Tuesday, July 27, 2010

2010 so far...

Ok, so a big photo catch-up is in order! Here goes:
The start of the year remained ridiculously chilly, but fun! One of our favourite places to explore is Blaise Castle and on one occasion all of ChurchNext came along for a walk - everybody on the little bridge was a photo opportunity we couldn't miss:
Lots more snow gave Neil more days off school and all of us the opportunity to build an entire Snowman Shepherd Family.
All the hard work obviously made Daniel slightly peckish so Mummy's 'nose' was a good edible option!
Our gorgeous friend, Olivia, came over to visit from Burundi and it was great to catch up, though an afternoon was not nearly long enough.

As the weather improved in March we got the bikes out; Matthew loves his helmet as it has racing cars on which are one his favourite things.

In March, Daniel also finally decided to walk independently! He'd been teasing us since Christmas, having taken fie steps to Neil on Christmas Eve but then done no more. Now, of course, there's no stopping him - particularly when we're about to get in the car and he's running off up or down the road!

During the Easter holidays Neil went skiing with the school so I took the boys to stay with my parents for a few days. It was great but drama-filled; the boys came out in chicken pox (Matthew's spots appeared at the science museum in the middle of the lovely day out in London that I'd planned - need less to say it was cut short as all he wanted to do was go to bed!) and I ended up in A & E having tipped very hot tea in my lap. Not ideal but I did have my mummy and daddy there to look after me which helped enormously!

Matthew's chicken pox was worse on his body...

... but Daniel's really came out on his face and ne has still has marks now :(

Matthew's spots came out first so, while he was waiting for his (!), Daniel had fun with Grandad... And, back at Blaise Castle, was given his very own ice-cream rather than just having licks of mine!

In May we had more fun playing football and running around on the Downs:

And Matthew celebrated his fourth birthday with everything on a racing car theme.

Grandma and Grandad came to visit and I used their extensive horticultural knowledge (and my boy's love of getting messy) to help me plant the rose Neil gave me as an anniversary present last September (yellow, fragrant roses - my favourite - and named 'Pilgrim'...).

And we had more fun in another favourite place, Leigh Woods:

In the holiday we took our new and very spacious tent to Cardiff to have a trial run at camping before we head to France in August. The weather was amazing (though a little chilly at night which meant we didn't get quite as much sleep as we could have done!) and we enjoyed exploring. Highlights included visiting Castel Coch...

...taking bikes out and riding the Taff Trail...

...and getting the river bus to Cardiff Bay where we saw the church where Roald Dahl was christened (we're big fans of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!).

In June we travelled all over the place; Sheffield visiting the lovely Hewsons - here are our boys with Sam and Ollie, hanging out together in front of the TV!

And meeting the very gorgeous Esther Andrews - Daniel particularly loves babies and there is a photo of him giving Esther a big kiss but you can't actually see her then!

We had time in Liverpool catching up with family; our nephew Luke (in matching England shirt with Chris when the nation was still optimistic about our chances - before the first match!) is only 10 months old and walking around:

and time at Knowsley Safari Park gave Matthew his first meaningful go on the dodgems with Daddy - I love the glee on Alastair and Emma's face on this photo!

And then it was time to meet the newest member of our extended family, our nephew, Oliver Michael Savage:

Matthew was very pleased with his new cousin, particularly that he is a he and is now looking forward to epic football contests!

He's obviously gorgeous but has been a bit of a pickle in settling to sleep so Sally and Alex are wrecked!

And now into July; Matthew has finished pre-school and is really looking forward to starting school. We're so proud of him and the "happy, confident child who loves to talk and play with children and adults"; he's grown up so much and it's been lovely to look back on his 'work' and record of his time at preschool and reflect on how he's changed and developed over the last 18 months.

It took time but he now has a place at a new school site currently still being built which means his classroom for the first term is actually in a stand of Gloucestershire County Cricket club! We're really excited about this new school and the potential it brings - and the fact it looks over the cricket pitch is just wonderful for our sporty boy!

And, having finished school for this academic year, Neil celebrated his birthday with a barbecue and a chocolate cake - though no lit candles as the wind kept blowing them out!

Latest development is that we have had an offer accepted on a house so hoping to move early autumn - hooray!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Winter Fun

Well, even though it didn't actually snow on Christmas Day I will be counting Christmas 2009 as a 'white Christmas' as there was snow on the ground and all activity before and after it has been dominated by SNOW!

This time the highlight has been sledging. We found a sledge in the cellar in Sheffield when we were clearing out the house and reluctantly brought it back to Bristol thinking we've had the 'once in 20 years snow' that Bristol gets so probably won't need it. How wrong we were! And we've definitely needed it because the only way to get Matthew to preschool on several days was by sledge.

Matthew also surprised me with his willingness to share his sledge, necessary as there was a city wide shortage (that's what comes of living in a city where snow is only expected every couple of decades - the man in the toy shop was genuinely concerned at the rush he may have on this morning when the new order arrived!); here he is with his friend Phoebe.

There were some moments when it appeared that Daniel would like nothing more than to be running around in the snow but these were quite brief - and never captured on film - and he generally looked unimpressed and as though he wished we'd all hurry up so he could get back inside! Christmas was great with lots of fun with the family; Daniel was catching up on his cuddles with Grandma and Matthew gets on so well with Emma (apart from when they're jostling for position on the penguins!) and particularly amusing to the rest of us was their role play as Mary and Joseph which lasted for about 4 days! I'm sure not sure what comment to make about the photo of Matthew clearly enjoying himself in the Tinkerbell dress-up...

As always, we had lots of fun in Liverpool including penguin spotting, visiting the art gallery and museum and shopping!

And we had our obligatory New Year's Day walk, this year to Blaise Castle (along with half the population of Bristol it seemed).

And here are a couple of photos of Matthew growing up; as a shepherd in his first nativity (with Ella, the angel) and a self-portrait (complete with belly button!) with his name!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


During last month Neil joined several of his male colleagues (and thousands of others around the world, mainly in the Antipodes I think) in growing a moustache to raise money for research into testicular cancer. It has to be said his immediate family were not really impressed - Daniel was the most pleased with it as it gave him something else to pull on and investigate - but at least it was for a good cause.
It was lovely to be visited by Monique for a few days; having not seen her since we left NZ nearly 3 years ago we had lots to catch up on and lots to reminisce about. On a day - well, let's face it, a month - of pouring rain we decided to visit the SS Great Britain which apparantly is a great attraction whatever the weather...and it was! All inside or under cover apart from briefly being on deck and for that the rain stopped for the 15 minutes we needed it to!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Daniel's First Birthday!

Daniel is one today! We're celebrating with lots of friends and family through the week but the highlight for Daniel so far definitely seems to be his cake, complete with chocolate buttons!

Friday, November 06, 2009


The biggest and best news of the moment is that we've finally sold our house in Sheffield. It had been on the market for a loooong time and even the time from initial offer to completion was six months (with an unbelievable number of hassles along the way) but it's now done and dusted and we're looking forward to where next!
Half term was last week and we went and 'holidayed' in Alastair and Helen's house in Liverpool while they holidayed in France!

Matthew thought it was amusing to be eating a banana whilst standing next to one of the many famous 'superlambananas' around the city and the boys enjoyed 'racing' each other along the steps (designed by their uncle Alastair) outside Liverpool's Catholic cathedral.

We had amazing autumnal weather and so much fun playing in the leaves - me the most I think! I can't get over what a good match Daniel's hair is for all the colours of the season!

We had quite early starts all week as the body clocks of the boys remained on BST for a fair while after the clocks changed. To compensate Matthew still manages to fall asleep in strange places and in awkward positions during the day; a couple of weeks ago I had to carry him to the sofa because he was so tired he'd lay down on a coconut doormat on the kitchen floor to go to sleep!