Saturday, 27 December 2008

Disneyland Paris - Hier kom ons!!!

We just returned from Christmas at Disneyland Paris and wow - amazing!!! We drove there which was very easy - 1.5 hours to the Channel Tunnel at Folkestone, to make it just in time at 5:30am for the 6:00am Eurotunnel crossing which took about half an hour. When you get to the other side you just ride off the train onto the highway which is a bit scary as it was still dark and you drive on the right and you don't really know where you are going and the Garmin takes you on a wild goose chase - but we got there safe and sound in around 3.5 hours. The rest of the afternoon we spent exploring the Val' de Europe shopping center which reminded me a lot of the ones we have in SA (why can't the UK get them right?) and then we checked into our hotel, went for a swim (jay indoor pool with slide) and then went for dinner at Val' de Europe.

On the 24th we dressed very warmly and got on the bus that goes to Disney and once you're inside its just like you imagined it, the way it seems on all those tv adverts - really magical. Well for me anyway, and hopefully for the girls, not sure about Werner. First there is this huge Christmas tree, and then once you past that you are walking on Main Street USA and then you see the beautiful pink and gold castle - wonderful. Disney music plays all the time, fake snow falls on Main Street USA, the shops look like something from a movie - everything is just perfect.

But back to business (and its serious business). First we headed to a ride called 'Its a small World' - we waited about 20 minutes in the queue (the only bad thing about Disney -queues everywhere even on the day before Christmas at 5 degrees celcius) but then someone in front of us went into another queue and we followed them and voila!! We were in front!! Feeling really sorry for the people we past (yea right), we got on the little boat and off we went. The ride features a multitude of audio-animatronic figures in the style of children of the world singing the ride's title track 'It's a small world, after all' , which has a theme of global peace. It is sooo cute and the girls loved it. Some of the dolls' mouths actually move like they are singing the song, and their costumes and sets are incredible. This is really a great ride as it is suitable for all ages, I just wish we could go again, but no time, no time - we had to rush to the next ride.

I can't really remember what we did next, but we did Peter Pan's Flight, Dumbo the Elephant (for Silke), Carousel with horses (for Silke), Pirates of the Caribbean (luckily Silke was sleeping with this one so Werner and I took turns and Mieke got to go twice which was great). We went on the Disney Railroad which is a train which takes you around the whole park which was great as it gave us time to relax a bit. Werner and Mieke also went on Big Thunder Mountain which is as scary as it sounds but Mieke loved it. We also saw a show on ice (Mickey's jolly holiday) and then that evening watched the parade which was beautiful and perfectly done. Characters from Lion King, Toy Story, all the princess stories as well as all the evil witches from the princess stories were there.

After an exciting day we went to Cafe Mickey for dinner. This is a very popular place but we weren't that impressed. We waited ages to get in (even with a reservation) and the food is very mediocre. What makes this place is the characters (Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Goofey, Eeh Ohre, Smee, Gepetto) that come to your table and sign your autograph book (which is quite absurd if you think about it). And now and then they will play loud music while the waiters dance on the tables. But I found it hilarious as the characters all came straight to our table because Silke is so cute, and then my kids especially Mieke would not give them any attention (Pa se kind) while jealous onlookers watch enviously with the specially bought autograph books clutched under their arms and their cameras within reach. Silke later on started to like them, and would sit at the table calling Mickey Mouse - "Mouse, come here!! Come here Mouse!" They also really like the dessert which was a small buffet with chocolate mousse and chocolate brownies and best of all - smarties!! Silke had none of her food and then a plate of smarties - happiness!!

On Christmas day we opened our presents (we kept it small) and then went for breakfast. Father Christmas was there handing out chocolate chip men (instead of gingerbread men) and naartjies. Silke took one of each, broke the man's leg off and gave the leftovers to Werner, and then ate two naartjies. After breakfast we filled our flask with mulled wine (which we heated in our room kettle - don't tell) and went to the park again.

First we raced for the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and as it was early we were in luck. We did it twice in a row without really queing. Mieke and Silke both loved this ride. The description for this ride - "Spin your Star Cruisers 360 degrees while you fire moveable, hand-held laser cannons.
Blast enemy targets and amass points, then compare your high-score with other Space Rangers or go for a personal best." This was really cool and by the second time Silke got more than 2000 points shooting targets!! Don't ask me how she did this, I was too busy shooting myself.

After this we went on another space rocket ride and then we walked around a bit until it was time for our Christmas lunch - at Auberge de Cendrillion restaurant in Fantasyland. A wonderful experience from start to finish. When you arrive they first ask if your child would like a photo taken with Cinderella (I think - not so clued up on the who's who of princesses), but both my children were too shy and would not go near her. So they showed us to our table which was in a little alcove - just perfect. Its a french restaurant and really beautifully decorated, fireplaces, beautiful lights, wallpaper etc. They brough the adults coctails and the kids had their own classy little french menus which they could take home and also had a place for autographs - we are now the proud owner of Sleeping Beauty's Signature which says: Sleeping Beauty. And Suzy the mouse. What can I say...

Soon after we arrived Suzy the mouse from Cinderella, Ariel (Mermaid) and her prince came to visit our table. The really look quite unreal - especially the prince who looked like a Ken doll. Mieke was still quite shy but at least I got her to wear her princess dress. Silke loved the mouse and got a nice cuddle (Oooh I'm starting to talk like the English!). She also posed eagerly with everyone who visited us. Later Mieke also started enjoying this and we got a nice photo of her as well. We had the most delicious food (except for the foie gras which I ate for the first and the last time ever - it repeated for the next two days!!). But the smoked salmon, cheeses, veal, lamb cutlets and dessert (3 little desserts on a plate) was delicious. Mieke got a chocolate Cinderella's slipper as well as strawberrry ice cream, pink milk topped with candyfloss and a chocolate brownie for dessert. I wanted to take a photo of Cinderella's slipper but she ate it before I even had a good look at it!!

Afterwards they both received a beautiful pink wand as a gift, which was a nice touch. A really wonderful experience - Disney with a bit of class.

After lunch (when in real life I would have preferred to go for a nap) we first watched a christmas show with Minnie Mouse and Pinnocchio and dancers and then headed to the Disney Studios.

We watched a show called Stitch Live which was really amazing - especially for us as Lilo and Stitch is a favourite video in our house. Its difficult to explain but basically Stitch is on this big screen and they explain that he was very naughty as he stole a space ship and is flying around with it. Stitch then talks to the audience and then surprisingly really interacts with them. For instance he would get the 'presenter' to pick out a girl in the audience and then he would ask her questions. He asked this one lady to spell her name as he said she was his new girlfriend and he would like to name a new planet he found after her. He spelled the name incorrectly and then his ears droop and his eyes goes all wide and he will say: "Stitch made a mistake. Stitch so sorry" and then tell the computer to "Delete" and then the computer blows up the planet!!! Instead of deleting the incorrect letter. This was really amazingly done.

We went on another few rides and wanted to do Crush's Coaster but when we got there the queue was already 60 minutes long (at least they tell you before you start) so we left that. We then visited the Disney museum and took the girls shopping. They could each choose one thing of not more than 20 euros and Mieke chose a Limited Edition Minny Mouse in a gold dress and Silke chose a play set with rubbery plastic characters of Mickey, Minny, Donald Duck, Pluto and one other which I can't remember. Then it was time to have a last look around and say goodbye to Disney. I wanted to see the parade again, but we were so tired and suffering from stimulation overload, so we headed back.

Disneyland is really amazing, and we all enjoyed it a lot, even Werner who probably had to make an effort to get into the swing of things. Because as I write all this it seems so silly, but when you are there and you see 'Sully' from Monsters Incorporated sitting on this huge chair by Boo's Door and Minny Mouse dancing in her red Christmas outfit with snow falling down, and you get that first glimpse of Sleeping Beauty's castle - the magic seems quite real.

Would I recommend Disneyland Paris for Christmas? If I had a choice I would probably rather spend the day with our family in Betties Bay, eating and drinking too much and then going for a loooong nap in the afternoon with the sun baking down on me. But if I can't have that then Disneyland is definitely the next best but totally different thing.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Duvet Day Today

Yesterday was such a busy day. It was Mieke's school play - she is the angel on the right - in the play called 'The Donkey Seller'. She said her words beautifully and looked gorgeous.

At the play Silke started feeling very hot and fell asleep in our arms. I took them home then went back to town to have Mieke measured to see what size violin she would need as she will be starting lessons in January. The we bought some other stuff and raced to Kumon, she did her worksheet in 9 minutes without making one mistake!

But she was exhausted after a busy day and also had a fever. So today all three of us are at home having a duvet day!! Although I am busy with school stuff etc. it was nice not having to go out in the cold.... we are really having a freezing winter this year.
We are having such a hectic time with school plays, christmas fairs and parties and lots of visits to Santa!! Which should be fun but by now I've had enough and just want to lie in a warm dark place with my eyes closed.

Thursday, 30 October 2008


Mieke het Sondag die 26ste Oktober verjaar - ek kan nie glo my baby is al sewe nie...

Ons het vir haar 'n klein lessenaartjie en stoel gekoop vir haar verjaarsdag (onder andere - so wreed is ons darem nie) en Werner het dit Saterdagoggend terwyl sy by Stagecoach was al grommende aanmekaar geslaan. So toe sy wakker word Sondag was dit in haar kamer met nog 'n persent bo op - sy was baie happy. Sy het ook 'n wekker gekry en Pixelchix babysitter game en 'n Disney prinses kasteel en perd wat my twee ure gevat het om op die slaan (hier in $%$£ Engeland moet mens friggen alles jouself opslaan!)

Toe bak ek gou twee baksels sjokolade muffins in die blommetjie muffinpan wat ek by my buurvrou by nommer 8 geleen het - dis so cute - 'n silicone pan met daisy en roos vorms. Toe dust ek dit met versiersuiker - dit lyk so mooi alhoewel ek nie dink dat die kiddies dit veel waardeer het nie!

Ek het Vrydag al haar koek gebak (ingeval dit flop en ek gou 'n winkelkoek moes gaan koop het) en dit het baie mooi uitgekom - nie sleg vir 'n eerste poging nie! Ek het die versierings en icing vir haar koek by 'n 'cake decorating' website gekoop - hier kan mens mos alles en nog wat oor die internet koop. So dit was pienk en pers en groen icing, klaar reg om uit te rol, en pers vere en goue sterre en balletjies. Die koek was sommer 'n boks sjokolade koek wat ek gebak het en die boonste twee lae twee kleiner koeke wat ek gekoop het en kleiner gesny het.

Ek het soos gewoonlik weer bietjie dol gegaan met haar partytjie (Venetian Mask Party), maar ek het besluit ek gaan dinge my way doen en nie worry oor wat almal gaan dink nie.

Ons het 'n saal hier naby ons gehuur en dis nice want dis kleinerig met 'n mooi uitsig op die park. Ons het groen en pienk en goue ballonne opgeblaas en ek het mardi gras tema versiering opgesit en die tafel ook so versier met goue krale en al. Ek het iemand gekry om saam met hulle goue venetian maskers te versier en vir party bags het ek klein pienk organza sakkies met sjokolade muntstukke gevul en ook vir elkeen 'n goue ladybird hangertjie (met 'n horlosie as jy die vlerke oopvou) ingesit. Dit lyk seker vreeslik duur maar ek het dit op Ebay van China af bestel vir £15 vir 10 van hulle wat glad nie sleg is nie (dankie Ebay).

Soos gewoonlik was die oomblik vir Mieke net te groot - eers het sy gehuil omdat sy 'n game verloor het, en toe gee die vrou vir haar 'n persent toe huil sy eers. Ek vra vir haar toe hoekom huil sy toe se sy want sy is so happy! Dit maak alles die moeite werd....

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Ditjies en Datjies

Ek so trots op my twee dogters!! Eerste my baby - Silke het die naweek die eerste keer op die toilet gepoo so ons vorder stadig maar seker met die potty training.

En Mieke my groot meisiekind het begin boeke lees!! Natuurlik lees sy al lankal, maar sy het nou ontdek dat sy properse boeke kan lees, met baie bladsye sonder prentjies. Sy het klaar een boek klaar gelees en is nou besig met haar tweede een 'Worst Witch' of so iets. Sy lees nou in die aande skelm en ek is so bly dat ek haar nie keer nie. Want ek onthou toe ek klein was en dit gedoen het en 'n nuwe wereld ontdek het in boeke.

Maar sy is funny sy wil nie in die dag lees nie, wag tot laat in die aand wanneer sy eintlik moet slaap!

Ons het laas naweek bietjie in die woud gaan stap en dis so mooi met die herfskleure. Ons het lekker baie helder sonskyndae, alhoewel dit maar 14C buite is. Maar solank die son skyn is dit great - Mieke look kaalarms rond in sulke weer!! Ek het nog nie so goed aangepas nie en dra my baie dik baadjie.

Verder het Mieke vandag 'n Pirate party by die skool gehad en was the cute met haar pirate hoed en eyepatch ''Harr harr!!' Hulle het blykbaar niks werk gedoen nie en heeldag net speletjies gespeel en chips en koekies geeet!! Wel die skool sluit more so dis okay...

Ek is nou Blue Class se Rep (laas jaar se rep het my genag en ek kan mos nie nee se nie) - wat beteken ek is op die PTA en ek moet belangstel in dinge soos cake sales en coffee mornings en aan exciting idees dink vir fondsinsameling - o weeeeee... Ek hou net niks van die storie nie. Al wat ek van hou is om e-mails uit te stuur want dan hoef ek nie met iemand te praat nie. Maar nou ja dit forseer my om te socialise want natuurlik moet die staf rep by elke okkasie en nog wat wees.

Die ingelse begin nou bietjie minder op my senuwees werk en ek moet se ek hou van hulle ordentlikheid en ordelikheid. Behalwe anderdag by die boekwinkel toe die klein snip van 'n winkelassistent nie vir my 'n sker wou gee om 'n persent toe te draai nie en toe ek vra of ek 'n liniaal kan gebruik toe se sy ek moet een koop!!! Ek was lanklaas so kwaad - ek wou vir haar se dat die sker baie minder kwaad sal doen as die woede uitbarsting wat sy veroorsaak het.
Sondag is Mieke se verjaarsdag en ons hou haar partytjie Sondagmiddag - so wish me luck!!

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Bella Italia

We had an amazing holiday in Italy. After leaving a chilly England at 5:55am, arriving in hot Pisa just after nine was wonderful!! I can't believe how much I missed the heat. It is quite a strange feeling, like I need to savour the heat - instead of fighting it and sweating I relished and felt very comfortable.

We weren't that comfortable driving on the right side road among the crazy italians though!! But the drive from Pisa to Florence was uneventful. Driving in Florence itself was hairraising - dodging people on bikes and scooters and trying to squeeze past parked cars was exciting to say the least. But when we found our apartment where we were spending our first two nights we were amazed - again. You can read about it on my review on Tripadvisor

Needless to say we really loved it. Waking up in the mornings and just experiencing the smells and sounds of Florence when we opened the shutters and took our first steps outside was wonderful. Yes it was hot in the middle of the day, we stood in the queue for the Uffizi Gallery too long because we went too late, we probably could have seen and done more. But it was still wonderful and my two girls were so good and patient and played in the gravel in the Bobbolli Gardens and ate lots of gelato and ran around in the piazza and shopped for Pinnochio at the market and overall also had a great time.

It was also great to have Antoinette (granny) there to help with the girls and to babysit while Werner and I went for a wonderfully romantic meal in Florence.

After Florence we drove to our holiday house in Tuscany, close to Lucca in the village of Massaciucolli. Well now I know what a hairpin bend is!! The house is on the side of the mountain with beautiful views of Lake Massaciucolli, but to get there is eh challenging! But soon enough Werner got the hang of it and we were raring up and down the mountainside, hooting as we go along just like the locals. The house was wonderful, stone built, wonderfully cool inside and a nice outside patio and our own swimming pool between the olive groves with beautiful views. And the pool was great after a hot day of sight seeing - just the right temperature too cool off. We went cycling on the walls of Lucca, visited the spa at Montecatini Terme, went for a quick visit to Pisa to capture the leaning tower, played on the beach and ate ice cream in Viareggio, admired the art of Pietrasanta, birdwatched on the Lake, and had a wonderful time.

Antoinette went back to SA from Italy and a few days after we left Tuscany to drive up north towards Venice. The drive was beautiful - tunnel after tunnel going through lush green mountains with little hilltop towns here and there. The area closer to Venice is definitely not as beautiful as Tuscany, but Venice itself was amazing. We went to Venice for a day, driving from the holiday resort Pra delle Torri where we were staying. We then took a ferry to Venice. It was extremely hot and humid, but once you are inside and walking the little side streets of Venice it is much cooler. We found a mask for Mieke and a merano bead neckglass for me. Then we had lunch where Mieke again enjoyed her 'white spaghetti' which is plain spaghetti with cheese which she loves. We loved looking at the gondolas and strolling on St Mark's square and just walking and getting lost in Venice - amazing. Then when we wanted to get back to the ferry we got onto a waterbus and admired all the buildings next to the grande canal. But then Werner realized we were going the wrong way so we had to get onto another one!! Eventually we got back to the ferry point and bought tickets, Werner said we should get on the ferry so long as he is going to buy the girls a smally toy that they were after. Well the next moment the ferry takes off with us on board and Werner no where to be found (and he did not have any money with him)!! Mieke was crying and I was trying to communicate with an italian who only speaks - italian.

Anyway, we got off at the other side and eventually he also arrived, luckily only cross with himself!!

The rest of the time we just enjoyed the holiday resort - the beach, pools, slides, bouncy castles, kids movies, eating out - wonderful for kids and because they had fun we could also relax and enjoy. The best was having a glass of wine at the beach bar while watching the kids playing in the shallow sea - Bliss....

So that was Italy, the best holiday I've ever been on and since I've been back in England I long for it every day (I know its terrible I should get on with life and get back to reality).

I've attached a few photos and also attached a link to the rest of them - enjoy...

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Its sooo late but I'm online again - Jay!!

My broadband and telephone was off most of this week (BT problem) but nobody phones me anyway so this was not a huge problem! But I did miss the Internet, and checking up on my (non-existing) Ebay sales. I made a huge profit for a few weeks selling 'Acrostic teacher poems' as teacher gifts for the last day of school, but school is out now and business quiet. Which is just as well as I have to entertain my 2 girls and today was not a good example of how to keep kids busy on summer holidays:

1. I try to sleep a little longer as I don't have to take Mieke to school. This is interrupted at 2:00 am when Silke wants to bf (breastfeed - I know she is two and much to old but what can I do). I get up and make her another bottle of milk. At 5:00am she wakes up again (just as Werner gets up to go to work) and wants to bf, which she does, we sleep a little bit and then she is up again. I tell her to go wake her sister so that they can go watch tv. This helps a bit but at around 8:00 am Silke jumps on me demanding a biscuit. I get up and get her some cereal and make toast for Mieke.

2. I realize there is no milk so I mix some baby formula for Silke's cereal and my morning coffee. It's a beautiful day and I decide to take them to the park and then go to Sainsbury's for my weekly shop even though I have both of them with me. But we are out of milk, fruit, bread and most important - biscuits.

3. I made the beds and packed the dishwasher and get us all dressed and brushed and organise hats and shoes for everybody. We drive to the park and have a nice time especially on the new swing which is like a huge rope seat where both kiddies can lie on and relax while I swing them - this nearly put them in a trance for 10 minutes which was also nice for me. But it got really hot (probably only like 25 degrees but I am acclimatising so this was too much for me). So I loaded them in the car and drove across the road to Sainsburys - which was extremely busy - why people were shopping on such a nice day in the middle of the week is beyond me.

4. I put Silke in one of their wandering trolleys (all the uk trolleys are uncontrollable - wandering all over the place instead of where you want to go) and she is already moaning because her feet are sore because of the shoes she had on at the park (we always wear shoes here - bare feet are not allowed!!). I won't elaborate but the shopping expedition was long and hard with fighting, crying, and consuming half a tub of meringues.

5. At checkout Silke insisted on getting out of the trolley so I let her get out, while I packed my stuff (yes isn't it unfair - after an hour loading everything in my trolley, I have to unpack it all and then pack it into bags myself only to unpack it all again at home - what type of country is this - terribly cruel!!) Anyway she noticed one of the ladies who worked at Sainsburys who has Downs Syndrome - well she was so scared of her she literally climbed under my dress! Don't know why, maybe just because she looked different - at least it kept her in one place for a while.

6. Oh yes, I forgot I still had to pack the stuff in my boot and by now Silke definitely did not want to get back into the trolley and refused to hold my hand so I had to carry a screaming two year old while manoeuvring my wandering trolley and directing my sulking six year old to pull the £$%$% thing in the right direction.

7. We got home and I unpacked the car, carried everything to the house, unpacked everything, made a picnic lunch for the kids, sat on my little piece of lawn and had a picnic. At last a little bit of peace - except for Silke who only ate the cupcakes, strawberries and crisps and not even a bite of the sandwiches I made - as usual.

8. I thought after all this fun I would get Silke off to sleep in no time but alas, she ran around until around four pm when she finally fell asleep while bf. By this time I was so exhausted the rest of the day was a bit of a blur.... Mieke made Halloween decorations and drew pictures of parachutes and planes. I ate the other half of the meringues. Mieke used the tub to make an insect catching thingy - very creative she is...

Well that's what I did today - fun wasn't it? And this was the first day of our summer holidays. Wonder what's in store tomorrow.....

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Mieke's Acrostic Poems

Mieke learnt about Acrostic poems at school (Acrostic poems is where you write a word down the side and then make a sentence beginning with each of the letters and staying within the theme of your word). I only learnt this recently from Mieke! Anyway the other day she was writing something and then showed me the 2 Acrostic Poems she had written - we have a poet in our midst!!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

A great Day Out with the kids in London

Why is it called a 'DAY OUT'?
Days Out are like an institution here - its something you plan beforehand with great detail and then it normally rains on the day.
So our days out are planned on the day depending on the weather (we are getting a bit smarter with time).
The other day we went to London again, we enjoy just getting off the train and Waterloo and then wandering up the South Bank. There's a merry go round, play ground and lots of mime artists and musicians which entertain the girls (and us). And its beside the river so there are also boats to look at.
Then we went to the London Borough Market which is a huge food market with anything you can think of - its busy but wonderful - fruit, veg, the weirdest mushrooms, fresh fish and meat, wine, beer, bread, cakes and lots of places making sandwiches and take away food. We bought some baklava and strawberries and bought rolls with lamb and mint for lunch. Then we walked across a bridge (which we later realized is the Millenium Bridge) and then stumbled across St Pauls Cathedral. Cool...
A really great day out!!

Surrey County Show & picnic in the countryside

Yelloh Summer!!
We have been having some beautiful days so we have been finding nice places to picnic - this was at a little lake at Loseley Park - lots of ducks and fish and white people - I mean very fair skinned people either laying about turning red or with backpacks assertively walking somewhere. But overall still nice and quiet and empty.
We also went to our neighbours two year old girls birthday party which the girls enjoyed and also the Surrey County Show which reminded me to never book and pay for anything which will take place outdoors here - especially not on a bank holiday! It rained, it poured, the wind blew our umbrellas inside out... and just as we exited the refreshments tent where we sat just to get out of the torrential rain, someone said 'Looks like its clearing up' (NOT). Well it was funny on the day...
But we saw pigs and cows and a huge bull and some sheep and Mieke had her face painted like a tiger (quite impressive) and we watched a Punch and Judy Show (oh that's what a Punch and Judy Show is). Anyway - great fun. Well would've been on any other day....