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!

Homeward bound

After a night in a warm room we were woken at 8:32 this morning. This left little time for showers etc and as it was miserable outside, we made our way to breakfast, which was again, very good! 

A meander through the streets of Bakewell meant buying cheese, beer and treats for home!

We returned to the hotel, packed and we were on our way.


The scenery we have seen on this trip has been so beautiful to behold, even in β˜”οΈ. There are so many more places to see, we have just skirted round and through them!


Our final stop just had to be a cake shop, Patisserie Valerie, at Cambridge services. One last hurrah for us both. Satiated, we carried on and Debbie dropped me off at home at 980 miles from when the journey began.

Joe was just leaving as we arrived, but a window tap and bibib attracted his attention to turn round. Hugs all round then Debbie left to get home too.

I unpacked, watered the garden and took some photos

This last week has been so good,so good,so good (sweet Caroline), I’ve been inclined …. to drink too much, eat far too much, and laugh (you can never laugh too much!).  I am blessed with great family and friends and I am lucky to have the opportunity to do things like this, and the means too.

Wonderful memories made and also a wanderlust to visit more of our beautiful ‘green and pleasant land’

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! 

Rollercoaster ride


The last eight weeks have felt like a rollercoaster ride, although I’m not a fan of them in reality. Little did I know that I would have the surprise of my life within that time, and share it with so many family. 

Kevin and I enjoyed a wonderful week in Portugal with Viv and Don, and the timing of that was just perfect.


Nina has settled well into her new job and routine of commuting, and her and Jay are enjoying quality time together and it is wonderful to see them so happy. 


Joseph has come on in leaps and bounds with his tattooing and is now tattooing on skin and we are so proud of how he is applying himself to this, striving to improve and to forge a career in something he so passionately loves! πŸ’•

I have caught up with friends, and have delighted in the news that Debbie has become a Nanny, and I can’t wait to have a cuddle with Ronnie next week! πŸ€—πŸ€—

Work, as always seems the way, has been my greatest challenge. It has been very hard even with a week’s break! I’m not going to dwell on that as I can only do my best and what will be, will be. 

In the next few weeks I have some amazing things lined up, I am looking forward to them immensely,  and will start Christmas preparations in earnest. We are also awaiting the arrival of a new family member with the imminent arrival of Daniel and Lizzie’s baby girl. Watch this space……..

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! 

Blessings……

After a tumultuous fortnight I wanted to write about the second week of Andrew and Lis’s visit. I have viewed this as a blessing and looked up the definition of the word


The last one encapsulates it all. I have been brought so much happiness: seeing family together, enjoying the surprise and also the blossoming of their relationship with Jay. 

They have travelled to visit as many people as possible, slept in a variety of beds with no complaint. 


It has been special to spoil them and we had a great day in London on Tuesday: for me the one downside was that Joe and Kevin weren’t with us😞

We have had time to talk and share hopes and dreams for the future. I was tearful last night, but have managed not to cry so far today. It will hit me next week no doubt and the house is so so quiet!

Andrew face timed me from Doha and they have both been so tender with us, so considerate and the fortnight with everyone involved, has made me count my blessingsπŸ’•

In a few weeks I will begin to plan our Oz 2017 trip. How lucky are we? X

I smelt a rat, and now the cat is out the bag……

I am quite a prolific sharer on social media, so this last week not to be able to share has been hard for me!

Five months in the planning, Kevin, Elaine and Jay and a few others had been in cahoots to pull off a wonderful surprise.

Over those last few months, Kevin has been making arrangements for some Cubans to come over. We were to wine and dine them, take them to see West Ham and I have just accepted the vague outline of everything.

Then last Friday a phone call whilst at the farm shop got me thinking that all was not what it seemed, but that was temporary as I didn’t want to feel disappointed and make the Cubans feel uncomfortable.


So I got home and Kevin opened the door and said that the Cubans were in the lounge with Jay. I looked to my left and there was Andrew and Lis on the sofa. That was when I uttered the, what will now be infamous, words, ‘I smelt a rat…..’ Tears of joy overwhelmed me and hugs then ensued. I was dumb founded, but not speechless and Jay has it all videoed.

I was told who was in on it and what the coming days plans were, and still I couldn’t believe they were here. More tears more hugs.

We then surprised Nina and Joe, more emotion, a few expletives and pure joy. Nina and I are now faced with never believing a word Kevin and Jay say again!

We readied ourselves for a meal out at Masons and it was fantastic to hear the banter, the laughter and I found myself just basking in pride and joy that we were altogether, making a new memory.


I woke up in the early hours with a big grin on my face and still overawed by the previous afternoon’s events.

Saturday and Kevin and I were to go to London and Lis and Andrew were going to watch West Ham play. We travelled on the train together, but still wanting to surprise other relatives I couldn’t post any pictures with them in.

Sunday was a trip to Brighton to surprise my parents. Another web of deceit and a journey to the Royal Oak at Poynings. 


An arduous journey home, with Andrew and Lis remaining in Brighton, didn’t dampen my good humour. More memories shared and made and fudge purchased.

The rest of the week has been littered with catching up with friends, visiting Greenwich, taking in a show, oh and work! 

Mum and Dad returned to Scotland yesterday and today we visited Kevin’s family in Surrey, surprising his sister, her family, and his mum. Unfortunately Joe was unable to join us, but I did manage a photo of all the cousins present and significant others to mark the occasion.

We have a few more days left with a couple of days out planned which I will blog about.

It has been a magical time and I can’t thank those involved enough for their efforts, their silence and the joy they have given me.

I put a brave face on sometimes, but to hear their voices, knowing they are in the lounge, having physical contact is just fantastic and I will treasure this time, safe in the knowledge that we will see them again in 2017.

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