Friday, 22 September 2017

Dating in Autumn

 Whether it's for romance or to reconnect with your spouse, date nights are important for a happy and successful marriage. Now don't get me wrong, date nights don't have to be the same as when you were 'courting'; you don't have to get dolled up and go to a fancy restaurant (although you can if you like), but there are a myriad of ways you can spend some quality time together... and there's no better time than now.

1 | Take Walks - the palette of colours that can be enjoyed in the great outdoors during autumn is spectacular, especially on a crisp, sunny day. From golden fallen leaves to green flora, bright blue skies to deep hues of red and russet from the trees, a hand-in-hand stroll with your husband, or wife, amongst autumnal scenery is one of my absolute favourite ways to spend an afternoon. You could even make a day of it and take a picnic to enjoy when you find a pretty spot (don't forget the champagne).

2 | Fire-side Stargazing - a pretty special and extremely inexpensive date, stargazing is great because it's perfect whether you've been together for 50 years or 5 weeks! Head out into the back garden, light a fire to keep warm, take loads of cosy blankets and a cup of hot chocolate (or bottle of wine) and see which constellations you can spot. If you live in a city, it'd probably be advisable to hop in the car and drive further out (20 minutes outside of the city should do it) to somewhere with less light pollution, for some truly amazing stargazing.

3 | Movie Night - spending the evening in each other's arms watching one other's favourite films is a great way to spend the evening, as well as learning more about your significant other (their favourite film is a great insight); light some candles, close the curtains, make some popcorn and snuggle down on the sofa under a blanket... it'll be all the better if the wind is howling and the raining pouring down outside :)

4 | Discover a Local Festival - as it's the traditional time for harvesting summer crops, the autumnal calendar is filled with food and drink festivals, many of which are free or very inexpensive to attend, making them a great day out for you and your bae, especially if you're a bit of a foodie like me.

5 | Cook Together - whether it's a fruity pie or a hearty soup, cooking together is a great way to spend quality time with your spouse. Obviously, cooking dinner for the family can be quite stressful so I'm not suggesting you try and make cooking a meal at the end of a long and stressful day fun, cuz we all know that's never gonna happen. However, joining forces to make and bake a pie to eat after your Sunday roast, or as a treat while watching movies with the family on a Saturday night, is a great way to spend an afternoon in one another's company.

This post first appeared on Kelly's blog last year in celebration of her wedding;
happy almost one-year anniversary, beautiful lady! 

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Transforming Our Front Garden

I'm thrilled to be back today, linking up with the #HomeEtc ladies; I used to love taking part in this link-up and have to confess, I have missed it during my unplanned hiatus of the past few months. Today I'm here to share our front garden transformation, the outcome of which I'm thrilled with...

As regular readers know, Hubs and I purchased a new build home almost two years ago (say what?!) and new builds, while being pretty, clean and blank inside, are also pretty bland outside (you can see our back garden transformation here). Our front garden was uninspiring to say the least...
Admittedly we hadn't cared for it in the way we probably should; all we'd done was keep the turf to an acceptable length, but the plants had been allowed to grow wild and a number of weeds had established themselves, including a pretty impressive doc leaf!

However, after a couple of Saturdays, approximately £150 and a lot of elbow grease from Tom, it has been transformed into something low maintenance and pleasing on the eye, giving our little home what we consider to be much-needed curb appeal...

Tom started by digging out all the plants and lifting the turf to leave a blank canvas...

Then he lay some weed-blocking membrane, which was covered with our choice of stones...
As transformations go, it was super easy but, once completed, provided a great impact.

As you can see, he's pretty proud of his hard work!

As our house is the first in a cul-de-sac, it's adjoined to a corner plot, so it was nice that our makeover happened to coincide with next door replacing their turf and wild plants with complementary stones and astroturf, for a year-round luscious lawn...
I think both front garden's look amazing. I still want to get some more pots, but will more than likely pot them up with spring bulbs in late Oct/early November.

Home Etc
Happy Tuesday!

Friday, 1 September 2017

Yes, I am still alive

Do not adjust your screens, yes you really are seeing a post from me, the first in four months.
I'm not dead, nor am I ill; there have, however, been some major life-changing things going on in my life over the last four months that I've not been able to share, the most major of which I still don't feel ready to share but, fingers crossed, I can tell you all about it over the next few weeks.

In the meantime I thought I'd do a quick update post; four months is a whole chunk of time to miss, so here's what I've been up to since the beginning of May:

Izzy came to stay while my parents followed in Elvis' footsteps in America...

At the end of May we headed down to Dorset (Poole, Bournemouth and Brownsea Island) for a little holiday...

Before my bestie got hitched in the most beautiful setting...

We went to another wedding in mid-June on the most gorgeous summer's day - the bride and groom could not have wished for better weather...

I've had plenty of flowers from the garden this summer (although many are beginning to look long past their best now)...

We finally got around to redoing our front garden (more detailed post coming soon)...

And this past long weekend, we finally got around to painting some rooms in our home, only two years after we moved in! I'll share the finished product with you soon, along with a whole host of other posts that have been marinating in my head for the past four months. I've had a lovely but unintended break from blogging, but I'm back!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

life lately

Seeing the numerous Nsync memes doing the rounds yesterday reminded me
that I'd not yet done my monthly update, so here it is...

Looking back over the month I've realised I've taken far fewer photos than usual and I'm not too sure why; I have phases with different social media apps (I switch between checking Twitter daily and ignoring Facebook, to ignoring Twitter and checking Facebook almost hourly) but I've always had a bit of a love affair with Instagram, but not lately. I'm not sure if the algorithum is beginning to have an affect on my enjoyment of the app or if the addition of Stories has meant I now feel I have to spend much more time on the app, meaning it now feels like a time-sucker; either way I'm not keeping up with those I follow nor have I posted as many of my own stories this month... all of which means I don't have all that many photos to share for my month round-up #sorrynotsorry

Hubs and I have enjoyed some evening walks, when the weather has been warm enough!

I also treated myself to some new slippers this month:

My first dahlias are going strong. I planted them at the end of March and they looked like this on 8th April...
They've grown beautifully so by 24th they looked like this:
They're itching to be put outside, but I'm leaving it until mid-May (when the threat of frost has passed). We've actually got some more plants to plant out, so hopefully by the end of May our garden will look more like a garden :)

Easter weekend was awesome, but you can read about that here.
As has become tradition, we took another photo of Hubs and our nephew after the St George's Day Parade they both take part in. This was Leighton's last as a Beaver as he moves up to Cubs in September, so this photo was even more special.
I can't wait to have a collection of photos tracking these two through the years; obviously I expect Leighton to change more than Tom but I suspect if we manage it for the full nine years, we'll see some changes in Tom too.

I ended the month with a hen do for my bestie who gets hitched in Dorset in June...
It's safe to say it was a good night that featured exceptional company, delicious food, countless laughs and far too much alcohol, oh and three blisters!

Here's hoping May is as good as April,
and that I find the motivation needed to capture more of it!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

1 in 6

It's gonna be hard to actually press publish on this post, so if you're reading this now, please take a second to virtually pat me on the back.

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) in the US; a week in which couples all over the country hope to raise awareness of the often unspoken grief they're living, and with this year's theme being 'Listen Up!' I thought it was time I shared my story.

As many of you are probably aware, infertility does not discriminate but what you probably don't know is that if affects more people than you realise - a massive one out of every six couples in the UK and one in eight in the US struggles to start a family and, I hate to say it but, Hubs and I are one of those couples.

Just typing that sentence has sent the blood coursing through my veins rushing to just below the surface of my skin; there's a lump forming in my throat and tears burn the back of my eyes, but we're actually hopefully one of the lucky ones. You see, my current infertility looks curable, but it's not that way for many others, which is why I simply had to join in with this conversation this week; if my story gives just one woman hope, then it's worth the time taken to find the right words when there are none that truly capture the despair of facing infertility.

The National Infertility Awareness Week website rightly states:

"You never know how badly you want something until you are told that it may not be possible."

Six months ago, I was convinced I was suffering from early menopause, or premature ovarian failure (POF) to give it its proper name. You see, I came off my birth control pills a month after we moved house (which was 19 months ago today) and have not had a period since. 

After three months, I visited my doctor and was shockingly told by a patronising female GP that I just needed to give it time (a year to be exact), but I knew something wasn't right. However, being the obey-the-rules type of girl I am, I waited... 

and waited... 

and waited. 

And nothing happened. 

Things got dark and I struggled with the prospect that never becoming a mother would become my reality; I've always wanted children but have very much been in the 'one day' camp, which is why, aged 31, I felt it was time to at least come off the pill in order to get it out of my system, so my body would be ready as soon as my mind was - patience has never been my forte. Turns out life had other plans.

In early November 2016, I dragged myself nervously back to the doctors and thankfully this time I was taken seriously. I was tested for all sorts of problems, including POF and PCOS, which luckily both came back negative, however, after a couple more tests, a problem with my pituitary gland (known as Prolactinoma) was identified.

I don't wanna get into the science of it all in this post - but if you'd like to read more about Prolactinoma, click here - but just know I am undergoing treatment and Tom and I both have our fingers (and toes) crossed that my periods will return before the end of the year.

I couldn't let this week go by unacknowledged on my blog. I try to write what I know, be it mundane and ordinary or exciting and life-altering, but this post has been hard to write. I've told very few people about our current predicament - I've been told I'm not the sharing type - I often play my cards close to my chest, but I can now see light at the end of what has been an extremely dark and long tunnel.

Despite having a loving and supportive partner to walk this path with me, it's been lonely and the scariest thing I think I have ever faced; before my Prolactinoma diagnosis, some days I felt positive - 'early menopause surely can't happen to me, I'm sure my periods will come back if I just stop thinking about it' - and others have been super dark - I remember crying in the toilet at work after a throw away comment from an unknowing colleague about 'having a tropical moment' when I was hot and the weather was anything but. I spent a good portion of 2016 grieving; grieving the loss of my imagined future, grieving the loss of a child not yet created and grieving the loss of the journey to motherhood, a right-of-passage that so many take for granted.

Despite all this, I truly believe I have gone through this life-altering experience for a reason and I hope by sharing my story I can provide some comfort to someone going through the same.

If you'd like to know more about NIAW, click here.
If you're currently struggling with infertility, please feel free to get in touch.