The best of times

I left my last post about my trip to Wales at ‘the proposal’ as it didn’t feel right to add anything else after that photo, but I wanted to share with you a few more bits from being away, especially the celebrations for my Mum’s birthday and the holiday cottage we went onto after the yurt.

Just before I went away to Wales, Fat Face kindly sent me an early Christmas present (with a beautiful handwritten note) of this amazing Amy gilet from their Winter 13 collection.  It truly is a wonderful item of clothing; the fleece lining and duck down feather filling were perfect for keeping me toasty on our walks! It was rather windy too so I found some shelter in the fleece-y hood! I can tell this is going to be a wardrobe favourite over the coming months – I can’t believe it’s only £65, what a bargain. (I realise that the rest of my outfit isn’t winning me any style points, but hey, it was a muddy country walk!)


gilet: fat face £65* // shirt: £30
chinos: jack wills // walking shoes: quecha at decathlon (I know you really want those trendy things!)

These photos are from a walk Tom and I went on on the Thursday when we were in the Brecon Beacons, it was about five miles in the end but was amongst absolutely beautiful scenery, with breathtaking views.  We brought sandwiches and snacks with us and stopped for some time to sit on a bench and take in how picturesque it all was.  I love how being away from work and home allows you those moments of complete serenity and calm (you’re certainly not worrying about your email inbox when you’re gazing over rolling hills and watching clouds float by). Bodhi had the time of his life bounding up hills and through ferns – I love being able to take him on amazing walks like these; you can really see how happy and excited he is and it means a lot to be able to give him those experiences rather than the routine of his morning dog walks.

I must admit he was slightly unsure of the sheep however.  Don’t you love his inquisitive ear – it always does that when he’s a bit unsure of a situation or of what he’s being asked to do. To be honest I’m not sure he was completely clear even on what they were, especially as some of the smaller sheep just look a bit like Bodhi! I think he wanted to play with them. Friends!

After staying at the yurt, we went on on the Friday to a holiday cottage in Brockweir, near Chepstow.  My Mum booked it through Wye Valley Holiday Cottages so that all of our family could get together to celebrate her 60th birthday.  Obviously by the time we got there we had two things to celebrate so much champagne was drunk over the course of the weekend! On the Friday night we presented Mum with a birthday cake and lots of presents – Tom and I have been waiting for an opportunity to buy this amazing ‘Bob the Dog’ cake from Waitrose so we were excited to unveil it (and scoff a slice or two too!)

The cottage itself was really pretty – we spent most of our time gathered around the log fire in the living room, catching up, watching films and playing board games.  The weather meant we were a little house-bound at times but it gave us the perfect excuse for lots of family time, more fizz consumption and some lolling on the sofas in our pajamas.  Unfortunately the log fire became very necessary when the boiler broke on the Sunday (discovered when my brother and I came back from a run in the morning – just what you need!) I’ve put the link to the website in a previous paragraph so you can see the other lovely properties they have but I wouldn’t recommend this property in particular as the owner wasn’t very helpful when we lost the heating and hot water.

We went for a walk at Symonds Yat on the Sunday – Tom and I had done this walk when we last visited the Wye Valley and we wanted to bring my family to see the wonderful views.

Of course my parents brought Henry too so the dogs also enjoyed the walk – this is Tom, my Mum, my Dad, Bodhi and Henry (my Mum looks so much more stylish in her walk attire than I do doesn’t she?)

… and this is the rest of the weekend attendees, my brother and his girlfriend Ellie.

Of course, as usual, Tom was the only one who could keep those naughty dogs in check! The dog whisperer strikes again….

On the final night we went out for a lovely meal to celebrate my Mum’s birthday.  It was at a restaurant next to Tintern Abbey, which just looks stunning all illuminated at night.  It was nice to get all our gladrags on and go out for a proper celebration.  I guess this is the first photo of Tom and I as fiancé and fiancée – how very exciting!

As always it was absolutely amazing to spend some quality time with my family – it was a truly blissful long weekend.  We arrived home last Monday and I went straight off onto a leadership training course (training to be a leadership trainer – complicated to describe!) As part of the course I sat two exams and had to deliver an observed training session but I passed them all so was really pleased to come home last Thursday with a new qualification too.

On Saturday we met up with my parents and took custody of Henry the dog for a few days whilst my parents are in Florence celebrating my Mum’s birthday (again!) They have been having a whale of a time as usual.  I had to work from home this afternoon as my sprained ankle got really painful and I needed some painkillers, ice and to have it propped up.  The nurse at my Doctor’s Surgery told me I’m to keep doing that and resting up until it gets better as I shouldn’t really have been walking around on it or being as active as I have been the last few days which is why it’s got worse rather than better.  Working from home is challenging though when these two cheeky faces decide to commandeer your office chair!

Luckily they decided to go off and play a prolonged and destructive game of ‘eat Rosie’s socks’ to allow me to get some work done….

Phew – that was a long post, please congratulate yourself on getting this far with a hot drink of your choice
(which reminds me that I must go and buy some of the peanut butter hottie stuff from Sainsbury’s that everyone is raving about….)

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