During the summer in 2011 I decided that I would try and trace my family history. With almost no information on my mother’s side (mainly due to the fact that my grandfather discovered at a young age that the couple who had brought him up weren’t his biological parents) it seemed a daunting task, but after obtaining his birth certificate I managed to trace his birth mother with http://www.ancestry.com and from there was able to build an entire family tree and even speak to living relatives in the same area that my mother still resides in. It was a fascinating journey – especially when I contacted my great-grandmother’s family with information about my grandfather who they knew nothing about, but accepted immediately once they had seen the striking physical resemblance in photographs that I sent. Continue reading
I’ve been up north over the last few days with the family as mum had an operation – nothing major thank goodness, but she needed someone to stay post-recovery in case of an emergency and to walk the dog. Thankfully, everything has gone well and while she is going to have to take it easy and be monitored over the next few weeks, her immediate post-op results were good and she didn’t experience the problems that we expected as she has a history of bad reactions to anaesthetic.
While I was there I had the opportunity to see my niece – who I labelled The Squidge when she was born due to her immense squidginess. The Squidge is no longer a squidge – at almost three years old she has turned into a beautiful little girl with bright blonde hair and piercing blue eyes who already knows her own mind, loves Pepper Pig and was happily showing us her dance steps that she has learned at the class that she goes to and the sign language that she has been taught at nursery. I remember being amazed when The Squidge could sit upright and feed herself, and now that she is a walking, talking little human who can count and who says please and thank you and puts her hand over her mouth when she coughs it was all I could do not to proclaim her a genius and suggest a membership to Mensa. Continue reading
These are my grandparents – Alfred and Edna – on their wedding day in the 1940’s. Today marks what would have been my grandfather’s 100th birthday. He was a true gentleman – kind, highly intelligent and enormously funny – and while he passed away in 1997 he remains as one of the greatest men I’ve ever known. I think about him regularly, and despite the fact that I have often conflicting spiritual beliefs I take comfort in the idea that he is watching over us all.
Happy birthday Granddad xx
I’ve noticed that the cat hasn’t seemed himself over the last few days, particularly in the fact that he’s been drinking more than usual, so when he suddenly developed a weakness in his back legs we booked him into the vets. I was worried that he had developed diabetes – his sister had Type 1 which we treated for years with twice daily injections – so I also requested he have his bloods tested as an extra precaution. Continue reading
I had planned to take the day off on Saturday and have a bit of self-indulgent me time while The Bloke was off on a photography thing. I had worked every day that week and was looking forward to having the house to myself, putting all the technology away, snuggling up under a blanket and watching a cheesy film and an unhealthy breakfast.
The cat, however, had other ideas.
We awoke on Saturday morning to see that Mr Jerk had developed a swollen eyelid and was busy shaking his head and attacking his little face. So, after the usual ‘there’s-no-way-you’re-putting-me-in-that-cat-carrier’ power struggle, off we went to the vets. Continue reading
Christmas Day is nearly upon us and I’ve just about reached the point where I think that everything is now done. It’s completely different to this time a year ago – I was so excited about our first Christmas together as husband and wife that I had planned and organised the whole thing weeks in advance – whereas this year we managed to get the cards sent out and the food bought just a few days ago. Perhaps it’s my mindset – I hadn’t been feeling the Christmassy vibe over December so most things were left until the last minute. Thankfully, when the cupboards had been stocked, the cards and presents sent and I had turned on the fairy lights, lit the candles and curled up on the couch with The Bloke it (thankfully) started to feel a little more festive. Continue reading
I live in a street of terraced houses on both sides. The residents are a mixture of home-owners and renters, mainly comprising of young families, professionals and retirees. Generally (aside from my next-door neighbours who appear to be in training to become the next big DJ’s) it’s pretty quiet. We say hello, put the bins out for each other, take in each other’s packages, but aside from that we all pretty much keep ourselves to ourselves.
Today, The Bloke and I heard shouting outside. A man was pacing back and forth and banging on the doors and windows in front of a house across the road, getting more and more agitated when nobody would let him in and eventually he lost his temper. He kicked down a piece of the front wall down and launched it at the door with such force that it flew open, and then he ran away. Continue reading
I was delighted at the fact that I regained some of my blogging mojo recently, only to then promptly trek up north to spend some time with family and friends for four days, most of which I didn’t have access to the internet.
A little while ago I received an invitation from some friends to meet up for a meal in Manchester. I’ve known them for twenty years, meeting them when I was sixteen and studying at sixth form college, and a few of us have kept in touch and meet up on an annual basis. I realised that it would also be a good opportunity to spend some time with my mum and sister, who I haven’t seen since before Christmas, and also arranged to meet my oldest friend (who lives in the city centre) for breakfast on the morning when I was travelling back. Continue reading
Just under five years ago (April 2013), I came home from work after a particularly bad day, created a WordPress account and hastily wrote a very short introductory post entitled ‘Stuff.’
I have a lot of stuff. When I first moved down to Birmingham to start my degree everything that I owned could be fit into the back of a Ford Escort. Now, almost twelve years later, I own everything I have except the shell of the house that I live in. This blog is an attempt to sort out the stuff that I have surrounded myself with for years… And I’m not just referring to the physical objects that are in the house…
And that’s exactly what this blog helped me to do… sort my stuff out. It has been the biggest influence in almost every aspect of life, allowing me to change my career path, discover new goals and talents, experience places and things that I could have only dreamed of in my previous existence, understand myself better, calm my demons, re-establish estranged relationships and has introduced me to some of the most inspiring, creative and incredible people from all over the world both online and in person that I would never have have the privilege to get to know otherwise. Instead of filling my house with half-finished journals, it has been my online diary and record of the unbelievable highs and struggles of my life: getting engaged and married to The Bloke, welcoming The Squidge (my niece) into the world, watching as the important people in my life get married and have children, quitting my teaching job, travel, food, reviews, hosting workshops, winning the Best Overall Blog at the Annual Bloggers Bash in London…
I only told one friend when I first started writing – I showed her one of my posts during a meal at a pizza restaurant after I’d gained about 10 followers while my heart was beating out of my chest, and after she gave me a positive reaction and boosted my confidence we had a conversation about what I could achieve with it.
“You could get a million views!” I remember her saying, and I laughed at the prospect.
And today, that’s exactly what happened – this little piece of the internet had it’s MILLIONTH VIEW…
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read, share, tweet, pin, advise, support… I couldn’t have done it without you!
Here’s to the next million!
It’s already New Year’s Eve 2017, and what a year its been! Here are just some of the highlights…
Watching my niece – Baby Squidge – develop into a little bundle of energy, with little blonde locks, bright blue eyes and a cheeky grin. Her arrival has brought my whole family much closer together…
Planning and organising the wedding and getting a kick out of creating my own centrepieces and seating cards. We also managed to save an enormous amount of money and I had a blast finding the bargains so that it was cheap, but didn’t LOOK cheap.
Meeting up with blog friends in person separately from the Bloggers Bash – staying at Sacha’s house with Sacha, Helen and Lucy then seeing Tiffany and Donna in London, meeting a bunch of my favourite bloggers in Birmingham for lunch and having Elena stay at my house for a few days when she came over from Canada. Continue reading