Saturday, 28 June 2014

Summer Evening Jazz

And so the celebrations continue.
Summer Evening Jazz tickets were purchased for my father's 80th birthday, with love from me, Mark and Tommy.

Since 1566 The Petre family have occupied the stunning house and grounds, which are open to the public for tours and events, only a mere twenty minute drive from our cottage.

My boys.

Live music from Frog Island Jazz band and The Salty Town Six.

There was face painting and decorating your umbrella.

We brought our own picnic, which included strawberries on the lawn.

Tommy loved it when everyone clapped, he thinks clapping is funny.

The grand umbrella parade, with prizes. A brownie tent style brolly won the children's category. A musical instrument themed umbrella won the over 18's.

We all had such a lovely time that we want to book our tickets for next year.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Until my appreciation for George Michael dies, in other words, forever

Unless you kill my cat (and I don't even own a cat) or set fire to my clothes, and if you're nice to me, then you will be my friend until my appreciation for George Michael dies. That, dear readers, is a long time.
I think the depth of my friendships became apparent when I handed my long list of friends to invite, to my beautiful bridesmaid, for my hen do. Yes, that was a little while ago, but there is a relevant and recent point to this post.
This list was quite a task for my bridesmaid, but how could I not invite my brother's first serious girlfriend, and his fiancee, to name but a few. I'm still in touch with both of them, and during my hen night I recall a drunken, tearful conversation with his fiancee. We both discussed how much we've been through together, and how glad we are that we're still in each other's lives. Okay we do not regularly see each other, we don't have to. As you grow older time becomes limited, but as long as you make an effort to keep in touch, especially at special occasions, I'm happy with that.
I am blessed with fabulous friends, I do realise this. And my circle of friends has certainly widened over the years. I used to play my cards too close to my chest, I used to find it hard to let people into my life and trust them. I don't wish to mislead you, I wasn't lonely and friendless, crying into my pillow every night. I always had a best friend and was happy most of the time, but during my school days I was never the girl who walked with a trail of friends behind her, girls tripping over themselves to hang onto every word I spoke.
Although I am pleased to report, I'm still close with and see as often as possible, my school friend I have known since I was four years old. I have colourful memories of playing in her paddling pool, gobbling her mum's yummy fat chips, and her dog with one brown eye and one blue eye.
Over the years, dear readers, my confidence has slowly crept to a suitable position, and with this my ability to communicate and relax. Therefore, bonds were formed with work colleagues, ex boyfiend's friend's girlfriends, and generally nice people.
Also, don't let me mislead you here either. It's not as if I walk into a shop and anyone who dares to smile at me, or an innocent shop keeper who wishes me a good day, I hug them and scream, "We simply must do coffee and biscuits one morning and be friends for like, always!" I am choosier than this, friendship and trust are gained for better reasons than a toothy grin or a polite comment.
Back to the never ending list for my hen do. It also included current work mates and past work mates. I'm lucky enough to have worked with, and still work with, some interesting and lovely people.
Which brings me to Sophie. What can I tell you about Sophie and I? Well, there are some old posts on my blog and a few things I've never got round to telling you. We worked together for ten years and as a result of this, partied in Cannes, Barcelona, Singapore, and most of the bars in London. We've dressed in wigs, sung to strangers, and tampered with colleagues emails and voice mails. Yes, we've often brought out the naughty side in each other.
I left the publishers we worked at together about five years ago, I was probably more sad about not seeing her every day when I left. So of course we've kept in touch. Now our fellas are friends and we're both responsible mothers.
Oh and she's a married woman these days.
These are the pics from her wedding day.

Before the ceremony. Check out the pink flock wallpaper in our hotel room.

Mr and Mrs.

Give us a twirl, bridesmaids.

I wonder where we are sitting? This should make things clearer.

Dinner by candle light.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Daddy's day

It was Mark's first father's day.
Tommy splashed his hand about in a bowl of (cold) tomato soup, he loved it. It was the only thing I could think of for a bright handprint on a white card. Although it's not come out too well in this picture.

Can you see the mug in the middle of the polka dots, I ordered this on-line for Mark's morning coffee.

My dad also received a handprint card from Tommy, and a homemade card from yours truly. I didn't place my hand in a bowl of tomato soup, I used a watering can and garden tools.

Tommy bought my dad a Grandpa sign for his shed. I'll let you into a little secret, I purchased it really.

My present to my dad, Tommy gazing into his eyes in the crooked house on his 80th birthday.

Mark and I brought food to my parents and cooked a barbie in their garden.

It was a smashing day. The weather behaved and we all ate too much.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

No more drama

Mark wasn't happy to be back from Cornwall. He missed the beach; helping Tommy bury his feet in the sand and chasing his nephew into the sea. He missed eating out in fish restaurants; merrily drinking Pinot Grigio, smug in the knowledge tomorrow was another non-work day.
As much as I loved our yearly vacation, I was happy to be back. Our cute cottage welcomed me home. I was grateful to be amongst familiar surroundings, the family photographs hanging on the walls, the cheerful flowers poking out of the tubs in the garden. I'm quite a homely girl, I don't need flash nights out or to be constantly breaking boundaries to put a smile on my face. I'm happy to potter around the cottage, playing Peek-a-boo with Tommy, which dissolves him into fits of chuckles. I'm lucky that I'm spending precious time with my boy and my life is hassle free.
It's the simple things which make me glad, and I'm glad my life is presently simple. I was thinking this the other day, as I was strolling through the village with Tommy, admiring the ducks swimming in the pond and the neatly cut grass on the cricket green. I don't have any drama or complications in my days.
Some mornings Mark drives me to my parents, where Tommy and I spend the day. My mum and I always walk to the local shops, pushing Tommy in his pram. We browse in the charity shops and the department store, and stop at The Tea Cosy for a hot chocolate and slice of cake, ignoring nasty calories.
Some days a friend will visit me for lunch. If it's sunny we sit in the garden, red and pink polka dot cushions on the wooden chairs, ladybird cover over the salad, and wild flowers picked from the garden in my tiny glass vases. I love dressing the table and planning menus. We chat and eat my budget friendly but hopefully tasty food, and Tommy is content in his high chair, sucking an apple and cinnamon rice cake. Friends are so kind, they always arrive with Tulips or chocolate or wine.
And some days my father-in-law will treat me to a pub lunch. We will walk to one of the local, friendly, pubs where everyone makes a fuss of Tommy and we spend ages deciding what to eat from the menu.
Oh in the past my life hasn't always been this easy. I've had my fair share of stress, with toxic relationships and a worrying amount of debt. I've had days in my past life where I've wanted to hide under the duvet until it's all over. I guess that's why I appreciate so much now. And why I will do my utter best to avoid any kind of drama and try my ultimate hardest not to fret over the small stuff.
My life is great and simple, and I love it.
However, this could all change very soon.
I have to return to work next week.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The story continues in Cornwall

Many a day was spent on the beach, thanks to the glorious sunshine. Even when it wasn't sunny we pretended it was.

So this is what they call sand.

Daddy and Tommy playing on the beach.

Tommy's first glimpse of the sea.


Will loved his bucket and spade.

Digging to Australia.

My boys.

Searching for stones.


Life's a beach.

We visited Mark's mum's memorial bench on the coastline, and explored the pathways.

Beautiful scenery, even if some of the paths were treacherous.

And that dear readers was Cornwall, until next year.

Monday, 9 June 2014

The year Tommy came to Cornwall

We're back from our yearly family holiday in Cornwall. And this year Tommy joined us.
Here are some of our pictures.

St Ives is the name of our favourite seaside town, we always stay here.

The Labour in Vain was the name of our holiday cottage. It used to be a pub.

There was a real nautical theme running through the cottage.

This is the room we slept in.

This is the kitchen Katy cooked in. Toad in the hole, Mexican, berry crumble, white chocolate and strawberry cheesecake. Lucky us.

This is the room we ate in, drank wine and played cards.

This is the room we watched telly in. Mike the Knight for the kids and Comedy Gala for the adults.

Excellent location was our cottage, next to the cafe, popular with seagulls.

The cottage was also opposite the house the author Daphne du Maurier used to holiday in.

The Mermaid restaurant, serving the best steak ever, was steps away.

It was also moments away from our favourite beach.

Pop back soon for the beach pics and our coastal walks.