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

-x-

 

 

 

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Happy Sunday

Well, I was hoping that tonight would be a merry blog-posting evening where I could upload the hundreds of photos that I have from recent months; thus updating you (dear readers) on events in my life and at the same time freeing up some of the memory on my phone.

But alas, alack…the “smart-phone” is not so smart. Or maybe it’s the laptop…but either way, the photos are refusing to upload to my computer and so it has not been a merry-blog posting evening for me.

Just one post tonight…and I am fairly out of ideas / things to say.

It has been a very hot weekend – the hottest of the year so far. Right now I have all my upstairs windows open, hoping that the cooler evening air will mean I can get to sleep better tonight.

Yesterday we  (Simon, Faith, Debbie and I) went to Westgate Beach – along with several hundred other people. By the time we got our picnic and settled down for reading/naps it was about 2pm…and about 20 minutes later when I looked up, the sea was only about 1 metre away! Talk about the wrong time for high tide! We had all thought the tide was going out, since the sand on the beach was wet but apparently Westgate beach never really dries. Who knew?!

So we hastily packed up our stuff and walked around the bay to another beach, and then when that got a bit too hot we went up the cliff onto a lawned area and chilled out there in the breeze. Then, of course, we wanted ice creams so we walked back down to the promenade and then back around the bay to the car. It was a lovely afternoon, if not quite what we had planned!

What else have I been up to in this past fortnight… Well.

I have been enjoying my gym membership a lot more since I figured out that if I go before work I can have a 30 minute workout, a shower and blowdry my hair, and still get to the office for 9am! Which always makes me feel very accomplished. I still feel a bit awkward showering at the gym…but I’m getting over it. Hardly anyone is at the gym that early anyway.

Another thing which is making me feel good is all the healthy, summer food that I’ve been having. When I went back to Devon for the wedding, I picked up my lunch box which I had left at mum’s by mistake. I really like my lunchbox (is that a sad thing to say?) It has three compartments – one has it’s own lid so you can separate your main lunch from the other two compartments, which are for snacks. The past two weeks I have had a salad for my “main lunch” with lettuce or (raw) green cabbage, celery, cucumber and pepper, and sometimes sugar snap peas. Next week I have some tomatoes as a treat(!) In my snacky sections I either have carrot sticks or grapes, and either a tortilla wrap or a packet of Morrisons’ not-quavers-but-they-are-exactly-the-same.

Salads just make you feel so healthy, don’t they? I never fancy hot food in this weather and it’s so nice to have crunchy veggies to munch on.

Another exciting – perhaps more exciting than my lunch – is that the Canterbury Foodbank has a new venue. I volunteer at the Foodbank every Tuesday evening, with my small group from church. We pack the food parcels which get given out to those who need them on the distribution coffee mornings.

Up until the end of last month, all the food was stored in a garage-sized building attached to a local church. However the church has had to move venues which meant they could no longer provide a space for Foodbank.

Amazingly though, a local school (a very prestigious, private boarding school – actually) has offered a space that is over 1000 sq ft, absolutely free, for an entire year. The school has bought an old building next to its sports ground but development of the building won’t happen until at least summer 2014…so in the meantime, Foodbank has been given a section of the ground floor for food storage and packing.

The space is seriously INCREDIBLE. God is SO good. Before, all of the food was crammed into the shelves and there were huge stacks of crates filled with tins that had more advanced sell-by-dates on them. Now we have a space where the 2013 food is, where we pack, and there is another space for the food with longer sell-by dates, so that they stay separate, AND there is a space where all the donations go into and are counted/categorised/checked.

I wish there were more photos on the Foodbank website, because my rambly description doesn’t do it justice. I’ll have to take some on Tuesday and try again to get them uploaded onto here.

I think that’s about it for my fortnight’s update. I really need to get back into the swing of blogging, I feel like over the summer there is so much more to be out there doing that it is harder to spend time writing about it! I do, however, have this week off (apart from tomorrow when I am barricading myself in my office with my mammoth stack of typing!!) so maybe there will be a slew of blog posts then.

Maybe.

-x-

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!!

Summer’s almost done…for reals

Somehow we’re halfway through September. I don’t know how it happened!! Canterbury has had great weather in the last few weeks which has lulled me into a prolonged sense of enjoying summer, but this evening I had to find a comfy jumper and a pair of socks, and it was dark at around 7.30pm…a definite sign that autumn is on its way.

Fortunately I like autumn so I don’t mind if it’s on its way. (I like all the seasons, when I think about it…which makes me sound quite like a hippy but would that be a bad thing?!)

I realised tonight that I haven’t updated about my Summer Bucket List – so here it is.

I’m kind of gutted that I haven’t managed to complete all of them… like visiting friends and skyping with Rachel, but as I said at the last update, I do have plans to do it! The only one that won’t get done this summer is spending a day with my three sisters together because Rebecca is now back at Uni (and newly engaged!) so while I’m going home for the first week of October, she won’t be there. I’ll still have a day out with Abigail and Jessica though, which will be lovely.

Now, what did I accomplish…

fruit picking! My mum and Abigail came to visit at the end of August and one evening Mum and I took a walk down to the river and picked 3lbs of blackberries from the hedge. It was like being a child again, I remember so many late summers with my family, all of us with plastic tubs and bags reaching in through the prickles to get the biggest, juiciest ones. Of course, then we had 3lbs of blackberries to use, so we made jam and a blackberry and apple pie. Delightful!

eating something I grew – I am so happy to say that my little balcony garden has grown way beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve eaten cherry tomatoes, peas and teeny carrots. The carrots are still growing and today I pulled some more. They’re getting bigger each time I pick them, but I need to keep picking them to allow the ones that are left to grow more. I have to say, growing my own plants is way more exciting than I thought it would be!

finish reading the Bible – I finished!! I was due to finish at the end of August but as I had holidays and didn’t keep up, I actually finished on 9th September. I’ve started again, skipping over the beginning of Genesis because I’ve read it many times before. This time through, I’m keeping a journal and recording what verses stick out to me and writing down prayers too.

have a picnic – when Mum and Abigail were visiting, we went to Howletts Zoo with my brother, and had a picnic there. It was lovely, like being kids again.

going camping – well, it wasn’t quite camping, but my small group and I went away for a weekend together. We stayed at a Caravan Park about 45 minutes from Canterbury and had a great time. 8 adults and 3 kids, eating lots of food, laughing, watching DVDs, playing games and sharing life and Jesus together. A more detailed post will follow, I hope!

Things I have plans to do include making s’mores bars. We were going to do it on our weekend away but it was too windy for the fire 😦 So I’m going to make s’mores bars from a recipe I found on pinterest. (I wonder how many people in the world are trying recipes that they’ve pinned…)

I have a date in my diary with my friend Maddy, who lives just outside of London, and I am going to spend a Sunday with my friend Rachel who lives with her husband near Camden. We just haven’t figured out dates yet because we’re both so busy. Gone are the simple University times when we saw each other practically every day … this is real life and it needs scheduling.

The final thing I definitely want to do is Skype with my other friend Rachel who lives in the US. I really want to do this, I love talking with her and she is so wise about life and her heart for God is really encouraging. She’s just started a blog which I’m loving too.

So, there we have it. My summer – almost over. But let’s not be sad. I’m going to embrace the autumn and use it as an opportunity. I’m not quite sure what for, but we will see! A friend of mine is doing a month of movies in October, watching a new movie every day and blogging about it. I’m not sure I’m that dedicated, but I’m open to suggestions.

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Summer is almost over…?!

We just had the last Bank Holiday of the summer…boo!! But I don’t think Summer is over yet. At least, I’ve pretty much decided it can’t be, because I haven’t completed all my Bucket List things!

I do have plans for completing them…but most of them will happen in September. And I’ve resigned myself that some of them won’t happen at all, probably (spending a whole day with my three sisters means a visit to Plymouth and I can’t get down there until October)

Oh well. I do think that having the Bucket List has motivated me to do more with my summer – only most of the things I’ve done didn’t actually make it onto the list!

This Bank Holiday weekend was Rosie’s Hen Weekend, and it was really good fun. She had no idea what was being planned, except for it being in Gosport (she found the house for us) There were 18 of us over the weekend, which seems a lot but Rosie has a close group of friends from her school days, a close group of Uni friends and also a close group of church friends, so we were all there.

We went to Gosport in Hampshire to stay at the most gorgeous rental house (http://www.gosportaccommodation.co.uk/)

It was amazing staying there – the rooms are all huge, and it had everything we wanted (except a teapot!). Considering that there were so many of us, we weren’t all on top of each other and the most people per room was 3 so we all had loads of space. The best thing was the second dining room, which had a table long enough for all 18 of us to eat together! I have house envy.

The weekend started on Friday when we all descended on Gosport from our various localities (in Canterbury, Bexley, Maidstone, Poole, Hertfordshire, East Grinstead and London) and most of us got stuck in traffic on the M25 and the A3, but that was ok. Those of us that got there in time went to Playzone for their Adults session – we all dressed in black with leopard print accessories (leopard print was a bit of a theme!) and went slightly mental playing on the slides and stuff. We took loads of pictures…but they’re not shared on Facebook yet so I can’t upload any.

On Saturday we had a lazy morning, breakfast with loads of fruit and yoghurt and pastries (this was a big-food weekend) and then me and two other girls went to do the food shop whilst the others went into town and got fancy dress costume stuff for the evening. The afternoon was spent pampering and prepping whilst watching Maid of Honour (yay for wedding themed movies) and then we had fajitas for dinner before getting the ferry over to Portsmouth dressed as Superheroes!

We went to a club called Tiger Tiger where one of Rosie’s friends had booked us VIP booths including nibbles and cocktails and we had a good dance and played some games, like handing out Man Awards to different guys (Best Biceps/Most Impressive Pecs/Mr Congeniality etc) before getting the ferry back across to Gosport and crawling into bed around 2.30am.

Sunday was a verrrrry lazy morning – we ended up eating our breakfast (fry-up!) at 12noon, but that’s ok because it was fun the night before. After breakfast/brunch/lunch, most of the girls took Rosie to the fun-fair whilst Louise (the maid of honour) and I set up for the afternoon’s event: a garden party Bridal Shower with cream tea. We had loads of cakes, sandwiches, drinks and decorated the house’s gorgeous garden with bunting. We had each gotten her Bridal Shower gifts – lots of bath stuff, lingerie, candles, generally pretty things, and a photo book with pictures of all of us and messages of love for her. She cried 🙂

After the food we watched a couple more movies, played Articulate and Scrabble, and just generally chilled out together. Around 9pm getting Chinese food was suggested – more food!! But that was yummy too.

On Monday we cleaned and tidied up the house and everyone had left by around 11. I took two girls back to Bexley and got home myself around 3.30, and I was so tired from all the fun that I just crashed out for the evening! Today I feel a little more human, which is good because my Mum and sister are coming to stay today!

-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!!

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