Thursday, 17 July 2014

Living Arrows 27/52 & 28/52

I'm not very good at getting these things done on time, am I? The past couple of weeks have been filled with snotty noses, sleepless nights and clinginess. The top photo was taken in our garden on a beautiful summer day. Our house is covered in scaffolding, and we've had workmen around for weeks, so our use of the garden has been limited. After the workmen left, we went out in the garden for some fresh air (read: in a desperate yet futile attempt to tire Ebony out before bed).

The bottom photo (which was actually taken earlier) was taken during the week of illness. Ebony was under the weather and had a fever and a suspicious spot which I was worried may develop into chicken pox, so we spent a couple of days at home. The second photo was taken on my phone whilst we were snuggled up under a blanket watching Homeward Bound.
living arrows

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

A Family Holiday to Spain

This blog has been very quiet lately because we’re still trying to get sorted in our new house, so I’m very behind with all of my posts. Last month we went on our first ‘proper’ family holiday. We went to Brighton in a motorhome last year, and had such an amazing time, but this year we decided to go abroad.
We booked the holiday before deciding to move house, and I think if it had been the other way round we probably wouldn’t have gone abroad (especially if we’d known how much work our new house would need), but I’m glad we did because it was so lovely to get completely away from real life for a bit.
Laurie works ridiculous hours, I actually don’t understand how he manages to cram so many working hours into a single day, and has emails connected to his phone, so it sometimes (always) feel like his work is infringing on our life. The only way to get him away from emails, is to leave the country so he can’t access them. I work when Ebony is asleep, or when Laurie is home to play with her, so it feels a bit like we have very limited time to just enjoy life as a family of three.
We went to Spain for 10 days, staying in an apartment just south of Salou. Ebony was excited about going on a plane for the first time, and was wide awake the whole journey despite an early start (much to mine and Laurie’s disappointment, we were knackered). We arrived at our apartment by lunchtime, and we spent the afternoon sitting by the pool in the sunshine. Ebony was SO excited to be on holiday. She spent the first afternoon running around with a huge smile on her face. At one point it all seemed a bit much for her and she just ran over to use and shouted, “HOLIDAAAAAY!” before dashing off and going down the slide again. It was so lovely.
The nearest supermarket was well stocked with soya and almond milks, and even had some vegan margarine though we didn’t realise until the last day. The beach was a two minute walk away, and was surprisingly quiet meaning we could just let Ebony wander off and explore whilst we kept an eye on her. We spent our days making sandcastles, paddling in the sea, swimming in the pool and eating Barcelona bread. I even managed to read books - a rare luxury since having Ebony.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Review & Giveaway: Win a Selection of London Tea

I stopped drinking tea about a month ago, this is a side effect of giving up soya milk. I originally planned to give substitute the soya milk for almond or coconut milk, but after having a 48 hour headache from tea withdrawal, I didn’t really want to start drinking it again. When I say I gave up tea, I mean english breakfast tea. I’ve never really been a fan of fruit teas, having always favoured a good old fashioned brew. But the more I wrote about health for work, the more interested I became in reducing my caffeine consumption. So when the lovely people at London Tea got in touch to offer me a selection of teas to review, I was keen to give fruit teas another go. I was sent a selection of flavours including English Breakfast Tea, Jasmine Green Tea, Tropical Green Tea, Peach & Rhubarb, Pure Peppermint, Pure Rooibos, Vanilla Chai, Zingy Lemon and Ginger, Raspberry Inferno and White Tea, Pear Tatin. Between myself and my dedicated team of voluntary tea tasters, all the flavours have been sampled. My personal favourite is the Raspberry Inferno, it has such a wonderful flavour, with the Vanilla Chai coming in a close second. The teas are flavoursome and smell delicious. Unlike some other brands of herbal teas, you don’t need to leave the tea bag in very long. In fact, I tend to leave it in for only around 30 seconds and still end up with a strong flavour. All of the teas are Fairtrade Certified, something that’s been really important to me since hearing some Fairtrade farmers speak at a work event in my past life. All of the teas are also certified as vegetarian and vegan. The teas are packaged in brightly coloured boxes featuring silhouettes of iconic London landmarks. The boxes and stylish, and the individually packaged teas look great too. Mine are all stored in a huge box, and I love the variety of colours that leap out at me when I go to choose a tea. They would make a great gift for a tea lover, and there are lots of different flavours to choose from. You can buy the teas here. My favourite, the Raspberry Inferno, is currently on sale with a pack of 20 teabags costing just £1.27. Bargain. London Tea have been lovelier enough to offer readers the chance to win a selection of their teas. Two readers will each win a set of London Tea’s Everyday range including Tropical Green Tea, Peach & Rhubarb, Zingy Lemon & Ginger, Raspberry Inferno and White Tea, Pear Tatin. To enter, all you need to do is fill in the Rafflecopter below. The winner will be announced early next month. Good luck!

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Saturday, 5 July 2014

Living Arrows 25/52 & 26/52

At some point, I'm going to get really good at blogging on time, but in the meantime, here is another catch up Living Arrows post. We went up to Edinburgh last weekend, Ebony was so lovely to travel with. She was easily entertained the whole way to Edinburgh, and there wasn't a tantrum in sight. When we finally arrived at our apartment, she was ready to stretch her legs. We decided to head out to The Meadows so she could have a run around, this photograph shows her peering out of our apartment window, desperate to be outside. 

After two and a half years of co-sleeping (more on that soon), Ebony's new bed arrived this week. She was so excited about having her very own bed in her very own bedroom. Here she is, all tucked in with her favourite cuddly toys, ready for her first night in her new bed. She wouldn't even let me lie next to her while she fell asleep that night (hello, empty nest syndrome). 
living arrows

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

A Slight Case of Blogger Burnout

I think I’m suffering from a slight case of blogger burnout at the moment. My blog has been quiet partly because of the house move, partly because of the holiday, and partly because I’m busy doing paid work. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

Moving house was so stressful, I know this should have been expected, but I was surprised by just how stressful it was. I always thought when people talked about the stress, they meant the stress of physically moving, which doesn’t bother me at all. I don’t mind packing or unpacking, so thought it would be relatively plain sailing.

It wasn’t. It was ridiculously stressful. We sold our house back in February, within a couple of days of putting it on the market (pro tip: when trying to sell a house with a toddler in, take the toddler away for a few days so the house stays tidy). Our sale was going through fine, our buyers were lovely and patient. But buying the next house was almost impossible. The process seemed to stretch out for months on end. Every time something could go wrong, it did. At one point we thought we’d lost the house forever. I can only apologise to all of the friends who counselled me through this (very) whingy period in my life.

Then, all of a sudden it was back on, and we had three weeks to move. By this point my parents were off sunning themselves in Europe, so packing became a two step process of 1) putting things in a box 2) trying to stop the toddler taking them out of the box. I also had heaps of work on, so had simply no time for anything but packing, whinging and working.

Then we moved house, and Laurie went back to work the very next day leaving me with a toddler and a house full of boxes. Unpacking was slow, and is still going on. Do not look in the cupboard under the stairs. The week after the move, my workload increased and I was desperately trying to get it all done before going on holiday.

The house we bought has been unloved for some time. And is very magnolia. I think it will take us years to get it in order. It needed some (many) remedial works doing, so these were started while we were on holiday. The holiday was wonderful, it was just so nice (read: necessary) to get away from all the stress for a while. Away from the house, away from work, away from emails. I read books. I napped. We walked along the beach. It was perfect.

We got home to find the building works in process, so the house is a bit of a building site at the moment. It’s very dusty and noisy, and the neighbours probably hate us because our builders are not shy of 9am starts on Sundays. Unpacking has taken a backseat while the house is covered in plaster, but yesterday I managed to set up my office (MY OFFICE!), and already it’s made me more productive. I knew having to sit at a dining table was forcing me to check Facebook so much. Ahem.

Ebony keeps waking up early, and demanding that she eats breakfast immediately. After an early start, we spend our days seeing friends, going to groups and playing at home. It’s fun, and I love it, but it is tiring. At the end of the day, when Ebony is tucked up in bed, I open my laptop and start working. I try to work a couple of each night, and at the end of that long and exhausting day, I’m usually too wiped out to sit down and blog. I’m hoping to get on top of it soon, and have loads of things I want to write about, so hopefully I’ll be up and running again soon.