Recipe for success

A few days at home, a morning at work, a disturbed night, packing and we were on our way to Brighton! A detour to pick up the macaroons that on Wednesday were not ready, but. Thanks to colourfulbites for making the magic happen!
We had a good journey and a cuppa was shared whilst working on POA and shopping list!

We enjoyed the delights of the garden and we hit the road canhams for lamb, pasties and scotch eggs then Tesco for everything else. A stop at the florist at Hove station for a riot of gerbera and roses.

More prep and a wonderful pizza dinner was enjoyed. POA revisited for Saturday and more photos!

So it was 60 years to the day, up early, fantastic breakfast, but not until the food order was collected, and the French bread.
There had been a delivery which was a wonderful surprise – a signed card from Her Majesty!
Elaine decided that the pond had to be emptied and refilled. Jane and mum redid the meringue and it was all coming together: balloons, bunting,food and drink!
The first guests arrived, and then a steady stream followed. Fizz flowed, food was ready and a rolling stream of photos of family, weddings and music over 60 years.
We had photo booth fun, speeches, some more tearful than others. My Dad doesn't say much and he made such an effort to thank everyone – so touching.

Mum said a few words about the secret of their success: be friends, like each other love each other and make sure they don't snore!

It was a wonderful day and hopefully everyone enjoyed it as we did!

We were so tired but in a good way. Sixty years…….. raise your glasses to Celli and Andrew🍾🍾🍾🍾💕💕💕💕

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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. 💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕🍾❤️💕💕💕

Spring and all it’s beautyΒ 

Spring has definitely sprung, and our garden is beginning to bloom. I love this time of year and the last few days have been unseasonably warm.

School broke up last week for the Easter break, but a few of us were back on Monday, me for the year end closure.

It has been frustrating and after 3 days of anomalies, network issues and mild panic, the button has been pressed and the new financial year begins!

Yesterday and today has brought deliveries of plants, much to Kevin’s chagrin, and they have been duly placed in their new home. 

Do you see the Aussie bird?

I can’t wait to watch them grow and provide texture, movement and aromas, a bit like children really πŸ˜‰πŸ˜Š

I have a few visits over the coming week and I’m looking forward to some time at home too to recharge my batteries for the summer term and beyond.


But sometimes wouldn’t it be great to be a cat, be fed, watered and spend your days basking in the sun 😘😘

Mother’s Day 2017

I’ve had such a lovely weekend….

Saturday was relaxing with a trip to Michaela’s followed by afternoon tea at Dandelion and Burdock in Stock. Since her career change in August, it has been so lovely to have weekend time with Georgina, and yesterday was no exception.


After the scrumptious fare, and as it was a beautiful day we decided to walk the 5 km home. Probably not the most sensible thing in stilettos but hey! 



Joe had already bought me a beautiful orchid on Friday, which will have pride of place in the bedroom, and as he was ided he had to buy non alcoholic Shiraz!


One of the things that really annoys my friend Debbie when we go away is my phone pinging, and I have promised to set it to DND when we go away in May, but it was great to hear the noise this morning and see a photo sent from AUstralia of Andrew and Lis at a friend’s wedding at St kilda. 


How fantastic to have been in their thoughts this weekend, although just being a part of their lives in any small way is so enjoyable. As they all make their way in life and tread different paths, I love to hear and see what they have done and share their excitement in what they hope to do.
Now for a glass of fizz or two to conclude the weekend.

Morse code…

Today I had my nails painted by the wonderful Yas and she was telling me that she recently attended her great granpops funeral – he was 99. She said she never realised so much about his life and was proud to hear so much that was recounted. 

She said he had been something to do with Morse code and she was touched by words the celebrant said.

When visiting graves or seeing the memorial service booklet, the life span is shown as e.g 1941 – 2016 and he said that the dash represents so little written down, but means so much to those that have lost their loved one, as that dash represents their life, memories, achievements and love both given and received. 

Today is St David’s Day, patron saint of Wales, and once again a memory of my friend Sian came to mind. Passionately proud of her Welsh heritage and one of my favourite photos is of her in her Welsh Rugby top. We are almost at the first anniversary of her passing and I am feeling it very keenly, obviously nothing compared to her family. 


I have worn a daffodil today both for Marie Curie and for Sian.

As my timeline continues I thought of how that would look – 

1961 … and in Morse code three dots represent the letter S, how fitting. 


People come and go, friends are forever. 

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……..

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.

πŸ˜±πŸ˜±πŸ˜±πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜­πŸ˜­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