Friday, 31 August 2012

Weekend Plans

We got back from our honeymoon 10 and a bit weeks ago... each of those 10 weekends we have been busy doing something, with someone! It's lovely to spend time with friends & family and we are very grateful that we are able to do that but sometimes it's just nice to have a whole weekend to yourselves with no time limits, nothing to get up for at a particular time and no places to be.

This weekend is our first one of those since we got back from our honeymoon and I am very excited about it!

It may seem silly but I am just so looking forward to the clock turning 5pm tonight, heading home to my husband in our lovely home and just seeing what the weekend brings. Don't get me wrong, there are things that could be done, but don't have/need to be done - these are enjoyable things though like leisurely tidying & pruning the garden, planting new things, cutting the grass etc. All of which we'll enjoy doing this weekend at our own pace whilst enjoying the sunshine that is forecast.

I have a stack of wedding photos that I got printed that could be put in an album this weekend - something I never find I have time to do, but no doubt I will enjoy doing that this weekend and reliving the amazing memories of our day.

This morning I felt extremely satisfied to strip our bed, wash the sheets & hang them on the line all before work, meaning that is one less thing I have to do once I get home tonight too (am I turning into a housewife?!)

There are still the usual weekly chores of grocery shopping & laundry to do, but it's not going to be a usual rush to get them done before we go off somewhere for the weekend, they can be done when we feel like it.

We may even get to the gym on a weekend, that would be a novelty!

Our bank balances have taken a battering over the past 10 weekends too, so I'm sure they'll welcome a weekend off!

Looking forward to seeing what may be!

Friday, 24 August 2012

4

Today is our middle nephews 4th Birthday and we are going "home-home" for the weekend to celebrate with him.. as I drove to work this morning I started thinking about the first time I met Finn. I remember it well because it was Mother-in-laws birthday... 9th July 2009. He was just over 10 months old.

We went out for dinner to celebrate my now mother-in-laws birthday. It was also the first time I would meet my to-be-inlaws.

I remember being really nervous about meeting them all, wondering what they would think of me, if they thought I was good enough for their son/brother/uncle and whether there'd be any awkward silences!

We decided to stay at a nearby hotel that night and knowing how nervous I would be, Matt brought some of my favourite rose wine & two wine glasses so we could have a 'dutch courage' glass of wine beforehand! I'd bought a new red top epecially too.

Matt took me round to his Mums house so I could meet her first and as soon as I said hello I relaxed - I felt completely at ease with her. I am really lucky to have a good relationship with my mother-in-law and hope that this lasts forever!

We then went to the Bell at Carlton Colville where Matts brother, sisterinlaw and two nephews were waiting for us. The eldest nephew Theo was 5 at the time and had especially worn one of Uncle Matts ties which came down to his knees - so cute!

Unfortunately I dont have a photo of Finn from that evening, the earliest one I have of him is from August 2009 (we both look so much younger!!) :



It's hard to believe that was just over 3 years ago! I have been really lucky to watch him grow from that gorgeous 10 month old to a very clever gorgeous 4 year old! I have been really lucky to watch him take his first steps, speak his first words (including his name for me "seehaaa") and learn lots of every day things we take for granted.

The most recent photo I have of him was at our wedding in June 2012, what a handsome young man! :



Happy 4th Birthday Finn!

Lots of love xxx

Sick Days

I'd felt unwell most of Monday morning, and after lunch I was sick at work - something that is very unusual for me. Infact I can't actually remember the last time I was sick where I couldn't blame it on alcohol.

I was sent home from work and stayed at home for the two following days.

Stupidly I posted on Facebook "doesn't 'do' being sick very well" and within seconds the private messages, whatsapp and texts came flying through (ok, I exaggerate, but I had a good few):

"not morning sickness is it?"

"do I sense the pitter patter of tiny feet?"

no, No, NO, and more NO!!!!

I'm sure I brought it on myself by broadcasting the fact that I was sick, but maybe I just wanted a little sympathy?!

I rest my case.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Paultons Park & Peppa Pig World

Last Saturday the 18th August we (myself, M, brother & sister-in-law) took my 17 month old nephew to Paultons Park - primarily for him to visit Peppa Pig World, something that we knew he would love being an avid fan! (I have never seen him laugh to himself so much as he does when he reads a Peppa Pig book - too cute!)

The park opened at 10 so we thought we would get there soon after to avoid queues to get in. Car parking was easy and we got parked pretty close to the entrance. As we walked towards the entrance they opened up another section so we flowed through easily.

Once inside the park we decided to have a wander around and get our barings. The crowd seemed to all be going in one direction - Peppa Pig World! Disappointingly, on arriving in the PP section we could barely move, it was far too over crowded and each ride had ridiculously long queues so we were unable to soak up the atmosphere and I think the nephew got a little bit too overwhelmed.

We decided to head for Georges Spaceship Playzone (indoor soft play area) first, in there he had fun playing with the ball in the recyle centre & Uncle Matt had fun building a house for him:

 
Seeing that the queues were just as long, if not longer, we decided to have a walk around the rest of Paultons Park and come back to Peppa Pig world later in the day.
 
The big kids amongst us decided we would go on the Cobra rollercoaster, which, despite the 20 minute queue, we all enjoyed and agreed it was quite a "thrill ride".
 
Next we headed to the "Edge" ride which they describe as their biggest thrill ride - unfortunately, although we had fun, we didn't seek a thrill whilst on this ride!
 
One of the really great things about Paultons Park is that there are lots of lovely (clean) areas for picnics. We pitched up and enjoyed ours in the sunshine.
 
After lunch we decided to walk back through the dinosaur park to check out the queues at Peppa Pig World again. There was ever-so-slightly less people walking around, but the queues were just as long. They were sneaky queues though, at one point we began to queue for Grandpa Pigs Boat Trip but then realised that the queue actually doubled back on itself around the lake and we really couldnt expect a 17 month old to be patient enough to wait his turn in what could be a 30 minute wait (and more) so we gave up and decided to come home. 
 
I think Paultons Park & Peppa Pig World have potential to be a great family day out, however I think they should consider restricting the queues for the rides to a limited amount of people rather than having Disney World style queues wrapping around each other which kid you into thinking you are almost at the front!

All in all, it was an expensive couple of hours walking around a theme park at £80 for 4 adults and a 17 month old (free under 1 metre in height)

Monday, 20 August 2012

How does your garden grow...?!

When we first moved into our house in December 2011, our "garden" was no more than a mud bath! Filled with mud, builders rubble and general rubbish.

Due to the wet & snow of the winter we decided to leave it a couple of months before we tackled it, also trying to decide whether we seed or turf the lawn.

Annoyingly I don't have a photo of what it looked like initially with nothing in it, but below is the first picture I do have.. probably taken in January. We started off by cordoning an area at the bottom of the garden (which later changed shape) and putting in some paving slabs as stepping stones so we could get from one side to the other:


From that, M took a weeks holiday in February and did lots & lots & lots of hard work, turning over all of the soil, removing clay, rocks & builders rubble.. laying sand & manure (which of course smelt lovely....!!) The result of that weeks hard work was:






















The soil was then left a few weeks to settle and for the frosts to flatten it. Next we decided that we were going to buy the cheapest turf we could find & hope for the best! M had another days holiday in March so he went ahead and laid it then. I came home from work to:



Which, having never seen freshly laid turf before, I was worried about & couldn't see it surviving! (I should have had more faith in the talented M!) because by Easter weekend it was looking like this:



Still not quite able to use it, but seeing huge signs of improvement and green-ness was very exciting!

By the time we had a couple of nice days of sunshine in May we were able to go out & use it. We also decided to cut in a mini border along both sides of the garden to plant seasonal bedding plants:



By the time we had come back from our wedding & honeymoon in late June/early July we had a fully functioning garden! M got ants in his pants though and decided we needed a raised decking area for the BBQ and some pot plants, so now it looks like:





However, most of the plants we have in the pots & bedding are seasonal so won't last much past the "summer" months.. rather than keep replacing them seasonally, I would love some suggestions of pretty, easy maintenance perenials that we can fill the pots with? Any ideas would be welcomed!


NB: credit where credit is due, well done Mr Watts! xxx

Friday, 17 August 2012

Simple things....

Just a couple of reasons why I love being a wife :





Thursday, 16 August 2012

Woodbridge

Recently I realised that we don't spend much time together, on our own. There is always some place to be, with other people - be it family or friends. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy visiting people, or having them to ours.. but sometimes I just really crave some 'us' time.

Last Saturday M took me to Woodbridge for a pub lunch and a walk around a place called Woodbridge. We went to a pub that we found on my Birthday last year that does really good home cooked food and also has a nice garden area - as the weather was lovely on Saturday it seemed perfect.

As well as having lots of little lovely shops to visit, when I go to Woodbridge, I also like to go and sit down by the water.. I find it really peaceful and love listening to the sound of the sail boats clanging in the wind.


It was a nice simple day that didn't cost us a fortune, but both really enjoyed it & decided it was something we should do more often.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Chicken & Broad Bean Risotto

Finding something different to cook & eat every night of the week is hard! We quite often end up eating the same thing often because we can't be bothered to think of something new, and it's easy.

One weekend a few weeks back we had mother-in-law coming to stay and I wanted to find something different to cook for her... at the time M & I were still on post honeymoon diet and wanted something relatively healthy. Baring that in mind and the fact that we had chicken in the freezer, I set about looking for a chicken recipe.

I had recently downloaded the weightwatchers app on my phone so decided to search that first. I happened to see a recipe for 'Chicken & Broad Bean Risotto'... one of M's favourite vegetables is broad beans so I decided that could be a winner.

I bought the following ingredients:

  • Calorie controlled cooking spray
  • 300g skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
  • 250g risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli)
  • 1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 850ml hot vegetable or chicken stock
  • 75g broad beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Basil leaves, to garnish


  • and then M followed the very easy recipe below, taken from the weightwatchers app/or website:



    HowToMakeRisotto_Step1
    1 First of all, spray a large sauté pan or saucepan with calorie controlled cooking spray and add th chicken and 250g risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli). Cook over a low heat for about 2-3 minutes, stirring all the time, until the rice looks translucent, but not brown.
    HowToMakeRisotto_Step2
    2 Next, add the spring onions and garlic. Cook gently for another minute, stirring frequently.
    HowToMakeRisotto_Step3
    3 Now pour in the white wine and let it bubble up for a few moments. Have 850ml of hot stock at the ready, and add a couple of ladlefuls to the rice. Stir well, then cook over a medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes, gradually adding the remaining stock a ladleful at a time, until the rice is soft and tender. Taste a little to check. Use a little more stock to cook the rice if you need to.
    HowToMakeRisotto_Step4
    4 Whilst the risotto cooks, remove the tough outer shells from the broad beans, revealing the bright green tender beans, then add them to the risotto, stirring them through. Cook for another few minutes, add 2 tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan cheese, then season to taste and serve, garnished with basil leaves. Bellissimo!


    Our result (accompanied with naughty garlic bread!) looked like this:


    It was super yummy and we have cooked it several times since too!

    Life after the Wedding..

    I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last blog post already - I really need to get better at that!

    One question I/we have been asked frequently in the last 2 and a bit months, post W-Day is "How is married life?" I find it difficult to answer! In all honesty, it's exactly the same pre W-Day! Except I am now a wife, and I am enjoying every moment of being a wife. Does that make me feel different as a person? Not really. There are still the mundane day-to-day chores to be done, I still go to work Mon-Friday, just as I did before the 9th June 2012, and of course are family & friends are still very much the same. To me, becoming a wife was the next step in our relationship and future together, something we both wanted & felt ready for. We had already been living together for 2 & a bit years, and had bought our first home 6 months previously to getting married so that wasn't a factor post W-Day for us.

    Another question I am asked a lot constantly is "will it be a baby next?" - errrrr why?! Why do people just assume that once people get married, they must have a baby next?! How about if we want to spend some time as a married couple first?! Or we need to start saving?! Or both?! Or many other reasons?!

    Other than that, our first 2 months of marital bliss have been filled with lots of family time, BBQ's (when we have actually had some sunshine!) spending time in our newly established garden, trips to Woodbridge & Aldeburgh, and generally settling back into life without wed-min - something I am strangely missing!

    The next few couple of months are filled with Birthdays, a Wedding, a mini-break somewhere in the UK (tbc) and visiting friends... life is still very busy! (how could we fit in a baby even if we wanted to?!)