Mouse + Trev

Today it’s been exactly one year since our first date.

I first made contact with Trevor on eHarmony, while lying on a beach in Mallorca drinking sangria. We met up pretty soon after I got back, one year ago today, and we drank way too much cider by the harbour in Bristol and giggled all night long. Trev missed his train back to Wales numerous times, and finally left Bristol in the early hours of the morning. I knew that evening that I’d see him again.
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Ten days later I got a train to Wales, he met me in Cardiff, and we had dinner here, in the house I now call home. We drank way too much (again – noticing a theme here?) and I stayed the night. That night we were stupid, and Iris was made. It turned out to be the best thing that has ever happened to me.
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It’s been quite a whirlwind, this last year, and I’m sure some day I’ll tell you all about it. But right now I’m busy celebrating having the man of my dreams and a beautiful baby. I’m the luckiest person in the whole wide world.

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Running

I mentioned the other day in my post about Slimming World that I love to run. It’s been a year since I ran properly, for more than about a minute at a time. But now that I’m no longer pregnant and I’m pretty much fully recovered from the birth, it’s time to run again. I say I’m fully recovered, but actually I’m pretty stiff and achey. Trying to make my knees and ankles work properly to walk downstairs first thing in the morning is quite a challenge.

I firmly believe though, that using these parts of my body is the only way to get them working again. Plus I bought amazing new running shoes just before I got pregnant, and it’s about time I used them properly!
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Last year I did Race For Life, and it’s the most fun thing! I highly recommend it. Obviously I skipped it this year, but next year I’d like to do the Bristol one and the Cardiff one, so I really need to get training.
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There are so many reasons to love running. Obviously the main one is the health benefits. It made me feel so strong, yet so light, and fast. I liked feeling fast. It’s an amazing stress reliever too. There’s nothing like bounding along listening to your favourite music to beat the worries out of you. Getting hot and sweaty just feels so good! I’m not a competitive person at all, but I found myself competing with yesterday me, always wanting to beat my best time, always hoping to go a little bit further and a little bit faster. It isn’t always plain sailing though. There was that time my foot stopped bending and went stiff. That hurt a lot.
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As well as running, I love a bit of dancey type exercise and have so many DVDs. My favourite is the 30 Day Shred, although I don’t think I’ve ever got past day 20. When it’s pouring with rain or just too dark to run, getting sweaty in the living room is definitely the next best thing.
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So basically this is me telling you all that I’m going to start again, because if I tell you then it’s real and I have to get on with it. No excuses.
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Kraken Kreations

I just had to show you my new bag!
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Isn’t it amazing? The very clever Cath from The Kraken Wakes recently scaled down her blog to start up Kraken Kreations, an online shop where she sells her handmade bags, gadget cases, storage solutions, and lots more.
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I spotted the slouch bag on her Facebook page in lots of shades of pink. I loved the style, but pink isn’t really my colour. Luckily Cath takes commissions, and was happy to send me photos of the fabrics she had available, once I’d decided I’d like greens. I picked two, and my bag was born! It’s currently mostly full of Iris’ stuff, of course, but there is plenty of room for my things too. It’s huge inside!
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It’s not bulky, and I love where it sits on my hip. It’s slouchy and comfy, and even works over a baby carrier.

The best thing about it though is how unique it is. It’s the only one of its kind, in fabrics I picked out just for me!

I was lucky enough to meet Cath too, as she’s local and offered to drop my bag off for me. As a long time reader of her blog I was thrilled to say hello in real life! Thank you lovely, for the beautiful bag and for dropping it off too.

I haven’t been asked to write this or compensated for it. I bought a bag, and wrote about it because I genuinely love it! I did plan to show you how it looks on, but I feel and look like crap. I’m also in a horrible mood. You really wouldn’t want to see me right now.

Slimming World

I know I’ve just had a baby, I’m nursing, and that my weight isn’t the most important thing going on right now. Don’t pounce on me. Seriously.

Last week a friend of mine who has also recently had a baby suggested she might like to lose some of the weight she gained and her Facebook friends weren’t all supportive. I thought it wasn’t particularly kind of them to suggest that she had her priorities wrong and shouldn’t even be considering it. Why shouldn’t she? It doesn’t make her a bad parent!

I’m not really worried about my weight. I gained 2 stone having Iris and that’s ok. I expected to. I over-ate whilst pregnant. I’d love to get back down to my pre-pregnancy size and weight, but there’s no real rush. It’s just nice to be on the road in that direction.

My motivation for wanting to lose the weight isn’t my appearance. The only person to comment on how I look has been a family member who never has anything nice to say to anybody anyway. I couldn’t care less.

I just want to run!! I’ve tried to run twice since Iris has arrived, and both times it felt incredible! But I’m heavier, it’s hard on my knees, and my running gear just doesn’t fit very well. It’s expensive stuff. I can’t afford to buy more. It’d also be nice to fit in the rest of my clothes too. My wardrobe is full of lovely stuff that doesn’t fit, and I think that’s a shame.

So I joined Slimming World, and I think it’s brilliant!
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I’ve lost 8 and a half lb so far, maybe more. Tonight is meeting night when I’ll be weighed. It hasn’t been a great week, food wise. I’m addicted to pizza delivery! With the cold we’ve all had I’ve been wanting comfort food, so I’m not expecting to have lost much at all.

There’s no pressure though. As long as the numbers on the scales go down and not up, I’m happy. Slow and steady is definitely the way to go, and it’s easier to keep it off that way.

I do the green plan, because I’m veggie, with extras because I’m breastfeeding. Slimming World is the only weight loss programme recommended for nursing mamas, and if you follow the nursing plan it doesn’t affect your milk supply. Certainly hasn’t affected mine! Iris is chubbing up nicely.

My favourite part of it though, is the food. No diet versions of stuff, because those are just stuffed full of chemical sweeteners and other rubbish. Just proper healthy food. Trev is a much better cook then me, so he does most of it and has lost some weight too. My main job is to search the internet and recipe books for the next thing to try. Two of my favourite meals so far have been baked vegetable frittata and spicy bean burgers with cajun wedges. Trev also knocks up a ridiculously tasty veggie chilli (which we had last night – amazing!) and I’ve had a go at a couple of things, the best being a slow cooker sausage casserole.
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Rolling!

I’m only popping by today. Iris is still full of cold, and now me and Trev have it too. Tomorrow Iris is supposed to be having her second lot of vaccinations. Do they still do them for a baby who has a cold?

Despite all of the illness, we have had a wonderful weekend. On Saturday Iris had a daddy day and I cleaned the whole house! They took long walks with Seb and ventured out to the supermarket while I reached for the bleach, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Does that make me a bit odd? The state of our house has been bothering me for a while, and it felt good to finally have the chance to tackle it.

We spent yesterday with some of my family. We started at Grampy’s, ate all of his biscuits and talked about Nanny. I still can’t believe it’s been six months already. Then we headed to see my mum, meeting my sister, niece and nephew there. After watching Trev open some presents (it’s his birthday in a few days) we went to Harvester for lunch. We had a great time. No tears were shed. Nanny would have liked it like that. I adore my 2-year-old niece and 7-month-old nephew. They’re a gorgeous funny pair and I wish I could spend more time with them.
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(That gorgeous leopard print kimono came from The Dress Tree and I’m madly in love with it!)

After being out all day, we came home to this.
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That dog pillow is brand new, purchased on Saturday. Clearly Seb isn’t impressed with it. To be fair to him, we left him alone for a good few hours and we very rarely leave him. On closer inspection he’d somehow opened the zip and pulled the stuffing out, so it isn’t actually broken at all.

The big girls called from France (where they’re on holiday with their mum) and while they chatted to Trev, Iris rolled over! From her back to her front! Trev missed it, but when I rolled her back onto her back, she immediately did it again!
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I just can’t believe how quickly Worm (we often call her Worm, it’s the wiggling!) is growing, learning and changing. I love this more interactive version of Iris, but already miss the newborn version. This parenting is an emotional rollercoaster, isn’t it?
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This outfit, and the panda one Iris is wearing in the twelve weeks post are her new clothes we bought for her when we were in Bristol last weekend. They’re both from h&m and we just had to have them! Actually, it was Sarah from Forget Me Knit that told me about the pug one, and I went in especially to get it! I have a pug top somewhere. Perhaps me and Iris should wear matching clothes!

Today the sun is really shining and it’s lovely outside. Trev has gone to photograph a potential wind turbine site, and we’ve ventured up the mountain with Seb.
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The walk and the fresh air have definitely made me feel slightly better, but I think the rest of today will be sofa time. We need to rest!
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My Nanny

Six months ago today I received a call that I’d been expecting for a long time but also thought was still some way off. My grandmother had finally left us, after a long and horrible battle with lung cancer.

Only it wasn’t really that horrible.

Me and Nanny had never really had much of a relationship. She was stern and prickly a lot of the time, and I had nothing in common with her. I was a horrible teenager, and not at all interested in my family. Visiting my grandparents wasn’t a priority.

In February 2012 I was walking around the supermarket trying to figure out what to have for tea, when my mum called. My mum never really called unless she was worried or something was up so I knew it’d be important. Half expecting to hear that my little brother had an asthma attack again I answered, and was stunned into silence when she told me that Nanny had cancer in her lungs.
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The doctors didn’t seem to think Nanny had very long, so I vowed I’d put things right. I began spending every Saturday with Nanny, which meant I spent a large chunk of every weekend on public transport but I didn’t mind. It just didn’t matter how stressful it was to get there, I had to.

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We still struggled with finding something to talk about, something we had in common. We had entirely opposite views on lots of things, so discussions could easily turn to bickering. We needed something else. So one weekend, armed with a ball of cheap yarn and some horrible metal needles I taught myself to knit using YouTube videos. It took me the whole day to do just a couple of rows and I launched the whole lot across the room in frustration more than once. But I eventually succeeded, and from then on when we were together, me and Nanny knitted. Sometimes we went shopping for knitting supplies, or searched out patterns for each other, but mainly we knitted. In the garden if it was warm enough. Then Nan’s health dipped thanks to radiotherapy, and Nan didn’t get up. We knitted in her room. She stayed in bed. I sat at the end of her bed surrounded by yarn and needles and patterns, and Grampy brought tea and biscuits up to us.

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The radiotherapy passed, Nan felt better, we got back out into the garden.

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We spent a summer tracing Grampy’s family tree, which meant days out looking for graves. It sounds morbid, but those were happy days. We had lunches in country pubs, on benches, alongside rivers. I bought a bike and started cycling home from their house in Bath along the Railway Path. We went to a local garden centre or the cafe in the park, for jacket potatoes or soup. In the winter we ate sandwiches in the park cafe while watching people ice skate. Sometimes my mum came too. We were making family memories. We had a wonderful summer.

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When Nan deteriorated we knitted at home again, enjoying the sun through the window and the cuddly company of her two small dogs, eating Grampy’s favourite crunch cream biscuits and drinking endless cups of tea.

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Nanny was a terrible hoarder. She never chucked anything away and she was always shopping. She gave me a knitting machine she’d never used. Then she gave me a brand new sewing machine too. We found old knitting patterns and magazines dating back to the 70s. Mostly there were bears. She loved bears. Wherever you were in her home you were surrounded by them. Some cheap keepsakes with sentimental value, some very expensive Steiff bears. They were in every room, on every surface.

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I ran Race For Life on a ridiculously hot day because her bravery inspired me. My friends and I raised over a thousand quid, and Nanny surprised me by turning up to watch.

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When I first met Trev our long distance relationship meant I alternated my weekends between Nanny in Bath and him in Wales. Up until this point I’d barely missed a Saturday with Nanny for 18 months and I felt terrible to be missing them now. But she understood, and as much as she enjoyed winding Trev up she liked him and was glad I was happy. When I fell pregnant I was terrified of telling her, but she took it well and was excited to have a fourth great-grandchild. As my pregnancy progressed, Nanny told her doctors and her friends that she wasn’t going anywhere until she’s met my baby daughter. I was watching her health deteriorate and I cried every time she said it. I clung to the knowledge that there was a small chance she might make it. Her doctor had said so. “Just keep breathing” she said.

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I last saw Nanny on my birthday this year. Me and Trev and my large bump spent a wonderful morning with her. She was cheerful and chatty, happy and excited. She was the happiest and chirpiest I’d seen her in many many months and I came away from there smiling. She was going to make it, I was sure.

Only she didn’t. She died just a few weeks later and I hadn’t been to visit. I’d been in hospital with a kidney infection and couldn’t visit her. Nanny had a woodland burial in a wicker casket. When they lowered her down into the ground my beautiful little niece said ‘bye bye Nanny’ and we all cried and cried. We didn’t really have a service. My mum talked about her and my uncle did too. Everybody in the room was family. It felt wrong to have a stranger talk about her. She was often hard work and we didn’t want a stranger telling everybody that she was always wonderfully happy and kind. It would have been dishonest. Nanny’s flowers were perfect. The beautiful white iris caught my eye, and our daughter was named.

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Often when me and my tiny girl are alone I tell her how Nanny wanted to meet her so badly, and how it breaks my heart over and over. I tell her that Nanny probably would have knitted her a whole wardrobe, and that we would have treasured those knitted garments forever and ever.

I hate cancer. It’s evil. I hate the way it took Nanny so very slowly and so painfully. But I’m grateful too. Without that long long battle we wouldn’t have had anything, me and Nanny. Instead we have almost two years worth of wonderful, sunny, happy, painful, beautiful memories and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. I didn’t love her until she got ill. I hate that I didn’t love her. By the time she left I couldn’t have loved her more. She meant the whole world to me and I will never ever forget.

Camping in the Forest – Part Five

Our Holiday in Beddgelert

I woke up (I say that but really I didn’t sleep much at all) on that hard cold floor with no feeling in one hip and a very sore back! The tent was full of puddles again, and we were all tired and sad to be going home. We’d completely run out of supplies, so after buying breakfast foods at the campsite shop (the croissants were really good!) we set about getting ready to go home. Once the girls were clean and dressed we let them run down the play area while we got organised. I helped as much as I could, but Iris kept demanding attention so it was mostly left to Trev, poor thing.

Taking the tent down seemed no problem at all to him, but getting everything back into the car looked tricky! Making it all fit was like doing a complicated jigsaw puzzle or playing Tetris. We were supposed to be off site by midday, but thankfully the campsite staff told us they don’t enforce that strictly and it took us until 1! We were using a super strong long lead to tether Seb to a tree, but somehow he pulled hard enough to snap it and went running off to look for the girls!
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Once we were finally in the car, we all decided we were very hungry! Trev surprised us all by driving back to Tan Y Bwlch station, where we’d gone on the steam train 2 days before. I was pleased because I’d really enjoyed that lunch, and the girls were happy to go and watch the steam trains again! This time the sun was shining and it was warm, which made eating outdoors much more pleasant, and was better for standing on the footbridge admiring the trains. The only problem was trying to keep the sun off Iris’ face.
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Back in the car, we headed for the wind farm we’d planned to visit on the way there.
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Wow! What a place!!
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Trev works in wind turbines, and I think they’re fabulous. Between us we could probably go on all day about why these things are fantastic and why there should be many more places like this. It amazes me that the main reason people object to them is their appearance. They’re beautiful! Pylons are ugly. Really ugly. But we barely even notice them. If we put up more turbines, it wouldn’t take long for us all to adjust and the people who hate them probably wouldn’t even notice them anymore.
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You can walk right up to the base of the turbines! We walked around between them and the girls asked their dad a million questions about how they put them up and how they work.

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After nipping into Grandma’s (Trev’s mum) to leave the tent there, and dropping the girls back with their mum, we came back to the real world with a bit of a bump. It was such an amazing holiday! Yes, everything that could leak, snap or break did so, and the weather was worse than awful right up until the journey home. The dog was riddled with fleas, and we had to return almost all of the camping things we’d bought because they broke. There wasn’t anything else that could go wrong, but it really didn’t matter. I’ve never had so much fun, and it was exactly what we needed as a brand new family.

Being home was a relief though. Warm and dry, with a comfy bed! Even Seb was pleased to get back to his home comforts.
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