May has arrived, and brought Spring with it. I am so happy to have sunshine and blue skies back in my life! My new house is across the street from a church, which has beautiful trees in the churchyard, and out the back of my house just beyond my garden is another one. In just a week it’s gone from barely green to bright and lovely. No matter where I am in the house, if I look out the window there’s a tree. And we all know I love trees 🙂

I can’t believe I’ve only been in my little house for a week. It has felt like home since day one. This weekend my Mum has been to visit, since it’s a long Bank Holiday weekend. We’ve been very busy – we went shopping, and to an interactive exhibition by the Philharmonic Orchestra at my University, we went out for tea and pastries, and tea and cake, and dinner with my brother and his girlfriend, we read books, we went to church and to the garden centre, and to Dunelm Mill where we bought a rug and curtain for the house, and then to lots of shops to buy plants for the garden – we did all sorts! Lots of little adventures that mean nothing to most people but oh-so-much to me.

I am so tired now…Mum left a few hours ago to drive back to Plymouth and I have just crashed out on the sofa.

It was so lovely to have her here. I love spending time 1-1 with my mum. Yesterday and this morning we cleared my garden and planted things. We pulled down so much Ivy that 2 bricks came out of the dividing wall and I got a little scared. I mean, I like my neighbours (a couple I know from church) but I don’t really want to share a garden…or lose my security deposit. So we left some of the Ivy there and just tidied up around it.

Tonight I am going to see Olympus Has Fallen with a bunch of people from church. There is a cinema about half an hour away called the Carlton, and it is the most delightfully quaint cinema I have ever been in. It reminds me of the very old Odeon that used to be in Plymouth City Centre. My dad would take us there to watch Disney movies and other kids films. We saw Mighty Joe Young there, and it was the first film to make me cry.

The best thing about the Carlton is that it’s only £2.50 on a weeknight! It’s £3.50 on weekends and for an extra £1 any day you can upgrade to a “lounge seat” (not that I ever have) and even though the popcorn and sweets are quite overpriced, even when I went to see Les Mis and paid the online booking fee, and bought popcorn and minstrels, I still spent less than £10. You can barely get change from a £10 note when you go to see a film at Ashford Cineworld, or Canterbury Odeon, or Westwood Vue. The Carlton has so much more in terms of character too. It’s in a very little seaside town and only has three screens, with the max seating probably being 300 people. Teeny tiny, but sweet and wonderful. I’m looking forward to it.

In the meantime, would you like to see photos of my house? Of course you would, because it’s very exciting. Except, I’m sorry – because you can’t. For some reason my laptop will not let me upload any pictures from my phone. I could upload to a new post if I used my phone but it takes so much longer to blog from a smartphone.

Oh heavens. First world problems or what.

I feel like I need a nap. I certainly need to change the load in the washing machine (it stopped 1/2 hour ago) Doing nothing for a few hours is just what I need after a very busy and full weekend of wonderful nice things with my mumma. Hooray for May.


ps. Pictures as soon as I can!

Flying away

Today I’m leaving to go back home to the UK. In total I’m travelling for about 28 hours…on three planes.

Flight one: Portland to Phoenix, arriving at 10.30pm
Flight two: Phoenix to Charlotte, leaving at 630am (yes I will be in Phoenix airport overnight) arriving at 130pm
Flight three: Charlotte to London, leaving at 630pm and arriving at 620am on SATURDAY morning.

I am going to be so tired and jetlagged and its worse because I just don’t want to leave. I feel like it takes me a week to settle in and then the next week goes too quickly 😦 this is the hardest it has been to leave. It makes me so sad to think about not hearing the kids when I wake up in the morning, not having late night talks with Rachel…it all just makes me super sad and miserable.

I know I have people who love me back home in Canterbury and when I’m there it will be great but for now, I’m just sad to leave. Sad.


Spring time in Salem

Day 2 of my American trip…it is 53ºF today and the sun is SHINING! Yesterday we went to the grocery store and I didn’t even need a jacket, and this morning we spent a few hours at Riverfront park, playing in the sunshine. It’s so warm…hard to believe that the UK has snow forecast for next week. Off I go to enjoy the sun some more…Elijah and Hope are super into basketball right now and we’re doing lots of practice in the driveway. I suck but they don’t seem to mind!!

Oh lovely day

Today has been a good day 🙂

It felt like a good day from the minute I woke up, and it really hasn’t disappointed!

I had a little lie-in, then got up for church and for the first time in about two weeks I didn’t have mad panics trying to work out what to wear [I’m not usually that girl but recently none of my clothes have felt right and it takes a proper old drama and tizzy to find any outfit that I’m happy with] and just wore jeans and a top that I felt comfy in. I even felt like my hair looked good – it’s been difficult these past weeks because I’m trying to grow it longer for this but it’s at that awkward place where it doesn’t want to do anything and I end up shoving it in a ponytail or bun – Not so today, I left it down and felt good about it!

I read my Bible whilst eating my breakfast, and I’m at that bit in Numbers where the donkey talks so that’s always a treat! Makes me giggle to imagine it.

After breakfast it was off to church, where I chatted to some lovely folks whilst drinking tea out of my favourite green mug (I have a little contest with a guy from church to see who gets the green mug each week – this week he had left it for me! How sweet) It really is the best mug.

I was serving in creche for the 9am service, and it was the most chilled out time we’ve ever had – 9 little ones between 3 helpers, and the cutest little kiddos. Admittedly there was a LOT of snotty-nose wiping and at one point, one of the other ladies’ had to physically hold my child’s head so I could wipe the gunk off his face…but other than that, we played and we sang and we cuddled and it was just joyous!

Because of serving in the first service, and because I wasn’t at church last week, I decided to stay for the 11 am service to hear the preach. And yay, for getting to worship at both services. It was a great service, a guy called Geoff preached about how we can evangelise to people by just telling them our own testimonies. Very encouraging and I love his preaching style.

After church I meandered around the supermarket (forgetting one of the only things I actually needed, but coming home with a melon…just because) and went to a discount store to buy fairy lights for Thursday’s shopping evening…and then I came home and watched some of the OC whilst I had lunch.

Anyone else remember how good the first season of the OC was? I simply cannot believe that it was on about a decade ago! It makes me feel so grown-up [old] when I think that I was in my early teens when I watched it. But it was oh-so-good, and just hearing the theme tune makes you want to live in Californiaaaaaaaaa

So yeah, lunch and the OC – falling in love with Seth again, and wishing that silly Anna away because oh-my-gosh-he-is-just-meant-for-Summer-even-though-she-doesn’t-like-him-right-now-she-will-soon. Yay for the teenage romance drama!

And then, in the middle of the Ryan-Marissa angst, I had a sudden burst of Need-to-craft-itis and then proceeded to absolutely cover my living room with floor, pins, tape measures, ribbons, cardboard templates and all other kinds of haberdashery paraphenalia [with my Christmas songs in the background, of course] for about 5 hours and I made some very lovely stockings and tree decorations.

In the midst of my sewing I realised it was dinner-time so I put food in the oven…but then got so absorbed in the sewing that I completely forgot about my dinner and it was only when I looked up and the flat was basically a cloud that I realised it had been in there about an hour too long.

Whoops. Mishap of the day. It was all fine though, I opened all the windows and threw away the burned food and started over – making sure I kept an eye on it. Dinner Mark 2 was actually quite tasty!

Once I was done with the sewing and the flat looked as if a bomb made of fabric & ribbon had exploded…I had a tidy up! And watched some TV (Strictly results…I’m sad Victoria went, but she just isn’t as good as the rest of the celebs and it was her turn. I hope Louis goes next week)

And then, need-to-craft-itis hit me again. So I’ve spent the last two hours in my kitchen messing around with melted chocolate. Not gonna tell you what for (in case it doesn’t work out) but right now it all looks so good. And all this to a lovely soundtrack from Colbie Callait, Lady Antebellum, Agnes Obel and Madeline Peroux – courtesy of Spotify.

I’m just hoping all my crafty stuff sells on Thursday because otherwise I will have a bunch of stuff that I have no idea what to do with! But…that’s a worry for another day!


We went to the Zoo!

My mum and sister drove up to Canterbury yesterday, and are visiting until Friday. Since I was only able to get yesterday and today off of work, we have made the most of our time together.

Yesterday after Mum and Abigail arrived at around 2.30, Abigail stayed at my brother’s house with him and his girlfriend while Mum and I walked around Canterbury. I showed her Westgate Gardens and we walked along the river to the High Street and bought ice-cream. We also stopped off at  a gorgeous little cafe called Cafe St Pierre and bought some pastries. All their pastries are delivered from France early each morning, and at around 4pm they reduce lots of prices so they don’t have to throw them away – we bought a fruit tartelette, two slices of apple tart, an apricot-custard lattice and a pain au raisin, for 90p each! Bargain.

We also stopped at the new Marlowe Theatre and looked at all the programmes of the shows that I want to see. If I go and see everything, even purchasing the cheapest seats, it will cost me £187. I’m not sure if I can justify that expense…although the shows are spread out over several months (til next July in fact).

After our wander around we headed back to my brother’s house and had dinner with him and his girlfriend. She made a yummy spag bol with mixed fruit and our fruit pastries for dessert. We watched Tangled and Monsters Inc, then Mum and I walked back to my house, had a cup of tea and went to bed.

This morning I had a lie-in, then my brother and sister walked over to my house and the four of us went to Howlett’s Zoo near Canterbury. I’ve never been there before, despite living in Canterbury for almost 5 years. I never knew it was such an amazing place – I was imagining a tiny little farm type place, but they have had a great breeding programme for so many different animals – gorillas, elephants etc, there was so much to see!

So we did the zoo, and cooed and ahhed over the babies animals, then I dropped my brother and sister to my brother’s house (she is staying with him and Mum is staying with me) and Mum and I have been busy since – we went and picked blackberries from the hedges near the river, and Mum felt like doing some crafting so is half-way through making a very cute stuffed dog! Dinner is in the oven and we’re now sat down waiting for Downton Abbey to start.

After we’ve had dinner I’m going to make jam! Yay for ticking off two things from my Bucket List 🙂

Phew! That’s a lot to cram into just 30 or so hours!

I’m bummed that I have to work tomorrow, but Mum and Abigail will find stuff to occupy themselves and we’re going to plan something for the evening, before they leave on Friday morning. A whistle-stop tour, but lots of fun and family time which I’m very grateful for.



Catch up…

Seems I took a little blogging break for a while. Apologies. In my defense, I was a poorly little chicken and whilst I’m sure hearing about all my ills would have been greatly entertaining for some, the thought of spending more than 5 minutes at a time staring at a bright computer screen was enough to send me back to bed!

I’m almost better now, though. I don’t really know what happened, or how a simple cold for any normal person ends up knocking me out for over a week but oh well.

What have I been up to, I hear you ask?! Not a great deal, to be truthful. Mostly work, and being ill!

It was Jessica’s 2nd birthday last Thursday, so I had a few days leave booked so I could go home for the party. Conveniently that coincided with my most poorly time, so I was able to be at home with my lovely mum who makes me cups of tea (which I’d always forget to drink) and gets up in the night when she hears me coughing to give me medicine 🙂 What a dear.

Jessica can say my name now, which fills me with a ridiculous amount of joy! She was very cute at her party and I took her out for the morning the day after (we went for lunch with Abigail and it was lots of fun) She had lots of presents but was more interested in the balloons!!



I came back home on Tuesday and was back at work on Wednesday, and so other than working I honestly haven’t done a great deal. Two of the girls I disciple came round for dinner on Friday night and we had a good catch up and some prayer and generally a lovely time.

Then yesterday, Nancie (one of the girls) and I went to the Marlowe Theatre to see Cirque Eloize which is a troupe of French circus type artists. They were amazing, but also a little bit weird in placed – one act was “hand to hand” where a guy and girl did loads of acrobatics stuff together and some of it was oddly sexual and Nancie and I thought it was just a little bit too much, and then there was a scarily flexible girl who did contortions and that was a bit gross really. She kind of delighted in getting the crowd to go “eugh” when she dislocated herself. She did do the fun twirly aero-acrobatics on the ribbons though, that was cool.

The best bit was when a group of them did the “trampo-wall” which was basically throwing themselves off the set wall and bouncing on a trampoline then flinging themselves up to stand/sit/lie on the wall again. It was a good show overally but next time I go to the Marlowe I shall get different seats as we couldn’t see the whole stage.

Yesterday turned out to be full of culture as Rosie and I and her dad went to see the Soweto Gospel Choir in the evening, though that was a lit of a letdown because although it was an amazing sound, the concert was in the Cathedral so literally only the first 10 rows could see anything! Everyone came out looking as miserable as they’d gone in and complaining that there’s no point going to see a Gospel Choir when you can’t see how joyful they are. Which is totally true.

It’s been a nice weekend really. I loved being at church again, though I managed to go to two services and not sit in for either preach (creche on the first service and chatting with a friend through the second). I’ll listen to it online tomorrow, I have quite a few to catch up on so I’m going to have a peaceful day at home (in between my physio session and attempting to give blood) and listen to them all.

Tonight I’m out to the pub for a few hours, then home to watch Downton Abbey 🙂

Today is one of those days when I really like my life



The Hens in Cambridge

This weekend I went to Cambridge/Bedford for my lovely friend Rachel’s Hen Party…and God provided such stunning weather for us! The hottest October day since 1985, we were covered in suncream and fanning ourselves all day. It was gorgeous.

The weekend started with a car journey, as all good weekends tend to do, and a bit of a car swap. Rosie B was meant to be driving us, but her power steering went a little bit special on the way to collect Rosie and I, so we piled into my Rosie’s car instead and headed up the motorway to a little village near Cambridge, called Granchester. It was soooo hot, none of us could believe the weather and the tea place we went to was just gorgeous. They were a little overwhelmed by the number of people there, I think, the carpark was full and people had to park along the verge and walk down (like us!)

We sat under a tree, on deckchairs, and had yummy scones and sandwiches and gave Rachel her Hen Presents. Her sister-in-law Jude made a completely beautiful sash for Ray to wear, which had “Rachel’s Hen Do’ on it in pretty applique, and a veil and a tutu. She looked very cute, especially with her straw hat on top of the veil!

Gemma, one of the bridesmaids, had organised the day and did such a wonderful job, everything was carefully planned and thought through – after tea and presents we got into our cars again and drove into Cambridge to go punting!! I’ve never been before and it was a lot of fun, I confirmed my own suspicions that I have zero upper body strength and possibly also no sense of direction/steering, but we all took a turn with the punting stick and it was hilarious! Also, it was very refreshing being on the river and having the breeze.

Whilst we were in Cambridge we did a wedding themed photo challenge, and the team I was in won!!! Some of the things we had to do were hilarious, and a little risque (!) but we got a lot of giggles from the people we asked to help us and it was such fun.

We then drove to Bedford (getting lost on the way, since the satnav couldn’t recognise the new roads) and eventually got to Rachel’s house to get ready to go out for the evening – we went to a great-smelling curry restaurant called Indiya, and had poppadoms and curry and it was all soooo good. After curry we went back to Rachel’s, and got into jammies and looked through the photos from the challenge (and my team were crowned victorious!!) and then put on Bride Wars and ate fondue and then pretty much all fell asleep. Poor Ray got a little bit poorly from all the heat, but she’s fine now. We all slept on the floor in her room and in the sitting room and then woke up this morning to have cake for breakfast, because that’s just what you do at Hen Weekends!

The drive back to Canterbury felt like it took ages, and it was just so hot in the car but you couldn’t really do anything about it. We got back at about 1.30pm, which wasn’t that long really. And now I am sat trying not to overheat or be sick…too much heat and sun have gone to my head I think!

Here are some of the photos:

"How to be a domestic goddess"


Jude, our expert punter


We played Punt Bingo as we went along the river, and one of the only things we didn’t see was someone falling off a punt. Rachel nearly did, a few times, but actually she did very well (despite screaming quite a lot at the beginning) as she floated around the other side of the dock.

The hens!


Le weekend…

I realised today that in some blogs I’ve written something along the lines of “more on that later”, but I’ve never actually given “more” on it.

That’s very rude of me. My apologies. A few days ago I said I’d write about my “long weekend”…so here it is. Along with photos, because I’m nice like that.

The long weekend

Friday – the wedding of Miss Lauren Patricia Stratten and Mr Benjamin Scott Alun Dyer. I was like a proud momma on Friday, watching them get married. Lauren and Ben were in my fresher cell last year (2009-2010) – they came to Uni as an engaged couple and Matt (co-cell leader) and I were both really impressed with their devotion to God and the way they graciously challenged their parents about getting married whilst they were still at Uni. Friday was the culmination of two years’ planning, and it was beautiful. I drove down to Bournemouth for the occasion, and it was lovely not only to see Lauren and Ben but also to catch up with some of the students that I haven’t seen since Mobilise in July.

Here are some of my favourite photos –


After the ceremony there was a drinks reception, and following that the six of us girls (plus Matt) went to a country pub for lunch. After that, the girls and I headed out to Melissa’s aunt and uncle’s house where we were staying, and the jammies went on for the afternoon – we watched Miss Congeniality and I may have had a teeny nap before we went to the evening reception which was really fun – they had a great DJ and usually I’m not much of a dancer (I hate clubbing etc) but he played all the ones that get you singing along and enjoying it. All in all it was a great day, and we got back to the house around 11.30 and got ready for bed pretty quick…we were all exhausted!

Saturday: I’d made plans to go and see the Bournemouth Air Show with my dad and stepmum, and brothers and sister. Dad and Michelle were visiting my aunt and family in Portsmouth, and had planned to see the Air Show because the Red Arrows were going to display and we are huge Red Arrows fans (I remember seeing them fly when I was about two, and being sat on my dad’s shoulders to watch). Getting into Bournemouth and parking was tricky but I managed it, and eventually met up with them and we headed to the beach, getting thee about ten minutes before the Red Arrows, which was the first event on the programme.

If you’ve seen the news at all this week, you’ll know that after the display (which was fantastic, and demonstrated some of their new moves) one of the pilots, Red 4, crashed in his plane and was killed. We found out about the crash before most people on the beach as my uncle saw it on the news and called us, but we didn’t find out he’d died until later. There were lots of tears when we found out – it’s surreal to think that someone you’ve just watched perform died literally moments afterwards.

Because of all of that, I decided to go back to Portsmouth, to my aunt’s, as they were having a barbecue for my brother’s birthday (which was the day before). I ended up having a lovely time, though I wasn’t in the happiest of moods, and also stayed overnight and had time with them on Sunday morning which was good. I hadn’t seen them (aunt and uncle and cousins) since Jessica’s birthday last year, so it was good to catch up. And of course, it’s always lovely to see Jessica!

Sunday: Jonathan came home with me; he’d been planning on getting the train but it was nice to have company on the journey back – it was incredibly hot and stuffy but we eventually got home around 2.30pm and I vegged and slept most of the day as I hadn’t slept particularly well on Saturday night and had a headache. It was so good to sleep in my own bed!

Monday: I enjoyed my first long weekend, as I now don’t work Mondays, so I was able to get up whenever I liked and to be honest I feel I wasted the day but I’m not dwelling on it as I had a busy weekend and I needed to relax and just do nothing much before going to work on Tuesday for my first “full week”.

Here are some photos from Saturday:

Jessica is being trained up as a Red Arrows fan...

What did you do with your weekend? This weekend my plans are: having my haircut (long overdue), going mulberry picking with friends, and going to see The First Grader at the Gulbenkian (also with friends). Looking forward to it already!