Saturday, 14 March 2015

A Postcard to the Past

I was recently asked by Sykes Cottages to create a Postcard to the Past and I couldn't wait to get involved! Firstly because I've used their website several times to research short breaks and am happy to recommend it to you, and secondly because I love the idea of creating a personal postcard from a special memory.

This fantastic tool allows you to upload a photograph and turn it into a postcard, adding a special message to the people in it. You can even email it to them or share it on your social media channels.

Photographs of me are very rare indeed and old ones even more so, so it also allowed us to spend a happy hour poring over Matt's battered old laptop to find the gem above. Back in the days when we had our VW camper we went to the Peak District for a weekend and my sister Kay and her partner Kieran came along too. We had a wonderful weekend of walking, barbecues and playing poker in the evenings. We ate fantastic cooked breakfasts at the local pub and the boys (and dogs) played football for hours while Kay and I chatted about our childhood camping memories and the impending birth of her son, Finley.

Wilson chills out with a beer after a swim in the stream

There were many memorable moments from that weekend - Kieran getting carried away on the walk home from the pub on the Saturday night and deciding to jump across the stream, for example. After a couple of successful leaps he tackled the widest part of the stream and inevitably came a cropper, tumbling into the water and causing the kind of mildly drunken hysterics that prompt you to cross your legs for fear of embarrassing yourself!

The next morning we set out for a walk to the nearest village to pick up some supplies. Matt and Kieran took the football and were having a little kickabout as we walked through a field of cows. Kieran passed the ball to Matt and Wilson came shooting after it and got tangled up in Matt's legs. As he was carrying our heavy backpack, Matt was knocked off balance and came crashing down like a sack of spuds - with Wilson bouncing on top of him - causing us girls to fall about laughing, clutching each other with tears rolling down our cheeks!

Matt with his giant backpack and Kieran & Kay wearing matching trousers!

It was just a brilliant weekend and reminded me how it's often the simplest things - good company, good food, the great outdoors - that make me the happiest. 

Three months later, Finley was born and three years after that my wonderful sister was with me when I gave birth to Forrest. Our lives have all changed so much since those simpler times but I know we have many more camping trips ahead of us with our children along for the ride and many more memories to make together. 

Thank you Sykes Cottages for reminding me of such a fun holiday with my favourite people! 

*PR Collaboration

Monday, 2 March 2015

February Round Up

Another month has flown by and despite my best intentions, I've failed miserably on the blogging front. I have a sick note though. Remember that surgery I'd been putting off? Well I finally had it on the 9th of February. Turns out it was a bigger operation than I'd realised and the recovery was longer, more complicated and far more painful than I'd anticipated. In fact, I'm still recovering now, though I've been feeling a bit better this weekend (thank goodness)

So it's been a fairly sedate month for me - lots of hanging around the house in my PJs, online shopping and watching the house become a bit of a mess and trying not to care!

The month started off snowy and cold - my favourite kind of weather. Getting out with the pushchair was impossible until it had thawed a little so Forrest and I spent a blissful few days at home, snuggling down with a hot water bottle and blankets, copious amounts of tea and a Duplo marathon. The dogs enjoyed themselves in the garden, Jessie loves the snow.

This was Forrest's first ever cooked breakfast! He loved the beans and sausages the best, bacon and egg white were not quite so popular

The KitchenAid was a birthday present, isn't it a beauty? I deliberated over the colour for weeks before plumping for cream. I was worried I'd feel a bit unadventurous if I didn't have red but it actually looks beautiful in the kitchen and perfectly matches my Nespresso, which sits alongside it. They put me in mind of a pair of wise kitchen demigods, sniggering at my ineptitude as I botch pastry yet again and wimp out of making my own bread, reaching for my trusty breadmaker.

Speaking of my trusty breadmaker, I heaved it out of storage this month and have rediscovered the joy of fresh bread whenever I want it rather than relying on the Tesco delivery man, whose visits cannot keep up with Matt and Forrest's insatiable appetite for granary loaves. I know I'm a cheat but seriously, no one would have the time to keep up with these two and my arms are no good for kneading. I'm weak as a kitten.

The middle to the end of the month was taken up with visits to my GP and lying around waiting for a miraculous recovery (and being bitterly disappointed) I did manage to pick up the most beautiful little Emma Bridgewater 'British Birds' jug on eBay for an absolute steal though. It is currently sitting on the kitchen windowsill and looking charming but when our AGA surround is fitted it will have pride of place on an integrated shelf. I'm a little worried it will be lonely so I've committed to finding it some friends. Watch this space ...

In other house news, there has been a little progress this month. Matt has started painting our dressing room and has finally fitted shelves in the kitchen cupboards and fitted and oiled one of the work surfaces. We now have proper taps and some of the plyboard worktops are gone for good. I can't say I'm sorry. We've also ordered a gigantic sofa for our soon-to-be cinema room, which means we need to get the room wired, plastered, painted and carpeted in the next 10 weeks or so. Realistically we've got no chance, I'm just hoping the shop will store it for us until we're ready for it!

Mid-February brought Matt's birthday, which was spent buying his favourite sausages at his favourite farm shop, test driving his dream new car, ordering the aforementioned sofa and viewing a property - another renovation project. I'm not sure 'renovation project' really does it justice to be honest, it was mostly falling down. It was a huge, grade 2 listed farmhouse with about a zillion outbuildings and nearly 17 acres of land. I had a mild panic when I saw it and heard his plans but luckily he saw sense after exploring it thoroughly. Taking on a lifetime of work when we still haven't finished our current home really wouldn't be a bright idea!

We've also got a tentative completion date for the sale of the cottage so there was a bit of paperwork to do for that. Reading through contracts made me a little nostalgic for the old days when contract law was my full time job. But not for long. I had a cup of tea and a clotted cream scone and soon forgot about it ;)

I've been practicing my knitting skills, it was all going quite well until I managed to create a hole in my 'scarf' (!) and I've no idea how to fix it. I need to hit YouTube again I think ...

So that was February! Here and gone before we know it, as it always is. It also signifies six years since Matt and I met and two years since we found out I was pregnant. This February was also when Forrest finally learned to walk without help! He doesn't seem too keen on it, he'd rather hold your hand (how sweet!) The shortest month will always be a special one for us so I'm kind of sad to see the back of it but March is here now, bringing the first signs of Spring and reminding me that Summer is just around the corner.

Bring it on, I'm ready!

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