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

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Friday, March 30, 2012

The Right Price

It's been a frustrating couple of weeks.  Finally, after getting some antibiotics I'm starting to feel somewhat normal again and will be getting myself back to the gym this weekend.  However just as I'm getting myself sorted, Andy has caught a raging cold.  He doesn't even have the luxury of being home and now has to travel 4+ hours back from Reading today. 

Another annoying occurrence is that there is talk of a strike here in relation to fuel and at the moment people are panic-buying (not me); as a result a few of the petrol stations have jacked up the price.  The station I pass every morning was advertising regular unleaded at £1.42.  Is that steep enough for you?  Because I bet by tomorrow it will have gone up by another pence or two, just in case there are those of you who don't think it's pricey enough.

As you know we are going back to Nova Scotia this summer and bringing three of our closest friends with us. We had sussed out plane tickets and were planning on purchasing them this weekend.  Then prices went through the roof and my heart was momentarily skipping beats (even though I knew deep down that prices often fluctuate and would likely come down again).  Which they have - phew. 

The price of flights was causing me a bit more concern though, particularly this week because I've been enjoying making plans with my sister Tawny to spend a few nights away at a beach house while we are all together in Nova Scotia yet the worry of getting the flights sorted was always at the back of my mind. We looked at various types of gorgeous beach property, but what we (she) found seems absolutely perfect... a six bedroom house in Lunenburg overlooking the bay, at a very fair price. 
It's actually fantastic and we are all super excited about it.  I don't need to say anymore about it, as my sister covered my feelings exactly when she wrote about it here.  (I know that at least two out of three of you who pop in here, also read her blog too). Because we haven't booked yet due to fluctuating prices, the owner has agreed to hold it until we have our tickets (which will hopefully be this weekend).

Andy and I have been doing a bit of 'spring cleaning', getting the house painted and sorted (we did the bathrooms a few weeks ago).  On Wednesday we had someone in to paint the hall stairs, landing and kitchen and just seeing how 'fresh' it all looks when I walk in makes me smile.  It's funny what a coat of paint can do.  Now we just need to get the flooring in the kitchen sorted out.  We do have a few more rooms to paint but we can take our time and do it one room at a time over the next few months.

The sun has been shining here all week and with the daffodils and pink blossoms on the trees out in full bloom, I can't help but feel bright and optimistic.  If the fuel does get rationed I won't mind hopping on a bike to come to work every day (it's something I'm thinking of doing anyway, once I actually get a bike that is.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

When my lungs let me down...

I have been feeling rubbish for almost a week now.  I fought it really hard last week and continued to get dressed every day and go to work;  even this past weekend I didn't slow down, despite my my body telling me to (I normally give in to it and listen).  I proceeded to make the chocolate Guinness cupcakes (24 of them) on St Paddy's day, as well as a lemon butter cake and fudge.  The cupcakes were amazing, the lemon cake was a success (or so I'm told, I haven't eaten any of it) and the fudge was an epic fail, even though Andy won't let me throw it out.  I ended up giving most of my baking away, and only indulged in two cupcakes throughout the weekend.  Naughty I know, but since my appetite hasn't been the best (a true sign that I'm not feeling myself - I normally have a ridiculous appetite) I'm not experiencing any guilt.  Besides, those little monsters that I slathered with a cream cheese icing, were worth indulging in.

Anyway, I didn't take my inhalers the way I should have, from the moment I felt sick and today I have ended up staying home from work.  My head has pretty much cleared up and the sort throat is gone, but my chest is so tight it hurts to just breath and I get as winded as an 80 year old woman by just walking around or talking.  Seriously.  I hadn't coughed once today (as opposed to numerous times yesterday) until Andy rang and as soon as I started talking, I started coughing... it drives me nuts. However I know if I don't rest, I run the risk of getting much worse and that's the last thing I want. I want to get this sorted so I can get back to being my healthy self. 

Molly seems happy to have me home; it's sunny and warm so I've left the back door open for her to come in and out of at her leisure; she loves soaking up the sun.  She does however keep looking at me hopefully, which I know means 'are you ever going to take me for a walk?' so I will likely end up going for a slow jaunt up the path. Just because I'm not feeling top notch is no excuse to neglect my girl.   I'm also taking advantage of not being able to do much by catching up on emails and the blogs that I love to read.

This afternoon I will indulge in a few of the shows I have recorded and most likely have a nap.  Andy is away tonight so it will be a quiet day, just me and Molly. 

I have to admit I'm really looking forward to the time change this coming weekend.  I'm so ready for spring and all it brings with it, especially the longer nights.

My sister-in-law and are talking about running a 5k (or possibly a 10k) this spring/summer, however I'm a bit behind in training due to falling ill, etc., so realistically I'm going to aim for the 5k Race for Life this June.  (I don't think there will ever be a half marathon in my future, unlike my brilliant, determined sisters.  I'm just not a real 'runner').  As Andy is going to be working away for two weeks at a time after Easter, I will have lots of spare time to hit the pavement with Molly and start building up my endurance again.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Red-Nosed Blogger

I don’t know if I picked it up in London travelling on the underground, or if was passed to me from one of the numerous people in my life who have been ill, but yesterday I woke up feeling like I had been run over by a mac truck. I figured it was coming my way as I had a tickle in my throat all Wednesday and throughout most of the night. Still, I persevered and went to work both Thursday and today. My manager is sick with the same illness, although he must have the more severe version (Man Flu) as he never made it in to the office (he admitted to having the man-flu strain this morning when he realised that I was at work and he wasn’t).

Andy suggested that I stay home this morning but I honestly feel better today than I did yesterday (many people kept asking me if I was ok and Andy bluntly told me I looked like sh*t last evening), however with the help of throat lozenges, Lucozade and Ibuprofen, I’m holding my own. I’m not even whinging about it, other than to comment that my nose is getting sore from the constant sneezing, sniffling and nose blowing; something my colleagues unfortunately have to contend with.

I’m hoping to feel much better by tomorrow as I want to do some baking – Guinness Cupcakes in honour of St Paddy’s Day and home-made bread, something I’ve never tackled before.

Alex and Bonnie came over on Wednesday night and I encouraged them to not give me a hug as they left, as the last thing Bonnie needs at this stage is a rotten cold; they asked if I would be cooking on Sunday (the shame of it! It’s Mother’s Day); although truth be told I’d love to cook a meal and have the kids around so fingers crossed I perk up. I mentioned to the both of them that I’m looking forward to a pleasant day this year (*cough *cough). How things have changed for the better for the two of them and I’m hopeful that they stay settled and happy when they become a family of three.

We only have a month to go before Andy becomes Grandy and I become… well I’m not quite sure what I’m to be called; but a Nana all the same. Bonnie is doing well considering it’s not been the easiest or most straight forward of pregnancies but she is near the end now. And apparently the baby is going to be large. They popped in on Sunday (what a glorious day it was) after attending a christening and looked so sweet in their ‘Sunday Best’ I couldn’t help but snap a photo:

All dressed up for a christening.

Before I sign off, I’m wishing you all a cheerful St Paddy’s Day and hope you have your fair share of Irish drinks; to those of you in the UK who are mother’s I hope you have a lovely day filled with laughter and joy and maybe more than one glass of wine.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Full On Fun...

It's hard to tell from this picture, but we were less than 40 feet away; and it was absolutely amazing. 

The only real issue I had was the 2nd opening act, The Horrors (the first act, Theme Park, were pretty good). I thought the Horrors were just what their named entailed. Awful noise. So horrible in fact that if you put me in an interrogation room and pumped this music through the speakers I would cave within five minutes. 

Oh, and I can't forget the silly girl in front of me who kept leaning back on me;  Look, I know she was probably disappointed because her boyfriend never managed to find her after he left the area, yet don't try and use me as his replacement. I know I'm tall and my chest is much softer and more welcoming but not without my permission, thanks.  After putting up with this for at least three songs in which my elbow in her back was having little effect as a deterrent, I physically manhandled her off of me and told her to stop using me as her leaning post.  A few dirty looks later and she and her friend left.  Fine by me, I could finally give Florence my full attention. 

Saturday we arrived home  after two nights in London but weren't able to chill out as all the kids turned up.  As Andy's sister and her family were up for the weekend, it was a full house. Needless to say, after I got Daisy to sleep for the night (her parents were out at a party), I wasn't long in following her. 

I was only too pleased to wake up after a good night's rest to have a few hours on my own with this adorable little munchkin: 

(Playing in the park with my little monkey)

It's certainly no hardship waking up on a bright Sunday morning to her gorgeous little grin. 

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Although he could give me more backrubs...

There have been a lot of conversations recently amongst my friends and colleagues regarding the amount of work they have to do around the house. Alone, without help from their husbands despite the fact that both work full time.  Some have said their husbands might hoover up or perhaps help clean up after dinner, if asked (this isn't counting those that have children to take care of).

Me?  I basically only have to cook and tidy up after each meal;  unless of course we are having a dinner party and then my husband has it covered.  He often leaves me to sit and drink wine with our company while he does the clean up.  (I cannot stand leaving it till the morning, yet if I do leave it and Andy makes it downstairs before me it's not often I come down to a still messy kitchen... I think this has happened only once or twice since we moved in to our current house and started entertaining.)

Now don't think I'm a layabout, because although I could have a degree in taking it easy, I do my share, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms.  And since we got the Dyson Hoover I vacuum a lot more so I'd say it's pretty even between us on this front.  Laundry?  Well Andy has me beat on this one; he does WAY more than me.  And he dusts.  I might dust once for ever three times he has a turn.  If I have to stay on top of the bathrooms I really don't think I have much to complain about.  I do wipe down the skirting boards and doors quite frequently though - I have no idea how these still get so dirty when it's just two of us and Molly residing in the house most of the time.  Yet, this is something I've seen him do as well.  I know, right? He also also works a full time job, an excuse that many husbands use (despite their partners working full time as well). 

Andy does his own ironing, and sometimes mine. He does all the outside yard work, including watering plants etc. Oh, and I haven't cleaned a car since 2003.

The only thing I really ever have to 'get after' him for is keeping the spare room tidy (this is where he keeps his clothes), however since he's moved a few things around at my request, the spare guest room is now wardrobe free and I don't think we will have an issue anymore. 

Oh and the kids?  Well he's a pretty stellar dad as well; I think I love him best of all for the relationship he has always encouraged between me and his kids; there has never been an issue of my 'not being their mother'; we are a family unit when we are together and I have never been made to feel an outsider by him or his boys (and now, his daughter can happily be included in this ratio :)

(I can't believe how much they have grown - this was taken in 2005)

My mother has often told me how amazing she thinks my man is, for all that he does.   I can't disagree, not one iota. 

And I won't be trading him in. 

Friday, March 02, 2012

That top on your convertible? 'Raise it Up'

The days are finally getting longer and lately the sun has been shining a fair bit; throw in temperatures that reach the mid-teens and you have a much more chilled me.  I love being able to take Molly out for a long walk after work and on days like yesterday I can even manage to coerce myself into jogging and actually enjoy it.  I find I'm more motivated when the days are longer and the days brighter.  I'm not the only one who shares this sentiment, I know.  But the over zealousness of some people for the fine weather? Those who start wearing shorts or worse, no shirts when walking down the street in 10 degree weather.  Get a grip people, just because you dress like it's summer and will it with all your heart, it's still a few months away. 

This morning driving to work it was 4 degrees and although it is bound to get warmer as the day goes on, it's not warm enough to have your roof down in your convertible like the woman I drove past this morning.  Really?  What are these people trying to prove?  Yet maybe I'm being too judgemental.  Perhaps she originally comes from Siberia and thinks that 4 degrees is a comfortable temperature to have your hair blowing in the breeze while driving to work on a sunny Friday morning.  One never knows the logic of another person.

I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend;  especially because next weekend is not going go be a quiet one.  Not when this is on the agenda:

I mentioned to Andy earlier this week that he doesn't appear to be as 'excited' as I am. His answer was 'when do I ever really show my excitement?', to which I listed off a number of past events that he has previously shown eagerness for.  His reply to this was 'Well I guess she's just not really my cup tea'.  Ummmmm.... I didn't really have an answer for this other than 'drink up' because he is the person that turned me on to Florence in the first place.  I must have just imagined that he looked a tiny bit envious when I mentioned that Jayne had two tickets and offered me one.  Then her partner managed to score an extra two, so it's now a party of four :) I have not attended very many concerts in my life.  I can probably count them on one hand (with the exception of outdoor venues).  This is big for me.  I cannot wait; Especially since it's on my mom's birthday and You've Got The Love turned out to be a theme song of sorts when she was undergoing her surgery and treatment in 2010. How will I not be able to think about my mom and sisters when I hear that song, as well as The Dog Days are Over. (I know she has a new album but these songs are just so meaningful.)

I don't think the weekend in London is gearing up to be an inexpensive one (when is it ever?) but since we are saving money on our digs, I don't mind so much because this is going to be an experience.  My husband can call it my late birthday present if he will, and we can wait to make a few more changes in the house, or put off buying our tickets back home (not really).   This is Florence and the Machine, at Alexandra Palace in London people.  Call me lame, but I'm a small town Nova Scotian girl.  This is big for me; and no matter what he thinks, I'm so thrilled my husband and I are going to have another short break away in LondonTown again and that he will be there with me, if only to poke fun of my joy or stand still beside me as I shake my arse to the sound that is Florence and the Machine. 

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Oceanic It Is

Last weekend I painted my first room. Ever.   Well when I say room, it was only the main bathroom which is only about 6ftx5ft; and when I say painted, I mean I slapped on two coats rather quickly and did the skirting boards and door. But still, it qualifies as a room. I didn't do a bad job, at least not on the walls;  Although Andy did have to re-paint one side of the bathroom door as that was (apparently) rather haphazard.  The next morning Andy had to finish the 'cutting-in' up around the ceiling as I had run out of patience and just couldn't be bothered to take the time to do it right.  I was annoyed because we didn't have the right type of brush and I was ready to move on to other things.  I'm ok when it comes to starting projects but have to really push myself to finish.  I suppose I don't need to though, not when I have a husband that will pick up where I leave off just because he's good like that. Oh, and in fairness to myself most paint really sets off my asthma and I often can't be in a house, never mind a room, that is covered with wet paint so despite a slight tightness in the chest, I think I did ok.

We have been wanting to redecorate the bathrooms since we moved in but something always got in the way of the project. We managed to get the two upstairs loo's done this weekend and it didn't come a moment too soon.

I spent a lot of time in the bathtub before the renovations. I know it's only going to get worse now that I have an aesthetically pleasing place in which to soak in the bath, drink my wine and read a book.  Oh, and make necessary phone calls :)

I wish I could show you before pictures however there was no way I was going to post a picture of a bathroom with carpets... seriously, who does that? So we finally replaced the horrid green carpet (yes, you are hearing this correctly) with new flooring and painted the cream walls a colour that is aptly named 'water'.  At first I was a bit worried that it was going to be too garish, especially when Connor and Cameron came in while I was applying the second coat and Cameron stated that it was very 'oceanic'. Yet it works, especially with the white tile:

(Not the clearest picture but I think you can get the idea)

I popped out on Saturday afternoon to buy a light fixture;  I took the photo at night for 'effect' but even in the daylight it matches brilliantly with the room and I really love it.

Eventually we are going to get to the kitchen but for now I'm just going to enjoy the calming affect of my new bathrooms as I daydream about the two holidays we have planned that will hopefully involve a lot of time spent on the beach.