Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Sunday morning stroll

I do like a good wintry stroll, especially on a crisp Sunday morning where you have to wrap up warm to avoid becoming a victim of 'cold fingers, nippy neck, back draught or tingly toes'. Oh those Winter woolly layers, Mmmmmm :-)

Having not gone on many of these rather lovely leisurely strolls in recent years, I am reminded what an absolute treat it is and how amazingly lucky we are to live in such a beautiful and scenic part of the world.

Sunday morning was beautiful. Frosty, but accompanied by the most brilliant sunshine. Oh to get a really good dose of vitamin D, arrrr......
So off we toddled with Small boy and his friend, myself, a very eager Jenny dog and my dear friend who is finally able to keep pace and join us in such pursuits. Of course keeping pace is not really something that happens when you take two small boys out into the country. The world is full of so many wonderful distractions. It would be a sin of the worst kind to make haste and set any serious pace on such a fantastic morning.

We took to our village lake to explore the seasonal changes and enjoy the beauty that surrounds right on our doorstep and what a total delight it was.

The sun's energy beaming its dappled rays through the bare trees created the most incredible reflections in the water and the colours of the vast variety of mixed plantings feasted our eyes on the most stunning palate of hues. How often do we think of Winter as being drab and dull? You have to see beyond that sometimes and look for the colour, it really is there if you open your eyes.

The boys were thrilled to see that recent rainfall had caused the water level of the lake to rise and overflow, whooshing over the edge of the storm drain and belting out at break neck speed into the little stream below. What an excitement to paddle in the stream and feel the waters energy pummelling on your wellies.

Further on we observed the excellent efforts of the estate gardeners and their ground clearance work to encourage new growth and strengthen the banks and to give rise to clear and inspiring views across the water.

The boy's were reminded of a fox that they had found in the hollowing of tree roots; a dead fox. They had awaited the decay of its flesh to enable them to explore closely the structure of its bones. Today the moment of readiness to examine the creature were upon us and challenging thought and practise were instrumental in excavating the poor thing. Nothing prepared me for parenting a child with such gross interests!
The fox carcass was exhumed and balanced precariously on the end of a stick which was carried at arms length. It still stank!
I have to admit that the jaw of the fox was intact and was....interesting!

I know.....rather yucky!!

Further on, the boys admired the bridge which had been cleared of its tangled mass of creepers, exposing its face wall and several 'secret' doorways. These required some careful navigation but were explored non-the-less with great enthusiasm.
A badgers paw was hooked out of the lake in the same spot. Amazing how the water had preserved the flesh. Thankfully it was returned!

A slow pace meant many treasured moments to stop and admire the incredible scenery. An hour or so of wonderful fresh air and another collection of memories to be kept forever :-)

Friday, 16 January 2015

Back to just us.....

*A week late.......better late then never!!

We've had a rather delightful week this week, just us......that's me plus my three, (oh and Jenny dog, Lily Loula and The Stick!)
I think that we really needed a break from the chaos of late (the chaos of Christmas....isn't Christmas supposed to be  a time for relaxing?? Seems like it's becoming increasingly stressful these days, might have to reconsider the whole workings of the season next time round). So just me and mine.....BLISS!!

Most of our clubs and activities don't recommence until next week, what a spot of luck that is....did I say how lovely our week has been?? Hehe!!

So Monday when the large majority of folk were returning to work, we rejoiced in being able to crawl out of bed when our bodies were ready to do so. A client called by mid morning but the rest of the day was spent just moseying around simply being.......in the afternoon, we exerted ourselves a little with a trip to Banbury to see 'Paddington'. I had a little nap mid way through.....(it's the warmth, dark, moments peace where the children are distracted from inflicting pain on each other and the gentle hum of folk savouring popcorn) but can honestly say I loved it (well what I saw of it anyway). If you haven't seen the film yet, it's well worth a watch :-)

Tuesday saw Miss P out at a friends for a spot of 'teenage catch-up', the Little Lady invited herself to her fiends house to plan her latest business venture so Small Boy and I ventured to on the first of many power training walks in preparation for my marathon Moon Walk (see previous post).

Wednesday....arrrr Wednesday....that was another of those 'stay at home and be' days.....I do so love those days that seem so rare these days.
It was really quite a delight to whop the heating up to 17 degrees (I know, I'm really going for it this year) and just sit back. For once there was no fighting amongst the small people they happily busied themselves for quite a while. I even got to spend a little time hooking away at that blanket. It's coming along quite nicely now and is almost at the desired length. Rather funny how that's happened really. One minute it seemed that I was only just beginning my mammoth blanket project and the next...well, take a peek!

Hehe...stripy socks too!

I shall have to work out how I'm going to edge it next.
So whilst I was busy bumbling about with my things, Small Boy was busy at working drilling, hammering and sawing wood on the sitting room hearth. He worked away for hours quite happily until he had created a bed for his Rara (that's his exceedingly dirty comfort blanket). He's commissioned me to make a duvet and pillow for it when I have time :-)

Mean while, The Little Lady decided to cook up the soup for lunch. She's becoming a useful 'dab hand' in the kitchen and seems to have a real flair for food preparation. So from my little sanctuary upstairs I relayed information on how to create tomato and lentil soup and within half and hour the delightful aromas came wafting up the stairs. She was quite pleased with herself, even more so when small Boy commented that it was better then mine!

She even laid the table too!

Miss P spent a little of the day doing some studying then a lot of the day creating 3D figures with Loom bands. The craze that seems to be coming to a halt the world over is still very much alive in our house with amazing creations being churned out daily. We took a little trip to the local garden centre this afternoon and The Works were selling the bands off at just 10p a pack......we have an even better stash now!

The other little thing that is already proving 'life changing' this week, was my 'on a whim' purchase of a 'Crock Pot' or Slow cooker as they are better known here. Well what a delight. Just ten minutes prepping and chucking in of veg, turn it on and six hours later after going out or busying yourself with whatever....Ta day!!! Dinner smelling delish and ready for tucking into. It's like having your own chef! This really is the answer for a busy single mother with no reliable other to help out when you return late from activities. Thoroughly recommend :-) :-) :-)

Oooh look, there it is....talking of which....... the smell of yummy offerings is wafting up the stairs right now! Mmmmmmmmmmm :-)

I almost forgot our visit from this little poppet...........                    

Sooo cute!

A true inspiration

I have woken up this morning to the most wonderful news. My brother in law Matt has just been given a kidney and panaceas transplant.

It is not every day that you meet someone that stands out as truly inspirational.
I often encounter folk who have done amazing things but usually those are one offs like training for marathons, helping someone in a crisis etc. Occasionally you meet someone who really stands out as being truly inspirational. Someone who endures feats like no other for months (often years) on end with little or no complaint.
Matt is certainly one of those people.

Having been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of three, Matt has had to endure years of insulin injections and hypos when he hasn't quite got things right. But through all this he has still lived life to it's full and to someone meeting Matt for the first time, you would never know what suffering he endured on a daily basis.

Finally, yesterday morning, Matt received the call he has been waiting about eighteen months for. (Not one suitable donor, but two :-)). After nine previous calls which turned out to be 'unsuitable' his opportunity for a better life has finally arrived.
Of course receiving a donated organ does mean that someone else has had to die and usually that person was a fit and well individual prior to their death. It's a difficult situation to be in; wanting a donor to come along but at the same time not wanting to think of someone else having to lose a loved one. Life is unpredictable and tragic situations do occur meaning that people do die before their time. What is lovely about donating an organ is that part of your loved one is able to live on and help support the life of another.

For Matt the waiting game has been long and arduous. In many ways he was fortunate, he didn't get to the point where he was on dialysis prior to his operation. He was however in a constant state of tiredness and of feeling unwell (none of these stopped him from throwing my children around in play :-)).
How amazing are medical advances?

The road to recovery will be long but having the donated organs (if they work) should mean a new found quality of life for Matt and my sister Emma.

Sending out love and positive healing thoughts, and eternally grateful thoughts of thanks for the medical team that enabled this life giving miracle to take place :-) :-) :-)

Are you on the donor list?????


Friday, 9 January 2015

Moon Walk 'here we go'

Back in 2011, two lovely friends and myself trained and took part in the London Moon Walk. It's a marathon walk (yes the whole 26.2 miles) around London.....at night......wearing a fancy decorated bra (oh yes!!)..... to raise money and awareness into breast cancer. Besides being for a good cause, it is one hell of a good/great challenge.
Back then when I initially signed up for the challenge, I thought I'd do it without any training....well it is only a walk isn't it??!! Ummm....WRONG.....this challenge was and is, far more then 'just a walk'. It  is a challenge of endurance, a challenge of emotional strength and a challenge to conquer all.......those who are unlucky enough to develop cancer will be all too familiar with such challenges but on a very different level.
Of course I realised very early on (I think it was the day when I tried to walk just a mile at speed) that I would need to train and train intensively, if I was going to stand a chance of completing the challenge and walk away unscathed at the end.

So four years on and two of us friends are entering again. Why?? I hear you question, well for me this time is a personal challenge to walk it faster...that's all! 
So back in October, I signed up and last week saw the start of months of training, (four months to be exact!). It's not an easy feat to get out there at this time of the year, especially not following the wonderful festive period of over indulgence.

So new trainers at the ready and off we go......

Week one consists of three, three mile walks at a gentle pace....quite a nice way to break us in really and also something that I can happily involve the kids with too without too much moaning :-)

This week was week two, still gentle walks but this time four miles in length....well it just didn't happen.....not according to plan anyway. I thought I'd go out with the Small Boy on the first walk of the week, him on his bike and my walking...gently...or so I thought. We trekked off along a country road which had far more traffic then I thought and so the supposed 'steady' walk became a break neck full out power walk. Four miles of it too! Not surprising that I ended up with a blister on my heel on the first wearing of those new trainers :-( oooh errrr, not what I needed with that only being the first walk of the week!
The second walk was much the same, although this time I did opt for a more traffic free, safer route. 
Only two days on since the blister, I had to lather my heel in Vasaline and layer up the socks to limit the friction. It was pretty sore to start off but to be honest the pain nulled after a mile or so.

I was reminded why I had decided to take-2 on this challenge yesterday. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and the weather was somewhat warmer then it has been recently. You see so much more when you walk (even at a pace), many more elements of our wonderful surroundings that we just take for granted in out fast paced lives. It's also a change to just be at peace with yourself. You have much time to ponder life when distractions are at a minimum. 
So 'heeeelllllooo again' bum muscles! Good to know you are still there somewhere. What a treat lies ahead for you :-).........

If any of you fancy joining me on my marathon training challenge or if you just fancy a walk in the country, it would be good to have you on board! XXX

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Festive period in pictures

Life has been snowballing along again at rapid speed, one moment we're thinking about the festive period and the next it's all over!
This Christmas seems to have whizzed past faster then ever before and my recent lack of posts has been a reflection of that. Right time to step back and recall the good times.....

The Little Lady tried her hand at baking Cinnamon buns......unfortunately Jenny Dog thought they were really rather tasty too and devoured most of these while we were out!!

Small Boy wanted to try his hand at pheasant catching.......I cannot believe that I aiding him in sewing 'dog hair' into raisins!!! (Fortunately he felt his mission was accomplished once the preparation was complete so no harm to pheasants was done :-))

The kids decorated the house this year......

I liked this little feature and have left it up :-)

Even Miss P's dolls house was decorated!!

This year was a little different from others, I had a desperate desire to stop missing the moment, so I embraced opportunities and went with the flow.....much fun was had :-)

The weekend before Christmas we took a trip to the local Crocodile Zoo.......
Interesting stuff........

Luckily no one got left behind!!

The week leading up to Christmas we decided to leave the chaos behind and create some of our own in the form of a camping trip in Fifi (a friends camper van).

I absolutely love the freedom that such an excursion allows. Two nights away and we literally allowed the world to become our playground.

Day 1: Our trip to the medical museums of Worcester morphed into a trip to the South coast.

Hot chocolate in Lyndhurst

A night in Lymington right alongside the marina - just perfect!

Dinner by candle light (because the internal electrics didn't work!!)

Day 2: Spent mostly playing on the beach, crocheting in the van and enjoying the good fresh air.

Small Boy created a nest of 'turtle eggs'....'Swim little turtles and safe you'll be....'

Spent the night on a quiet side street of Winchester.

Day 3: Admired the amazing Victorian shop signs in Winchester.

Discovered the round table that Henry 8th had painted himself at the top of and picnicked in a car park!

The build up to Christmas was good with the usual level of great enthusiasm, but as per normal I got lost in the moment and my good intentions were lost in the chaos of the period. I did manage to get my gifts together in time but the packs of cards I bought lay pretty much untouched until the night before Christmas eve! If you received one, 'my, what luck!!'

My neighbours children joined us whilst their mother worked and we had a rather lovely day creating Lego models, hair bows and pizza.......

Our annual Christmas Eve picnic in the woods was just what was needed to ground ourselves before the big day. Nature has a tendency to do that. Try it next time you're feeling stressed and out of tune.
We consumed simple soup and decorated a tree for the birds before heading back to the warmth of the cottage for hot tea......

Followed by Chris tingle....... 


Our Christmas day table......

New year fun with friends. For the first time EVER, I was invited to three New Year parties. I have likened the invites to buses.....I made two of the parties but three was pushing it somewhat

Can you spot who was who??

A blustery walk around Blenheim Place, always such amazing sight!

Happy New Year folks! May 2015 be everything you wish for and more XXXXX