Monday, 30 September 2013

Something Old...

Today marks the final Blogtember prompt. While I haven't taken part every day I have really enjoyed pushing myself to post far more frequently than I otherwise would have, many thanks to Jenni of Story of my Life for hosting, I can only imagine how time consuming it has been!

And so today's prompt is...Share a photo of something old. Tell us about why its special.

Firstly, excuse the photos! They were taken in a dark room on my phone...hopefully the descriptions will help! This is my memory box...


It was given to me by my Auntie about 10 years ago. It was originally a chocolates hamper, sadly they were long eaten before the box came to me but I immediately started to fill it with mementos and cards. Its almost full now, every so often I look through and have a clear out of those items that seemed so important years ago, but no longer hold such meaning. Three of the largest items though will never be taken out. Here they are...


The orange bear was originally my brother's I think. If you squeeze his tummy he squeaks, even after 35 years (that's a lot of squeaks!). He reminds me of the time we lived in our first family home, before our parents divorced. He reminds me of my brother and the relationship we had as children. The black marks on his nose are where I got pearl nail varnish on him and my brother tried to scrub it off with a dirty cloth!


The Peter Pan book is the only possession I have of my Mum's. We had an unusual relationship with our mum. When our parents were divorced she moved back to London to be with her family and we had very little contact with her until she passed away when I was 18. She had quite sever mental health issues throughout her adult life which meant that is was difficult to spend time with her and she had very few sentimental possessions. Because of this we only have a few photographs and this book that was given to her on her first birthday. As a child I would read this book constantly and although it is battered and torn, I hope to keep it for my children too.


The diary from 2008 is my Dad's diary. He would mostly use these to log where he was working (he was a builder), what the weather was like and occasionally what he got up to outside of work. We were a family of stills photography rather than video so this is a really tangible thing that I have to remember my Dad by. I love flicking through the pages, seeing how most days there was just entries like "St Ives, odd shower", but then there would be the occasional mammoth entry like, "Village Show - 5 cups, 18 1sts, 13 2nds, 5 3rds, 2 Best in Show, 1 highly rec, Walked to Gwithian". That was my Dad...a man of few words!

It's interesting that of all the cards, newspaper cut outs, dried flowers, show stubs and other items in the box, the ones that mean the most are those that belonged first to someone else. Maybe it's not so much the item that holds my affection, but the memories of the people that they represent.
 

Friday, 27 September 2013

To my Facebook Friends

Today's Blogtember prompt is the one I've been waiting all month for...An anonymous letter to your Facebook friends (no real names).
 
 
Dear "Friends",
 
Please note the inverted commas, I know, I know there's going to be some of you that are really offended that you wouldn't make the cut on my wedding invite list, but adding me because we last spoke to each other in 1994 doesn't make us proper friends.
 
I'm just as bad for accepting your friend request, but the drama I caused when I last cleared out my friends list..."Hey Hun, is everything OK? Have I offended you? You've de-friended me...Message me back, I'm worried...blah blah blah"...has scared me away from future culls.
 
On the subject of friend culls...to the girl who insists every week on posting "If you're still reading this you made it through my friend cull, be grateful haha"...I last saw you when I was 7, if I'm the level of friend that you desire you lead a lonely life, please go outside and talk to real people.
 
If you insist on adding a status such as "OMG I feel so down, can't believe the day I've had...really need a hug" don't then lapse into complete silence. You wanted someone to notice you, leaving 30 people hanging when they have taken the time to say "U OK BABE?" or "What's up hun" is unfair. To reply with "Can't explain on here" is just bloody rude...if you can't discuss it, don't mention it.
 
Thank you to the friends who document every single outing with a mountain of pictures, I really am happy to see in minute detail every meal that you eat and every cocktail that you drink, but I really don't need to see the same cocktail 7 different times...each snapshot being more out of focus than the last.
 
Thank you for trying to steal me away from my chosen profession to that of a farmer, pizza pantry owner, zoo owner and demolition expert. But trust me when I say no amount of gifts, notifications or requests is going to change my mind. When you find a fun accountancy game to play I might join in...until then I'M.NOT.INTERESTED
 
Finally to my true friends, you know who you are...I see you in real life, we laugh at old memories and make new ones when we catch up. I love seeing your beautiful families, I'm grateful to find out what you've been up to, sharing in the joy of a new relationship, job, house and sharing in the sadness of loss. I can't always be at the other side of the door but I am just a mouse click away.
 
Love Carrie xx

 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

100 Word Challenge - The Game

100WCGU (7)


The prompt for this week's 100 Word Challenge is:… but there was still enough light…
 
I've changed the tense to make it fit but hopefully it still works...
 
The Game
 
I remembered Mummy, are you proud of me? When you whispered our secret word, that was the start of the game and I ran.
My hiding place is the best, even Jack wouldn't be able to find me and he's the Champion.
I remembered what you said, "Don't come out until I find you, even if your legs get fizzy tingles."
Everything has gone quiet now, I'm getting hungry Mummy. I can see through my spy hole the room has gotten dark, but there is still enough light to see the handle start to turn.
Mummy have you found me?
 
Now it's your turn...what story would you write with your 100 words?

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Reasons to be Cheerful - September

I've been struggling the last few days.
Sion is on a horrible shift rotation which means our next day off together will be in over 3 weeks time and I've got a flare up of an old sports injury in my shoulder.
I can't shake off feeling hard done by and lethargic. I know I should go to the gym to release a few endorphins, but in doing that I risk injuring myself even more.
I know there are people in the world who are going through simply horrific things right now and in comparison my life is a bed of roses...but I still feel sad.
 
Emmy Mom's link up couldn't have come at a better time for me, now more than ever it's important for me to focus on the positives rather than the few negatives. I don't want to spend any more energy on the few negative areas. I can't change them, they have to run their course. But while I am waiting for this greyness to pass I can remember the good things that have happened this month and the good things to come.
 
1) We spent a lovely long weekend in Holland with our friends, catching up with a few beers and wonderful food.
 
 
2) I brought a new car which is much more suitable for our lifestyle and future plans. It's actually nice to be able to offer friends and family a lift now rather than the other way round...4 seats are definitely better than 2!
 
3) We figured out that Sion has a wheat & gluten intolerance. While this has meant we've had to change our diets (I'm joining him in solidarity), it has helped improve his health & stopped the symptoms that he was experiencing.
 
4) We booked our Christmas break at the fab looking Coombe Mill. It's a surprise for some family members of all ages and we purposefully chose it so there is something for everyone to enjoy.
 
5) I dusted off the baking tins and made this giant birthday cake which went down very well for the five thousand people it fed!
 
 
6) I've arranged to go and see my brother and his family this weekend. It means I won't be in the flat by myself all weekend and I'll also get to enjoy cuddles with my niece and nephew.
 
7) All the hard work at the gym is finally started to pay off, my BMI is now in the healthy range and my body fat % is reducing consistently. I now have a pair of jeans that need to go back to the shop and exchanged for a smaller size!
 
8) I stood at the side of an airfield and proudly watched Sion and his friend take part in a 15,000ft tandem skydive. They were raising money for the local children's ward and have been sponsored a fantastic amount of money.
 

 
9) The autumn weather is finally starting to cool enough for us to make roast dinners rather than salads. There's something so comforting about the smell of a roast chicken and the sight of different coloured vegetables on a plate make me want to tuck in.
 
 
10) The cool weather has also allowed me to justify a buy outside of our allowable healthy food shopping. This Spiced Chai Latte is so nice to sip on an afternoon, with a movie on the TV.
 
 
So there you have it, life really is pretty good right now...I just need to focus on the silver lining rather than the cloud.
 

Monday, 23 September 2013

Blogtember - Life Lately

Today's Blogtember prompt is "Life Lately"
 
My life recently seems to be filled with gym classes and healthy eating. Our holiday to Cuba is exactly 8 weeks away so we are both trying to eat less and exercise more, but it's bloody hard work. We're both now trying to work with muscle strains and injuries - I've got a shoulder injury which flares up every few months and right now it's pretty painful. It's that gut churning, heavy ache type pain that is constantly making me wince - there's not much sleep happening I can tell you!

Sion has recently started a college course that'll set him on the path of becoming a qualified Electrical Engineer in 3 years. I'm so proud of him for doing this, it's not an easy course and free evenings have been spent brushing up on long forgotten maths skills...Laws of Indices anyone?!! We've also just entered into his work rotations that mean we won't share a day off for 3 weeks. With college and gym classes thrown into the mix this period of time really sucks, we struggle to get more than a few hours together in the evening and keep in touch through text messages.

One good thing though is that I've found a new car! I love my old car but it was only a two seater, very uneconomical and impractical. My life is different now and I needed to trade up to a larger car. It's still not completely economical but I think I'll enjoy driving it!

Over the next few weeks I need to get myself out and about to get out of this emotional slump I'm finding myself in. I'm going to go and visit my brother and family while Sion is working and I want to take in a few walks around the New Forest before all the leaves fall off the trees. We've got a trip down to Cornwall at the end of October and then Cuba in November to look forward too - it's just these next few weeks that I need to push through!
 

Friday, 20 September 2013

Blogtember - Comfort

Today's Blogtember prompt is "Comfort"
 
 
Following on from my last Blogtember post this post is going to be a little word light. I don't know whether is a lack of inspiration, lack of sleep or lack of weekend in my life but photos right now seem to show what I want far better than paragraphs of words!
 
When I think of comfort what comes to mind?
 
Home made dinners - the more vegetables the better. I love a roast dinner so much that I had to record the first one of A/W 2013...kind of like a fashion show of bloated-ness, but noooom noooom nooom...it was good!!
 
 
 
Tea - the world would be a more chilled out, loving place if everyone just sat down and discussed things over a nice cup of tea. Proper tea can't be rushed, you're forced to slow the hell down. Tea makes everything seem better.
 


A bed - preferably a comfy one. The duvet should be double the tog required for the temperature and at least one size larger than the bed its going on to. Cushions are optional...Bear and Monkey are not.
 
 
I'm now working out how quickly I can get out of work and home to make a roast dinner and eat it in bed with a side order of tea!!

 

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

No Words

Today's Blogtember prompt is "Only Photos"
 


Here are some of my favourite recent photos...hope you like them!







 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Memories

Today's Blogtember prompt is "A memory you'd love to relive"
 


Inside the house the kitchen table has been cleared of the papers, magazines, pens and stuff that normally live there. In their place are rows of champagne glasses, neatly lined up; bowls of salad waiting for a final drizzle of dressing; a tray groaning with sauces, each checked to make sure it's still in date from the last time they made an appearance.

Outside it seems we've been blessed with a hot summer's afternoon, there's only a few clouds in the sky. I watch as you religiously walk up and down the poolside, scooping out the tiniest of leaves with your giant net and you bend down to test the water temperature with your hand.

Countless chairs have appeared from sheds and garages, each one wiped clean of dust, ready to be filled with sun-weary bodies.

You look at me and say "I think it's time to get it lit" and with a glass of red wine in your hand, you gently coax the coal BBQ into life, your face becomes difficult to see through the haze of smoke.

The dog bounds past us, our early warning system that people are arriving. Joyful greetings drift up the terraced garden as people wind their way up the path, gifts of food and drink in their hands.

Friendships are caught up on, memories are captured in the blink of a camera lens, the first attempts at swimming are cheered on.

You stand on the sidelines watching everyone enjoying the party you've thrown and I walk to your side. Your arms surround me in a hug so full of love that only comes from you and we stand together, father and daughter, in the soft evening sun.
 

Monday, 16 September 2013

Blogtember - Love Letter

Today's Blogtember prompt is to write a love letter (not necessarily romantic) to someone you love.
 


To Sion,
My up to now un-named boyfriend, I'm writing you this letter because you deserve to know how loved you are and how loved you make me feel.
In your quiet unassuming way you've nurtured me, protected me, supported me, fixed me.
Every day you quietly look after me and allow me to look after you.
You laugh at my jokes and make me laugh just as much.
You understand the importance of allowing me to speak of my fears and you share your fears in return.
You are equally protective of, and in fear of, your sisters. You have taught me what it means to be surrounded by family and you have given me the desire to raise my own children with you at my side.
You are my footsteps in the sand, when I am weak I will feel your arms and heart lift me; when you are weak I will carry you.
You are my Other Half, with you I am whole.

With all my Love,
Carrie xxx

P.S. This doesn't mean that it is ok to fart on my leg in bed.
 
 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Blogtember - Self Portrait

The photo that I've chosen as my self portrait isn't technically brilliant (by a loooooong shot), I don't look stunningly beautiful (especially with my red nose and make up free face), but I love this more than any other photo of me.

Southampton - 18th January 2013
This was taken at 7.30am on the first day of snow this year. We both love snow, the only thing that beats snow is Christmas. We had been religiously checking the weather forecast in the days leading up. I had even been elected as my Company's official weather girl. During a sleepless night, I looked outside the window numerous times in a bid to see the first flakes...nothing.

I was even awake enough at midnight to be the first to wish the Other Half a happy Birthday...oh yeah...expected snow day was also his birthday, I forgot to mention that!

At 6am I got out of bed to put the news on and everyone was talking about the snow, but there was still nothing falling. I had pretty much promised all my colleagues that we would be getting Friday off as a snow day and it was looking like I would get lynched in the canteen later.

I took one last forlorn look out the window before I had to start getting ready and there gently drifting down were the first tiny flakes. The curtains were pulled wide open and we watched as it soon started falling harder, quickly settling, covering the grotty grey world in glittering white.

We couldn't stay indoors, we spent the day outside, talking to other walkers, having snowball fights, making snow angels. We went to our local pub and spoke to people for the first time. The birthday presents were opened with gratitude but were quickly put to one side. The birthday dinner had to be cancelled.

We took photo after photo, but none captured our excitement as much as this first one, taken at the end of our road as the snow fell around us.
 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Five Sentence Fiction - Flowers


Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week Lillie McFerrin posts a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate writes a five sentence story based on the prompt word.
The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week: FLOWERS
 
As he stood in the busy shop surrounded by a colourful rainbow, fear and confusion crossed his face.
"It's red for romance and yellow for friendship, if that helps you?" he heard next to him.
He glanced across and saw an old lady who was gazing fondly at the regal looking irises.
"My Jack used to buy me flowers every week for 47 years, they've all got different meanings but every bunch was given with love."
A short time later he stood nervously at her door, a bunch of beautiful orange roses in his hand and tucked amongst the blooms was a card that read, "A marriage needs both friendship and romance, I promise to give you both."

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Road Trip to Holland

Sitting at my desk, surrounded by the remnants of the monthly torture known as "Reporting", our mini break in Holland seems a distant memory. I thought I would cheer myself up and get my post done, before it fades away completely!

Two weeks ago we found ourselves being woken my our alarm at 2am. I'm surprisingly chirpy at this time in the morning, although I think the excitement of our upcoming trip probably had more to do with my sunny mood! By 6am we were on the Dover to Dunkirk ferry fantasising about the full on breakfast we were going to treat ourselves to...we did have breakfast but it didn't really match our expectations, thank God for Haribos!!

The slightly sleepy driver!
It only took us 3 hours driving from Dunkirk to find ourselves in the village of Waspik, where we were basing ourselves for the weekend. This gave us the afternoon to catch up with our friends before all their extended family arrived for a Gourmet. This is a traditional Dutch social meal. You put together lots of different bite sized pieces of meat and cook them on an indoor grill then eat it with salads, chips and bread. It's a meal to be enjoyed over the course of the evening and everyone chats over the grills while you wait for your meat to be cooked.
.

On Saturday morning we visited the town of Oosterhout, it's filled with cobble streets and little alleyways that open into courtyards housing bars and shops. I tried out my fledgling Dutch on our waitress at lunchtime, she replied in English so I think I may need to practise my pronunciation!!


 
In the afternoon we met up with friends to enjoy a boat ride on the Maas river. Every boat we passed we had to shout out "Hallo" to and wave, everyone was so friendly! Late afternoon we moored at Biesbosch and had a BBQ on the riverbank until the sun set and we headed home with full bellies and tired, beer squiffy eyes!
 


On Sunday we took a beautiful drive through the Dutch countryside to a town called Heusden. Every Sunday lots of motorbike riders meet up in the town square for coffee before going for a ride. We got there just as they were getting ready to leave and so sat for a while and listened to the roar of the bikes.


I finally found my traditional windmill and took an insane amount of photographs while the OH stood and waited for me.


On the walk back to the car I saw this street name which has to be one of the longest names ever. Its words like this that make me even more determined to learn Dutch!!
 

 
Our morning on Monday was just taken up leisurely packing and chatting to our wonderful hosts before heading back to Dunkirk. We finally got home at 10pm, tired but very relaxed and filled with happy memories.

Monday, 9 September 2013

A leap of Faith, Hope & Charity

I found myself woken at 6am on Saturday morning to the gentle pitter patter of rainfall. This was a major problem as The OH had booked a tandem skydive with his good friend to raise money for one of the Children's Wards at Southampton General.
 
A more scientific look out the window calmed his nerves as the blue sky was definitely winning the war with the rain clouds, so we made out way to the jump site in Salisbury. The OH was surprisingly calm, although he did ask me if I thought he would be able to wear a hoodie when he jumped!
 
While they were having their safety briefing we practised taking photos of the first parachutists...
 
 
I realised I could have done with a super-duper zoom camera...but we would not be defeated! The boys came over to us in all their jumpsuit finery, ready to say their goodbyes to us...
 
 
 
and then it was time. Into the plane they climbed and we watch it take off and climb higher and higher to 15,000ft.
 
10 minutes later we heard the engines cut and saw the tiniest of dots tumble from the plane. All the spectators were waiting until the parachute opened, a big cheer went up and we could see that it was the orange parachute...The OH was on his way down! His friend was the next parachute so we watched them both transfixed as they drifted like blossom closer and closer to us.
 
 
I clambered up a fence, holding both my phone and camera to try and capture the moment he landed safely...
 
 
I think the smile on his face as he was dropped back to the reception area says it all really...
 
 
He's now desperate to jump again and wants to qualify as a solo skydiver...eeek!!
After the photos and video were ordered we headed back to his friend's house for a BBQ and a few well deserved drinks.
 
This little lady is the reason they did such a brave thing
 
 
At 6 months old she was diagnosed with a Wilm's Tumour (a type of kidney cancer). She had the tumour removed on Valentine's Day and underwent chemotherapy. All her follow up appointments have shown that she is now clear of the cancer, but she will need regular check ups until she is 10. The OH and his friend (this little lady's Dad) wanted to say thank you by raising money for resources on the ward that she spent so much time on.
 
Pretty good reason for throwing yourself out of a plane I think and a definite Magic Moment!