A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Two Graduations, 8 days and 1000 Miles

1000 miles, 8 days, 2 graduations, twins, happy mumIf there was one thing I hadn't anticipated with twin daughters at universities 375 miles apart, it was the possibility that they might both graduate during the same week. This should have been no surprise, since they started university on the same day back in September 2013 and have been challenging their parents with problem solving conundrums ever since.

We had known Olivia's graduation date for some time, but Sophia's uni were more elusive and refused to divulge dates until April. The thought of not being able to attend both ceremonies made me want to curl up and have a good cry. I compared it to having to choose your favourite child. In the end, it was Mr A who sat me down and suggested that I go to Olivia's, and he would go to Sophia's.

I was so happy when we finally received the news that we could all attend both ceremonies. I hastily started scribbling plans for our hectic week in September... booking hotel rooms and emptying our diaries.

If all goes to plan in September this will happen...

On either the 2nd or 3rd September, (she can't remember which day - bless!) we'll drive to Heathrow to pick up Sophia after her summer working in the US. This involves a round trip of 250 miles.

On the 5th September, we'll drive 250 miles south with Olivia and a possibly still jet lagged, Sophia and stay in a hotel for 2 nights. Olivia's graduation is on the 6th at 5:30pm. We are probably going to celebrate the night before however, as we're on the move again the following day.

We check out of the hotel after an early breakfast and drive the 250 miles home. Maybe there will be time for lunch before we leave (again), travelling 125 miles east to stay at a different hotel for 2 or possibly, 3 nights.

Sophia's graduation is at 10:30am on the 8th September. We'll attempt to party for the rest of the day and if this doesn't happen (because we're asleep), there's always the 9th. 

I've worked out that in the space of 8 days, 3 of us will have travelled 1000 miles. The 4th member of the family, Sophia, will have travelled 6000 miles if you include her flight.

To add to the mayhem, Mr A and my mother celebrate birthdays on the 9th September. My mother turns 70 this year and dearly wishes to attend both graduations. Who knows if we'll get enough tickets? Fingers crossed.

One thing's for sure though... I will be one incredibly proud mum and couldn't be happier that I can attend both daughters' graduations.

This wasn't anything I contemplated back in the day when we arrived home from hospital with our daughters, placed the two of them on the sofa in their car seats and wondered what we were supposed to do next?

Olivia and Sophia Anderton, twin babies

Almost twenty-two years on I'm still looking for answers.
Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton

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Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Bon Voyage

Bon VoyageWe're awake a little after midnight and heading down the M40 in no time at all. I'm not convinced of the merits of a couple of hours sleep, but I may have dozed a little, (unlike my daughter) and keep reminding myself that I have work to do once I arrive home.

Sophia bumps into a friend from university at Beaconsfield services which is slightly surreal at 4 am on a Friday morning, but they compare notes and fond farewells before we rejoin the motorway and head towards the M25. We arrive at Terminal 2, Heathrow and Sophia spies several Camp America T-shirt clad teens and twenty-somethings. They're all travelling to different US cities, but stick together anyway and talk of plans for the next three months. I guess this is how the summer will unfurl - they'll get used to talking to new friends with shared interests and support each other throughout. 

I have no idea how you're supposed to feel saying goodbye to your daughter for three months - but there's excitement mingled with apprehension. I hope that Sophia will stay safe, be happy and have a summer filled with adventure. When you head home with your newborn baby - you never imagine that someday she'll grow up and go exploring all by herself. Our children are not ours to keep however, and I have to remind myself that Camp America will be the first of many adventures.

After check-in, Sophia delivers a final hug and heads off to departures with new friends. The group have waited for everyone to get through check-in before leaving en masse, which is sweet. One hug is not enough with my daughter, but I manage to restrain myself, 'Have a great summer,' I say, but she's already gone and just like her first day at school, she doesn't look back.

We return to the car and leave the airport. Stopping for a crazy-early breakfast at a service station and arriving home again in time to start work. Who needs sleep?

Sophia has two flights, the first to Chicago, the second to Portland in Oregon. I check the flight status several times during the day and hope that my daughter is sleeping; by the time she arrives at camp she'll have been up for almost 48 hours. Why is it that she's never mastered the art of sleep before flying anywhere in the world? She's been the same ever since she was a toddler - this has always driven me slightly mad.

At time of writing I still haven't heard from my daughter... I'd been warned that the chances of finding a signal in the middle of the woods in Oregon was almost zero. This doesn't make it any easier. The eight hour time difference doesn't help. I've gone old school and written her a letter that will take between five and seven days to arrive. If all goes to plan she'll head into the nearest town at the weekend and find an Internet cafe - maybe we'll even get to Skype. I guess she's busy having fun and making new friends, which is exactly how it should be.

For now, it's just me, the cat and Mr A for the summer. I plan on borrowing my nephew for a few days as the house seems too quiet and the cat's already cross with me for scooping her up and extracting too many hugs.

Until next time...

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton
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Friday, 12 June 2015

My Ultimate Bucket List

Earlier this week I was tagged by Suzanne over at Chicken Ruby, to share my ultimate bucket list. This may have been trickier than I imagined - but it's been a fun post to write and has really made me think.

As youngest daughter, Sophia left this morning to spend three months in the US, I realised that she'll get to do many of the things on her own bucket list this summer. Suzanne's tag provided the ideal opportunity to come up with a list of my own. Maybe I'll even get to tick off two or three while Sophia's away...

Here goes... 

1. Learn to play the saxophone
2. Ride Route 66 on a Harley Davidson
3. Grow old disgracefully
4. Move to Cornwall
5. Live in a penthouse apartment overlooking the sea
6. Find time to read every day
7. Visit New York with my daughters for my 50th birthday
8. See Enrique Iglesias in concert
9. Mentor lots more teens for the charity I volunteer for
10. Not have to work for a living and volunteer full-time instead
11. Feel energised when I crawl out of bed in the morning
12. Spend Christmas away from home
13. Visit the Scilly Isles
14. Learn to walk in heels
15. Own a pair of Laboutins
16. Shop at Selfridges and The White Company (without feeling guilty)
17. See the Northern Lights
18. Meet more of my fellow bloggers in person
19. Spend time at the beach every day
20. Go to a festival
21. See both daughters graduate from university
22. Watch my girls turn into awesome young ladies
23. Visit Canada
24. Write for one of the glossy magazines
25. Have an unlimited supply of energy
26. Go wine tasting at a vineyard
27. Take the girls to Walt Disney World in Orlando one last time
28. Meet Harper Lee
29. Learn to play classical guitar
30. Hug my grandchildren and tell them all about my daughters when they were little
31. Have naturally straight hair
32. Study for a degree in English Literature
33. Visit California
34. Be happy (most of the time)
35. Love every item of clothing I own
36. Take afternoon tea at The Ritz
37. Visit Rome and Sorrento
38. Spend more time with good friends
39. Take a helicopter flight
40. Declutter the house (and have it stay that way)
41. Find an hour every day that's just for me
42. Visit Stonehenge
43. Drink lots of cocktails in exotic locations
44. See Aerosmith in concert
45. Write a best-selling novel
46. Learn to meditate
47. Visit New Zealand
48. Replace the diamond in my engagement ring (I lost it last year)
49. Go on holiday with my sister
50. Explore Cape Cod with Mr A and stay at the gorgeous B&B we spied in Plymouth during a previous trip (it would help if we could remember the name).

Many thanks to Suzanne for the tag. It's been a therapeutic post to write on a day when I've driven to Heathrow (and back), been up since midnight and am feeling a little out of sorts knowing that both daughters will be away for the entire summer. I know that they'll have a fabulous time and that makes me happy - even though I'll miss them a lot.

And I'm tagging these three lovely ladies as I'm certain their bucket lists will be inspired....

Anya from Older Single Mum
Helen from Actually Mummy
Heledd from Running in Lavender

Until next time... 

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton
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Saturday, 2 August 2014

The Blog Spot Interview - Ting Dalton

Ting Dalton, My Travel MonkeyThis week's blog spot interview features the lovely Ting Dalton. Ting is a Chief Sub Editor for a large media company and author of travel and parenting blog, My Travel Monkey. Her blog features inspirational posts about days out and holidays for the whole family, as well as some great advice on staying safe while on vacation. If you haven't come across Ting's blog before you should pop over for a read.

Here, Ting shares her thoughts on being a mum, everyday life and her all-time favourite travel destination...   

What's the inspiration behind your blog?
Travel is a real passion of mine, as well as getting outdoors. I’m one of those people who can’t sit still and get cabin fever a bit too easily if I don’t leave the house – and even more so since I’ve had Monkey D. I was bitten by the travel bug when I was young, lucky enough to be taken to some amazing countries by my parents. I’m also one of those people who can spend hours trawling the internet looking for good deals and destinations.
So, over a drink one evening, a friend suggested I should start a blog – that way I could write about all my adventures, give myself a new challenge, and indulge in some creative writing. I hadn’t considered it before, but it truly was a light bulb moment. What’s the inspiration behind My Travel Monkey? The following day, filled with enthusiasm, I decided to start My Travel Monkey.

Describe a typical day in your life?
I’m always rushing in the morning, as I need to get Monkey ready for nursery, get ready and slurp a bit of tea and often, have to do my make-up on the commute into work! Once in London, I will always go to Franks, a café around the corner from my office for tea and toast and a little friendly banter. My days at work are filled with lots of meetings, and deadlines. As I work over three magazines, we are always putting an issue to press, which can be quite full on. If I get a chance at lunchtime, I’ll head to the gym for a spin class or grab a bit to eat with friends. Once I get home, I like to spend lots of time catching up with Monkey, usually giving him a bath, reading stories or watching a cartoon. Then I’ll cook us dinner, enjoy a glass of wine or two, and more often than not, these days grab the laptop and try to do some blogging! I try to go to bed early, but this seems to be getting later and later!

The best book in the world is…
Wild Swans by Jung Chang. It’s about three generations of women in China that spans a century. I was born in the UK, but my heritage is Chinese and not only is it historically fascinating, but it helps me imagine what life could have been like for my great-great grandparents. My copy is really battered as I’ve read it so many times.

Who would be your ideal dinner party guests?
My husband, he’s a great drinks re-filler, and anyone who will compliment me on my cooking skills. You’re all welcome! Or perhaps John and Gregg from MasterChef. maybe they could give me some tips? 

Name one thing that bores you stupid?
Cricket. I just don’t get it.

Champagne or cocktails?
Bubbles definitely. It always feels like a special occasion or you’re celebrating something when you drink champagne.

My favourite holiday destination is…
Wow, now you’re asking. That is super tough.

If really pushed for an answer, I would say Italy. This is the one country I’ve visited on numerous occasions – we even got married there in the Amalfi Coast, so it holds a special place in my heart. Every region, north to south, is so different, and the food is out of this world. On our bucket list is to do a road trip across the whole country in an Alfa Romeo. Now that would be something!

What’s the best thing about summer? 
BBQs. I love eating al fresco and throwing meat on the grill. Even on a school night! It makes me feel like I’m on holiday.

What’s the most underrated virtue?
Endurance. I have a lot of respect for people who, no matter what obstacles are thrown at them, how tired they are, or if they’re going through a really testing time, still manage to get on with life and look towards the future.

Chocolate: milk, white, or dark?
Definitely dark. I haven’t really got a sweet tooth, but I would happily nibble on a bar of Green & Blacks dark chocolate.

What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
We don’t get to go to the cinema as much as we’d like to. But we always try to catch the big blockbusters or Oscar contenders. It was 12 Years a Slave. I cried bucket loads.

What do you watch on TV when there’s no one else home?
My favourite go to when there’s nothing interesting on is Man Vs Food. Adam Richman travels across the USA taking on food challenges. I’m always salivating at the stuff he eats and imagining that I, too, could complete them.

Thanks to Ting for her inspired answers and for being my guest this week. If you'd like to be featured on The Blog Spot Interview, please drop me an email at izzieanderton@gmail.com and I'll be in touch. It's always lovely to hear from fellow blog authors and learn more about the fabulous people who make the blogging community such a wonderful place to be.

Until next time...

Copyright©2014 Izzie Anderton
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