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

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Friday, August 29, 2014

The Last Day

We woke up to lovely sunny skies on our last full day in Skye.  Everyone else was feeling kind of tired and worn out for various reasons (most because they had climbed one of the Cuillen Mountain's the day before).  However as I didn't climb the mountain, I was feeling quite energetic.  Let's face it, I felt that way for most of my time spent in that magical place.  

So for my last day in Skye, I ended up spending a large part of it on my own, with Molly. And you know what? That was just fine with me.  

Molly and I spent one last morning on our favourite beach: 

Then in the afternoon while everyone went to lunch, I took 'da dogs' and went up Armadale Hill one last time. I couldn't help but feel like I could reach out to heaven up there.  There was just something so amazingly peaceful about that place, it was truly somewhere that made both my heart and soul sing in its serenity.  

Then, later in the afternoon I joined the boys for some of the activities they had signed up for. 

I have never, ever thought I would fire a weapon.  I've certainly never had any interest in hunting or even going to a rifle range.  Ok, that's not exactly true because I used to think I'd make an ace sharpshooter back when I briefly entertained a career in the military; that is until I thought about all the sitting around waiting. And being quiet. And actually having to shoot someone. So sure, I've always though it might be kinda cool to try, however with so many horrible events happening in the world, be they accidental or planned, I'm not a big fan of guns. I know many of you have varying opinions on the topic,  however my aim in sharing this post with you today isn't about being political, its simply to say how much fun I had Clay Pigeon Shooting.  

And I was good.  The first time I fired the very loud & heavy shotgun I nailed it.  Sure my shots may not have been as accurate as the boys in our 'shoot-out', however I will always smile with such great satisfaction when I remember hitting that first disc. 

I was the only one who did hit the first one by the way ;) 

And I would never, ever fire a gun at anything living. You know, just for the record.

After that little adrenaline rush, we moved down to the activity centre where the boys proceeded to shoot at a very small target with an air rifle, which I decided to forgo.

However, because I had made a comment about how much fun the boys all had with the archery, Matt the instructor was kind and generous enough to set me up with the bow and arrows and give me a quick lesson on how it worked.  He then let me go to it while the boys were taking target practice, intermittently checking my progress.  He never took a penny off me.  

I wasn't overly accurate but I nailed the bulls eye more than once and for the most part my arrows stopped going wide after the second set of arrows. 

I love watching period films that involve archery and have always thought how brilliant it would be to actually load and release a bow & arrow ( I mean how cool is Legolas?), however I never looked into it. I was right though - it was incredibly brilliant. 

Finally for the first time in a long time, I have found a sport that not only would I enjoy, but that I can actually access locally.  

Oh, and I'm already looking into going for a Clay Pigeon Shoot with Andy and a few friends. (Andy didn't get to try it in Skye and I think its something really fun we could do together.) 

We all went back to the cabins full of chatter about the great time we had before enjoying a dinner of fajitas together and celebrating our last evening in Skye. 

Both Andy and myself feel strongly that this is an Isle that we will be holidaying on again. I honestly can't imagine never going back. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014


This morning the boys and Anne (Robert's sister) went off to climb at least part of the Cullin Mountain Range.I had originally planned to join them but I've stayed behind because someone needs to be with the dogs; Dawn was going to remain on her own with Grandma but because her knee is swollen I decided to stay as well and exercise the dogs. 

The mountains were calling to me, however there is something that calls to me even louder and that's the sea, in particular the beach down by the pier, just below the hill where we are staying. Sure, I'm a little bit envious that I'm not climbing, especially now we just received a text from Anne saying they have reached the summit, however a morning spent on the beach playing with the dogs has 
certainly made my heart sing. I've never stopped missing the beaches of eastern Canada and although the beaches near where I live in England are ok, they don't come close to the ones I grew up around. Here it is a different story. They not only look and feel the same but they even smell the same... If that makes sense? The islanders here are so fortunate to have both mountains and beaches at their fingertips. 

I loved the solitary time I had beachcombing with these two: 

Watching them search out crabs, swim and and playfight over the sticks I'd found was so satisfyingly serene. 

The only problem is that I've so completely fallen in love with this magical place that I really don't want to leave. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

A little bit like home

On Friday morning we finished packing up the 4x4 and began our long journey north to the Isle of Skye. Andy, Connor, Molly and I are sharing our summer holiday with the Clan Gallivan.  Even Grandma Gallivan is with us; In all we total 10 people and 3 dogs. 

We are staying in comfortably rustic cabins in a place called Armadale and although the people talk with beautifully lyrical accents, and there isn't such dramatic mountain views in the distance back home, I find this place strangely reminiscent of both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.  The beach right next to the port reminds me so much of the beach at Fox Cove I could weep. It's impossible to be here and not think of my beloved maternal Antle family, Nanny especially; yet oddly enough I am in the homeland of my father's ancestors. 

After a two day journey (we broke up the long drive by staying in the quaint and lovely town of Callendar) we spent yesterday on a long walk in the rain followed by an easy night with maybe just a glass or two of wine. Oh and being entertained by a not-so-shy red deer just outside our back patio. Andy was fortunate enough to see a stag on the evening we arrived. There is plenty of wildlife about and we are hoping to do a early morning/evening hike this week to catch sight of a few more. 

This morning we hiked Armadale Hill which is so much more than just a hill; we passed through plenty of pretty woodland before arriving at stunning moorland with amazing views. The hike was steep and plenty windy but worth every step. We finished it off with a walk down to the beach to let's the dogs rinse off in the sea. 

This afternoon, after another short walk, Dawn and I have decided to return to our cozy abodes to let the dogs sleep. The boys are down at the activity centre firing guns or throwing axes... Something incredibly manly and Braveheart related. Normally I would be right in there with them but I decided to stay with my girl while she sleeps and and I chill with a glass of wine and partake in the gorgeous view. I don't think I shall get enough of it this week. 

Dawn and Andy agree that this place is giving us a very similar feeling to a little holiday we all had with my family back in Nova Scotia, at the Farmhouse. If the boys come back with a good report I might just indulge myself when they next go. 

Tonight we are all getting together for a good old Scottish knees up; Haggis, Tatties and Neeps will be on the menu as well as homemade baked beans and burgers for those who don't want haggis. We have the sounds of Rawlins Cross and of course other Scottish musicians as our soundtrack for the night, and of course proper Scottish attire is mandatory for the night. The pictures should be priceless. 

Hopefully I will be able to post again before we leave, as we have a lot of great adventures planned for the upcoming week. Although it's brilliant to have internet access I'm not spending too much time on line. Not while there is so much to see here, and when we aren't hiking, boating or drinking I just want to switch off. 

This trip is definitely ticking all my boxes, even the intermittent rain isn't spoiling it.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014


Monday was a bit of a rough day for me emotionally; there wasn't one particular reason for what was getting to me but rather a combination of family and work issues.  Being over-tired from lack of sleep didn't help either.  

So on Monday evening, instead of soaking in the tub with a glass of red and a good book, something I've been known to do when feeling a bit low, I decided to do something else that I utilise to relieve tension - work out. I changed into my running gear, grabbed Molly and off we went. 

It was the perfect evening for it and I can't believe how invigorating and relaxing that jaunt through the back farm fields was.  

I love watching the farmers plough the fields although Molly isn't too sure...

I have always worked out and as most of you may know, I've dabbled in running off and on throughout the years, however I've never thought of myself as a runner.  There used to be a time when I thought I could never achieve a 5k but I was wrong - because I did.  And now I manage to do it with little hardship (depending on the day of course). I keep telling myself that this is something to be proud of, an actual achievement and although I said I would never aspire to run further than 5k (I have once and it damn near killed me) because I don't have it in me, there is a little voice in my head telling me to push it up a notch. Especially since I agreed to do the Terry Fox 10k with my sister in September.  That's right.  I'm going home in September and the only way I can describe what I'm feeling about this is  relief... I'm so looking forward to going home on my own and just spending the 2.5 weeks I'm there chilling with my family and friends. No major commitments or family obligations.  It sounds perfect.  Sure, I've loved the times in recent years that I've taken Andy and my English family and friends with me but sometimes its good to be there on my own, spending quality time with Mom etc. and making up for all the months of the year I don't get to physically spend with them. I'm also sad that I won't be seeing my niece Clara this year, however my sister knows there is always an open invitation for her to come see us here in England which would be lovely - I've often envisaged introducing Clara to Daisy, Archie, Jayden and of course, Molly. I had debated travelling to Ontario this year however I had to make a call between there or home and right now, it's home that is calling to my heart the loudest. It's an added bonus that someone who wasn't supposed to be there, now is; and she's got me to agree to running a 10k. Yikes. 

So a few times a week I will be trying to put in a little more effort and maybe a mile or two more behind me. I'm not so sure I will get there by September but Molly and I will try our best; She is a great running partner but sometimes when I run with my sisters I feel just a little more motivated. So perhaps I can do this. If kidding myself continues to keep the positivity going then perhaps I might just have the last laugh.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

I've been waiting years for a summer like this

When I look back over the past month, it's hard to believe that we are actually experiencing a hot, sunny (for the most part) summer in the north eastern region England.  At the end of every long and dismal winter (picture lots of grey skies and cold dampness if you will, not bright sunny skies and snow covered hills) I greet spring with a huge sigh of relief and start dreaming about long summer days. I don't exactly anticipate hot, sunny days, but longer days, full of light and perhaps a bit of warmth;  I've lived here too long to allow my hopes to get too high.  Except this year, for the first time in at least 3 or 4 years, we are finally getting what one would term a 'proper summer'.  A lot of days have even been humid, but I'm not complaining.  I can point to a lot of folks who are, but I'm not one of them. 

I've been taking advantage of the glorious weather and trying to get out and about as much as possible. 

Up until a week ago when Bonnie started her much deserved annual leave, I'd also been spending a ton of time with our little man;  I love how they only live round the corner from us and I get to see him often.  Not so much though over the past week or so because he and his Mama have been very busy doing lots of fun activities while she is on a break from work (this young woman is such a brilliant young Mama). I'm looking forward to seeing him this week sometime though. 

We had a lot of fun making Grandy an Oreo Cheesecake for his birthday; this picture is priceless.

 We've been fortunate to spend a fair bit of time with family this summer, and I love seeing all the little ones playing together.

This is Grandma with Daisy & Chloe at a 70th Birthday Party for Andy's Aunty Mavis.  The kids were so well behaved all throughout the meal. Even our little monkey Jayden.

Afterwards the kids were rewarded with fun & games at Aunty Zoe's and Uncle Adrian's.

I remember when our boys used to love the trampoline.
Jayden and Daisy certainly enjoyed cousin Archie's.  

Jayden was very curious about Archie's chickens (I think this one is called Nugget)

 We've also been able to squeeze in a few get together's with our framily (meaning Rob & Dawn - our dear friends who have become extended family, just in case you couldn't suss that ): 

The weekend before last the four of us and the dogs got away for a short break to one of our favourite walking destinations which includes a stay in lovely accommodation with a restaurant/pub that serves amazing food and great drinks.


You wouldn't know it but we all loved discovering that the bar now has a little basket of reading glasses for anyone who may have forgotten their own and might need help seeing the menu... ergo my husband :) It's kind of sad the hilarity that trying on these glasses provided, understandable though when one considers we had more than a few drinks prior to that last photo. 

Good times, I tell you.

I will be spending some more time with my nieces and nephew on Thursday at an Adventureland Park and have the added bonus of travelling back to Nottingham on Saturday with our two big boys, Alex and Connor, to spend the day with the girls and their Mum while the menfolk get on with a few jobs.  Andy will stay at home to oversee the carpet layers who are coming to install our much needed new carpets. 

Next week begins our holiday to the Isle of Skye with Clan Gallivan.

So needless to say that so far, we are having a brilliant summer.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Little Sister

I don't think I've introduced you to the newest member of our extended family and she's already seven months old! 

This is Chloe

She is the very beautiful little sister to this munchkin, who I'm sure most of you will remember: 

Our Daisy Doodle. She is a character and a half if ever there was one. How much she has grown since she came to stay with me in December while Chloe was making her entrance into this world. It was a bit hard for her to adjust to not being the only child at first but it's obvious now how much she loves her little sister. We went to spend the day with them in Nottingham yesterday which was long overdue. I feel a bit guilty at times because I've spent so much time with Daisy since the day she came along, yet yesterday was only the 4th time I've seen Chloe... I hope as time goes on I get to have a similar relationship with her as well... Provided Miss Daisy doesn't mind too much that is. At the moment It would seem that I'm still one of her best friends. After Molly of course. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

I can't let you go. Not yet anyway...

It's almost the middle of July and I have been completely neglectful with posting again. For those of you have still checked in from time to time to see what might be going on I'm thankful. I keep having debates with myself regarding I Drank the Whole Bottle and whether its an avenue I want to pursue any longer.  I keep telling myself that this is meant for me more than anyone else, however every year my posts become increasingly lower in numbers.  It's not because I have nothing to say or any photos to post but more the fact that I share my stories via other forms of social media that negates tons more feedback.  Not that feedback should matter that much.  It's not like I thrive on the validation, yet it is always nice to know you are still popping round.   

As he often does when I've been remiss in posting, my husband asked if I I'd done a post recently to which my reply was 'Nah, I think I'm going to relinquish it for now'.  He seemed dismayed by this and the moment I said it, I know I was too.  It's hard to let go of something that has been with you for over 10 years and The Bottle has been my comfort blanket for the past decade (that sounds so wrong... I love my wine and although it can be very comforting, I am referring to this blog)  If nothing, I love being able to look back over the forgone years and read/see the journal of my life. So here I am again, not quite willing to let go completely. I'd miss it too much. And I'd miss those of you who do stick around. Besides, nothing allows me the freedom to express my feelings and share the story of my life, the way this does. So for now, the bottle will stay open and I will continue to ramble with my prose.  

This past week I've been participating in the 5 Day Eating Challenge and have been loving the posts, banter and encouragement shared with the other fab women doing this too. I'm enjoying trying new recipes (many with my new Spirilizer - I will tell you about that in another post - because I'm in love with it.) So far I have been successful; as it's the last day, I think I can say I've been 100% successful actually, however as my exercise has been almost not existent other than long walks, I don't think I've lost a pound.  However there is always next week; It's not like I'm going to start eating tons of junk food just because the challenge is ending today. I've met lots of great ladies who are constantly sharing healthy food recipes and links to great websites.  As we all know, this has to be a lifestyle if we want to remain healthy.

Also, since I didn't bother to relay the amazing time Andy and I had on the beautiful Island of Skiathos, I will leave you with a few photos: 

Up at the old town, Kastro - the scenery was stunning.

Enjoying a day out on the boat we hired (we didn't spot any dolphins on this outing either, however we were told by a couple in another boat that a few were following us at one point!)

Chilling by the gorgeous pool at our hotel.

Lots of beautiful beaches, however more crowded then we expected 
(not that you can see from this photo) 

Pretty boats in the harbour :) 

Loved stopping for a lunch of Mythos (and salad too of course ;) 

We didn't discover how good the cocktail taverna's were until the last evening... so a great reason to re-visit Skiathos Town again.


Wednesday, June 04, 2014


Monday's aren't my favourite day of the week for a multitude of reasons.  I did however wake up this past Monday in a bright mood, which doesn't always happen.  Rarely in fact. Then as I was getting ready for work I realised my hair straightener wasn't warming up but my mood didn't sour.  I had a momentary minute of panic before I decided to just throw my hair up in a bun and get on with it.  On the drive to work, the drivers side windscreen wiper decided to fling itself onto the hood of my car.  I pulled over and tried to click it back in place to the best of my ability, yet it was clear to me that it was broken and would need replacing.  During the rest of the drive I only turned the wipers on randomly to ensure I didn't lose it again, as a soft rain was falling and I couldn't drive without it.  And still I didn't get stressed out.  There was nothing I could do about it. I only needed to remind myself it wasn't that big of a deal;  because there are mother's in this world who are still dying in childbirth due to inadequate medical care, or people who have to walk miles to the nearest well for fresh drinking water for their children. I could list a whole multitude of reasons why I really didn't have an excuse to get upset over what was essentially nothing.

A couple of times this week I have seen Facebook statuses where people are making a huge fuss that their wifi has dropped out, or that they've had to queue for 15 minutes at the grocery store, or that traffic has been a nightmare.  I get that people in our very fortunate world have legit problems and concerns but I'm sorry, I'm not going to sympathise and feel for you if your biggest complaint of the day is that the server at the movie theatre didn't put enough ice in your diet coke (yes, I've complained about that one before). Get over it.  We have so much in our day to day lives that we need to be grateful for and remember when we start to sweat the small stuff.   

If you have a family who loves you, a roof over your head, enough money to eat and pay the bills with and friends to share your tears and laughter with then you have already have more than so many people in this world.

It doesn't hurt to just take a moment and remember this, especially when it feels like everything is spinning out of control. Maybe if I hadn't woken up feeling so optimistic on Monday I might have felt more stressed.  I get that we all have bad days, me included.  Just lately though I've been telling myself that life could be so much worse and I don't want to lose it over 'the small stuff' and so far, it's been working (for the most part.)

For the past two weeks its been raining almost non-stop and during the moments that it's not been chucking it down Molly and I have still been able to get our for a walk (she doesn't like getting wet any more than I do). She loves all the fresh smells that come out after a rain and me? I enjoy watching her explore and seeing all the pretty wild flowers that have sprung up.   

It's the little moments that really matter. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

When something as boring yet necessary as breathing gets in the way....

Thursday at work I had to ring one of the secretaries at the adult mental health team; after we talked business we got down to more important issues such as summer holiday plans, our kids and of course a plan to hopefully meet up soon over a few glasses of wine; she is after all one of my good friends. (Dee is not only an efficient and brilliant PA but also an amazing cake designer - you must remember the awesome Superdry cake she made for Alex's 21st?). At some point in the conversation Dee mentioned how well I've been doing at running. In the past few weeks I've been hearing lots of positive feedback over my 'running', which only makes the fact that I haven't been out in almost two weeks even more annoying. 

I was just getting my groove on with this running lark again when Mother Nature lobbed a soft ball at me that whacked me straight in the chest. For years I have been proud of my commitment to difficult workouts and even more recently that I have also been running for over 30 minutes. Not a major feat for some, and you might laugh if you have run a marathon or two, but considering I've had asthma most of my life, I will mark my pathetic little jaunts as an achievement. 

(Quite proud of myself after a rainy run with Molly) 

So about this breathing issue... I went out two Sundays ago and although I had just run on the Saturday I went for it; not five minutes in my chest was screaming at me due to all the rape seed and other annoying aromatic weeds that spring up here round this time of year, yet I carried on. I was (slowly)running against the high winds and I'm not sure that I would have continued if I wasn't accompanied by my young running partner Jess. It was one of those runs that just didn't feel right, and even when it was over I didn't feel the rush of accomplishment I normally do. I was to busy trying not to die while I found one of my six inhalers. Of course I got my breathing sorted and get this, it only took a few days! However I am a pro at this remember (the asthma, not the running). However just the slightest bit of exertion still becomes uncomfortable and makes my chest prove its unwillingness to cooperate. It's frustrating especially in light of the fact we are heading back out to Greece in a few weeks and I wanted to be a bit more fit than I currently am. I did manage a workout once last week and if I don't go walking through the fields (kind of hard to avoid when there isn't just one, but *two labs that need their exercise as well). I reckon I should be able to get back on track with my Ripped in 30 program. That's provided my back and hip continue to cooperate and not trip me up like in recent months. Oh the perks of being a 40 year old asthmatic with bad joints. It is what it is though and like always I will work thorough it. It could be a lot worse. 

Its a three day weekend here in England and we plan to make the best of it been despite the forecast for rain. I hope you are enjoying your weekend and that you are doing something that makes your heart happy. I'm off to get dressed and take the dogs out with Andy. 

I plan to spend the rest of my weekend doing whatever I feel like, be it something or nothing. 

* We currently have the cantankerous but loveable old boy Carter stopping with us while Dawn & Rob are soaking up the rays in Ibiza. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

The best gift she gave me

First of all I will apologise for promising to be back just after Jayden's 2nd Birthday and Easter with pictures and a tale to tell of what we all got up to.  Life became a bit hectic again and time just ran away from me. I'm back now and will hopefully not stay away so long.


Yesterday was Canadian Mother's Day;  I made sure that I rang my Mom to tell her how much I love her and miss her and hoped she had a lovely day.  I apologised that her card might be a few days late, however she already knew that it wouldn't be on time as I'd told her in an earlier conversation that week.  I love it that Mom and I talk at least four days out of the seven in a week.  Depending what's happening in our lives, we can sometimes talk every day.  I love this.  I don't know if living so far away from her would have been as bearable 20 years ago when phone calls were much more expensive.  Now that we have Skype and Facetime, it's so much better. I love that whenever Jayden sees the I-pad he says 'Nanny?'.  (We actually have a Skype date with Mom this evening).

In honour of yesterday being Mother's Day, I'm going to publish a re-post from 2010; My mother has given me enough love, understanding, support and friendship to see me through the rest of my life, however the best gift she has ever given me was the siblings who followed me. So thank you Mom, for not only being everything that you are, but for giving me the gift of three little sisters and a brother.  It might not have always seemed it but I love being the eldest of this eclectic group of people. 

And then there was five...
Initially published in June 2010

When my Mom had me she wasn’t married to my dad. For all accounts it was just me and her (and a gaggle of aunts who seemingly fought over me). It was a very real possibility that I might end up being an only child. However that was not to be.

When I was two and a half, mom married dad and a few months later came the arrival of my sister Tawny. I think she was a prettier baby than me, with dark curly hair and big brown eyes. Mom said I wasn’t a jealous big sister and I was happy to share with her although there were apparently times when I did give her the odd pinch (sorry!); more often than not I was pleased about the baby, so much so that once mom found me trying to stuff her into my doll’s crib – my own baby. Tawny was creative and agreeable, often following me from place to place – once following me out of the apartment at 7 am on a Saturday morning in our night dresses; another time she packed her bags with me to run God knows where when we were visiting our Nan one summer when I was eight and she was six; Thank goodness she wizened up to following me around – I was going nowhere fast evidently!

A few years later came another sister during my parent’s quest to have a son. Because Sandra has never conformed, it was only logical that she was not a boy. She had red hair and a fiery personality to match. Unlike Tawny and I, she wasn’t so agreeable and certainly marched to her own drummer, strong and independent. She was quick to say I hate you, but even quicker to say I love you.  Sandra definitely threw some variety into the mix. When there is a crisis, she's always there.

Finally, when I was nine, mom successfully gave my father his namesake. Turns out though, that John with his big liquid brown eyes and disgustingly beautiful long lashes shares only his name with dad; From all that Mom has told us, I believe he is much more in nature like our maternal grand-father than our own dad. John is obviously a man that grew up surrounded by females: he is quiet, gentle, respectful and knows when to disappear. If he ever marries he will have one lucky wife.

That was supposed to be it.

Although we had moved from an apartment to a house after dad left the navy, I was still sharing a room with my two sisters when at the age of 11, mom made the proclamation that there would be one more. I freaked out. I knew it would be a girl and that there would be four of us crammed into one little room.

But I was wrong (and right):

Mom and Dad built Tawny and I a room of our own downstairs and the following May came our very last sister. My parents had promised I could name the dark-haired baby with the pretty birth mark on her cheek and I chose Stacy (she is so not a Jennifer or Susan – what my father wanted). Because I was 12 and by then very used to babies, having had lots of practice with John and my cousins, mom let me have almost free reign with Stacy. She kind of became my own baby and rather than put her into a doll’s carriage, mom let me take her for long walks in her pram. I used to love taking our sweet natured little sister, with the softest voice you can imagine out for walks and to my school to show her off. By the time she was a toddler Tawny and I were spoiling her at every chance we could. She was our baby – she still is in so many ways although now a beautiful, confident young woman.

We are now all grown and settling into our adult lives. Most of us remain close, friends even, although a few of us are very far apart in geographical terms. We’ve had the usual family fall-outs but we always manage to pull together; Never more so than these last few months of mom’s illness.

I was watching Sense and Sensibility the other night (one of my favourite Austin adaptations) and it got me thinking about the relationships between siblings, sisters especially. How fortunate are we to have this incredible bond that will last us a lifetime no matter what is thrown at us?  I adore our amazing and flawed tribe and I couldn’t imagine what my life would have been like without them. Sure we have had our differences and I’m certain there are a few more brewing on the horizon, but we always recover and come back to what’s important – the friendships, the laughter, the love.

Stacy, Sandra, John, Me and Tawny (with our Clara on board)

(Goodness have us girls  lost weight since then - John of course looks just as fit as he always does).

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Our Little Golden Girl

Somehow it only seems like yesterday when Andy, my sister and I went to look at the two week old puppy that would be ours as soon as she was old enough to leave her mother. 

It was love at first sight for all of us. 

We drove home that day tossing lots of names around, some really cool however she was a Molly for me, right from the start. (Who knew that every 3rd lab we came across would share the name; yet it doesn't matter because she is such a Molly.)

She was even more adorable when we brought her home after our honeymoon at ten weeks old :) 

Although she was a typical lab and loved to chew everything in sight, she tried very hard to be a good girl; and succeeded most of the time. 

What a brilliant dog she grew to be. She is such a good girl with just the right amount of quirkiness to make her personality shine. 

Today, she turns 9. That's apparently 63 in dog years which puts her at a similar age to my mom - a bonafide senior. However like my mom she shows minimal sighns of slowing down and is still very active. A few times a week she still gets 'her crazy on' - when she races around in circles at full speed, teasing and wanting to play some more. Long may it continue as she enjoys her golden years. 

Quite frankly, she is incredible. 

Happy Bithday to our old girl. You will always be the best gift I have ever received. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Rundown

I thought it was high time I dropped you a line to say that I'm still around and that no, I haven't completely given up on this whole sharing a component of my world with you just yet. I wish I had the drive to post a bit more often and this time round I don't even have a good excuse. Well that's not completely true. I have been extremely busy reading other blogs, mainly of the culinary variety. Lately I've been on a real baking kick, ever since St Paddy's Day (which was ironically my last post).  Work has been busy too, especially as I missed a few days due to a bad cold, however in reality I'm just making up excuses. 

Seriously though. Here is the rundown on what's been keeping me preoccupied: 

1. Trying to replicate pretty but tasty recipes I've been finding from some amazing food bloggers


  Neither of these were nearly as pretty as the original's but they were tasty. 

2. Going on a few hikes with Andy and the dogs (we've had Carter to stay a few weekends this spring. 

During our 9.5 mile hike through the surrounding villages last weekend, we came across the neatest little 'lending library': 

3. I have cheerfully been getting the house sorted for spring and of course Easter, which I love. We have a busy weekend planned over the holiday for a number of reasons, including Jayden's 2nd birthday. I know!  I don't know where the time has gone. I will make sure to pop back before the month is behind us to share photos and a tale or two.

I love the abundance of tulips this time of year brings.

Oh, and I almost forgot... There is one thing that is proving rather distracting; some of you need your fix from medical dramas, The Bachelor, hell maybe even some version of Housewives of who cares. Me? Well my fix for the next month or two is... Masterchef. 

If I'm not back before the weekend, Happy Easter! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Shamrock Cookies & Chocolate Guiness Cupcakes

Over the past few weeks it seems like the never ending rains of winter have decided to take a hiatus;  Maybe mother nature is playing a vicious trick and before we know it the skies will open up again and the temperatures drop back to zero.  I hope not because Spring seems to have sprung around here and with the longer days (even though we haven't yet put our clock's ahead) life is seeming a whole lot brighter in general.

Over the past few weekends I haven't wanted to do a whole lot other than spend time pottering about the house, go on long walks with Molly (especially now that the fields aren't a quagmire) and squeeze in a few workouts.  I don't know about you but I feel so much better when I've done something that makes me really sweat.

I didn't want this past weekend to end (do I ever) although today I'm feeling much better than I normally do on a Monday as I was up and out of the house at 6:00 am for a run with Molly.  It was hard getting out of bed but it felt so good to be out at dawn getting in my fix of exercise.

On Friday night Jayden came to sleep over;  he was staying with us as his Dad was going to Nottingham and his mum had to work all day Saturday. I've probably said it a dozen times but our little man is such a joy to look after, he is just so chilled and easy going. Case in point: on Saturday he slept for almost three hours, thus giving me time to to get some baking done, hang out a load of laundry, work out and make lunch... all before I gave in and woke him up.

Buttermilk biscuits with home-made jam... yum 
(just one reason why I need to work out)

After Jayden woke up and had some lunch on Saturday, Andy and I took him down to the sea-front.  It was a bit chilly with the wind but we still had fun.

Grandy should have had his sunglasses on, but I still love this snap:

On Sunday morning I got up to finish my St Paddy's Day baking;  I had made and decorated nearly 100 shamrock cookies on Friday, however I wanted to get my Guinness cupcakes with Bailey's cream icing made as well. (It's hard going resisting these which is why I give them away).

I also wanted to get dinner prepped as Beryl was coming over.  I was doing a pork-tenderloin marinated in a olive-oil/garlic and soy-sauce blend with a ton of fresh herbs... 

I love having fresh herbs to hand; I love keeping these on my windowsill - it just looks and smells like spring :) My rosemary, chives and parsley are planted outside.

Nothing smells better than fresh chopped herbs don't you think?

However the big disappointment of the weekend occurred yesterday afternoon when I was checking to see how my roast potatoes were coming along and realised the element in my oven was gone again and it wasn't emitting any heat.  Just what I needed;  this is doubly annoying as it is the 2nd time this has happened when I was cooking for company.  Our solution was to go pick Beryl up and treat her to a meal out which was nice,but I think I would have enjoyed my dinner more.  Just saying.

Well, that's my weekly wrap up.  

Oh, and Happy St Patrick's Day.  

I know not everyone celebrates, but I love to celebrate it even though no one locally seems to make much fuss of it.  I can't help it, it's such a strong part of my heritage.  Yes I'm Canadian, however a large majority of Nova Scotian's celebrate St Paddy's Day.  Besides, when I descend from this crowd it's understandable that the Irish Whisky runs through my blood.

My aunts (and a lot of the family) always seem to whoop it up on Ireland's National Holiday - any old excuse really ;) I really miss them at times like these! 

So again, Happy St Paddy's Day

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow, 
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.