Tag Archives: Vivvy

From rant to relaxation…

So there I was happily writing my blog and the page froze. Long story short, I lost the post, couldn’t even find it saved in draft mode. The irony is that my post this month was basically a rant about the vagaries of technology!

Anyhoo, another long story short, I decided not to rewrite the original as I wondered if it was a sign to just let the frustrations go! So I went out into the garden (my happy place) to take a few deep breaths and smell the roses. Literally.

When we moved here over twenty-six years ago, we inherited some rose bushes and while we’ve lost a couple, the ones I love the best continue to bloom year after year.

This is my favourite. Not only beautiful, but has the most gorgeous scent, too. For some reason I never cut the roses to bring them into the house, although I do cut other flowers, but the roses just seem to want to bloom where they were planted, you know?

The new dahlias are coming along, too. Usually by this time the slugs have been nibbling their little hearts out. The recommendation to put copper wire around the new plants seems to be working a treat to deter the slugs. I bought dish scourers and pulled them out from the middle. Can’t wait to see how they turn out.

The sweet pea actually survived the winter and is now growing far better than the new sweet pea plants, and the tub of petunias and lobelia just makes me SO happy, as does the agapanthus.

Sweet Peas
Agapanthus
Petunia and Lobelia

The power and beauty of nature certainly has the ability to uplift. So much that I can barely remember what had me angst-ridden in the first place.

And, of course, I can’t do a post about things that make me happy and relaxed without including my main stress-reliever and happiness-maker, can I?

My Golden Girl

It’s the little things…

Almost since the day we married, hubs and I have always been big on celebrating our wins. Back in the day, we celebrated with weekends away, foreign holidays, meals out, new clothes … you get the drift. Since I started writing to get published, we’ve marked each book release with luxury chocolate and a bottle of champagne (I save the corks!)

Well, times change… Although we still celebrate our wins, the way we choose to do so has kind of morphed into, shall we say, more prosaic means. Vivvy is a huge part of our lives now and neither of us enjoy leaving her for very long, although we have the very best friends who look after her for us – in fact, Viv can barely contain her excitement when we roll up to their house and she shoots out of the car without barely a backward glance for mum and dad. Typical! But since we miss her so much when we’re away, we tend not to want to go away that much, so the holidays and city breaks have taken a backseat, celebration wise.

Not that the actual celebrations have waned. If anything, we find more to celebrate as we get older, or that maybe because we look for any excuse since we found our new celebratory purchase πŸ™‚

Belgiun buns!

They’re our new addiction. We’ll celebrate anything … a day when it doesn’t rain, bin collection day, garden waste disposal day, grocery shopping day, when the window cleaner comes day, daylight saving day … you name it πŸ™‚ In fact, getting my blog post up on time today calls for celebration…

We buy ours from the bakery, but here’s the recipe for you cooks out there: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/belgian-buns

So that was November?

These days every month seems to pass in a flash, but November takes the prize for me this year. Probably because my main focus was NaNoWriMo (a yearly event that challenges you to write a 50,000 first draft of a novel in one month). I’m extremely happy to report that I hit that goal. Yay! And a double yay to my fellow NaNo-ers Jillian and Kit who also came in well ahead of schedule. We rock, ladies πŸ™‚ (nothing like a bit of self-congratulatory rhetoric, ha!)

Working toward that goal was harder some days than others, but what I found interesting was how it kind of solidified my process. I’ve been writing for many years and I’m usually a sit down and just write kind of gal, but lately I’ve noticed that word sprints are my bag. Word sprints consist of setting a timer for however long you want to write (or whatever task you want to accomplish), in my case twenty five minutes, and then not stopping until the timer goes off. Then you can take a short break (five minutes) to get up and stretch, make a cuppa, sweep the floor, you get the drift, before heading back to the keyboard and setting the timer again. It’s worked so well for me and really keeps me focused, so I’ll continue to work this way in the future.

When I wasn’t writing, November has been a month for walks in the local woods. My happy place. I think we’ve had everything weather-wise this month here in the UK – gorgeous sunshine, rain, fog, rain, frosty mornings, rain, and yes, even more rain. And with rain comes mud, mud, and even more mud. Happy days. It was during one very rainy, muddy walk that I discovered my sturdy boots leaked (thank goodness for Black Friday sales πŸ™‚

One day I checked to make sure nobody was around and then had a very happy time amusing myself kicking up leaves as high as I could. Well, it made me happy. It wasn’t long before an inquisitive little girl made her way back from her own explorations to see what her crazy mummy was up to πŸ™‚

Can you spot Vivvy in the photo?

Anyway, I hope everyone has had a good November and taken the opportunity to enjoy the month whatever you have been up to (and a belated Happy Thanksgiving to my US friends).

I want to just finish this blog with a heartwarming video I spotted on Facebook this last week. You might have seen it, but here it is below. It’s a mamma chimp reunited with her baby after she thought the baby had died. In reality the baby had been whisked away for life-saving treatment. That is one adoring and beautiful mamma. I admit to shedding a happy tear while watching, and even AJ was clearing his throat a few times. Best with the sound on…

It’s spooky time…

Don’t you just love Halloween? No? Me either, well at least I didn’t used to, but lately I’ve gotten more and more into the spirit (pardon the pun) of it. I think it started a few years ago when I dressed Vivvy for her puppy Halloween party at doggie training. It was lovely taking her for walkies dressed in her little witchy hat and cape, and getting the reaction of the kiddies who were doing their trick or treat fun. One little lad caught up with me in the local field yesterday and asked if Vivvy would be dressing up again this year, so it looks like I’ll be heading out to the shop to get her a new costume πŸ™‚ We have a Spooky Evening Walk here in the village on Monday night where lots of houses are decorated. It’s fun, and Vivvy loves it, mostly because she gets loads of attention, and treats!

What I really love about Halloween though, aside from eating all the leftover chocolate/sweeties after trick or treat, is watching the scary movies on TV. This year so far I’ve watched Interview with the Vampire (can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched this in the past), Dracula, The Midnight Club, What Lies Beneath, and 28 Days Haunted. The shows I love most though are the ones that are those ‘reality’ types they do just for Halloween, where celebs get to stay at a ‘haunted’ house/mansion/castle for a few nights. I especially like the ones where there is audience participation and you can comment via email/YouTube about anything paranormal you think you’ve witnessed on screen. Yes, I know they’re mostly a set up and purely for entertainment purposes, but it’s just fun getting scared in a safe environment, LOL.

How about you? Are you a Halloween fan? Like scary movies?

A Month of Celebrations…

It’s been a great month with lots happening in my little corner of paradise πŸ™‚  There have been parties, new cars, cinema trips, a wedding: it’s really good to be venturing out in the big bad world again.

It was lovely to catch up with Kit recently when we were invited, along with other members of our writing group, to celebrate one of our members’ 90th birthday. What a super time we had, too – great conversation, fabulous food, a lovely happy atmosphere – and the birthday girl, Rosemary (the beautiful lady with the silver bob), had a day to remember. She’s amazing and still very much a creative, despite some health and mobility issues. Her energy and enthusiasm has always inspired us and continues to do so. She was very keen for us all to get back to our writerly meetings, or should I say lunches which always stretch way into the early evening πŸ™‚

I had to leave the party early as I had a wedding reception in the evening. My friend’s beautiful daughter, Kelly, looked absolutely stunning when she married Alex, her handsome groom, and of course Max their fur baby was there for the photographs! It was a really happy occasion and everyone had a great time. The couple left next day for their honeymoon in Mexico.

It was also our wedding anniversary this month and we celebrated with lunch and then went to collect AJ’s new car. The showroom staff knew it was our anniversary and placed a huge red bow on the car to acknowledge the day, as well as presenting us with a bottle of champagne and a ceramic feeding bowl for Vivvy, who of course had to vet the new car to make sure she was happy to ride in it πŸ™‚

Speaking of the love of our life… it’s Vivvy’s birthday next week which will be celebrated with lots of pressies, treats, walkies, and many, many cuddles and kisses.

Hope you’re having a great spring!

The Promise of Spring

After a winter of rain, rain, and yet more rain here in the UK, this weekend we have had an inkling that spring just might be around the corner! Yay! My favourite time of year.

This morning I actually did my yoga/meditation on the lawn, okay, I wore plenty of layers, but still. It was soooo great. I’ve had to modify my yoga practice a lot lately, thanks to bouts of dizziness that are still plaguing me, but it was amazing to have the sun on my face during practice, and of course I had my stalwart little helper doing her own version of downward facing dog (sadly one pose that is off limits for me at the moment – and it just so happens to be my favourite – *sigh*).

Yesterday, we took a walk in the woods with the sun poking its very welcome head through the trees and warming the still very muddy ground. Thanks to the rain the stream was high again (which a certain water-mad little girl thoroughly enjoyed), and there were carpets of snowdrops everywhere. We saw a few squirrels, badgers, and rabbits, all no doubt venturing out to enjoy the unexpected but extremely welcome sunshine.

This glimpse of sunshine goodness made me realise that there is still lots to be grateful for and to look forward to, despite that the world is currently in a state of such desperate turmoil. It reminded me of the importance of grabbing hold of the things we are grateful for and celebrating them when we can, keeping our focus on the good things and sending our positive energy out into the world with the hope of better times for all.

Namaste …

Just two girls having fun…

Since AJ had to go away last week and the weather was due to be gorgeous for a couple of days (sunny, but cold) I decided to take Vivvy on a little adventure. I’d never taken her away without her beloved daddy before and did wonder if she might pine and get disoriented staying away from home for a night without AJ, but went for it anyway.

We headed to the coast which is about an hour’s drive from us. Vivvy’s not the best of travellers, but I plied her with the pet version of Rescue Remedy which seemed to keep her calm and reasonably relaxed.

Weston-super-Mare is a dog friendly town and I’d chosen a pet-friendly hotel and have to say it lived up to the description. The only place in the hotel off limits to dogs is the restaurant, but the staff set up tables in the bar for guests who wanted to keep their dogs with them during breakfast. Most people seemed to have taken up the offer because the bar was full next morning!

Vivvy loves the beach. We’d taken her to my mum’s coastal home many times but the beach there is all shingle, and this was Vivvy’s first encounter with miles of sandy seaside. She bounced around like a little lamb, so excited, then ran off to play with the other dogs, often returning to me as if to say “this is really fun and exciting, mum”. Ha!

Of course, there was the proverbial stick collecting, lying in any available pool of water, plus several deeply dug holes in the sand πŸ™‚

We were both totally pooped that night having walked the length of the beach (my fitbit clocked over 18,000 steps) and were both out for the count well before midnight. But then I was woken by a paw tapping my shoulder at 4.40am wanting the inevitable night-time trip outside. Duly wrapped up against the icy night, we headed down to reception where I apologised for them having to unlock the main doors, only to be told cheerily that it certainly wasn’t the first time that night they’d had to open the doors for four-legged residents!

After breakfast next morning we took another long walk on the beach before heading home. It turned out to be a great mini break for both us girls and I won’t hesitate to do it again. Vivvy proved once again that we can take her anywhere. She is such a good girl, well-behaved, and adaptable … even without her beloved daddy in tow πŸ™‚

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Lockdown Walks

Since we’re in lockdown (again) here in the UK, it’s not been possible to venture too far from the old homestead. In fact, the farthest I managed was a six mile car trip to get my COVID-19 vaccine!

That said, we have had some lovely and interesting walks in our local area. Having lived in the village for almost 25 years, we prided ourselves on knowing it quite well, but with the release of a new book by a local author detailing twenty circular walks within easy reach of our village, we have discovered some new and fascinating routes. Each walk has a short version and a longer version and every one of them features a route by either a lake or river, which has pleased our water-loving Vivvy no end πŸ™‚

We’ve encountered some interesting characters on our new walks and have learned a lot from them about the countryside as a whole and the local area in particular. I didn’t know there were quite so many different types of gates and stiles, or that our area held quite a number of intriguing stone circles each with a fascinating, and sometimes lurid history. Ghost stories abound, as do sightings of strange and mysterious creatures that appear to unsuspecting walkers, often as dusk falls. You can imagine how my writer-imagination fires on all cylinders while listening to these often tongue-in-cheek accounts by the locals. They have certainly given me food for thought for future stories. I’ll need to do some further research, which means revisiting the places from which these strange tales emanate. But I’ll be doing that in daylight, of course, and will make sure to be home well before the light fades!

Testing…testing…

It’s been a cold and wet autumn and winter here in the UK, and the dark evenings and chilly nights call for the comfiest duvets and throws, and not just for us humans. I’ve had my eye on one of those plush donut dog beds for Ms. Vivvy for ages, but since her current bed is not that old I couldn’t really justify a new one.

Well, that didn’t deter my mum from spoiling her beloved grand-dog, and so a special Christmas present duly arrived. The box it came in was so small we thought mum had made a mistake with the size, but then this monster popped out! Vivvy, who is a real creature of habit, and really does not like change, took one look and promptly ran for the safety of the kitchen.

To be honest, it looked so comfortable we felt like claiming it ourselves, and when I lay down on it in the hope of coaxing Her Ladyship to try it out, I could have easily enjoyed a very pleasant nap. We tried everything from gentle persuasion, hiding her favourite treats, and settling her beloved teddy in there. But nope, nothing seemed to work. Then, after several days when we were wondering if we could return it and get my mum’s money refunded, we came in from the kitchen and found this:

Then this…

And finally this…

Those photos were taken on consecutive days because, well, a girl has to make sure there’s nothing in there that will pop up and bite her, doesn’t she? And while our golden girl loves her luxurious new bed, she still favours the old one. Ah well, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Blooming Lovely…

Having more time during lockdown has meant that I could finally get around to working on the garden and make some headway on the plans I’ve been mulling over for several years now.

20200602_091646Every year, inspired by Kit’s garden, I’ve always planned to get more colour in our garden. But the season passes and I’m still no further on with those plans, blaming lack of time. No excuses this year. As a result, the garden is starting to look more colourful.

I’ve done a lot of digging and replanting to make way for new plants, most of which I’ve been lucky enough to get locally from a man who sells small plants he’s propagated from those in his garden. I’ve also acquired lots of cuttings from neighbours after admiring their plants while walking Vivvy around our village and the local allotment. I’ve always found gardeners to be a generous bunch – always keen to discuss plants, share knowledge, and of course hand over those cuttings!

So, here’s a small selection of the plants I’m especially loving this year. My current favourites are the hydrangeas, anemones, and peonies. I also love cutting a selection of flowers and foliage to bring into the house. My offerings are still a bit meagre, but I’m getting there – and having a whole lot of fun doing so.

And of course when the digging, planting, and tidying is done for the day, a girl just wants to find a shady nook for a well-deserved afternoon nap:

20200623_134219

Whatever you’re doing this summer, have fun!

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Check out Faye’s author website at www.fayeavalon.com
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