Sunday, 23 July 2017

Miserable!


The week started off with such promise - a sunny afternoon in Bath, eating gelato,
reminiscing about our trip to Italy last year.


Compared to 'this' - grey, wet and totally miserable.
My mood is really affected by the weather. I could quite happily pack my bags and head off to find some warm sunshine - this really is quite miserable for July.


On a positive note, we do have a raspberry! 
We only planted the raspberry canes this year and they take a while to bed in, so next year I'm expecting great things.

Friday, 14 July 2017

A quiet week

It's been a quiet, non eventful week - Sam has been on his 'Work Experience' week up at Jeff's school in the IT department (not allowed to take a pic of him!). He has no idea what he wants to do and this was a good placement, if only for the working alongside other adults, rather than the actual doing, if that makes sense. He's quite a quiet boy, so general chit chat with a load of adults would be challenging but he's been fine and he's enjoyed loading software on to laptops and fitting a hard drive etc. Sophie has enjoyed having the car to herself, so a good week and there is only one more to go, before schools break up for Summer.


The garden is doing it's thing! 
There is always a time when everything, suddenly, grows madly and....


....we have peas ready for popping!


Annoyingly we had a lot of rain one day and the daisies, I'd meant to string up and support, did battle with the elements. I've now strung them up and they'll 'do' but now not at their best. Next year I must buy proper supports.


I've watched a little tennis....


and enjoyed a coffee, catch up and film with a friend.


I have made a few decisions about my on going weight management. I notified my lovely Slimming World consultant that I wouldn't be returning to my fabulous Friday morning group. I've not weighed in months and as a target member, you are supposed to face the scales monthly. Work and Uni open days have got in the way and I know it'll be hard to get there over the Summer, so I am taking the summer off. I'm not going to weigh, I'm not going to post daily pics of my food over on Instagram - I'm just going to relax and enjoy the summer and if necessary, join a new Slimming World group in September (there is one directly opposite my house on a Saturday morning) if the scales dictate I should do so. The weight isn't going back on, I'm determined to keep it off, so I will see if I can do this on my own now and if not, I will happily go back to group if I need to be accountable to someone.


We have booked our holiday for next year, so I have the perfect motivation to keep the pounds at bay. I know it's early but I found this 'affordable' villa (I've been looking for ages), with it's own pool and considering everything everyone wants from a holiday, a private villa was the way to go. I hate the whole getting up early to grab a sunbed routine, Sam spends most of his time up in an air conditioned room, as he hates the heat, so this way he can be still part of things and with a private pool, could go for a swim at 10pm should he wish. We are literally 50m from the beach and resort centre and we've been there before in half board accommodation, so know there is plenty to do. We have agreed to eating out every night (that's my perk of the holiday) and I'll happily do breakfast and lunch. It may be our last family holiday, as Sophie will be off to Uni (fingers crossed she gets the grades!) so I want to ensure everyone is happy. Just the flights to keep an eye out for now and book. I love something to look forward to and with no holiday this year, this will seem even more like a treat.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

We're done....for now!


So for the past two months, Sophie and I have been visiting various University Open Days, in her quest to find the one and chose a close second, as an insurance choice and we think she may be done!


Exeter was our first stop - highest grade entry requirement of A*AA 
She liked it, great course, nice campus but we need to return to see Exeter itself.
  

Birmingham was not far behind, requiring AAA
She LOVED it - great course, really nice campus, short train ride into the city


Surrey was very underwhelming and we left early, so we're forgetting that one but may well need to find an alternative in the September Open Day sessions to fill it's slot.


Cardiff requires AAB - was in competition with Southampton for the insurance place slot! 
Great city, friendly atmosphere, campus a little more spread out within the city, rather than completely campus based. I really liked it but ...... 


Southampton pipped it to the post in insurance place position. 
Requires AAB or ABB with an A in an EPQ qualification.
She liked the campus set up and the course was still good, so Southampton is her insurance place option with......


....Birmingham in top place!

Of course the small matter of passing her exams still needs to happen and I guess her AS level results will be a good indicator of what she could potentially achieve at A level. I guess by doing these Open Days, you have more of an idea of what you are working towards, on the other hand it can be hard to dream of where you want to go and ultimately not get the grades to achieve it! Who knows what will happen but she's a hard worker and if she puts in the work, her dreams may become a reality.

I've loved these Open Days - so much to see and take in - great people watching too x


Thursday, 6 July 2017

Staycation!


We can't afford to go on holiday this year due to our extension build last year, so when the sun shines we're making the most of it. For the first time ever, whilst Jeff is on holiday before the kids, we don't have to do the school run, so we had a proper day out yesterday.....


... by the sea!

We waited until we knew they'd arrived at school safely, then headed to Bridport, about an hour away and right by the sea. The town itself was a bit disappointing, not the array of shops I was expecting, so we had a quick coffee and headed over to Burton Bradstock, a National Trust beach.


It was the perfect day to go and Jeff had his first dip in the sea.


It isn't Majorca or Greece or Croatia but the sea was so clear and could have so easily been mistaken for the Mediterranean. It was a fab day out, just what I needed and we've promised to make the effort to return. We used to go to that bit of coast when we lived in Crewkerne but I guess we thought it was too far away but an hour (without moaning kids in the back of the car) was completely doable.


Today we are at home, as Jeff had things to do this morning but the sun is still shining....


.... and as I said, we're making the most of it. Jobs can be done outside on overcast, cloudy days and I'm sure it will rain soon, so inside jobs can be tackled then. 
Hope the sun is shining where you are x

Monday, 3 July 2017

How is it 2 years already?


2 years ago today!!


We moved to Street.


6 months of building chaos and.....


 ....one extension later,


....we can now look back at a job 'well done'.


 And who knew we would get such good views of Glastonbury Tor
 from our bedroom window?

We have achieved a lot, although there is still a lot to do!


Sophie's room was first on the hit list, as she had exams on the way.


Then Sam's room got a makeover! 


Then our bedroom was a priority once the build was finished, after 'camping' downstairs in the front room for 8 months. This room was by far a surprise bonus of the build. We had no idea we could create such a big space and have so much storage to boot.


The kitchen is by far the best room in the house and the reason we bought this house, due to it's  building potential. This room and all it's 'space' has lived beyond all expectations. It is the heart of the house and is everything I wanted and more, with it's dual aspect to the front of the house and doors opening out into the garden at the back - it's perfect. 


And I love my little corner, with views out to the garden and of Glastonbury Tor.


The sitting room was completed in time for Christmas and finally, we had a space that felt like 'our's' to relax in, every evening.


Jeff's study hasn't been decorated but has been 'made good' to give him a space to work and chill out in, plus a place to hide away all his stuff! I think it's the first time that he has had his own actual room. 

We still need to tackle the bathroom (next on the list) utility and finally the hall, stairs and landing but I need to summon the energy and enthusiasm to tackle that one!


The garden is well under way and is feeling more like our garden now. Hopefully now Jeff has broken up for the Summer, we can get a lot of jobs out there ticked off the list. Out the front is a whole another story - we need to get it professionally levelled and surfaced, so need to save up to get that done.

 

All in all, the move has been a good one, for us all.

I wanted to move house a couple of years minimum before the children left home, so that when they came back from Uni in the holidays, it felt like home. They had a connection, friendship network, traditions and memories attached to the house. Through no fault of my parents, they moved due to my Dad's job the year both my sister and I left home for Uni and as a result, I never really went back as it wasn't really home. 

Already in the 2 years we have lived here, Sam has become a teenager and grown very tall! Sophie has celebrated her 16th birthday, sat her GCSE and AS exams, celebrated her Prom, passed her driving test, got her first job, all from this house. They like the bigger town, the more frequent buses that allow them more independence. Jeff has become a frequent visitor of the local leisure centre - swimming, spinning and locally trained and passed for his refereeing qualifications. He can walk to work and now dots and spots is no more, neither of us has a commute! It feels like home and the stresses of limited parking and an unsavoury neighbour at our previous address, feel like a lifetime ago. 

We still have things to do to the house inside and out but we have achieved a lot in the past 2 years and it really does feel like home x

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Goodbye June ....... hello July!

So goodbye June ....... hello July!


June was a busy old month and it's hard to think our family lunch was a month ago. Sophie has endured AS exams and I, through my scribing and invigilation, feel I have done exams too! Sophie and I have also been busy visiting University Open Days - great fun and so exciting for her. Exeter and Birmingham ticked off in June and a few more to see. Jeff and I had a fab evening with Take That, I squeezed in a trip to Bath, enjoyed a meal and catch up with an old school friend in Brum and of course we've celebrated Father's Day this month and my Dad's birthday. So all in all, a busy month. Jeff also broke up on June the 30th. so he's very happy to be on holiday now for the Summer.


I've now finished for the Summer, with my bit of supply teaching and exam invigilation - the marquee going up always signals the end of term. I now really need to find something a little more routine and permanent, so will have to keep looking.



The Bath brollies are still up and adding plenty of colour on a grey day. On my first day off, I escaped there for the day. I love going to Bath on my own, it always feels like a proper treat. 


Today however, the alarm was set for 6am and Sophie and I headed off to Surrey, for the next leg of our University Open Day Tour! It was an easy journey, big campus but it wasn't for her. I always said you must visit if you can because you will get that 'gut feeling' and today she wasn't feeling 'it'! I must say, I felt the same, so after a couple of hours on the campus, we headed into Guildford itself to see if that would sway her.


It was a lovely town but it didn't have the 'city feel' she is after, so at least we know and can cross it off the list. It wasn't a wasted trip, far from it because she now knows and I got to look around Guildford - Cardiff and Southampton to see next weekend.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Birmingham bound!


So we have apparently just experienced a 'heatwave' or as I would say, a few days of lovely weather. 


Yes it was hot but blink and it's sadly over.


Thankfully, I guess, it was cooler for our trip to Birmingham - the next stop on our University Open Day Tour! School had an Inset day on the Friday, so Sophie and I got the bus to Bristol, then train to Birmingham, staying in a Premier Inn overnight. We spent the afternoon 'doing Birmingham' so Sophie could get a feel for the city, as the University is campus based and just a train stop out of the city. Birmingham has really improved from when I used to go 30+ years ago. The train station alone is vast and then there's the Bullring Shopping Centre and the lovely Brindly Place by the canal. We met an old school friend and her daughter on the Friday evening, which was a great chance for a catch up and for them to chat about where they were looking at for uni choices.


So up bright and breezy on the Saturday morning, we enjoyed a good breakfast at New Street Station, fuelled ready for our day at the University. The campus was huge but had a great feel. We ticked off the Economics talk, followed by a tour of the accommodation area, quick bite to eat, then a campus tour. With a couple of hours to fill, we explored the Subject Hall and Student Guild, a quick peek in the Library, then headed back to the train station for a much needed coffee and sit down.

It was a great day and as a result, I think Birmingham has jumped into 'top spot', with Exeter now in second place. Still the matter of getting an offer and the subsequent 3 'A' grade entry requirement but I think she may have found 'the one'. We still have a few more to see - Surrey next Saturday, with Cardiff and Southampton the weekend after, battling it out for the insurance uni choice. 

I'm really enjoying it, having a good look around. Much to Sophie's annoyance, I'm one of the Mum's asking lots of questions but as I keep telling her, this is your one chance to ask actual students about their experiences there and more often than not, I think the students are glad to be asked, rather than just standing there waiting around. So I now have been tasked to do some accommodation research, as Sophie's working all day today and work out how to get to Surrey next Saturday!

Hope you are having a lovely weekend.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

It's been a hot one!



What a week of gloriously sunny weather, at last and.....


....... I've certainly been making the most of it!



 I've struggled working inside, when there have been gorgeous blue skies outside.


Although alfresco dining is a must!


Today is Father's Day and Jeff has spent a day relaxing in the garden. A big shout out to my Dad and Jeff's Dad too, who I hope are enjoying a gloriously sunny day, relaxing too.