I hope you didn't miss me too much while I was off for half-term. Chris Longhurst, the lovely news editor of this paper, filled in for me and when I read his column describing me as a mum extraordinaire, I had to laugh.
Arriving at the airport on our way home after a fantastic and relaxing extended family holiday with all the grandparents, I felt extraordinarily stupid when I realised we'd lost Alex's passport! Despite checking that we had everything before packing up and leaving home, it wasn't until I tried to check us all in that I realised I was one passport short.
I had visions of us having to cancel flights, go to the embassy, get birth certificates faxed over etc. You will find this hard to believe but Alex sailed through US and UK immigration with nothing more than a little scrap of paper with a three-digit reference number scrawled on it. All it took was a quick call to Terminal 5 immigration and we were on our way.
To say I was surprised would be an understatement - you hear so many sad stories about child trafficking and I fully expected us (and Alex) to be questioned. Although I was glad to get home with no problems, it is very worrying that it is so easy to pass between borders in this way.
Terminal 5 was an experience too - the building is stunning but that and the great staff are the only positive things going for it at the moment. On landing, we had a good 15-minute bumpy coach journey from leaving the plane to get to Terminal 5, and the queues in immigration and to get your luggage were massive. There was neither a seat nor a dustbin in the luggage hall either.
Another extraordinarily silly thing I managed to do was leave out a phone number in the latest issue of Sunshine. I've come back from holiday to phone messages and emails from interested Hillingdon mums who saw the little Santa for Hire notice I put in the magazine, so I thought ought to share the details with Gazette readers.
Local father, grandfather and very experienced registered childminder, Dave Chinery, is offering his Santa service to toddler groups, schools and the like in the lead-up to Christmas once again. Dave is fully CRB checked and comes with all his own kit - all you need to supply are the gifts.
You wouldn't believe how hard it can be to convince someone to dress up as Santa so this is a great solution!
You can call Dave on 020 8573 4687 or 07702 455 777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.