It’s May…

 

Almost the end of May, to be exact. This month my little nephew turned one year old (and remains absolutely delicious and squishy and wonderful), my sister turns 23 (how is she so grown up), and I am coming to the end of an utterly exhausting month.

Fortunately, there is a Bank Holiday approaching and being the savvy Annual Leave taker that I am, I had the foresight to book the Tuesday and Wednesday off as well. Heather is off home for Half Term so I have Saturday to Wednesday completely free to do anything or nothing, and everything in between.

In my supervision last week, my line manager and I talked about how I always seem to fill my ‘time off’ with busy things. Case in point – the Easter weekend….

I took the Thursday off (before Good Friday) and travelled home on the train on the Wednesday after work. It has been many years since I got the train home to Devon and I have to say, I don’t really miss the travel into London, getting the tube to Paddington, and then the several hours hurtling through the countryside to Plymouth. However…. the technological developments over the last few years have been great and I actually spent most of the journey watching ’13 Reasons Why’ on my phone, thanks to Netflix and a great data package. 18 year old Sarah is very jealous of 28 (almost) year old Sarah!

So, I arrived into Plymouth very late on the Wednesday night (and promptly nearly broke my ankle with my suitcase so had a fetching bruise for a few days). Mum picked me up and I spent the weekend at hers… bed on the floor in the living room, so very little sleep and no chance of a lie-in!! Nice to be home though.

Mum and I spent Thursday looking after the little boy. (When I say ‘little boy’ I am usually referring to Ezra, although possibly I could be referring to our dog Toby who was the ‘little boy’ prior to the nephew’s arrival. It gets confusing now) I walked the dog in the morning and then Rebecca and Simeon brought Ezra over and went off for a date day while I got to enjoy a date day with my squish! Mum usually takes him to a Nursery Rhyme group at a local library on Thursdays so that’s what we did…so cute. Save the local library!!! Ezra seems to go there at least 3 times a week with each of his grandmothers and sometimes my sister takes him too! Then we went for an afternoon tea (Ezra likes scones, who’d have guessed) and completely wore ourselves out looking at ducks.

Friday (Good Friday) we all went to a place called Antony House in Cornwall. It’s a National Trust property with lovely gardens and grounds, which were used for the filming of the newest version of Alice in Wonderland a few years ago. We had a long walk round the gardens and looked at all the flowers etc, had a picnic, and then looked around the house. Again, exhausting.

Saturday – I went down to Cornwall again to spend the day with my little sister Jessica and my stepmum. We all went to Tintagel (a little village with an old ruined castle, reportedly where King Arthur was conceived…or so the 7 year old told me) We had fish and chips, explored the beach and the caves, had a cup of tea in the café and just generally enjoyed time together. After we went back to their caravan in this sweet little caravan park and played word games until I had to go home…. and then I got lost in deepest darkest Cornwall without a satnav and it took several hours to get home. (I was driving Mum’s car since I got the train on Wednesday)

Sunday, Easter Sunday, we had a roast dinner at Rebecca and Simeon’s (which Mum cooked) and I spent the day reading in the sunshine. It was lovely. Mum did a little Easter egg hunt for Ezra… plastic eggs with dinosaur toys in… he squealed a lot which I think meant he liked it!

Monday…. urgh, Monday. Mum and I (and a million others) drove from Plymouth up country. It took us nearly 10 hours to get from Plymouth to Canterbury. Fortunately we were able to share the driving so that helped a lot. We got home early evening and crashed out a bit.

Tuesday, we went to London!!!! We drove to my work to collect my car, since I was going to be driving into London itself and wanted my familiar car. We did London driving!! Across Westminster Bridge, past Tower of London, near the Houses of Parliament. I was very impressed with myself but internally very nervous about it! The reason for our trip was to have Afternoon Tea at a hotel near Kensington (Mothers’ Day treat) and then go to the Classic FM Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Both were lovely, and we walked round Kensington Gardens too, in the sunshine. I think this could be an annual occurrence but only if we’re on public transport next time.

Wednesday, I had another day off work but we were both shattered so we had a restful morning at home and then met up with my brother and sister-in-law for lunch in Canterbury. It was lovely to spend time with them as well, it’s always good to see them when Mum comes up.

And that was my ‘weekend off’. Back to work on the Thursday, Mum drove back to Plymouth and ‘life’ started again.

Not exactly restful. So, this Bank Holiday weekend… have I learned my lesson and not booked anything?! (Have I heck.)

Well, sort of, actually. On Saturday I am having breakfast at a local café with Jonnie and Kate, who are visiting from Bradford, then I have choir rehearsal followed by afternoon tea later. Sunday I have church. That’s it though. No obligations on Sunday afternoon, Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.

It will be nice to rest and recover following a hectic and intense month of May! And maybe one day I’ll finally find the balance between business and restfulness…

-x-

Spring into Summer… hello again

I love summer. I love early sunrises, late sunsets, sunshine in general. Of course, since I live in England it’s actually hit and miss whether you get the sunshine but it’s completely appreciated and adored when we do. (Last week we had a 27 degree bright & sunny afternoon, followed by torrential rain and flash floods a few days later. Variety is the spice of life)

WordPress has reminded me (prompted me, elbowed me in the ribs…nudge nudge) that I have only posted about 7 times in the last year. That is shocking. Sorry, if you happen to actually read my ramblings and have anything like a vague passing interest. I wish I could say it’s because life is so exciting I have no time, but that would be a lie. Life can be exciting, but I certainly could make more time for this little blog of mine. Otherwise what’s the point? And, as said many times before, I actually do like writing.

So, here’s a little update for you. Spring…into Summer… told in photos, since I am addicted to Instagram. [Current favourites include #embossing videos, #cakedecorating videos, sarcastic memes and pictures of dogs)

March

You already know from my last post that I did the mad Devon-dash (that’s what I’m calling it from now on, I foresee it happening a lot on my future now that a wee person has arrived, more on that later…)

But March also had some lovely family time with the non-pregnant siblings. We went to Tuscany on the 26th, the first family holiday we’ve had in five years and the first time Abigail has been abroad in 11 years. Poor girl. One day she can be a jetsetter like me 🙂 I had to drive in Tuscany, for some ridiculous reason, but managed not to kill my entire family plus Abigail’s friend Melissa who came with us. So that was good.

We stayed in a villa I found on Air BnB and the only drawback was that the pool wasn’t open yet. It was gorgeous and in the most beautiful, peaceful surroundings. So relaxing to just hang out at home and rest, colour, crochet, sleep, read…do jigsaws… we loved it.

We had day trips to Florence and Pisa, getting the train from our nearest town into the city centres – way better than the prospect of driving! Abigail and I were the only ones brave enough to climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa, an experience I certainly will never repeat. You can’t tell from the photo but I’m clinging to her for dear life and trying not to throw up.

Also, we walked MILES. With frequent stops for ice-cream, but MILES.

April

dreams.jpg

I did some dreaming in April, and found all these pretty quotes and images online which made up a sweet phone background for a while. It’s nice to not always have your feet on the ground, right?

Not much happened in April…

I started watching the TV show “Full House”12987980_10157034838650122_846505130_n.jpg

Super exciting, I know. I actually only started because I watched the first episode of “Fuller House” on Netflix and despite all the hype it made no sense to me because I hadn’t seen the original. Now I’m up to season 6… #bingewatching    It’s stupidly easy to watch and have on in the background. Not a lot of concentration is generally required, which is good.

 

Also in April, this absolutely fabulous bruise occurred:

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There is a story behind this bruise. I’m not normally in the habit of displaying my injuries but this one was fairly epic…those pictures show the progression over a few days but it was still bruised 3 weeks later.

So, what happened was: I was hanging out with my friends Debbie and Aaron. You remember them, they have Emily and Eli. Well, Aaron has a bakery business now and bakes AMAZING things from their humble little kitchen. Check him out at http://www.beardybaker.net ! (shameless plug)

Anyway. On this day we were all in the kitchen and the children were playing… brownies were cooling on the top of the movable island that they have in the kitchen. Somehow one of the children managed to knock the island and the brownies – still hot from the oven – toppled over, almost landing on top of Eli’s head! I say ALMOST eecause thanks to us three quick reacting adults we managed to get the children out of the way and the brownie became affectionately known as ‘floor brownie’ (still good)

But unfortunately for this quick reacting adult, I had to slide off a wooden stool in order to get to the baby and in doing so did some kind of injury to my leg! Totally worth it to save small child/ren from molten brownie but OUCH

Moving on…. also in April I learned to make macarons, and tried my hand at painting furniture. I had a pine frame bed, and a pine desk – both of which had been given to me for free, and which I was growing to hate because they were different shades of pine! Cue paintbrush 🙂 I have since also painted four black dining chairs to match them to our dining table and they look great too. Having a white bed and desk has transformed my room and I had a lot of fun! #makedoandmend

Impressive, no? I couldn’t find a recipe to get the macaron filling the same as it is in the shops, but I was still so stupidly pleased with myself that I almost cried when I got them out of the oven!

May

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Just a fun photo of me 🙂 Actually I had a very random day in London this month. I was virtually order to attend a meeting, in Wembley, but when it came to it I turned up and they had cancelled the entire thing and not told me! Helpful. Since I’d blocked out my day to attend, and my work phone died, I ended up just mooching around London for a little while until my train home… hence the smoothie and sunnies.

Sometimes, these odd things happen in the social work life.

The second most exciting thing that happened in May, is this:

BYE HAIR!13227988_10157173626930122_2002220906_n.jpg

The boldest hair decision I’ve ever made! There was so much hair on the floor. The stylist was really excited, the lady behind me was freaking out… it was very exciting. It has taken a little while to adjust to it, particularly not putting it in a ponytail to go swimming. Every so often I catch sight of myself in a mirror and have to do a double take, but I’m loving people’s reactions (and compliments, won’t lie) It’s something I’ve thought about for years but never been brave enough and I finally decided, hey, it’s hair, it’ll grow back. There are way worse things that could happen.

But now, the most exciting thing that happened in May…….. Baby Ezra has arrived!

Baby! Sunday 22nd June, weighing 9lb 9oz. Isn’t he sweet? Jonathan and Alice and I did the Devon Dash on Friday 27th (Abigail’s birthday) and came back on Sunday… only a short trip to meet him but we had a good weekend, and lots of cuddles.

I officially now have seven babies in my life, with names beginning with E… it’s a good letter!

June….. will have to wait for another day, it’s only halfway through!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this little photo update of joy… see you soon

-x-

 

 

 

misdirected emotions

I am a great example of how to display an emotion completely separate from what I m actually feeling. I have written before that I can be an ostrich when it comes to emotions and feelings but I also have a knack for completely dwelling on something minor as a way to distract myself from what I’m really feeling.

Case in point: about 2 hours ago I said goodbye to my wonderful American friends. I just about held the tears back as the kids all got emotional and as they prayed for me and told me their favourite things about my visit. I felt so sad to be leaving that I wanted to tell Rachel to turn the car around and I would just stay forever!

(But of course I didn’t and I said goodbye at the bus stop with a huge knot in my tummy and a lump in my throat from trying so hard not to lose it)

So then I spent an hour on the bus trying not to cry, reading my Bible and praying and looking at pictures. By the time I got to the airport I still felt sad but I was thankful for my time with the Libbys.

Then I checked in and my bag was too heavy and I had to pay the excess fee and instead of being my usual practical self and rearranging items between my carry-ons to make my check-in lighter I just went ahead and paid the whole charge! Which left me kicking myself all through Security for not making a wise decision.

Of course, I got so frustrated with myself over it because I didn’t want to think about what I was missing with Rachel and the kids.

I really had to fight to let go of that frustration and not let it take away from the joyful time I’ve had. Seriously, I’ve just had 2 wonderful weeks with some of my favourite people and I’m going to dwell on an insignificant thing like paying a baggage charge?!

How could my heart and head be so ungrateful so suddenly. It honestly took a lot of prayer and thanking God for all blessings of the last two weeks to make me see that while yes, maybe I made a silly split second decision, but it was even sillier to let it spoil my heart.

In the end I was thanking God that he provided me with enough spending money in my purse that I could pay the charge in cash and still have enough for a Starbucks while I wait for my boarding time. He didn’t have to provide that, but He did, because He loves me.

One thing I am taking away from this experience is to always have a thankful heart even when you feel silly or frustrated with your situation, because there are too many blessings to count if you look for them.

The other thing I am taking away from this is to be more wware of what I am feeling and why. This has always been a thing for me, and I have to constantly examine myself: what am I feeling, why am I feeling that way? But now I also need to challenge myself to change my attitude if it is not right and focused on God.

Such deep thoughts whilst sat at Gate D11. I have another hour or so until my flight starts boarding so I think I will head around the concourse in search of that Starbucks!

-x-

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah

I had a number of potential blog posts to write today, but they all seem to have disappeared into the ether of my mind.

Isn’t it strange how thoughts can suddenly pop into your head…and then disappear before you get to act on them? Strange, and annoying.

Now, I have nothing to say of consequence. I have spent the weekend “getting stuff done” – returning library books, going to the gym, sorting out dollars for my trip, and petrol money for the 2 kind friends who are being lovely and driving me to/from the airport, buying some new clothes, doing lots *and lots* of laundry, tidying my room, hanging out with Rosie, hanging out with other friends, going to see a potential new flat (a no-go), church, and renewing my car breakdown cover.

Phew.

Yesterday I was so exhausted I was falling asleep by 7pm. But of course, I went to bed early and then woke up at 1am – and couldn’t get back to sleep for another hour!! Muchos irritating.

This evening I’ve spent a couple of hours sorting out all my clothes, and packing for my holiday. My big suitcase is all ready, and my carry-on is done apart from my wash bag. The only things I need now are: books, Bibles, and my handbag – with passport, tickets, money etc…and I need to book my Shuttle from the airport but that’s it!

I feel sleepy. Tomorrow I’m at work; starting my new 5-days-a-week position. I think I picked a bad time to up my days: the week before going on a holiday when I’m also looking for a new place to live and would benefit from an extra day to house-visit…but oh well; it will all be fine.

Off to watch Call The Midwife now; my Sunday evening relaxation. I often cry, but I think that’s part of its’ charm!

Have a good week!! My next blog post will probably come to you straight from Salem, Oregon 🙂

-x-

Home again…to a heatwave!

I don’t know what’s going on with the South East  – temperatures in the thirties and clear blue skies?! My car reached 33 degrees yesterday and driving with the windows down for ten minutes only brought it down to 30.5. I thought I was going to melt, and I also needed my asthma inhaler since apparently my lungs don’t like extreme heat.

I can’t believe it’s hotter here than it was when I was in Majorca! Our highest temperature there was 29, I think, but it was lovely there because when you got too hot you just jumped in the sea. I think my manager would be a bit annoyed if I took a stroll to Ramsgate harbour everytime I got a bit warm!

Actually my office is not too bad…it’s one of those buildings that cannot absorb heat so it’s great in the summer and awful in the winter. It was lovely to have the sun coming through the window and not actually get too hot.

Anyway, this is just a quick post to say that I’m back in the UK and will do a proper holiday update and Summer Bucket List update soon, since I’ve already managed about four of my aims!

Enjoy the sunshine and don’t forget the suncream!

-x-

Holidays are coming…

Oh boy, do I ever need a holiday!!

This time tomorrow I will be pootling down the motorway towards Plymouth for a weekend at home, and then on Sunday Mum and I are jetting off to Majorca for a week. I genuinely cannot wait!

This week has been exhausting, and I’m still recovering after giving blood on Monday. I think my iron was a little low because I was very woozy the whole day afterwards and have just felt wrung out since then. Of course, that could just be the fact that work has been insanely busy running around after foster carers trying to meet their unreasonable demands and cleaning up various messes that needn’t have been created in the first place.

A week in the sun will be just the ticket, I think 🙂 And I’ll get another few items ticked off the Bucket List. I’ve already made a good start – over the weekend I went to the garden centre and bought some veggies to grow – I now have a cute balcony garden with cherry tomatoes, ronda carrots, sweet banana peppers, garden peas and strawberries all growing merrily outside my window and making me smile.

My plants enjoy the rain, which is fortunate since we are having a lot of it. However average temperatures in Majorca are about 28-32 degrees so OH WELL England, I’m going to be off getting a tan!!

-x-

It’s summer!

In case you haven’t noticed, the summer is here!

We in Kent have been very fortunate with our weather – the last two weeks have been just glorious sunshine, with only one rainy day. It’s quite hard to fathom that other areas of the country are suffering with downpours and flooding while I’m driving with both windows down and applying suncream while I’m sat at traffic lights!

Anyway, all this lovely weather has got me thinking about my summer plans.

This is the first year of my life (that I can remember) that I’ve not had a proper “summer holiday” – in the way that for the past twenty years I’ve been in school (or University/Impact) and my academic years have ended in July, and not started again until September.

This year, I have officially joined the ranks of the full-time employed, and am faced with the (if I’m honest) slightly miserable concept of working throughout the whole summer and possibly missing the sunshine while it’s here.

Never fear though – because I have decided to make a Summer Bucket List.

My friend Esther visited a little while ago, and we watched this film. (It’s a bit sad, but at times uplifting)

I already have a (sort-of) Life Bucket List, but that’s all really long-term stuff like ‘own my own home’ and ‘travel across America’. I don’t want to feel like summer is passing me by so I have come up with…

So far I have 15 items, which I think are manageable.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • travel to a foreign country
  • eat s’mores
  • stay up late and Skype with my American friends
  • have a belated birthday picnic

I’m open to suggestions for additions to my list, and will publish it on Saturday!  Oh how I love Summer 🙂

-x-