Monday, 11 December 2006

Normal Service is now resumed...

Monday, 11 December 2006
Okay, I'm over my irritated period now. At least I think I am.

I would like to say that, other than B from work and Anthea Turner, none of the comments I made in my last post were directed at anyone in particular. If anyone who reads this blog now thinks that I'm secretly irritated by them please don't. If someone irritates me I'm not good at hiding it and I don't bother interacting with them IRL or on the www.

So, what's new with me? Well we had our first official 'accident that involves at trip to casualty' yesterday. Lia was having a bit of a strop, threw her head back and smacked it square on the corner of a shelf. There was blood and everything! It was an almighty bang that scared the life out of me and DH. It's not a huge cut and she's fine but we spent 3 hours at the hospital waiting to get her checked out. They put some glue over the cut and we have orders not to get it wet for five days.

Thankfully, apart from a huge bump, she's fine with it and back at nursery today. I did think about keeping her home but she has way more fun at nursery and I'm completely out of holiday days so would have to take unpaid leave. I am jumping every time the phone rings though.

Our trip plans are coming along nicely. We have a huge pile of food to take with us - I'm pretty sure one whole suitcase will be full just with that. I'm also obsessing about the size of hand luggage as normally we're the family that everyone hates and have about 8 bags to take on board. Obviously with the new regulations we can't so I've bought a huge bag for all of Lia's stuff for the flight - it is pretty much the maximum size we're allowed and now we're going to get a second one for DH. Plus my slightly smaller hand luggage, three suitcases and a car seat, we'll be a real sight! At least we don't have a pushchair this trip as we left one in Greece last time.

Today I got my hands on the Christmas Radio Times which has all the TV listings for the two weeks we're away so I'm listing all the things I want to tape. Thank god I don't watch soap operas or we'd have no chance. We've got a DVD recorder which gives us around 40 hours of space so I should be ok LOL

Typically the one thing I REALLY want to see is on Sky which we don't have. It's the adaptation of Terry Pratchett's Hogfather and I am a huge TP fan (have been right from his first discworld novel back in 1983). Still, it'll be released on DVD next year and I'll buy it then anyway so I can wait.

We're having a massive clean up this week as I'm determined to have the house in order before we leave. We'll be getting back around 11.00pm and I know things will just be dumped on the floor for me to organise the next day when DH is safely back at work so I want the mess that is there now gone so I only have one lot to deal with.

We're braving a trip to IKEA this weekend as we need to get a TV stand for the TV we'll be buying in the January sales. We sold our huge 32" widescreen TV this weekend in preparation and will be getting a flat-screen as a replacement. I'm letting DH do all the organising as to what we're getting because frankly all I care about is being able to watch CSI and Casualty. Whether or not there is a tiny amount of pixillation doesn't even register on my 'give a shit' register LOL.

We'll also be buying Lia her first proper bed as she needs to learn how to sleep in a 'grown up bed' now she's too big for travel cots and will have to use a proper bed if we go anywhere.

Despite all my organisation I still haven't written my christmas cards or wrapped any gifts. I have set aside wednesday evening to do that as DH is on his work's christmas party so I'll have the evening free. Also Lia has her christmas party on Thursday and I have to take a present for Santa to give her at that. I won't be able to join her as I'm in an all day meeting and I'm sure I'll be the only Mum not there but I think she'll forgive me.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006


Tuesday, 28 November 2006
I think I'm officially turning into a Grumpy Old Woman. At the very least I'm well on my way to Tog-dom

I don't normally post about work. Not because anybody there knows I have a blog but because generally, I try to forget about it when I'm not there. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do (web design and development) but there is one particular person in the team that I work with that annoys me so much that I could spend all my time ranting about her which would pretty soon lead to you all going away and reading a less boring and ranting blog.

However as this post is about things that irritate me and she (B) is totally top of my list I can't not mention her. For a start she's thick. Really thick. When I was seven months pregnant and explaining to someone that I hadn't put any weight on which obviously meant that I was losing weight as the baby gained it B said (I kid you not) 'how do you know that, do they weigh you and the baby separately?'

You think that's bad? What about the time when I was talking about twin girls one of whom was white and one of whom was black B asked if they were identical...

And it's not just her stupidity that annoys me she has the attention span of a flea, she's nosey, she's lazy and she has a mental age of about 12. Oh and if anyone picks on her she cries. I absolutely have no time for her but because she behaves like a child (she's 28) people baby her and if I complain to our Manager I'm the one that gets told to modify my behaviour because B is delicate.

Delicate my arse. She's a manipulative cow that irritates all of us but only I bother complaining (the rest are blokes so they just suffer in silence). Thankfully things could be coming to a head as someone else has finally made a complaint so watch this space, I may be cheering soon. Or at the very least ranting again because nothing is done..

Now I've got that off my chest, how about some other things that irritate me. Rudeness for a start. General bad manners, especially in children. Leaving the TV on when you have guests. Not sitting down at a table to eat a meal. Littering. Reality TV. Political Correctness. The amount of stupidity that I see posted on Bulletin Boards and the Web in general. People who moan on and on and on about something yet do nothing positive to change things. My MIL and SIL. People who have children but treat them as a total nuisance. Anthea Turner.

And that's just what immediately springs to mind.

But I was thinking about all this irritation the other day and wondering if it's healthy for me to get so stressed about these things. Don't get me wrong, I don't spend all day, every day in an irritated state but when confronted with certain situations I do get irrationally worked up about them.

Take for example my SIL's impending nuptuals. DH told me that a Civil Wedding Service will definitely be happening between Christmas and New Year (with a full BFGW in June) and that Lia will be dressed up in something flouncy for the occasion. My instant reaction was irritation - I don't want my daughter dressed up in a hideous creation just as a photo opportunity for a start and are they actually going to ask my permission or just go ahead? DH and I then had what is best described as a minor spat and even my mother (who is usually on my side) told me to chill out and let them get on with it as it won't be costing me anything.

So I'm left wondering if I really should just grin and bear it but I know that I'll be glowering for most of the day (which will look great in the pictures I'm sure) because it's wrong as far as I'm concerned.

And while I'm at this justifying lark why does Anthea Turner annoy me so much when I've never met her, am never likely to and certainly don't watch any programme she might have running on TV (BTW how can you be a Perfect Housewife when you've stolen someone else's husband?)

See, irrational.

I'm probably ruining all your illusions about me being such an easy going lovely person now (HA HA) but in my opinion we should stop being namby-pamby about things and start telling the truth. I mean if B was told to buck her ideas up and start behaving like a grown up seven other people would have a better working day, stress levels would go down and I'd have one less irritation to deal with.

See I'd definitely be no good working for the Samaritans, my advice would consist of 'get over it and buck your ideas up'. LOL

But I should also add that I do realise that others are not always as capable of getting on with things as I am, that others have problems that are not easy to solve, that others can have medical conditions that don't help situations they are in and that others are free to make choices that I may see as wrong but they are prepared to live with. I'm not insensitive, in fact I have been told on numeous occasions that I'm a pretty good listener and I will go to the ends of the earth and back for a friend in need.

It's the ones who have so much to be thankful for yet moan and complain and whine that irritate the hell out of me...

Christmas is Coming...

...and I'm ready for it!

Not only have I completed my Christmas shopping I also spent the weekend making Christmas puddings which are distributed to various members of the family. All I have to do now is write my Christmas cards (most of which were bought in the January sales this year) and I'm done!

I know that's probably made several of you out there decide you hate me but in my defense we're off to Greece a few days before Christmas so will be having an early Christmas with my family before we go. Add to that the whole packing issue and you'll understand why I want to try and be organised.

Gift wise it has been relatively simple this year because as of last year I agreed with a lot of my family that we wouldn't exchange presents any more - now they just give something to Lia. It makes way more sense than scrabbling around trying to come up with ideas of things we'd like or things to buy others and Christmas really is Lia's time now, not ours.

My real problem this time of year is DH as his birthday is Boxing Day so I'm constantly being asked what people can get him and he's not the easiest of subjects (what man is?) Still, even he is all sorted now so I can relax a while before the panic of packing. Obviously we're not taking all the gifts with us - thank goodness Lia is still small enough to not understand Christmas and won't be disappointed at leaving all her presents behind (especially the tricycle from Grandma and Grandad).

We finally discovered the source of Lia's 'illness'. Now she'll let us look in her mouth she has four new teeth! Four all at once, no wonder she was under the weather. She's got a cough at the moment but apart from vaguely being disturbed at night she's not showing any real discomfort. I seem to have the same thing but I've pretty much totally lost my voice with it - I feel absolutely fine but I'm croaking like an old crone much to everyone's amusement!

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

A Newsy Kind of Post

Tuesday, 14 November 2006
Apologies for the gap in service but Lia's been a bit under the weather. I'm not sure what it is - a tummy bug or teeth but she's had a very upset stomach for the last few days and has been off her food.

Thankfully she's on the mend now and back at nursery (I'm jumping every time the phone rings in case it's them to say she's worse) and I am back to normal at work. I don't mind being at home with her (of course) but if one or both of us is ill the pair of us get very bored and snippy very quickly. She's been a tad pathetic for the last few days, lying around or asking for hugs which is very strange for my independent little thing and never a good sign. Not eating is also a HUGE deal as normally getting her to stop is the difficult part but she did eat a bit last night (hence the return to nursery) and will probably feel better being distracted by all the activity there.

It's nice not to be doing the nappies either...

In other news my quest against laziness is having mixed results. I've not been much better with cleaning but I have done some more stash-reorganisation (filed all my magazine designs, freebies and working copies) and have also made a small 'brag book' of Lia pictures for my Mum's christmas. I just have to make three more of the things for the Greeks - Aunt, Grandmother and Great Grandmother.

I'm also proudly able to claim that I have pretty much finished my Christmas shopping!!! I only have one person left to buy for and I've put a call in to a friend for assistance with that so I don't have to do much except pay her for her efforts and wait for the postman (as long as she agrees to it of course). I'm getting one of my stitchings framed for my Step-Dad so took four more to be done as well so this coming Saturday I should be the proud owner of five framed pieces (the first I've had done professionally) which is another tick in the 'getting round to it' box.

In other news DH heard today that he has finally been released from any and all military obligations in Greece. The back story to it all is that he never did his military service - he'd put it off to study and was due to go back to Greece after he completed his Master's Degree here in 1998. The plan was scuppered because we met on the course and he elected to stay for a bit longer (nine years and counting) so eventually he was court martialled in his absence and it's all been dragging on for years.

The rules about military service in Greece change all the time and the latest is that if you live permanently in another country and have done with seven or more years full employment there you are exempt from the service. It was a bit of a pain proving it (they required every payslip for seven years plus p60s and letters from employers) but it's done now and we don't have to worry about him not being allowed to leave Greece when we go back (previously they could arrest him at the airport and throw him into military prison!)

So that's great, it's a huge worry gone for us and his family. Because it involved the courts his sister has been representing him (she's a lawyer) and of course now she's having a baby that's a bit difficult. Talking of the imminent arrival she's had her mid-way scan, all is fine and it's a boy! That's good for Lia I think as there'll be less comparing along the way and she'll still be the princess of the family.

There's no news on name choices yet but I'm still holding out for Achilles to be included somewhere as that's my FIL's name and DH has been insisting that if we have a boy he'll be named after his Grandfather! I insist that it will be the middle name only, over my dead body will my child be called Achilles (I'd have to give up work and home school for a start. LOL) so if SIL uses the name I'll be totally off the hook. Fingers and toes are all crossed.

So that's us for now I think. I made the brave move to the beta version of the new blogger so if anything goes wrong with my blog it's not my fault...

Thursday, 9 November 2006

After a good start...

Thursday, 9 November 2006
I haven't been that great at getting over my laziness I'm afraid. Still, I have good hopes for the next couple of weeks as I want to really clean through the house, get rid of some more junk and get all the Christmas gifts sorted and organised.

I have also created a new blog to keep track of my Stitching Stash and my 50 Project Challenge (where I don't buy and stash until completing 50 of my current projects). At the moment it's just a list of my stash and WIPs but I will put in my project list and WIP pictures soon.

So here's the link Challenge Joyus and I'm going to include it in my side bar too.

In other news Lia's been heard saying Mama on more than one occasion so I'm claiming status as second official word...

Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, 31 October 2006
Here's my little devil all dressed up for a party at nursery today.

I'm not one for dressing her up but I have to admit she's totally cute (okay I am biased LOL)

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Ooooooooooooh, get me!

Tuesday, 24 October 2006
Two posts in one day, I may have to go and lie down...

This is just to say that there are now three albums on my picassa site as I've done the christening and party ones as well!

A Good Start

See, two posts in two days how good am I!

In fact, better than posting I've managed to be less lazy already. I sewed up the hole in the side of my trousers last night and am have created my first online photo album in Picassa!

The album can be seen here and consists of the photos from our Wedding and the reception afterwards. I'm now working on getting the photos from the Christening done for the second album and there will be a third album for the photos from the formal reception after the christening.

Once they are done I'll probably put some pics of Lia up in an album and also create an album for my 50 Projects Stitching Challenge. See, I'm on a roll now, I just have to keep going with it.

Monday, 23 October 2006


Monday, 23 October 2006
I've come to the conclusion that I am seriously lazy.

I've been scanning round the blogs I read and got quite miffed with one blogger who hasn't posted since 10th October. Quite miffed that is until I realised I haven't posted since that same date too.

Then I received an email from a friend saying that they haven't seen any wedding or christening pics.

Then I received an email from my Mum saying that I hadn't forwarded her an email as I had promised to do over a week ago.

So I was thinking about this. Okay, it takes a bit of time to write a blog entry but to forward an email? Especially when I'm in and out of my email account several times a day. So then I started thinking about other aspects of my life which has led me to the general conclusion that I'm lazy. Bordering on Extremely Lazy.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not lazy enough that the house is a total tip, we're all in skanky clothing and we eat TV dinners but lazy in the sense that I do just enough to fool myself into thinking I'm not lazy.

We do cook most nights but we do give in INCREDIBLY easily to the lure of the take-away. I do the washing and ironing once a week but I'm lazy enough to not have sewn a button back on a shirt (it's the bottom one so does it really matter?) or a small rip in the side of a pair of trousers. I clean up enough that nothing nasty is growing in the house and there's no icky smells but I know a less lazy person would do more.

The truth is that I am more interested in settling down with my stitching or a good book than doing less 'interesting' things. I know that I need some me time and that it's good to have hobbies but maybe I should give over a little time to other activities as well.

I've been telling myself that I'll sort out all the wedding and christening pics, put some in an online album, some in a scrapbook and burn some to disks to send to a few people. It's five months since the BFGC and that's still not happened.

I also have to edit all the films we have of Lia and put those onto disks for us (safer storage) and the grandparents. I also have plans for some mini-scrapbook type things as Christmas presents but so far have been too lazy to do anything about any of that.

Then there's losing weight. I know I have to. I've even managed to lose a bit without trying too hard (the 24 hr D&V bug I had last week helped) but I'm too darned lazy to put any effort into it.

And that's just for starters.

So, I'm determined to change my ways. It may take some time but I'm hoping I'm bloody-minded enough to stick to my guns as it can only be of benefit to me, especially the weight loss.

I've struck up a mini-challenge with a Catsized friend to each lose half a stone by christmas, I'm aiming to have an online album set up by the end of this week with at least some of the BFGC pics in and this weekend as we've got no plans I shall do some papercrafting.

Watch this space...

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

First School Photo

Tuesday, 10 October 2006
So I make a resolution to keep the blog more often then get struck down with an infection that keeps me away from the computer for nearly two weeks. Then our router dies and stops me accessing the net from home. Someone, somewhere is making this difficult for me!

But I'm back, fully healthy and determined to stay that way if at all possible.

Life chez Family V has been ticking along nicely. We've just had an interesting weekend of molar teething which did involve several episodes where Lia would fling herself on the floor and scream blue murder for no apparent reason and two nights of really broken sleep.

However, the teeth are through now so we can just look forward to the next time. We are half way - 10 teeth have arrived - but as most of the rest are molars I'm sure we're in for a few more upsets.

Talking wise she's connected the word Dada and DH's presence a few times but, if I'm really truthful I'm not 100% convinced yet that she's really saying Daddy and meaning it but we're obviously very close.

We had a really fun weekend (apart from the teeth) as we went to Carter's Steam Fair on Saturday afternoon, it's smaller than I expected but worth a visit, Lia had her first ride on a carousel and both DH and I won cuddly toys for her (him at the archery stand and me by picking a winning duck!) Sunday morning we went to a local park and let Lia run around to her heart's content - she was up and down into the bandstand, up hills, up onto walls (with Daddy) and generally making herself laugh just by having space and freedom to run without holding a parental hand. It was a really sunny morning and the park was almost empty which meant we could relax and let her have fun without being too worried about losing her in a crowd.

She's now 16 months old and has just had her first 'school' photo taken at nursery. I wasn't going to bother getting a copy (we have A LOT of pics of her) but they are so cute I couldn't resist. We got the smallest pack possible - one 8x10 and four 6x4 - and it was still £16! Still, we get to keep the big one, my parents get one small and the other three small go to Greece. The best thing is that in this electronic age I can share it with everyone else too so here it is:

In other news I've taken up the '50 Project Challenge' which is that I will complete 50 Cross Stitch projects from my stash before buying any more. I've already completed 1 but I reckon it'll take me at least 5 years to complete all 50 so I've made one exception in that after 25 completed projects I'm allowed a one off purchase of stash as a half-way treat.

I've also decided I need to revisit my 101 things list as I'm woefully behind keeping up with it so I will probably revise the list slightly in order to have a chance to complete it.

That's all really, I hope that I will get more regular updates here now as several people have emailed to check where I am which is great as it's nice to know my ramblings are being read!

Monday, 18 September 2006

And they think this is right?

Monday, 18 September 2006
It's not often I'm moved to complete and total anger and disbelief at a news story but this one has taken my breath away.

Some mothers have decided that because they feel that the school their children attend is not giving the children the food they want they will take orders and buy junk food for them and pass it through the school fence!!!!

What kind of a person thinks this is an acceptable undertaking?

Firstly, if you don't like the policies the school your children attend have be it for food, discipline, whatever, MOVE YOUR CHILDREN TO ANOTHER SCHOOL.

Secondly, and much more importantly, what gives you the right to feed other people's children? Seriously, explain that to me. If my child was attending that school and I was giving my child lunch money for the meal the school provided then why would you think it okay to take that money from my child and buy her a burger?

If I was a parent at that school I can tell you for nothing that the mothers doing this would all be sporting black eyes right now. I really hope the school and the police are doing something about this because to me it's criminal that they can get away with it.

I believe children have rights, I believe that they have opinions but I also believe that they need discipline and a guiding hand. Of course a child is going to prefer a burger over a salad but that doesn't mean they should have it. It doesn't mean it's good for them. And responsible parents everywhere know that.

These irresponsible women should not be allowed within 100 metres of the school or of other people's children. If they want to teach their own kids this lesson then that's fine, their kids are their responsibility (although I'm also incensed enough about this I think Social Services should be called) but I'd like a few minutes in their company so they can attempt to explain to me how they justify their actions.

And just think, if I'm this mad about it now, how mad would I be if my child actually attended the school...

Monday, 4 September 2006

I am still here

Monday, 4 September 2006
Honest I am. It's just that I'm very uninspired at the moment and working on a PC all day means I'm not that interested in working on one in the evenings which has the knock on effect that I don't edit pics and the like to put up here.

However, I'm here now which is the main thing. Life chez the V's is ticking along nicely, Lia is running around chatting constantly in her own little language which hopefully will soon morph into something we can understand. We've had a few ups and downs just recently with her sleeping (crying unless one of us was in the room or waking several times a night) but we're back to normal at the moment.

Bank Holiday weekend we had my Godson to stay with his parents and had a lovely time. After initial shyness he and Lia played well together (although she has some way to go with the whole sharing concept) and it's nice for me to see how Lia will develop over the next few months as he's nine months older than her so I can see the milestones ahead.

On the sunday we spent the day in Portsmouth with some friends and thoroughly enjoyed the Kite Festival they had on the seafront. The only down side of the day was that Lia was totally freaked out by the larger kites and so we had to try and keep her looking away from them - quite hard when there are hundreds of the things flying around, but thankfully with her being so small her focus is lower than they were flying for the most part.

This weekend just gone we went to the Reading and Wokingham County Show which is five mins from where we live. We'd never been before and had a great time looking around and seeing the animals. Lia had a blast with all the dogs that were around and fell head over heels for a baby donkey. She didn't like the cows though as they mooed way too loudly for her liking...

In other news DH's sis is pregnant. This is a total shock to everyone and there's a rush to get her and her bloke married asap. Unlike here in the UK unwed mothers are a big no-no in Greece so instead of the big white wedding that was being planned for next spring there'll be a small registry office event in November attended by close family and friends and a shotgun.

All in all I'm being quietly amused by the situation in Greece as it all seems a bit ironic after everything that I went through. Sis-in-law is engaged (and was before the pregnancy) but as they've only been together just about a year and he still lives with his parents there's a bit of a to-do occurring. Not only do they have to find somewhere to live, they have to battle two sets of parents who both have strong opinions about things, they have to come to terms with a baby that neither is really ready for and they have to totally re-adjust their lives.

I know that DH and I were thrown sideways when I got pregnant but at least we lived together, had seven years of a solid relationship behind us and could ignore well meaning but totally mad relatives.

So, as I said I'm enjoying all the high drama and, as she's only seven weeks pregnant, there's plenty more to come.

Here are some pics from yesterday - the cutest baby donkey ever and Lia making friends with it and a Shetland Pony.

Sunday, 13 August 2006

A Picture Post

Sunday, 13 August 2006
A lot later than promised, but here they are, some pics of Lia

Totally Cheeky

Looking for Trouble...

On the Phone (it's actually the TV remote)

Breakfast with Daddy (yes he does look that dopey in the mornings!)

I can walk!

Really I can


Tuesday, 1 August 2006

A Lia Update

Tuesday, 1 August 2006
So Lia's 14 months old today. I've been very remiss when it comes to posting updates about her (in fact very remiss about posting updates about anything just lately) but I blame the heat as it's been too darned hot in England to do anything just lately.

Anyway, back to Lia. She finally took some independent steps last weekend. She's been walking for a couple of months but only holding someones hand or pushing her little trolley as she's a bit nervous about letting go. DH has been busy telling her she's 'chicken-shit' and I've been busy telling him how much parts of him are going to hurt if that's her first word...

She discovered the stairs a while ago and can scale them in about a nanosecond so we're having to be extra vigilant with the stairgate. She gets to climb them when she has to be upstairs but they are really steep with a wooden floor at the bottom so I'd prefer her not to fall down them.

She made her first phone call at the weekend too. She got hold of DH's mobile and called my Mum. We saw her chatting with the phone to her ear (she does that with any phone) but hadn't realised she'd dialled till my Mum called us on the other line to say that we should maybe check what Lia was doing.

She's still a really good kid. She gets herself to sleep and when she wakes up she sits and chats to the cat she has in her cot with her till one of us goes to get her up. She eats absolutely anything (she helped her Grandad eat some very strong, garlicy salami at the weekend) as long as it's possible for her. She's still only got 8 teeth so she has problems if she has to chew something tough.

Just recently she seems to have had a growth spurt (upwards not outwards) but she's still pretty much average size for her age which is good.

She's mastered her shape sorter puzzles and is getting the hang of the baby jigsaws she has. Also she loves books, although mainly just turning pages rather than looking at the words but I guess she's a little small to be doing that just yet. LOL.

I think that's all really. She's such a happy little thing and is very patient when being dragged here, there and everywhere and meeting new people. The whole world is funny as far as she's concerned and everyone is a potential playmate.

Here's a pic from bathtime last night. I'll take a few more this week and post some at the weekend.

Monday, 10 July 2006

Virtual Friends

Monday, 10 July 2006
Well I don't know about the rest of you out there in internet-land but I had a terrific weekend.

I belong to a small online community of UK stitchers which is a subset of the large online stitching community. I met these people online and I met them purely because I cross stitch and when I took up the hobby I was looking for some help and advice. What I got was much, much more than that and more than I ever expected.

We talk pretty much every day on the internet and we laugh with each other, support each other and generally keep each other sane (or as DH would have it, insane). Not only that I've learnt more about cross stitch than I would have ever imagined existed, I've been baptised into the world of hand-dyed fabric, flosses, beading, speciality stitches, etc and I'm well on my way to having more projects than I can complete in a lifetime.

This virtual friendship became a reality a couple of years ago when I went to a GTG in Swindon. I'll admit I was a little apprehensive and DH kept nagging that he should go just in case they turned out to be a bunch of loonies. Well, I left DH at home and they did turn out to be a bunch of loonies but the good thing was, I fit right in!

So this weekend I escaped normal life to head to Kitty's for the latest of these GTG's which involved spending the day with 15 other stitchers, an evening at the pub, overnight at a B&B and shopping at Wye Needlecraft in Bakewell on the Sunday.

It was the first time I've been away on my own since Lia was born and apart from a few twinges I coped just fine without her (and she without me I should add). It's impossible to put down in words the fun we had just looking at what other people had stitched or are stitching and going through each other's stash collections. Only other stitchers will truly understand how much fun that can be (and why my wish list has more than doubled in 48 hours LOL).

But what really makes it special is that there's 35 active members in our online community with an age range of around 40 years. That age range coupled with a range of life experiences and lifestyles means that if we passed each other on the street we wouldn't look twice at each other. But because we've connected virtually and all have a friendship that we're prepared to extend in reality I've got a group of friends that have become one of the first places I turn if I need to talk.

I'm not getting mushy, a lot of them will be reading this, but I know that a large part of what is fun in my life stems from that community and I'm pretty sure every one of them can say the same thing. So roll on 19th August which is the next GTG date and may there be plenty more to come.

Tuesday, 4 July 2006

Catch Up Post

Tuesday, 4 July 2006

Lia had her MMR last Thursday. There was never any issue in our house about this, both DH and I agreed she should have it which made life simple. Apart from screaming blue murder when the needle went in she was absolutely fine, she settled down very quickly and had a nice afternoon nap when I got her home.

I know there's loads of debate on this subject but in my opinion children should be vaccinated against these diseases. Sure, if you're worried about the triple jab then get single jabs if that makes you feel better. What is totally irresponsible is not getting the jabs at all. I read the other day that there's a borough of London where the take up of the MMR is 18%!!!! That's atrocious. When there is an outbreak of measles (which I believe there will be as there have been small outbreaks recently) those 82% of parents will probably live to regret their choices.

101 Things

1. Get married - yep
3. Lose 50lbs - another 2 gone
5. Write a letter to a friend once a month - several letters written this month (mainly to show off the headed notepaper we got as a wedding gift LOL)
11. Have my hair dyed professionally - yep, for the wedding
19. Get a birthday book and not forget anyone's birthday for a year - still going strong
20. Tell someone I love them at least once a day - still going strong
21. Throw a party - we had two in Greece!
48. Organise and quantify my stitching stash - I've made a start
69. Go for a half an hour walk at least three times a week - this has fallen by the wayside a bit but I'm starting again this week
87. Throw at least one item of junk out a week (or donate it to charity) - still going strong
92. Recycle more - still going strong
93. Clean up the back garden - we've made a great start, now we just need to do a bit of painting

So I'm doing okay really, again, better than I thought I had but I need to start paying attention to the things I want to do monthly or weekly.


She's doing fine. Nine teeth now and almost walking. She does keep us guessing though, I've been convinced she'll be walking alone 'any minute' for the last three months but she's still not quite there. Still, it won't be long I'm sure.

Thankfully she seems to have inherited a Greek tolerance for the heat as it doesn't seem to bother her at all and thankfully she's been sleeping just fine during the current heatwave. She did have a bad patch where she would cry unless someone stroked her back till she fell asleep but I put that down to her having a stinky cold and a tooth coming. That lasted about two and a half weeks and was hell (we're so spoilt with her being so good normally) but now she's back to just being put in her cot and getting herself to sleep.

A Weekend for Me

I'm off on my own this weekend to a stitching GTG in Derbyshire. Kitty is opening up her house to a bunch of us (how brave she is) and DH and Lia were originally going to come with me but I've persuaded him that all three of us will have a better time if he stays home with her and I go on my own.

So, a day of stitching and gossiping and admiring stash and completed pieces followed by a night in a double bed all by myself followed by a morning visit to a stitching shop. What more can a girl ask for!!!

Monday, 19 June 2006

A Beautiful Picture

Monday, 19 June 2006
No, not of Lia for once, of someone from the other end of the age spectrum.

This is a picture of my Auntie, she was 80 when this was taken on her final trip to Oz to stay with her 'second family'. My Cousin has this picture in her spare room and when my Mum stayed with her she saw the picture and said I would like it. So thanks to B for emailing me a copy as I love it and I think it captures Auntie perfectly.

She was one of a kind my Auntie Ethel (for a start she was probably the last member of the human race to be called Ethel LOL), she was my father's older sister, the matriarch of the family both in the UK and in Oz, she was stubborn, beligerant, opinionated and often downright rude. But those of us in the family that weren't petrified of her absolutely adored her.

Her world was mainly black and white, to get her to see the gray you had to do some fast talking, but if she was on your side you could conquer the world. Sadly for her she and her husband weren't able to have children but she coped by 'adopting' various neices, nephews and cousins over the years. Luckily for me I was the youngest of those adoptees and was, until the end, the undisputed favourite as she took on the role of Grandmother to me and my DBro from when I was three months old.

Selfishly I was occaisionally jealous of her second family in Oz of whom B was another 'adoptee' but in truth, Ethel had love to spare and she would often say that she, B and I were the same person spread over three generations. I'd like to think that some of her less endearing features have been diluted in the pair of us but the older I get the more I see her in myself so I'm not so sure on my part.

What I always loved most about her was that she loved life and didn't give a damn about what others thought of her. I remember as a child encouraging her to cartwheel which she did then, in her late 50s, as she had when she was courting my Uncle. He was fond of remembering how he married her despite her tendency to cartwheel up and down the High Street showing her underwear whilst waiting for the bus...

So here she is, a wonderful woman who I miss more than I can say. If I'd had a blog when she died two years ago I would have attempted to post something like this then but the tears that I can feel coming now would have stopped me. Everyone should be lucky enough to have an Auntie Ethel in their lives and I hope that at some point in my future I pay tribute to her memory by being that person to my Grandchildren.

I shall have to add 'Practicing Cartwheels' to my 101...

Tuesday, 13 June 2006

And so we're back...

Tuesday, 13 June 2006
Well, we've actually been back for almost a week now but it's taken me this long to get myself back to normal.

Most of last week was taken up with doing nine loads of washing and ironing - okay, some of the ironing still needs to be done as we came back to a REALLY hot England which changed ironing from a chore to torture. This year is obviously out to get me heat wise. Don't get me wrong, I like sunshine but anything above about 25 degrees is kinda torture for me.

The good news was that the house was still standing and, even better, the garden had been transformed while we were away (we paid someone to come and pave it) which was the best wedding present we could have. It means we can enjoy the current great weather by eating outside every night with the minimum of fuss which is what we wanted and didn't have when there was grass to cut.

When we first bought the house we transformed the (very small) garden with some decking, grass and flowers and I loved pottering about keeping it looking good but Lia's arrival last year meant that I didn't do anything out there (I was either heavily pregnant of knackered)so it was a real mess. Slabs are the best option as I still don't have the time to spend out there (and no, DH is not a gardener) and it means that if or when we decide to move it'll be a good selling point.

You'll all be pleased to know that we survived the rest of the Greece trip with very little incident. I managed to keep my temper and so no arguments occured which was great as I'd promised DH to do my utmost to make sure that was what happened. I was pushed to the limit though (although nothing as bad as giving my baby the wrong name) but I just had to view things with amusement rather than aggravation. Hopefully now I've done it once I'll manage to do it again as, although it's incredibly difficult not to let them get to me it's much easier for DH if I don't.

So what else is there to tell you about the trip? Gifts are a good topic as we spent several days of our last week exchanging gifts - some that were awful, some that were inappropriate and some that were downright huge.

After the christening we had 22, yes 22, pink dresses/outfits for Lia. All of them hideous. I don't do pink at the best of times but the Greeks seem to feel that girls clothes aren't girls clothes unless they have tat all over them so there's buttons, lace, taffeta, the works and they're icky in the extreme.

The main problem I had was that kids clothes are really expensive in Greece so we exchanged 650 euros worth of clothing which amounted to about 20 items. I could clothe Lia for two years on that money by shopping around at Tesco and Asda, etc and normally I wouldn't dream of spending that kind of money on clothes she'll wear for a few months.

It really upsets me to spend that kind of money on her and, even worse, two people had shopped at a boutique so 174 euros of that 650 were spent on TWO items of clothing!!!! What's worse is that I I found it impossible to make 174 euros stretch to more than two items of clothing so Lia now has (and I'm so ashamed) a denim jacket that cost 139 euros (£95) and a t-shirt that cost 53 euros (£36).

The problem was that most of the stuff in all of the shops was hideous and designed for children that sit still and don't play, get dirty, eat or do anything to mean their clothes need to be washed or ironed ever. Plus we couldn't exchange for less than the amount of the original so we always had to spend a little more as I never managed to duplicate the amount (the closest I got was 3 euros)

Oh and even worse was that some of the stuff smelt of cigarette smoke as over there shop owners just smoke in the shop. In fact, a couple of the things I got were actually yellow round the hem (I didn't notice till we got home and I certainly wasn't changing them again).

Wedding gift wise it wasn't too bad as quite a few people gave money which was so practical and easy to carry home. We did have some totally mad presents though and the friend who gave us a Darth Tater and Spud Trooper was totally outflanked by the friend who gave us a copy of this Map of Belgium.

No, I have no idea why he gave us a print of this and more importantly, why he gave us a print of this that's roughly 1.5m x 2m! We've left it in Greece for now as we have no idea how to get it home and absolutely no wallspace big enough for it anyway.

Still, as gifts go, I'll probably never be given anything quite so unusual...

Some things were just too large and heavy (a huge glass salad bowl) so we had to change them as we had so much luggage I was scared they wouldn't let us on the plane. As it was we were the kind of fellow traveller others hate as we had two large suitcases, one small suitcase, one huge 'sac voyage' and a car seat in the hold and five, yes, five large items of hand luggage in with us.

I don't know by what miracle BA didn't charge us extra but we got it all home almost in one piece (a silver fruit bowl got its handle broken) which is the main thing.

Oh and I have a PS as I was asked a question by Natty in my comments a while back and I always meant to answer it. I'm ashamed to say that I checked back and she asked the question in April so sorry Natty, I wasn't ignoring you really. As for the question, will we ever live in Greece, I'm sure some of the recent posts have given you a clue on my feelings about that but we have talked about it and it may well happen. The only thing I've made him agree to is that we'll have another baby before we go as I want to have my pregnancy in this country.

Saturday, 3 June 2006

The Christening

Saturday, 3 June 2006
So, the Christening (this is a long one!)

The day started when Lia woke at 5.50am which was not good as we'd gone to bed at 1.30am... We staggered around trying to get her sorted till DH's Mum came out and offered to take her. Despite my whole 'not leaving the baby with MIL' intentions I was too tired to argue so we went back to bed for a few hours.

When we got up DH's Godparents had arrived. They flew down from North Greece for the day (it's about an hours flight) and it was the first time I'd met them. They're lovely people and his Godmother is called Lia too (from a different name though) and she was so in love with our Lia. Amazingly for a Greek woman she was very well behaved around Lia and didn't insist on speaking to her in a stupid high pitched sing-song voice so Lia loved her too.

Then we were off. Lia was already a bit grumpy as she was so tired and whilst she slept a bit in the car she woke when we arrived so it was no more than a short nap really. DH and I were checking the venue arrangements, adding stuff to the tables (chocolates, etc) and speaking to the DJ who I gave some CDs to. He was a bit dubious as he said he had English music but I told him that I knew my friends would dance to these ones so he said he'd include some.

The church was behind the reception venue so we all walked round (some of my family had arrived by then) at which point the first not so pleasant thing happened - a guy that came to Uni in England with DH drove past us into the church. He hadn't been invited and he hadn't told us that he was coming and as I couldn't stand him when I knew him in England I was less than impressed to see him to say the least.

The Church was quite small and it was packed out with guests, many of whom had to stand. Thankfully for this ceremony I had a translated version of the service to give out to the English guests (I'd have done one for the wedding if I'd had enough warning) so they could follow what was going on a bit better.

Lia was very well behaved through most of the service, distracted by the priest I think. Well him and the little man that kept coming in with buckets of water to fill the 'font' for her dipping. It was actually more like a giant goblet and three buckets full of water were dumped in it (much to the amusement of the English guests). DH's sis as the Godmother had to hold Lia for the duration of the ceremony and basically she did all of the work. Which brings me to the second unpleasant happening. At one point the Priest asks the Godmother the name of the baby, she tells him and he repeats it.

Well Lia's middle name is DH's mother's name and it was deliberately given as a middle name because that's what we wanted. However several members of the family have indicated that they'd be much happier if it was the first name, in fact DH's grandmother is often heard referring to Lia by her middle name. I'm sure you can see where this is going but if you've missed it I'll spell it out, when asked Lia's name her godmother told the priest her middle name first and so she was actually baptised with her names the wrong way round.

I had a feeling this would happen and I'd told DH a few days before that I'd be furious if it did and he assured me it wouldn't. So much for assurances.

My initial reaction was to stop the ceremony and remove myself and Lia but I knew I'd be totally alienated if I did so I contented myself with making damn sure that the godmother and everyone else in the church knew how pissed off I was. A heated whispered conversation took place between me, DH and his sis (DH was as upset as me) and I was told that the Priest had said they should be that way round as Lia's first name is an ancient Greek name and her second is considered a Christian name.

I figure this is bollocks and several Greeks agreed with me. Her baptism certificate has the names in the right order and on several other occasions during the service the Priest used the names in the right order so why the issue at that point? Personally I also don't see why she didn't say the names in the right order anyway as the Priest would have either copied her or swapped them if he felt that strongly. Oh and if they knew this was going to happen (which they did because she gave the names in the wrong order) why didn't they have the decency to tell me?

Maybe because I'd have insisted on finding a Priest that would say them in the right order huh?

Anyway Lia was then stripped naked and sat in the water at which point she started yelling. A lot. She then had water tipped over her head three times which made her yell more... She was also oiled and blessed with myrrh which meant that she was very slippery and even harder to dress than usual when she's having a paddy. Of course I had to do the dressing bit didn't I so I was the one that had to struggle with her.

The Priest did a bit more blessing and then, of all things, I had to bow three times to the Godmother before taking my baby back from her. Not easy when my current inclinations were to punch her three times...

Anyway, we then had the reception line which seemed to take forever (there were a lot of guests) and then off to the venue for the party. Next unpleasant happening. The uninvited idiot then sat himself at a table of his choice taking other people's seats. This meant that three of DH's best friends were left standing around while we found them somewhere else to sit (DH wouldn't tell the guy to move!?!) which involved getting a new place setting set up and increased my pissed-off-ness to totally new levels.

By this time Lia was well stressed (I don't suppose I helped) as she was incredibly tired. I actually spent most of the early part of the reception in a room on my own with her trying to settle her. This meant that I missed the food which wasn't too bad as I wasn't that impressed with it. It was a buffet but as we were the VIPs they served our table which basically involved them giving us a plate full comprising of a bit of everything on offer, starters and mains together. To me it was completely off-putting but others said the food was really nice so I'm not that stressed about it really.

There were good things about the day too. Firstly the cake. DH's mother had ordered a pink cake and I told the caterer no way, I wanted it red and white to match the rest of the reception so they did it red and white and MIL was so not impressed her reaction was almost enough to make me forget how pissed off I was about other things.

Then there was Lia. When she'd settled down some I took her back to the main room and the two of us danced together which she absolutely loved. She was laughing so much that you couldn't help laughing too and she was ecstatic about being spun round and round. It also did the trick as shortly after that she fell asleep on my mother so spent most of the rest of the reception in her pushchair fast asleep.

After the meal about half of the Greek guests left and most of the ones that stayed just sat around looking a bit miserable. All the English wanted to dance and thankfully one or two of the Greeks got up and started dancing so we could join in. It was a bit of a shambles but people were having fun at least. DH's father got up and danced as did his mother's alcoholic best friend who was well away. She's a bit of an embarassment usually but I was grateful for her as she didn't care what others thought she was having fun so at least my lot got to see some Greek dancing.

Then the DJ started playing my choices and, true to form, my guests were up like a shot giving it some serious welly on the dance floor. I don't think the DJ intended to play all of my choices but when he saw that people were finally enjoying themselves he just kept going out of desperation... A few of our Greek friends joined us but generally, they were all sat being boring and looking at us all with slightly disapproving faces.

By this time I totally didn't care as I was finally having fun with my friends, fun which culminated in the now legendary 'Show me the way to Amarillo' congo where I led everyone round the room singing at the top of their voices. Other highlights included me and all my female friends linked up for 'We are Family', two of my male friends bouncing themselves into oblivion to 'Dizzy' and DH and I shuffling round the floor to 'High' by the Lighthouse Family which is as close to an 'our song' as we get.

By 6.30 it was all over and we headed home with a very exhausted little baby and a totally knackered mother. We'd tentatively agreed to meet some friends but when we got back we all just wanted our beds and sensibly went with that feeling.

So here's some pics of the day. I'm sure there'll be another post detailing the odds and ends I've forgotten here and in the wedding post and also covering the gifts...

Thursday, 1 June 2006

Happy Birthday Lia

Thursday, 1 June 2006
Well it was inevitable but time has passed so quickly - our little monkey is a year old today and I can't believe it.

We've had a fairly busy day trying to finalise the wedding paperwork and then changing the last of the weekends gifts to things that are more appropriate (and in some cases easier to transport).

However we had a quiet moment with Lia where she had some balloons and a cake so here's a couple of pics, her on her own and then with the five of us (Me, DH, his Sister and his Parents)

I hope to have the Christening stuff up soon but I need to edit pics down to size which is pretty time consuming so it'll be a few days yet.

Monday, 29 May 2006

Just call me Mrs...

Monday, 29 May 2006
So it's all over. I'm a married woman and Lia is a Christened baby.

It actually went pretty much perfectly which shouldn't be as much of a shock as it is.

The worst thing about it all is the heat. We picked May because we knew it would be warm enough that people could have a nice holiday but cool enough that nobody would faint with the heat. However, what we didn't plan was Athens to have its warmest May for three million years...

It's been between 35 and 38 degrees over here for most of our visit which may sound like bliss to some of you but it's not that much fun when you're dressed up posh for weddings and christenings. Trust me.

So Saturday was the wedding. It was scheduled for Midday in a church that is two mins walk from my in-laws apartment but we still went by car so I wasn't dripping with sweat when I arrived. All of my 22 guests made it (it's in the middle of a residential area of Athens and several of the taxi drivers got a bit lost but they'd all left plenty of time so just enjoyed a bit of extra sight seeing).

Nobody really seemed to know what was going on and we all hung around a bit before the Priests made an appearance at which point it all got a bit surreal (for me at least). There were two Priests and a bloke whose job was to do the chanting. I have no idea what was said but we stood there looking respectful and, in my case, trying not to laugh. There was then lots of blessings of us, the rings, the Stephana etc and much kissing of the big ornate bible.

The main highlights of the service are that the best man puts the rings on our fingers and swaps them over three times before they’re ‘set’. BTW, in Greece you get them on your right hand, not your left so I’m pretty sure that I can get out of the marriage on a technicality if I need to! Then we have these halo type things on our heads called Stephana that are tied together. These are blessed and then the best man has to swap them over three times before we, him and the Priest walk round the altar three times with us wearing them so we’re symbolically tied together.

At this point (the walking round) the congregation throw rice at you. To give you an idea how much rice, I had enough basmati in my underwear to make a risotto. We then, for some bizarre reason, had to bow forward while the Priest rested an incredibly heavy book on our heads (none of the Greeks had ever seen that either so I figure it was special just for the English girl)

Finally we had to drink three sips of red wine each. This was the worst part for me (the book on the head a close second) as I don’t drink and whilst DH told me just to pretend the Priest was very enthusiastic and if I hadn’t opened my mouth red wine would have been down my white blouse.

The best bit was that at one point the bride has to stamp on the foot of the groom to show that she's still her own person, not just his wife.

And that was it, we were married!

The Taverna where we ate was five mins walk away (back past the apartment) so we all wandered down as we were past caring on the sweating stakes. DH and I had picked the taverna much to the disappointment of MIL as she really didn’t want us eating there (DH’s Grandmother went home rather than eat there!) However, they did us proud and the food was amazing – so good that MIL was forced to admit that she was wrong which was a highlight of the day.

Everyone had a blast and there was way too much food and drink. Brief speeches were made by DH and I thanking everyone for coming and it was all over. People wandered off around 5.30pm and we went home for a while.

Not for long though as we just needed to get Lia asleep and we were out again meeting three English and three Greek friends for drinks, kebabs and icecream. We finally staggered home at 1.15am which wouldn’t have been so bad if Lia hadn’t woken at 5.50am. Thankfully Grandmother was on hand to give her breakfast so we got a bit more kip.

So that was the Big Fat Greek Wedding. Apart from it being in a Church it was pretty much exactly what I wanted which is great. My next update will cover the Christening - the highlights of which were the red and white cake and me leading all the English (and some of the braver Greeks) in a ‘Show Me the Way to Amarillo’ congo round the reception hall…

Here's some pics. Please excuse my sweaty hair, it looked gorgeous before I was stood in the church for an hour, honest!

The Groom

The Priests

The Rings

The Stephana

The Stephana Again

Us and the Best Man

The Candles (admire them they cost 150 Euros...). That's my famous MIL and the mad woman just caught in the left of the photo is my Mother

Bride, Groom and sleeping Baby...

A Cute pic of Lia from the Reception (with DH's Uncle and Aunt)

Tuesday, 16 May 2006

101 Update

Tuesday, 16 May 2006
I'm feeling a bit better today and a bit more able to face the world which is a good thing and I want to say thanks for your kind comments to my last post.

So, my 101 update for May. A bit late but I'm sure you forgive me.

3. Lose 50lbs - I lost 3lb but have put 1lb back on. Still that's a loss of 2lb which is a start

5. Write a letter to a friend once a month. First and second letter sent.

11. Have my hair dyed professionally. Doing this tomorrow!

14. Have my bra size professionally measured. Yep!

19. Get a birthday book and not forget anyone's birthday for a year. Well I've got the book and I'm doing okay so far...

20. Tell someone I love them at least once a day. Okay so it's mainly either DF or Lia but I'm easily managing this one

27. Read 50 books. I'm halfway through the first one.

40. Decrease my cross stitch projects by at least 20. 1 down

60. Visit Scotland. I did go in April but as it wasn't a holiday I think I'll leave this one as still to be done.

69. Go for a half an hour walk at least three times a week. This started well but with everything going on over the last few weeks I've not been as good as I can be.

70. Have a foot spa twice a month. Yep.

85. Clear out my wardrobe and donate old stuff to charity. Made a good start

86. Tidy the house once a week. Managing this so far

87. Throw at least one item of junk out a week (or donate it to charity). This is my biggest success. 84 books went to charity, loads of old clothes have gone and we got £60 at a bootfair last weekend selling LOADS of junk.

90. Replace the dining room chairs. Done with some wedding money

92. Recycle more. Yep

93. Clean up the back garden. We've made a start

It's actually much better than I thought. I do need to start keeping a diary though so I can make sure I do the 'once and week' and 'once a month' tasks as it's easy to lose track.

Monday, 15 May 2006

Life's not supposed to be this hard...

Monday, 15 May 2006
Why are things that should be simple difficult?

Why does life suddenly swerve off on a course that you don't expect and aren't ready for?

Why do other people seem to exist just to make things harder for me?


Those that know me know I'm not one for a pity party and normally I can take life's blows on the chin but this last couple of weeks have been tough.

Firstly DF and I had a huge barney because his Mother called to say that she's found a Priest that will marry us if I can prove I'm a Christian. I said what about the civil ceremony that we'd been planning. He said there's no time to get it organised.

For seven and a half bloody months I've been told there's plenty of time and now I'm being told there's no time. How exactly does that work?

Okay, so, that aside, how do I prove I'm a Christian? Apparently Greeks have a Certificate of Baptism that proves it. Well that's great, I was Christened Church of Scotland and all I have is a hand written note across the bottom of my Birth Certificate giving the date of my baptism. Is that good enough? No.

Right, digging around I've found a certificate saying I was enrolled in a Sunday School. It's got Church of Scotland written across in big letters. Will that do? No.

We then had a prolonged 'discussion' about how walking into any Church in England wasn't likely to get us any answers because it's not a Church in Scotland. Oh and no, I can't phone the Church in Scotland where I was Christened because it doesn't actually exist anymore.

Eventually my Mother (after several calls from me and in what I see as a desperate act to ensure that her daughter finally ties the knot and legitemises her Grandchild) called the Minister of the Church in Scotland that now holds the records from the Church where I was baptised.

The conversation was as follows:

Mum: Hi, my daughter needs to prove she's a Christian. Can you check your records and write a letter saying she was Christened.

Minister: Sure

Mum: Can that letter be on headed Church paper so it looks really official?

Minister: No problems

Mum: Can you do it tomorrow as she's getting married in two weeks...

And the nice man did just that so I'm now the proud owner of a piece of paper proclaiming that I'm a Christian. Which is more than ironic as 1) I've never been to a Church Service in my life (except the aforementioned christening which I don't remember) and 2) I don't believe in God.

I also don't want a Church wedding for the two reasons above as I believe it to be hypocritical. However with 22 guests flying in from all points of the compass I have to go with what is 'the only way' to guarantee us getting married when everyone is in Greece.

Others have suggested that maybe we've been manouvered into a Church wedding because that's what DF's parents are most comfortable with. I can't say that the thought didn't occur to me but I also can't ever prove if it's really the case.

So that over with, I then this weekend get knocked sideways by a phone call to tell me that my uncle had died. Yes he was 72 and yes he'd had one heart attack several years ago but he was totally fine one minute and gone the next.

To make matters worse the funeral is 450 miles away in Scotland on Thursday morning and we fly to Greece from Heathrow on Thursday evening. So I can't go. Even trying to get creative with flights to and from Scotland I can't go. I can't change my flight to Greece because I HAVE to be in Athens on Friday to get some of the paperwork we need in order to get married the following week.

So I'm devastated because I can't go and I'm devastated that he won't be in Greece with us for the BFGC. It's an awfully big hole in my guest list and whilst I can raise a glass to him whilst we're there I won't be able to stop the tears I'm sure.

Then there's Lia's mystery illness. Nursery called last week to say she had some spots on her face. I couldn't get to the doctor's that evening and by the next day her eye was swollen and her ear was weeping. The doc didn't know what caused it and gave me cream, antibiotics and eye drops to cover all bases.

As usual Lia was okay in herself (until I tried to administer the medicine) but I'd really like to know what caused it. To be honest it looked like she'd wiped something across her face from her forehead to under her ear but I have no clue what it could have been. It did mean two days at home though which as eaten into the teeny tiny holiday quota I have left between now and April.

Finally to top off my fun few days I was driving to work this morning and about half way along turned to check on Lia only to discover that I couldn't see her because she and the seat had fallen forward and were resting on the back of the passenger seat.

The seatbelt holding the car seat in place was undone. I don't know how, either DF did it by accident of some of the junk we had in the car this weekend (we did a bootfair) knocked it. Either way I had the fright of my life. Thankfully Lia's fine and didn't even seem fazed by the experience.

So, it's been several days of not so nice things. I now think that I'm due some good fortune as I've had all I can take at the moment.

Thursday, 4 May 2006

It's May already?

Thursday, 4 May 2006
Where did the time go?

April was indeed a strange month for us. It started well enough and had serious potential but then drifted off in entirely the wrong direction.

Easter was fun - my Best Mate and her family joined us at my Mum's for a few days and we did girly clothes shopping for BFGC outfits. She's not only my Bridesmaid but is one of Lia's Godparents (I'm Godmother to her son) so I said I'd buy her an outfit. We spent the whole day shopping and managed to get me something to wear (think short and fluffy) but only a skirt for her (think tall and skinny). We left it that she'd shop on her own for the top (we live 150 miles apart and only had this one day) and thankfully she's found something so we're now kitted out.

However, one sad piece of news was an elderly relative of my Mother's died on Easter Friday. My Mother's family tree is very complicated due to births with no fathers involved and adoptions so the easiest discription would be my Mum's cousin. More importantly she was 86 and one of the last two people alive to remember my Mother as a child (the other being her 98 yr old sister who is quite far down the road of Alzheimers).

So I volunteered to go to my Scotland with my Mum for the funeral which meant a road trip for Her, Lia and Myself. All went well, Lia was a total little trooper during the two eight hour car rides and had fun being spoilt by various Scottish relations. She also had the dubious honour of attending her second funeral at just 10 months old.

Unfortunately the day we drove to Scotland was my birthday so celebrations were a bit muted this year. Still, we did have a nice time, even the funeral was a celebration rather than being depressing, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

BFGC wise, we've almost agreed the menu, just a couple of minor changes to ensure the vegetarians have something other than salad to eat and now we're just waiting for confirmation frome the caterers that it's okay.

We've also confirmed the DJ who will apparently play whatever we want - cue cheesey 70s and 80s music as far as I'm concerned but I'm not sure how DF feels. Still, it's not a real wedding if you don't have at least one Abba song...

As for Lia, she's doing just fine. She's almost ready to walk on her own I think and is a total pro at pulling herself up and walking whilst holding on to something. This of course means she's into everything so it's a constant battle to move things out of her reach.

She still sleeps well but has been a bit unsettled with all the different sleeping places in the last month so some nights needs a bit of extra tlc to drop off. However, that seems to be fading which is good. I'd like to get her back to her normal pattern before we head off to Greece as that will no doubt upset her again.

I'm now making loads of mental lists about seating plans, what to pack, what's left you do, when I need to wash clothes, etc. I tend to not write things down as I'm pretty good about remembering things but I think in this case I should make a few lists as there's too many things we don't need to forget to do and take.

It's two weeks today that we fly to Greece and three weeks tomorrow that the wedding is due to take place! I can't believe it's so close now but at least I can see things coming together a bit more.

I'll do a separate 101 update in a couple of days

Monday, 10 April 2006

BFGC Update

Monday, 10 April 2006
Well we're a bit closer to achieving our goal. Last Friday we went to London to get our official papers organised. This involved two jobs - one at the Greek Embassy and one at the British Consulate.

First stop was the Greek Embassy in Holland Park where we had to get a Power of Attorney document saying that DF's Mother can act on our behalf in getting the Marriage Licence. We arrived at the Embassy where we had to add our name to a list and then wait. There was no indication of how the names on the list got passed on to the relevant person but, in true Greek fashion, it seemed to work by nods and shouts and general telepathy.

In fact the only people that couldn't cope with it all were an English family who ended up shouting at the guy responsible for the lists who then shouted back in true righteous Greek fashion.

Whilst we were in with the guy who was sorting out the legal papers we discovered that he came from the same area of Greece as DF (this is no coincidence, instead of six degrees of separation all Greeks are related by two degrees at most). This meant that when it came to pay the fee he said we should just give him a tenner and that'd be fine (it was supposed to cost £35). I couldn't help but feel that the English family that had caused so much fuss were going to be overcharged to make up the difference...

On to the British Consulate which, in true British fashion, were giving out numbered tickets as you arrived. However, the security guard that checked our bags gave me a ticket that someone had given to him when they left (probably as they'd lost the will to live seeing the size of the queue). Our official ticket was number 86, the guard gave us ticket 51 and they were currently seeing ticket 17...

We settled in for a long wait and the idea of trying to entertain Lia for god knows how long was daunting to say the least. Luckily there were people there with not very well behaved kids (running up and down and screaming) so there was a guy coming round each person with children and taking us to a free window to jump the queue. We did pay the full amount (I didn't get the chance to ask the morose assistant where they were from) but at least we were out of there in 25 minutes. Oh, and I gave the security guard back his 'queue-jump' tickets so he could help someone else.

So, Power of Attorney done and my official documents stamped to say they're real official documents. DF is posting them to Greece today so my docs can be officially translated and then his Mum can go and apply for the marriage licence. We have to do this as the official papers have to be handed in 8 days before the licence is issued and we're only in Greece 7 days before we want to get married.

Reading back there's an awful lot of 'officials' in that last paragraph, especially given the Greeks don't really work 'officially'. LOL. Still, I guess I'd rather it was all done properly as I don't want to find in however many years time that I'm not 'officially' married...

Only when the licence is issued can we book the wedding so we could be confirming the date just literally days before it happens. I must be the only bride in history who sent out her wedding invites with a disclaimer on the date and time saying they were subject to change!

Still, it's a big job done and we're a bit closer to getting it all organised which can only be a good thing.

Lia was totally unimpressed with her first train ride and visit to London. She coped remarkably well with being shunted up and down and in and out of tube trains as well as with the long waits in boring places. Unfortunately she had the beginnings of conjunctivitis (again) so we had to dash back home for a doctor's appointment at 5.30pm which meant no nice dinner in London.

We did have a good lunch though - DF found this place on the web and we tried it out. It was really good and he managed not to moan about anything which suggests it was almost as good as the real thing. Lia also seemed to enjoy her first taste of Greek food although the real test will be in a few weeks when that's all she has to choose from.

Monday, 3 April 2006

10 Months Old

Monday, 3 April 2006
I've said it before and I'll say it again, where does the time go?

Lia seems more and more like a proper little person every day. She pulled herself up onto her feet several times this weekend and is making attempts at walking when someone is holding her hands. Okay, she tends to walk backwards (a kind of slo-mo moon walk) but she's doing it.

Crawling is still reduced to dragging herself along on her tummy although she's mastered being on all fours, just not moving in that position. She's also finally sitting herself up properly which she hasn't bothered to do before as it's easier to shout till someone helps her.

She cut another tooth on the way to nursery this morning so that's tooth number three, middle top left. Hopefully the top two will come through quite quickly now as that'll help her eat. She manages quite well with just the bottom two but I haven't given her anything like carrot yet as she needs the four teeth to get through something that hard.

She also seems to have grown over the last week or so. She's as long as her changing mat now and her legs are definitely longer all of a sudden (I'm really happy as I hope she doesn't have as short legs as I do).

That's about it for her this month but I think that's more than enough to be going on with.

In other news the Big Fat Greek Celebration is coming on a bit. We've got the caterers, DF and I just need to tweak the menu a bit to suit our tastes (and not his mothers). I also need to make sure there's enough veggie options as some of the guests are veggie and the Greeks don't seem to be able to cope with that.

I spent this weekend making invites, most of which went in the post this morning. I still had to put 'to be confirmed' next to the wedding info but if I wait till things are confirmed we'll actually be sending them out about a week before the event!

We also went shopping for table favours and place settings last week as there's a new shop opened in town selling all you could possibly want (and more) for weddings. I feel a bit better knowing that we've got these things and so at least part of the wedding is being organised by me and DF and we're not just ending up with whatever his mother decides on.

I picked red and silver as the colour scheme as that's my favourite and as it's neither just a wedding or just a christening I felt we could go with whatever we choose (I don't want pink at all). Besides, I've got a red skirt for the event (which I don't think my Mother is too impressed by) so the reception will match me! LOL

We've got all the official papers together and put the notices of intent to marry in the local Register Office here and a local paper in Athens. Now we've just got to go to the British Consulate and the Greek Embassy to get them stamped and translated.

So nothing too complicated then...

That's all for now I think. I started the 101 challenge this weekend and have bought a diary to keep track of things. It appeals to my control freak nature and I just love making lists. I also think it'll help divert some of my frustration from not being able to do much with the whole BFGC.

I'll get a pic or two of Lia to post up in the next couple of days (if I can get her to stay still long enough!)

Wednesday, 29 March 2006

101 Things in 1001 Days

Wednesday, 29 March 2006
Okay, this is a little off my usual topics but I've seen this on a couple of blogs and I thought it'd be fun to do and I figure here is as good a place as any to keep a tag of them.

The idea is to set 101 goals of things you want to do and you have 1001 days (roughly 2.75 years) to do them in. They have to be specific, realistic and stretching which means I have to make some effort towards them and can easily show that I have achieved them. I shall be starting on Saturday and will review them once a month to see how I'm doing.

Start Date: 1st April 2006
End Date: December 27, 2008

So, my 101 things are (edited to organise them a bit):

1. Get married (a bit of a cheat but who knows how these things go LOL)
2. Get pregnant
3. Lose 50lbs
4. Move house
5. Write a letter to a friend once a month
6. Get my legs waxed
7. Visit a spa
8. Make a new friend
9. Find an old friend who I've lost touch with
10. Get a henna tatoo
11. Have my hair dyed professionally
12. Buy a dress
13. Spend a whole afternoon browsing in an LNS
14. Have my bra size professionally measured
15. Buy at least two items of luxury underwear
16. Build a personal website
17. Learn 50 new words
18. Have a facial
19. Get a birthday book and not forget anyone's birthday for a year
20. Tell someone I love them at least once a day

Entertainment and Leisure
21. Throw a party
22. Go on a picnic
23. Watch 20 B&W movies I've not seen before
24. Go for a walk at midnight
25. Ride a horse
26. Spend a weekend away from DF and Lia just enjoying myself with friends

Craft and Hobbies

27. Read 50 books
28. Go to the cinema at least once a month
29. Finish Michael Powell's Handmade Houses
30. Learn enough Greek to have basic conversations
31. Learn to knit
32. Stay on the Stash Wagon for a year
33. Learn karate
34. Learn to play the banjo
35. Try hardanger
36. Make six ornaments for the Christmas tree
37. Make a scrapbook of Lia's first year
38. Fill in Lia's baby book
39. Frame at least 10 finished cross stitches and hang them on the wall
40. Decrease my cross stitch projects by at least 20
41. Put all my family photos in albums
42. Do some family tree research
43. Make a needle book instead of admiring other peoples
44. Use my sewing machine to make an item of clothing
45. Take a course on framing
46. Go to a professional stitching course
47. Start playing the keyboard again
48. Organise and quantify my stitching stash
49. Learn to juggle
50. Build a wooden ship
51. Enrol on an OU course

52. Go to Italy
53. Visit 6 museums
54. Visit Cambridge
55. Spend a long weekend away somewhere we've never been just the three of us
56. Go to Wales
57. Visit Lands End
58. Go to London at least once a month for six months and visit somewhere new
59. Visit Ireland and the Giant's Causeway
60. Visit Scotland


61. Eat 5 fruits or vegetables a day for a month
62. Cook a new recipe at least twice a month
63. Write my recipes down in a book
64. Try a new food at least twice a month
65. Find a local farm shop and buy stuff from it at least twice a month
66. Have a romantic meal for just the two of us once a month
67. Learn to make Creme Brulee
68. Roast a leg of lamb for DF

69. Go for a half an hour walk at least three times a week
70. Have a foot spa twice a month
71. Go to the dentist
72. Not drink fizzy drinks for a month
73. Not eat chocolate for a month
74. Fix up my bike and ride it at least once a week for six months
75. Not eat take aways for one month
76. Go swimming at least once a week for six months
77. Go walking somewhere in the countryside at least once a month
78. Try meditation

Financial and Personal Info
79. Aim to pay at least £100 a month extra into the mortgage
80. Re-write my Will
81. Organise all our financial information and make sure at least two people have copies
82. Get Lia's christening gifts valued and insured
83. Get a safety deposit box
84. Organise all the bills and file them as soon as they arrive

85. Clear out my wardrobe and donate old stuff to charity
86. Tidy the house once a week
87. Throw at least one item of junk out a week (or donate it to charity)

88. Paint bathroom door frames
89. Varnish the doors
90. Replace the dining room chairs
91. Fix the car radio so it holds the stations
92. Recycle more
93. Clean up the back garden
94. Paint the small area just inside the front door
95. Organise the home office into something less resembling a bomb site
96. Have a family portrait photo done once a year
97. Research one country a month and learn more about it
98. Chase the dust bunnies out from behind the sofa at least once a week
99. Clean out the kitchen cupboards and throw away anything not used in the last 12 months

100. Take pictures of all my 101
101. Start a new 101 list when this one is finished

I should of course add that I got this idea from Hazy's Blog although from following her link backwards it seems quite a few people are doing this.

For those of you thinking about it and wondering if they can come up with 101 things, it did take me three days to think about it so come on, join in (and feel free to nick some of mine if you like the sound of them)

Wednesday, 22 March 2006

How Much!!!!

Wednesday, 22 March 2006
You know I said in my last post that Lia seems to be bypassing crawling? Well Saturday she pushed herself up onto her feet and was quite happily stand on her own when holding on to something!

So Sunday we headed for the shops and her first pair of shoes. I would have waited a bit longer but we've got laminate flooring and she slips around quite a lot so I figure shoes will help her stand steadier. So she's measured and fitted and tested and the like and her first shoes are chosen. Pink unfortunately (I try and avoid pink whenever I can but they had a really limited choice) but cute nonetheless.

So, to the point of this blog entry, the price. £16.00!!!! Yes, SIXTEEN POUNDS!!!! And then I'm told she'll need to come back in six weeks for the next fitting. SIX WEEKS!!!! I don't pay £16 for my shoes if I can help it and I certainly expect them to last for more than 6 weeks.

I guess I've been lulled into a false sense of security as clothes are so darned cheap but I can't believe how much I'm expected to pay for a pair of shoes for a baby that she'll wear for six weeks and barely scuff.

It's wrong and I wish I knew who I had to complain to...

Wednesday, 15 March 2006

Still here

Wednesday, 15 March 2006
Yes I am still around and I do have stuff to post about but it's been a funny couple of weeks and everytime I sit down to post something else comes up that needs my attention.

I've also had another stinky cold and this one actually laid me up for a few days. I have this weird reaction to head colds that is like a bout of travel sickness when my head gets really bunged up. This means that as well as coping with the cold I get nausea and I can't read, watch TV, stitch, use the computer or do anything that really passes the time. When it's real bad I can't even sit up.

Anyway, it's been really bad on and off since Thursday but I'm definitely on the mend now. I didn't bother with the Doctors as I'm sure the excessive use of antibiotics is what's killed off my immune system in the first place so I'm soldiering on and hoping the immune system will slowly get back up to full strength.

Enough of that boring stuff, what's going on with Lia?

Well, last Wednesday I was feeding her and she decided that she didn't want me putting bits of food in her mouth, she wanted to do it herself. Since then, if the food doesn't come on a spoon, it has to go in her hand first. This is great fun but I did discover yesterday that it's not a good plan to leave her alone with a Jaffa Cake...

She's also had her first hair cut (yes I did keep a lock). She's had a funny hairstyle for a while now - basically the original hair on the top of her head never fell out but she rubbed bald patches on the sides and back. This meant that she looked like she had a comb over as the top stuff was about four times the length of the rest. I finally gave in and trimmed some of it as it was actually over her eyes (very wispy though) so now she looks a little startled but less shaggy.

Still no proper crawling. She's been displaying serious stroppy moments over the whole thing and I think she feels it's not worth the effort. She'll roll over onto her tummy and even push herself up onto all fours but then she just slides back down onto her tummy and shuffles around a bit. About 30 seconds later she'll start complaining about the whole thing very loudly until someone comes and sits her back up again...

Along with her reluctance to crawl is a determination to be on her feet. She doesn't pull herself up at all but if you help her stand she'll hang on to you and wobble around slightly, sometimes even making a few tentative steps. I don't know whether she'll skip crawling all together but she's definitely frustrated by her lack of independence.

Oh and that frustration is manifesting itself in a right little temper sometimes. I can't think where she gets that from (*grin*) but I'll be keeping a serious eye on it as I'm not putting up with any of that nonsense.

So that's Lia's last couple of weeks. No more teeth yet but some serious teething signs.

In other news, the Big, Fat Greek Celebration is still somewhat in Limbo. We've started the process of getting the official documents for the marriage but we're still trawling through red tape to get confirmation of when we can do it and where.

DF's mother is currently checking out caterers. Yes, that's right, the event is 10 weeks away and we don't have a caterer yet. 110 Guests, but nothing to feed them. We also have no entertainment lined up.

I'm not panicking, I'm not, I'm really, really not. There's very little I can do but I will sit down with DF this weekend and come up with a list and demand some answers. I keep getting vague comments like 'the Godmother is in charge of that, don't worry' or 'my mother's sorting it, don't worry' but I'm determined to finally pin him down with a list as, if nothing else, it might spur him into some action.

In other news, I've been stitching again (although not for the last few days with this cold) and should have some finishes quite soon. I've also found a local framer who'll do a discount if you frame six or more items. I want to finish two more and I'll have seven to frame which will be great as I'll finally get some of my stitching onto the walls!

Wednesday, 1 March 2006

Nine Months Old

Wednesday, 1 March 2006
I can't believe we've reached nine months - where does the time go?

Lia's now crawling but very tentatively, she keeps getting onto all fours and rocking backwards and forwards as if she's ready to explode out of the starting blocks but, as yet, no explosion, just a vague shuffle forward. She's also started waving, sometimes she amuses herself by waving both hands wildly but sometimes she waves one hand at you in greeting.

The big news of today is that tooth number two has just pushed it's way through so we're well on the way to a full set (LOL) She's still really good natured, despite the teething she's sleeping okay and rarely really grumpy (although the nappies leave an awful lot to be desired...)

She was on her hols last week as her Greek Grandparents were over so she had lots of trips out and tried lots of new foods. We had a fun week although world war 3 did break out for several hours one evening (that's a whole other post) but that aside her grandparents loved spending time with her.

One really nice thing that happened was one lunchtime when we'd headed to a pub on the seafront at Folkestone (in Feb!!!) The pub was full of elderly people having their fish and chip lunches, one group of which were at the table behind ours for about an hour and a half. As they got up to leave they stopped at our table and congratulated me on Lia saying that she was a lovely baby and so well behaved that I should be really proud!

Proud doesn't even come close, let me tell you. I was gobsmacked that they took the time to say something so nice and really pleased that they did it in front of my In-Laws as my MIL had been rumbling on about my parenting skills for three days.

I'm so lucky that Lia is good natured and I know that DF and I can't take all the credit but I'm so grateful that at the moment we can take her anywhere and know that she'll be good and happy to sit and play.

However, I am convinced though that we'll either have the worst terrible twos on record or her teenage years will be totally awful.

Friday, 17 February 2006

Finally some pics

Friday, 17 February 2006
I had fun with the camera this morning and here you are:

6-9 month top, 9-12 month tights and 12-18 month skirt...

If you squint you can almost see the famous tooth

A better view of the tooth (and tonsils LOL)


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