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

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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

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Back again…this time for good (I hope)

Hello.

I am back again after yet another prolonged blogging break.

To be quite honest, I have thought about writing a blog post countless times (at least once a week) but that has never actually evolved into a physical blog post. I’m sorry if you are following (or lurking) and have been waiting for a post with any kind of anticipation.

The truth is that life has been quite overwhelming lately and I just haven’t known how to put anything into words and not have it turn into a frustrated-at-the-world rant which would a) not achieve anything but prove that I know a lot of angry words, b) be quite unnecessary, and c) not glorify God in the slightest – which is the best reason I can find for having “held my tongue” over the past few months.

As the ever-so-wise Thumper rabbit said:

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Or as the writer of Ephesians said: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)

Plus, everytime I watch the news I am saddened and horrified and humbled that my problems are so insignificant compared to the problems faced by others in the world right now, and I feel a bit ashamed of myself. My problems feel very real to me but I am aware of their insignificance and sometimes that helps me re-focus my prayers where they need to be.

All I seem to do in the last few entries is write a blurby-overview of what has been happening in the long intervals between posts and then make an empty promise to post more frequently. Sorry. I won’t do that again – promise, that is – I am definitely going to blurby-overview my last few months. Beware, many photos ahead!

Here’s what’s new with me:

Home …

Bingley Palace

As of August 1st I am an official resident of the “Bingley Palace” and it is quite lovely. It was a very difficult transition – emotionally, rather than practically (thank you Moving Men!). I found it very difficult to pack all the *stuff* in my sweet little house into boxes and decide what I got to take with me and what had to be donated/stored. I lived with chaos and boxes for weeks and I hated it.

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This is my 11th move in 16 years and for some reason it hurt me more than any of the others. I think because I had really felt that my little house was a gift from God and a chance to finally settle…and it turned out not to be the settling-place. I had to fight not to be angry or annoyed at God for allowing me to feel that connection to the little house, and then letting it be taken from me – instead I had to choose to be incredibly grateful to God for providing the Bingley Palace (it already had the nickname before I got here!) and 2 sweet Christian girls to live with.

I have lived here for almost 4 weeks now and it feels like home. Although I often forget where I live and on several occasions have driven halfway to my old house, I am already seeing the opportunities that God is giving me in this place, and I am beyond pleased to have housemates again. Heather and Emma – you are wonderful already.

Work…

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Ofsted is pending. And that’s all I need to say.

Family…

Jessica newborn

This tiny bundle of gorgeousness starts school next week, and turns 5 in 6 weeks time. I don’t feel like I have had enough preparation for this moment.

Jessica June 2014

This is her on holiday a couple of months ago. She loves Frozen (who doesn’t?!)

I am hoping to go home for a weekend in September to celebrate her birthday. I haven’t seen her since June and it aches.

Other family news is that my sister and brother-in-law graduated University in July. Mum and Abigail drove up to Bangor from Plymouth and Jonathan and I were both able to take time off work to join them for a few days. We were able to watch her graduation on live stream (hats off to Bangor Uni for that!) as there were only enough tickets for Mum and Simeon to sit in the ceremony, but it was very special. It was fantastic to see my little sister get her degree (a FIRST!) and to see the place she has lived in for the past 3 years.

rebecca graduation screenshot

Chester Zoo

We also had a fun day out at Chester Zoo which was equally, but differently, fantastic!

Life in general…

I had a wonderful Bank Holiday weekend, thanks to my incredible friends. I went to visit Rachel and Phil who are now living in Peterborough and expecting their first baby in 4 weeks time. It was a very peaceful few days; lots of tea and cake, board games, movies, and chatting about the baby. I was able to completely shut off from thinking about work and just enjoy re-connecting with my bestest Uni friend. I went to their church on Sunday and it was a really great service. I felt connected to God and enjoyed meeting their friends.

Bank Holiday Monday was a wash-out (torrential rain ALL day) but I didn’t mind because Rosie and I had planned a sewing day, and we spent many happy hours transforming a dress of hers into a skirt. I taught her how to sew on the machine and it was very quaint and civilised. We also watched the film Safe Haven which was traumatic and there were tears shed. If you haven’t seen it, don’t. Or at least make sure you have tissues and a friend handy.

i have a new car! It’s pretty swanky and I rather like it. After the small incident with my Corsa I didn’t feel very confident in driving or parking it – what if something else decided to fail with no warning?! I decided to explore the mystical world of Car Finance and am now the proud sort-of owner of a “Silky Shadow Green” Astra. It feels much larger than the Corsa…the size of a tank in fact – but it is safe and mostly clean (I left a window open by mistake and half a tree got in) and it drives like a dream. So I like it.

I’m getting married.

Jokes! I am still very much single. No, I went to my colleague’s wedding reception – and caught the bouquet! There were only 5 of us (plus a 4 year old) in the running so the odds were pretty good. It is a very pretty bouquet and is still a little bit alive in my living room. 

Long Wedding - bouquet

I’m watching the BAKE OFF!!! I love this programme. It is so calming, despite the baking tragedies which occur. I love the pastel colours and the measuring and the commentary and the contestants little quirks and oddities. I love Norman whose pesto is exotic, and Richard who measures everything, and Chetna who uses so many spices I can almost smell it through the TV. I mostly love Martha because I decided in Week 1 that she was the Christian contestant – and then yesterday I found out that she is! And she goes to a New Frontiers church and is a baker/fundraiser for Teafund which is doubly and tripley awesome. I had hoped to make something from the Bake Off each week…but my excitement waned. I basically didn’t want to make florentines or any kind of biscuit…and then last week’s break week was throughly uninspiring, but watch this space. I am quite pleased with my Swiss Roll from Week 1!

swiss roll

And finally: my current excitement…

Mum and I are going on holiday on Saturday! It is quite alast-minute, but much needed, 5 day/4 night break to Prague in the Czech Republic. A few weeks ago I had a bit of a meltdown and decided I needed to do something radical, like cut off all my hair or get a tattoo, otherwise I would go absolutely crazy with my life. Fortunately my reasonable side kicked in and decided it would be a good idea to book a holiday – so I did! Mum and I fly out of Heathrow at silly-o-clock on Saturday morning and get back on Wednesday evening. We went to Majorca together 2 years ago and it was such a fun time, just the 2 of us.

Sometimes you just need to get away from things for a little while, you know?

I know I said I wouldn’t promise…but I will try to get back into blogging. I do miss it really!! I hope you have enjoyed the little update. It has been a nice way to pass the evening, and a good reminder that despite the stresses and anxieties, there is a lot of GOOD going on in my life.

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today I felt good

I’m posting a “selfie” today…not because it is the official ‘word of the year’ according to the Oxford English Dictionary (who may have actually lost their minds)…but because today I felt very good about myself, and I wanted to post it for’posterity’ so that on days when I don’t feel so good, I will remember.

Also I got my hair cut today and have a week off from work which may or may not have something to do with this sudden joy.

Heart-strings

I saw this photo today…isn’t it so sad? It just pulls on my heart-strings so much! I just feel sorry for the poor dog that can’t get into his special space now that he’s grown up. I’m probably reading way too much into it, but it genuinely makes me go awwww

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Bucket list update

Items completed:

travel abroad, get a tan – completed both of these with my holiday to Majorca

swim in the sea – also completed this in Majorca. Mum and I went on a boat trip to see some lovely sea caves, and at the half-way point they stop the boat at this lagoon type place so you can all jump off into the sea. Yes, I jumped off a boat and swam in the Mediterannean!

The water was beautiful, so blue and clear! (Apart from the odd little fish). It was lovely and cool as well which was needed after sitting in the sun on the deck for the morning. Mum and I both swam for as long as we were allowed, and it cooled me right down. Definitely a fun experience

Spend a day at the beach – we spent a whole day on sun loungers underneath a wicker type sun-shade on Cala Bona beach. It was about 2 minutes from our hotel and was lovely, the sea breeze from the ocean kept us cool and the clear blue sunny skies perfected my tan 🙂 And the best thing was that there were no bugs on the beach to bite me!

Grow something – before I went away I had a little gardening spree, and planted tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, carrots and peas. The carrots and peas are from seed, and the others are from baby plants I got at the garden centre. I was amazed when I got home and found that I have a mini-allotment on my teeny balcony which isn’t even a real balcony! I have a pepper which was 1cm when I bought the plant, and now it’s about 6inches long!! I’m so impressed with it. Sadly I can’t take a photo as my camera has gone awol but I’ll figure it out somehow.

 

All in all, not a bad start to the Bucket List challenge and still about six weeks to go

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Photos

After a long and exhausting week at work, whilst recovering from jetlag and fighting to overcome Salem-sickness (like homesickness but for Salem) I have finally managed to find time to sit down and go through the 600+ photos I took on holiday. About 250 are random images that Hope and Lily took, when I let them take turns with my camera. Some of the shots are actually pretty good, so I uploaded them to my facebook page and made an album just for them.

I haven’t posted my photos to Facebook yet, because a) for some reason my computer doesn’t really like looking at/editing photos and almost crashed multiple times when I was uploading the girls’ pictures, and b) since Facebook went to Timeline, uploading photos is really complicated and I don’t really have 2 1/2 hours to sit around and process each of them.

In the meantime I have satisfied myself with a mini-photo blog, 10/600 or so photos.

This is Hope, aged 6 1/2, touching some disgustingly wiggly sea creature at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. This was our first day and Hope was my “partner”, since we had equal adults to children ratio. I was so jetlagged that she had to look after me more than the other way around!

Sunday, 18 months, watching the sea lions and seals doing their display. Even though it’s not a head-on shot, you can tell how into it she was by how she’s holding onto the rope

Elijah (8 1/2) was our tour guide for the day. This was taken in the shark tunnel – I’ve never been to an aquarium with a tunnel before so it was a little weird having sharks swimming above your head, but the kids loved it, especially since we were there for feeding time.

Sweet Lily is almost 5 and loved this thing!! We tried to get a shot with all three girls smiling, but one of them would duck back or close their eyes so it didn’t work out. Maybe next time.

This is me with my dear friend Rachel…and Lily joined in too.

Saturday morning, hanging out and watching “H20” (a show about mermaids that Hope and Lily adore) on NetFlix.

Titus! This is my friends’ dog, he’s a Schauzer and absolutely adorable. He is a very cuddly dog and doesn’t mind when the kids play a little rough with him, in fact I think he enjoys it!

This was taken on my last day in Salem – Rachel spent about 10 minutes trying to get a really good one where everyone was smiling AT the camera, but with four kids it was a little tricky. I had to fight not to cry all morning, I just didn’t want to leave. I love those kiddos and their amazing parents and feel like such a part of their family. They are so precious.

Maybe I’ll upload some more photos in a week or so, but I think I might keep most of them for myself! Selfish? Maybe 😛

-x-

 

Day 20: Worst childhood item of clothing

Now, this is a tough subject since I was a nineties child – born in 1989 and therefore experiencing the wonderful phenomenon of hair scrunchies, side ponytails and leggings with feet straps.

I wanted to find photographic evidence of some of the horrific (but SO cool at the time) outfits that I’ve worn over the years…but thank goodness my Mum was too busy parenting us to take photos every second.

This a selection I’ve found…mostly I think that I look quite cute! My mum reckons that I haven’t changed at all, since I was about 4. Crazy.

A dress to match the carpet...a must have!

 

Funky green and yellow trousers - I was about three here

 

One word: headband

Feel free to comment and share your own fashion faux-pas!

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