Two years!!!

At the end of our honeymoon I turned to my new husband and said, in slightly disbelieving-excitement “Do you realise we’ve been married for a whole week?!?

The ring goes on!!

This morning before he headed off for work, L and I looked at each other and said together “We’ve been married for two years!!!

So happy and oh yeah – the kiss was about to come! 😉

The time has gone so quickly it seems impossible that we’re celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary already!

Isn’t the black-and-white with the one bit of colour wonderful?!

Being Mrs M, waking up next to L every morning and enjoying more hugs in one day then I used to get in a month is now so natural, so right that I find myself amazed that it’s only been two years!

It’s wierd the way passing time leaves you feeling that way.

We were both so glad that so many of our family, friends and church-family were there to celebrate our marriage with us!

Nana and I on my wedding day!

My sisters and I – love you!!

I love how happy we are! 🙂

I put the socks and converses on after we got to the park and saw a long-cherished dream realised!! 😀

It was so much fun taking these photos on the swings!!!

One of my hubby’s favourites!!! 😀

Oh yes, and after all this time, I finally have an album of most of my favourite wedding photos (um, 200 plus of them … ! 😛 ) and tomorrow am going to give my best friend R her completed chief-bridesmaid gift … let’s just say that I wasn’t the most organized bride in history … 😉

I’m nearly out of photo storage space on my blog and haven’t yet decided what to do about it (any tips?!) so used photos of our wedding that we’re already stored on here – complete with the captions I added March last year!

Happy 2nd anniversary L!! 🙂

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never ends.

1 Corinthians 13 v 4-8

The other side of my cooking life

I read amazing food blogs and remember my Mum’s dedication to cooking home-cooked food from scratch.

I feel overwhelmed by the expectations I put on myself to prepare every meal from the bare bones up. I feel overwhelmed by the other people who seem able to do that.

I wouldn’t want one of you reading my blog and feeling guilty about your own cooking, so I decided to share tonight’s supper with you!

Meal deal of ready-prepared vegetables, stir-in sauce and straight-to-wok noodles.

A (reduced – of course! 😉 ) pack of beef strips.

Beef stir-fry.

Just as healthy and additive-free as it would have been if I’d done all the work.

No sin!

I’m so grateful to my Mum and my Grandma for passing onto me a love for cooking and for teaching me the skills to cook mostly whatever I set my mind too – or at least where to go to find out how to do it! 😛

I don’t plan on loosing that.

What I do plan on losing is my self-imposed expectation that anything which is not prepared from the most scratched scratch that I can find, every single meal, is a sin! And definitely before we have kids! 😉

Oh, and my hubby still thought it was delicious, so what’s the problem?!

I hope you’re not too shocked at this little peek into the other side of my cooking life!! 😉

Meet my new little nephew!

Uncle L!

Auntie R!

Proud Grandpa!

Absolutely delighted Grandma!

“Again Uncle L, again!!”

Big sister A!

Uncle L and Auntie R!

Mummy and Daddy!

Just incase you hadn’t realised, I’m a very proud and thrilled Auntie! 😉

Welcome to the world S!

All Things Swede

Yeah, sorry, I spelled it wrong! 😦

This is a swede.

In answer to inquires … and just a little bit of my own confusion, but you can skip that part … I will explain about the Mystery Vegetable traditionally served with Haggis!

It is commonly confused with its smaller cousin …

… the turnip.

This is what Americans call a rutabaga – exactly like a swede!

Apparently the key differences between a swede and a turnip (and we’re not talking about the residents of Sweeden guys!) are that a turnip is smaller, with whiter skin and white flesh and sometimes purple marking, where as a swede is about twice the size and  has brown to purple skin and a yellow flesh.

Mashed swede and carrot is served as a side dish to roasts and such. My Grandma serves it regularly.

During my year and a half of voluntary training with my church, every week I helped out at the group for elderly people,which included lunch. Ever week, one of the two main vegetables served with the meal was cubed, boiled swede.

Day For The Retired was one of my favourite groups in the week, but my goodness, I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to face another helping of boiled swede … 😉

Congratulations!!!

To ourselves … !! 😉

On the first whole day of our holiday, Sunday 11th September, L and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary!! 😀 In the evening we popped open one of the un-opened bottles of champagne from the toast at our wedding reception, 365 days earlier …

Since before we were engaged we started having a bottle of champagne every time we had something to celebrate … ok, so maybe true wine connoisseurs would turn pale at what we use as champagne, but hey, the point is in the celebrating and making life special, marking achievements, not whether the bottle of bubbly cost £28.99 or £4.40, right?! Or maybe it’s just my hubby and I’s lack of understanding when it comes to the finer points of truly excellent champagne! 😛 The bottles from our wedding were the really “nice” kind, so it was a good treat! 🙂

I have kept the corks from each bottle of champagne L and I have shared together and one of the corks from our wedding, and the one from our anniversary, have the date written on them … you may call me a soppy romantic if you like!! 😉 However you view this tradition of mine, it is amazing the difference it can make to my outlook on life when, on a day when all I can see are the failures, trials and troubles of life, I see the over-flowing little draw of champagne corks, reminding me of how many things there have been to celebrate and how many things we have achieved.

On the Sunday afternoon we went to Fowey, a Cornish town built on a steep transition from hill-top countryside to estuary waterfront … we parked at the very top of the hill and took a 15 minute walk steeply downhill to reach the harbour seafront – phew! That was fine … it was just the walk back up to the car which was slightly more worrying … !! 😉

Fowey is my Grandparent’s favourite Cornish town, but sadly we weren’t able to have drinks in the bar of their favourite hotel, with views over the boats in the harbour, which was especially recommended to me by my Grandad … we did, however, have cups of tea and a piece of yummy lemon drizzle cake in a cute little cafe where the tea-pots were all different colours and patterns, they had sand picture-makers on the tables, mis-matching pictures on the walls and – get this! – dotty table cloths on the tables!! 😛

Neither of us think that the self-portraits I take of us are very flattering … we both think we turn out with enormous heads!! 😛 But somehow we both look slightly unnatural and very embarrassed in the picture where some very kind and friendly locals took a photo of us … ah well, at least, in some day in the distant future, our grandkids will be able to laugh at these photos and wonder how Granny and Grandpa could ever have looked so stupid … 😉

This first year has been one of the hardest and one of the happiest years we have experienced … here’s to our 2nd year of marriage – may it be filled with God, love, joy, peace and growth!

What did you do/plan to do on your 1st wedding anniversary?!

Grandma’s Garden

My Grandparent's house from their garden

Grandma’s garden has always been a place surrounded by a certain sense of mystry and excitement. My Grandparents (these are my Dad’s parents) have always had big gardens and devoted a lot of care and attention to looking after them.

The house we visited until I was about 6 had  a long garden and orchard, at that age, I thought it was the longest garden in the world an went on forever! A trip to the bottom of the garden and back, clutching onto Great-Grandma’s hand, was a very long way for my little legs.

The garden that my sisters and I played in when we were growing up was a tiny little garden at the back, mostly concrete, and an even smaller little area at the front of the house, which had a little apple tree in it. The back garden was so small we called it the Apron-Pocket. We used our garden well – the big tree was Robin Hood and Maid Marion’s secret hideaway, the little weeping-willow-like tree in the grass patch was a house for dandalion-soup parties, the concrete alley-way down the side of the house was the site of many a school-room, ballet studio and the place where I broke a window trying to play tennis and the poor patch of grass survived bravely for years, despite the number of time we tried to dig a hole through it to get to Austrailia!

But Grandma’s garden was a place of space and adventure, a place filled with little paths and big trees, a pond and lots of bushes which were brilliant for playing hide-and-seek! My youngest uncle and aunt were twins and only 7 years older than me, and they devoted many hours to playing with us in the garden (oh yes, and the house, where I managed to lock 4 of us in a bedroom by pushing the door-knob down the back of the radiator …), playing hide-and-seek, planning treasure-hunts with us and setting up the garden chairs for us. The garden was always shared with somewhere between 1 and 5 dogs, ranging in size from a Pekingese to a St Bernard!

This, for me, depicts some of the charm and gentleness which fills Grandma's garden

The next garden my Grandparents owned had a bigger pond, but wasn’t so long. There was an old shed with vines growing up the outside, which was filled with old books and un-used furniture. There was a line of huge fir-trees, which waved back and forth in a rather menecing way when it was stormy. Grandma had a vegetable garden, although I can’t remember how successful it was. There was a stream which passed by at the front of the house and a little tiny foot-bridge crossed over it from the road to the front door – although I don’t believe I ever went through that front door or saw it open, as my Grandparents  have only ever used 1 of the front doors of the 4 houses they have lived in since I was born! Grandma taught us to play French tennis on the lawn at this house and there was a paddling pool often out in the summer. One 5th of November we had sparklers on the patio to celebrate

Spring has definitely arrived!

Guy Fawkes! We found frogs in the stream during a thunderstorm – I remember that I actually never saw them, as one of my younger sisters, N, my youngest aunt, K, and I got scared of the thunder and ran home to hide behind the big curtains in the lounge! (K, of course, said she was just doing it to stop N and I getting too frightened … :)).

The next house was 4 hours drive away and not only had a garden, but a big field too! It was like having your own hiking trail in your back yard! 🙂 This garden had different sections, devided by tall evergreen hedges with little archways in them; it had an old milling-trough and mill-stone inbedded in the grass, which Grandma turned into a beautiful centrepiece for the garden, by fillng it with flowers and little bushes; it had little stone pathways winding around beside the areas of grass, with tiny plants and flowers growing up between the cracks and it had a wooden arbour, with roses and vines growing around it, leading up one path to the garden shed – this was absolutely beautiful in the summer, when the vines had big leaves on them and the roses were in full bloom!

This arbour - or The Rose Walk, as Grandma calls it - is in their current garden, but is even more beautiful than the other one in the summer, when all the roses are blooming!

The garden my Grandparents have now is back down closer to where my parents live and, in my opinion, the most beautiful out of all the gardens they’ve had! I might be wrong, but I think it’s also the garden whcih they have put the most time and effort into improving. It was a lovely garden when they first bought the house 10 years ago, but now it is a place of beauty and peace and charm. The big flower beds have now been broken into smaller ones, with little grass paths running in and out between them; they have built a long Rose Walk down a stone path and out along  a stretch of grass; they have put a little spring going into the pond, put a bench by the pond and cared for and improved the beautiful pink and white heather growing around

The spring feeding into the pond

it; the little wooded area at the bottom of the garden has been planted with daffodils, cleared of piles of branches and garden rubbish and had benches and wooden archways put in it and although the number of big old apple trees in one part of the garden is lowly decreasing, as they are being suffocated by the miseltoe growing on them, Grandma’s garden is a wonderful place to be, filled with little surprises round every corner. As my Grandparents have got older, they have needed more help with the heavier duties and have dug over the vegetable garden and are slowly turning it into more flower beds. The greenhouse stands at the bottom of the used-to-be vegetable patch now largely un-used, and filled with dead or dying plants, old flowerpots and broken garden forks, but standing steady in the spring afternoon sunlight, it still seems to have something about it that the garden would be lacking, if the greenhouse was to be removed. The summer after moving in, Grandma discovered giant

The old greenhouse

raspberries growing on the fence behind the greenhouse, which when sampled, turned out to be lovely, juicey, sharp loganberries – I was the only one who loved the sharpness and didn’t want to have sugar on them! 😉

All of Grandma’s family still enjoy her garden – my Grandparents enjoy working in the garden, looking after the flowers, mowing the grass and walking their dog there in the evening; My parents and uncle and aunts enjoy the space and peace when they visit and enjoy walking round the garden with my Grandparents, talking and catching up; my sisters and I still love Grandma’s garden and enjoy exploring it, watching the season come and go and taking photos; my youngest cousins 2-7 years old, enjoy what I used to enjoy when I was little – exploring the paths, finding glorious freedom in a long garden that seems to go on forever, playing hide-and-seek behind the trees and bushes, throwing balls, playing with the dog, riding the trycicle and walking round the garden with Grandad.

The sun peeping through the hedge by the old vegetable garden - beautiful!

My aunt K got married from this house and had her wedding reception in the garden. One summer my Grandparents put up a marquee again and this time celebrated my Great-Aunt S’s 80th birthday, my Grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversery and my parent’s 25th wedding anniversery in one big family-reunion and celebration! When my older sister, J and I were little, we stayed over Christmas at my Grandparent’s house and on Christmas Eve watched as Grandma hung J’s, my, aunt K and uncle B’s stockings on the banisters, before the next morning we lept out of bed and scanned the garden for any sign of snow! Two Christmases ago I stayed with my Gradparents over Christmas and Grandma dug out the old stockings and left mine, filled with little treats, just outside my bedroom door – I didn’t leap out of bed exactly (a slow, stretching crawl describes it better!) but I just had to look out of the window and check for any snow on Christmas morning – even though I knew there wouldn’t be any! 😉

My Grandparent’s garden has seen many celebrations and happy times and I hope that my Grandparent – and their garden – will get to witness many more! I didn’t get married there and I don’t think L got to see the garden when I first took him to meet my Grandparents, but who know what will happen in Grandma’s garden in years to come?!

Imagine sitting there with a good book in the summer ... hmm, for me, that would end up as having a nap there ...!

Some of the fish living in the pond

The smell of this heather is heavenly in the summer!

What memories do you have of your Grandparents and their garden/s?