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14 Jun

We got married back in August last year, but with the impending Viva, house buying and relocation, plus the fact we had just paid for a wedding we didn’t really have the time, nor the means to go away.

We played with the idea of winter sun, expensive Caribbean destinations and exotic, cultured tours.

But actually, what we really wanted was to lay on a beach drinking cocktails, and doing naf all.  We didn’t want the pressure of being somewhere where we would have to go and see buildings, art galleries or wonders of the ancient world.  No, sod that, we didn’t want to be entertained or cultured.

Neither of us are particularly adventurous so we have come to love the greek islands,  the greek people are friendly, engaging and don’t seem to mind if you can’t speak greek.  Most of all we feel safe there.  We also realised that there was little point traveling half way around the world to just lay on a beach drinking all-inclusive cocktails!

So we waited until the start of the Greek holiday season and went to Kos, an island we have visited previously with limited cultural interest (all of which we saw on our last trip) and where we managed to get a fairly bargainous all-inclusive-10-day-deal.  It was still significantly more expensive than our usual 3-star-self-catering job.  But we figured we should make it a bit more special than our usual holiday.

We stayed at the Hotel Oceanis Beach and Spa Resort which is a 4-star-couples-only-mega-all-inclusive-hotel on the beach.  We were expecting it to be a bit posher that our previous holidays, with no food shopping to do and 10 days instead of 7, we also expected it to be a bit more relaxing and luxurious.

The hotel surpassed all our expectations…


The room staff folded our towels into animal shapes:


And when we mentioned we were on Honeymoon:

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The food was awesome, the drink all inclusive:

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And we actually managed to do nothing for a whole 10 days:


Aside from, of course, some experimental paddle-boarding:

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And, posing in the sea:

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We also learned a little bit of Greek and made friends with the Beach Bar Staff:

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With nothing to do for 10 days, we felt as if we had a decent break. I was sad to leave, so sad I cried on the crappy flight back home.

However,  Life goes on, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the puppies had survived our trip away.  They had been well looked after by Dan’s parents and were pleased to see us but also quite happy with life as it was:


Also, the Apple tree had blossomed:


And the flowers had begun to flower:

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Alice’s Adventures in Fame

10 Apr

I am both flattered and humbled to have been chosen by our artist friend Ann Stoker (click on name to visit blog) as a suitable subject for one of her beautiful paintings!

'Wedding Boots' finished

I think it was the boots that did it!  I love how she has managed to make this feel so light and playful yet graceful!

We were also lucky enough for her to choose Dan as a subject for her collection of faces.  I think she has made him look particularly wise and ‘seeing’

'Dan' finished

On a less professional note, I also recently ‘googled’  our dogs’ names: ‘Bronwyn and Odin’ (as you do) and realised that a you-tube video of them is the first result!  That’s pretty famous!

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.


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!


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:


More time to stop and be.



Things that Made Me Smile this Weekend

6 Jan


Amalia, who couldn’t help but do a spot of gardening, in the middle of winter, in her pyjamas.


Taking the lady-dog for a walk without the boys (on account of her poorly leg) and finding a new park!


Odin sleeping with his racoon!

I hope something made you smile this weekend 🙂

Hello 2013

1 Jan

I really hope 2013 is a quiet one!

I have resolved to take at least the first half of 2013 as a ‘break’ from major life events.  I know this is not entirely within my control, but I won’t be adding any major life events to any that occur of their own or other’s volition.

I know the next major event that I hope to plan will be a baby, and I know that feels like a very attractive proposition.  However,  I am also aware that I have spent the last three years lusting over time to call my own.  Post-doctorate,  I still haven’t found this easily and I suspect, that should we have a baby, this will be a dream lost.

I now know that I have issues with claiming ‘time’ for myself.  It gets lost within the list of ‘should dos’ and ‘I will have a break whens..’ I struggle with the idea that I might be self indulgent and do something ‘just because I want to’.

I believe that I am improving in this struggle and this blog is a testament to that.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to become a hedonist, but maybe just less of a masochist.  I would like to be able to claim 15 minutes for myself without feeling guilty. I would like to chose to make myself happier rather than miserable.

So my resolutions?

1. Find More TIME

Yes, I have a plan for this:

  • House cleaning is to be constrained to weekday evenings and for no more than 1hour on any one evening.
  • Cooking fancy meals (those that take more than 30 minutes) only at weekends and in a big vat on one evening per working week.
  • Supermarket shopping only once per fortnight.

2. Set a New Goal Each Week

This is with a view to continuing personal development; it might be related to finding ‘time’ to do something I really want to do but it might be about another, broader aim.  I will record each goal here at the beginning of each week and will review it at the end of each week.  Repeating goals is acceptable and may well be necessary.

3. Go to Karate Class Once a Week

I used to beat myself up for not managing to attend more than once a week, but realise now that although I was only managing a class a week, I was the fittest I have ever been.  No, it’s not the recommended amount of exercise, but it is exercise! I have inquired and discovered my old club is national and are running classes in this area,  I just need to find my membership card, my Gi, and go!

4. Take the Dogs to Dog-Training Classes

Again, I have made appropriate enquiries and am awaiting feedback.  Either way, I will find a club and take them!

5. Will Obviously lose 71b

Once we have finished the Christmas food.

6. Blogging

I hope this recent splurge in blogging continues, even if it is just to check in with a weekly goal.  It represents a successful 30 minutes of ‘me’ time and makes me think about what and how I am doing.

Happy 2013 Chaps, lets rock this one!




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


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..



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…


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!




Puppy love

7 Nov

Bronwyn and Odin are dozing in the lounge. They are not in the same bed, but they are touching paws.

Like all mammals, dogs are hard-wired to build affectional bonds or attachments with other members of their community. So long as they have eaten and are not under threat of any kind this is a priority for them. Evolution has made this activity biologically reinforcing with the hormone oxytocin. So when dogs groom each other they experience a calming of their heart rate and a feeling if connectedness in the same way humans do when they are caring for each other.

I think just looking at them like this gives me an oxytocin boost!


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