So, let’s get things up to speed. I recently spent ten days in the glorious company of my two favourite young ladies, my wife and daughter. This should have read as the last ten days, but my timing has been atrocious as I’ve been binge watching Game of Thrones ready for the new season, my sincerest apologies. Any who, all of this was done completely free from the most niggling of interruptions. Work. Granted, there were moments of unfortunate PTSD that comes with such an occupation, the customer lavatory of February 2011 still being the scene of many flashbacks to this day. Think Shrek suffering a bout of food poisoning whilst re-enacting the movie SAW in glorious 4DX. These flashbacks aside along with the recurring sense that I’d left the safe wide open, the whole experience was actually quite wonderful.

The week began as you may recall, with my daughter turning three. After a mild panic attack my wife and I were to host a birthday party with close family and friends. Thankfully with our daughter’s age we were fortunate enough that the “friend” invitations were kept to the absolute minimum. None. Just another thing my daughter and I have in common. As parties go, this one was off the chain. As soon as we got the juice boxes flowing the atmosphere went through the roof. Ava and her three cousins know how to get down, honestly, these little guys are like nephews to me. Pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey, you name it we played it. After partying long and hard well into the afternoon, probably until around 4:00pm, it was time to stagger home with their party bags in tow. With the ensuing sugar crash, I’m just glad I wasn’t one of them in the morning. The whole thing went off without a hitch with Ava more than happy to be the center of attention, yet another thing my daughter and I have in common.

Come the Tuesday an opportunity presented itself to attend a showing of Batman V Superman, which prompted me to write my first movie review for my blog. Feel free to check it out and let me know what you thought yourself, I may even reply, who knows. For the eagle eyes amongst you, you may recall this was to me my prize for the “Getting Buff” challenge, however, with my wife planning a spa trip the following day I was able to use this to my advantage, which I’ve discovered is rule number one in the guide to a happy marriage.

Come spa day I was all set to spend some quality time with just my daughter and I. We busted out the arts and crafts and enjoyed some creative time, using up sheets of animal stickers like there was no tomorrow. I’d share a picture of her masterpiece but honestly it was awful. It had me wondering though, at what age does our creative ability catch up to our imagination? And at what age do we perceive something for what it really is? I remember when I was a child I was amazing at drawing the finale from Free Willy, only to come across my work years later to wonder what kind of rubbish I’d produced.

After arts and crafts came Play Doh, an activity that provides a good hour of blissful silence and the minimum of supervision whilst I prepared our feast for the evening. Lightly seasoned Chicken pieces and salted potato sticks with a rich tomato dipping sauce (chicken nuggets, chips and ketchup) I’ll upload the recipe at a later date.

To bring the day to a close we snuggled up and enjoyed the latest from Disney Pixar, The Good Dinosaur. A film that needs just two words to fully review; Dinosaur Western. If that doesn’t sell it then I don’t know what will.

The whole week itself was full of small pleasures. A trip to the zoo to visit our cousins was even on the agenda, thanks to the belated arrival of spring. Ava stood in awe at the majestic lions, whilst cowering from the beautiful butterflies. Her logic continues to surprise me. Too often when my holiday is over and I trudge back to work, I feel an overwhelming sense of disappointment. Disappointment at the thought of a wasted opportunity to make the most of a completely free week. There were no trips to the Bahamas or once in a life time experiences, but what there was in abundance were the simple everyday pleasures that are so often taken for granted. I made a vow this year to enjoy all the little things and so far it’s working wonders.
As my holiday came to an end I can honestly say I felt refreshed and ready to tackle the shit storm ahead, the Grand National.

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