Daily Archives: September 4, 2012

Vacation in UK – Olympics, Family & Friends

I arrived in London on August 2nd to a Country and family gripped with Olympic fever.  It was a fabulous time to be back home as the national pride was so strong and the atmosphere was electric.  I guess the home advantage really does work on the human spirit and resulted in the UK’s best results in over 100 years and ending up 3rd in the medal table.  I have never felt so proud to be British and so happy to be in the UK.

It was also fantastic to see my family – Owen, kids and my Mum and Dad!  The kids had made a banner to welcome me at Heathrow and I was over-whelmed.  Isabelle had lost a tooth while in the UK and Oliver seemed to have grown a foot!

First priority – shopping!!  After my disastrous shoe shopping fiasco in Beijing, I decided that I needed to stock up while I had a choice of styles and sizes!  Success – 3 pairs later, it was on to finding school shoes for the kids.  BISS had warned us before school broke up for the summer that it was almost impossible to find school shoes in Shanghai.  I just hope that the kids feet don’t grow too much this year!!

A lovely day was spent with my best friend and her family, again a gorgeous sunny, warm day.  When the sun shines in the UK, it is a beautiful place to be 🙂  We spent the afternoon in the garden, where the kids all played traditional “sports day” games and got spoiled by James and Madeleine.

Isabelle turned 7 while we were back home and she celebrated twice!  Details to follow!

Peter and Emma came to my Mum and Dad’s for a few days and we had a fabulous day out at Knebworth.  All of the kids enjoyed the adventure playground, the dinosaur trail and the maze – it is a great family location.

Emma & Maeve, Sara & Isabelle, Owen & Oliver, Peter & Oscar - all kids on the slide.

Emma & Maeve, Sara & Isabelle, Owen & Oliver, Peter & Oscar – all kids on the slide.

We finished the week off with a birthday celebration lunch at a pub and met up with friends and family.  Wonderful to see Jez & Caroline, Kim & Harley, Mark, Sandra, James & Madeleine for a yummy pub meal, a few drinks and more lovely sunshine.

The week flew by and all of a sudden, we were packing up ready to come back “home” to Shanghai.

 

 

What the mice did…..

The Ex-pat community in Shanghai appears to evaporate during the Summer school holidays.  Once we realized that Isabelle & Oliver’s friends would all be in their various home countries for 2 months, and that I had a huge amount of travel for work during July, we decided that the UK might be a better place to be for an extended time.

On July 9th Owen, Isabelle and Oliver flew to London for 5 weeks of British living.  The plan included me meeting them at the beginning of the August for a week of sanity before returning to China.

Owen, Isabelle and Oliver started at Grandma and Grandad’s.  While there they surprised Owen’s Grannie at her 95th birthday celebration – she was thrilled!  It was off to Auntie Kim for a few days before heading to Owen’s Mum and Stepdad’s house in Wales.  A lovely week was spent there with several days at the beach.

Fun at the Beach in Wales!

Fun at the Beach in Wales!  Fantastic boat built by Daddy.

Auntie Kim joined them in Wales too for more fun at the beach and with family.  They were lucky with the weather and had some gorgeous sunshine:

Chilling at the beach in Wales

Chilling at the beach in Wales

On the way back to Grandma and Grandad’s, they stopped off at Peter & Emma’s. Isabelle and Oliver love playing with their cousins, Maeve and Oscar, especially because when the weather is so good and they could enjoy huge ice-creams.

The boys getting mucky

The boys getting mucky

The girls getting sticky

The girls getting sticky

Once back at G&G’s, it was days out at the park, feeding the ducks and shopping – some normal British things to do in the summer.  They visited good friends John & Andrea and their kids and also Sandra & Mark and their kids, but other than that it was time to relax a little.

I missed them all dreadfully.  I have not been apart from my children for that long before and I do not want to do it again.

Graduating from Nursery

We have been so fortunate with Oliver’s education this year.  The nursery that he attended in the UK (Jordans) was fantastic.  He loved all of the workers there, especially Miss Chris!  Moving to Shanghai meant a change and for the last term of the year, Oliver was in Mr Alfie’s class.  Oliver adored Mr Alfie – we heard so much about him at every evening meal.  I think Mr Alfie is a big kid which is why Oliver relates to him so well!!

Oliver has made so much progress in the last few months and he has developed a love of learning – for that I am so grateful to Mr Alfie!

Mr Alfie and Oliver

Mr Alfie and Oliver

Oliver’s  graduation from nursery was a fun and (in)formal affair.  All of the nursery and reception classes were in the auditorium performing different songs around the theme of holidays…..  Oliver’s class were all dressed up as though they were going on safari.  Other classes were at the beach, ski-ing or on a cruise.

Nursery and Reception End of Year Celebration in the Auditorium

Nursery and Reception End of Year Celebration in the Auditorium

He was so proud to be singing all the songs on the stage.  And, we were so proud of him!

Daddy and cheeky monkey

Daddy and cheeky monkey

Cheeky monkey and Mummy

Cheeky monkey and Mummy

Oliver's class - on safari!

Oliver’s class – on safari!