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.