lnr: (Default)
So, we had a fab holiday in Devon with family, slightly hampered by trying to organise lots of small bunches of people into doing things socially together when they all have different routines and mealtimes.

Wortham 2017

Friday: train down to Exeter to meet up with Steph and Dad, where we organise ourselves into two cars, and Steph and Dad drove us over to Wortham Manor, where Em and Mum were already settling in. Also joined by Gail and David, and Bob and Doreen for the first few days who mostly did their own thing in the daytime but were lovely company in the evenings and cooked some great meals!

Saturday: Day out to Bude, lots of fun building sandcastles and chasing waves, but cut short by the realisation we'd not bought enough car parking and weren't allowed to extend it.

Sunday: dad accidentally went off with our car seat in his car, so Em and Steph went off to see Launceton Castle while Mike, Matthew and I had a nice walk in the lanes near the house, and found an incredible blackberry patch. Grandad joined us in the evening, and sadly James had to leave us.

Monday: a rainy day, so we headed to the Fairground Heritage Centre near Lifton. I'd have liked a better look at some of the exhibits, but had lots of fun accompanying Izzy and Matthew on the dodgems, Izzy on the ghost train and Izzy and Ollie on the Chariot Racer - which was *very* fast. Chris and Kathryn managed to join us in the later afternoon which was lovely, and very brave of them to stay for tea with the whole clan :)

Tuesday: Mum's birthday. A lovely lunch out (where I learned the skill of *not* calling one of the chairs round the table "special" in front of three children), excellent food, shame about the service. A very late afternoon tea, with cake and scones and sandwiches and fizz, and Mike and I took an evening walk, and found deer and rabbits, but no badgers this year. We got back just before the rain :)

Wednesday: Off to Hidden Valley with Em and Steph and the kids. The Maze was a big hit with all of them, and they enjoyed the Indiana Jones trail and hunting for clues. I think the grown-ups might have quite liked to do some of the harder puzzles too. We also did an immense quantity of blackberry picking which the kids loved, and left more than enough for apple and blackberry crumble. (I fear eventually the rest went in the compost).

Thursday: last full day spent mostly at the beach at Bude again, wave hopping and paddling before a fish and chips lunch, then sandcastles, dam-building and a dip in the sea pool - Oliver very disappointed that it wasn't a *heated* pool. I braved a whole actual length across and back as well as some pottering about, but it really was rather bracing. A quiet evening as Em headed off early, and mum and dad out to Dinner, so Steph and Mike and I fed the kids and then had a somewhat bonkers last meal of fish fingers, burgers, chips, salsa and sour cream and chive dip :)

Sad not to manage to meet up with Kate and Nigel - but an excuse to go visit their cottage next year!

Photos on Flickr: Wortham Manor 2017

I think with the demise of Livejournal I'm going to be aiming to use Flickr as the best option for both hosting and sharing photos, as it's more visible to folk outside Facebook. If you dislike any of the photos just ask and I can make private or take down.


Dec. 12th, 2016 01:36 pm
lnr: (pink hair 2006)

A short list of things

  • My mum's gall bladder is safely removed, hopefully good riddance
  • My phone has died again, and is on its way to Giffgaff to hopefully be fixed under warranty
  • I have a startlingly old-fashioned dumb-phone to keep me in calls and texts in the meantime - usual number
  • Am considering buying a new phone in the New Year anyway
  • I've booked the eye test Specsavers have been reminding me about since March - now only £7.50 instead of a tenner :)
  • I dyed my hair purple, coincidentally the same shade as 10 years ago, in just the week people are comparing old and new photos - it doesn't look quite as bright as it did on bleached hair of course
  • The Christmas tree is up and we have some lights in the garden too at Matthew's request, and a decorated office door at work
  • I have printed out the Christmas card list, ready to start writing cards, late as usual
  • I *think* I just did the last bit of present shopping, I gave in and did it online, couldn't face the shops

hair tree

Any phone recommendations welcomed - current phone is a Samsung Galaxy S4 mini, and I like the size and the general look and feel and so on. I'd like something with a little bit more power (mostly for Pokemon Go). Looking to spend around £200 again sim-free, or find something on contract for around £15 a month since that's roughly what the Samsung has worked out as over 24 months (including a fiver a month on 500MB of data, and the occasional top-up for calls and texts).

And if you'd like a Christmas card and are not on my usual list then drop me a line with your address!

And relax?

Aug. 30th, 2016 02:48 pm
lnr: (Pen-y-ghent)

It's been a funny old summer. Since I last posted we've spent 5 weeks without a childminder - one of those was on a fabulous family holiday to celebrate mum's birthday, but the others we've muddled through with Mike taking some days off and me taking others - ending up with me working just one day last week! During that time I've been increasingly desperately looking for childcare for when Matthew starts pre-school next week. This week he is back at Hania's for today and tomorrow and I think I may have *finally* found someone, though she's expensive and definitely only wants to do this for the short term as that many fixed hours makes an awkward dent in her availability for full-time jobs. We meet her on Friday anyway :)

Anyway, despite that stress, we did indeed have a brilliant week away at the start of August - we were staying in an amazing hobbity house in Somerset, within view of Glastonbury Tor. We had some lovely days out at the beach and Wookey Hole and we visited Em in her lovely house and had afternoon tea in the garden. We had a fab lunch out on Mum's birthday and a BBQ in the garden in the evening - there were lots of presents and cards and singing of happy birthday and both light up LED balloons and giant ones spelling 60 and it was a really lovely day. Mike and I took some long walks after Matthew was in bed and saw owls and deer and BADGERS in the lanes around the house. And we all enjoyed the hot tub in the garden and the swimming pool for guest use just up the lane.

The exciting news since then though is that I'm once again an auntie, with a brand new baby niece. Her name is Lillian Grace (after great-grannies on both James and Em's side) and she's beautiful, and I hope to get a chance to gurgle at her over Skype before very long. I suspect we shall be visiting Somerset again before too many months have gone!

Other than that the summer has contained lots of parks - especially Coleridge Rec with its splash pad and "wolf slide" and the ever popular ice cream van. Mike and Matthew had a trip to the zoo, but I don't think Matthew and I have managed anything more exotic than an afternoon at Funky Funhouse and a visit to the children's fair on Parker's Piece. There's been lots of sunshine and we even put up the tent as a den in the garden and had a barbecue on the firepit this weekend for the first time in a vary long time!

I'm taking Tuesday and Wednesday off next week to help settle Matthew in to Rainbow. He'll be going 9-3 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (when we're both at work) and 9-12 on Thursdays - so I'm going to have to find a way to amuse myself those mornings. I'm thinking of some refresher driving lessons so we can consider occasionally hiring a car. If we get all organised with childcare we're hoping to have a weekend over in Lydney to visit Evan and Gina before the end of September - and then possibly up to Mirfield at the beginning of October for a bike ride if we're lucky.

I'm *so* looking forward to once we're actually settled into a new routine with this term, and then I can relax? Yeah, right :)

lnr: (Pen-y-ghent)

Goodness it's a while since I posted here! Apologies to those who follow me on Facebook (or my photos of Matthew on blipfoto) and have probably heard most of this already :)

Read more... )

NB: My two recent LJ posts were partly as a result of seeing this - so I'm reposting in case it inspires anyone else:

'When you see this, make a post in your journal or in a community. It can be anything: a crosspost something you've posted on Tumblr, a few words about the last thing you read/watched, or just a "Hi, how is everyone?" Then go read your f-list and leave at least one comment.'
lnr: (Default)

So tomorrow baby Matthew will be 6 weeks old. I've just booked our 6-8 week check ups for next Thursday - and 6-8 weeks is the point in time when we can hopefully begin to establish some routines - which means I should be starting to put him down in his crib or carrycot whenever he goes to sleep during the day - easier said than done when this always seems to wake him up! If we can manage it then it would certainly make life much much easier. At the moment he generally only sleeps on one of us, or in the pram if it's moving, which means i don't get much rest during t day. With that and the fact I'm still finding breast feeding to be a bit of a struggle at times I'm feeling rather worn out at the moment, but I'm sure it will all get easier with time. As it does I shall have to start getting out of the habit of relying on rather too much chocolate and cake to get me through the day :)

Looking forward to mum and dad coming down to visit at the weekend, and to some other visitors too: one of my oldest friends, Cathie, is coming by on Thursday with her two boys which will be fab, and I'm also trying to sort out times to meet Lindsey from my SW class, Stephen, Barbara and Paul from work (after a lovely visit to the office last Friday) and the others from my NCT antenatal group (we're trying to make a habit of it).

He's certainly a big strong boy anyway, starting to grow out of some of his sleep suits already, enjoying standing with his weight on his own two legs when held up, and beginning to hold his own head up too. Best of all he's beginning to smile - and when he does everything suddenly gets better :)

lnr: (Default)

Just a quick post - while daddy is doing a nappy change. Life is pretty tiring at the moment but very rewarding. Matthew is growing like anything and still a handsome little chap. We're enjoying getting out an about a bit in the pram - walks with daddy at the weekend and into town during the week. Here he is showing off his latest present from my comrades Mary, David, Ann and Rachel in Cambridge UCU

lnr: (feminist)

So, baby Matthew is one week old today. Time has definitely flown by!

Labour )

We called Mike's parents from the hospital for a brief chat, and invited Mum and Dad to come in at some point during the morning to meet baby Matthew and to bring in the post-labour bag with clothes for me and baby. (Rather complicated by one mobile running out of credit and the other being unable to get any signal). It was lovely to see them, but when it became clear it would be a while before we were released we sent them home again to wait for us, and let us get a bit of rest. It was late afternoon before Matthew and I had our post-natal checks - and there was one thing they wanted to check with the paediatrician before they sent us home. Having a bit of a busy day it meant we spent a long afternoon and evening mostly waiting around - and after a shift change they decided they *didn't* need to come and see him in person after all, and we finally made it home around 10:30pm. Since then Matthew is doing really well according to the midwives, and although I've had to pop to the GP for some antibiotics for a touch of mastitis I'm doing pretty well too - and it's definitely clearing up!

Mum and dad stayed to look after us until the weekend, and we had a really nice relaxed few days. It's really strange getting used to trying not to overdo it though, and reminding myself to let other people do things instead of doing them myself! We all enjoyed getting to know our little boy though and there were lots of cuddles for everyone. It's definitely sad that we don't live closer, but having had Skype conversations using Dad's iPad with Em and with Steph/family we shall definitely have to make a point of setting ourselves up to be able to keep in touch that way so Matthew gets to know the rest of the family better. Mike and I had the house to ourselves on Monday which was novel, though perhaps appreciated less then it might otherwise have been if Matthew were a little more inclined to sleep during the night, rather than during the day. He has a tendency to feed non-stop overnight for a long while, which is a bit wearing, but we're pretty sure he'll start to adapt before long, and we'll just have to get better at taking naps during the day. Mike's parents have now come to visit for a few days, though they're staying in a B&B. Granny Gina in particular is utterly delighted with he new grandson - and so is Evan though in a rather calmer way. Joanna popped in today to drop off a card too, which was nice. We had a first little outing in the pram today - to the shops and back to buy a rather late lunch from the Deli. All bundled up in a rather-too-large sleep suit :) Tomorrow Mike and Evan are going to go and register the birth so he can be all official before Evan and Gina head home, and Emily's hoping to visit on Friday on her way North from Somerset (a bit of a detour!) - then I think we'll be ready for more local visitors to pop in during the day later in the weekend or next week.

In the meantime we just need to get a bit more sleep :)

Here's some photos )

lnr: (Icknield Way)

So what did I do with the rest of my first week of maternity leave?

  • Tuesday: went swimming, celebrated Same Sex Marriage Bill passing second reading, did some more crochet of baby blanket.
  • Wednesday: helped man UCU stall at university induction event in the morning, UCU general meeting at lunchtime, SW class early evening, followed by NCT breastfeeding class. Long day!
  • Thursday: a bit of gardening, and melted chocolate and cream together in preparation for making chocolate truffles, started trying to choose pushchair (big thanks to everyone who offered advice). Ordered useful boxes from ebay.
  • Friday: Exciting Ocado delivery - quite a bit of shopping covered in fabric conditioner. Wandered into village to replace some of it from Co-op (some of it was rescued by washing). Finished making the chocolate truffles. Tried a couple of course :) Boxes arrived so sorted through two chests of drawers and managed to considerably declutter as a result. Found a taker for the chests of drawers too!
  • Saturday: Another 10am to 4pm NCT ante-natal class. Then mum and dad came to visit. Made apple crumble. Sorted big pile of baby clothes and other goodies from Steph and Dave. Early night.
  • Sunday: cooked breakfast, then into Peterborough with mum and dad to look at pushchairs. Home via Pizza Express in Huntingdon. Waved mum and dad off then actually ordered pushchair online. Still too full from lunch to have much more than cheese and crackers for tea - though I did also eat the last slice of Christmas cake. Finished baby blanket!
  • Monday: lazy morning reading in the bath and then chilling out, then midwife appointment in the early afternoon (see below for more details). Gym in the evening for Pilates with Clare.

As for the midwife appointment: Urine tests still fine, baby measurement still good, blood pressure good - all excellent. Less good> baby appears to have moved into a fairly breech position. Midwife called Addenbrookes and they should ring me back tomorrow to make an ultrasound appointment to check for sure - and if so then probably arrange to try and turn the baby some time next week. There's about a 50/50 chance that will work apparently. If not they'll probably want to book me for a C-section at 39 weeks because they don't like to attempt a breech birth especially in first time mums. Obviously it isn't really ideal when I've been hoping for a nice natural birth at the midwife-led unit - but hey, if it's unavoidable then there's no point fretting about it. In the meantime I should stay active, choose upright sitting positions where possible, and try doing some kneeling down with my chest lower than my hips - they suggested doing a jigsaw on the floor, which sounds like a plan :) I probably won't try moxibustion though the student in with the midwife suggested it as a possibility.

At least in the meantime I have a haircut to look forward to tomorrow, and coffee with Gail - and then on Wednesday the pushchair should arrive and Joanna's going to come round for a cuppa too. And Friday we've booked ourselves a night away at a nice hotel to celebrate a slightly belated Valentines - in Cambridge :)


Pram blanket

lnr: (Icknield Way)

So on Sunday night afternoon last week it started to snow quite heavily, and Mike and I went out for a fab walk in the snow - which cunningly lasted just long enough that our roast lamb had 2 minutes left to cook when we got in :) Having gone out after dark we didn't take the camera, but were amazed at how much light there was. Walking around nine wells nature reserve we even turned the head torches off, and it was like wandering round in a black and white photo. Beautiful. Monday morning the roads were well covered in snow - a good couple or three inches probably - and it was obvious that even the main roads wouldn't be very clear yet, so rather than push the bike to the end of the road and then cycle I decided to walk and get public transport. At least some trains were cancelled and others late, and the buses were reporting severe delays, so rather than the nearly a mile into the village for a one-every-20-minutes bus which is unreliable at the best of times I decided to take the longer walk to Addenbrookes, where there are *loads* of buses into town to choose from. It's about 2.5 miles, and even with 5 minutes stopping to take photos it took about an hour, which isn't bad! Took Mike's hiking walking stick, which has a nice spike on the bottom, but still had a rather scary moment crossing the road on Macaulay Avenue, where the cars had started to polish the snow into ice already. The photos have all been added to my snow album on Facebook, but here's a quick preview:


Tuesday I decided it would be too icy to be safe, and worked from home. By Wednesday morning it was starting to look a bit clearer outside, and the bin men turned up having failed to come on Monday, so I thought I'd make an attempt to get the bike as far as Hinton Way on foot - and ended up giving up in under 100 yards - it was just *too* slippery to be safe. The road on Macaulay Avenue was like glass, and the pavements were only slightly better in being lumpier! So another day working from home was called for - once I'd got over my fright :) It thawed a bit during the day though, and with the help of my trusty stick I did manage to make it out on Thursday and Friday - with quite a bit of walking on the road where the pavements were icy - and only 20 yards of really difficult stretch on Thursday and 10 on Friday. And despite the forecast there was no more snow overnight, and now the sky is blue, the sun is shining, it's well above zero and hopefully by the time the weekend is over it will all be gone and we can get back to normal :). It has been very beautiful at times - but just a bit too treacherous.


Bump is now 34 weeks old - 2.2kg which is about the weight of a cantaloupe melon, and 45cm long. Next midwife appointment is on Monday - must remember to ask about the whooping cough jab, since they haven't mentioned it to me yet! Our NCT antenatal classes are 10 til 4 next Saturday and the one after - which actually now turns out to be a bit of a nuisance, since we were hoping Evan and Gina could come and visit, and mum and dad wanted to pop down too - and do us a huge favour and bring some baby things from Steph and Dave. I'll be on leave by then though - since this week will be my last week at work - so perhaps we can work something out.

Speaking of work it's been another pretty busy week - some useful scripts written, some more showing Julia of various bits of the postmaster job, some fixing of people's broken email programs (I've gone off Eudora even more than usual) and some success in finding good ways to make other ones work (getting Thunderbird to display more information from our LDAP email directory than previously thought possible). Lots of things ticked off my to-do list, and only a few items remaining - one of which is to have a go at some of the interview questions they're planning to ask my maternity cover! Could be fun, but mildly intimidating :) Apparently the advert should be out early next week. I've also been tidying out my desk and starting to fetch things home - bit of a panic as I thought I'd lost an important key but it turned up again in one of the things I'd brought home. I've been tidying my desktop computer too - and am now busy downloading all the odds and ends of personal stuff that has accumulated at work over the last nearly 11 years. Only about 40 minutes download time remaining :)

Mike and I are still ticking along nicely enjoying the easy life - Les Mis was great last weekend, and we had a nice dinner out too - though it ended up being somewhere else and with a long wait. It turns out all the chain restaurants on the leisure park are insanely busy at around 7pm on a Saturday - who would have guessed! Planning on taking it pretty easy this weekend - some bird watching in the garden for the RSPB, and someone coming to pick up the two bedside tables that have been lurking in the living room for the last couple of weeks :) I bought haggis for Burns Night, but we ended up having something else and it will be our tea tonight instead - yum. All in all life's pretty good.

lnr: (Icknield Way)

A not very quick and somewhat random review of the year (so far :), in varying detail, with lots of links to photo albums on Facebook.

Read more... )

We're planning to finish the year off with a quiet day today, and by cooking ourselves a lovely dinner to celebrate New Year's Eve tomorrow. It's been a good one. I can't promise to write as much next year, but it's definitely going to be fun!

[Other years in review: 2011, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003.]

lnr: (Default)

Having a fab weekend so far:

  • Day off on Friday, pottering round the village shops and baking
  • Em and mum and dad came to stay on Friday night - proper birthday tea with cake and scones - stayed up late talking
  • Waved Em off early on Saturday to get back for John's Tae Kwon Do 4th Dan grading (he passed)
  • Lovely day pottering about with mum and dad - Audley End house shut, Mountfitchet Castle shut - but Thaxted and Saffron Walden both very pretty to drive through. Takeaway curry for tea
  • Sunday morning visited the craft market in Stapleford and then off to the King William IV in Heydon for lunch, and another lovely drive back in the sunshine
  • Waved mum and dad off home - but they've just texted to say we won the raffle at the craft fair - they'll have to post us the ticket to go pick up their prize

It's been very chilled out, very well fed, and with lots of lovely company. Brilliant! And it's not even my birthday til tomorrow so there's more left to come :)

lnr: (Default)

Mike and I have been off on our holidays, visiting the Lake District. 6 days of (variously) long walks, and a couple of days of taking it easy in between, plus the addition of the company of my mum and dad for a couple of days last weekend. We had a great time!

Read on for more detail from my notebook, plus links to maps and photos )
lnr: (Default)

Since we were away with the family at the end of May I have:

  • Been away to Manchester for UCU Congress - which was fantastically interesting.
  • Been to Alison's hen party: chocolate making, night punting with a bat expert and cocktails.
  • Been to Mobbsy and Alison's wedding: a very happy couple and very happy guests and lots of dancing. (photos)
  • It was lovely to have Chris to stay for a few days for the wedding too, even if we'd rather he hadn't been delayed by having his car written off!
  • Had a weekend off! Played lots of Diablo 3, watched football and tennis and didn't do much else.
  • Visited Mike's parents to celebrate their Ruby Wedding anniversary. (photos)

I've also been logging exercise on Fitocracy and I even joined MapMyRun and went for a run. I'm still not convinced about running.

Looking forward to Laura's Cambridge hen party in a couple of weeks time - and sad to have missed the Edinburgh leg. Then after that I think I'm pretty free until late August when we're off to the Lakes for a summer holiday. Fingers crossed there's a bit less rain by then, but we're determined to enjoy it even if it tips it down :)

lnr: (Default)

Just back from a fantastic weekend with all the family in Northern Ireland. We were up horribly early on Friday morning, and flew over to Belfast International, before getting a bus into the city for our third breakfast and to meet up with Mum, Dad, Em and John (who'd flown into City and hired a car, which Emily kindly drove us around in all weekend).

We couldn't get the keys to our home for the weekend until 4, so we drove up to Larne to visit Grandad. There we were later also joined by Steph, Dave, Oliver and Isobel - who'd come by ferry and had just spent a couple of days in Dublin. After a living-room-picnic lunch we headed down to Ballygally for a paddle on the beach. Then it was time to drive down to Whitehead, and head up through the golf course along a tiny private lane to our new home - a pair of lighthouse keepers cottages at Blackhead Lighthouse. We had a lovely evening in the sunshine, and chinese takeaway for tea.

On Saturday we headed off on a long drive cross country - to the Giant's Causeway. I've never seen it with the sky so blue, and the sea even bluer. Absolutely stunning - and a treat for Mike and Dave who'd not been before. After lunch we headed over to Carrick-a-Rede to cross the rope bridge to the island (which we mostly agreed is a lot less scary these days) and enjoy the views some more. Here we spotted kittiwakes and guillemots and razorbills (though it took some peering at the photos later to be sure). Em drove us back via the Coast Road, including the bit up the Tor Head road which is pretty spectacular - rarely has 30 mph seemed so fast. Grandad joined us again for dinner, and to stay overnight.

Sunday we had a quiet(ish) day - with a trip to Browns Bay in the morning where I was daft enough to brave the water for a swim (fun, but very cold). They dropped me and Mike in Whitehead on the way back to the shops, and we had a lovely walk along the bay and back up the cliff path to the lighthouse. Over the course of the afternoon we were joined by lots more of the family: both my dad's brothers and their wives (Alan, Sharon, Loudon and Averil), two of their children (Kim and David), one son-in-law (Oliver) and three grandchildren (Caolan, Oisin and Gemma). It was great to see everyone and just hang around in the garden in the sunshine - where I burnt my feet. Loudon, Averil and David stayed for dinner and we just about managed to squeeze 12 adults round the dining table! Mike and John went for an explore right round the cliff path and found the caves below the lighthouse. Everyone made a valiant effort and between us we polished off one of the six boxes of chocolates I won from the Chocolate Tasting Club last week.

And on Monday there was just time for Mike to take me to see the caves before we waved Steph and Dave off to get the ferry. We packed everything back into the car and headed into Belfast for a Guinness and a sandwich in the Crown Liquor Saloon - possibly the only pub owned by the National Trust. And we finished off the weekend with a visit to the Titanic Museum on the Belfast Docks - which was great. It's a spectacular building, and they do a really good job of telling the story not just of a famous ship which sank but of the company and town which made her.

Highlights of the photos are on Flickr: Ireland 2012, and the rest are gradually uploading to Facebook (Here we go: Facebook album).

lnr: (Default)

So I don't seem to post here very often, do I? Generally Facebook gets the day-to-day comments and photos, and I post our walks on Everytrail. I do still read LJ though, and it's only fair to contribute a bit too! Anyway, so far this year we've:

  • Baked brownies (which were a bit underdone), and a chocolate cake (which was a bit overdone) from Mike's rather fab Green and Blacks cookbook.
  • Walked from Ely to Waterbeach on a very windy day at the end of January.
  • Spent a weekend away in Stamford where we walked round Burghley Park and along the river Welland and stayed in a lovely hotel.
  • Walked two more sections of the Icknield Way, from Stetchworth to Kentford and then from Kentford to Thetford - with the help of some trains.
  • Had mum and dad visit for St Patrick's Day and Mother's Day - with a visit to Wimpole Hall and an excellent lunch out at Alimentum.
  • Had a bit of excitement with the neighbours blocked drains causing flooding in our garden due to the cruel nature of gravity.
  • And generally just hung out - gardening, decluttering, playing computer games and so on.

Next weekend for Easter we're planning another 3 day stretch to finish off the other end of the Icknield Way between Ivinghoe Beacon and Baldock. With some live music at our hotel on Saturday night, which should be fun. We're also looking forward to a weekend away for Mike's birthday (as yet unspecified) and a long weekend in Northern Ireland with all the family in late May. And the next recipe will be cheesecake - but not until after Easter.

lnr: (Default)

Here's a quick (and incomplete) review of what Mike and I have been up to in 2011:

  • Saw an exhibition of handmade books, including ones made by Clare, at Shelford library
  • Got a new washing machine
  • Saw Justin Currie with Glenys at The Junction
  • Whitby Goth Weekend, with David, Clare, Heather and Ian, including steam trains, and craft shopping
  • Snowdonia for Mike's 30th: climbed Snowdon, explored around Betws y Coed, rode on the Ffestinog Railway
  • Sonisphere festival - camping and metal and rain and friends
  • Pat and Geoff's Ruby Wedding Anniversary
  • My new niece Isobel was born, and we met her at a party for Dave and Liz before they headed off back to New Zealand
  • Reached my target weight - and have mostly stayed there
  • Had a new kitchen fitted
  • Cath's hen do at York races
  • Walked the West Highland Way
  • Alistair and Cath's Wedding
  • Halloween at John and Heather's new house in Bristol
  • My birthday: a family trip to Culloden Tower in Richmond, and a weekend in London seeing We Will Rock You!

And last but not least we spent Christmas in Lydney, where we enjoyed long walks with Evan and Gina, Just Dance and Zumba on the wii, plus we visited Chepstow Castle and had drinks/dinner with Phil, Rae and Adam. Then we headed up for New Year in Mirfield. Chinese for dinner with mum, dad and grandad on the 30th, a fantastic party on NYE for dad's 60th birthday with performances from Em Sargant and Serious Sam Barrett, plus a buffet and cake and fizz and dancing and an excellent quiz. Then open house at mum and dad's on New Year's Day itself (his actual birthday). Loads of lovely family and friends.

This year we don't have many plans yet, other than a family visit to Ireland in May, but I'm sure there'll be lots of other lovely things going on too, and plenty to look back on this time next year! There are definitely friends we haven't seen in far too long, but hopefully we'll catch up soon.

lnr: (xmas 2004)

We had a lovely weekend away for my birthday, staying in Culloden Tower in Richmond - an 18th century folly converted into a holiday cottage by the Landmark Trust. Mum and Dad treated us to the weekend's stay, and very kindly let Mike and I have the double bedroom on the top floor: I don't think the 66 steps between it and the bathroom had anything to do with it. It was a fantastic place to stay, with stunning views from the rooftop across to Richmond Castle and down to the river. And to top it off Steph, Dave, Oliver and Isobel came to visit us on the Saturday, and we had a proper birthday tea, and then they stayed over nearby so we all visited the Castle together the next day before Em and John came over for lunch on Sunday. Couldn't ask for a nicer time. At some point I *will* upload the photos.

Since it's now (some time) after my birthday it's permitted to start thinking about Christmas - so Mike and I have had the day off today to go and do our Christmas shopping. The plan was to hit the shops after a late breakfast, and then have a proper afternoon tea, and after much research we were planning to head to the Doubletree hotel. They don't do afternoon tea until after 3 though, and at 1:45 were were done with the shopping already, and decided we couldn't wait that long, so in the end we went to Patisserie Valerie - who don't do an afternoon tea, but do have a great club sandwich (for Mike), a rather tasty croque madame (for me) and a double chocolate gateaux and a mixed berry tart (shared). We'll just have to have our afternoon tea another time! Barring one parcel which is supposedly "out for delivery" right now, and one which is due to arrive tomorrow I think that's the shopping pretty much done though - hurray!

Definitely looking forward to Christmas with Mike's family, and then New Year with mine celebrating my dad's 60th - it's going to be fun.

lnr: (Default)

Last weekend we went up to Harrogate for my cousin Alistair's wedding. They chose a lovely venue - Rudding Park Hotel - and we spoiled ourselves by staying the night before as well. We had a nice potter round Harrogate itself on Friday afternoon: a walk in the valley gardens and a visit to the pump room museum where we admired the old bikes amongst other things and tried the waters (which tasted like an over-salted egg mayonnaise sandwich!). We considered afternoon tea at Betty's but declined in favour of cocktails, before heading to the hotel. Our room turned out to have not only its own terrace but a sauna in the bathroom! We didn't try the sauna but did have a lovely bubble bath and coffee on the terrace in our dressing gowns, and a fantastic dinner in the hotel restaurant.

The next day was lovely: we had time for lunch with mum, dad, Steph, Dave, Oliver and Isobel (who slept throughout) before everyone else started to arrive. The wedding was short (civil ones always are) but sweet - I loved their vows and both Cath and Alistair looked very happy indeed. It was lovely to see all the girls from the hen night again two - three of them looking very swish as bridesmaids. And they couldn't have asked for nicer weather - the sun shone and no-one needed jackets despite it being mid-October. (I had a fantastic new dress too, which I found in Debenhams the week before - I rarely spend anywhere near that much on a frock but I knew it was worth it as soon as I tried it on!) There was the usual wedding breakfast and speeches and cake cutting and dancing - but there were also pirate hats and small children hiding behind curtains - a fab time was had by all.

I took Monday off work to catch up on housework and painting and to take my bike to the bike shop - I'd noticed a crack in the rim of the rear wheel earlier that week and had been riding it somewhat gingerly since then! They couldn't look at it right away but rang me back the next day to say if anything the front wheel was even worse, and I also needed a new set of cogs at the back and a new chain, plus a few odds and ends I was already expecting, and I'd be looking at at least £200-£230 to get it back on the road, if not more. So instead I decided it was time to invest in a new bike instead - the previous Ridgeback had done me a happy 5 years and over 8000 miles so I don't think it owed me much! (See when I bought it)

After picking it out and giving them time to set it up and move all my accessories over from the old bike I picked her up yesterday and rode her home after work. I'm going to have to take her out for a proper spin tomorrow but she's looking good, and I'm very happy so far. I even spent half an hour cleaning the shed out this morning in order to get the even old spare bike I've been riding this week tucked back away at the back and make some room for her.

Anyway, this wouldn't be a post of mine without some photos, so here's the wedding:

And here's the bikes:

In both cases click through for more.

lnr: (Default)

Since Sonisphere I have:

  • Gained a new niece: Isobel Grace Reader, 7lbs 12 oz, 22:25 on 13th July - Steph and baby both now doing well and glad to be home with Dave and Ollie. Congrats to all the family.
  • Had an entertaining night out in Doncaster for a family Ruby Wedding party - involving an Elvis impersonator. Definitely different! Congrats to Pat and Geoff.
  • Ordered a new kitchen: and had the surveyor round this morning with some resulting changes to the plan. It should be arriving some time around Mum's birthday in August. Congrats to me and Mike :)


Jan. 8th, 2011 10:41 pm
lnr: (Default)

So... the last thing I really posted about was my parathyroid all clear (hurrah). Since then I've been busy, but I'll briefly summarise. Click through each photo for the rest of the album.

On my birthday (a Friday) we went out for dinner with Becky and Stuart and then went to see the latest Harry Potter film, which was great fun. Sadly we couldn't stop out for a drink afterwards as we had to get an early train to Burton-on-Trent for the wedding of Mike's cousin Stephen and Anna. It was lovely to see lots of Mike's family again so soon after our wedding: Chris and Margaret (Stephen's mum and dad) were particularly smug that it was now their turn to be proud parents of the groom. I love weddings, and this was no exception: lovely ceremony, gorgeous dress, a nice meal and then speeches, *loads* of dancing with a real band, and an excellent buffet.

Since we were in the region anyway Mike decided his birthday present to me was a bit of a holiday in the Peak district, so his Mum and Dad kindly gave us a lift to Buxton on the Sunday (very kind, since it turns out to be a very awkward journey to do by train, all those hills in the way). We pottered round the town on Sunday afternoon and went to see Show of Hands at the Opera House - which was great fun but made us feel very young :) On Monday we got a bus into the middle of nowhere (the bus driver kindly dropped us even though there was no stop) and went for an 8 mile walk along the Roaches to Lud's Church. Considering the time of year we were lucky there were only a few very muddy bits, and the weather smiled on us far more than we deserved, it was brilliant! And then on Tuesday we visited Poole's Cavern (a show cave dating from Victorian times) and Solomon's Temple (a folly on the hill above the town). It was a lovely few days away and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

In mid-December we managed another picturesque weekend away, this time in Yorkshire. We went to visit my mum and dad, and Mike's parents joined us there too. We had a Saturday out in the Dales, visiting the Strid near Bolton Abbey, having a fantastic lunch in Burnsall, and then driving up over the tops, past the last of the snow, and down through Malham. Fantastic. And on the Sunday we were joined by my sisters and John, Dave and Oliver for a big family not-quite-Christmas dinner, complete with turkey and trifle! It doesn't match getting to see them at Christmas itself but it was definitely a highlight.

And then of course there was Christmas proper. This year we spent it in the Forest of Dean with Mike's parents, and were joined by Pete and Val and Val's mum Hermine late on Boxing Day. It was another lovely break with lots of food (it wouldn't be Christmas otherwise) and lots of long walks in the snow and time watching the birds in the garden: Mike and I bought ourselves a good pair of binoculars and a bird watching scope for Christmas and enjoyed making the most of them.

Since we got back we've mostly had a quiet time - except for one lovely evening hosted by Clare. We've been shopping and spent our wedding presents in the sales - new cutlery, crockery, bedding and other odds and ends for round the home. And today we defrosted the freezer - we know how to live :) It may not be a very exciting start to 2011 but it's a happy one, and we're looking forward to the rest of the year.

August 2017

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