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The Croads

Welcome to Matt & Helen's Travel Page. Here is where we will be keeping a record of our travels for all of you to read. Please leave us a message. If we have time in between discovering new places and meeting new people we will reply to them!

Our details if anyone wants to contact us in London are:-
Email - thecroads@gmail.com
Home - 0044 208 682 2243
Matt Mobile - 0044 787 231 9408
Helen Mobile - 0044 787 231 9573
Address - 41a Himley Road,
Tooting,
London SW17 9AR

Diary Entries

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Ok, so the entire point of having an online diary is to keep it up to date and write in it regularly. I get that part, however, in our defence this is an online travel diary (the key word being travel) and we haven't done any of that in months!!! We haven't even taken the car out of London on a day trip - how sad are we?!?

It has been very quiet here over the past few months. With our residency and citizenship applications due to go in shortly and the baby on the way, we are just laying low and saving our pennies.

Hopefully that will all change soon though, we've decided we desperately need to make an effort to get out of London on some jollies again so watch this space, hopefully we'll have something interesting to report soon.

Things are all well though. Jess is growing up way too fast for our liking and is rapidly approaching the terrible twos! OMG how time flies!!! We've been spending most of our weekends going for walks, exploring local parks and playgrounds for Jessica and of course every waking minute she wants to be with Hannah, her best friend from nursery who lives just round the corner. So we tend to make the most of getting the girls together and letting them entertain themselves. We've had a few BBQs and even did fireworks last weekend (well we tried - but the girls freaked out so Matt and I carried on without them once they'd gone to sleep!!!)

Hope everyone is going well, we'd love to hear updates from around the globe. We miss you all. Take care xxx

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Sorry, sorry, sorry - I know I haven't updated this in months and I am super sorry! I've just got around to putting up the NZ photos (still a couple more pages to come but at least there is some up there!)

We've been super busy for the last few months, not sure doing what but definitely busy! We've had concerts, BBQs, a trip to Hastings camping with Bex and Shane, a trip down to Tan and Nicks, lots of festival events, Baby antenatal catch ups and just generally lots of socialising!

Way too much to fill you all in on really so I'm just going to say we've been having an awesome time, and hopefully I'll get some more photos up in a couple of weeks (we're away again next week for the Tour de France so yet another trip!)

We're all well though, enjoying life and hope you all are too. We love and miss you all!

Matt, Helen and Jess xxx

Thursday, 05 May 2011

Location: UK

So, I'm starting to get through the photos - I'm now up to date with the exception of NZ and Normandy - watch this space, an update will follow shortly too...

Monday, 07 March 2011

Location: New Zealand

Another flying trip home over... :(

We had such a fantastic time back home but not nearly long enough! We landed in the beautiful sunny NZ on Monday, had a quiet night at home and then headed up to Mangawhai for some relaxation and to get used to the heat and time difference. Gareth, Karla, Christine, Simon, Fenella, Callum and Jake all joined us for an awesome few days. We got in some swimming, floundering and plenty of drinking and eating as usual!

After Mangawhai, we headed down to Tokoroa for a night to see Mum, Sandy, Mike and the kids - wow have they grown! The kids had a fantastic time running through the water sprinkler and teaching Jessica new tricks, I can't wait for future family camping trips - these kids are going to be unstoppable! Tok was followed by a night in Palmerston North catching up with Gavin, Christine, Nana and Amy. Another flying visit but lovely all the same. And on the way back to Auckland we stopped in at Taupo to visit Aunty Michelle who I've heard so much about over the years!

The last week was an action packed visiting schedule, open home on Saturday, BBQ and photo session plus a catch up with the old Benbow crew on Sunday which was awesome - just the same as always but with 4 girls all running round!

We had so many lovely dinners, drinks and catch ups with as many people as possible and can't thank you all enough for all making the time to see us while we were home. And thank you all for the wonderful presents for Jess - she is definitely going to be the best dressed girl on this side of the planet!

I'm sure it wont be long before we are home again, but in the mean time - we love you all!!!

The next couple of weeks here should be quiet - just settling back in and getting organised for our up coming summer (fingers crossed). Sorry the update is so short, but hopefully it's worth it to get the photos up instead!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Location: UK

Ok, so here is the quickest Christmas catch up I'll ever give...

The last couple of months have absolutely flown by! Once we hit Christmas season at the end of November - it is essentially all over until the end of Jan!!!

Before Christmas Deb and Mark came over for a holiday (mainly because of the new addition to the Webb family, but I'll get to that...) We headed up to Edinburgh for Doug and Serena's wedding at it was fantastic!!! Our first English wedding (oh and it is pretty much the same as kiwi ones except a lot colder!) hehehe

The wedding was brilliant, Hopetoun House, the venue was perfect and Serena just looked amazing! They had a great band who did a bunch of folk dances and kept everyone on their feet all night long which was awesome. Grannie and Grampie looked after Jessica and Cooper while we partied it up and it was great having a baby free night with not a care in the world!

After the wedding Matt battled the snow and lack of trains to make it back to London in 12 hours!!! While the rest of stayed in Edinburgh to enjoy our break.

We did the castle and Mary Kings close and wandered through the Christmas Market in Princes St Gardens but mostly we tried to keep indoors - it was sooooooo cold!!! As beautiful as Edinburgh is in summer, it is like something out of a fair tale in winter all covered in snow!

After just a couple of days back at work, we headed down to Martock for Christmas with Tania, Nick and the Bump - it was a nice relaxing break, walks in the country and the snow was just awesome!

Watching Jessica on her first ever Christmas is a sight I'll never forget - it took her a while to understand that there were presents inside the paper - especially because the paper was so much fun! In fact - the idea finally sunk in on her birthday!

When Jessica's birthday came round, we decided last minute that we had to do something even though she wouldn't remember it, so we decorated the living room, got her a wee present and made fairy bread! Daniel from next door and Jessica ate their weight in fairy bread - everyone thought it was brilliant!

January has just been a blur as I'm sure it has for everyone, but we've had some fantastic nights out with friends, dinners and of course the joint party for the babies in the second class we joined - called the St George's lot! We took the kids to a soft play area and had food and balloons and everyone got exhausted and then slept while the mummies and daddies went to the pub!!!

And last but not least, our beautiful wee niece - Yasmin Poppy Victoria Webb - congrats Tan and Nick - she's gorgeous!!!

Now we are only a week away from our trip back to NZ and can't wait! It's only a flying one but we do hope we get to see most people while we are home - See you soon!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Alright - so we are utter crap at updating this but in our defence, time has just disappeared!!!

We haven't really been up to much lately, Matt and I have both been working hard and Jessica's been playing hard at nursery each day. We've really only been out a couple of times - to watch NZ kick England in the rugby and party at Al and Jenn's (seems to be a regular occurrence at the moment!)

We're busy getting ready for the Christmas season - work Xmas parties, nursery parties, a wedding and holiday in Edinburgh and a trip down to see Tania before she pops!

We're all doing well though, and generally enjoying life - hope you all are too.

Love to all

Matt, Helen and Jessica xxx

Wednesday, 08 September 2010

Location: Norfolk, UK

The Bank holiday weekend was awesome! After the success of camping through France, we decided to try out our first family camping trip in the UK. We headed to Norfolk on the East coast in the hope of finding some sun in what was destined to be a very very wet and windy long weekend.

Our camp site was in the Norfolk Broads just a short drive away from Great Yarmouth which was brilliant given that we'd planned to drive around the coast and explore the nearby villages but with the weather setting in we decided to stick to somewhere close and Great Yarmouth kept us occupied!

We explored GY city centre and pier, visited the Africa Alive zoo, the model village and the aquarium, all between sheltering from the rain.

The zoo was fantastic, not large which was perfect for Jess and the meerkats were brilliant at keeping her occupied for ages! They were very active and enjoyed running all over the place and putting on quite a display for us.

The model village was great, the displays are super and Jess slept the whole time, giving Matt and I time to enjoy an icecream, play a round of mini golf and then look through the village stopping of course for Matt to play with the remote control cars!

Given that Jess enjoyed the aquarium in Plymouth so much we thought another trip would be great and we were right - she loved it!

The camping itself was hilarious - Jess played in the tent while Matt and I put it up and the weather truly tested it well! We sheltered each evening opening the tent doors only to keep an eye on dinner cooking outside and occasionally run to the loo! The tent was perfect with a great indoor play area for Jess and big enough for our double bed and the travel cot.

All in all, a definitely must do again trip! (Sorry, no camping photos, for some reason we spent all our time playing instead of taking photos!)

Not much has happened since we've been back but it is off to visit Tania and Nick this weekend which we've all been looking forward to so hopefully more photos next week!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Well, we have settled into our new little routine well. Jessica is now at full time nursery and I am back at work full time because Jessica loved nursery too much and was bored at home with me!!! How sad is that!?!

Last weekend Teeni organised a girls day out which was fantastic! We went to a spa for the day and just relaxed! It was my first day ever without Jessica and Matt and Jessica's first entire day together - it sounds like they had a blast going for walks and bike shopping. But I used virtually the whole day sleeping!!!

And this week I went out with the antenatal girls on Wednesday night, out with Teeni and Stace for Katy's pub quiz on Thursday and then all three of us went to Al's birthday dinner on Saturday. Busy week!!! Saturday was great, we just had dinner at the Exhibit and then Jess and I headed home while Matt joined the others out drinking.

Matt arrived home at 3am but wasn't drunk!!! And how is that possible??? He had been at the hospital with Al because Al had thought it was a good idea to try and hang his curtains with his shoe laces whilst drunk and then put his fist through a picture frame slashing his hand!!! Poor Uncle Al!!! :(

On the plus side we managed to get photos off Jenn from Greenday and The Tour so there are more photos posted!

Enjoy! Love to all!

Sunday, 08 August 2010

Location: France

OK, so it took us longer than expected to be able to write this entry - but seriously, things have been hectic...

France was awesome - again!!!

Matt, Jessica and I decided we wanted to take our own car to transport the enormous amount of baby stuff that you need when you travel, so we drove down to Toulouse a couple of days early stopping only to eat, pee and sleep.

We met Al and Jenn at our hotel in Toulouse which was to be our last night of luxury before we begin camping. But of course everything didn't go according to plan - Al and Jenn's train broke down, and Matt forgot his insulin resulting in an emergency trip to the hospital to get supplies and I got a speeding ticket - oops! it wouldn't be a trip without some sort of action!

Our first couple of nights we spent in Bagneres de Luchon and it was great - the campsite was brilliant, complete with pool which was definitely needed with the wonderful sun! We set up camp early and headed to the supermarket to kit ourselves out for the Tour - what I mean is we had to buy extreme amounts of wine!!! :)

We then had one night in Argeles Gazost and and a couple of nights in Luz Saint Sauvuer where the weather turned decidedly nasty - two whole days of thunder and lightening resulting in us resorting to playing cards in Al and Jenn's tent in the evening! Despite the miserable weather, we still headed out to watch the race and were really lucky to get alright weather during the race!

Our last campsite was great, we had a huge pitch and were right beside the river in Bordeaux and close to the city. We had lovely weather again and enjoyed ourselves watching the race and hanging out around the campsite.

Bordeaux was great, Al managed to use his links and hook us up with a free tour around a Grand Cru vineyard including wine tasting which was awesome, we had a private tour and learnt more than we've ever learnt about wine before - definitely a highlight!

We are now serious professionals when it comes to camp cooking (well, Al is anyway!) , we had superb meals each night and the required croissants, baguettes and cheese throughout the day and of course we did our best to try and drink the towns dry as we went!

Now, the question that everybody asked - camping with a baby... Surprisingly, camping with Jessica was brilliant. She was pretty good at sitting and playing while we set up and packed up the campsite each day and went to bed well in the evenings leaving us all free to enjoy our wine tasting. And the camp grounds were better kitted out for babies than most hotels! They all had wonderful wee baby bathing rooms.

Our only surprise was Jessica doing a houdini and learning to climb out of her moses basket and/or tip it over - lesson to parents - don't try to keep your baby in a moses basket until 7 months - oops! On the very first night away in our hotel, we found Jessica half way across the room under the bed! And during camping often found her asleep with her moses basket tipped on its side!

We had a couple of developments while away as well, Jessica got her first tooth and decided to learn to crawl all in the same day!

Thanks to Al and Jenn for another awesome trip and here's looking forward to next year!!!

Since we've got back, we've been settling Jessica into her new nursery which she loves and I have started back at work - all go in Tooting!!!

Not much planned over the next couple of weeks, just settling into our new routine.

Hope you have all had a fantastic last month, we love and miss you all! xxx

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Hi ho hi ho, it's off to France we go! A decent update will follow when we return - love you all!!!

Friday, 02 July 2010

So the concert season is over! Well, it is for us anyway and thank goodness!!! As much as we have absolutely had the time of our lives at the concerts over the last few weeks - I feel seriously old!

Bon Jovi was just superb! Greenday was brilliant and Pearl Jam was a great evening out. Thank you so much to our wonderful baby sitters whom without you guys we'd have been boring old fogies!

The last few weeks, well months really, have gone by in a bit of a blur - the weather being mostly fantastic has meant that we are spending our weekends outside enjoying the parks, various BBQs and nights out with friends.

We are hoping that the next few weelends will be fairly quiet in the lead up to the Tour de France trip - time to get things organised we think! What exactly do you take when camping with a baby?

Anyway, just wanted to write a brief blurb and let you all know that we are thinking of you and miss you all.

PS: Welcome to the recent little additions to the world and congratulations to the parents and of course to those now expecting! It seems to be the time for babies and we couldn't be more excited for all of you!

All our love, Matt, Helen and Jessica

More photos to come as soon as we have seen Teeni, Bex and Al and Jenn again! Sorry for the delay!


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Recent Messages

From Mary Esther
Thank you for sharing your photos! It is just wonderful to see your faces again. Jessica is just adorable. You need to come back to visit before Mum & Mark pack up and leave N.M. Would Love to see you all.
Response: No big travels until we move home now, sorry - would absolutely love to but baby's are blinkin expensive :) Wouldn't have it any other way though :) Hope all is well with you?
From Charlie
Finally! and Mum has been through and downloaded nearly every photo of all of you. We think Jess is a living doll and cousin Callum is going to break all the girls hearts he is such a handsome guy!
Response: Sorry - there are a lot of photos to go through still!!! Lots more to come - Normandy, play dates, outings, visit to Tan and Nicks - so many photos!
From Bex
Yay for the NZ pics! Can see just how many spots Jess had with chicken pox!
Response: Yep - you can see them in these photos but not in the ones Sarah did - she hid them all!!! She's fantastic!!!
From Charlie
Well Guys, Mum keeps checking for updates...
Response: Haven't written anything in a really long time but here are some photos finally!
From Michele
Hi, it was great seeing you all today. Jessica is a beautiful doll. I have just been through looking at your photo's. Great. Will keep following your adventures/life.
Take carexxx
Response: Thanks! It was great seeing you and meeting you! Hope you managed to get the finger prints off everything! Take care, will definitely stop by next time we are back in NZ!
From Mum & Dad
Havent checked your site in ages, skyping seems to fill the gap, but have seen lots of photos and caught up on the things you have been up to, which we didnt know about, absolutley lovely! Spoke to Cousin Val in Oz today, and she is going to look in to see wot youve been up to and some pics of Jess too. They were cut off by the terrible floods in Queensland for a time, but are out and about again now. We are counting down till you guys get here, absolutely cant wait! Loved the Pics from Edinburgh, and looks like the Grandies from the US had a great time with you all. Hope Tania & family are all Good, please give them our very Best Wishes.
Love Mum n Dad
From Dave and Gill
Hi there. This is great being able to log in and see what you've been up to! Glad you are making the most of your time over there. Tell Matt I might have to tag along for his next Tour De France .... I didn't see him on a bike though? Take care. Dave
Response: Haha I bet Matt would welcome anyone keen on cycling to go with us! It is a great trip and such community between the cyclists and spectators - well worth it!

Hope you guys are all well? Make sure you let us know if you are over this way.
From karla
Hey guys, haven't checked in for a wee bit so thought I'd pop by to catch up on Londin life. Jessica is getting so big, she's just beautiful!! We're all grand over here.....freezing cold and terribly wet bith otherwise grand. Hope you guys are well. lots of love us xx
Response: Hey chickie, glad you still look at the site - hard to know where to post photos - everyone is on different networking sites!
Glad things are going well, miss you guys heaps, keep warm, summer is just over the hill (very jealous! ours is sooo over!)
Take care, talk soon xxx
From Meeeeee
Heya sis, I love the new shots of Jess - little hint for next time - baby does not go in washing machine daddy!!!! hehehe. She's growing up so fast and i'm missing it down her in lil ol' nz. Miss you all heaps. Lotz of luv XOXO. Chris
Response: Well save yer pennies and come on over!!!
From jen, james and olive
i thought matt was joking about the shoelaces incident...too funny!!
Response: Yeah - he's officially a nutter! By the way - you know how I said your brain cells never return... well, your son's name is Oliver!
From Auntie Fenella
Jess is looking so cute and soooo big!!! It's great to see her big smile and sitting up on her own.
She definitely looks like both of you still which is really cool.
Her big cousin Callum thinks its cool that she can do so many things now and that she is eating proper food.

All our love
Response: Aaawwww thanks Fenella! It is hard to imagine that she was ever so small! I so wish we were there or you guys were here so Callum and Jess could spend time together - they were just too adorable!!! Tell Callum Jessica is even eating shoes! hehehehe caught her in Matt's wardrobe this morning with one of Matt's shoes hanging out of her mouth!!!

Love to all and big kisses to Callum!
From Mary Esther
Thank you for the wonderful update! Little Jessica is quite the traveler! She is so cute and you all look great.
Response: Awww thank Mary Esther. Jess will have more stamps in her passport during the first year of her life than I did by the time I was 20!
From Charlie
She is absolutely Grannies delight! Some really nice photos there of you Helen with Jessica and also the family pics are great. Nice ones of you Matt too. Love to you all. xxx
Response: Thanks Grannie, let us know when you are heading home and we'll send the disk.
From M.E.
Have a great visit in NZ with family & friends. Already taking girls trips with Jessica what fun.
Response: Thanks - I'm just trying to get her used to travelling, we already have a number of trips planned for this year - this child will have more stamps in her passport before she's 1 than I had by the time I was 20!!!
From M.E.
Happy to see photos!
Did you know Stefanie's middle name is Louise? Friends wanted to call her WHEEZY.
Jessica is beautiful congratulations!
Response: Thanks Mary Esther - we are very proud! We did send you the email but it bounced back? Sorry!
From M.E.
AWWW she is just adorable! Congratulations to all three of you! You have just begun your journey! How big was she and how much did she weigh she looks TINY!
Response: She was very tiny! 6lbs 4oz - a good weight and putting it on well too!
From uncle rob and aunty
just wanting to know what is going

on we havent heard from heath. nude nut. wether they arrived saftey or not well you can see i am not very good the computer so merry xmas and a happy new year and waiting on the news to arrive lots lots love uncle rob @ aunty jill
Response: Hey guys! Great to hear from you. Mum and Dad arrived safe and sound - Jude has Mum off shopping at Harrods in the boxing day sales and Matt has Dad down at the pub watching footy! Was fantastic to have them there for Christmas. All quiet on the baby front here - will certainly let you know when the lil' one arrives!
From M.E. Grider
Have a wonderful Christmas and Blessed New Year!
Can't wait to hear about the arrival of the baby.
The Grider family
Response: Thanks Mary Esther - You too! There will be announcements in the local paper I am sure when this baby finally arrives - due tomorrow but could be a couple of weeks away still...
Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas, I'm sure Deb and Mark will visit often! Take care, Matt and Helen
From Glenn P.J. Croad
Just leaving a message cus of me surname :-D
Response: Normally I'd delete weird messages - but this one just gave me a giggle! There are some interesting people out there! Hi Glenn!
From Mary Esther
Sooo happy for the update!
We will be thinking of you.
Our prayers will be with you for a safe delivery and healthy little girl.
Love you all, ME
Response: Thanks Mary Esther!!!
From M.E.
How much longer until IDA CROAD appears?
Response: Hehehe she has so many names already! She is only 3 weeks away, 21 days and counting...
From M.E. Grider
Oh my gosh the photos are beautiful. Can't wait to see what our little girl looks like.
Response: Why thank you! And our little girl will be gorgeous of course!!! :) With Matt's cheeky eyes I am sure!
From Katy
Hey guys, love the bump pic chick!! You guys must be really excited!!!
Hope all is going well. It def sounds liek you are enjoying yourselves. All is well here, there is no place like home!!! Hope to hear from you soon, Love to you both!! Katy xoxo
Response: Hey dude, good to hear from you! Yep, we are super excited - can't wait. All going very well, glad things are going well for you guys - Say hi to NZ for us :)
From M.E. Grider
Hey, do you all have any names picked out yet for our baby girl?
Response: Yep - but our lips are sealed!
From Mary Esther
Happy to hear all is well!
That little one will be here before you know it.
Response: Yep - it's certainly coming up fast! Can't wait!