Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Gallery: Hands

Ooh, the Gallery was an easy one this week!  The theme is 'Hands' and I immediately knew which photo I was going to use.

I take this kind of photo on every newborn shoot I do and there are others that are far better - technically speaking - than this one, but this one is of my daughter's hand in mine when she was only 7 weeks old.  It was one of the first photos of her that we hung on the wall and I have it as one of my desktop images.

Now hop on over to Sticky Fingers and take a look at the other entries.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Northern Ireland

We took a little trip to NI with some good friends of ours, at the start of June.  It was just a weekend trip but we had a fabulous time.  Ali is from NI so we were going to stay with her parents in their family home.  To make the most of the trip we decided to catch an early flight and this meant we had a very early start on the Thursday with us getting up and leaving by 3:45am to get to Birmingham airport.  Our flight was at about 7am.  We expected E to fall back to sleep in the car but the little monkey only slept for 20 minutes!  Thankfully this didn't seem to affect her too much and she was well behaved in the airport and the plane, although the car journey could've been better.  The flight went well and was very quick, though I have to say that I didn't enjoy being in a smaller plane with propellers!  Coming out of Belfast City Airport is a breeze and I wish it was like that at all airports.  Going back was a different story but we'll get to that later.

We had hired a car so we went to sort that out once we had collected our bags, having booked it online beforehand with an independent company.  It turned out that we were hiring a car through Budget.  We decided to go for a Focus class of car as the prices were very reasonable, meaning we didn't have to compromise on space.  We ended up with a Mercedes A160 which we both enjoyed driving although I don't think it had enough 'poke' for us to want to own one.  We weren't too impressed with the Budget customer service though and seriously considered complaining, although we didn't in the end.  The guy at the desk was rude, unhelpful, slow and made us quite paranoid about bringing the car back in an immaculate condition.  I won't bore you with the details.

So on our trip we spent equal time relaxing and sightseeing.  We were staying a short coastal walk from Bangor town centre and took the opportunity to walk in on our first day.  We had somehow managed to leave the house that morning without any shoes for E so we had to go and do a bit of shopping.  Oops! It was a lovely walk and we were lucky enough to have amazing weather, which actually lasted the whole weekend.  I found it harder doing the walk than I expected as my Bump had got to the point of being slightly uncomfortable while my body was adjusting to its new centre of gravity.  So lots of waddling and feeling tired for me.

One shop we went into to look for shoes was a BHS type shop.  We found a lovely pair of sandals for E - the only pair we liked that actually fit her - but we never got to purchase them.  Frans Someone thought it would be a good idea to give the shoes to E to play with and she somehow managed to lose them.  We looked everywhere!  They had completely vanished so off we went to Clarks to spend a fortune.  We ended up buying a gorgeous pair of sandals for her which were reduced so we weren't too annoyed and because they're white, they go with any outfit.  Can't complain about that!

We also spent some time going up to and exploring the Giant's Causeway, something which I have wanted to do for many years.  Again, the weather was beautiful and I was kicking myself for forgetting my 'proper' camera.  Instead we made do with the compact and E really enjoyed exploring the rocks with her Daddy.  Such a wonderful memory.

Lastly, we spent an afternoon at Mount Stewart, where the BBC were filming for "The Great British Story".  There were talks, shows and lots of information and we were surprised that there weren't more people there.  We could discover the history of Ireland and how the Vikings had come and explored the land.  We had a great time!  E wasn't too interested in anything other than the family trying to have a picnic with their baby and dog.  She would frequently get distracted by another group and wander off, a recurring theme right now.  She is truly in her element though when she's outside and she had a great time.  She also enjoyed the ice cream as we were leaving - thanks for that Uncle Rob!

Our time spent relaxing back at the house was just as wonderful and we felt like we were long-time family friends.  Elizabeth enjoyed bullying her boyfriend Alexander and they both had a fun weekend.  We were so lucky with the weather as it could've turned out very differently if the toddlers had been kept indoors the whole time.

So like I said, a wonderful weekend shared with friends, which we'll hopefully get to experience again and again over the coming years.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Gallery: Family

So this weeks' theme for The Gallery is 'family' and again I found it to be a difficult one.  'My family' meant something very different to me a couple of years ago, before E came along.  Family was always the obvious culprits; brothers, sister, parents, as well as my closest friends and Frans.  After Frans and I got married, 'family' included The Danes but things have changed now.  When someone asks me about my family, more often than not they're asking about Frans and Elizabeth.  It's kind of weird to think that I have my own family now, with different priorities.  Don't get me wrong, my siblings and parents will always be my family and I know that some of my friends will always be my family too but everythign's changing.

My very first thought when I read the theme for this week's Gallery was my Nan.  Without me realising it, she was a huge part of my life and I wanted to share a photo of her, to tell you all why she was so amazing and why 'family' reminds me of her.  But then I think about my own little family, one that is soon to expand and I can't help but smile.  They are the world to me, they're my Family, and I treasure all the memories I have of them and look forward to the ones we're yet to make.

Frans and Elizabeth - I love you.

Friday, 15 June 2012

My First Knitted Animal

When I was pregnant with Elizabeth, I tried (unsuccessfully) several times to knit something. I gave up shortly before she was born, fed up of not being able to make a little hat for my unborn child.  Then last year, shortly before we moved whilst we were away in Cornwall, I took a renewed interest in knitting.  Whilst in a petrol station, browsing the magazines, I saw a knitting magazine and decided that the holiday was a good chance to start knitting again.

Then, with the move and everything that surrounds it, the knitting I started whilst on holiday got set aside and forgotten about.  After moving and sorting through all the many boxes, I came across the knitting needles and sewing kit that used to belong to my Nan and so I decided that I would start knitting again and see if I got anywhere.

Well, as you can imagine, things were pretty hectic for a while after we moved and it was only earlier this year, after we found out that we were expecting our second child, that I started knitting again.  I went back to that same magazine I bought in Cornwall and found a cute little two-legged elephant to knit.  I decided that 6 months was enough time to knit something for the new baby so I dug out some wool and set to work.

There were a few new techniques that I learnt as I went along and even had to ask for help from Gill (Tim's sister and a knitting genius) at one point but I got there! I finished my little elephant and although it's not perfect, it's made by me :-)

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

That Dog of Ours

It would seem that Frankie is allergic to something in our home.  I know that it's something specific to here because whilst he was at Stokenchurch Dog Rescue (SDR), he was absolutely fine.  The scratching and biting started almost as soon as we'd got him home.  At first we thought it was an anxiety thing which is a perfectly normal reaction to the situation he suddenly found himself in.  Although he seemed to settle in here quickly, it's only now, 2 months later, that he is truly at ease.

So after consulting with SDR a few days after Frankie arrived, we decided it was best to take Frankie to the vet and have him checked over.  The scratching wasn't too bad but he had caught a mild infection where he'd broken the skin, causing him to keep scratching.  A course of antibiotics and steroids was prescribed which caused all scratching and biting to cease, almost immediately.  However, as we were nearing the end of the course, about a week later, the scratching and biting started again.  Another trip to the vet meant Frankie was to have another longer course of steroids.
This time, we were really hopeful.  Frankie was becoming much more comfortable at home and the steroids seemed to have done the job.  We finished the course with no scratching and biting and it looked like Frankie was in the clear.  As well as the steroids, Frankie was also put on Piriton, which is an antihistamine.  This is designed for people that suffer with hayfever and other allergies, to keep the symptoms at bay.  For the time being, he's on these permanently.

Unfortunately, a few days after the second lot of steroids was finished, Frankie started scratching and biting again.  We gave it a few days to see what would happen but it just got worse.  We took him back to the vet but due to needing a vaccination for kennel cough, Frankie couldn't have more steroids.  This turned out to be a good thing as the vet had to think about what she could give Frankie to help that didn't involve shoving drugs down his throat - something which I'm not keen on anyway.  She gave us some spray to put on once a day for a week, on all the areas that he was biting and scratching as well as some medicated shampoo to use twice a week.  I can tell you know that washing a dog whilst pregnant and trying to control an inquisitive toddler at the same time is no mean feat!
We stopped using the spray after a week and whilst it didn't stop Frankie scratching, it did seem to stop him biting himself and the sores that had developed were either healing or healed.  A few days later and Frankie was missing a lot of fur due to the intense scratching and biting he's been doing since we stopped using the spray.  Other than the steroids, the spray has been the most successful treatment so far.

Things continued to get worse so back we went to the vet again, this time for them to take a sample of skin to see if there were any tiny mites causing his irritations.  None were found but apparantly some are hard to find so more treatments were prescribed, including one for a certain type of mite.  We were told to use the spray again for one week as well as a couple of other bits.

That was almost two weeks ago and after a few days, Frankie was much better.  His skin was much less red and sore, his scratching was greatly reduced and his mood had lifted.  He was getting back to normal.  However, it does seem that it's the spray that is having all this positive effect as he had the last spray on Saturday and he's now back to scratching lots and I'm finding much more fur on the floor again.  We'll see how he's doing next week after spending 5 days at the kennels whilst we're away but it looks like another trip to the vet is in order.  Poor Frankie!