2018 so far

The year is only 14 days old and it has brought surprises aplenty and excitement too!

A visit to reacquaint my parents with Marion, my second mother in law, after, we guess, 8 1/2 years.

Bouts of “Aussie” flu for me, Kevin and joe!

The decorations came down last week and this past week has certainly been an eventful one.

The space where the tree once was!

Late nights last week culminating in a trip to the Barbican to see RSC Antony and Cleopatra – absolutely brilliant, and Wagamama’s before a real treat!

Today I attended the Christening of Lucas Sydney Robert Pope, and watched as Georgina and Jay accepted the task of being two of his Godparents.

Lovely service, although the Church was freezing❄️❄️

Home and time for some chores, Malaysian curry for dinner and time spent with a recovering Joe and Georgina.

A lovely bottle of red from the Bolney Estate in Sussex and all is well! Plus I made a new friend today if the furry variety. 💕💕

January was supposed to be a quiet month, but with so much going on I don’t think I have a rest until 3rd February, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Happy New Year!

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Phoenix feathers and ashes

This morning we enjoyed a simple breakfast of toast, availed ourselves of the shower and arranged to meet Colin.

We travelled by train to the CBD and walked to one of the Quays to pick up the free river hopper.

We got off at eagle street and stopped for refreshments and an all too indulgent cake for me!

We made our way to the Queen street mall, and I saw a Pandora shop. I popped in and found a charm. It’s Phoenix feathers, which as a Phoenix rises from the Ashes, I just had to have it, as we are to attend a day at the first Ashes series on Saturday. As Nina would say, ‘ it’s a sign’

We walked across the river, in the pouring rain and made our way to the Southbank parklands.

Next stop, a real favourite of Kevin’s was the tourist information!

We are now armed with train timetables, bus info and plan to visit the Gold Coast later this week.

We came across the epicurious garden, where plants, fruit, vegetables and herbs are grown and shared.

Another coffee break required and a chance to reflect, reminisce on our journey as parents. So touching to hear Kevin and Colin speak about their children, and their hopes and dreams for them. The challenges faced and how the bigger they grow, the less you can do to help, except to be there.

We looked at the map to decide where to eat and strolled around a gift shop or two.

We settled for the Beer garden and chose burgers.

This was the best burger I have ever had!

We walked across the goodwill bridge to make our way back to central station.

Just as we are walking up the Mall again, Kevin and I both see who we believe to be an England Cricketer, and we are not wrong. I cheekily ask for a photo, which Jonny Bairstow, England wicket keeper and prolific batsman, agrees to.

He was absolutely charming and we wished him well for the series. Here’s hoping my good luck charm will run off on him and he is successful!

We arrived back at our apartment having walked almost 20,000 steps, but after our chance meeting, the hugest smiles on our faces! 😁😁🏏🏏🏏

Paddle boards, palms and a puffer fish…

Here we are on a paradise island, with some of the people I love most, and I have had the fog descend on me.

I have thought I could ‘just get over it’, but I have noticeably withdrawn. There is no rhyme or reason per se, but the kids noticed it.

After our beach trip this morning we returned back to our apartment for lunch, and I find myself crying. After a little while I get up to go for a walk to try and shake this off, and Georgina insists on coming with me.

It’s very hot and we shared how we felt: I have to learn to talk more about how i’m feeling, I have to remember people are not mind readers. I have written before about the ‘fog’, I can see it, others can’t, but they see the different, withdrawn person, who doesn’t engage.

I think I’m hiding it well, obviously I’m not.

We all went for a walk to the beach at low tide, and a couple of more conversations were had. I have been blown away with their kindness, concern and very proud of them all.

Walking through the sea lapping around our ankles, seeing fish , crabs, sea snails, with the level rising up to our waists, I almost trod on a Ray! A little further out and a with a helping hand the level dropped away again.

I suppose in some ways this is an analogy of how I can feel on occasion.

The walk was spontaneous, and all the more enjoyable for that. It also brought back memories of Maldon, Cornwall and Lunan Bay.

These moments are precious and I need to be less anxious, and not over think too much and just enjoy the present.

We all visited a local pool, to relax and drank overpriced strawberry daiquiris!

We prepared dinner at the apartment, where Lis shared with us her vegetarian journey and it has spurred me on to have at least on meat free day a week.

We watched the bats 🦇 fly over to their evening stomping grounds.

<<<<<<<<<<<
peace with myself and I hope that I will be able to articulate more quickly how I feel when the fog descends.

Time flies and you find that your children have grown into sensitive, caring adults. How lucky are we. We have a few days left together until next year, so I have to make the most of that!

The land down under 🤗

Jet lagged I’ve decided to write about our travels so far.

We left England after meeting Colin, Kevin’s best friend for over 40 years, where we all flew to HK. Have to say, Cathay Pacific were great and the journey, including 4 hour changeover, was smooth, in fact, we all agree that it has been one of the best long haul flights we have done.

We arrived at Cairns and the prebooked transport was waiting. An hour later we were at paradise links resort and they were brilliant in getting us into our rooms as we were humongously early!

After a change of clothes we made our way to reception and had a big surprise as sitting there, casually speaking to Colin was Jen and Tony, Lis’s parents. We were disappointed that we wouldn’t be seeing them, so this was a real treat.

We made arrangements to meet for dinner later, and we had lunch at a nearby country club, an amble back in the humidity and we all decided a power nap was required!

We met in reception, all feeling remarkably chipper and via shuttle bus went into Port Douglas. We had booked a table at Tin Shed and were sat on a jetty overlooking the entrance to the Marina.

It was a shame it was cloudy, but there was great conversation, laughter, memories shared and good food.

Tiredness started to overwhelm, so we made our way to pick up the bus back to where we are staying. We said our goodbyes, hugs all around, boarded the bus and waved to Tony and Jen.

They are such remarkable people, so thoughtful, such good company, and it was fantastic to see them again, and hopefully again soon! Blessed to have them in our lives: Andrew is so lucky to have their support and love.

The rain is lashing down outside now, so today’s rainforest trip will be very authentic!

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.

😱😱😱🤗🤗😀😀😀😭😭😍😘😘