A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Last Minute Shopping

Last weekend Andy was down with a bad cold and I had crossed my fingers that I would avoid it, especially with Christmas only around the corner.  I'm not quite finished my shopping and of course there is still a bit of prep to do.  

In the middle of the night I woke up with a dry, sore throat and a slight ear ache.  Obviously my hopes were in vain.  I'm dosing myself up and hoping that it doesn't get any worse as I really want to whip through the mall today and get everything done that needs doing.  I'm not a fan of shopping for presents in this manner, as I like to take my time in picking out appropriate gifts; however, I have a few ideas and sometimes I make my best purchases this way because I have less time to be indecisive. I might not be the type to get too stressed over what needs doing or isn't going to get done but I definitely am the great procrastinator and today I just don't have time for that.

Wish me luck. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmastime Grooving with Mrs McAllenby

The last couple of months at work have been hectic and maybe what might be termed a bit 'trying' for most of my team;  we hadn't managed to plan a work's night out for the Christmas Season, but that was ok because the girls from work, together with Robert and Dawn came over to help us deck the tree on Friday night, which ended up being more of a stress reliever than we expected.

We started by cracking open a bottle or two of champagne and toasted the start of the Christmas season:

Then we got down to decking the tree:

After the tree was finished and I'd admired the beautiful decorations from Christmas's past, as well as the new ones I'd been given this year (my friends always bring me a new bauble to put on the tree) the Christmas tunes got a bit rowdier and before long the dance tunes were taking over.  Andy was doing an excellent job as DJ and us girls began to really get our grooves on. 

The boys just sat back and laughed watched:

Another successful party at the McAllenby's.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Nothing like this could ever make sense. Ever.

This year I seemed to have found more Christmas spirit than I normally do. Friday night we had our friends over and amidst much champagne, nibbles and dancing we decked our tree; I was blissfully unaware of the tragedy that had taken place in America as my friends and I danced around the Christmas Tree while Andy and Robert sat back and laughed.

And then I woke up to the news on Saturday morning and haven't felt quite right since.  I'm so thankful that all of the children in my life are safe and accounted for, yet when my friends and colleagues are chatting about their children's Christmas concerts and the upcoming school parties I can't help but gulp back a few tears.  It's just all so wrong that 20 little children and six of their teachers have been taken from this world so cruelly.  I don't know how anyone (at least those of you who have children in your life, be they your own or not) can't be thinking about this, at least somewhere in the back of your minds. Even if like me you aren't watching the news constantly.

I'm not a mother, not in the real sense and it's times like these when I feel almost relieved that I don't have a child of my own, even though at one point I thought the grief of not having one would be the worst I could feel.

Parents probably argued with their kids on that morning, hurrying them to get dressed, or eat their breakfast.  Maybe they talked about the upcoming holidays before they kissed them goodbye that morning, fully expecting them to be there waiting at the gates come 3:00.  And now? How can any parent ever drop their child at school and not have the thought cross their mind (even if it's a year later) that something like this could happen again?

I don't know if anything will change because of this.  I don't know what can change. I do know that something changed inside of me when I heard this news, mother or not. I don't want to think of the world as a bad place because it is filled with so much good as well but at times like this it's really hard to remember that.

I wasn't sure if I should even talk about this, however I couldn't not acknowledge it.  I often read my posts from year's gone by and I think this is something that was just too important not to record.  I never want to forget how devastating this news has made me feel.  Seeing the photo on the wall of my I-phone, the one of my little niece Clara, smiling her toothy grin from under her Christmas hat, makes me want to cry because she's so innocent and perfect and thankfully, she's safe in the arms of her loving parents.  I know they will be holding her that much tighter now and especially on Christmas morning.

No matter what I'm doing, I'm constantly reminded of what happened and my heart breaks for the parents and loved ones of all those who were lost last Friday and how nothing about this Christmas is going to be merry for them.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sporticus Themed Christmas Cookies

It's a good thing I'm not the type who becomes fraught at all there to do at this time of the year.  I can't believe it's the 11th of December already.  December is almost half over and Christmas Eve is only 13 days away if you didn't already know. Sorry if my pointing this out puts more pressure on those of you who get caught up in the madness.  Personally I chose to opt out of the craziness.  I have enough of that all year long to fill my own stocking thank you very much. 

I did figure that I owed you a post though, considering I haven't managed to do so yet this month.  So much for my goal of blogging more in 2012.  However, as with most of the goals I set for myself it was very hit and miss.  Bah what can I do? I am who I am. 

This past weekend I decided it was time that I found some motivation and got on with my Christmas baking.  (I'm not done my shopping yet and haven't even started on the wrapping but there's still time for all of that.)  I asked my 3 year old nephew Archie to come and be my helper and although Tasha had her gallbladder removed on Wednesday she and her boyfriend Martin wanted to come join in the work fun too. 

I thought I'd be organized and put out all the ingredients we might need: 

I wasn't exactly sure which cookies we were going to aim to get baked, however I knew we were going to start with my mother's Christmas cookies.  

What little boy (and big girl) doesn't like cutting out Christmas shapes?

We were all even decked out in proper kitchen gear. 
(although Archie wouldn't wear his little apron)

Meet the gorgeous Martin (honestly, he's just the type of lovely young man you'd chose for your daughter although I try not to tell her too much as any parent will know how that has a habit of backfiring ;)

And of course Molly was in the background keeping a close watch.  Once the cookies started churning out she quickly moved into the kitchen.

We ended up making not only the Christmas Cookies but also Mars Bar Squares, Chocolate & Coconut Squares, Cranberry & White Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cherry Balls. 

Archie is a huge fan of Sporticus so we iced his cookies blue with white snowflakes.  And of course one has to have the obligatory lick of the mixers right?  (I have about 50 cookies left to ice once I  buy more icing sugar.)

After everyone had left I managed to churn out some White & Dark Chocolate Bark before sitting down with a big old glass of wine in front of my favourite Christmas movie Elf.

I'm still not done with my baking but it was a start.  

There is lots going on in the coming weeks and I will really try to keep up with posting for those of you that are taking a moment to visit in between all your own Christmas prep. (I'm excited to tell you about the amazing tree that I picked out in record time this year.)     

After I've iced my cookies later this evening I will head over to Robert and Dawn's to watch Miracle on 34th Street (the original) which I've never seen before; I know right? I haven't seen the modern one either. 

These are really the best bits of Christmas - the baking, the movies and getting together with friends and loved ones.  I could really do without the the Retail Festival that Christmas has become but I guess you have to take the bad with the good in any situation right? 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's certainly cheaper to be a wino in England

As mentioned in my previous post, I've been doing a bit of Christmas shopping on-line, in particular Amazon.  My nephew's present arrived today with a £40 voucher for Virgin Wines.  The last time I'd received the voucher I just binned it as I didn't think it was worth it.  Two things have changed since the last time I was sent a voucher 1)  The price of wine at our local supermarket has increased significantly and 2) I drink a lot more wine.  

So I decided to investigate the sales pitch and this time I was roped in.  My biggest decision was deciding between a split case of red/white or twelve bottles of just white.  Because we are predominately white wine guzzlers (I will never forget our Paris trip last year for many reasons but mainly because Andy decided he could become a reluctant fan of wine after a bad batch of beer; strictly of the white variety of course) and most of the red's were Spanish Shiraz, a case of just white won out.  The price (including delivery) works out to just under £4 a bottle.  If that's wrong I don't want to be right. 

Because we have a few red wine drinkers in our circle of friends (and as I can be partial to a glass or two myself) I will ensure I have a fair stock of the dark stuff too.  I have a place where I can access gorgeous reds for approximately £3.75 each; Wine snobs don't shake your head at me, these red's are genuinely gorgeous and were recommended by more than one accomplished  freak connoisseur . 

Either way, when it comes to wine I know what I enjoy and I'm not partial to lessons in wine drinking; If I like it, I drink it.  Kristie over at the Curvy Girl Guide summed it up perfectly here

Our shelves will be well stocked for the upcoming holiday season provided I don't take too many hot baths with a good book before then. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's big and it's red

I was going to post last week about what a long, horrible week it had been at work but decided to forgo it.  You are welcome for that. 

This weekend while Andy watched the last race of the F1 Season, instead of going to the gym for a much needed workout, I got my packages wrapped up and ready to be sent to Canada. Every year I tell myself I'm going to get sorted and send my post surface as it's so much less extortionate pricey but this year was definitely not one of those years.  Hell, none of these years are ever those years.  I also consider shopping on line (Canadian sites) for my family but never seem to find just what I'm looking for.  Never mind, it's Christmastime. I rarely see my niece so if sending her a parcel costs almost as much as her mother's Christmas present, then so be it.  She's worth it.  Sure sending money to her folks might be easier but part of the joy of having a beautiful little girl in our family is the pleasure I get from buying her pretty things.   

Speaking of pretty (and useful) things, this is what I'm dreaming about for Christmas this year: 

Yes it is similar (but perhaps a few hundred ££ less) to what Nigella has :) 

Because we are going to the Maldives for my birthday I'm not asking for anything else;  between Andy and the kids they should have this covered. 

I had planned to crack on with the majority of my Christmas baking as well this past weekend but that didn't happen.  I managed to start the one Christmas craft I'm making this year and hope to finish it, along with my baking within the next two weeks. 

Shopping?  Well that will be a combination of on-line and the odd dash out;  the crowds in our town centre are dodgy at best, especially this year. 

I'm thinking about starting to run jog  on my lunch break - it's time I started making more of an effort.  A beach holiday less than a month after Christmas should be incentive enough right? Well so would you think.  

Time to get my motivation back. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Is it a Blog, Pinterest or Food Addiction? Perhaps it's all of the above...

I've been asked this question many times throughout my life: 
'If you could have any career, what would it be?'  Up until a short while ago it has always been an editor at a publishing house (or a brilliant novelist, I can never fully decide).  

These days?  I would settle for professional blogger.  How awesome is it that so many women out there are making a lot of money by staying home and writing about their passions in life without having to first find an willing agent/publisher?  And there are so many different ways to capture an audience. It seems that the most popular blogs seem to fall under these categories: Food, Diet & Exercise, Crafts (DIY) and of course there are the Mommy-bloggers.

I've always tried to keep a current list of favourites on my side bar.  A couple of  these have included women who are single mother's by choice (these are fiercely strong, devoted women let me tell you), and for awhile I was following a lot of Northern (Canadian) bloggers, yet most of them have relocated back to more eastern parts of Canada and now  fall under the mommy -blogger category (I think), which is perfectly fine by me.  You may also find a few others that are quirky and off the beaten path.  I do like variety after all. 

I have begun to notice though that my side-bar is becoming inundated with bloggers who churn out some amazing food.  I'm constantly trawling Pinterest for goodies of the edible type and have stumbled across a lot of really interesting sites because of it.    

 Although I have grown to love being in my kitchen I don't have the motivation or drive to be a professional blogger.  Oh, but how I wish I did.  Besides I'm still an amateur so added to my lack of motivation we will just rule it out. Perhaps if I didn't work-full time. Jobs have a nasty habit of getting in the way of so much fun right?.   

As much as I wish training at the gym could be my passion, its not and never will be. Sure, I will always find a balance between the gym and food because I have to;  yet I will never be anyone's inspiration. That's for certain. 

So professional blogging aside, I'm pleased to report that although I tend to drift through life reading, drinking wine and working out (when it actually occurs to me to throw on some work out gear) the only other thing I'm truly passionate about is food.  Oh, and the Winchester boys.  And perhaps I should throw my husband in with the lot for good measure ;)  He sure doesn't complain about the amount of time I spend in the kitchen these days. Now if only I could find the right balance between the kitchen and the bedroom.  Work really does have a bad habit of getting in the way of my regularly scheduled life doesn't it? But wait I've already clarified that. 

  Wednesday evening while dinner was in the oven I whipped up a batch of Nigella's Banana Butterscotch Muffins, although I substituted chocolate coated caramel pieces instead of butterscotch. (Nigella is another one who could easily ignite some passion; the woman is stunning after all.)  

I had a few banana's that were the wrong side of ripe and these are always a great alternative to just tossing the banana's in the bin.    

I love banana's however I'm not a fan of banana flavoured food; yet these go down a treat with a morning coffee. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November Days

We woke up to a beautiful day on Sunday and decided to take full advantage and head out for a walk in the crisp Autumn air.

Hubbard's Hills is beautiful at any time of the year, but this is the prettiest I've ever seen it.  

Molly loves running through the leaves

She wasn't keen to stop long in one place for photos

 Unless of course she had a stick to play with...

The light was just right for this one

 Any time we were near the water it wasn't long before she was asking to jump in 

It really is so much better when the sun is shining. 

Thursday, November 01, 2012

The Walking Dead

I work for the Learning Disability Service in our area and last night we had our annual client Halloween Party.  I was going to don my witches hat and some black gear and be done with it, however last night I just wasn't feeling in a witchy kind of mood.  Although I haven't started Season 3 of The Walking Dead (I'm saving up a few episodes), I was definitely feeling Zombie.  Can you tell?

My colleague was obviously feeling the zombie vibe as well although she wore the zombie look pre TWD.  

Or as it was said, I'm obviously I'm a zombie who eats:

We had fun getting ready for the party despite the fact it was for the clients and we weren't even drinking. 
Not too shabby for hastily put together costumes that didn't cost us a penny.

Hope you all had a safe and fun Halloween night and that the weather wasn't too awful for those out and about. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Up That Plank

During the time we were at Mersey River this past summer we enjoyed a lot of time noisily jumping off the large raft into the rusty red water to beat the heat.  (Andy chose to be anti-social and hog the smaller raft in his quest to tan in relative peace.) The boys enjoyed making up games to play and often challenged each other to such things as who could dive and swim the furthest underwater, or who had the most ease in jumping over the canoes docked along side the raft.   Stacy and I played it relatively safe, really only jumping off the raft backwards and Dawn preferred to sit and watch.

(I managed to snap these funny shots with my IPhone.)

I don't know who's idea it was to see who could hold out the longest in plank position (possibly Stacy) but that I was definitely up for (the 30 Day Shred paid off in more than one way).  I won't say who went out first or last but I am pleased to report that it wasn't me who gave in first even though I thought it would be. 

Since I've been back home I've tried to get back into a regular routine which is inclusive of increasing my ability to stay in the plank position each time I visit the gym. I keep telling myself to do it every day, whether I'm at the gym or not. There is nothing stopping me from doing so and I think that today might just be the day I start.  No day like Hump Day to get over a slump right?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Maybe chasing a toddler was too much exertion?

We had Miss Daisy to stay for a few nights over the weekend;  it was a lovely opportunity to spend some time with our gorgeous little niece who already has the vocabulary and will of a 13 year old girl (or so it seems).  

A walk through Hearts Holm Park in Lincoln

She is full of wonderment and let me tell you this kid doesn't miss a trick. It was pure joy to see her glee at being reunited with our Molly or when she see's anything involving Mickey or Minnie Mouse. Her appetite is never-ending and meal times are far from difficult. That child loves her food let me tell you. To hear a one year old exclaim 'olives!' is very refreshing. It's kinda funny how both of my nieces love healthy food when a lot of toddlers will only eat mac and cheese.

We loved listening to her holler 'Mowwie, where aaa-re you' from various rooms in the house (Molly was often  anywhere else, save for the times when she would just give up and let Daisy flop down on her for a cuddle).

On Saturday our Moll was more interested in chasing squirrels than anything else.

Of course we had to take Daisy down to the sea front on Sunday, despite it being cold and windy...

(How cute is she?)

Bath times were fun too; this child is definitely a water baby who loves to 'swim' while in the tub and didn't mind having her hair washed in the least. Water on her face?  Like water off a duck's back.  Seriously. (Not that I discovered this by pouring it over her head myself, I was much more careful.)

Chillin after a long day of adventure...

We had a few fun, busy days however just as I was getting Daisy ready for bed on Sunday evening, Andy informed me that the chest pain he had been experiencing off and on throughout the day had been getting increasingly worse. I finally convinced him to stop trying to self-diagnose online and ring the GP Out of Hours Service   Of course they told him to ring for an ambulance which he debated doing for about ten minutes after hanging up. I told him his options were that I arrange for his Mum to come down with Daisy and we drive straight there, or he could call the ambulance and get checked out;  if they needed to take him in (I knew they would), then at least he would be seen straight away at A&E.

The paramedics came, hooked him up to their cardio machine, deduced he wasn't having a heart attack but decided to take him in to run some tests just to be on the safe side.  Seeing him off in in an ambulance wasn't the most pleasant of experiences but at least I wasn't panicked that he was having a heart attack.  I figured that it might be a gastro-intestinal problem (although I'm not a medical professional by any means, I do know that stomach issues often have similar symptoms) or maybe he might need to begin using inhalers... It was also strange to have to ring my mum-in-law to arrange for her to come sit with Daisy, who was peacefully sleeping by this point.

The A&E wasn't too busy that evening and luckily enough Andy was released within three hours, under the advice to go see his GP for an MOT (health check) and pick up some Gaviscon.  I rang his mum to report that he wasn't dead and we would be home when his bloods were back.  

(I told him I needed a photo for this)

I held his hand while we were waiting and told him I could get over being a granny before I was forty, but no way could I handle being a widow before then. No-way. So it's time for my husband to finally kick himself in the backside and start looking after himself better. He's decided to have the week off work to rest (he has been working flat out) and visit his medical centre for various tests.  Aside from being exhausted, he's doing well.  Now I just have to try and remember to not nag him (too much) about a serious change of diet and exercise.  Like I said to him, just because he's a granddad now, doesn't mean he has to play the part quite so well.

Friday, October 12, 2012


I've recently found a new blog via Pinterest called Clover Lane;  the author is a mother to six children ranging in age from a few months all the way up to 18 (I know, right?)  It might not appeal to all of you, especially since she often writes about raising kids, crafts and recipes (it was her site that turned me on to a fantastic chocolate chip cookie recipe). If she can find the time to blog anyone can. Anyway, I'm getting off track here.

In the last few years I've been trying hard to not become annoyed when I listen to a number of new parents complain about how hard life is now that they have kids; about trying to find that 'balance' in the home or in some cases with the home/work situation.  I'm not being dismissive here, I'm really not.  I get that it's not easy - I really do.  But at the end of the day I do believe that some people, women in particular make their lives a lot harder than they need to be.  Especially in their quest to be the perfect mother, wife, friend, whatever.  I don't even want to get started on how dismissive some new mom's are in relation to the way our mother's did it.  Sure we might know more (or think we do) but what is this quest that some women seem to be on to prove that they can do it better?  

I was browsing through Memories on Clover Lane and came across this post.  I think Sarah sums up the topic of Sacrifice Then vs Sacrifice Now perfectly.

Our mom's weren't perfect but most of the them did the very best they could with what they had at the time. Remember, no matter how perfect you try to be your kids will likely grow up and and think they can do a better job raising their kids then you have done raising them;  Just think of how much more information/technology/stuff  will be available to them in 20 plus years.

Or just maybe, your kids will grow up to be grateful for the Mom (or parent) they had and realise you only did the very best you could.    I know I fall into the latter category.  My mother is often the one I turn to when I need advice.  She is the one I constantly strive to be like when it comes to raising our kids.  Sure I have my own parenting methods that differ to my mother's, but in the long run it's her patience, kindness, generosity and love that I want to model when it comes to parenting.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Eight Years Later

This was me (with Andy in the background) just before our first meal as a Mr & Mrs.

Let me tell you, that young(ish) bride really had no idea what the future was going to hold for her as wife to an Englishman. 

She did know that with him came three children, one of whom was very resistant to her.
She did know that life wasn't always going to be easy, especially as her new husband still had ongoing 'issues' with the mother of his children.  

What she did know was how much she loved her husband and although she hadn't any experience with being a wife and (step)mother, she was going to try her very best to be a good wife, mother and friend.  

So far, we have built our home and family around us and have only come out stronger for all the hurdles that have been put in our path.  

And although I had no idea at all, not one iota of an inkling, that marriage to this dapper guy would make me a grandmother before the age of 40, I would still go back and do it all over again.

In a heartbeat.  

If only the damn Inn hadn't burnt down.  

Thursday, October 04, 2012

As You Wish

I can't believe that yesterday marked the 25th Anniversary Release Date of one of my most favourite films. Ever. If you were to sit and watch it with me you would likely want to knock me out just to shut me up... I can say nearly every line, of every actor.  And I usually do. If they were ever to do a local production I could easily step into the role of any character.  Most preferably Inigo Montoya because he's such a fun character.  I'm really pleased that Mandy Patinkin has gone on to have such a successful career following this film.

I've probably watched this film more times than your four year old has watched Toy Story.  True love, princesses and revenge.  What more could you want?  Sad, yet true.  I'm such a romantic at heart :)    

If you haven't seen it, indulge yourself.
Oh, and I'd strongly recommend the book, for both grown-ups or any young adult that enjoys a good read.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Thoughts on getting better at following through

I have been a bad blogger of late.  I keep telling myself that this is the month I will make a more determined effort to post more frequently. I'm not the only one who has been remiss with posting as a number of you are saying the same when I visit your sites, but that doesn't make it better.  I will really try and make October the month I actually post more, rather than just think about it. Even if it I don't have a huge following, blogging is therapeutic to me for my own reasons.     

I was telling a friend the other day how traumatic it was for me a few years back, when I updated the design on my wall and in doing so lost all the comments I had collected from so many of you over the years (there were a lot more circa 2011).  I used to love perusing older posts followed up by your encouraging comments; and now although I still post, albeit infrequently, I rarely have any comments, which can be discouraging at time but I also realise people are busy.  Also I'm not the most whimsical or witty writer and I'm not ever going to be in the running for hosting one of the most popular blogs on the Internet which was never my goal in the first instance. I do this for myself (and my family).  Besides, I can see from Feedjit that you are still dropping by so thank you for that.  I'm taking a moment to to give a shout out though, to Lara and Stacy for taking the time to let me know  they have been by - thanks girls; I always smile when I see a comment under one of my posts and can pretty much guarantee it will be from one of you... my regulars :)  

So... here's what's been going on this past weekend (not necessarily in my world):  

Canada hosted it's annual Run for the Cure event this week and both my sisters participated: :  

Stacy in Halifax 

Tawny and Clara in Mississauga

I wish I could have been with either of them because this race matters so much to us girls. 

Stacy sent Molly this cute collar in the post: 

Molly sporting her new collar :) 

 I'm going to set myself a goal to run the Race for Life with Molly next June, which is the equivalent here in England.  No more excuses. 

We had a fairly quiet weekend. I haven't been sleeping well and in a quest to sort myself out have finally started working out again.  I'm making another promise to myself as well to do at least two gym classes a week (on top of regular workouts).  If nothing, I feel so much better when I'm fitter, which usually helps me get a better night's sleep.  

Everyone seems to be battling some kind of illness and our little Jayden has been suffering with a cough and bad chest since the week after we returned from Nova Scotia. 

He spent much of Thursday night and Friday afternoon in the hospital having tests to find out if he has whooping cough.  They still haven't had the results back.

His mum took this picture of him on Friday: 

As poorly as he has been feeling, this kid still wakes up with that beautiful smile on his face every time.  

Well that's my weekend update.  Hopefully it won't be another two weeks before I'm back. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

That mystery voice

There is a radio station here that has a Mystery Voice segment which consists of the DJ playing a very short snippet of a celebrity speaking and callers are encouraged to call in and guess who the celebrity is. There is a cash prize that is increased by £10 each day if the caller is unsuccessful. They do this twice a day and give you notice by playing various songs.  I mostly have no idea who the voice is, especially if it's a British celebrity, although I sometimes think I have a vague idea  that is normally always wrong.  Until the latest voice, which happened to be very American.  I was 99.9% sure who it was and kept telling myself to ring in and have a go.  I'm just never this sure.  This morning the DJ announced the cash prize was at £310 and listed a number celebrities that had so far been guessed incorrectly. I told myself to make sure I was at the office in time to call in. (Now don't get excited and start to think I actually rang in, got through and rightly guessed that it was Alicia Keys).  It was Alicia Keys but I didn't bother to call in figuring I'd never have gotten through. And now I'm playing the 'what if' game with myself.  You know the one were you constantly berate yourself for not even trying?

I could have used that £310 pounds.  Not in the way I normally would, which would have been a weekend away or to put toward my next ticket home.  But nope, I would have used it to pay off a bill.  Exciting eh?   Let me explain:  We have an ongoing dispute with the insurance company over the vet bill for Molly's last round of treatment which is well over the £300 mark.  The rip off agent insurance company say that because she was treated last year for allergies they can only cover £20 (plus their £80 excess fee).  How ridiculous is that?  We've never claimed before and having been paying them for years; we had been mistakenly under the impression that all was good with the coverage before we left for Nova Scotia.  It doesn't make any sense to me.  So, although I would abhor to spend a cash prize on a bill, it would save us some grief and also not put such a dent in our savings.  Because our savings have taken a slight hit after the trip home and at the end of October we have our Maldives trip to pay for and baby, that is one expensive holiday.  

So much so that we've debated over the idea of cancelling my birthday vacation, however we keep coming back to this: 

We've been dreaming about this for a nearly a year, since paying our deposit last December (which we would lose by the way, and I'm sorry, we just can't warrant throwing £500 away).  

Andy and I work hard.  Yes there a certain things we want from our 'life plan', and it will take a lot of saving to get there.  However I'm away from all my family and friends in NS and can't fathom having a party here without them.  Also, we have a life to live and you only get one chance at it.  We deserve this and so long as we are both in agreement on the way we are going to spend our money, it would appear that the Maldives have won out.    

We can get back to working on our 'life plan' after we get back and are feeling chilled out and tranquil.  

Because that's how life should be right? Material items can wait that little bit longer.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Beauty by the Water

The past two weeks have seemed to drag, yet the two weeks we spent in Nova Scotia went way too quickly. 

Robert & Dawn came over last night for Beef Stifado and copious amounts of wine;  we looked at all the photos we took and  reminisced about what a great holiday it was.  We laughed about how the first thing the boys, Stacy and I wanted to do after arriving back at Mom's house was hit the lake for a refreshing swim.  Robert said that at the time he didn't fancy it after such a long journey, especially as it included a 15 minute walk back into the woods, however once he was in the water he said it had been the absolute perfect thing to do after such a long day.. and it was.

My siblings and I do love that lake, as do my boys, which makes me really proud.  It's my hope to maybe one day have a house on that lake (unless of course they never sell the land, which would also probably be even better - leaving it unspoiled and fresh.)

The following day we hung out at the house; Tawny and Taylor came out with Clara and we made our plans for the Farmhouse trip. 

That Monday night after supper we drove into the city to have a walk down by the waterfront.  It got dark a lot earlier than expected but we had fun all the same:

Tuesday morning we packed up three vehicles and headed down to Lunenberg via the scenic route, with of course a stop at our beloved Rope Loft in Chester for some lunch.  Dawn & Robert loved it as much as I knew they would.  Although I was dismayed that there weren't any scallops on the menu, the mussels I had were fantastic.

Mid afternoon we arrived at the Farmhouse, 2nd Paradise Retreat in 2nd Peninsula, Lunenberg.  Tawny had found this place on line and it did NOT disappoint!

(Our view from the front deck first thing in the morning)

Of course Stacy and I had to climb out onto the roof - a window like that was just asking to be climbed through (the teenagers were dismayed they hadn't thought of it first):

Highlight of Activities (during the three days):

The awesome boat house and dock, perfect for sunbathing and jumping off of...

Oh, and dancing on the dock too of course.  Especially if your name is Clara.  Girl is definitely our Dancing Queen.

Mom & Aunt Marg drove down later Monday afternoon, with the plan to not be too far behind the rest of us 'lunch' crowd, however they got a little lost.  After a few phone calls Stacy drove out the bay road to collect them.  It was funny listening to Stacy describe what they had to say when she found them: Aunt Marg's "Where the f**k are we and where are you taking us?, followed by Mom's "We were gonna go the f**k home!"

(Mom enjoying a cooler next to Cam, after her long journey)

 On Tuesday after supper, Clara got herself locked in the bathroom;  it wasn't long before my husband came to the rescue with his team of willing helpers and operation 'Rescue Clara' was a success!

(I loved how even Aunt Marg jumped in on the mission)

The food - oh the food;  On Wednesday morning I cooked up a bunch bacon, Tawny made the mimosas and laid a gorgeous table while Stacy made her now famous healthy, berry pancakes.


  Aunt Shirley and Uncle Reg turned up on the Wednesday:

And of course we spent more time down by the waterside :)

If the boys weren't diving off the dock or in the kayak's they were catching many crabs scuttling about.  I think Clara enjoyed this as much as the boys, especially when they caught a few big ones.  Listening to Cameron screech when a huge one walked across his foot was another moment that made us all laugh.

Of course, a long day down by the dock needs to be rewarded with a cooling dip in the pool:

Followed by a swing in the hammock:

Nighttime activities included various games, or chilling with a book and glass of wine, and of course the boys loved building up the fire pit and of cooking their sausages over it:

(especially Uncle Reg)

This was an absolutely amazing place to spend three nights with the whole family. Everyone was in agreement that it won't be the last time we visit 2nd Peninsula.  Although there were 12 of us there (at any given time) it was a place where you could be with the group, or completely on your own to enjoy the peace and serenity.

We have to make this a repeat event.  Seriously.