Like all good stories, in this final instalment of our 2014 UK blog series, we've ended up back where we started - in Poole. The end is by no means close however, as we have an astonishing number of people still to meet!
In chronological order....
Our first guests were Rod and Christine (my Uncle and Auntie), plus my cousin Emma, her husband Marc, and their kids Jake and Daisy. Jake is my godson and we skype with Jake and Daisy from Australia, so they had met Sienna via the computer, if not yet in person. It turns out nine-year-old Jake is a natural with babies, and the oh-so-kind Daisy gave Sienna a cuddly toy elephant which I had given to Daisy when she was a baby. Said elephant has since become a *huge* hit with Sienna, so thank you Daisy :)
Also visiting on the same day were Uncle Toby and Auntie Melissa!
In between visitors Sienna enjoyed hanging out (read: taking over) Granny Pam's daybed, and soon also commandeered her iPad and magazine! Grandad, meanwhile, continued educating Sienna in the rules of 'Peepo!'
We also had lots of family friends visit whilst we were in Poole. Pam and Bob are long-time friends of the family and Pam has knitted some marvellous creations for Sienna (so has my mum, it must be something about the name Pam and being great knitters!). In fact, a hat that Pam knitted for Sienna as a newborn is still worn everyday at eight months old!!
We hosted an 'open' house one day, and along to visit were Margaret (my Godmother) and Gordon, Roland and Pauline (family friends), and Gully & Mr B (my ballet teacher of many years). It was lovely to have a house full of guests and Sienna enjoyed all the attention.. prior to our visit to the UK she had been a very timid baby, but she was very obliging in giving cuddles to all who requested!
The next person to meet was Mum's longtime friend Marion! It was a HOOT.. no more explanation required!
One essential stop-off every time we visit the UK is Pizza Express! Tom and I splurged on two pizzas AND two side salads, because, you know, we only go to Pizza Express once a year or less! It was divine and I cannot wait for the next time....
The final people for Sienna to meet, numbers 62 & 63 on the list but by no means the least important, were Di & Si! We had a fun time catching up with the Tammam family, and neighbour Val popped in for a cuddle too! [I know that sounds random, but it actually isn't - Val's daughter Amy lives in Melbourne and is a friend of ours, so Sienna and Val had already met during a recent trip. Are you following all of this? There will be a quiz at the end.]
On our final night we had a Hague family get together, which included a joint birthday dinner for Dad/Grandad (who turned 70 this year), Toby (age undisclosed!), and Tom (age undisclosed, but close to mine!). Mum made her legendary rice-krispie cake, and the three men did a great job of looking incredibly awkward as I made them pose for a photograph....
We also took an updated family photo:
On our final day it was all about packing and trying not to dwell on the upcoming goodbyes. We took some gorgeous photos with Uncle Mat, who lives in Bulgaria, and so has aptly been named Uncle Bulgaria (after the character from The Wombles). Mum thought it would be cute to get an Uncle Bulgaria toy. So did Mat. So now we have three Uncle Bulgaria's - two stuffed and one real! Obviously the real one is the best :)
We also took some really sweet photos with Granny Pam and Grandad and I really hope you've all stuck with me and are still reading because these photos just MELT MY HEART! I cannot believe that I have taken this sweet thing away from her grandparents and brought her back to Melbourne because these photos just symbolise a very happy time and will be cherished for ever. Moments like this make the distance, the expense, and the upheaval of travelling 10,000 miles all worth it.... we will be back!!!
Congratulations if you've read this far! You win 100 points! Points can be redeemed for cuddles with Sienna at your next opportunity :-D