Friday, 26 May 2017

I'm going for a run

"I'm going for a run."
I love saying that.
Basically, because I've always wanted to be one of those people who say they are going for a run, but never thought I would be one of those people, as I actually don't like running.
I'm rubbish at it.
Until I realised you don't really have to run, so to speak. It's perfectly acceptable to power walk or jog, this is still considered exercise.
I am in need of exercise, big time. I visit the gym in my lunch hour, when I'm in the office. But I'm only in the office three days a week, and on some of these days pesky people slip lunch time meetings into the diary.
Therefore, sometimes gym sessions are not enough. I'm loath to admit it, yet I have to - I'm a little bit fat again.
Also, I owe it to Tommy to be the fittest version of myself possible.
The nice weather helps with this running lark.
Recently, it's almost stopped raining and that big orange thing in the sky has remembered to shine again. Perfect weather for me to walk to the bottom of the garden, open the gate, then walk along the alley into our local park. This can be done whilst Mark and Tommy enjoy bath time.
I can squeeze the last drop of sunshine into my day. The park is an adequate size to run/jog/power walk around three laps, whilst nodding hello to the dog walkers and other people trying to get fit. There is gym equipment, next to the basketball court, and I have even been known to use the cross trainer, once.
It is usually alive with kids playing football and kids riding their bikes. Kids also wishing to make their day last as long as possible, at least until they have to go home for dinner and homework.
And I get some 'me' time, before I read Tommy his bedtime story. I plan picnics in the wood (spied a great picnic spot whilst running), and take in all the wonders of nature, whilst dodging the footballs, and hoping I don't look too fat in my pink top.
So, dear readers, it is that time again. I have been working from home today and prepared the posh fish and chips for dinner (mackerel, with sweet potato fries and salad, got to eat stuff like this now I am a little bit fat again). Mark is off to bath Tommy, I'm going for a run!
Or power walk or jog, it's better than nothing though, would you not agree.
Until the next one.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Those who don't believe in magic, will never find it

On some days, I chase giant friendly monsters, with bubble swords, or pretend spider webs.
On other days, I will eat plastic cakes, whilst sipping magic tea from blue and white spotted cups, surrounded by tigers and bears.
Then there are the days I fight fires and transform robots into lorries, after locking bad guys in lifts.
Or I just simply watch.
Either way, I could't be happier.
What a wonderful thing an imagination is.
I certainly encourage Tommy to use his, and if you don't mind me saying, I think he has a good teacher. For I have always experienced a weird and wonderful imagination.
And it sure beats working.

Teddy bear's tea party, with special guests.


This way to the chocolate froggies shop.


Massive fire station for Spider-Man, with a bed on the roof.


Chocolate ice-cream with rainbow drops from the ice-cream man please!


Fixing stuff in his playhouse.


Collecting sticks for magic wands.


Fighting fires. Look out for the traffic!


The big red fire truck, off to rescue the toys.


Spider-Man Tommy, before shooting his web at me and catching giant monsters.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

The universe verses me

I think it should be compulsory, that on your birthday you are not expected to attend the classroom or the office.
Your birthday should always be sacred, an extra day's holiday from the government.
If, for some reason, you had to attend school or work on this day, for example there was an exam or a highly critical meeting, you would be allowed to arrange another day to be absent, to compensate. But if your headmaster or manager insisted you were present on your birthday, or placed any pressure on you whatsoever, they would in fact be breaking the law.
You would be correct in thinking that I have thought about this quite a lot.
Yes I often fantasise with regards to laws and regulations, if I should happen to be placed in charge of this country, the world, or the universe.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on which way you look at it, I have no authority at all, so you are expected to be in the classroom or office on your birthday.
Alas, it would be frowned upon to book one's birthday off at school age (I was lucky, my birthday always fell in half term). But it's nice to know there is annual leave (schedules and allowance permitting) to book one's birthday off when one reaches employment age. Or to book one's parent's birthday, to be available for outings and treats.
I booked the day off for my dad's birthday last week. We also celebrated my mum's birthday, even though her birthday was in December. Allow me to explain, I had promised to take her to Audley End House and Gardens, and for this we wanted to wait until the gardens reopened in the month of April. There is a method in my madness.
Sometimes.

Allow the birthday treats to commence. (In other words, see my pics below!)

Audley End, one of the greatest houses of early 17th-century England. And the little piece of history for you - in about 1605–14 Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk, took an earlier house created by his grandfather Lord Audley on the site of Walden Abbey, and rebuilt it on the scale of a royal palace. Robert Adam transformed this house for Sir John Griffin Griffin in the 1760s, while Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown remodelled the grounds, to create one of England's finest landscape gardens.
I can confirm, the landscape is glorious.






What a truly magnificent building, steeped in history, surrounded in a serene setting.
Audley End House and Gardens, I salute you.

Next stop, Museum of Power.
Housed in a former water Pumping Station, the museum contains a fascinating collection, from a working overhead machine to a petrol iron.
Not quite on the scale of Audley End, but a grand building nevertheless, with a charming backdrop of trees, plants and bridges. Some interesting stuff for the kids too, we had to find the robots to obtain a prize, and lots of buttons to press and toys to play with. Plus, the best strawberry milkshake ever.




Saturday, 29 April 2017

Dear George (the final letter)

You were the voice on my cassette player at my 13th birthday party. The poster on my wall, the face on my pencil case, the assignment for my GCSE.
You were my first ever concert and I danced the night away. You were the music in my first car, the CD collection I brought to my first home.
You were the mask I wore on my hen do, the lyrics I sang on my wedding day. You even joined me on my honeymoon.
You were the autograph on Different Corner (you told me not to loose my shoes), the smile in my photograph (thank you).
You have always been my happy place, my inspiration.
The most amazing and beautiful sound track of my life.
Thank you George, for everything.
I will never stop missing you.

This is the story of a bitter sweet journey to a beautiful and peaceful village in Oxfordshire.


My final letter to George.


This where I left my letter. His house in Goring. So many tributes from all over the world.


Tommy made me laugh when he saw the teddies and said, "Mummy, I don't want to leave my toys here!"


George's house is next to a picturesque church and garden.


I went inside the church and signed the book of condolence for George.


His house is also situated next to the river. No wonder George loved living here. This is Tommy's face after I asked him to smile nicely.


A piggy back around the village. Don't you wish you could still do this?


A browse in Barbara's antiques.


Then we checked out our home for the night. The Miller of Mansfield, opposite George's house and one of his locals.


Our room. Tommy loved the walls, blue, his favourite colour.


Tommy's room. Even though he slept in our bed!


Bathroom.


A light lunch at the Miller.


Silly faces. As you can see, I gave up trying to capture a flattering one of me. I hate my picture being taken, but I don't want to regret not having enough pictures of the two of us, so I settled for silly faces. Actually, sometimes these sort of moments are the best.


After shopping, walking, and a huge bubble bath, we dined at The Catherine Wheel. Another charming pub George used to vacate to.


George's favourite tipple, Martini Expresso. Cheers, God bless you George. And a massive heartfelt thank you to Mark for realising how much this meant to me and understanding the memories.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

101 days

"Don't worry, it's only 101 days until the next official holiday," said I to my horrified colleague, as we returned from the Christmas break. (Not sure if colleague was horrified at the thought of 101 days until the next holiday, or the fact I had actually counted the days.)
I was referring to Easter. The holiday where it is socially acceptable to eat huge chocolate eggs every day. Not surprising, it's one of my favourite times of the year.
I'm also in love with Easter as it sits in Spring, a season sprinkled with blossom and new beginnings.
I am a huge fan of planning, so after I returned from the Christmas break, I wasn't too fazed at the thought of 101 days of organising eggs hunts and decorations and baking.
I set to work straight away. I ordered a Peter Rabbit tin from etsy and searched for Easter ideas on Pinterest. This kept me content for a while. Next, I ventured to the bottom of the white chest for Easter egg hunt props from last year (I needed to remind myself of the contents).
Please note, I'm not saying I prepared for Easter every single one of those 101 days, I also needed to concentrate on my job, keep the house clean, and amuse Tommy, but I did my best.
As Good Friday was fast approaching, the shops came alive with chocolate eggs, colourful tulips, and Easter bunnies. I stocked up on presents for the family and purchased decorations at car boot sales.
Tommy and I then participated in crafts, we sat at his little table and cut things out and stuck things down until they mildly resembled egg decorations.
It was all coming together nicely.
I bought Carbury's Creme Eggs for my colleagues, and baked cupcakes and made Rice Krisipie cakes with Tommy. A lot of these cakes were eaten before they reached the food fridge and the vintage style tin, as you might expect.
I invited the family to our house, arranged to meet a friend for lunch, and Googled places of interest for the forthcoming long weekend.
Then finally, it arrived.
Easter, you were worth the 101 day wait.

Good Friday lunch with Tommy, special friend and god daughter. Colouring in and cake were a massive hit.


Tommy would absolutely not take the fork out of his mouth.


Before Tommy said, "I really like Faith. I want to go everywhere with her."


Getting ready for the Easter egg hunt in our garden.


And we're off!



Afternoon tea for the family. With cakes baked by myself and Tommy. And lots of tulips.


Spider-Man and Superman. Otherwise known as Tommy and his cousin.


Sunday lunch at my sister-in-laws. The kids played nicely mid course.


Easter Monday was spent in a picturesque village, with another Easter egg hunt in and around the barn.


Searching for letters and eggs, using the clues, to unravel the name to win the chocolate bunny.


Found one!


And another!


Distracted by toys.


Very happy with his chocolate bunny.


Next, a walk along the river.


The pretty village that is Coggelshall.




See you next year, Easter! As much as I love you, I'm glad you're only once a year, as you and your offerings have not helped my waist line at all.