Tuesday, 12 January 2010

New Year's Day Walk...

After feeling unwell for most of the Christmas Break, we eventually got out and went for a walk on New Year's Day.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Christmas Letter 2009

Dear family and friends, 10 December 2009

I really cannot believe Christmas is nearly upon us again, but as usual for our family it’s been another busy, yet wonderful year!

We moved into our OWN house in April after 9 years’ of marriage and 10 married quartersL! The whole process went really well with no major hiccups. We felt totally carried along in the grace of God. It is a brand new house on a Persimmon Homes estate and just down the road from the children’s new school and a leisure centre (The Stadium)!

Emilie (8½) is really enjoying school and we were told in her recent Parent/Teacher consultation that she is a ‘pleasure to teach’. Well done Emi! She has taken an active part in Athletics at school and has already represented her school at a local running competition with other schools in the area. She came 2nd in the 60m sprint and 1st as part of the girls’ relay team (she was the youngest girl!). She has passed her stage 8 in swimming at The Stadium and was asked to join the Swimming Academy, which she is having a great time at. She even swam 40 lengths (1 Km!) the other night (more than Daddy’s 24)! Her passion though is still horse riding. She rides Whisper, a rather naughty little pony at the Saddle Club every other week and wants to do Dressage when she is older and has more experience. She continues to be a 2nd mummy to Jakob and Ruby and is a great companion to me, especially when Neil is away on business. She is certainly growing up into a kind, considerate and sensitive young lady.

Jakob (nearly 6) too has settled really well into school, his reading is excellent and he is ‘sucking everything in like a sponge’! He is taking his stage 3 swimming and continues to get more confidence. He got his 10m badge this week too! He also joined the a gym and has already got his badge 7. He loves climbing up the ropes like a monkey, bouncing on the huge trampoline, hanging onto the bars and balancing on the beam (which he has only fell off once so far). His biggest achievement this year is losing 2 front teeth. He has been so excited about it. We think he hoped they’d start falling out sooner, as Emilie lost her first teeth when she was only 4! He is our cheeky chappy, full of fun, energy and mischief.

Ruby (22 months) is a bundle of fun. She starts chatting as soon as she wakes up and doesn’t stop until she goes to bed (I don’t know who she takes after – ha ha). She adores Emi and Jakob, whom she calls ‘Meme’ and ‘good boy’! By far her favourite and most treasured is our darling Brandy (Bear Bear). She sits in his basket with him reading stories, which he seems to quite enjoy and ALWAYS gives him a kiss goodbye, whether we are going out or she is off to bed. She loves being outside and had a fantastic time on our two camping trips this year. We were blessed with great weather for both; Ruby couldn’t believe she could play outside all day! She also loves colouring (trying to write her name already!), taking Brandy for a walk, playing with her babies/Emi/JK and watching CBeebies (‘bebies’). Her favourite programme is ‘in the night garden’ and she loves wearing anything with ‘Upsy Daisy’ on it! She really is a gorgeous baby (we’re very biased I know) so happy and contented, I wish we could have more…..Neil says ‘no’ ha ha. She’s growing up much too quickly, so I am treasuring our time at home together before she starts Pre School some time next year.

We enjoyed a lovely summer in our new home, with lots of things to do. Neil took 2 weeks’ holiday, so in between DIY we went on day trips to London; London Eye, Aquarium and the Science Museum. We also went to the Goat Farm up the road, which all the children love. Ruby seemed to think all the animals were called Bear Bear! We also put up our pool and we all went in at some point. It was freezing, but a good way to cool off when we had the odd scorching day. We also had a late holiday at Centre Parks (Sherwood Forest, Nottingham) during the October half term. We went swimming every day, shattering but great. Fed the many birds, rabbits and squirrels etc that came to our patio door each morning, including 2 rather curious swans! We did lots of bike riding and playing on the many parks, including the beach – complete with water play. Suffice to say, Ruby and Jakob got rather wet, dirty and sandy! Neil and I also managed to get a night away together at an ‘Aqua Sauna by Moonlight’ where we relaxed for a couple of hours together – it was bliss and I’d certainly recommend it.

Neil’s big news this year is that he has passed his Masters! YEAH! He was so relieved and a lot less grumpy (said Jakob, ah – ha ha). It was certainly not easy fitting in all the revising, course work etc with moving house and a busy family of 5. So Neil now has a Master of Science Degree – woo hoo! He was also the big 40 this year, which I think I was more excited about than him. He had lots of surprises and treats and now seems to have accepted that his 30’s are behind him (ha ha). We celebrated with a weekend away to London (my Mum looked after the children for 2 days – THANK YOU again Mum, they all had a great time with you). We stayed on Piccadilly, right in the centre of London. This was the first time we have been away on our own for 3 ½ years, so we certainly made the most of it. We went for a dinner dance aboard ‘The Bateaux’ on the Thames, where we had a great meal, wine and danced the night away, whilst taking in the sights along the river. It was so romantic! The next day we had a lovely walk through Green Park to Buckingham Palace where they were changing the Guard, and then through St James Park to the Horse Guards Parade and Downing Street. We had beautiful weather again and really enjoyed some time together as a couple. We then went to see ‘We will Rock You’ on the Saturday night – Neil is a ‘Queen’ fan. I’m not, but actually really enjoyed the night – the singing was fantastic, so I’m kind of converted! What a great weekend. We then celebrated with Geoffrey and Jenny at a Greek Taverna in the town centre a couple of weeks’ ago. The food, company and wine were fantastic. It certainly rivalled a Cypriot meze, and we even boogied the night away, with Greek dancing, plate smashing and lots of Abba songs from ‘Mama Mia’! Geoff and Jen are our dearest friends, thank you for such a great night. Neil is also 3 ½ years into remission (praise the Lord). His last blood tests were fine, next check up in April. Then (God willing) his LAST check up a year later!

And me, well I’m enjoying being a full time Mum to my wonderful family. The house is on 3 floors, so that is keeping me fit with running up and down the stairs when I’m cleaning. We’ve also been attending a really great church, called Southcourt Baptist, which is full of really great people, and so friendly and welcoming. Ruby and I go to Lantern on a Tuesday, which is a very sweet bible group for pre school children. We sing children’s Christian songs; have messy time, snacks and then the Mums/carers get to relax with a coffee and biscuit afterwards while the children play with the many toys available. I also attend a women’s prayer group on a Friday, where I’ve met some lovely Christian women. It’s so nice to go and be with like minded ladies, where we can share with each other in a confidential environment, and the children get to play in the crèche where all the Mums take turns to help out. All in all, I’m very busy, but very happy. I’ve also started to do some swimming, jogging and Pilates (when I get the chance) to try and get fitter. I’m hoping to start doing some voluntary work at the local hospital some time in the New Year – which I’m really excited about.

Our one sadness this year is that Brandy has been diagnosed with congenative heart failure and arthritis in his back legs. It was a bit of a shock, as he’s had good health all the years we have had him. The vets have been brilliant and he is on tablets to keep him well and give him quality of life. He certainly seems to have had a new lease of life recently (he is approx 13 years’ old) and loves walking to school with the children in the morning, if Neil is not able to take him. He has certainly been and remains our very dear faithful friend.

We hope that 2009 has been a good year for you and we pray that you have a very Blessed Christmas and a healthy, happy and peaceful New Year.

God bless.
Love from
Claire, Neil, Emilie, Jakob, Ruby, Brandy & fish (Carla, Blue Sea, Lenny & ‘Shrimpy’ The Shrimp)!

Monday, 29 June 2009

I'm sorry......

I'm sorry, I just do not have time to keep this blog site up to date! What with moving into our own home, trying to finish my Masters course and 3 very active children it is just impossible! Please email us if you want some pictures as we eventually get around to reply to them, but don't expect a rapid response!

Cheers, Neil

Friday, 2 January 2009

Karen's Wedding (Claire's Cousin)..

Karen and her Bridesmaids - Yes, Emilie got to be a Bridesmaid at last!

The Wedding Party in the Registry Office.

The Happy Family, Karen, Matt and Jack.

All dressed up for a wedding!

Claire with Karen and Emilie at the reception.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Meeting Up with Friends From Cyprus.....

We met up with Andreas and Francis, Rachel and Steve, and Monica plus respective kids at Francis' Mum's house near Bath on a lovely summers day in August (yes we did have one nice day!)

All of us together! (except Rachel and Emilie are missing!)

Emilie trying to give Scott a kiss!

Alexia holding Ruby!

The children eating a very Cypriot BBQ for lunch!

Three Ladies having a chat over a glass of wine!
(Rachel, Claire and Monica)
and finally Francis holding Ruby!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

More Pictures from Cornwall....

More surfing - JK was very good!
Trying to sleep on the beach - No such luck with Ruby around!
Digging sandcastles was great fun!
Feeding the goats at the Farm Park - Dairyland.

Cornwall on Holiday.....

Some pictures from our holiday in Porthtowan, Cornwall in August.
On the rocks at Perranporth.
Climbing down the steps to Perranporth beach.
At the Eden Project with Jessie - Our friends daugther!
On the Beach ready for a swim!
Surfing Dudes ready to get wet - and we did!