Athens, Budapest and the Not-So-Terrible-Twos

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks….and unusually, that’s had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Marley.

I was away for almost a week in Athens at the end of September, where I was attending a work conference and then hoping to get a bit of a break before returning home.

I did get the chance to climb the Acropolis, visit the Parthenon and see the incredible views of the city…

But that was about it.

On my way back down, the rain started. And basically didn’t stop for 48hrs. I was trapped indoors.

They even gave this weather a new name; Medicane, a Mediterranean Hurricane.

Not the best conditions to visit Athens for the first time, but it was still a fantastic place to visit.

So after a bumpy flight back to London, I was home for a couple of days (although I basically worked the entire time) before heading off again, this time to Budapest for a good friend’s stag/bachelor party.

Three sun-and-fun-filled days of beers, boat trips, ruin bars and a visit to the Szechenyi Baths.

In fact there was so much beer consumed (and some palinka) that one member of the party wasn’t even aware the boat had moved during the boat party (it had travelled for over two hours…)

So despite feeling a little worse for wear, I was very happy to get back home to Marley and my wife on the Sunday evening.

And Marley was particularly happy to see me. We had been in regular touch on FaceTime and my wife had told me she feared the Terrible Twos were now getting in to full flow.

But once I walked back in, he was jumping up and down and seemed really pleased to see me, so we wondered whether it might just have been his reaction to a change in routine.

And I swear he had grown a foot in the time I’d been away.

So aside from the occasional grumpy moment  (and this may be tempting fate somewhat) his Terrible Twos really don’t seem too bad at all.

In fact, I would say he seems to be having more fun than ever; racing around, enjoying himself, and shouting out all kinds of ridiculous nonsense.

He probably wouldn’t have been too out of place at our stag party…

 

I did a guest blog

I was recently asked to post a guest blog on a site called Mummy Links, a website and app that enables moms to beat loneliness by expanding and building local communities.

Personally, I try to spend as little time as possible on my own and those of you who know me may be surprised to even see me posting on anything about loneliness.

But I think it’s important to be aware of those people who may not be as forthcoming when it comes to speaking about this kind of issue, so I thought I would write about my own personal experience and hope that it might be of use to someone.

If it helps even one person, I guess it’s worth it.

So click here to read my post on Mummy Links and please let me know what you think!

The Great Outdoors

It doesn’t matter how old you get, there is almost nothing better than getting your hands on a new toy. 

During our recent holiday to the south of France, Marley and I were super excited to crack open a brand new Nature Explorer kit we’d been sent by Anthisan*.

We got a magnifying glass, a small beaker with a magnifying lens for looking at any beasties we might find, a mini butterfly net and a lamp/torch for exploring in the dark. 

The region of France we were staying in (The Aude) is a place we’ve been to a few times before – we actually got married there in 2015. So we already had an idea of some of the creepy-crawlies we might see on our adventures; butterflies, crickets, beetles, some small lizards and possibly – even though I’m not allowed to look for them – the occasional snake. 

On this particular visit, we were a bit worried the only thing we might see would be the thousands of Boxtree moths that had invaded the area. They were everywhere!

But we set off on our adventure anyway. 

Marley – holding his little magnifying glass and net and looking incredibly cute  – picked up a couple of wild flowers (“that’s for mummy”) and chased a butterfly around….keeping his distance whenever catching it became a realistic possibility.  

 

We found an olive tree, some fresh figs, before he really started embracing his inner Attenborough.

He found us a jumping cricket, which we chased and captured. 

It’s hilarious to watch him as he gets really close and looks inside. But then leaps back as soon as it starts to move.

I was tempted to have a look under some of the larger stones on our route, just to see what might be lurking underneath. But I thought I might get in trouble if Marley returned from our nature hunt with a snake bite, so I resisted. 

We continued along the path. Marley was at a bit of an advantage, being so close to the ground. It’s OK, I’m not competitive about it.

And suddenly…

“Daddy, look!” 

I looked. There was nothing there.

“DADDY, LOOK!!”

I looked again. Still nothing.

“DADDY, THERE!!!” He pointed at the ground, where I still  couldn’t see anything.

Until….wait, what’s that??

A praying mantis! 



It was probably the most camouflaged creature imaginable, balancing on a tiny piece of grass the exact same colour as its body. I have no idea how he spotted it. But he ran back to the house to gleefully show it off to the rest of the family. 

After a closer inspection, he was happy to release the mantis back in to the wild for it to go back to……whatever they do. Praying, I suppose.

There is definite Attenorough potential there with Marley, a  very successful hunt. And not a bite in sight!

 

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*Anthisan Bite & Sting Cream can provide symptomatic relief of skin irritation caused by insect stings, insect bites and nettle stings and has been used for over 50 years.

Anthisan Bite & Sting Cream is easy to use and contains the active ingredient Mepyramine Maleate (2%), a topical antihistamine which stops the histamine affecting your body’s cells by blocking receptor sites in your nerve endings, helping to reduce pain, swelling and skin irritation. Anthisan Bite & Sting Cream (20g) retails at £3.66 and is available from leading pharmacies and supermarkets. Suitable for the whole family including children from two years. Always read the label.