Monday, March 31, 2008

Spring has Sprung

A busy time for all three of us this weekend. On Saturday Amy took a long trip west to Bydgoszcz to Chair an international public speaking competition, while I took Audrey to her first birthday party!

It wasn't (quite) as riotous and disorderly as parties she'll attend later in life (like when she's aged 3), but it was still pretty busy with hoards of kids and their parents. It was a really nice afternoon and dad made his way through a hefty amount of party food and cake!

Sunday morning was a trip to our local swimming pool (Wodny Park). It was our first venture as a family to the pool, and Audrey seemed to enjoy her immersion in the (somewhat chilly) baby pool. She was fascinated and delighted by the other swimmers variously diving, sliding and bobbing nearby, and we also enjoyed a few minutes in the considerably warmer jacuzzi, before wandering home.
After lunch we ventured out to Pole Mokotowskie where signs of Spring were most definitely on view. Crowds of people filled the park and we enjoyed our first ice cream of the year while Audrey slept in her pushchair - no doubt dreaming of one day smashing World records in the pool.

Flowers in Pole Mokotowskie

Asleep in the sun

Friday, March 28, 2008

Be an Eco-Warrior From the Comfort of Your Own Home

Tomorrow (29 March) an Australian organisation linked to the WWF (Earth Hour) is encouraging people throughout the World to turn off the electricity in their homes for one hour starting at 8pm.

I thought I'd give this green initiative my full support. Unfortunately though I noticed the timing of Earth Hour clashed horribly with the Wolves v Charlton Athletic football game on tele, which obviously meant that climate change would have to wait - at least until the final whistle.
I was then relieved to discover though, that the game will have (just) finished by the time the 'Earth Hour' starts....which is good news, as should Wolves lose, then their chances of Premiership football next season will also disappear, and I'll be more than ready to sit in a darkened room for an hour. Should Wolves win, I'll be happy to drink beer rather than boil the oh-so-wasteful-and-un-green kettle for a cup of tea. (Being English, I'm also prepared to drink the beer warm just to do my bit for the environment.)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Around Ireland with a baby

We've just got back from 6 days in Ireland. We had a really nice time and covered quite a bit of the country from Dublin to Belfast in a fairly short time.

We spent most of our time in Donegal (in the North West corner of the country). It's a lovely (and wild) part of the World, full of beautiful lochs, beaches and rolling countryside. Almost every corner we turned in the hire car opened up into incredible vistas. Our time in Ireland was only (slightly) spoilt by the grim weather - a few times we found ourselves peering through sheets of rain/fog and hearing ourselves utter (for the hundredth time) "It must look lovely in the summer!"

The beaches near Portsalon were absolutely gorgeous, and we also enjoyed Glenveagh National Park (despite having to dodge the rain). We also spent one night in a B&B connected to a dairy farm which was nice too - unfortunately the owner turned the heating off about 10pm and I'm sure the bedroom temperature dropped to sub-zero...brrrr!
Audrey managed the flights really well and seemed to enjoy the holiday - she was exhausted at times though poor thing, but really loved the attention all the old-ladies gave her at every b&b we stayed at (her grandma says she must be her father's-daughter whatever that means!)
Overall our holiday was great fun and we were all sad that our break is over. Me and Audrey have gone back to our nursery rhymes this morning and Amy has gone trudging (far more reluctantly) back to work!
Audrey's first encounter with sheep!

Admiring the view from the warmth of the car!

The Shipwreck at Bunbeg

The Causeway Coast
Audrey glad to be in bed after a long day
For more pictures of our holiday - CLICK HERE

Monday, March 17, 2008

Audrey on her play-mat (aged 6 and a bit months old)

A short (but cute!) video of Audrey on her mat - as you can see she's really mastered sitting up and in the last couple of weeks her two front teeth have started poking through, giving her immense amounts of dribble!!

Trev's Birthday weekend...

Friday was my birthday! - as everyone took great pleasure in telling me I'm now just 365 days away from turning 40.

It was great to share my birthday with three friends from Newbury, Jules, Emily and Jennie who came to visit for the weekend. They received the 'Warsaw tour' on Saturday, and we also played a couple of games of tennis (The European Tennis Championships) at the tennis centre down the road. We had a prize-giving ceremony on the Sunday which was great fun too. It was really good to see them all and Audrey seemed to really enjoy having other people around the apartment (I guess just looking at us two all the time gets a bit dull!)

We're off to Ireland tomorrow for 6 days, so today will be spent packing Audrey's clothes! If there's room left in the case we may be able to pack a few things for ourselves as well...

Em and Jen discover some of the joys of Super Sam Supermarket

The prize giving ceremony!

Friday, March 14, 2008

A couple more shots from our trip to the Lakes

Audrey asleep in her pushchair and Mikołajki

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The view from our window...

This was the view from our bedroom window during our short time out of Warsaw. The hotel was in a lovely spot right on the lake and it must be absolutely gorgeous in the summer.

Wolfs Lair (Wolfsschanze)

During our trip to the Polish lake-district we paid a visit to Wolfsschanze (Wolf's Lair). Built in 1940 it was the place where Hitler spent most of the war. The site consists of a number of (huge) bunkers which were disguised from sight by trees, so could not be spotted either by road or air.

A lot of the complex was destroyed by the Germans on their retreat, but the size of the walls (and their reinforcement) meant that despite large amounts of explosives a number of the buildings still stand.

The place is also noteable as it was there that Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg attempted to assassinate Hitler (something which is now being made into a film called Valkyrie unfortunately starring Tom Cruise)

The Wolf's Lair is a huge area (around 2.5km square) and as we were the only visitors trudging round the place it was slightly eerie. We were not sure whether it was called Wolf's Lair before or after Hitler moved there - there were other towns he could have chosen nearby (one called Pish and another called Lazy) but thought perhaps that they wouldn't have given the right impression...

The bunker where the attempted assisination took place

Hitler's sauna(!)

The typing bunker


We've just come back from a short trip (3 days) to Ruciane-Nida. It's in the north of Poland and is a really beautiful area of lakes and forests. It's also a big sailing destination in the summer, when hoards of Poles take holidays up there. As it's early March there weren't many people around (one night we were the only people staying at the hotel).

We hired a car for our journey as reaching the place by public transport looked to be a bit of a challenge. The driving was a bit terrifying at times - most of the journey was single carriageway, but it didn't stop the Polish attempting suicidal overtaking manoeuvres. More than once we were grateful to still be alive!

Indigo Bay, Newbury

While I was back in the UK (and Amy was doing such a good job of looking after Audrey) I had a bit of a get-together with some old friends at Indigo Bay curry house in Newbury. It was good to catch up with Sam, Paul, Natalie, Andy, Liz and of course Robin and Shan. It was great to hear the news of Andy and Liz's forthcoming arrival! - best wishes to you both and hoping that everything goes well.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Home Alone!

Trevor headed off to the UK for the weekend very early on Friday morning leaving Audrey and I home alone! Audrey must have sensed something was different as she decided to wake up at 5am instead of her usual 6:15-6:30am. I realised then that it was going to be a long and exhausting time looking after her by myself 24/7 for 3 days! I have to admit that despite this I was looking forward to having her to myself.

The highlight was definitely getting to take her to her Bumps and Babies group on Friday morning. She absolutely loves seeing the other kids and getting cuddles from the other Mums (sometimes on the sly when their kids aren't looking!). She also gets to play with other toys that are, of course, always more interesting than her own. By the end of the hour and a bit that we were there she was exhausted and fell asleep as soon as we hit the road to head home.

The rest of the weekend has gone by in a blur. It's amazing how quickly the days fly by. We went to the shops on Saturday and I bundled her up so that she'd look like all the other Polish babies (and so I wouldn't get in trouble from the grandmas who love to stop people and tell them that their child isn't wearing enough layers/doesn't have enough blankets/they are bad parents etc). However, when we got outside it was really quite warm and I was hot so I decided to be daring and strip her down by one layer. Sure enough, an old lady peered into the pram as we waited at the stoplights. Here we go, I thought. Imagine my surprise when I turned to the old lady and saw her smiling and waving at Audrey and saying how lovely she is, how good, how pretty etc. (Imagine my chest also puffing out with pride!). Audrey responded on cue with a lovely ear-splitting grin. Holding her dolly just topped off the picture! This was repeated twice more on the way back.

The rest of the time we spent reading, singing and chilling out on the playmat. We had a lovely time together but we were happy to see Trevor/Daddy when he arrived home on Sunday night (although Audrey didn't get to see him until Monday morning).

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Roadworks on Puławska

Not the most exciting of journal entries, but here is a view of Ul Puławska, the main road near our apartment. It's a major arterial road in and out of Warsaw, and despite this used to have a surface which resembled that of the moon.

Improvements on the road are now half complete - (routes out of the city were fixed last year), although work seemed to have halted yesterday because of a heavy snowstorm, resulting in this beautiful(?) wintery scene!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Prince Harry in Afghanistan

I liked this quote courtesey of the BBC news website from Prince Harry...

Saturday, March 1, 2008


A couple of weeks ago we started 'weaning' Audrey. Weaning is a weird term that for some reason always reminds me of puppies being weaned.
Anyway, basically it means we've started giving her solid food in addition to her milk.

Apparently babies have many more taste buds (both on the sides and the roof of the mouth as well as the tongue) and so are receptive to lots of different tastes. It always amazes me to think that every taste Audrey tries, is the first time she's ever experienced that particular taste.

Most of the food we've given her so far has been pureed into gook. I've read that you can go straight ahead with finger food, but we've not risked our cream carpet and dining chairs thus far.

There's been some definite hits amongst her first foods - pear, apple, sweet potato and pineapple all went down with consummate ease. In comparison her palate hasn't given us many misses - Audrey wasn't terribly keen on spinach first time around and peas were a bit husky and mostly ended up on her bib.

It's been a period of really great fun though, watching the anticipation in her little face as we move a spoon full of fruit-gunk or yogurt towards her open 'baby-bird' mouth.