This week we have had my niece, Rachel, staying with us. My brother and his wife have been on a residential course prior to moving abroad later in the year. They dropped Rachel with us on Sunday and will be taking her home again tomorrow. She is only a few months older than Josh and so this is a long time for her to be apart from her mummy and daddy. I was determined to make the week as fun as possible for her and we have done a lot of exciting things.
On Monday morning we went to rhymetime at the library as usual. After this, we went for a walk along the promenade in Hythe and spotted boats, lots of seagulls and the pier train. In the afternoon, Daniel had a pre-school trip to Palace House on the Beaulieu Estate. While he was there, we made the most of the sunshine and went for a walk along the Beaulieu River, in the direction of Bucklers Hard. There were lots of puddles to splash in which Joshua and Rachel really enjoyed.
Tuesday was Daniel’s birthday and the children and I headed up to meet Aunty Nicky at Basingstoke Leisure Park. Daniel has been keen to have a go at ice skating for a while and Basingstoke’s Planet Ice holds an Ice Tots session every Tuesday lunchtime. The kids had a great time here. You can choose whether to wear skates or your own shoes for this session and we all opted to wear our own shoes. The staff put a whole load of toys on the ice – everything from ride on toys and sledges to hockey sticks and pucks. All of the children really enjoyed this new experience and, if we lived a bit closer, we would certainly do it more regularly. After ice ‘skating’, we went to have dinner at a restaurant within the Leisure Park. There is so much more we could have done there – swimming, visiting Milestones Museum, tenpin bowling, but sadly we didn’t have time. I can definitely see us returning there at some point as it would be a good meeting point for various friends who live nearer London.
On the way home from Basingstoke, the weather brightened up significantly. All of the children had had a big lunch and a sleep in the car and so there was no rush for us to get home. I therefore offered to Daniel that we could go to the beach to throw some stones into the sea. He was very excited by this prospect and so we headed to Calshot for a brief visit before the sun went down.
On Wednesday morning Rachel spent some time playing with her Uncle Chris whilst I took Joshua to his swimming lesson. She and Joshua then came with me to watch Daniel’s swimming lesson. After dropping Daniel at pre-school in the afternoon, we then returned home to do some baking and Rachel and Joshua made some delicious chocolate brownies.
Today was my last proper day with Rachel. We went to the Dibden Minis toddler group at the church this morning and then to soft play (Pirate’s Paradise) at Applemore Health and Leisure this afternoon.
Rachel has coped exceptionally well being away from her parents for so long. There has been a lot for her to have to try and get used to – from sharing a room with her two cousins to having an inept aunt attempt to put up her hair (it really is harder than it looks!) I have really enjoyed the opportunity to have her this week, especially as I won’t get to see as much of her when they move abroad.