Monday, 27 February 2017

First exams done

I know it's been ages but today I had my first set of exams as part of my uni course so I finally have 5 minutes to myself. James has been fantastic taking on even more of the household responsibilities and building work to enable me to spend evenings and weekends studying.

The less said about the ineptitude of the university and their exams the better, suffice to say it was a somewhat stressful day but at least I am one module through the programme, even if I may need to do some resits.

A few weekends ago we put another of our vegetable beds back in place and finally put in the strawberry plants that we dug up last year. It seems that at the moment everything we do is last minute. It was snowing whilst we planted but I really needed to get them in whilst they were dormant before Spring starts to show it's face. I also put in some Spring bulbs I ordered last autumn that should have been planted months ago. I'm not sure if they'll come to anything being put in so late. I think this next 6 months I am going to have to put any non-essential jobs on hold until I'm done studying.

James has finished the plastering in our new room, along with putting on the skirting and architrave. He made some window sills and fitted them. Bless him he's even taken over my job painting and the room suddenly seems to be almost finished. Yesterday he even fitted the facias on the plug sockets and fitted the light shade and curtain poles.

The fire place in our bedroom has been a bit of hard work. When we investigated the fireplace it became obvious why I had been completely unable to stand the Rayburn being lit when I was pregnant. The flue pipe only went as far as the first floor and was spewing smoke into the space just behind the fireplace which had been covered loosely with some particle board. You can see where it was leaking around the mantle piece. Thank God the smell made me feel so ill, all that carbon monoxide would have leaked into where we were sleeping. The carbon monoxide alarms were both fitted into the rooms where the burners were as per recommendations so were never activated when the fire was lit.
We have put in a floor as we don't intend to use the Rayburn again in it's current incarnation and will get a new flue fitted when a burner is fitted into the extension.
The chimney breast was a pain to get boarded and plastered, especially in the tiny alcove but it looks good.






Yesterday I took the kids on an hours walk in the local woods to atone for spending so little time with them recently. Luckily they're happy with their dad most of the time but it's difficult and I feel guilty for neglecting them.


I will take some pictures of our bedroom in the light and post on here soon.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Back to being a student

James has been working evenings at home this week to get our bedroom plastered and today he finished all four walls with just the chimney breast to go. It's looking great and it's almost at the stage where I can lend my painting skills. 



On Friday I attended an induction day for the university course to do my prescribing certificate. To be honest they scared me to death with the amount of work required over the next 6 months. I had been told it takes 12 hours a week to complete, but they said it needs 100 hours a month, where will I find the time? I think to be honest you just find the time when you have to.

I'm still not fully enrolled, I've had to take just about every official document that I've ever had and I still hadn't taken everything they want. This leaves me without my student ID, which I'm told is required to get into the medical school there, so I'll have to attach myself to someone else to get me in, I'm not looking forward to that.

So tomorrow I'm back in to do my first day in a classroom in 10 years, how exciting and scary.

There are some very pretty (and ugly) parts of campus and I had a wonder round. I didn't take any pictures but I found this a few online so you can see the best bits.







Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Last year's achievements

Now my one standing achievement so far seems to be taking forever to put a post together so I'm a bit behind on last year's achievements.

2016 was a bit mixed, with some great successes, it just seemed to take a few tries to get everything right. I've made a list for us to see what we've done and it gives us a sense of achievement when you read it all and realise why you seem to have no time or money!

So here's a bit of a list in no particular order:-

  • Got water and electricity to the cabin, fitted the cabin kitchen and bathroom and furnished
  • Emptied the old extension
  • Had old extension knocked down old
  • Moved the boiler again and not for the last time
  • Had more chicks
  • Had a whole new extension built...slowly
  • Bricked up the old doorways in the house
  • Built stud work upstairs, insulated studs and plaster boarded
  • Plumbed and wired the extension
  • Fitted a new bathroom (partly)
  • Plastered and decorated baby girls new room
  • Built and fibreglassed the extension bay roof
  • Had windows fitted
  • Had doors hung, both internal and external
  • Had back garden levelled and seeded lawn
  • Changed jobs...twice
  • Been to Sicily, Devon and Cardiff
  • Grown a multitude of fruit and veg
  • Canned and preserved the harvest


I will admit to using 'the royal' we. James has worked himself very hard, whilst keeping up a full time job and spending time with the family. I think it's fair to say that he pushed himself too hard last year and the plan this year is to spend more family time together. That's particularly important to me now that I'm also working full time.

So here's a quick pic of before and after this year of the front of the house. Would you believe that when I put this together I couldn't find a picture of the whole of the front, so the new bit will have to do, I must rectify that.


Before


After

And once again baby girl is called into play to show how time's flown, just look at that hair! Not to mention the first photo is Easter, so a quarter of the way in to the year.





Friday, 30 December 2016

Visit to a smallholding and making butter

Another good day relaxing here. This morning we had been invited to bring the children to a local friend's smallholding to meet her alpacas, sheep, peahens/cocks, geese, chickens and ducks. The kids loved it and I came away with a new cock to go in with the girls. My feet were mighty cold by the time we got home though and it took a good while to warm up.





This afternoon I got to play with one of my Christmas presents and churned some butter. It was really quick, I just won't tell James that to buy the cream makes it twice the price ;-) 
It does also produce buttermilk which I'm hoping to make into scones tomorrow.





I also oiled the new doors that were hung in the upstairs extension, they'll need a second coat but at least now they're somewhat protected from sticky little fingers and I feel I've got something productive done.

Yesterday as I was doing some jobs I could hear some very sweet singing and I called James upstairs to see baby girl singing her heart out on the windowsill in her new room (that we're currently borrowing). She was at it for ages but I caught 30 seconds and I thought it was so cute.

video

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Merry Christmas to you all.

Last weekend we had the honour of collecting the little man's award for swimming, he has come a long way and is less fearful of getting in the pool now. 



We also had a big first, the kids had a sleepover at my mum's whilst James and I went out with my best friend and her husband. We hadn't got together in ages as he was studying for his detectives exam and we were so pleased that he passed, so we all went out for a curry. He suffers endless ribbing and we call him our 'pig in the pocket', but he takes it in good humour and we're really very proud of the effort he has put in and he makes a great policeman because he really does care about the people he looks out for.

Baby girl had her cot made into a bed too, I can't believe how quickly she's growing.






Friday night couldn't come soon enough for us to finish work and together James and I cooked and cleaned in preparation for the big day.

Christmas eve day we saw my best friend, her husband and their kids for lunch, it was so lovely to spend time with them. 



Here's a photo of our traditional carpet picnic on Christmas eve, we invited James' sister and watched Elf and A Christmas Carol. You can see Santa's glass of milk and a mince pie in the background. He must have been grateful for the refreshment because it has to have been hard work bringing all the presents and stockings to the kids.



Little man was up at 4.30am on Christmas morning and had to be put back to bed until a decent hour. The kids both brought their stocking's into bed to open with us and then moved to the main event downstairs. After the presents were opened and James' parents had visited for an hour we went to my mum's for lunch and ate more than was comfortable!


On boxing day my mum and sister and her fiance came to us for lunch which we had in the downstairs extension. Obviously it was not beautiful in there but we lit the table with candles and it was great to have our big table out. 

Today we visited a nearby friend so James could help her husband cut down some trees and she made us lunch.

Tomorrow is back to work for me for a day then we can spend a few quiet days together as a family.

Here are a few picture's of the kids enjoying Christmas. Little man got some geodes for a present and was so excited to split them open for the crystals. Baby girl got a ladybird dress and looks incredibly cute.








Sunday, 11 December 2016

Tree's up and preparations are in full swing.

At the beginning of the week we got the tree out of the garage, planning to get it up for the kids to decorate the following day. James started the unpacking whilst I fed the fire and we started to get a whiff. Not of the lovely cinnamon decorations we hang, but of urine and death.
The further in we got the worse the smell, until James had to take it outside. Entombed in their own Christmas tomb were a family of mice. The smell has permeated the plastic and we have left it in the greenhouse to air for next year. Plan B came into effect; next day delivery. As it turns out trees before Christmas are expensive so I borrowed my mum's as her mental dog means she can't have the big tree out.

So after a short delay the tree was out up on Wednesday evening and decorated Thursday evening. The excitement was palpable and the bottom half of the tree was once again crammed with decs. This year the kids have their own mini tree for their room and it was done in the least tasteful style, you literally couldn't fit another decoration on it! Although between then and now the tree and been much loved and many decorations have fallen from it's overcrowded branches.







Wee man had his school play this week, he was a sheep in 'The Innkeepers Breakfast' and as it started at 6, he proceeded to yawn throughout the entire performance, but was so cute I had a tear in my eye the whole time.

This weekend I worked Saturday and the kids went to James' work Christmas party. It's a bit of an old fashioned thing for a company to still hold a Children's party but is always well done with lunch, entertainment and a toy, so they loved it.

Today James opened the door between the house and the extension downstairs so we could get in there as we're planning to put the table in there for Christmas dinner. Unfortunately when we went to get it from the shed the wooden top had warped markedly, so much so it won't lay in the top of the legs. We're hoping a few weeks in the extension will mean it dries and shrinks down enough to use on Christmas day. 

I practiced making the Christmas tree cake for the big day and the kids helped decorate it today with ganache, silver balls and some icing sugar for snow. I was going for understated elegance, the kids were going for overstated exuberance, there was icing and baubles a plenty.




I also finally got the last of the garlic in the veg bed, but we had to build it first and although we tried to keep the good soil in roughly the same area it's definitely very compacted and not as good quality. It'll need lots of compost this year to get it back up to scratch.

And finally one more from last weekend, all four of us in a photo for a change (not that we're all smiling!).


Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Our weekend trip to Cardiff

This weekend we spent a few lovely days in Cardiff visiting a uni friend of mine that's recently had a baby. He was just the cutest little thing and looked so dapper all dressed in a shirt, trousers and braces! 

On Sunday we visited St Fagans national history museum. It's one of Europe's largest open air museums and has relocated old buildings from all over Wales to a 100 acre sight on the outskirts of Cardiff. 

It was a bitter day but we trooped around all the buildings. James and I used to visit here when I was in university and this is our first time back in over 10 years. I could go on for hours about the amazing buildings but I'll just show you a few photos and say if you're near Cardiff you must go!

On the way the car developed a fault and has gone into limp home mode. The garage can't get me a courtesy car for another 10 days so I'm stuck driving the worlds slowest car for a bit.