Weekend fun

A really busy weekend, a tonic after feeling rough all week.
Friday included a lazy morning then lunch with Debbie at Masons. Great food, and company with the usual laughter and a good old chin wag.
Just what the doctor ordered. Time with Debbie is always uplifting!

Saturday was an early start up to London to meet the bridesmaids for Victoria's wedding next July.
A pit stop at Patisserie Valerie, then the dresses. Colour chosen, styles experimented with and a job jobbed.

Next up a taxi to Harrods for shoe browsing/shopping! I bought macaroons! A short walk to Harvey Nichols, more shoe inspiration and then it was goodbyes to the Mums with little ones.

The Grey Goose Bar beckoned with a light lunch and cocktail extravaganza for four! Delightful!


A trip to Sloane Street to Jimmy's where Georgina fell in love with the Cinderella edition!

You need a Prince Charming to buy them though. I loved it when Georgina tried them on and said ' they look good even with my jeans' Classic!

Kisses and hugs goodbye and we made our way home. Exhausted, but so very happy to be a small part of today, seeing all the beauties in their finery and a glimpse of what is to come!

That optimism for the future, the joy of seeing people so happy and making dreams turn into reality is again uplifting.

Sunday and I'd booked tickets to Highclere Castle in March. Highclere is the home of the Earl of Caernarvon. Most recently the house is the setting for Downton Abbey and there are many references to that. I was pleased that there was also an Egyptian exhibition as the 5th
Earl was heavily involved with the excavation of the tomb of Tutenkamun in 1923, and I knew Kevin would particularly enjoy this.
The exhibition was fairly small but allowed the queue for the house to dissipate. The House is lovely, although I enjoyed Althorp the previous week more, especially with the guided element.
A scone and a cuppa was next before we strolled the wonderful gardens-Kevin suggesting that they were Capability Brownesque!

We walked to the Goodwill Garden, the Monks garden and sought the secret garden, unfortunately closed.

A slight detour and we saw a statue, which confirmed Kevin's thoughts re the garden landscape: I was suitably impressed

The folly loomed ahead so a quick walk up the incline for a few fun photos

We prepared for our journey home, which was a bit squeaky as we were 9 miles from a garage, with only 6 miles of fuel showing on the dashboard. At one point 3 miles to go and 0 miles showing!
We managed to limp into the garage to fill up and made the journey home. It was tiring but also thoroughly enjoyable, the sun shone, we laughed, and we are now very experienced in circumnavigating the M25.

I have had a memory packed weekend with loved ones, clement weather and precious time with special people. 💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕🍾❤️💕💕💕

Life changes

On Sunday we drove to Bristol to our niece's new home, to surprise Kevin's sister on the eve of a momentous birthday.
I'd been nearby, actually having lunch at the above pub earlier this year, and after a very early start we arrived before the birthday girl.

Viv was suitably surprised and pleased at the gathering of family in the garden.

There were bubbles and beer, lots of chatter, laughter, (thank you Lizzie),and also talk of the family wedding in 2018. Victoria asked Georgina to be one of her bridesmaids, which meant tears of happiness.


Andy and Victoria's neighbour enjoys taking a photo or two, so he popped round and these are a fantastic reminder of the day.

Viv retired from work on the Thursday and her and Don have some great plans to bring to fruition, plus time to spend with the beautiful Bella.

Viv isn't one to speak at occasions, usually beavering away, but today she did, briefly. She thanked people for coming, and then the tears started. She continued and thanked Don in his support of her retiring early: it was so touching. Viv has a serenity about her and it is obvious that she is loved and cherished by all who know her.

I wish Viv a long, healthy and happy retirement, to enjoy the times ahead, and the memories to be made! (And that I can follow suit as soon as possible😉)

Two decades and a funeral


Bev and I have known each other for over 30 years and a recent invite to accompany her to althorp was one that I had to take up.

Weather was set fair and I drove to her home, and we made the journey to Northants.


First stop was to visit the above, then we made our way to the cafe for lunch. Ginger beer and a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich went down a treat.

We wandered through the exhibitions delighting in the photos of Diana, reminded of her charity work, and her legacy. As we approach the 20th anniversary of her death, there has been renewed coverage in the media, only last week the programme with her beloved sons ‘Diana, Our Mother’ which gave a flavour of the fun loving woman she was.

We thoroughly enjoyed the tour of the ancestral home, with an enthusiastic and informative guide. We then made our way out to the lake.
It is such a beautiful spot and we spent time on a bench reflecting on the last twenty years. We are both blessed with wonderful families, good health, and take opportunities that come our way. That doesn’t mean that we’ve not had difficult times, but with love and support we have had the ability to cope.
A cuppa and a sweet treat were required before hitting the gift shop!

A long journey back and a fish supper was consumed, before I made my trip home.

A truly wonderful day spent in lovely company!

Positives…

Almost two weeks into 2017, and no ofsted this year. Unfortunately so many people seem to have this nasty bug going around and it has meant visits have had to be cancelled, one in particular to see Bella!

 But rather than be too disappointed, I have taken the time freed up to get other things sorted, one namely being our trip to Australia. As it’s our coral and Andrew and Lis’s wood anniversaries Great Barrier Reef and palm trees fulfill the presents! 

I love starting the process, tweaking the programme, finding places to stay, preferably high end or quirky. 

The Whitsundays look amazing and for us all to be together will be awesome. 

Seeing pictures of white beaches bathed by turquoise water, with tropical foliage and brilliant sunshine is the antithesis of our weather right now! 

I intend to keep looking for positives in what happens rather than be dragged down by the negatives! 

2016!

It has been a wonderful year full of surprises with lots of sport to enjoy, but tinged with great sadness too with the loss of a very dear friend and a work colleague. 

I have written about the majority of the highs throughout the year and there have been moments of reflection too.


The last few weeks have found me climbing out from a very dark place, and with the love and support of family and friends I feel strong enough to clamber over the edge and look forward to 2017 and all that the new year may bring.

I have been cross with myself for letting my mental health suffer and allowing things to get so bad. On reflection I have realised that there has to be balance in life  you can’t be all things to all people. 

Having lost loved ones has made me more aware of my mortality, how some people unduly suffer, and face up to it with serenity. I have wondered whether this is a late mid life crisis: irrational I know, as I have a wonderful family, a wide circle of good friends, a home, a job and the benefits that culminate from all of the above. But that has not stopped the feelings of anxiety, the fatigue and the utter hopelessness. 

But I am lucky and I have improved over the last few weeks and the feelings, whilst not completely gone, have sufficiently retreated so that I enjoyed an awesome family Christmas.

As we see in the New Year later this evening I don’t want to make any unrealistic resolutions, that if unfulfilled, will only disappoint and dishearten me.

So I will face each day as it comes, enjoy the moments that take my breath away and be more aware of my mental wellbeing and that of those around me. 

I have a trip to Australia to arrange/organise for the latter part of the year and lots of delightful treats to look forward to. My inspiring parents will celebrate their πŸ’Ž wedding anniversary in September, and that is no mean feat!


May the hopes and dreams of all those I love and cherish come to fruition and 2017 provide more fun, laughter and love! 

Cheers! 

What a wonderful world….

What a weekend it’s been. We’ve certainly had fireworks in more ways than one! 

A few months ago I saw on Facebook an ad for a gin festival in Brighton and booked 4 tickets. It was for the 5th November and little did I know then that Isabella McIntosh would arrive on that day, all 9lb and 5oz! 

A real cutie who will want for nothing in life, and will be loved and doted upon. A first grandchild for Viv and Don, long awaited and I revel in their joy! Lizzie and Daniel will be wonderful parents and they will enjoy every precious momentπŸ‘ΆπŸΌ

There was also news of another expected arrival sometime in May 2017, after great sadness, for my cousin’s eldest daughter. Only recently have I been aware of her loss when she so eloquently and courageously wrote about it on Facebook. An honest account that no doubt shared will give others hope and the desire to carry on. She has also documented that she has had her skin inked with a beautiful tattoo as a testament to the little ones she’ll never know. 

Kevin and I arrived in Brighton and made our way with Elaine and Jane to the gin festival. We all tried a few varieties and after three hours we walked home.

It was a pleasant way to spend a cold Saturday afternoon. We enjoyed from the comfort of their home a few firework displays. 


We finished the evening by visiting a local SriLankan restaurant, returning home to catch up with strictly!

Today, after a cooked breakfast, us three girls, went for a walk. The sun was shining and we certainly blew a few cobwebs away! 


As we returned to the car I duly checked my phone and was just so thrilled to see that the couple who were best man and a bridesmaid at Andrew and Lis’s wedding got engaged!πŸΎπŸ’

Steph played a huge part in introducing Andrew and Lis, and may both her and Russ enjoy this exciting next step! 

So a birth, a pregnancy revealed and an engagement-so much happiness and joy for all touched by the news of each. This is the positive side of social media! πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ’•

Holiday….celebrate! πŸ’•πŸ’•

After the surprise visit from Australia, we were fortunate to have booked the end of September/beginning of October to holiday with Viv and Don in Portugal. 

Perfect timing and with our Wedding Anniversary on the Sunday also a chance to celebrate.

We arrived on the Friday and were met at Faro airport. A whistle stop at the supermarket and we were out for lunch. 

Viv had put together an itinerary to optimise our time, to share their favourites old and new and even a trip to Seville. Here are a few photos of the week

There was laughter aplenty, moments of quiet reflection, good food, fantastic weather and of course, good company!

Holidays should refresh you and help you to face new and old challenges. I certainly  feel ready to square up to the challenges I know I will face up to Christmas and beyond, but feel calmer and raring to go! 

Holiday …celebrate

My husband , Kevin, and I have enjoyed a wonderful week away. We stayed in the UK staying in Birmingham, Alnwick,Arbroath and Durham. 

We were lucky with the weather and thoroughly enjoyed our time away. We have had good food, a drink or two and it does amaze me that after knowing each other for 35 years we still have so much to talk about. Family, politics, what we do next, and still talk about our hopes and dreams. 

Now we are home, even though there was a lot of driving, we feel that we were away a lot longer. We are refreshed and it was lovely to be welcomed home! πŸ€—πŸ’•πŸ’•

β€œTriumph” β€” Turn Up the Contrast

At a friend’s wedding the place cards were slate hearts with the guests name on them-a lovely touch! 

I love a wedding –  love, the dreams and the future ahead for the couple, and their families. 

So with this in mind, I view my marriage and motherhood as my greatest personal triumphs. Everything else pales in comparison: work, home, material things.

We celebrate thirty four years and three children in October, no mean feat and I am very fortunate in this πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸŒŸπŸŒŸ