Wednesday 23 July 2014

Whistlestop best bits of May and June

EEEEeeeeeee, how has all this time passed (again)?
Anyway, May and June 2014 were full of are the best bits:
 I had a birthday! I genuinely have no idea how old I am these days, and more worryingly have trouble working it out. 
I do know it's early-mid 40's..

My favourite gift was this beautiful plate from Cleggy. He also bought me a Bobby Brown bronzer, and made me chuckle when he told me how he'd told the sales assistant to 'throw in a brush'!! He won't do that again (it's lush though)
GB called in one of his birthday vouchers and chose a trip to Alton Towers. We went on all the big rides - and I have to confess my head was still spinning many hours later (curse those mid 40's ears!)

It's been years since we last went - I had forgotten just how beautiful the old house and gardens are

We had a wonderful surprise visit from our old friend Saima and her new family. We fostered Saima and her sister Asma when they were young teens - they came on an overnight emergency placement and ended up staying for a year!
Now in her early 20's she has just got married and had her first baby. We were all thrilled to see her - but also really (really) proud of her.
I've moved on from teeeny tiny doily making to mahooosive blankets! The one I'm most pleased with is my first knitted one
I'm pretty sure there's an easier way of changing colour than I currently do, but I was pleased with the finished result. My little sister Nelly has claimed it for her next baby - due in October.

The blanket I was originally making for her has now been relegated to the WIP pile - I love it and am enjoying making it, but it is a little scratchy compared with my cheapo wool above!
I also finished my biggest blanket yet - its for some special friends to snuggle under together

My other small addiction is for headbands- I bought a stash from Wilkos (39p each!) and have started adding flowers to cheer them up

We've loved having my sister and her family living back around the corner - and have seen much more of them
And as always we have had some lovely family get togethers.
Including a world cup party...unfortunately planned before England's early exit...
We all love when Cleggy gets his guitar out!!
Selfie from the day
 another evening in the sun
 den making with the littles
The garden has been completely neglected this year - but I quite like it's wildness
I don't know that I'll feel the same when I try to tame it 
next year!
The pink rambling rose has been lush as ever
We also spent a lovely day on the beach at Ainsdale

It's been busy on the work front too - I decided to close my notonthehighstreet shop :(
but have loved spending more time working with Cleggy on his business.
Especially the work trips!!
In May and June they included a lovely 24 hours in London
We stayed in Hazlitts - which is an ace little hotel hidden away in Soho and definitely worth looking up

We had an afternoon of mooching - perfect

...and most bizarrely came across the man who sold us our wedding rings 25 years ago. I lost mine years and years ago and always planned to get one re-made, but it was a specific design and not easily replicated. The lovely man in Covent Garden said he could do it - how exciting!
We enjoyed cocktails and the most delicious food in subterranean Hakkasan - we could only get it by booking an early tea rather than dinner! It was a bit weird walking out into the evening sunshine at about 7.00 - making our tipsy way back to the hotel amongst people finishing work in the big smoke!
Cleggy ran his conference the following day in a great venue - Browns Courtrooms above Browns Restaurant in Covent Garden. 

I tried to persuade Cleggy to do hi presentation from the Judges pulpit - but he couldn't see the screen!
I sat in the press box though. (forgot to take a photo)
The history of the place has been really well preserved - the massive books listing all the trials that were ever held at the court were on display and fascinating to read.
We also had a lovely 24 hours in Exeter - arriving in the late evening but in time for a lovely walk around the city
I loved this sculpture (by Michael Fairfax) on the High street - which features riddles dating back to the 10th Century. You can't read them without looking at them in the reflection of the next steel face, and the answers are on the back of the spheres

We had a wonder around the castle walls and quiet streets

Then while Cleggy presented his words of wisdom I met fellow maker Helen from Kindred Rose.
We sat here and chatted for about 4 hours - what a lovely way to spend a day! (forgot to take a photo in my giddiness)
One of the things we shared was a love of juicing - I can't believe how much more energy I feel since I loaded up on a ton of vegetables each day

We also ran a conference in Birmingham - and completely lucked out on the overnight stay! We'd booked a basic room in 'Staying Cool @ The Rotunda' ...but got upgraded to one of the penthouse suites on the top floor.
OH MY...the views were stunning
 You could see right down into New Street Station - and out on the circular balcony you could hear the announcements!
 luckily we had planned to eat in - as the ever changing light as the sun went down were amazing
 It was no less captivating at night
 liking our each others shoes!
Cleggy and I celebrated our 21st Wedding anniversary...
low key this year 
(although I did have a peak at last years photos of Venice!)
We did sneak out for a little lunch in the sunshine!
sunny - but windy!

We caught up with some friends about to 
leave for a new life in Australia
(another awful selfie for the project) 
We'll miss you Bradfords :(
And had breakfast with some mates who have been enjoying their new life in Australia for the last 3 years and came home for a 'holiday' (miss you too Davenports - but see you soon!!)

School finally finished for the summer (man, those last couple of weeks are a drag!) This year I broke with tradition and didn't make something home made for the teacher's thank you gifts!!
The boys were thrilled to hear this - until I showed them my 'souper douper' spoons from Victoria @ Tangled Sweetpea. They were very dubious - but ate their words when The Teen's teacher Mr Ashworth opened his before the end of term, laughed and said it was the best gift! (yyeeeessssss!)
Finally- we are going to be away when my little brother turns 40 - so, predictably, we gathered a whole heap of stuff and headed to Lyme Park for a big family picnic!!! Ignoring the rain clouds we set up (amongst the deer poo and thistles) and ate and drank in celebration

weird photo I know - but my brother is on a lifelong search for the ultimate egg custard - so we bought a load from different places and had a taste test. Despite the fact that most of us hate them (and felt sick for a couple of hours afterwards)
The Granny made a funny noise, then fell off her chair!!!!
Classic. My brother couldn't help as he was saving his (4th) egg custard, G Kisby and I couldn't help as we were taking photos of the calamity, no one else could help for laughing. Granny managed to save her wine (natch) and fortunately wasn't hurt! Brilliant

Auntie Janet produced a whopper of a cake from China Town
which Wilf ate his body weight of!!
(love that boy)
the picnic selfie

 Happy birthday for Saturday Markie 
  So, this afternoon we begin our next big AUSTRALIA!
Cleggy is sharing his love of Early Years Education (and words of wisdom) all over the place this year - and I'm sure there is lots he can learn from how they do things over there on the other side of the world.
We have three weeks in Sydney (while Cleggy visits the major cities) followed by the holiday bit in Noosa. To say we're excited would be an understatement...
Happy summer
fee x