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

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Friday, January 18, 2013

We need this now more than ever

Two days ago we said our final goodbye to Claire; yesterday Andy and his family spread her ashes around a beautiful willow tree.  It's been a tough few weeks but nothing has been harder than watching Andy's family suffer through the grief of losing their beloved daughter and sister.   

Now the healing process must begin for everyone.  Andy and I have agreed that we are going to proceed with our holiday to the Maldives as this will probably be the best place for him to rest and come to terms with what's happened.  His parents and siblings strongly support this. 

At the moment large parts of England are being bombarded with snow.  I can't believe the timing of this cold front; up until a week ago we were experiencing temperatures well above zero.  Nothing has happened here yet but the skies are beginning to darken and I believe it's only a matter of time.  

After everything that has happened already this year we only want to be able to get to London to catch our flight on Sunday evening. We are meant to be travelling by train tomorrow so we at least have two days to try and get there.

It seems we need this holiday now, more than ever.

Fingers crossed for us that our journey to London isn't too arduous and that flights aren't cancelled or delayed by too long. (I know you might be thinking we are silly to be a bit concerned right now, but England doesn't cope well with snow and apparently there is another storm due on Sunday.) However we are determined to not get too stressed over it because what will be will be.  

I do hope though, that is the last you hear from me until I'm back with tales of swimming with mantra rays and (tiny) reef sharks.  

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Sweet Claire

On Saturday our worst fear came to pass as Andy's sister Claire lost her battle with pneumonia.  

It's hard to believe we won't see her cheeky grin any more.  

We were blessed to have had her with us for as long as we did, however nothing makes her loss easier to bear than perhaps remembering the wonderful times:

With Mum and Dad at our last Canada Day Party  

Mum and Dad with all four children at a family party we had in 2011

Claire was in love with her niece Daisy from the moment she arrived 

Claire and her beloved Aunty Mavis who has been by her side since the moment she was born.

We say goodbye to her next week;  for the time being we are staying close to each other while planning a  send off that Claire would have loved.  

Because Claire loved nothing more than a party with her family all around. 
Her Mum, Dad, brothers, sister & co. are going to see that this is exactly what she has, one last time.

We love you Claire, and will always hold you close in our hearts. 

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Fake it till ya make it

This morning I woke up determined to plaster on a smile and be cheerful at work.  Despite the fact that it's a shiny New Year and we are starting 'afresh' unfortunately there were a few glitches when I arrived at the office yesterday. I probably ended up a bit more irritated than usual because I haven't been well myself and I'm getting a bit tired of slogging on when all I really want to do is stay at home and watch The Mentalist while snuggled up in bed with a cup of coffee and Molly.

I don't particularly enjoy being grumpy yet it seems I spent the latter part of 2012 being a compulsive complainant at work due to circumstances which were out of my control.  I don't like the way that makes me feel so today I decided to just get on with it and be my usual cheerful self because being annoyed and irritable is not how I, or anyone else for that matter, wants me to spend my days. So here I am smiling and making coffee and just generally being amiable. Long may it continue.

Now back to my regularly scheduled post:

I worked relatively hard last year to ensure that I was going to be healthier and in better shape than I have been in recent years.  For the most part it worked.  I went home last summer feeling comfortable in my clothes and not actually cringing when I saw myself in (most) photos where I was sporting a bathing suit.  This last month or so has seen a decline in my level of physical activity and greed over-indulgence. Therefore I seem to have undone some of what I had achieved which is a bummer.  My clothes are a bit snug and I'm not feeling as energetic as I normally am.  However I know I'm not alone in this boat and like most of you, I'm jumping ship and getting on board the healthy boat again. It's a ship I much prefer to sail on.   Hopefully with due diligence I can at least partially repair some of the damage in the two weeks I have left before my holiday.  There... I've said it so I have to do it now right?  Oh and I can practically hear you laughing while you are thinking 'right, she can kid herself but she needs a reality check'.  Well people let me tell you I have a reality check and it's called the 30 Day Shred; maybe I don't have 30 days but here's the thing - I don't necessarily need 30 Days.  I've not let myself go by that much and remember, I've done this work-out before and it doesn't only promise a quick result; usually by day seven I'm feeling much better and I'm hoping for the same this time round.   Especially since my diet is now under control, which we know makes a big difference. I just need to throw in a couple of Spin/Combat classes at the gym and I should be at a point where I can contemplate a bathing suit again. Sleeveless tops?  Well we will see what this year brings... although I don't hold out a lot of hope.  If I didn't work hard enough at achieving slender arms in my 20's or 30's I doubt this will be the magical decade where I can set my arms free. Time will be working that much harder against me now.  Time is no longer my friend and like turning 40 I just have to accept it.  As with everything life throws at us we have to take the good with the bad and despite the fact my hair is turning grey at ridiculous rate and my hands are looking more like my mother's with each passing day, I still have killer legs; and like the fabulous Tina Turner I plan on rocking my great gams till well into my 60's at the very least.  Providing varicose veins don't come a-calling that is.

Oh, one last thing.
I've stumbled across a lot of food/fitness bloggers over the last few years who swear by one form of green smoothie or another and this year I've decided to dust of my smoothie maker off and try this one: 

I found this recipe here

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Isn't this a perfect resolution for 2013?

Hello 2013

Christmas came and went this year through a fog of cold & flu.  Despite being run down I was able to carry off a meal for 12 on Christmas Day and get through the Boxing Day celebration at my in-law's.  It wasn't restful by any means and I carried on right up to last Friday, when the last of our company left and I went to back to work for a day. I've spent the last few days chilling out for the most part.

Despite being unwell I think we did a good job of hosting Christmas and on the weekend prior to Christmas, when I was still feeling relatively OK, I had my bangs cut: 

(If I wasn't going to feel good, I was going to try and look good ;)

Although on Christmas and Boxing Day I made sure I stayed out of range from most cameras (although my father in law managed to snap a few which I still haven't seen). 

Here are a few of my favourites that I managed to capture: 

Tasha and our Jayden on Boxing Day

Our rosy cheeked Daisy 

Baby's first Christmas

The tree on Christmas Day

By New Year's Eve I was feeling a bit brighter and went to the gym for a much needed work-out.  Later that evening we were joined by our friends Dawn and Rob who came round with Carter.  Because our boys were busy doing other things this year, we decided not to do our usual Mexican feast and went with wine and cheese.  I still wasn't feeling up to drinking wine (can you believe it's really me typing this?) although a glass or two of champagne went down easily enough. 

 We threw in some grapes for the healthy component :) 

Jayden wasn't feeling well and poor old Carter had a hard time taking his eyes off the baby, which was cute to see.

We didn't sleep much on New Year's Eve night due to Jayden being poorly so we had a relatively easy New Year's Day which consisted of a long walk with the dogs and later, a bottle of wine shared between Andy and I in the hot tub as we watched the fireworks display that our neighbours were setting off .  

Alex rang last night for advice regarding the baby and after being directed to go to the Out of Hours Service, he was diagnosed with Tonsillitis, on top of his teething and bronchitis.  Also, Andy's sister Claire was admitted to hospital last evening with Pneumonia which is a worry as she is vulnerable enough as it is.  

Because of everything that has been going on I didn't get to do my Yearly Wrap Up which I'm sorry for as it's usually one of my favourite posts.   

2012 wasn't a bad year at all for the McAllenby's and most of our extended family, however I know that for some of you it's been a tough one.  My heart goes out to anyone who has suffered a loss or any other hardship this past year. 

So here's to hoping 2013 has more ups than downs.     

I just want to start feeling 100% again and especially for everyone else to begin feeling better as we have our vacation in a few weeks (it's worrying when Claire and Jayden are so poorly). 

It's a bit surreal that in a few weeks we will be on a plane heading towards Sri Lanka and the Maldives.  We've been pretty patient the last 13 months since we initially booked it.  Although we did have a lot to look forward to in 2012 and I was in no hurry to race through my last year as a thirty-something.  
And now? Well I think I finally have my head around the fact that in 24 days I will be 40.   I might as well get over it and face it right? Besides, I'm not too bad for an old girl.