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2014

31 Dec

I feel as if 2014 has brought me full circle in a number of ways:

This time last year I was a tiny bit pregnant and desperately anxious that I would lose that little life.

I didn’t.

I am very happy to write Elsie Anne Brown arrived on the 14th of August, on what was probably the most traumatic, but ultimately, brilliant day of my life.

A year later, here she is:

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Which brings me on to the other thing that 2014 has done for me. It’s made me a mother. I’m still getting my head around what that means exactly but, I know that I have changed. A lot. In ways I didn’t imagine.

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Also, perhaps unfortunately, I turned 30 this year. Having this coincide with pregnancy really nailed home the feeling that I’ve moved onto my next life stage. I was ready to make that transition but it was, it is, still a transition. I’ve still had to let go of ideas about, and aspects of, myself.

I’ve replaced drinking and smoking with baby wearing and cloth nappies. Report writing with breast feeding and thinking with gazing at my baby.

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I totally love it!

Thank you for reading whoever and wherever you are. I hope 2015 is a good-un for us all.

Bright blessings xx

A Four Day Weekend

1 Apr

I have been holding out for this weekend for a while now. It has helped to know I would get four whole days off. I think that we have been so busy that the usual Two day weekend hasn’t been long enough for me to really slow down and reflect on how I am and whether I need to change.

It wasn’t until the third day that I felt I had got everything that needed doing done. When this happened, yes, I wanted to sit and do nothing but it also gave me some space to realise how stressy I have got myself!

We have been for two very beautiful walks with the dogs, which we were able to do without time limits, or guilt or anxiety about losing time.

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And Dan and I have actually spent time together and talked. We have had space to share ideas and interests rather than day-to-day frustrations and to-do lists.

I’ve even (with much help from Amalia) decorated an Easter Tree!

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Having this time has helped me reflect and realise that I don’t want to find ways of earning more money,  I don’t want a bigger house or a better set of qualifications.  I want more of this:

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More time to stop and be.

 

 

Christmas 2012

30 Dec

I hope you have all had a very Merry Christmas!

We (as you might have guessed) are not exactly Christian, but we do celebrate: Family; Friends; The passing of another year; The Winter Solstice; Time Off Work; Good Food; and of course, Good Booze!

For the last Five Years Dan and I have spent Christmas together, alternating between his mum’s and my mum’s house, usually getting back into the car on boxing day to drive for three hours to see the other mum. I love seeing everyone, but this can mean we take a week off work without managing to spend time in our own home.

This year has been a bit different! It was Dan’s mum’s year so we went to see her from Christmas eve through to boxing day, however, she only lives an hour and a half away now, so this was no big mission. The day after boxing day the script changed entirely and my parents came to see US!  It was truly lovely to have them here to see the house for the first time and spend time making it feel homely.  It also meant it was totally worth getting a Christmas Tree!!!

Our First Christmas Tree

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I don’t usually bother insisting on a tree, this is mostly because we don’t get a chance to look at it if we are off traveling the UK.  This year, it was decided, new home, new life = new tree!  It has been a joy to have and to look at and I am hoping he will survive to come in again another year!

Puppies at Christmas

This was the Puppies second Christmas with us.  So I suppose they are hardly puppies anymore.

Here they are a year ago..

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And this year!

How things change! (and how they don’t!)

Anyway, once the obligatory hat shot was out-of-the-way, they quite enjoyed Christmas. Lots of walks, attention, and of course, gifts.

It was too much for one small dog to take…

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Time Off, At Home

I took what was left of my annual leave, giving me a whopping week and a half off work.  Sadly I have been ill since the first day of this!  Just a minging virus, nothing serious. I had felt as if I was about to be ill for the last two months.  I suspect the removal of all the adrenaline, that usually keeps me chipper, left my body ready to give me hell.  I’m starting to feel a bit better (although I still can’t taste anything) today, so, of course my neck/shoulder has decided to trap a nerve.  It’s okay, I’m still enjoying the rest.  Dan bought me an industrial strength Ice Cream Maker for christmas so I have had something new to play with.  I have also had some time, in the last two days without guests, to think about how I want to develop my life a little more in the coming year.  More on that soon.  For now, I have two days left to do a little sorting (yeah, I still haven’t unpacked the office), blogging and relaxing (no I’m not going to clean the house) ready for the new year.

Seasons greetings!

 

 

 

A Belated Easter Post

21 Apr

I started writing this post over Easter and thought I would try to write a seasonal one for you all (I’m sorry it’s late!).  I have had a busy time thesis writing, I wanted to get as much done as possible before I started my new clinical placement. Fortunately, the lack of blogging and the persistent slogging has paid off and I’ve written pretty much all I can untill I start getting the results of my experiment in.

Unfortunately, I pretty much missed easter altogether!

In England Easter is a bizarre and fantastic conglomeration of  the Pagan celebration of new life, the Christian marking of the death and rebirth of Christ and blatant consumerism.  To celebrate I usually make a cake; a simnel cake to be precise, which is a medium-light fruit cake with a layer of marzipan baked into it, it is our favorite but really should only be served at Easter.  I really missed the simnel cake but I did allow myself to make some easter nests!  Which were scrummy:

They are just made with crushed shredded wheat cereal and melted dairy milk chocolate, mixed up and squished into nest shapes where you place your little mini eggs. Leave to set in the fridge.  Not exactly high brow…

Well…

Untill you serve them with this:

Yes…

That would be a peaty single malt whisky

Yum!

Had I have been at my mother’s house for Easter, food would have been of central importance.  It still was here, only not so fancy! At my Mum’s we would have had fish on good friday and a roast dinner on Easter sunday (probably lamb- but not necessarily).  D does not eat meat so there is little point in cooking a roast dinner in this house.  We were able, however, to have fish on the friday.  This took the form of a smoked mackerel salad:

I know it’s a ‘salad’!

This always puts us off too, untill I actually make it and realise how ‘yum’ it is.

I think the recipe came out of one of my mum’s magazines years ago, I can’t remember where and I have probably sufficiently altered it for it not to matter too much.  It’s basically a bag of mixed leaves (preferably something peppery); sliced radishes; sliced Gherkins; Smoked, peppered mackerel and new potatoes.  I make a seriously unhealthy dressing by mixing mayonnaise with grated horseradish (or horseradish sauce) and lemon juice.  No measuring involved just to taste.  The flavours are fantastic= Smoky fish, tart gherkins, peppery radishes/leaves and the freshness of the lemon= Grand!  We washed this down with a few pints of homemade Woodfordes Wherry, a Dark Ale which didn’t seem to disagree with the fish as much as you might expect.

For Easter sunday we went with a cheats ‘toad in the hole’.  I’m ashamed to say I bought the (boat-shaped) yorkshire puddings and just added meaty sausages to mine and veggie sausages to D’s, served with gravy, Kale and mashed potato neither of us minded too much!

And that was our easter,  I hope yours was more seasonal and I look forward to a time when I can embrace public holidays and celebrations again! (maybe then you will get to see my simnel cake!).

Happy weekend!

 

 

 

Our Puppy Journey- Part One

30 Mar

As these guys are going to feature heavily in my blog  I thought I should give them a proper introduction.  They are actually pushing on six months old so this will be a several-parter.

Back in September ’11 we had recently lost our dear doggy friend Annie.  Annie had been my soul mate and I missed her like a part of my heart had gone.  I didn’t want to replace her or have another dog that would be too much like her.  I wanted a dog, but I needed the relationship to be different,

Annie had been a wise,

Compassionate friend,

Standing firm by my side for 8 years.

Annie looking wise

So………

We agreed,

Not one dog,

Not a dog…..

A Puppy!

Two Puppies!

Can you believe I have a fiance, who let me have puppies? 

In the final year of my doctorate?

 and yes…

He nearly let me have three!

We agreed that I could have two if they were little-ish.

We agreed that we would like something long-nosed but not pedigree.  So I  started my search for whippet X PUPPIES.  Pretty soon I found an advert without a picture, I emailed the man and asked for a picture… well, this is what he sent me!

Our First Puppy Shot

That was it….. I wanted the-spotty-one-in-the-middle, and NOTHING was going to stop me.  D convinced me to wait untill we saw them and even suggested it was somewhat superficial to chose a dog soley based on how it looked. 

So.. The next weekend we drove from Northampton (UK) to somewhere in North Yorkshire to “check out” the puppies.  We (well- D) agreed that we would check out the family and the mum-dog and not commit. When we arrived the mum-dog came to the door to greet us, she was beutiful and calm, despite having nine three-week-old pups  to protect.

Mummy Dog

I love how it looks like she is smiling in this picture.

So it turns out I couldn’t choose,

I wanted the spotty one 

But also a stripey one

D had no difficulty and chose one straight away,  on the basis that she licked his hand.

So- how do you chose a puppy, from lots of puppies, when what you really want is a puppy?

Choosing Puppies

I didn’t think I could…

Until…

Remember the little spotty one? 

Well… He got up and stumbled right over to me.  It was like he saw me coming.  Anyway, in his stumbling over to me he had met D’s Criterion of having chosen US.  He had also met my criteria of being, well… spotty.  Also….a PUPPY. Here he is…

Baby Boy Dog

And again with his sister…

Our Puppy Choices

So, with our choice made, we just had to wait THREE WEEKS. 

It was the longest THREE WEEKS ever.  During which time all I could think, dream and talk about were:

PUPPIES

PUPPIES

PUPPIES

I worried that it was too good to be true, that something would go wrong, that we would never see them again.

And then, the day arrived.  The day we would TAKE OUR PUPPIES HOME.

And here they are the-little-squidgy-teeny-tiny-so-cute-I-wept-PUPPIES-in-my-car!

Puppies in the car

I couldn’t believe my luck, teeny-tiny-beings-only-just-got-onto-this-planet and COMING TO LIVE WITH US!

The next month was filled with lots of pooey-crazy-tired-joyful-woofy-goodness as the little dudes caried on learning about the world and settling into their new home. 

As for names… I couldn’t do that either. 

D chose for the little lady, straight away, he just thought she looked like a ‘Bronwyn’ (maybe she looked welsh?). 

As for the baby boy, we played with a few ideas…

Sparky (like the gay dog from southpark)

Spartacus (imagine shouting that in the park)

Flash (Ahhhhahhh)

Ruben (I just like it)

Thor (God of Thunder)

I decided that being as he looked SO wuusy, he should have a strong name, but no matter how hard I tried, I just thought he looked too pretty to be Thor.

 So Odin it was

Norse Father of the Gods…

And melter-of-my-doctorate-hardened-heart