Thursday, 28 May 2015

Little Baby Law!

My family has grown today! My brother and his wife had a little baby girl at around 10:45 this morning. We called me around half 11 to tell me and I was moved to tears - I'm an Auntie! I can't wait to meet little Alexis in a couple of weeks time!

To celebrate the occasion, today's postcard (yes, I am still doing my postcard project, I haven't forgotten about them!) was a custom make just for Alexis!

I wanted to make sure I remember the date. I still might forget, but now at least it's searchable on my blog, hahaha. Today, 28th May 2015 was Alexis' birthday.

Both mum and baby are doing well. They're hanging out in hospital overnight for observation, but everything is okay. My brother is doing well too - super tired but doting and caring with a hint of "woah, this has just happened". Haha. I spoke to him again later on and everything seems calm and good.

I can't wait to hang out with this new little family. I'm really looking forward to seeing my little niece for the first time. Don't grow up too fast Alexis, I have a lot of photos to take! 

I'm feeling very blessed today - everyone is happy and healthy, and God is good. Hoorah for Clem, Fiona and Alexis! Yaay! :) 

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

A Trip to Seaham

My lovely friend Nadia has come to visit me from all the way down south! Unfortunately the thing we had planned to do didn't quite happen, so we decided to go on an adventure anyway. We chose to go back to Seaham, where my college friends and I went last year for my birthday!

Here we are, laying on the pebbly beach, taking a break from looking for sea glass and fun coloured rocks. It was actually quite warm and comfy on the pebbles.

I had a great day with Nadia. We had lunch (more home made scotch eggs) on the promenade by the sandy beaches, then we went hunting for sea glass on the pebbly beach. After that, we explored the marina and had some delicious ice cream. Oh, we managed to squeeze in some outlet shopping too, and then we had tea with our friend Fiona! We crammed quite a lot in, even before the crazy rain began, and all the while reminiscing on the days when Nadia still lived up north with me, when we went to the same college, university and church. It was a long time ago, we discovered, and yet our friendship remains. I feel so blessed to have Nadia in my life.

Anyway, it might be the salty sea air, or the long rainy drive, but I am getting a little sleepy now. Hoorah for Nadia, and hoorah for a fun day out! :)

Monday, 25 May 2015

Anderton Boat Lift

I've lived in the NW England all my life and I never knew that there was a boat lift in the area. Yes, a boat lift. An elevator for boats. It's called the Anderton Boat Lift, near Northwich. It's a big piece of history, dating back to Victorian times which was created to move boats from a nearby river to a nearby canal. Back then, transport by boat was important for stuff like ceramics and glass in the area, and handballing them off a boat then back onto another boat basically meant stuff got broken and money was lost. Some geniuses came up with a much better idea and created an amazing feat of engineering. 

My college friend Lee was the one who got wind of this boat lift, and today we decided to go on an adventure to find it. Here are some photos:

Here it is, a lift for boats!

It's so big! And very mighty.

Me and Lee! Waiting to see a boat come up and another come down!

This is a tour boat that came down, and that we're about to board for a river tour.

This is our river tour. There were lots of old people. Lee and I picnicked while we had our river tour, eating the scotch eggs I made yesterday :)

Here we are, on the approach to the lift.

We're in the lift! It was ridiculously exciting. We entered at the bottom, and traveled to the top!

Having never heard of this boat lift, I had arrived at the location with no expectations and left super happy! It's free to go enter the visitor center and cafe with plenty of places to picnic and watch boats all day long. The tours are reasonably priced and kinda worth it! We were well impressed! The surrounding areas were pretty too. We had a little wander through the well kept woodlands and visited the marina to look at all the canal boats. There were loads.

All in all a wonderful day out, and I'm really glad that Lee accidentally found some leaflets on it. Looking forward to the next adventure already!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

ZanMade Scotch Eggs

I've been thinking about making scotch eggs for some time. When I watch cooking shows, they make it seem so easy so I thought I'd give it a go! Lo and behold, it was actually pretty easy! Boil some eggs, cool them down, coat in flour. Smoosh out the meat out of some sausages, season, then flatten. Roll the egg into the sausage meat, then dip in egg, and finally coat in breadcrumbs. Deep fry and we're done! So simple! Mum helped with the deep frying today as the construction of these things aren't difficult, just a bit messy. Here's what mine looked like:

Ladies and gentlemen - scotch eggs!

My dad helpfully slices it in half for me. Look at how big the scotch eggs are!

I loved the way they turned out - looks exactly like they do in the shops, but better!

These tasted wonderful. They were crispy on the outside, and lovely and soft on the inside. The flavours too - oh! They work so well! It's no wonder why these are so popular because they were delicious. So much better than the ones in the shops. Bigger, healthier, tastier. I don't think I'm ever going to buy them ever again. Oh man, nom nom NOM.

I'm ridiculously happy with my scotch eggs - they're now ready for the picnic I'm having tomorrow! And just as a warning to all my friends from now on - I'll be making these for the next few get-togethers!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

"It's going to rain" - Reflections from a play day in Australia

He was hesitant to join in. He was a little bigger than all the other kids and didn't want to intrude on anyone else's play. But he was hovering on the periphery as much as us playworkers were, so I knew he wanted a way in. So I waited.

I had constructed a swing like hammock with a long piece of cloth on the only big tree in our play space. It was by the road so I made a point in staying road side and offered up assistance with swinging and spinning the gathered children. They giggled and screamed as they span round and round.

There was a queue, but it was way too hot to stop and wait in the sun, so I made up nicknames for the children, to make them laugh, and to shout them back later. There was Multicolour Girl, Princess Dress, White T-Shirt Boy and Stripey Boy. It was way to warm to begin to remember names.

He observed from a closer spot. Still not really interacting with anyone, but quietly listening and watching. There was suddenly less children. The sun had been replaced by grey clouds and the air had a thick soupy quality. He headed slowly towards me as I did an obvious weight check in the hammock briefly to assure him, just as I had done for every other child.

"Will you help me to swing?"

"Of course"

I helped him into the hammock swing. It took some pushing and shoving, but I didn't make a big deal of it: every kid had struggled. He was in, and looked peaceful. I pushed the swing gently for a little while.

"Did you come on a plane?"

"Yes. Two planes actually."

"I flew on a plane once. A long time ago."

"Where did you fly from?"

"South Africa. I was very small."

"Have you been back since?"

He shakes his head and looks sad. "I don't remember it very much."

"One day you can go back. You can get on another plane."

"Maybe."

He sits quietly in the hammock, and I keep swinging. Above, the clouds gather and look angry.

"Do you think it's going to rain?"

He looks at me with very certain eyes and says "It's going to to rain."

Moments later, I feel a few fat drops of water. I help him get out of the hammock and together we pull it out of the tree. He turns and makes eye contact, and then disappears, back into the periphery.

And then it rained.

The play site, just before we left. It rained hard for 30 minutes, complete with electrical storm which left the whole city with no power for 2 days. It was the hottest 2 days of my life, but I'm so glad that I got this play moment in before all that crazy started.