j.e.s.s.I.c.a. is for the London Eye

So this year is our 5th year of trips without being a 5. Five years of missed experiences and adventures. That said, as is always the case, Jess is always with us in spirit, and never more so that on our name spelling trips.

’I’ this year was a tricky one….. Iceland, Ireland? Far too straight forward; far too non Jess! So in true mischief making style, this year was about the London ‘Eye’. Seeing the bright lights and buzz of London was something Jess never got to experience, so it felt fitting for her to ride up high and see it all in one go from above.

As we steadily soared into the sky, we spotted plenty of famous landmarks, as well as a plethora of swanky apartments where she would have undoubtedly one day wanted to stay. We checked the flag at Buckingham palace to see if the King was in, tried to spot the 02 where we had been only the day before, tried to count the red buses and boats. It felt very much like the Where’s Wally books that Jess loved so much! It wasn’t lost on me that the trip round was over far too quickly; much the same as Jess’ time with us. And as we stepped off the wheel, Big Ben bonged 12 times – she’d have loved that; I can imagine Jess would have felt cheated by anything less! PM began (post mischief as well as the afternoon) and we wandered off past Westminster, Downing Street, Pall Mall and in search of food. Mischief making, after all, always was hungry work!

j.e.s.S.i.c.a is for Espanya (a second time)!

This year was our fourth year of holidays without Jess. Fourth – I can barely believe it. To honour this year’s spelling tradition, we decided the best way would be to repeat the phenomenal success of last year’s trip…. It was a double S in JESS after all! 😂

So back in Barcelona, we enjoyed all of our cosmopolitan faves from last year, together with a few new adventures too. The Barca B football match was perhaps a new highlight for all of the family, where we celebrated victory in our best Spanish with the locals. Jess would obviously have wanted a sporting shirt for the occasion (as became the tradition on our very first holiday as a family of 5), so we enjoyed choosing these with the boys too. But just to add balance, we also enjoyed a phenomenal trip up the mountains to Montserrat, where we reflected and remembered the fragility of life…. (And the Spanish mountain roads – not that that would have scared the fearless Jess!). In between, we loved all that life had to offer; the climate, the food, the environment and the company. And whilst the lack of Jess is still incredibly palpable, I hope we’re doing justice to her memory and all she would have loved to do. Her footprints never managed to make their mark on Barcelona, but her memories and spirit were with us all the way. ❤️

j.e. S. s.i.c.a. is for Espanya!

So this year is our third year of holidays without Jess. To honour the uniquely created name spelling tradition, we find ourselves in the beautiful Spain, enjoying all that Barcelona has to offer. Spain was the last holiday I had with Jess, so the run up to the trip was full of mixed feelings.

I think Barcelona offers plenty that Jess would have enjoyed. From the cosmopolitan vibe, to the glorious weather, delicious food, and a roof top pool with panoramic views that seem to stretch forever. Heaven! And being a mini me, she definitely would have wanted to practice the odd Spanish phrase as she enjoyed it all! So we’ve enjoyed them all to the max (for Jess as well as us). 😀

J.E.S.S.I.C.A. E is For……

So we’re just back from our second family holiday without Jess. Following the J.E.S.S.I.C.A. new holiday tradition meant we were destined for somewhere beginning with E…… easier said than done with COVID restrictions still in full force. Not ones to be beaten, we decided to think a little creatively and settle on ‘eeeeek…let’s go back to the very place where Jess had her last holiday .. and relax in an equisite apartment, exceptionally near the beach!’ And whilst the holiday made me conquer a fair few firsts (seeing places we’ve not seen since Jess was with us in person), we remembered lots of happy Jess memories too; digging holes, pushing boats, playing on the beach, eating well and buying football shirts to name but a few, whilst making a few more she would have loved…….. not least eeeeeeek there’s a massive boat following us! Of course we’ll always miss Jess and holidays will never be quite the same again; after all we’re a 5 not a 4 and an honoury bear….but Jess was very much with us in spirit and I’m fairly sure Jess would have loved the adventure of it all.😄

J.E.S.S.I.C.A. J is for Jurassic Coast!

This week has been another first and another hurdle for us; our first family holiday since Jess passed away. It’s fair to say it’s not easy making new memories without Jess, so we chose to very much keep her memory present with us all the time and visit a part of Dorset not too far from Jess’ last holiday. In an impressive motor home that became our home on wheels for the week, we’ve loved exploring the stunning coastline and beaches of the Jurassic coast, with an honorary Team Jess mascot with us (AKA one of Jess’ favourite teddies). No substitution for the bundle of fun that would have been Jess with us of course, although definitely easier to keep still to take a photograph of! I think being adventurous herself, Jess would have liked that we tried to take her with us to explore some of Dorset’s marvellous natural wonders, especially the adventure of Portland Bill and old Harry’s rocks. And she definitely would have liked the quirkiness of a motor home and having to climb into a bed above a steering wheel! So whilst we missed Jess dearly, it’s fair to say we enjoyed the holiday in Jess style. Looking forward to next year’s ‘E’ trip.