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.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What a week!

Before I start, I just want to share my extreme excitement with you at my having being nominated for a MAD Blog Award! It is a complete surprise, I am gobsmacked, flabbergasted and utterly over excited about it. For those of you who don't know about the Mummy's and Daddy's Bloggers Oscar's, click on the button on this page and take a look. Who'd have thought that Baby, Buggy, Boat would even be considered for a nomination alongside some of the extraordinary talent there is amongst the parent bloggers out there. Apparently this is an inspirational blog! What-da-ya-know! Whoever it was that has enjoyed reading about our adventures enough to nominate us, a heartfelt 'thank you'. You made my weekend!

There is so much to fill you in on I am struggling to know where to start. After a nasty tumble in the pool last week, we signed Coco up for some more lessons to rebuild her confidence. It has worked a treat and she is loving being back in the water. Both Angus and I are also loving learning the exercises to really help get her swimming. She is just starting to kick at last and so we are able to let go of her now and she makes way underwater. She will hang onto the wall on her own, spider-crawl along it to the steps and climb out. Big progress so I am going to have to be sure I keep it up when we get back to the UK next week. I can not tell you what a relief it will be to actually have her swimming and it feels like we are getting close now.

We had a truly glorious Easter weekend. I did a fun-run to raise money for a local guy who needs a back operation to get him walking again. We ran at sunrise up to an old fort at Shirley Heights, enjoyed the stunning views from the top and then ran back down again. It was hot and hard but such good fun. I ran with a friend and colleague of Angus's and it felt good to start the weekend doing something virtuous.

We were invited to spend Easter Sunday morning with some friends who were hosting a brunch party. After collecting the eggs the Easter Bunny had left in our little garden (we had to get out there very early so they didn't melt!) and enjoying an early breakfast of Cheerios and chocolate (!) we headed down the hill to our friends house. Brunch was more muffins and bucks fizz, followed by more bucks fizz, followed by lots of fizz but by this stage we abandoned the fruit juice. It wasn't even lunchtime when we wobbled home giggling all the way.

It is Antigua's famous Sailing Week at the moment so we have spent a few evening at Nelsons Dockyard absorbing the party atmosphere. Coco and Uncle Gaby had a dance-off to the islands top band - Itchy Feet - on Monday. When I say 'dance-off' they both span around like loons and jumped about like a pair of over excited frogs. Extremely funny to watch, I wish I had got it on video.

Our bit of drama for the week was on Monday evening when the boats crew up to the house for a BBQ. We had a lovely evening with everyone; good food, wine and beer, swimming and chatting and had just settled down to tell embarrassing stories when the boats watch-keeper called Angus to tell him that the sailing yacht right alongside them was on fire! Now, if you imagine a marina, all the boats are very close to each other, and I'm not sure how much you know about boats but they burn well - and quickly. I have never seen Angus move so fast! Grabbing half the crew, they jumped in the car and hotfooted it down to the harbour. (Angus hadn't been drinking by the way, he's very responsible like that)

All was well, but not before Angus and his crew had fought the fire along with ABSAR - the Antiguan rescue team, the fire-brigade and other surrounding boat crews. Sadly, S/Y Titan, the boat that was on fire, was pretty much destroyed but nobody was hurt and no other boats were affected. To read more check out this report in Dockwalk.

So an eventful week! We should be back in the UK by now but Angus's plans changed, the boat is staying a little longer and who wants to rush back from the Caribbean? So we've changed our flight and have a few extra days in paradise... lucky, lucky us.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tantrums and Tiaras

The Antigua Classics Sailing Regatta has been and gone. It has been a busy week for the boat with racing, race crew to entertain, the owner and his guests onboard, the organisation, the logistics and the level of service is phenomenal. Not only that but these boys (and girls) pull it off whilst making it look effortless and stress-free. These superyacht guys know their stuff I tell ya.

I managed to blag a ride on the chase boat one day (a speed boat that follows the sailboat in case one of the race crew go overboard and it does happen sometimes!) because it was Uncle Gaby's turn to drive. Although you don't get the thrill of sailing, it really is the best seat in the house, plus I had the added advantage of spending a very pleasant day with my brother and his friend and colleague, Dallas. Here are some of this years photos:

Coco and I have had the pleasure of being included in some of the cocktail parties, bbq's and crew dinners that come hand-in-hand with regattas so feel full of good food, lovely company and rum! Not for Coco obviously, although it may have helped as we have had a week filled with some humdinger tantrums.

We have definitely moved into a new phase. The funny, feisty, good humoured Coco is still there for I would guess about 80% of the time but then she is replaced by demon child for the other 20%. The tantrums come from nowhere, there doesn't seem to be a reason for them but they are violent and so, so loud! She quickly gets herself into a frenzy and it would seem that nothing will calm her. She doesn't want anyone near her and yet she doesn't want to be left alone. The other day it was about 40 minutes before she eventually shook herself out of it, but this is the amazing thing, when recovers she is then back to normal in moments, if not a little croaky due to the screaming! It is completely bizarre. 

Who knows the best way to cope with these situations but I refuse to reward her behaviour with treats when she is screaming her head off, and of course I comfort her but again, cuddles and mollycoddling seems wrong when it is being demanded in such a way. Do I sound harsh, should I scoop her up, give her chocolate and tell her it is ok to get attention in that way? I have taken to the tactic of sitting with her and chatting to her but not really invading her space, she doesn't want me to anyway. She does work through it herself, with a little bit of gentle encouragement, and will hopefully soon see these passionate outbursts as a waste of both time and energy. Having had one a day for three or four consecutive days we have gone for 48 hours now without one so maybe we are making a breakthrough. Or maybe this is the calm before the storm!

Nevertheless, we have still had some fun times over the last few days and here are the photos to prove it. You would think that butter wouldn't melt...

Do you have a toddler the likes the odd tantrum and how to you handle it?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Even The Caribbean Has Its Downsides

I have just kept down the first food to have passed my lips in over 24 hours and I am really hoping it is going to give me some strength. It is common, at this time of year, for a stomach bug to sweep through the island of Antigua. Something to do with the dry weather and then the rain coming - I'm not sure though so don't quote me on that. Anyway, it always happens. Last year we managed to watch from a distance as we heard of people getting ill, there was even the terrible meningitis tragedy which shocked every parent to the core. This year we haven't escaped completely unscathed.

Angus was ill last week and I hate to confess to the fact that I thought he could have been a bit braver. For two days he could hardly communicate, was listless and had a terrible stomach. On one hand I was really worried because I had never seen anyone that ill, and on the other hand there was a small part of me that wondered if he really was quite as ill as he made out. I have to make this confession public to alleviate some of the guilt because having now experienced the illness myself, I can confirm that yes, he really did feel that ill. I thought I was dying last night when I couldn't stop vomiting, every muscle in my body was screaming at me, my arms, hands and feet were completely numb and I was struggling for breath. I couldn't keep my eyes open but I was convinced that if I closed them I wasn't going to ever wake-up. I normally consider myself to be quite brave but not this time. This bug got me, well and truly.

Enough of this moaning - we are all on the mend although poor Angus is having to cope with crew dropping like flies as well as family. Poor guy, and after my lack of sympathy! Seriously, that man deserves a medal. My only hope is that Coco manages to avoid it. Now I am feeling stronger I am going on a cleaning mission this evening to try and rid the house of all germs!

So again, a public apology to my long suffering husband... I am sorry, you were properly ill and I should have taken you more seriously xxx

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Tomorrow is the start of the 2011 Antigua Classics Sailing Regatta - a splendid race which I have had the pleasure of being involved in for the last three years. This, sadly, looks like it might be our last year so I am going to make the most of it and hopefully get more photos like these...

Aren't they beautiful boats?

So here's to tomorrow - GO RANGER!

For more fabulous interpretations of the theme 'tomorrow' go and visit The Gallery over at Sticky Fingers.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Before We Were Mothers

There is a baby buzz in the air at the moment. You may remember my mentioning months ago that three of my best buddies were having babies this year? Well one is here already (welcome Oscar but I don't think Daddy reads my blog so you will never know that I have publicly welcomed you into the world) and I am waiting with baited breath for news on the arrival of the next bubba (who is stubbornly staying put even though he or she is now 12 days late! It's obviously cozy in there). The third arrival isn't due until July so we would like you to stay right where you are for the time being please.

Anyway, with babies on the brain, there was something in the blog posted yesterday by the brilliant (seriously, she is very funny) 4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle, and it got me thinking. She makes reference to taking pictures of her pre-breastfeeding breasts (in this post) and it struck a nerve. She was right, I really wish I had done that, just as a reminder of my former self! I probably don't wish I had actually taken photos but I certainly didn't appreciate them enough. Why didn't I love my boobs more pre-baby? Why didn't I love all of my body more pre-baby? I have always hated my boobs (too big - I know, I should be grateful but I'm not) but actually, two years ago they were bloody lovely! Similarly, my tummy. Never, ever been happy with it. Even in my skinnier times it was never even close to being washboard, but come on! Compared to the the prune-like texture that it is now, kind of like one big elbow, it was so smooth and fairly flat. Why didn't I appreciate you back then oh poor tummy of mine? And let's not even start on the state of my pelvic floors and veiny legs!

So what I have been thinking about is, what would I advise my pre-Mummy self to do knowing what I do now? And so, in turn, my pre-baby friends. (Sorry Beth and Nat, definitely too late for you and possibly even you Ilm xx)

- Wear a bikini and wear it with pride. Those little bits of excess flesh are nothing!
- Show some plump, high, where-it's-supposed-to-be cleavage
- Listen to Radio One (for those of you reading from foreign fields, Radio One is the cool and trendy radio station in the UK)
- Stay in bed and read a book one morning
- Pop out to the shops, you know, just pop out quickly with nothing by your purse
- Wear make-up and take the time to experiment with a new eye-shadow!
- Wear pretty, dangly earrings

There are so many more things I could add. What would you tell your pre-baby self to appreciate before the pitter-patter of tiny feet?

I am going to indulge myself in digging out one of Coco's baby photos for you to enjoy - this is why we do it at the end of the day and isn't she worth it! xx

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Unbelievably Grateful For...

It has be a while since I have linked into the lovely Maxabella's 'Saturday Grateful', but that doesn't mean that I absolutely always am... grateful that is.

So, this week I am grateful for...

Freshly Baked Bread - there is a gorgeous little bakery at the bottom of the hill. It opens at sunrise and there is a cow-bell that hangs outside for when you need to be served. It is nothing more that a hatch in a wall cover in bouganvilla but the beautiful Antiguan woman with perfect skin sells the most delicious baguettes, chocolate croissants and loaves that are so fresh they are still warm. Yummy!

A Resounding Dawn Chorus - I am sure that the dawn chorus is equally as wonderful everywhere in the world, you just don't often tend to hear it. Here, however, we do and it is extraordinarily beautiful. We have no air conditioning in our little house, so the windows are always open and even over the low hum of the ceiling fan, it feels like you are sleeping outside. So as soon as the sun comes up, and the birds are awake, we are able to share with them their joy at the dawning of a new day.

Sunset Swims - It isn't all about the morning. I am just as grateful for the evenings and they are equally as precious and beautiful. It is pretty special to be able to share a family swim together at the end of each day. Ah, big sigh, extremely grateful xx

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tips for flying

We have been here nearly a week already, the time is whizzing by. Our house is gorgeous, although there is a rather high balcony which fills me with fear. Coco is banned from being outside without an adult right beside her at all times. The house itself is lovely though. A huge open plan space with big french windows on all sides which you can have open with the mozzie screen pulled across keeping Coco in, with the illusion of being out - if that makes sense. The family that owns the house are half Canadian, half British and so there is a kind of Canadian hunting lodge feel to the decor. Strange that may seem for the 30 degree heat and sandy beaches that is the Caribbean, but somehow it works.

Already, we have fallen into our usual routine. Up for a run (well that was only this morning but I am hoping to keep it up!), take Angus to work, back for breakfast, jobs, play and then our morning swim. We are very lucky to have a little plunge pool just outside our back door which is perfect for Coco to practice her swimming in.

We are continuing with the exercises we were given in Fort Lauderdale and Coco is back to happily going underwater, jumping in and holding onto the wall when she needs to but she still refuses to kick her legs - apart from in the bath! She is brilliant at it then! I know it will come, but the quicker she is actually swimming the better. It is a constant worry when you are around all this water. Anyway, after being warn out in the pool, we have a spot of lunch and then a sleep. Coco's sleeps have been awesome since we have been here, 2 - 3 hours every afternoon and still 11 - 12 hours at night! It is perfect as I have a whole ton of work on at the moment. Did I say work?!

When it cools down a bit, we hit the beach for a couple of hours, meet with Daddy and then come home for supper and bed! Not a bad routine I would say.

So, back to the blog title - I was thinking this morning how amazing Coco was on the flight last week and how, although we are now well practised at long-haul (Coco has wracked up 14 flights now!), there are always things I could improve on, things I discover and things I forget. Seeing as we are about to embark on the holiday season, I thought I would share my top tips with you all in the hope they might help now or in the future. Feel free to add any helpful comments!

- Don't have too much hand luggage, put as much as possible in the hold. Carrying stuff is a real pain.
- Select toys carefully. A magnetic drawing board is BRILLIANT! No mess and hours of entertainment.
- One new, wow, toy to be brought out in an emergency situation. We had a plastic train this trip that did the trick!
- Loads of snacks. Airlines can sometimes be funny about food especially for infants. I shamelessly go for fun food, again it's a great distraction. Pringles and animal crackers are a firm favourite.
- Coco is a thumbsucker which is great for take-off and landing but if not then lollypops work.
- Whatever works! Coco loves her bottle but only has one at nigh time. However, I buy a pint of milk in the departure lounge and she has several bottles on a long-haul flight.
- Download some children's favourites onto your laptop. The in flight entertainment can sometimes be limited so don't rely on it. I went for Peppa Pig, In the Night Garden and some children's earphones.
- Stick to a similar routine as you would have at home and hopefully that might include a sleep?!
- Be prepared to walk up and down the aircraft a lot!
- If you are going somewhere hot, pop a summer dress in your bag for landing. Long queues are better if children aren't overheating.
- We have just discovered reigns - again, perfect when travelling if you get one that is a rucksack as well for a nappy and a drink!

Hope this is helpful for any of you who are about to hit the runway. As I say, any other tips would be gratefully received!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Look at that view!

My Mothers Day has started in the very best possible way - I slept until 6am, which is fabulous seeing as we only changed time zones 36 hours ago and that is pretty much my normal waking up time. Coco is still asleep, which means she has already managed to switch her body clock to Caribbean time on the second night. I am, at last, getting the time to sit, at a table, undisturbed so that I can write a long overdue blog whilst soaking up the most amazing view. Check it out...

The sun is just coming up so you can't fully appreciate the colours yet but this is the outlook from the balcony of our home for the next month. We are back in Antigua - one of my favourite places in the world - you are looking down on Falmouth Harbour and the famous English Harbour is just visible in the left hand corner of the photo. Nestled amongst the masts that you can see is Angus's boat - yes, the one which he is now captain of, and all seems to be going well so far!

It was Antigua that inspired me to start blogging a little over a year ago. How did this little family from South West England manage to end up travelling the world and living in places like this?! Have a look now the sun is higher...

Tomorrow real life starts, but this weekend we are having a holiday, kicking back and relaxing on the beach. Uncle Gaby and his girlfriend Mel, kindly invited us to join them at their nearby hotel for the day so we have been enjoying their luxury pools, fun water sports and endless pina coladas and rum punches. Angus is starting Coco early to try and ignite her interest in boats...

and she is obviously really hating it!!

Being back with Daddy is just the very best thing for Coco, she hasn't left his side since we arrived. The pure excitement has been extraordinary to watch, they have just been playmates from the moment they were back together. I find it amazing that, even after not seeing each other for two months, Coco remembers their games, the little things that they do together, even though she is so young.

Not only has she got Daddy back, but she's with her Uncle Gaby again too! How much excitement can one 19 month old baby handle?

So, who knows what Mothers Day will bring, but for the moment I feel completely relaxed, truly happy and all is well.