A Long Overdue Family Get Together

My amazing family

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again…weekends are best spent with family and friends. I’m blessed to have an amazing family who I also consider as friends. So after spending Thursday and Friday celebrating Amy’s graduation we headed down to my Aunty and Uncle’s house for a long overdue family reunion. Our family is fairly big and we’re certainly spread out all over the place so reunions where most people are able to attend are few and far between.

The weather was glorious which meant that we could make the most of the beautiful garden. My aunty had laid out a lovely summer lunch of salads, quiches, potato and rice salads, cold meats, pork pies……basically the best classic picnic food anyone could ask for! And it was all delicious (Sean was very happy that there was enough food for him to have thirds and fourths).

Wonderful family feast

It was a lovely day of catching up with family who we haven’t seen for ages and drinking in the sunshine. There were games in the garden for all ages, from my cousin’s (adorable) toddler to my great aunt who is 92! Everyone had a wonderful time and, if they didn’t, they definitely hid it well.

Great Aunt Denise winning

We all had lots to catch up on – there had been two weddings, a graduation and lots of university/travel/job changes since our last reunion. Unfortunately there were a few people who couldn’t make it (like my cousins who rather inconveniently live in Australia) but that just meant that we could talk about them more freely! Joking aside, we missed those who weren’t there but they were in our hearts and minds.

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My favourite part of the day was the evening when we lit the fire and snuggled up in blankets under the cool summer skies and toasted marshmallows. My second favourite part of the day was the opportunity I had to take so many lovely pictures of my family (especially the group shot at the top of the post which was done on timer and I must admit, I am very proud of!)

A lot of people stayed over night – some brave people even camped in the garden! This didn’t go so well for my little sister and her boyfriend who came running inside at about 6 am soaking wet! The others, who had a much more substantial tent and less bunting however, seemed to cope fine with the rain that arrived in the early hours of the morning. Uncle David did a sterling job of making BBQ bacon which, combined with Uncle Nick’s superb coffee making skills, made for one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in a long time.

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One thing that always amazes me about spending time with family is that no matter how long you’ve been apart, it never feels like you have and time passes so quickly – we definitely need to make sure that it’s not so long again before the next get together. A lot of my family are travelling out to Australia in November for my cousin’s wedding so I’m very much hoping for many more days and evenings like this.

I’d like to say a massive thank you to my aunty and uncle for hosting such a lovely day!

I’ll leave you with a couple more pictures of our gorgeous family.

Cousins

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Why does London have its own time zone? (and Amy’s Graduation!)

Hello! It’s been far too long since I last posted on here and the reason is that, unbeknownst to me, London has its own time zone/way in which time passes.

I’m used to having 24 hours in a day, 6-8 of which are for sleeping, 10 are for working and the rest are for eating, blogging, crafting and Netflixing. That’s not how it works in London! By the time I’ve finished work, gone to the gym and showered it’s bed time. I literally have no idea where time is going but I now understand the phrase “living for the weekend”. I’m worried that one day I’ll go to bed and wake up the next day with three kids and two dogs crammed into a central London flat with no idea how I got there! The only reason I’ve found time to blog today is because I work from home and the remote access connection was down for half an hour this morning!

Anyway, that’s enough of ranting about the lack of time in London. I don’t want to be negative because I absolutely LOVE living here. There’s always so much to do. My original plan was to do a weekly round up of what we’ve been doing, where we’ve been eating and who we’ve been hanging out with but that hasn’t gone to plan (sorry guys!) This week I’ve felt a little more in control – I think I might finally have settled down into my new routine which *fingers crossed* means that I should have more time for blogging and hopefully be able to go back to the original plan.

I don’t really have the time (or the memory) to do a round up of the past couple of months this morning. Also it would probably be quite boring for you all to read as it would just be a list of things I’ve done! I do however, want to share last weekend with you because it was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time.

As most of you know, I have a “little” sister. I say “little” because she’s only a few years younger than me and she’s actually a foot taller than me. But that’s beside the point. This week, after four years of hard work, she graduated and I could not be prouder of her. It’s no secret to those who know her that she’s had her doubts along the way but she has worked SO hard and pushed through four years of Law and Management to achieve an Upper Second Class BA – Wooo go Amy!!! Proud big sister moment aside, our Graduation celebrations were amazing and I was so jealous that my Graduation (which was five years ago now!!!!!!) was nothing like that.

Graduation day

Amy studied at the University of Leeds so, on Thursday last week me P1060493and my mum drove up to Leeds to start the celebrating. Several hours, two wrong turns and 10 minutes in a bus lane later and we had arrived! Amy was with her friends who were graduating on that day so me and mum decided it was time to start drinking. We had some amazing cocktails in the Alchemist before Amy joined us for lunch. I cannot recommend the hot and cold Espresso Martini enough! It’s hot Espresso Martini with Chantilly cream and they only mix it together once it’s at your table. There’s some kind of dry ice magic that goes on too so it looks all smoky (I’m easily impressed!)

After lunch we headed up to the “Graduation Area” of the campus where the University had set up an area for friends and family to meet and drink and catch up whilst the Graduates got their robes. We were so lucky with the weather – it was glorious sunshine all day. Several bottles of Prosecco later, we checked in to our hotel, did a quick shower/hair dryer/straighteners rotation and met Amy’s friends and their families for drinks before heading out for dinner.

Family graduation meal

We had a table for 17 booked in Jamie’s Italian and, quite simply, it was a wonderful evening full of happiness, love, pride and ambition. Everyone else in the group had graduated that day so were well and truly letting their hair down but we had to keep fresh faced ready for Amy’s big day on the Friday.

Graduation day

Friday was the day Amy graduated and it started off with a trip to the gym, a quick swim and a sauna session in the hotel followed by a lovely cooked breakfast in a local cafe. Then it was time for Amy to get her gown on and head to the main hall. One of the parts of the Graduation process at Leeds that I liked the most was how small each ceremony was. There were just over 100 in Amy’s ceremony which was lovely because it felt personal and, because the hall wasn’t huge, everyone could actually see the stage and the Graduates. The speeches weren’t too long either. Amy was the second person up on the stage and she practically ran across!

Me and Amy on graduation day

Amy and Fran on graduation day

After the ceremony, we enjoyed another bottle of Prosecco in the sun before heading home (I’ll do another post on the actual weekend which we spent with the family)

As fast as time has been going in London, I’m so grateful that I got to take a few days out last week to spend with my mum and sister, they mean the world to me and I could not be prouder of them both – Amy for Graduating and Fran for supporting us both through University. I know I speak for both Amy and myself when I say we could not have done it without her.

We spent Saturday and Sunday at a family gathering but that deserves its own post so keep your eyes peeled.