Saturday, 24 September 2011

So long, farewell

Today Lily went to the hairdressers and had about six inches chopped off her hair. That sentence completely fails to convey the anguish I felt as the hairdresser took hold of her long, beautiful hair and chopped it off!

Lily has been asking to have her hair cut into a bob for at least three months, but I have been doing the mental equivalent of sticking my fingers in my ears and humming loudly! Truthfully, I think the bob is a delightful hairstyle for a little girl, but it was such a dramatic change in length for her that I wanted to be absolutely sure that she really wanted it done and it wasn't just a passing whim. She prefers to wear her hair down, but hates to have it brushed, so a shorter style did make sense. She has been asking quite consistently, so I finally gave in this weekend and took her on her first visit to the hairdressers (I have always cut her hair in the past).

All the way to the hairdressers I kept asking, "Are you sure, really sure, that you want all your hair cut off?" Right up to the last minute I gave her the chance to opt out, but she maintained that she definitely wanted a bob. So off came the hair and Mummy felt rather sad! She briefly looked a bit sad when she first saw the new length, but as the hairdresser continued to style her hair, she beamed happily and was clearly as pleased as punch with the new cut. I, meanwhile, sat nearby holding the discarded ponytail wistfully! Oh, her hair was so beautifully long!

I have to admit that she looks absolutely lovely with her new bob and I think it really suits her. Lily did get a bit sad at bedtime saying that she wanted her old hair back, but I think that was mainly down to tiredness. She has been really pleased with it and I kept catching her stealing glances of herself in reflective surfaces all day! I have promised to get her some pretty hairbands to wear and she is really looking forward to going to school with her new bob. I think she looks adorable!

 The 'before' picture. Oh my, it was long!

On the way home from the hairdressers.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Babe in the Woods

 Love this sweet child!


Lunch by the Loch

We enjoyed a picnic lunch by the loch near our holiday park, though it was a lot colder here than when we were deep in the woods. We were glad of the Thermos! The Podlings played near the water for a little while and then we explored the woods a little further before heading back to the lodge. It was a lovely family afternoon.


A Walk in the Woods

On the last day of our holiday we took a walk through the woods next to our holiday park and had a picnic lunch by the loch. The woods here are so beautiful, with a carpet of moss so thick in places you could almost lie down and sleep on it. Needless to say, I indulged in a few photos!  I wish we had a wood like this near our home, though I suspect I would spend far too much time in it if we did!

 I love my floral wellies and was rather amused at how they matched my dress. I want to point out that these boots are  massive and are at least two sizes too big for me. My feet are not actually that big!

 Everyone else had worn Mark's Tam, so I thought I should have a go too!


Friday, 16 September 2011

Delusions of Grandeur

Watching a children's programme with Emma this morning:

Mr Tumble: "And who lives in Buckingham Palace?"
Emma: "Mummy!"

I wish!

Black Isle Wildlife Park

Like most children, the Podlings love animals, so we thought they would enjoy a visit to Black Isle Wildlife Park. It was the first day of our holiday that we were able to venture out without coats and we were grateful for the warmer weather as we wandered round the park and enjoyed the animals. We had a lovely time and we all particularly enjoyed seeing the newly hatched quail chicks running around. My Dad once told me that quail chicks look like bumble bees running around on two legs and he wasn't wrong!

 Lily and Emma loved the goats, but Tom said he didn't like their eyes and stayed clear of them.

This wallaby came right up to the fence in front of us. He was so cute!

 Lily likes to ride in the pushchair when she gets the chance. Emma was glad of the company!

 These baby alpaca looked so soft I can see why their wool is sought after. I wanted to go home wearing one!

Tom is going through a pirate phase at the moment, so he was thrilled with this large ship in the park's play area. Apparently when he grows up he is going to be a pirate and he says he is going to live in Somalia because he has somehow heard that there are pirates there. He assures us he is going to be a good pirate though. I'm picturing a sort of Robin Hood of the high seas! Apparently being a pirate is going to keep him busy as he tells me he won't be able to come and visit me. Luckily, Lily tells me she is going to be a mermaid when she grows up and she has promised to bring me messages from Tom's pirate ship!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Falls of Shin

Our visit to the Falls of Shin was something of a highlight for me. The waterfall alone is pretty enough, but it is also one of the best places in Scotland to watch leaping Atlantic salmon. The salmon return upstream to their birthplace to breed and late summer is the best time to see them. It was truly fascinating to watch the salmon leaping up the powerful waterfall. I was amazed by the variation in size of these fish, some of which must have made this journey many times before. Even the little tiddlers were having a good go. Their perseverance was a wonder to behold. The Podlings really enjoyed watching the leaping salmon and I had a job tearing Lily away.

 The visitor centre has a lovely adventure playground next to it. Emma got a little carried away and found herself on top of a piece of apparatus that she couldn't get down from. Daddy had to go up and rescue her. I do sometimes wish that Emma wasn't quite so adventurous!

 Look closely, do you see it...?

 ...a leaping salmon! I can't tell you how thrilled I was to catch this on camera!

Tom and Lily were absolutely fascinated by the leaping salmon.

 The pretty mosaic next to the falls.

Lily (wearing Mark's new hat) with her Daddy.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Dunnet Head

 You can't go all the way to John o'Groats without visiting Dunnet Head. It is about 10 miles west of John o'Groats and, crucially, a leetle bit further north. For those of you paying attention, that makes it the most northerly point in mainland Britain. The very tip of the country and definitely one of those visit-it-to-say-you've-been-there places. There isn't actually anything there except the lighthouse, but the view is lovely and the countryside on the drive up there is stunning. Well worth the visit.

 Tom took a shine to Mark's new hat - a Tom O'Shanter if you will!


Monday, 12 September 2011

John o'Groats

We were staying a mere 80 miles away from the top of Scotland, so it seemed a shame not to drive up there and see John o'Groats, the most northerly settlement in mainland Britain. We enjoyed a scenic drive, stopping to stretch our legs briefly in Dunbeath and again for lunch in Wick. On a side note, if you have children and you are looking for somewhere to eat in Wick then you might want to check out Morag's Cafe. The food is good (and homemade), it is really family friendly and there is a small ball pool and some games at the back where the little ones can play while you are waiting for food to arrive. The Podlings loved it there.

We arrived in John o'Groats around six o'clock, so it was nice and quiet. It was also very windy and bitterly, bitterly cold. Did I mention it was cold? Although there isn't really anything there, it is one of those places you have to visit just to say you've been there. And now we have!

 Dunbeath Harbour where we stopped to stretch our legs on our way North.

 The Last House in Scotland

 Tom in front of John o'Groats harbour

A view along the coast

John o'Groats House - a prime example of what not to do to a beautiful old building in need of love and restoration. What possessed them to paint this lovely old building in such a grotesque fashion is beyond my understanding.

It might have been late, but the gift shop was still open. Here is Mark sporting his newly acquired Tam O'Shanter. A gentleman can never have too many hats!

 Tom and Nanna

 Emma demonstrating how windy it was!

After ewe!
Duncansby Head lighthouse, the most north-easterly point in mainland Britain (John o'Groats is only the most northern settlement)