Bedroom light Astrid's room

Rob Ryan bunting from Bodi and Fou

First Christmas. Three days later Astrid turned four. Last week was Edith’s second birthday.

It’s been a stark contrast to last year’s Christmas holiday when we were in New Zealand enjoying the bright blue Summer skies, a beach at our doorstep, days spent making sandcastles under a rosy sun umbrella. Astrid’s birthday on the front lawn celebrated with mummy’s usual birthday cake, and a BBQ on the Weber which we’d packed in the car for holiday cooking. Shiny cone-hats for everyone. Swims. Ice creams. Sauvignon blanc and bubbles.

This year we hadn’t all managed to get the flu, in fact only Mummy and Astrid had it on Astrid’s birthday and it only lasted 24 hours. Kevin’s family came down from Leeds. Mummy made the usual cake – although this time it was an apple one and we had a chocolate one left over from Christmas because there was so much to eat and none of us felt like eating too much. And we lost the birthday candles so Astrid had one big one instead.

Astrid got a Post Office for her birthday. And a silk rose bower for her bed. And a weaving loom. Lucky Astrid.

Astrid’s third year saw her enjoying her time at The Learning Centre in Ponsonby where she was beginning to make new friends and learn lots of new words. Mummy worked a lot and so did Daddy so Astrid and Edith got a new nanny called Kelly and they both loved her to bits. Kelly was very laid back and fun for the kids. She was definitely a good friend to them.

Edith and Astrid now have a lovely new nanny who is much more strict with them – which is precisely what they need. Astrid is loving being back at school and Edith is her usual daredevil self hurtling around the place, diving off sofas and climbing on boxes to be near Mummy in the kitchen.

Edith had a very low key first birthday. Her cousins were all sick with 40° temperatures only a few days before they are due to fly to New Zealand for holidays. We had a lovely time though. Astrid suggested we go to the local city farm so we kept the kids awake after lunch and went in the drizzling rain to see geese, roosters, cows, sheep, goats and pig huge pigs snorting and squealing in the great big muddy pen. Astrid and Edith snorted back at the piggy wigs. Just like in Pepa Pig.

Edith had a new kind of cake this year. Edith had a selection of little cakes from Le Pain de Quotidien. She had berry tart, raspberry tart, mini pavlova and chocolate square. We remembered to buy birthday candles which went into the sticky chocolate square. Yum! We eat it all on the new kids table and watched Pepa Pig. Snort!