Category: Occasions (page 1 of 9)

How Sophie’s shepherd nativity debut unfolded

I’ve seen a lot of school nativities in my time.

Usually, there are a whole host bunch of ridiculously cute small children wearing tinsel, tea towels and terrified faces acting out a vague interpretation of the Christmas story to an excitable sea of uber proud parents, grandparents and other assorted adults.

It’s usually lovely.

But throwing Sophie into that mix was quite nerve wracking. Sure I was very excited about the show, but what if something went wrong…?

I was delighted to get the time off work to go. My manager actually anticipated it asking me if I had one to go to. So I rushed out of work and made the trek across town desperately hoping I wouldn’t be late.

Sophie had been singing the songs with gusto at home for a good five weeks.

Initially she told us she was an angel and we were imagining white dresses halos and a pretty glamourous look.

We got a bit suspicious though when her favourite songs were We must go to Bethlehem and Look, there’s an angel. Surely angels wouldn’t be quite so startled to see one of their own?

Turned out she was a shepherd.

So tea towels after all then.

We saw Sophie coming in with her class to sit down and as soon as she saw us she shrunk back into the teacher, a coy grin plastered all over her face. 

They’d done all the costuming. A deep blue cloak, manly headdress and a little sheep to clutch. We beamed with pride although there was that ridiculous feeling inside – what if she makes a mistake? Sure she wouldn’t.

Next to me her grandparents were so overwhelmingly excited. Pity we couldn’t really see her from our seats. Her lookalike best friend was wearing exactly the same costume and sitting next to her, constantly blocking our view. Occasionally she’d stand up for a quick second, shoot us a grin and an embarrassed wave and then bob down again.

Still we knew she’d be pumping out the showtunes, a veritable array of awesome children’s carols. Every now and then we’d catch a glimpse of her face and she was so happy.

Narrators bumbled on and off, powering out their words with great enthusiasm and a very cute lack of flow and rhythm. That’s Reception for you.

My favourite character was the donkey. A child in a onesie with a girl in a blue dress and a balloon tummy following him round the stage. Classic.

Finally, it was Sophie’s big moment. The shepherd dance.

She bounded on and jumped her little heart out to the sound of Jump jump jump there’s an angel. It was amazing.

She was probably only on stage for twenty seconds or so but the feeling of parental pride was immense. So lovely. And she smashed it as well.

Afterwards she allowed herself the honour of waving frantically at us, briefly, before disappearing off with her teacher to get changed and return to 2017. The consummate professional.

And so, as we gathered up the tissues which had collected our tears of pride, we thought that was pretty fun.

Same time next year?

Another giantkilling on our watch

What a weekend.

Day off on Friday was spent tearing down to London to watch the ATP World Tour Finals – a long-held dream fulfilled.

However, just as we saw Mo Farah and Usain Bolt fail in spectacular fashion when we went to the World Athletics back in August, we were in situe to witness the downing of another favourite.

And the rising of a new hero out of nowhere.

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Happy 1st birthday Harry

When Sophie turned one, I couldn’t quite believe how fast the time had gone.

That’s nothing compared to how quickly year one has been for Harry.

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A day out at the beach

A couple of weeks ago, i decided that the best way for me to enjoy a Daddy day with Sophie and Harry would be to spend it on the beach.

Setting aside the fact the nearest beach was 60 miles away (ish), I packed lots of things, bundled the little ones into the car and headed off.

Looking out of the rain-spattered Windows as I joined the M56 out towards North Wales, I wondered if it was really such a good idea after all…

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The end of an era – Bolt and Farah finish in tears

Last night was right up there as one of the best sporting experiences ever. With Mo Farah and Usain Bolt on the ticket, second Saturday tickets had always looked promising.

Little did I anticipate just how bright the fireworks would be.

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Manchester: Five Years On

Five years ago, London 2012 exploded into our living rooms in a tidal wave of golden hysteria.

Jessica Ennis-Hill, Tom Daley and Laura Trott led the charge as Team GB’s remarkable exploits captured the nation.

As for us, we were sat watching from our new Chorlton living room having made the switch from Lincolnshire’s Grantham to the suburbs of England’s most ambitious city.

And we’ve never looked back since…

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End of Year Shows 

Ever since I started teaching, I’ve always been involved in helping produce end of year shows. They are one of the major highlights of the job for me.

It’s amazing to watch young people you are working with lose their timidity and perform at their absolute maximum to the joy of the watching audience. To ensure this happens, I strive to make sure the show is as polished as possible.

It’s not a prerequisite to be involved though…I just love to get stuck in.

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Outnumbered

I’d done a weekend by myself before with the two children.

But this was different.

This was on location in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere surrounded by fields and hills.

Oh and Harry really wasn’t feeling well.

This oughta be interesting.
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On top of the world

Our Austrian holiday “peaked” at 2600m on top of the Wetterkreutz.
Sophie and Harry’s first mountain was certainly a good ‘un.
I’ve always loved mountain walking but always on the condition we get to scale summits and tick them off on my mental list.
So when Andrew suggested we go on a longer walk I jumped at the chance to notch my first Alpine peak.
It was a real excitement to pull on my boots, pack up a chunky picnic and look up at the imposing rock face that stood ahead of us.
The only slight complication was the addition of two small children into the mix.
And there was no question of them staying at home.
We’d come prepared – my wife had a sling for Harry and I had a backpack to carry Sophie up. We were also to hugely benefit from a ski lift taking us 2000m of the way. From there though it was climbing steeply in the heat of the day with the children in tow.
It was hard work if I’m honest but we invented a guessing game to keep us entertained. It essentially involved me shouting animals and Sophie shouting colours. Plenty of blue penguins and yellow meerkats on offer.
Towards the top, a sheet of snow – more like compacted hail – made life even tougher. Andrew picked a way over it carefully and I followed suit. Sophie was hanging out of the backpack, shifting my centre of gravity really unhelpfully but I was able to navigate it.

Next came my wife with Harry and he’d decided to wake up by this point. As she tested the ground, his sling slumped forward putting pressure on the back of her neck and weighing her down. She did marvellously well though and made it across.
From there we could really see the distinctive cross which marked the top of the mountain. Just a short zigzag round the summit, a zip across some more snow and then we were there.

Views from the top were absolutely glorious and we even managed to get a classic shot of us looking like a Christian missionary family. (There would certainly be worse places to work).

For the way down I took Harry and Andrew carried Sophie. The temperature had sunk as we’d ascended but this swiftly changed and it was hot and uncomfortable by the time we made it back to the ski lift.
(Naturally my inner child kicked in as we approached the finish line and I raced away from the others so Harry and I secured a glorious victory. At least in my head we did anyway.)
We’d done it – first mountain for the littlies conquered. Many more to come I hope.

A death-defying pizza trip

On our recent holiday to Austria, I thought it would be a tremendous idea to nip over the border into Italy and have a pizza.

My wife could have coffee, Sophie could have ice cream, Harry could have…er…bread(?) and everyone would be happy.

After all, it was only about 50km to the border. Simple.

Little did I know what I was letting myself in for…

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