Monday, 30 April 2007

Sea Gypsys

The trip to Pulau Sibu off the east coast of Malaysia was a great success. We stayed at the Sea Gypsy resort again as we had such a good time when we went for one night in November 2006 with Jon and Tracey. Was definitely worth the return trip.

Leigh and I had our 2 and Natalie in one large family chalet. Natalie kept commenting it was just "like being on Lost!!" and was even more convinced she was being drawn into the Dharma Initiative when she opened her bedroom window to look at the sea AND a little concrete bunker.

Dad and Julie definitely got the best chalet available - "V1" in case I forget in the future. It sits right on the beach - and I say this with ours being not so close at maybe 15ft from start of the beach! Their bed was opposite the door and when it blew open on their first night, this was the view Julie woke up to......





Not bad eh?

The view from my window wasn't quite the same and I'm afraid I didn't wake for sunrise. However, I did have a little afternoon snooze one day and this is what I saw when I woke up...



Wish the view was like that from Waterside Lane!

We were lucky that the resort was coming to the end of a busy period as all the international schools in Malaysia and Singapore were back to school except for ours. On the first night there were about 20 people there but by the next morning, we were the only ones on the island with just the staff. By afternoon we were joined by 2 British girls who were backpacking around Asia, but they seemed content to sleep in their chalet so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

The staff took us to a deserted island one morning for a bit of snorkeling. The islands are within a marine conservation area as it contains a coral reef. It was great fun but the kids found the most exciting thing to be the dead giant turtle we found on the beach. No camera with us so can only say, take it from me this thing was huge!

Ollie learnt to climb trees whilst we were away, but often got a bit too high and would shout till someone would come and save him. Aimee was ecstatic to find one of her classmates was on the island for the first day and even managed a sleepover that night. Unfortunately she had an allergic reaction to some sand fly bites but that didn't kick in until we got home. No doubt the reaction was assisted by the fact she was rolling in the sand and sea constantly and took the sea gypsy motto to heart again.

These are some of favourite pics of the trip and of course, a video clip just cause i got it and know how to load it on this blog!

















Other than the snorkelling we just chilled out, ate and drank really. Was a great way to end Dad, Julie and Natalie's visit as they went home a few days later. Before they left, Dad and I did manage to drag Natalie to the nearby McRitchie Nature Reserve so we could cross the rainforest canopy via a wibbly-wobbly bridge. You can see Natalie and I were just a bit sweaty by the time we got up there - and you'll see just how impressed she was that we made her walk for 2 hours to look at the tops of trees...



Aimee and I cried at the airport AGAIN saying goodbye to Dad, Julie and Natalie. It was great having them to stay but holidays have to come to an end. I've made my peace with my crying in the airport now but its tough for those leaving when I'm sobbing. The distance never seems quite so bad until someone is getting on a plane to go back to England.

Still, we have some friendly faces to turn to in the airport now as the staff in the sweetshop and the coffee shop know me and the kids so well they've started to say "oh its you lot again" and promptly ply the kids with free jellybeans and know my coffee order before I even open my mouth.

Next visitors are Leigh's parents who arrive next tuesday. In between times, Leigh and I just took a quick visit to Bangkok over the weekend to visit some friends, but more about that next time as I'm all blogged out for now.

V xxxxxx

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Easter in Singapore

Dad, Julie and Natalie arrived early on Good Friday for a 16 day visit. We've been having a great time doing touristy stuff (yes, i've been on the bumboat tour and had drinks at Raffles AGAIN!!) and generally enjoying no school and lots of chocolate!

Discovered that storing easter eggs in the tropics is quite a chore and am dreading the electricity bill this month as have had the air con on permanently in my study to keep the chocolate from melting into a Willy Wonka like chocolate river!

At the end of term Aimee was Mary Magdalene in the school easter assembly and Ollie was an Easter bunny. Cute but you can see he wasn't having any of it when I asked to take his picture!



On Easter Sunday we went to the Shangri-Li Hotel for Easter Brunch. Brunch is a "Singapore Sunday Institution" where all the big hotels put on lovely all you can eat buffets (usually with free-flowing champagne etc) for a couple of hours. The choice of food is unbelievable - lobster, prawns, steak, sushi, bbq, deserts like you've never seen and lots more.

We've only recently come round to the Brunch thing but I can see it going to become a regular thing with visitors as they are such fun. Not really helping with the diet though! Ah well...

The kids went on an Easter egg hunt at the Hotel and got MORE chocolate then finished their lunch with some pink candy floss. I'm still scrapping them off the ceiling 6 days later from the sugar rush.





Dad and Julie went off to Kuala Lumpur by train for a couple of days and had a fantastic time. They stayed in the new Traders hotel beside the Asian Twin Towers (Petronas Towers - until recently the tallest buildings in the world). Their bedroom had one wall of virtually all glass looking out at the Towers. Definitely worth the trip in their view and something to add to our stash of ideas for visitors to do when coming to see us. They travelled up first class by train - thought they'd treat themselves as it was the grand sum of 19 pounds each!

I stayed here with Natalie and the kids and we managed to keep ourselves busy with a history trip to Fort Siloso so the kids could learn about the fall of Singapore to the "Dhastardly" Japanese. Lots of walking through tunnels and playing with very large guns so they were happy. Trip to Underwater World to look at lots of Nemos and Dorys (Ollie's favourite fish of course). We had a picnic and ball games with some of the kids from Ollie's class at the Botanical Gardens which was fun but a little too warm after a couple of hours. All in all, a busy week.

Last night we had dinner at Boat Quay followed by drinks on the terrace at the very posh Fullerton Hotel. Lots of fun and a fully expat evening.




Tomorrow we're all travelling up to Malaysia to go to Pulau Sibu for a couple of days which are all looking forward to.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

STOP PRESS - BABY NEWS

I've had the nod that the big announcement has now been made so I'm ok to share on my blog.....that Virginia is having baby number 2 sometime in November.

Fantastic stuff, very pleased for the three of them. Have to confess to going a bit silly and having a tear on the phone when she told me as I realised I won't get to see the baby until he or she is a few months old as we aren't planning to visit england over xmas this year. It just doesn't feel right that Ginny's having a baby and I won't be around to see the little munchkin till its a much bigger munchkin!

I knew these events would come along and make me sad about being so far away, but it still surprised me when I started crying! Anyway, great news - now Ginny has two projects - a new house to get ship-shape and baby number 2!

Congratulations Crosbys!!!xxxx!!!xxxx

End of term-itis....

The end of term is getting closer (tomorrow and we're all counting the hours). School seems to get more and more hectic at the end of term as there has been a bevvy of events including Ollie's assembly from last post. Then we had "Book Week" which was busy for the kids and culminated in Parades for both Infant and Junior school when the children all dressed up as characters from their favourite books.

Here's a picture of Aimee and her friends Katie, Eve and Emily. Aimee was Hermione Granger in her ball-gown (Goblet of Fire); Katie was Amelia Jane; Emily was Horrid Henry and I can't remember who Eve was....oh well!!





Ollie was one of Captain's Hook's pirates from Peter Pan - luckily he had a foam sword as he was only too happy to threaten his classmates!





We've also had a Year 4 BBQ for Aimee's year group. An excuse for all the parents and kids to get together, eat, drink and have a good time. We congregated at one of the family's condo so the kids could spend the afternoon in the pool. One of the father's bought along a 6-foot wide trampoline which floats in the water - I was a bit concerned when the kids went wild and bundled on it, but no major damage and no A&E trips required!

Mum has gone back to England and we're really missing having her around.

Last weekend was a bit of chill-out as I was out for a (ahem) few drinks on Friday night with my Turkish friend Berna - man, that woman can drink!!! Consequently spent Sat suffering. Sunday was an Easter Egg Hunt at Oliver's friend Connor's house.

So tomorrow we've got two easter assemblies (oh joy!) then Oliver's class has its easter party - mmm, chocolate!!! Mr Bean Movie after school (kill me now!!!!) and a day to recover on Thursday before the next arrivals....

Dad, Julie and Natalie arrive on Friday morning about 10 minutes after Leigh's plane lands from India. Be a busy morning at Changi airport for us but the start of what I'm hoping will be a great Easter Holiday.

love V xxxxxxxxx