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Mauritius Memories - Round up post


We spend a wonderful couple of weeks in Mauritius last summer and it seemed to take me forever to get the diary blogposts up afterwards. One final thing I like to do is have a summary blogpost which has links to all the others in one place so that I can find it all easily again!

Mauritius Diary - Post 1 - Getting there, accomodation, beach, giant tortoises, glass bottom boat, pool.

Mauritius Diary - Post 2 - Breakfast on the beach, snorkelling trip, pool

Mauritius Diary - Post 3 - Archery, balaclava, treasure hunt, kayak, pool

Mauritius Diary - Post 4 - tour of the island, wild monkeys, rain!

Mauritius Diary - Post 5 - Tennis, animals, pedalo, kayaks, paddleboard adventure!!!

Mauritius Diary - Post 6 - Horses, Tennis, MiniGolf, sunburn

Mauritius Diary - Post 7 - Archery, animals, parasailing!

Mauritius Diary - Post 8 - Rain, scuba diving, more rain!

Mauritius Diary - Post 9 - horseriding and D's horseriding accident

Mauritius Diary - Post 10 - animals, beach, spa, sunset

Mauritius Diary - Post 11 - successful snorkelling, pool

Mauritius Diary - Post 12 - Archery, animals and home again





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Miss T at the ArcelorMittal Orbit


I've missed this blog. Any blogger knows that keeping a blog going takes time and commitment and as easy as it may look, by the time the words are written and photos uploaded - it always ends up taking me longer than I thought to write a blogpost. But so many of our memories are captured on this blog and when I've tried to pinpoint times of events and experiences that haven't made it onto the blog, I'm at a total loss as to where to look to find the photos - Which year, which month, which date to start looking.

Miss T wanted to put together a book about herself in London. She's always had a thing about London and an obsession with London landmarks. She's been lucky enough to visit the London eye, the Shard, the Thames RIB speed boat (which we did get around to blogging about here and here), and Tower Bridge. But where to start with pulling together the photos she wanted for her book!

Before I start looking I thought I'd add her latest London experience to the blog so that at the very least we'll have a record of that.

Although at age 5, she was too young to 'ride the slide' at the Orbit (you need to be at least 8 years old), she loved seeing the views and she enjoyed the experience of being there at another London landmark. Just look at the excitement on her face!


The boys enjoyed the views too but they were REALLY looking forward to the slide - the world's tallest and longest tunnel slide.


Just look at those turns - eek!





There are two floors - the top floor where you can see the views from inside and outside and the first floor where The Slide starts from.

You're given safety gear to wear - a padded soft helmet and arm guards and you slide down in a kind of bag. The staff were brilliant and very reassuring about it being so much fun. It is a 40 second descent with plenty of twists as you go down and dark and light sections of the slide. They recommend allowing an hour for your visit which we found to be just right.

So another fab attraction to add to our list of fave London landmarks!







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When is an Advent Calendar not an Advent Calendar?

My kids have never been the demanding type at Christmas. They don't have big long lists of presents they want and have always been patient for Christmas day to open any presents. The same goes for advent calendars...They've always understood that it is only one door at a time that you open on each day.

But when you're off school feeling unwell and you receive an advent calendar that is SO good that you want to open it all at once - you know its more than just a regular advent calendar!

Miss T received the LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar to review and hasn't stopped smiling since! As today is the 4th December, she was able to open doors 1, 2, 3 and 4 all in one day and she loved it so much that she begged to keep going. Mean old mummy said no though to save the rest of the magic for the days ahead.




She is THE biggest Star Wars fan as we wrote about here and here. Having brought up two boys who weren't particularly into Star Wars, it always puzzles us how and why Miss T loves it SO much that we've all ended up being Star Wars fans now. Whilst the LEGO advent calendars are available at good toy retailers in 3 themes...LEGO City, LEGO Friends and LEGO Star Wars - this really was the best one for Miss T to receive.

When it comes to LEGO, that IS something that the whole family has been into for many many years. We have boxes full of LEGO that used to belong to daddy when he was younger and that collection has been added to over the years as the kids have received LEGO sets for Christmases and birthdays over the years. LEGO is simply timeless and I'm sure the pieces that we have will be passed to our children's children and beyond.

Let's first take a peek inside the LEGO Star Wars advent calendar and then look and how this advent calendar is no ordinary advent calendar...

Inside each door you'll find the instructions printed as a simple illustration to follow to put each item together. There is a small bag with the pieces you need to make each small LEGO model. Miss T was able to put the mini figure one together all by herself (see photos above) and we worked together on the others (mainly because she's better at LEGO than I am!)


We noticed that in some of the sets there are a few pieces spare (unless I've gone majorly wrong in putting it together). This seems to be the norm to get a few spares whenever we buy LEGO as sometimes those important pieces can go missing.

Once sets 1-4 were put together to bring us up to date on today's date of 4th December, she was entertained for ages playing with them. Two hours later she was still making up her imaginative play stories.


And all that before you even get to the special twist that these advent calendars have...

With these LEGO advent calendars, LEGO aims to save around 1 million plastic trays from going to landfill because the tray inside these calendars is made from 100% Forest Stewardship Council certified paper and is recyclable along with the outer box.


We've always known that playing with LEGO offers endless opportunities and now the box can become part of that too! The cardboard inner tray can be used for crafts or even gardening by using them as seed trays.

You can find out more in this fun video by LEGO here. And here's a sneak preview photo of just some of the possibilities:
this image courtesy of LEGO


And being such a huge Star Wars fan I'm sure you can guess by now what Miss T decided to make...



Disclosure: Many thanks to LEGO for sending us this advent calendar for review. All opinions remain our own honest opinions. 

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Mauritius Memories - Monday 21st and Tuesday 22nd August 2017

So Monday was our last day in Mauritius. We weren't being picked up for the airport until 6.20pm so we could still pretty much do a full day of activities. 

I've been really impressed with the departure lounge here. A separate spacious room for guests departing once they have checked out of their own rooms. It has 4 separate shower rooms with loos and hairdryers too. 

The all inclusive option applies until departure time too so we were able to have a final lunch in the Belle Vue restaurant and still have any drinks and snacks we needed to.


We had booked a final archery session this morning. It was Jerry doing it again - he was our instructor for our first archery session and he's brilliant as he helps Miss T enough so that she can join in and have a positive experience of archery too. 
 
look at that arrow fly through the air! 
After archery there was a rain shower so we took cover in the quarter deck bar for a round of the card game Uno. After lunch we went to see the animals for an emotional final goodbye. 
 
Miss T with Silver - True love! 
Monday is the day off for the horses to give them a day of rest after so many rides during the week so they were all there. 
 
Miss T and Suzi
We said goodbye to our favourite horses - ponies Silver and Suzi and horses What-a-hit and Ghostbrook. 
 
J with What-a-Hit
Jean Christophe was amazing and let each of the kids into each stable to give a final hug and goodbye to each of 'their' horses. So What-a-hit for J who he had two rides on. Ghostbrook for D who he had bonded with for his lesson and the helicopter incident and Miss T's favourite, Silver. 
 
D saying goodbye to Ghostbrook
We'd booked the tennis court for a final tennis session too. The weather went from really hot to clouded over and we could sense another rain shower coming. 



Saying bye to Lavender (our kids named her Lavender as she didn't have a name)





Saying bye to Bruce the dog - again named by these 3! 

Once that shower blew over me, Miss T and D went for one last speedy swim in the pool as we knew it was home time soon. 

After getting showered off in the departure lounge time for a final drink in the quarter deck bar. We said our goodbyes to 'afternoon tea man', whose name I found out to be Seewoodruth, who had so lovingly prepared the crepes, cookies, cakes and savoury treats for afternoon tea each day.  

We ordered a few snacks as we weren't sure if there would be time to eat at the airport and they arrived just in time for to grab and eat on the go in the taxi. 

Our first flight - Mauritius to Dubai went smoothly. I watched The Kings Speech and even managed to doze a little. 

The 5 hour wait at Dubai was what we'd all been dreading but actually felt like a real blessing.  Miss T needing special assistance for her arthritis enabled us to rest in the special needs departure lounge so by pushing chairs together the kids managed to have a proper sleep. This was pretty much the only sleep J had as he'd refused to sleep on the plane. 

We woke them at 730 for a quick snack and drink from Costa and then at 840 it was time to board ready for the 940 flight home. 

I know delays can't be helped but having over an hour's delay meant we'd had 2 hours of sitting on the plane since boarding time which felt rather clostrophobic for me. It wasn't a great start as I felt anxiety during the flight then a further delay of circling before landing made me feel sick. As soon as the plane landed I couldn't hold it in any longer and I vomited in the sick bag. 

Not the most pleasant return and I'm feeling annoyed at myself and frustrated that 2 of the 4 flights were so difficult for me when I've never had an issue with flying before. 

That wasn't an end to the sickness either with D feeling nauseous in the taxi home - we stopped at the services where he then sat in the front passenger seat and fell asleep. Miss T was then actually sick. I felt rotten the whole journey home and had my sick bag at the ready. 

Soon after arriving home I vomited and vomited for what felt like ages. Before an early night (well it was late on Mauritius time but early in the UK)

Wednesday is washing day and generally recovering from such a long journey. We all woke up early on Mauritian time so it's only 8am now but we've all been awake for hours!

The plus side of that is that I've already got 3 loads of washing done. 

And so it will be back to routine but we'll all have the most wonderful memories to remember thanks to an amazing granny who made it all possible and arranged everything. 



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Mauritius Memories: Sunday 20th August 2017

It's so hard to believe that today was our last full day here. We've got most of tomorrow in resort before bring picked up shortly after 6pm to head to the airport but the 'travelling home day' never feels like a proper day of holiday. 

Today I discovered something that I kind of wish I'd discovered two weeks ago when we arrived. 

Having tried the snorkelling trip a few days after arriving and being disappointed to not see ANYTHING (although I was pleased to have gone out on the boat to do snorkelling that far out at sea and enjoyed that aspect of the experience), I'd given up on trying again. 

Today I decided to have a go from the beach. It was so clear and I felt like I saw loads of amazing things. 


Couldn't resist doing a 'hot dog legs' photo! 

Initially I was excited just to see the sea bed as that looked pretty in itself. When Richard pointed ahead to fish I couldn't see them as without my glasses on I'm extremely short sighted. So I nearly gave up again. 

Then we tried with me being led and just looking immediately down above the fish as I could see a bit better by doing that. 

I saw a big clam, the mauritian clown fish with their black and white pattern stripes, and so many other fish - some small and one that looked so big. I was delighted. 

It had already been an exciting day with D spotting a black and white striped sea snake hiding in the rocks this morning. So now I felt like I finally 'got' what snorkelling was all about. J and D had a go too and enjoyed it. Despite Miss T practising looking under water with her goggles for over a year in preparation for this holiday she wasn't interested in having a go. 

After lunch we went back for more snorkelling but the tide had come in and the sea was so much more churned up that I just couldn't see clearly enough. 

So we gave up and Richard and the boys went kayaking up the river. And me and Miss T built sandcastles and then went for a swim in the pool. 






After that it was our favourite time of day - afternoon tea with crepes and cake and cookies and today it was chicken wings and drumsticks as the savoury snack.

Together with a hot drink it's perfect as an after swimming snacktime to warm up. Having said that the pool didn't feel so cold today. After having the pool to ourselves in week 1, this week it's been busier with more kids around generally and inflatables and just more people braving the cold water. 


We headed to the Jetty in the evening to see if we could spot any fish like yesterday. We saw a lion fish, a teeny red starfish and a few other fish but less than yesterday as there were more ripples in the sea. 


Showers and dinner time then bed. Miss T fell asleep at the dinner table again. Hoping we will all find it as easy as that to sleep on the flight tomorrow evening! 

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Miss T JIA update - November 2017 - the mystery of the different sized feet


2nd August 2017
I'm trying to keep track of what's been going on with Miss T since the summer - I end up resorting to a blogpost as that's where I can keep most organised instead of scribbled notes and scraps of paper and not being able to find photos when I need to.

Around July time we noticed Miss T's right big-toe appeared bigger than the left. I believe the above photo is from 2nd August 2017. Our immediate thought was a JIA flare-up with the right toe being swollen. However, thankfully Miss T didn't complain of any pain.
4th September 2017
Upon advice from GOSH we started her on Naproxen at the end of August for a couple of weeks. It made no difference at all to the size of the 'swollen' toe. She's still on weekly MTX injections of 12.5mg.

I believe this photo (above) is from early September. The right big-toe remains bigger than the other. So Miss T sees a rheumatologist at GOSH who asks for an ultrasound of the toe and x-rays as well as blood tests.

The ultra-sounds shows nothing abnormal in the right toe. A bit of a mystery!

In October she sees her local consultant. Her local consultant notices that the entire left foot appears smaller than the right foot. It is not just the toe but the whole foot and the arch appears very high on the left foot.

I took these photos below on 31st October where the difference can really be seen.

31st October 2017

31st October 2017

31st October 2017
 Seeing these more recent photos compared to when we first noticed what we thought was a 'bigger toe', it is shocking to see the rate of change in just a couple of months.

Finally a pic from today (15th November 2017) - it's hard to tell whether it's worsened still or remained the same over the past month or so.


GOSH MRI of it due next week so hoping that will give some answers and her local paediatrician wants a separate MRI of her spine to rule out any condition related to that which could be causing it.


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