Like last year, we spent the week of Dulcie's birthday visiting my sister and her family in France. We didn't plan this year's trip to coincide with the birthday, but Graham and I had both booked annual leave to go to my cousin's wedding and then found out we wouldn't be getting invited, so we booked the flights to France... and then did get invited to the wedding but obviously couldn't go. Aaargh! Well, I think everyone was happy in the end. Our flight left from Edinburgh at a very early hour. We got the first direct bus from Glasgow, which meant getting up at 3am! Here are Dulcie and I looking bleary eyed in Buchanan Street bus station in the wee small hours. Dulcie coped pretty well with her mid-night waking and travelled all the way to France in her pyjamas. I wish we could all get away with that!
She did conk out on the couch as soon as we arrived, but really, who could blame her?
As is traditional, we spent a fair amount of time in the charity shops, although this year we had to do it in instalments to fit in with the myriad of school pick-ups and drop-offs. This picture of Dulcie trying on some of the second-hand wares has got to be one of my favourite pictures of her of all time. We didn't buy much this year at all. Dulcie got a musical crocodile toy for a franc and I bought a wooden penguin to hang on our Christmas tree and I think that was it. I did see a vase I loved, but couldn't picture it making it home in our hand luggage so I left it behind.
We had a few other outings while we were there too. We all went to the theatre to see a stage version of Plop The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark (a favourite book of ours when we were wee) which was really good and enjoyed by all of us, though Dulcie did say, "When is the film starting?" as soon as the play was over. Philistine! Graham and I also had a wee wander around Geneva one day while Dulcie stayed at home with her auntie. We had a nice lunch, wandered around some swanky shops in the old town, visited a book market etc.
The best part of the holiday for Dulcie, though, was hanging out with her four French cousins and playing with all their toys! She and Elsie (her closest cousin age-wise) got on really well this time. You might remember last year's visit coincided with Dulcie's very brief hair-pulling obsession, which poor Elsie got the brunt of. There was none of that this year, thank goodness. Here they were busy playing with play dough when I asked them to look up so I could take their picture. Never work with child models! :)
We spent lots of time at the nearby playpark too and Dulcie really enjoyed being an honorary big kid for a while. Here she is larking around with Kim and Angus, her two elder French cousins.
And with Ruth during a rare break from riding her imaginary horse! Dulcie had so much fun with all her cousins that I hardly saw her really and got a nice break and plenty of time to read and sleep. Lovely.
Of course, the main event of the trip was Dulcie's birthday. Here is the cake I made her, Billy Goats Gruff themed, of course! I realise it doesn't exactly look professional and that Mary Berry wouldn't approve of my shop-bought goats and Dairy Milk bridge, but I ended up being rather proud of it and was chuffed beyond words when Dulcie declared it was the best thing about her whole birthday. Aw!
Others were less complimentary. An electrician who was doing some work in my sister's house asked if the icing was meant to be that colour and my nephew told me it was nice but that he wouldn't pay money for it in a shop. Ha!
Once Dulcie had blown out the candle, her cousins used the cake to reenact the story...
...and once we'd all had a slice, the goats went mad and trampled the cake and had much icing licked from their hooves!
The very green fondant-icing troll was chewed up and spat out with great gusto.
We managed to keep the presents quite low key this year (not wanting to undo all the recent clearing out) but Dulcie really loved everything she received, maybe because there wasn't too much of it.
And, like last year, my sister prepared an amazing birthday feast. Here's the whole party (minus me) enjoying it :)
All in all, a lovely holiday and a great birthday. Can you believe Dulcie is three already?! What a gal.