Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Missy's birthday surprises

I have been a bit quiet recently, thanks to work, and life. Oh yes, and birthdays. Well, one in particular. Missy Woo was six last Thursday and I had a few days of lining up surprises and then carrying them out.

You see, she is a child that doesn't want for much. Yes, she does always want new toys but she's just as happy with small ones (and usually tat at that). We bought her a bike last year, she doesn't always want new games for her DS, and the thing she likes to do most is draw, colour and make things. She is very difficult to buy for if you want to spend more than a tenner.

She told us she wanted a scooter but she said this when we were in Devon and my sister offered to buy it for her. Still no closer.

The only thing I had to go on was her love of dancing. I tried to look for London shows but then we were at the other extreme of cost. With added hotel and travel costs, I couldn't justify it. Then I discovered a show in Manchester on the weekend of her birthday, featuring ballet and streetdance. And the tickets were £15, so two were purchased very quickly after consultation with her that she wanted to go.

Opening her presents
This didn't feel like much of a birthday surprise so we decided to extend her trip by booking a night in a hotel after the show. Given that the show was at the Palace Theatre, I booked a room at the Palace Hotel across the road. Then I typed up a note to her from Hello Kitty telling her about this to put in with the tickets she was expecting to open on the day. We managed to find a few smaller bits and bobs for her to open - mostly with a Hello Kitty theme - on the day.

So, on the big day itself, she had a few nice presents to open, but didn't look as much as it did on Monkey's birthday. (He got a bike this year). She was very excited about her "sleepover" in a hotel, had a special breakfast and got to speak to grandparents before school, where she got to wear the Birthday Hat all day and gave sweets out at the end of the day. Granny met us there on a flying surprise visit, bringing presents and giving her a big hug before hopping back on the bus home. For we were off on our usual Thursday odyssey - Monkey to football, Missy Woo to her dance lessons - as she had insisted that she was really looking forward to going to dance on her birthday. Mainly so she could be centre of attention, for the first thing they did was sing her Happy Birthday.

Then, and only then, and after a quick change, we went out for tea where she could make her own pizza! This meant a bit of a late night on a school night for both her and Monkey, which I suspect was the motive for insisting on going to her dance lessons!

Saturday was a big day, despite it not being her birthday. She had her party here - 9 girls and poor old Monkey totally outnumbered! One of the girls coming was a girl she used to play with before she went to school and hadn't seen for ages but I had kept from her that she was coming and the little girl didn't know she was coming either! That was another little surprise which she enjoyed.

She was very excited about her cake which she had helped to mix the day before. This was not my idea - I got it from Susan's post and it seemed really easy yet effective. I had to source non-Nestlé equivalent to Smarties but I discovered all the supermarkets did them. These are from Asda. My tip, if you want to make it yourself, is get your Cadbury's fingers from Aldi or Lidl and put the cake on a bigger plate than you think you need because the fingers increase the size of the cake quite substantially.

Once the party was finished, it was all systems go to get to Manchester. We took the train in, Missy adopting a granny we met in the station along the way and insisting on sitting next to her on the train. We popped into the hotel before the show to check in and the room was WOW. Look at this. The ceilings were about 20 feet high and the windows went right up to the ceiling.

Unfortunately, because the room was on the main road and at the same level as the railway track not 20 feet away, it was too noisy, necessitating a move to a new room later in the evening when Missy tried and failed to sleep.

The show was brilliant. It was called Against Time. I would urge you to go to see it but sadly, the performances in Manchester were the last ones and it's now finished. The promo video gives you a flavour of it here. It was a collaboration between English National Ballet and Flawless, who were on Britain's Got Talent.

Missy was mesmerised and loved every minute of it, especially there was a lot of familiar and contemporary music. She joined in with the clapping and was singing along to the songs too. I asked her what she thought of the show during the interval and she just said "Fab".

Chilling after the show.
After the show, and finding her new adopted granny to say goodbye to, we went out for tea to a nearby Italian before retiring to our room and attempting to get Missy to sleep, as I mentioned before. By the time we moved to a new room, it was nearly 10pm but once we were settled, she was asleep in a couple of minutes. In the morning, she was awake before me and got up to play with her sticker book and watch telly. When I did wake up, she told me off for snoring! We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, at which she discovered fried bread and sautéed potatoes, and followed it up with a quick coffee before heading home to piles of leftover pizza and birthday cake.

All in all, it was a fun weekend and Missy took away some fabulous memories of her sixth birthday, that will hopefully stay with her for a long time. I got to enjoy time with my little girl and it reminded me how much I enjoy just being with her. And for now, I'm revelling in that, because these experiences can be all too fleeting.

Happy birthday Missy Woo. We love you.

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