats were getting visibly bored of Coco’s continuous “Hi’s” and “Bye’s”.

Throw a 45 minute sleep into the mix and a bit of turbulence just to keep me on my toes and we made it, landing in a hot, Latino, Miami. Our journey still consisted of passport control, baggage collection, car hire and the drive to Fort Lauderdale but I was so much better at handling everything when my feet were well and truly planted firmly on the ground.

Any suggestions on how to tackle my fear?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Go Team!

I've done it again! Why is there no time at the moment to sit for just 20 minutes and write a quick blog? I miss you!

However, here I am and although there are a multitude of fun exploits I could tell you about, it would be wrong to write about anything other than our awesome weekend. Just a few weeks ago I told you about our planned fundraising event, the Eden Project Marathon, well it all happened at the weekend.

I have to confess that I am always a little shocked at how far away Cornwall is. A three hour drive with a baby is never the best, even if it is timed to fit in with sleeps. Gone are the days when the motion of the car would keep Coco asleep for hours on end, now we are lucky to get an hour and then we are relying on continuous renditions of 'Rosie the Little Red Car' and endless boxes of raisins! However, we made it without the stress levels being too raised, checked into our hotel, Angus and Coco donned their running shoes and we hit the Eden Project.

On the Saturday it was the Fun Run. We met up with the rest of the family runners (it's like the athletic equivalent to the Sound of Music) and Angus, Bridgie, Marcus and all the children limbered up ready to take on the one mile course. There was a great atmosphere and I had forgotten how impressive the Eden Project is. The mile long course took the runners through the Biodomes, amazing for the kids - "I am running though the actual jungle!" said my three year old niece who heroically managed to run the whole mile with no help! She was definitely the star of the first day.

The sun shone on the Sunday and after an impressive breakfast it was back to Eden for the longer races. Marcus, my brother-in-law, was to embark on his first marathon attempt and I would be running the half marathon. We were both nervous and more than slightly intimidated by the size of the surrounding hills. However, it was too late to back out now, we'd come this far, trained hard and it was the moment of reckoning.

I'm not going to lie to you - it was hard. Really hard. The hills were big and relentless, one after another. Even going down was pretty hard on the knees. Nevertheless, I actually loved the first 10 miles; loo stops were easy (you'll be pleased to hear) and I felt fit and strong but the last three miles felt like they were never going to end, I had literally run out of steam. They did though, and the sense of achievement I felt when I crossed that finish line was unbelievable. More, probably, than anything else I have ever done. This wasn't just about the physical challenge, between us we have raised over £1000 for a fantastic cause that we all believe will make a massive difference - it has got to. 

Although we all did our bit this weekend with fun-runs, half-marathons, marathons and childcare the prize for momentous effort has to go to Marcus - a full marathon over that terrain is absolutely brilliant. 

Great weekend, awesome achievement... Go team!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Birthday Boys

I can't believe it has been a whole week since my last blog - rubbish!

Unfortunately I don't have much time, but I do want to make sure there is a record of some of the loveliness of last weekend before we embark on what I sure is going to be an equally lovely weekend apart from perhaps a little wetter.

So forgive me for being brief:

* Six mile run on Saturday morning through the beautiful (chilly) Dorset countryside with the sun shining, the birds singing and Buster running beside me.

* Yummy BBQ lunch with old friends and bubbles - does it get much better?

I should explain that there is a bit of tradition surrounding the fact that we spent last weekend with old friends. We (I say we because Angus and I actually share many of our school friends as we have been together since the dark ages!) are very lucky to be part of a group of school friends who are all still in touch. We don't see as much of each other as we used to but when we do, it feels really special. This weekend in September is always significant as three of the group have birthdays on consecutive days, 25th (Sam), 26th (Jase) and 27th (Angus) September! For as long as I can remember, if we have all been in the country, we have tried to get together. Unfortunately the group wasn't quite complete as Jase (26th September Birthday Boy) was horribly ill so missed out on the fun.

* Excellent dog-walk which included being chased by horses and coming face to face with a very impressive bull!

* Delish curry and lots more bubbles!

*A trip to Portland to support our brother-in-law as he completed his first half-ironman. An amazing achievement, we were all very emotional about it.

* The best Birthday cake EVER for Angus made by Bridgie, Hugh and Aurelia xx

Such a good weekend followed by quite a good week. I'll leave you with a photo I took of Coco yesterday having a ball on her new (borrowed) slide.

Enjoy your weekends and I will try to be more blog vigilant next week.