Standing in the corner of the hallway, my body, along with those of four others, is wedged into a small space behind the front door that had, until 10 minutes ago, been taken up by a table.
There’s a palpable excitement. Hearts beating overtime, shallow breaths, furtive glances, and five pairs of ears straining to hear the sound of footsteps in the corridor.
Finally the scraping of the key announces their arrival.
We hold our breath.
The door opens.
Last Friday, after months of organisation, our family managed to pull off a pretty spectacular surprise.
My Aunt and Uncle, Ro and Chris, believed that they were spending a relaxed weekend with my parents in Amsterdam. A chance to visit my Dad and have a short city break.
What they hadn’t bargained for was for their 3 children and 2 of their nieces to be there too.
Ro and Chris’ reactions when we jumped out were fantastic! They were in complete shock.
And the next couple of days turned into the happiest of weekends.
One that was full to the brim with love, laughter, and liquor!
And, as with all of our family gatherings, food played a big part!
The weekend provided the perfect excuse for me to check out a couple of new restaurants, and return to an old favourite.
Our meal at Jansz was standout and the Great Gatsby themed cocktails which we had at the Pulitzer Bar afterwards were simply incredible.
In between the eating and the healthy amount of shopping, we managed to fit in some cultural activities including a boat tour of Amsterdam’s waterways which was amazing.
Not only did our private boat look like something from a movie, but its Captain, Mark (no not my Dad, another Mark!) made sure to show us the parts of Amsterdam which the tourist routes miss.
As with anything that takes months of planning, the weekend passed by far too quickly.
Before we knew it we were on a plane back to Gatwick.
Luckily for us, the weekend in Amsterdam is just the beginning. The prologue if you will to what has been named Project Happiness - a Tennant-Ray holiday to southern Italy.
Which I have no doubt will be as happy and memorable as last weekend.
P.S Thank you to Phoebe Ray for the majority of the photos :)