Thursday, 31 July 2014

Creative moments

Hello lovelies - I'm back from my little break and catching up on everyone's posts. I'm glad that I decided to have a week off as although I've missed this little space I needed to get my head in gear. As you can read here, a very good friends sister passed away in France last week, which hit me incredibly hard and I needed to sort things out in my head. It still doesn't make sense and it's made me re-evaluate what I'm doing but I'm glad to be back.

I got the inspiration to write a post last Wednesday so went with it, only to realise that my daughter hadn't charged my iPad and it died before I had saved the main bulk. It was then I decided to leave here for a week, I need to run with my creativity when it arrives and I've felt lately that I've been forcing it at times, which has lead to frustration and some not so good work. So now, I have taken next week off from the museum to spend time with Megan on her school holidays and to take some pressure off. I have work to do at home but when an idea comes to me I'll be at home to roll with it, even if it hits me (as quite often it does) when I'm lying in bed at night, I won't need to worry about getting up with the alarm the next day. How do you work? Can you switch on your creativity or do you have to roll with it when it arrives?


Monday, 21 July 2014

Paris with a heavy heart

It's common knowledge in these parts that I adore Paris. I love the beauty, architecture, the food and lifestyle. Most importantly, my memories in the city have been made possible by the most wonderful friend that a girl could have. I never turn down an opportunity to visit yet this is one trip that I wish wasn't necessary.

I've debated hitting delete on this post as it's not the cheery one that I wanted to post today. However this blog is supposed to represent my life and life isn't all sunny and rosy and today, as although the sun is out and it's beautifully warm already, my heart is breaking for my dear friend Henri and his family, as his beautiful sister who lost her fight with cancer on Sunday night. She was courageous and dignified until the end and fought with all that she had to stay with her family. Life is so cruel, a husband has lost his wife, my sweet friend and his brother have lost their beloved sister. A parent should never have to bury their child and two young children should never have to grow up without their mother. 

I frequently struggle to make sense of this world and this is one of the hardest things to accept. Their family are good, decent people through and through, not a bad word is spoken by any of them. My friend is the sweetest, kindest soul, who has helped me down many a difficult path, without judgement and without question he has welcomed me into his home and has grounded me when needs be. Nobody deserves this, but in particular, she did not deserve to leave this earth so young. This family do not deserve to be grieving as they are.

My heart broke when my phone went off late Sunday night. It was one of those times when you feel sick to your stomach when you see who it is because you know what awaits when you answer it. So now, it is my turn to step up to do what he has done for me so many times. How you help someone through something like this I am not sure, but I know that this trip to Paris will be my most important and emotional.  

I can't even contemplate how she must have felt knowing that she was leaving her beautiful children behind, the thought of leaving me daughter to grow up without me doesn't ever bare thinking about. All I want to do is hold her and Tim close to me and never let them go. Make sure that you tell those around you that you love them, the sad reality is that you never know when the chance may be taken away from you.

Repose en Paix Anne, tu ĂȘtes enfin sorti de la douleur. Gros bisous xxx

I will be back soon with a more cheery post, but please bare with me as I help my friend through this devastating time.


This weekend consisted of cake, cake and more cake! Both my daughter and niece celebrated their birthdays. Megan turned 12 and my niece Olivia turned 4.

While we were at it, my partners birthday was last Tuesday, but as he is away during the week he thought he'd gotten away with it! But alas, he was surprised with a cake by my sister and also had to endure a rendition of 'Happy Birthday' by everyone at the restaurant!

Megan had decided that this year she wanted to make her own cake and that she did! The heart shaped zebra-striped number was all the work of my gorgeous girl!

I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact I'm the mother of a 12 year old! Many of you will know that she has ASD and makes me so proud with what she overcomes and achieves every day.

My handsome nephews with their big cousin.

Sunday was the turn of my beautiful niece Olivia. She is a born star and makes us laugh so much. My sister is a singer and studied musical theatre at university. This little one is a chip off the old block and loves nothing more than belting out a number from Wicked, Frozen or her all time favourite Mary Poppins. She knows all the words, dances and does all the the accents and I'm so glad that she loves this film as it's one of my favourites. Her birthday cake was a masterpiece and made by one of my sisters friends. It was worth every single penny as she was delighted! The theme continued with a custom made Mary Poppins dress and a plush doll bought by moi!

I'm so proud of all our children (and of Tim who does his best to stay out of the limelight - the photo above is very rare!).

What little that was left of rest of the weekend was spent cuddled up on the sofa, watching the F1 and films. We're all exhausted now but it was most definitely worth spending time as a family. Due to Tim's job, time together is short and precious and he's not usually able to attend family days / evenings out.

I hope you all had fun aswell! :)


Linking up with Leanne & Jess

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Happy Birthday Baby

I'll probably get in trouble for this as my man doesn't like much attention on him. I took this photo a couple of weeks ago, he still doesn't know that it exists and he'd probably like this day to pass unnoticed!

On the other hand, I was upset to discover that I wouldn't see him on his birthday. We're apart during the week and in his line of work there was no chance of taking the day off. I'm incredibly proud of everything he does, how hard he's working for our future, how much he wants to provide for our family but I wish at times he would slow down a bit.

To say he's changed my life is an understatement. He's brought me out of myself again, given me the confidence to go for what I want and the support and love that I've craved for so long. He's been there when things have been tough, not only standing by me but has lifted me up when I've been at my weakest.

We may have taken a long time to get here and things may not be as we want them to be at the moment, but I'm so happy that I get to spend my life with my best friend. So, Happy Birthday babe. I can't wait to see you this weekend to celebrate. I love you.


Linking up with IBOT and Random Wednesday

Monday, 14 July 2014

New Twitter // One of those Mondays

After a wonderful weekend spent at the Millennium Stadium for the Speedway GP with my family, I've come down with laryngitis and feeling quite sorry for myself. Armed with numbing throat spray and a supply of ibuprofen and paracetamol I've taken to the sofa in my pjs and a cosy hoody and making a blogging schedule for the summer holidays which officially start at the end of this week if you live in these parts.

After a sleepless night due to my sore throat and aches, the sunny morning lifted my spirits, along with the venti soya peppermint hot chocolate (for medicinal purposes of course) and a text to stay that my new upgraded iPhone was in store for collection.

The skies have turned grey and drizzly and matched my mood on discovering that my twitter password isn't saved on my keychain, I can't remember it and have no access to my email account to reset it as it's linked to my old university account! I've had to set up a new twitter account and am really hoping that you'll all transfer and follow me on my new handle here (@amyLwestern)

I'm also considering a re-brand on this little old blog of mine but am a little undecided in which way to take it. One things for sure though I am determined to stick to a schedule through these summer holidays, something I've struggled with with kids at home in the past. I hope you'll stick around on this new phase with me :)

So the flowers are here to make this more cheery!! Here's to putting aside a bad day and hoping that my voice / throat can hold on through the week. With three birthdays, a very important meeting & two school assemblies to deliver this week I can't afford to be sick!

Have a lovely evening all!
Linking up with Essentially Jess and MMG

Friday, 11 July 2014

Daily diaries

The story of my week......

Monday - this little guy is really liking me working from home now! So much so that he has to be near me at all times! I was at the table (still looking for the right oak desk) all day working on lesson plans for a project I'm working on and information packs for potential collaborators. Before I knew it the day had gone and Megan was home from school. Unfortunately it wasn't a good end to the day as she dropped my iPad and cracked the screen.

Tuesday - much of the same really, I had a catch up meeting with my research assistant where we discussed where we were at and what direction our research was going to take next. Oh and I continued to get excited about my new car, a Mini Cooper that Tim had collected for me on the weekend :)

Wednesday - I attended Megan's school achievement awards in the morning. I was so proud to see her get a school community award for her involvement in the Eco - club which won the school an award from the council. She has really struggled starting high school this year, her ASD struggles have made it so hard for her and us. A few months back she hated school and struggled to make friends, so to see her get this award for becoming involved in the school community and making friends.
I headed straight to the museum for the rest of the day and we were slightly scared by the Punch and Judy puppets that were delivered for our children's sessions. A colleague decided hanging them on the inside of the office door would be the perfect entertainment for the afternoon, making people jump as they walked in. Very mature I know!

Thursday - most of the schools were on strike today as many teachers, support staff and council staff were on strike. We made the most of the sunshine and went for a walk with my sister, niece and nephews then came home for a picnic in the garden.

Friday - this morning I'm working at the museum. It's our monthly toddler day and I'm hoping we don't have too many screaming kids freaked out by the Punch and Judy puppets! Regardless, I'm looking forward to 1pm and the start if the weekend as it's one of the highlights of our year. The Speedway World Championships hit Cardiff from today, it's the biggest speedway event in the world and also means that my beautiful cousin Sophie is in town! As soon as I finish work this afternoon I'll be heading straight to the Millennium Stadium where she will be presenting the live draw for Eurosport. I can't wait to see her and for the weekend ahead. We'll be at the stadium Saturday for the racing with my family (which will start at 5pm, live on Eurosport) and then head into town for a few drinks with my cousin and her husband have finished filming.

How has your weekend been? Have you got much planned for the weekend? Let's hope the sun hangs around for the duration! See you back here Monday :)

Linking up with H54F and Daily Diaries

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Sunshine walks // Healthy Habits

It's a beautiful day and the children are off school today as most teachers are taking part in the national strike, so we'll probably make the most of it and go for a walk and have a picnic somewhere. Megan loves to go for walks, particularly in the summer so we try and go every evening unless my fibromyalgia is so bad that it prevents it. She's used to walking a lot, mainly because I was too scared to drive for a long time after a car accident. 

I think it's good though that from an early age she has understood why exercise is so important and she is always on the go! She always wants to work out with me at home and is always dancing around the house. I wish I had some of her energy!

One of our favourite walks (when we are at home in Wales) is along a public footpath that has been made along side a bypass that was built a couple of years ago (when we're in Somerset we are spoilt for country walks). The views are lovely and there are various different walks you can do. We usually stop off at a local pub which is half way for a drink, a rest (for the adults) and so the kids can play at the park. 

On the way back we usually walk through the small farm lanes, stop and fuss the horses before walking up the hill to our house. It's a bit of a killer after a long walk but it certainly makes us feel as though we've had a good workout! Best of all, we get our all important quota of cardio and fresh air, tone up and all whilst spending quality time together. 

How do you vary your exercise through the week? Also, I'm going to be at a loss tonight as the second series of Nashville ended last week here in the UK, is there another series you could recommend I start watching? Also it's almost the weekend and it's one of the biggest in our calendar every year. Tomorrow my cousin arrives in town to present the British Speedway GP coverage for Eurosport. I can't wait to see her and for the after event party! 

Linking up with Katie for Healthy Habits

Monday, 7 July 2014

Prosecco, sun and cake

What a weekend for sport in the UK! The drama of the Silverstone F1, Wimbledon Finals and Tour de France all taking place and the unpredictable weather as expected. Thankfully in this part of the country the weather turned out much better than expected and we were able to celebrate in the sun. The mens Wimbledon final didn't go the way I wanted (I'm a big Roger Federer fan), but thankfully Lewis Hamilton got the F1 win on home spoil (thank goodness, the drama was too much for my stress levels this weekend!). Amongst it all, we also celebrated my parents 34th wedding anniversary and my Mum's birthday. I love that my parents got married the day before my Mum's 21st birthday and it was also on Wimbledon final weekend, the sun this weekend made it all a perfect reminder for them. A chilled bottle of prosecco, a large wedge of cake and the conservatory doors wide open made it a lovely celebration with my sister and her family over aswell.

The summer is a busy period for birthdays in our family, with another three next week and the schools breaking up for the summer holidays so it will be all go around here for a while. I'm also on countdown to the end of the week when my cousin will be in Cardiff to present the British Speedway GP at the Millennium Stadium for Eurosport. It's the biggest speedway event in the world and always a highlight in our year. In the meantime however, I need to get to work, preparing some goals for the week ahead. I'm trying to make this a positive week so that we can all enjoy the following week when Friday comes around.
I hope you all had a lovely weekend, did you do much? 
Happy Monday lovelies :)

Linking up with MMG

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Times running away...

Time seems to be flying by and I can't believe that I've not posted since Thursday.  This was definitely one of the best weekends and I do want to write about it but the last two days I have been so busy working on a project and I've literally not had two minutes to think about it. Let's just say that I've seen how the other half live and I'd quite like a bit of it! 

But now back to reality. New Year seems like it was only last week and yet here we are in July, preparing for the schools to break up in only two weeks and I have so much left to get done.  Please bear with me for the rest of the week whilst I try to catch up with my schedule and I promise that I'll fill in the gaps with what I've been up to! For now, it's back to work.

Catch you all later in the week!