Monday 30 September 2019

The final Scavenger Hunt link up

It's the end of the photo hunt!  I am happy to say I managed to get almost all the photos - I have a good excuse for using the word 'almost' - more of that later!

Here's links to the photos I've shared previously.  The first ones can be found here and the second ones here.  I've shared numbers 1 - 19 previously and the one that was missing was the last one and I knew right from the start that this was not going to be possible.  So what was impossible?  A favourite seasonal scent.  Not easy for someone who has no sense of smell!  So I have had to rely on one of the alternatives and I have chosen A - Bird or Bee House.

Here is a slightly surprised bird house and just to doubly make up for missing out on number 20 I would also like to share

a beautifully carved bee house that we saw when on our short break to Norfolk.  

That's it folks!

Huge thanks to Mary-Lou for hosting us, did you join in?  I think it's a fun project to do and certainly makes you keep your eyes open when you are out an about.  Here's to next year's list!

Saturday 28 September 2019

Traffic light hats

Despite weighing in at a healthy 9lb 4oz when he was born, baby Max spent his first 3 days in the Neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) at the Rosie hospital in Cambridge.  He was really quite poorly but with excellent round the clock care he quickly progressed through the unit and was soon back in a cot next to his mum.

It's impossible to find a way to properly thank those nurses and doctors who supervised his care in there but I may have found a small way to express our gratitude using my 'crafty' interests.  Apparently, when a baby is first born, their level of risk is indicted by the colour hat they are given.  Using a traffic light pattern, high risk babies have a red hat, medium risk have yellow/orange and low risk have green.  Obviously there are many other measures in place, but this is an easy visual guide.  But because of the risk of infection, the hats can only be worn once so the hospital needs a steady supply of hats to cope with turn over.

The timing couldn't have been better as I had no crafty project on the go, so I popped into town and bought a ball of each colour wool.

What a week we have had in Deb's World.  I honestly need something nice and relaxing to do.  I have spent the week pulled in so many directions.

To cut a very long story short, Mother in law has been really quite poorly this week and much time has been spent on the phone to her doctors who seemed quite happy to diagnose  over the phone that the pain in her hip was arthritis (which we already knew) and tell us to make sure she took her paracetamol.  

On Wednesday we had a call at 6pm to say she had fallen and couldn't get up.  Another dash to her house where she was adamant she wasn't going to hospital or coming back to us and all that could be done was tuck her up in bed with a hot wheat bag and painkillers.  Thursday the doctor agreed to visit and found that she has a bad water infection and needed heavy duty antibiotics.  Another trip over to hers in the afternoon to check up on her.  

In the meantime, we had Leo and Rosie for 3 days as the childminder is still on holiday - happy to report the fluffy Mingo blanket is working its dreamy magic.

And Coco has taken to hiding outside to avoid little baby fingers.  Rosie couldn't quite understand how she could see Coco but couldn't actually touch her.

Unbeknown to M-I-L, Paul had to go into hospital on Friday afternoon for gastroscopy and colonoscopy - which is why we needed her to be better enough to not need a daily visit by then!  So I've gone from babysitting to husband-sitting for 24 hours while he rests and recuperates.  Only to get a call at 7am this morning from Rachel to say that Leo had woken with a horribly swollen eye and in pain.  Her husband had already had to go into work for some particular weekend project so I had to have Rosie again while she took Leo to A&E where they have diagnosed cellulitis of the eyelid.  Poor little boy, no wonder he's in so much pain.  Who knew you could get cellulitis there?  So antibiotics for him too!

I don't like to say it out loud for fear that fate will throw some other obstacle in the way but my plan for this evening is for a nice gin and tonic while watching Strictly Come Dancing and doing a bit of knitting.  Wish me luck!

Monday 23 September 2019

Soft, fluffy Mingos

Rachel took Leo to Colchester Zoo in the summer, one of his favourite animals turned out to be the 'Mingos' - you know, those pink, long legged birds that stand on one foot!  The name has stuck ever since.

Before Rosie was born I made her a very soft blanket out of cuddlesoft fleece fabric, it really is the softest fabric on the planet and perfect for babies.  She has really taken to the blanket and during the day the best way to get her to have a nap is to tuck it around her and she strokes the fabric and gets off to sleep.  Even more evidence that it is the perfect baby blanket fabric!  

But of course there is always the worry that you may lose the blanket when out shopping or it gets dropped in a muddy puddle and needs washing so Rachel asked if I could make her another one.  Music to my ears!  After finishing the knitted zig zag blanket I had no crafty project on the go and I quickly went onto my favourite fabric websites for some retail therapy.

As soon as I saw this fabric I knew it was the one.  Pink and aqua 'mingos'.  

And they sold a dimpled plush fabric in exactly the same aqua so it was not a difficult decision to make.  These blankets are so quick and easy to put together and I only have about 10" of binding left to sew so I can hand it over tomorrow.  Only 5 days between 'do you think you could make ...' and 'here you are - finished!'

Let's hope this one has the same sleep inducing effect!

Friday 20 September 2019

Back to earth with a bump

Oh boy, have we been busy since we returned from Croatia.  Holiday?  What holiday?

Rachel's first day back at work after maternity leave was the day after we returned and guess what?  That was the day that her childminder went away on holiday.  Yes.  You know what that means?  Plan B childminding (Nanny and Grandad) comes into play.  So we have had to devise a new routine because big brother Leo turned 3 at the end of August so now goes to Nursery at the local school every morning from 8.30 - 11.15.  Rachel dropped him off in the morning so we just had to remember to go and pick him up!  Actually the timings coincided nicely with Rosie's mid morning nap so we tried to walk there and back rather than take the car then Leo could ride home on the buggy board.  Who invented these and why didn't they have them when my kids were little?  Such a good idea.

Just look at him in his little uniform - what a big boy!  Lunchtimes were 'interesting' as Rosie has reached the weaning age of getting hands on with her food and things can get a little messy.  Please note the optimistic dog in the bottom right of the picture lurking beneath the high chair waiting for all the bits that got thrown over the side!

So that was Wednesday and Thursday taken care of, then we had friends over for drinks on Friday and another couple over for an Indian take away on Saturday.  Sunday we had the whole family over for Sunday lunch - from Great Grandma aged 92 and 3/4 down to baby Max at 7 weeks.  We may need to get a bigger table!

Another new thing for Rosie is that she goes to a Baby Sensory class and it was Tellytubby week this week so on Tuesday we had fun singing and dancing to colour related songs and games.  The session ended with the lights being turned low and then the teacher lit some fabulous coloured strands that the babies were able to crawl amongst.

So this meant that Grandad was left at home to keep an eye on Leo.  I'm not sure how they managed to make so much mess in the garden in just one hour

The beginning of Autumn means the trees near us are full of conkers.  What little boy doesn't enjoy breaking open that prickly casing and collecting as many conkers as they can? Leo however decided that once we got home they needed a wash.

Which then meant that my downstairs toilet floor got a good wash too.  And Leo needed a dry t shirt, and socks ... but he was so happy messing about in the sink it was worth the bit of mess that he caused!

After 8 hours of childminding, Nanny and Grandad collapsed in an armchair and it was lovely to have some relaxing knitting to do before falling asleep 'watching' Celebrity Masterchef!  Chevron blanket is finished!  I really enjoyed making this and the pattern really was easier than it looked at first.  If anyone is thinking of making something like this, let me know and I'll show you the website where I downloaded the pattern.

It's finally Friday!  I have four days off until the next bout of childcare - just time to relax and recharge those batteries!  Have a good weekend folks x

Monday 16 September 2019

How the other half live

I think I'll make this the last holiday post otherwise you'll think I'm working for the Croatian tourist board!  

We woke up one morning and found this moored up between our hotel and the island of Lokrum

It's not the most beautiful yacht in the world is it?  I mean, at first sight it doesn't even look like it has windows.  If I had a spare $450 million, I'm not sure that this is what I'd would spend it on.  No accounting for taste eh?  Apparently it is owned by a Russian billionaire and is called the Super Yacht A.  It was only moored up for 24 hours but certainly caused a lot of interest from everyone staying at the hotel!

It was a day of mixed weather the day that they arrived and we headed off into the city to investigate some of the indoor places of interest such as the Old Pharmacy at the Franciscan Monastery.  We were obviously not looking our best that day as the guy on the door offered us concession tickets even though we were officially 4 years too young to qualify!

I even found another outdoor clock to add to my scavenger hunt collection

Outside for a quick cappuccino 

Then we bumped into someone who reminded us how quickly the year was passing

I couldn't resist taking a photo of this young lady ...

... even though she was a bit creepy!

And this odd looking gargoyle who has a bit of a story to tell.  Unlike most gargoyles, this one is only a couple of feet above the ground and if you look closely, his head is completely smooth like marble.  This is because he has a tradition attached to him.  Legend has it that if you hop onto his head, facing the wall, and can take off your shirt without falling off, you will be lucky in love.

And that is Dubrovnik - such an interesting and attractive place.  We had a lovely week there and were sad to see that sunset for the last time.

Saturday 14 September 2019

Anniversary days

We celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary on the Friday of our trip - and started the day with a glass of champagne while having breakfast on the hotel restaurant balcony

Then we decided to explore the area which is on the other side of Dubrovnik and caught the local number 6 bus to Babin Kuk.  It only takes about 10 minutes to get there on the bus but was just a bit too far to walk.  This resort is very different to where we were staying, with a larger beach with more water sports and giant inflatables for children to play on. 

It had a much more modern feel to it and whilst I am sure it is a good place to stay, we preferred 'our side' of the city which had much more original charm and character.  The restaurants were definitely more modern and some were quite 'quirky'. I wonder how many times this red guy has been photographed?

We walked along the coastal path a little way, admired the views across the bay

and were joined for a little while by one of the locals

We enjoyed a cappuccino sitting by the beach and then headed back via the harbour where all the cruise liners were docked.  I didn't get to photograph that bit as we suddenly saw our bus approaching the bus stop and had to pick up the pace to get on it!

After lunch in the city 

 How many steps up to the restaurant?

We then visited the church of St Ignatius of Loyola, which houses a version of the  grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes

After an afternoon relaxing by the pool, it was time to head back to the city again and have a special anniversary meal


Friday 13 September 2019

Ferry to Lokrum

The view from our window was straight across the sea to the island of Lokrum.  From our viewpoint it looked as if it were just covered in woodland and we didn't really think we bother to go over to visit.  Then we happened to strike up a conversation with another couple around the pool who had been over and said how beautiful it was and well worth a visit.

So on Thursday we walked into the city in the morning and caught the local ferry across to the island.  It was a short, 15 minute, trip and they ran every half an hour.  I am so pleased we made the trip - it was such a lovely place.  The first thing you noticed was the wildlife, rabbits and peacocks roaming around taking no notice of the tourists

Apparently in the 19th Century the island was turned into a summer residence of Duke Maximillian of Habsburg and so naturally we felt an affinity to it, purely because of the recent family arrival of baby Max!

There is a small salt lake called 'The Dead Sea' slightly inland

Naturally, this area too was used for filming in Game of Thrones as the city of Qarth and although I've never seen an episode of it, I could not resist doing the tourist thing of having my photo taken whilst sitting on the Iron Throne

There were some lovely buildings tucked away in the woodland, although the island was also affected by the war in the 1990s and took 50 direct hits, which included much of the botanical gardens and the historical library lost most of its records.

We ended up staying there all morning, it was such a lovely relaxing place to wander around.  And how lovely to see that school children could also have their lessons out there.  Who couldn't enjoy a nature lesson if this was your classroom?

There is a legend that whoever claims the island for their own will be damned and no one is allowed to stay overnight on the island or they will be cursed.  So by lunchtime we decided it was time to get the next crossing back to the mainland!  It's always interesting to see somewhere when you approach it by sea, and Dubrovnik certainly looked inviting on our return trip

And rumour has it that the footballer Ronaldo had been staying in this villa with the blue dome the week before we arrived (this was quite literally next to the hotel we stayed in!)

An afternoon by the pool beckoned and we then returned to the city in the evening 

There is a ceremony which takes place every evening which involves guards marching from one gate to another preceded by a drummer

And our own personal ceremony which involves Paul trying a different flavour ice cream or gelato every evening.  Tonight's favourite was vanilla cheesecake with fruits of the forest sorbet running through it!

Thursday 12 September 2019

Walking the City Walls

I'm not going to bore you with many posts about our recent trip but honestly, the city of Dubrovnik is so very interesting, I'd like to share some of our experience.

We had already decided to do the city wall walk on the Wednesday because the weather forecast was good and also there were no cruise liners due to dock in the harbour that day.  That can really make a difference to the amount of people on the streets!

The wall of the walkway that leads to the drawbridge of the fort at Pile Gate has beautifully shaped brickwork, crying out to have its photograph taken!  Once you pay your entrance fee you start to climb, and the view on the way round is so pretty - see all those terracotta roofs - beautiful.  Yet not original.  Dubrovnik was bombed extensively during the Yugoslavian hostilities in the early 1990s.  Even though it had been given UNESCO World Heritage status, nearly 70% of the city was damaged.  So these are nearly all repaired buildings.

 Typical view from the wall

 See how steep those streets are?

 There's always some tourist who gets in the way of a good photo 😉

Beautiful views as you pause for breath and wish you'd done a bit more exercise in preparation before you had gone on holiday!

You can see why the area was chosen to be transformed into a spectacular film set.

Rumour has it that these steps were used in an important scene in Game of Thrones!

And how may times do you see a replica guillotine in someone's back garden?  How I wish that had been something on the scavenger hunt list!

So after an hour and a half of walking and climbing and doing nearly 18,000 steps we had a well deserved cappuccino in the main square, did a bit of people watching and then made our way back to the hotel for lunch on the terrace.  I had certainly earned that glass of rose wine and a delicious Caprese salad - not to mention spending the rest of the afternoon on a sun lounger. I definitely did may have had a little snooze in the sunshine.

The sun sets behind the city around 7.30 pm so we made sure we were on our way back for an evening meal to coincide with the sun disappearing behind the buildings.

Absolutely beautiful.