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The Lakes

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A couple of weeks ago, a group of us were lucky enough to spend a few days in the Lake District in a house with the most incredible view imaginable! It was like waking up to a real live painting every morning.

It was an awesome few days spending time with other young families similar to us. It was also a great opportunity for the children to have fun and play together. We were a pretty big group – in total there were 15 adults and 10 children all staying under one roof – and somehow it actually worked! At around 7.30pm each night the parents would gradually disappear with their children for their baths and bedtime, and then by 8.30pm the adults were enjoying the evening together with great food and company!

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The first day we enjoyed a boat trip on Lake Windermere and ended up in a beautiful English restaurant for lunch over looking the lakes. Above are some of the children on the boat.

Most of the week it rained so we were on the look out for day trips indoors. We found Beatrix Potter World which I would really recommend. It was a long queue to get in but the amount of detail that had been put into creating the characters and scenes from the stories was truly astounding. And the children absolutely loved it, it was like the books had been brought to life.

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Above – story time before bed. And below, some playing first thing in the morning

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Below – the adults’ very serious play time with scrabble

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Below – the whole crew on our last morning together:

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An Anniversary in Rome

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Last June, Eoin’s family surprised their mum and dad at Gatwick airport as they were trying to find their gate number in the departure lounge! They were on their way to Rome to celebrate their Ruby wedding anniversary, but little did they know we were all coming too! I think it was a good surprise!

We had such a great time, and we got to spend a lot of time with Eoin’s sister who is studying out there at the moment. We also got to meet the Late Father, Bishop Javier Echevarria – it was such a special moment, especially as he passed away in December last year.

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A Surprise Trip to Vienna

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A couple of weeks ago, we were sitting down at the table for breakfast discussing what I might do with the children while Eoin was away on a business trip in Vienna the following week. I was mid sentence vaguely making plans to go to my parents when Eoin got up from the table and took a book from the shelf. He gave it to me and told me to turn to page 95…

I actually couldn’t believe it. I found a boarding pass to Vienna with my name on it!! Eoin had been planning it for a couple of weeks, and had kindly asked his mum and sister to look after Benedict and Rose while we were away.

So the next Friday, I flew out to Vienna and met Eoin at the hotel. Our trip was absolutely perfect! I am so grateful!! We chatted endlessly about anything and everything, we wandered slowly around the streets of Vienna, we played cards and drank cocktails in the hotel bar, and we had a beautiful Mass for Pentecost in St Stephen’s Cathedral, celebrated by Cardinal Schönborn with the most amazing choir and orchestra… It was like another honeymoon!

Below are some pictures of the Belvedere Gardens. I stumbled across them on Saturday morning while Eoin was finishing some things for work. The weather wasn’t great, but it wasn’t raining! 

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When Eoin finished work, we walked into the centre of Vienna and we found this really fab place for lunch; really trendy and un-touristy.

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Pre-dinner cards and cocktails…

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On Sunday, we went to St Stephen’s Cathedral where we celebrated the most beautiful Mass with Cardinal Schönborn:

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After the Mass we dutifully celebrated Pentecost with some brunch and Viennese pastries!

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The best way to site-see a city in short space of time? A tour-bus! We did it on our honeymoon in Rome and loved it, so we decided to do it for Vienna too! 

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For our final evening in Vienna, we went to the nicest traditional Austrian restaurant and ate the biggest rack of ribs ever!

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Our first home holiday

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Eoin took a week off work last Easter week. Normally when Eoin’s off we’ll visit family/friends or just go away for a few days, so we have never just spent a good amount of time in Tonbridge investigating nice places to visit. But this time we decided to do a bit of both; we came back from my parents on Tuesday, and then spent the rest of the week doing some nice things with the three of us. It was a lot of fun and I had a real sense of creating our own family memories.

Our first stop was Hop Farm – Benedict was like a child in a sweet shop when we saw all the animals; he didn’t know which pen to go to first. He would run to one and exclaim “ooh woow!” and then he’d quickly notice something else and run over to that one, it was so funny to watch.

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I think B thought he was a goat and wanted to join them…

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Kent’s famous oast houses:

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On Friday we drove to Hever Castle which was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. It’s such a beautiful place and we were really blessed with the weather too. With B alongside us, we decided it would be better if we avoided the antiques of the castle and just stuck to the gardens! But there’s so much to do outside, we really didn’t miss out; there’s mazes, boat rides, adventure playgrounds, gardens, Lindt bunny hunts for Easter etc. It was great fun.

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Making a break for freedom…!

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A holiday special {phfr}

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Joining Like Mother Like Daughter for this week’s {pretty, happy, funny, real} post.

We’ve been back from our holiday for over a month and I still haven’t written about it! I thought a {pretty happy funny real} post would describe it very well…

Eoin, Benedict and I travelled to Germany with my sister and some friends for a few days in July. We had also wanted to visit Eoin’s sister and her two children in Spain, so after a beautiful stay in Germany the three of us flew to Spain. There’ll be quite a bit of jumping back and forth into different countries in this post, but bear with me!

{pretty} Germany

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This is the German holiday home we stayed in… Inside was just as beautiful and quirky, and the surrounding views were stunning. The shutters were perfect for napping babies during the day!

Below is one of the downstairs rooms:

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My sister, Hannah and B in the garden:

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Below is Lake Constance where we boated, paddled, sun-bathed, painted nails, ate, played beach volley ball, and entertained little ones:

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{pretty} Spain

Now skipping to the {pretty} Spain photos! The photo below was taken when we first arrived in Granollers, Spain and the first time Benedict met his two cousins, Anna and Quim. I think we were all so excited!

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Anna and Quim with mum Fiona and Uncle Eoin:

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And some pretty close ups of Quim:

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And Anna:

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{happy} Germany

Back to Germany for some {happy} photos! On one of the evenings in Germany, we went to our friend’s mother’s home for a BBQ with proper german sausages and barbecued cheeses.

Marcus’ mum had a hammock in the garden which the little (and big) ones very much enjoyed!

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Mary and Phil with their lovely little boy Sebastian:

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Below is back on Lake Constance with our friend Marcus’ boat:

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{happy} Spain

Ahead to Spain for some {happy} photos! Because it was Benedict’s first time meeting his cousins, it was really lovely seeing the three of them play together; I think he was fascinated by them, he just kept watching them!

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{funny} Germany

Back to Germany… This wasn’t funny when it first happened, but by the end of it we were in hysterics. I’m not even too sure how it happened, but we ended up in the middle of a German field, stuck in the mud in the rain… It wasn’t very funny! We were trying to find our holiday home which was really poorly sign posted, and our friend thought maybe one of the signs was pointing into a field with no road…

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After lots of spinning wheels in the mud, Marcus went off into the woods in search of some help. For about half an hour we wondered how on earth we were going to retrieve our car from the field, and then Marcus comes out of nowhere riding on the side of a digger… You really couldn’t have made it up, it was brilliant.

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Another funny German moment on the lake… While the boys were hard at work figuring out how to put the boat together, the girls were sunbathing and painting their toe nails!

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We also had a session of beach volleyball on one of the days in Germany… well, we tried to have a session of beach volley ball. It was exciting when we managed to get a rally of two hits over the net:

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{funny} Spain

To Spain… Anna, Quim and Benedict had tons of fun in Fiona’s hall way with human tunnels:

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I thought Benedict looked quite funny here just in his nappy playing the grand piano!

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{real} 

Something has to bring you back to reality at the end of a fab holiday… Eoin’s wallet got stolen in Spain, and our flight was delayed! So he used that time to cancel all his cards. He took it all very much in his stride though, and dealt with it really well.

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One mammoth {pretty happy funny real} post for a brilliant holiday with such lovely memories!

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Germany, here we come…

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On Monday we’re off to Germany! B’s first summer holiday, very exciting. We’re going to Uberlingen, near the border of Switzerland where a good friend of ours comes from. A group of us first went there three years ago and we had such a good time; staying close to the lakes, swimming and boating, staying up late playing intensive and competitive card games!

From Uberlingen, Eoin, Benedict and I are heading to Spain to visit Eoin’s sister who lives there. She has two children and it’ll be the first time they meet Benedict (B’s only cousins!) so we are rather excited!

Then… straight after we get back I’m going on a retreat for a week; my first since Benedict was born and the longest time I’ll have been away from him… very mixed emotions!

So a very busy and exciting couple of weeks ahead.