A Birthday Abroad • The Importance of Family
We have spent the last 2 and a bit weeks in the Spanish hills in a little place outside Altea. 2 weeks of sunshine, swimming pools, sea shores and family.
It has been hectic and I wouldn't have it any other way. Last week my sister Natalie, my brother in law Andrew and niece Yasmin joined us from the UK and the next day my brother Patrick and sister in law Carlotta flew from New York to London to Alicante!
9 sets of shoes at the door of my in laws house, 9 plates at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and 9 sets of booming voices laughing and chatting into the early hours. Well make that 6, we tried to get the kids in bed for 7!
I loved it. I love the noise, the games in the pool, the meals, the stories. It reminds me of family Christmas' where you sometimes had to be the loudest to be heard. In a week Sammy learnt to swim, Yasmin learnt to say Uncle (she's had Auntie down for sometime) and Ollie warmed to his little cousin instead of protecting his toys from her chubby hands!
I loved sitting on the patio, not realising it's gone midnight, knowing the children are all safe asleep upstairs and breathing in that hot humid air that just sets in your memory bank as the smell and taste of Summer holidays. Like the moment you step off the plane and are hit with a wall of heat.
And it was the week I turned 33. And the memories of my 30th came rushing back. I was sent upstairs (just like 3 years ago) and could hear cackling and giggling and a balloon popping as they decorated the house ready for the morning. I had no idea Natalie and Carlotta were still awake at 2am baking cupcakes - now if that isn't love I don't know what is!
I woke up to the most beautiful breakfast, complete with petals in the strawberries, mismatched bottles and cups full of flowers from around the grounds and gallons full of confetti. The Pretty Little Party Shop kindly sent some wonderful decorations, party napkins, cups, straws, all sorts! I adore the fringe garland and have saved it to tie to a huge balloon another time!
After a FaceTime with my Mum back in the UK and a very happy present opening, we all got ready to head to the Fonts D'Algar about 10 minutes from the house. I have always been jealous of our family who have visited the Fonts and desperately wanted to see them for myself.
It was stunning. Bright pink flowers lines the sides of the meandering river, with little brooks flowing with crystal clear waters around each corner. Lagoons which transported you to the Brooke Shields film The Blue Lagoon and crossings in the shallow water which made my brother burst into lines from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.
The water was chilly, but invigorating and armed with one of my birthday presents, an underwater cover for my iPhone, we braved the waters and headed to the waterfall.
Just stunning and it makes you scream with laughter for no reason! You want to hold your arms in the air and lean back but the water is so tremendously powerful it tips you like a feather falling back into the water!
The best birthday present was seeing Sammy jump off a board about 10ft in the air. What a boy! And my sister was brave enough too!
We totally missed lunchtime and headed home hours later than planned with exhausted children, one of them full of pride for his big jump, and lazed around the pool, with the boys making "experiments" before heading into the old town for tapas.
As it turns out tapas and tired children don't mix! We bustled them into the car after dinner and home to bed, before a quick cocktail and collapsed into our own beds! How the girls were still awake I don't know!
That's all I wanted. To be with my family. To share an experience.
We had a lovely week with my in laws who flew in as my family all flew home and I made the most of sunny days in awe of Sammy swimming underwater like a fish and Ollie suddenly gaining the confidence to abandon the rubber ring and use armbands. It may not sound like much of an achievement but already I can see he could be swimming without them in a couple of months.
I have something important to post about now we are home, which many of you may already have heard about. Something that you can help me with. But I want to make sure I can share it with as many people as possible. So instead of hoping the wifi didn't crash out, and the boys gave me time to sit at the laptop (which was tricky as we need to watch them in the pool obviously) I want to you ear mark the beginning of next week as your week of good deeds. And if you get a minute read this. #LoomtotheMoon.
Because at the end of a day, it's your family you love the most with all your heart and I felt very loved last week. Time to pay it forward.