Thursday, 21 July 2011

moving on.........

Today is a bittersweet day, the last day Jack will spend at primary school. This September he moves on to pastures new, the next step towards his adult life, one step further away from us. He has been very happy during his time at school, it 's been a lovely, nuturing and creative place to be. We're so proud of him and I just wanted to make a record of it here, not that he reads this blog, thinks it's "strange", but maybe one day he'll have a nosey and see just how we feel about him. We tell him constantly, but like most nearly 11 year old boys, listening isn't his greatest skill so we don't know how much goes in.

From the moment a child is born you're aware that one day that child will leave, and each step you take with them brings you closer to that day. They start making their own choices, have their own opinions, quite often disagree with you but still look to you to guide them, and sometimes even hold your hand (when no-one else is looking!) As parents we long to hold onto that hand but we know we have to let it go, and it's hard, very hard. I'll miss my boy on our walks to school, I'll miss seeing his face in the playground, and our chats on the way home but I know (hope) he's going to enjoy the next stage of his life and we're so looking forward to sharing it with him.

Last week we watched Jack in his school production, we waited with our hearts in our mouths for his turn to come. Jack's stammer has been worse over the summer and part of us didn't want him to go through speaking in front of an audience. How we underestimated him! Our brave, brilliant child stood proudly in front of the whole school and assembled parents, and although he stumbled he played his part brilliantly. Speaking is something we all take for granted but it is something that Jack is aware of the whole time and he copes fantastically, in fact he expects people to accept him for the way he is, we find him an inspiration and words can't describe how much we both love him.

We love you our darling boy, don't ever change...............xx

Sunday, 10 July 2011

good homes...............

Last year was a momentous one in many ways, we got married, Jack turned ten and I left my glorious thirties, a decade I'd loved. The decade in which I had my children and life finally made sense, I could admit that really I wasn't hugely ambitious and a life as a mum would do for me, more than that, I would really love it (most of the time).

Not being a diamond and pearls sort of girl a 40th birthday present had to be something else, and after visiting a friend of a friend's garden and loving her little painted potting shed, I worked on Ian and we designed a summer house with Reg, shed builder extraordinaire. This little beauty sits at the bottom of our little garden, and it's all mine................well, ok I do share it now and then with the children. I love it and when my photographer friend Amanda asked if she could take some photos for a feature she'd like to do, of course I agreed.

Let me say, it's never been this tidy since. We'd used the summer house a couple of weeks before for our wedding, as a tea room, filled with all my vintage tea-cups and side plates (and a few borrowed from Mum).
So whilst it was still tidy Amanda took all the shots she needed and did a brilliant feature for Good Homes magazine.

It's a very strange but incredibly thrilling feeling to see your home in a magazine, slightly surreal to see something so familiar to you through somebody elses eyes. Amanda did us proud, I think my family may again have bought up all the copies and Reg rang me the other day to say he'd been contacted from readers all over the UK for a quote.

Kitty has celebrated her 7th birthday with a pool party in the garden. Not the warmest day of the year, one of the girls even asked if we had a wetsuit............for a 3 foot deep paddling pool! The afternoon went well, there were no punch ups over pass the parcel, only one child cried when she lost the musical statues game  and the dog was removed from the situation since we knew the temptation of food and children would have been too much to bear.

Sunday morning in this house means it's my turn to get up with the dog. She's an early riser our Peggy, normally about 6am. For a night owl like me this has taken some getting used to, I'm not known for my positive attitude towards early mornings. Peggy has changed all this, Sunday morning  has now become a ritual for me............a cup of tea, crumpets and nutella (how I love nutella!) and a couple of magazines......bliss. I get about 2 hours quiet, the children fortunately take after me with their love of a lie in, which sets me up for the rest of the day.

It also gives me time to sit and appreciate the house and all our bits and pieces. For example, this shelf, one of the many areas adorned with bits of nonsense which mean something to us. Ian's dad's books, a tiny tandem I bought for my bike mad husband, one of my favourite wedding photos of my sister and I which perfectly sums up a perfect day, a strange springy dog that Kit bought from a street sale, a spotty candlestick from a neighbour for our wedding and Ian's Biggles books.

This year the garden is thriving, against all the odds. A gardener I am not, can't even class myself as an amateur, my special skill lies in killing plants. But I am a trier, and maybe my efforts are paying off.

The geraniums are doing brilliantly, as usual, the sweet peas are coming on, and this morning the first dahlia unfurled it's beautiful petals in the most glorious pink.

My one flower bed is pretty good, the roses are having a second flush, the foxgloves were a triumph and the cosmos my friend Liz grew from seed are beginning to flower.

Our scrubby neglected table has been brightened up with some donated verbena from a neighbor..........

................and the apple tree we planted for Jack four years ago is bearing many fruits.

Somehow the large blue paddling pool with the slightly stagnant water is adding much to the garden, it's only still there because nobody can be bothered to empty it!

Have a happy week all..............xx

Monday, 4 July 2011

a holiday, a dream comes true and asbo dog excels herself.........


So much to catch up on, so apologies for a very picture heavy post. First of all, our "honeymoon". A honeymoon with two children in tow, we wouldn't have had it any other way. We ventured further than our usual west Wales haunt, left the dog with Mum, packed up the car and headed 1000 miles through

...........Venice, one of the most beautiful, vibrant and atmospheric places I've ever visited. There was so much to see, to eat, drink and just absorb. We wandered for hours, picnicked in squares, drank coffee and ate cakes, people watched, crossed so many bridges we lost count, and we all loved it.

Venice is one of those places that is just as you imagined it would be, we lost ourselves down endless alleyways, watched gondolas gliding by (at 100 euros, out of the question!), and admired the water taxi ranks..............

Balconies laden with geraniums were everywhere..............

We wandered far off the beaten track and found ourselves virtually alone.............

On our final day we stayed until the evening drew to a close, catching the last ferry out and enjoying Venice without the crowds, we ate seafood in a fantastic little restaurant, scoffed the famous Venetian ice cream and bought naff souvenirs.

We had the most wonderful time, and that was only one third of our epic journey, the rest of the hols were spent in Switzerland and Belgium. After a particularly busy year it was fantastic to spend so much time together on a holiday that I hope will stay in the childrens memories for ever, I know it will in mine.

Doglet was very well catered for whilst we were gone, Mum has fallen for her wily charms. She soon settled into having us around again, and is very pleased with her new collar.......

 She spends rather a lot of time in the garden and the view from the summerhouse is like this........

Today she decided that she no longer needed her she ate it, along with her daily diet of pencils, tissues, shoes and to top it all she finished her feast today with a piece of toddler poo that we'd fished out of the paddling pool.........YEUCH!!


Other exciting news...............a few months ago I spent a very frustrating couple of hours trying to buy tickets for Take That, without any success. Having given up hope of seeing them imagine my excitement when my fab friend Liz announced that her sister had won us two tickets and we'd be going to see them in Birmingham in less than two weeks. What an amazing night, the most fantastic stage show, great dancers, fabulous atmosphere, and to top it off The Pet Shop Boys were the warm-up act. Liz and I couldn't really believe we were actually there, we had the best night. I know they're not to everybody's taste but it was one of the best nights I've ever had........

So, life's good. Today I turned 41, my thirties are well and truly behind me and the next phase of our life as a family will soon begin as Jack starts secondary school.

More exciting news in my next post..............

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

a birthday, a wedding and an asbo dog.......

So, where do I begin? After wasting far too much precious time changing the look of this blog I thought I'd pop back for a little update. How I wish I had a bit more technological expertise than a tadpole, I spend an inordinate amount of time sighing and having violent thoughts towards my laptop than is healthy.

So.........I'm back, who knows for how long, but I have been keeping up with you all out there, enjoying catching up and absorbing all those fantastic images. Losing bloglines has meant that I've lost track of some of my fave blogs, but I cannot get to grips with the new one so I'm relying on my sidebar.

How was 2010 for everyone? Here in the VH household things have been a-changing in quite a major way. Not only did I hit the big 40 last July but finally, after 15 years of blissful (ha!) happiness Ian and I finally took the plunge and got married! It was the most fantastic day, a very short civil ceremony at the pump rooms complete with music from The Waterboys and then 90 people squeezed into our diddy back garden for afternoon tea. Food was supplied by all our fabulous neighbours and friends, as were the flowers and cakes. It really was a special day which brought home once again how fortunate we are to live here.

The icing on the cake came courtesy of Emma and her fantastic photographs. Having followed her blog and loved her photos we asked if she'd take pictures of the day for us and she did us proud. They were exactly what we'd envisaged and she captured the spirit of the day perfectly, what a clever lady!

..............finally, a chance to use all those vintage teacups I've collected over the years

.................this photo sums up the atmosphere of the day perfectly, we laughed from beginning to end she managed this one I'll never know. This is how I look in my imagination, not in real life!

It's the time of year when the garden starts to come to life and I've been experimenting with picnik's effects and loving the polaroid effect.

Which brings me to the latest addition to the family, a very naughty, hyperactive but extremely cute new member of the clan. Doesn't listen to anything I say, has a habit of chasing joggers round the park and steals shoes, newspapers and any food within reach.............what have we done??

...............asbo dog aka Peggy, how could you resist?