Day 087 – One day we’ll be friends

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Day 87 – June 12th

What a way to start the week, having friends over for dinner and getting to meet their new baby girl… finally! We should have met the little lady a couple of weeks ago, but had to postpone because of our two snotty little urchins!

The wife had made us a delicious lasagne, and it was nice to do something a bit different on a Monday night, rather than trying to squeeze all our social activities into a weekend. We got to spend a good couple of hours with our friend and the girls were intrigued by this new little person in the house, including Chloe, who suddenly doesn’t seem so little any more. Olivia was as gentle as could be, as she always is around babies, she’s so good. It makes me very proud! Just a shame it wasn’t a little hotter so that we could have taken a drink out into the garden! On saying that, firstly the weather forecast suggests the next couple of weeks are going to warm up a bit, and secondly, I did receive a delivery of wine today, the first time I’d ordered any online. Normally I just go to the supermarket and find out whats on offer, but I thought I’d try something a little different. Per bottle, this works out even cheaper than supermarket wine, and the bottles have been selected to go in a bundle, rather than just some random ones put on promotion in Tesco! The only difficulty now is trying not to finish them all in a week, there’s a reason I only buy a bottle at a time normally!

Day 080 – if you don’t like something, change it!

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Day 80 – Jun 5th

You know you’re living in the UK when you get up in the morning to get ready for work, and look out of the window only to realise that you have no idea what season or month it’s supposed to be! Monday could have been February or November, but it certainly didn’t look like June, and this was the week I had chosen to get back on my bicycle and start cycling to work!

Still, my weight has reached a level where I can’t ignore it any more, and action needs to be taken. The motorbike had been a pleasure to ride, but missing out on that regular exercise of cycling twice a day, five days a week, is starting to show, and getting to the gym once or twice a week just isn’t cutting it!

When I came back from our honeymoon in California, two weeks of beers and eating the American way had left me looking quite bloated, and my weight peaked at 201lb, which is a lot for my height. This morning I’d gone a full 4lb above that! 

So, it’s time to change things a bit, I’m running out of jeans that fit, and buying bigger ones is as good as saying that I’ve accepted my new weight and I’m prepared to do nothing about it. 

I’d also left today’s photo to the last minute and decided to test out my camera before I went to bed. I wanted to see what it’s low light performance was capable of. With photography there are a number of factors than can affect the exposure of an image, one of which is the ISO. Anyone who has used a film camera will remember this as the films sensitivity rating, the higher the number, the more sensitive the film, and so the less light needed for the same exposure. This works exactly the same for digital sensors, except we can push them a lot higher now. Instead of the old 100, 200 & 400 we had for films, we can push digital cameras into the tens of thousands now, so that they are super responsive to even the lowest light, at the sacrifice of image quality though. This one was at my cameras maximum of ISO12800, so it didn’t do too bad for image quality. 

Photography lesson over.

Day 079 – Four wheels moves the body, two wheels moves the soul

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Day 79 – Jun 4th

And a big sigh… the end of the holiday is here at last, my week off work is over. We haven’t gone far, or had any especially exciting days out, but we have had a lovely time together as a family and seen some friends, and even enjoyed a little bit of sunshine. It had been a good week.

This was now a standard Sunday with the standard “back to work in the morning” feel about it, so all we could do was make the most of it. After the girls had woken up at the standard 7am, we managed to have a little win by putting on the Trolls film on the bedroom TV and staying in bed until almost 9am while they watched it!

We finally gave up and headed downstairs with the girls, theres only so long you can put it off for. Its no good getting breakfast ready at lunchtime, the girls make that perfectly clear, regardless of who we think the boss is!

Once dressed we’re off to visit the mother in law now she’s home and feeling a slightly better. The girls always raise a smile with their grandparents, they’re like a happy tonic! Unfortunately, one of them isn’t working properly today, the little one seems to be a bit broken and only functioning in small windows of happiness. We’re only managing to get through the day with an unprecedented number of hugs and naps. Whilst she is down for one of these naps, I take the big one off out for one of her favourite activities, swimming.

My only other task of the day is to head down to StreetBike to try and find out about replacing the front mudguard on my bike, whilst taking the opportunity to try some other helmets on for size, and enquiring about the lessons and test for the full motorbike license. The helmets aren’t anything I am in a hurry to buy, I really can’t afford one of the bigger branded ones, but I will be looking to get one when I finally get around to upgrading the bike, whenever that turns out to be. Todays photo was a photo from the shop, a couple of guys in their gear admiring some of the other bikes lined up outside, with the use of an oil painting filter in Photoshop. Making a move into the world of owning a motorbike does feel like you’ve just joined a part of a new community, one where no-one judges you, and even strangers are happy to say hello, welcome you to their little tribe, and lend a hand if you need it. Quite the opposite of being a car driver where everyone wants to get past you and would sooner spit in your eye than let you out of a junction! I certainly don’t miss using four wheels to get to work!

Day 078 – Love like there’s no tomorrow

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Day 78 – Jun 3rd

Saturday was another day of cancelled plans, and working out what to do with our day at the last minute. We were supposed to be visiting the mother in law, now that she is home from hospital, but as she wasn’t feeling well, we had to put it off for the time being, and so the day had become a blank canvas.

We’ve been a little restricted over the last few days as Chloe as has been more tired than usual and needed several naps during the day… a growth spurt maybe? Who knows!? So before we could head out for whatever we decided to do, we had to wait for Chloe to wake up from another massive sleep. When we did get in the car we headed out to a local area called Leasowes park, a little play area, a duck pond and a lovely walk. We can stretch our legs as well as let the girls play on the swings.

Last autumn, we came here on a slightly colder walk and I got a lovely photo of the girls sat amongst the fallen autumn leaves. Today it was a little sunnier, and so I wanted to get a shot that reflected that, but a 16 month old toddler who has just discovered how to walk, has no concept of why I want her to sit still for 20 seconds, and is already a little grumpy today anyway, had better ideas!

We still had a nice afternoon out, and also a chinese takeaway to look forward to that evening. We even managed to sit down and watch a film together once the girls were in bed, without Clare falling asleep! Bonus! She was straight up to bed when the film was over, but at least we’d made it to the end of this one.

Then things got a bit more serious…

I caught wind of the fact that something was kicking off in London and flicked on the news to find out that our worst fear was happening all over again. Another terror attack!

On a Saturday night in the capital of the UK, terrorists were trying to unleash chaos on the public, inflicting huge numbers of casualties and killing innocent people. It is heartbreaking, and especially worrying as this is the third attack in around a month. The British public have shown their solidarity for each other, and a bit of love has gone a long way. We won’t be beaten!

Day 077 – Food tastes better when you share it

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Day 77 – Jun 2nd

We were expecting a number of visitors today, our friends with their new little baby this morning, and my sisters and their partners in the evening. Sadly the first visit didn’t happen, as two tired parents needed to catch up on some rest after an evening of unexplained screaming from their little one. All part of the parenting process, and a stark reminder that once you become a parent, you only have so much say in how your day actually goes, you still have to work around the baby. We were looking forward to seeing them, but as we know all too well, when they baby doesn’t want to play ball, ya gotta do what ya gotta do!

On a positive note, the one event that did go to plan was the mother in law finally coming out of hospital, and now being able to recover at home. We are planning to give her a day to settle in and visit on the Saturday, I know she is keen to see the girls as they haven’t been allowed in hospital.

The rest of the day was getting ready for my sisters coming over for dinner, and of course the quiz I had prepared. I had decided to cook early so that I could spend less time in the kitchen when they actually got here. One thing I hate is inviting people for dinner and then being stuck in the kitchen when they arrive instead of socialising. I needed to pop out and grab a few ingredients, and so this was my opportunity to try out the new courtesy car we’d been sent. It was a small, budget car, and thats exactly what it felt like to drive. On a plus note, it felt a bit nippy and light around the city streets and was very easy to park. I won’t be rushing out to buy one though!

With the last of the food in the oven cooking, the first of my sisters turned up, and entertained the girls for a while as I got myself ready.

Then, with the girls in bed, and my other sister here too, it was time for food, which seemed to be a success as there wasn’t a single scrap left on the plates or in the saucepans. The quiz went down well too, and although it was just a bit of fun, it was nice that everyone took it seriously enough to play along. Well done to the wife on being a clear winner!

Day 053 – Sometimes you just have to get out there and do it

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Nothing like a houseful of germs to cheer everyone up. With a snotty toddler in the house there is no escaping, she’s into everything and all over everyone, with what looks like two caterpillars crawling down her nose and into her mouth!!

So now we’re all feeling it, coughs, colds, sneezing, sore throat…

That made heading out to the gym all the harder, especially as I hadn’t slept great the night before. Am I just making excuses to not go? Maybe. I can’t pretend that I wanted to go, but there is difference between wanting to go and needing to go. Since I swapped cycling to work for riding a motorbike to work, its no secret that my fitness has been hit, and so has my waistline! Going to the gym is now mandatory, and so signing up for 12 months is going to keep me going back. I’d committed myself to twice a week, which hasn’t worked out every week so far, but I can’t let a week go by without at least going once!

So today I dragged myself out, even though my body was screaming not to, I knew I’d be okay when I got there. I managed an hour, although I wasn’t feeling so clever afterwards. It always seems harder in the evening, but theres just no way of doing it in the morning, the girls are up at the same time as us, and Clare needs help getting them ready. I’d get up early and go for a run, but this knee is still painful, and I am not going to be running far for a while yet!

I am needing more early nights, thats for sure! Maybe I need to look at leaving the motorbike at home more often, and getting the bicycle out again!

Day 052 – Don’t judge me by my size

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Monday crash lands to ruin a perfectly good weekend again, I am still strongly of the opinion that we should have three day weekends every weekend. Productivity and attendance would no doubt go up, surely?!

This particular Monday was sadly not part of a three day weekend, unlike the previous bank holiday weekend was, it so was back to “normal service resumed”.

As Monday’s goes, it was a pretty standard day. I don’t talk much about my day job on here, as it could land me in trouble, and it wouldn’t be very exciting to read about anyway. The beauty of my job is the hours, in that it allows me to be home with the girls at a sensible time, so that I can not only help to feed them,  bath them and take them to bed, but I also have time to play with them before any of that. A new job with lots more money would always be nice, but if it meant sacrificing time with the girls then I don’t know if I’d take it!

Chloe seems to be moving up through the various milestones, and has quickly progressed from crawling to walking, and has become an expert climber. She also gives herself her milk in the morning and evening, and has been feeding herself for a while, but now we are moving onto her using cutlery. It’s early days, but she’s getting the idea of it. If nothing else, it’s fun to watch!