Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Is it really THAT DIFFICULT?!

Names can sometimes be a bit of a problem, can't they? Some people don't like their names, some have random spellings of their names, etc. Sometimes people tell you their name and you instantly forget it, then you spend the next hour waiting for someone else to address that person by name so that you don't have to ask them a second time what their name is (yes, I did that. More than once. I am hanging my head in shame). When I was at university, I told someone that my name is Kirsty and she called me Tracy. I corrected her once but I was too much of a wimp to correct her again and for the next three years of my degree, I was known to her as Tracy.

I have always liked the name Caleb and so when we had our little baby boy, we obviously decided to name him Caleb. I have to say that the first time I heard it was through watching "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and not from reading the Old Testament, but in my defence, I was also five or something, so reading the Old Testament wasn't exactly at the top of my five year old priority list! But I like the name for these reasons:

1. It means whole hearted and faithful. I also read somewhere that it means dog, but we'll ignore that meaning!
2. It's not a really popular name but it's not so unusual that people would think it was weird or anything.
3. It's biblical and I quite like biblical names.
4. It's a "say it as you see it" kind of a name. Or is it just me who thinks that? Because I'm not too sure.....

For the last 16 months, I have heard his name pronounced Challeb, Chayleb, Kaleeb, Celeb, Calleb. Kolob. Yep. It's usually at the doctors surgery or hospitals when the poor boy gets these mispronunciations of his name. In all fairness to them, I've no doubt that they see all manner of patients with weird and wonderful names, many of which are probably made up, but I really didn't think that the name Caleb would be too hard. I remember when we were sitting in the waiting room at the doctors surgery and the nurse came out and called, "Celeb?". Was she asking if there was a celebrity in the room?  I had a little chuckle to myself that one of these poor people sitting in the waiting room had been named Celeb by their parents and wondered who in the world would do that to their poor child. Didn't they realise the grief the child would get their whole life because their name was Celeb?! It was at around this point that I realised that no one else was standing up...... when I realised that she meant my son, I actually said, "oh.....Caleb!". I felt a bit bad because I probably sounded really rude in correcting her, but I was amazed that she would somehow think that his name was pronounced Celeb. I let it slide though because in all honesty, how easy is it to just not look properly at the name and mistake the A for an E? But then, in the appointment when she was asking me about him, I kept saying his name so she would realise that his name was Caleb. She still called him Celeb and looked at me like I was the one saying it incorrectly!

I spoke to a friend of mine about it recently and she said that even though it's not the most common name in the world, it's still not so unusual that people wouldn't have heard of it, which is pretty much what I thought. I'm wondering if when he goes to school, he will constantly have to correct people on how his name is pronounced. I'm no stranger to this, my maiden name is Samaroo and people often had difficulty in pronouncing it and spelling it (although ironically, since being married and changing my name, more people have asked me how "Manning" is spelt than have ever asked me how "Samaroo" was spelt!) but I didn't think that in naming my son Caleb, he would potentially be faced with this too. I suppose that time will tell!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Father Christmas Debate

I grew up believing in Father Christmas. I'm not quite sure at what age I realised he wasn't real but I was definitely a believer when I was younger. Father Christmas was never the one that actually bought our presents, that was Mum and Dad, but Father Christmas came at night when we were asleep and filled our stockings. I always remember Christmas Eve - before we went to bed we would do the thing that all believers would do and write our letters to Father Christmas then leave him a mince pie and a glass of milk along with some smarties for Rudolf. Yeah, we didn't believe in helping reindeers to be healthy in our house, no carrots, it was all about the smarties! Laura would sleep in my room on Christmas Eve and we would wake early in the morning to look through our stockings and see what Father Christmas had left us.

Seth's childhood was very different. He didn't believe in Father Christmas. I think one of the reasons was that his family didn't want to detract from the real meaning of Christmas (I can kind of understand that) and they wanted to keep it Christ-centred. Ours was also very much Christ-centred, we just believed in Father Christmas.

So now, we have Caleb. Before he was born, Seth and I both knew we had different opinions on whether we would want our children to believe in Father Christmas, but now we're getting to the point where we need to make a decision. I think we might be safe for another year, as Caleb will only be 17 months old in December so he's probably too young to remember much either way, but I really want Caleb to believe in Father Christmas! It was such a fun part of childhood for me, writing the letters to him and trying to stay awake to see him, but Seth doesn't want him to believe in Father Christmas. Seth is really straight down the line when it comes to lying and he says that encouraging Caleb to believe in Father Christmas is basically lying to him. And then there's the issue of how the children will then react when they realise that he's not real. I don't remember when I figured it out (Laura probably told me!) but I don't ever feel like I was lied to and I never thought it was a particularly big deal. However, I have a couple of friends who, when they were younger believed in Father Christmas and it got to the stage where their parents had to tell them that he wasn't real.They were getting to a stage where they were a bit too old to be going to school and talking to their friends about Father Christmas when a lot of their friends knew he wasn't real. One of my friends burst into tears and wouldn't talk to her parents because they had been lying to her about him and the other person was just completely shocked by it.

So therein lies the debate. We've not come to a decision either way. The thing is, I agree with a lot of Seth's argument on why he wouldn't want Caleb to believe in Father Christmas but I still want him to! To misquote Shakespeare, to believe or not to believe? That is the question! If anyone has an opinion on this, please feel free to share!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Shameless plug...

I love Christmas. I have always loved it and when I was 12 to when I was about 18, I loved it even more for a particular reason - Christmas concerts at church. My sister, Lindsay was in charge of running a youth choir and every Christmas we would put on a concert. They were always so well attended, the church building was full to capacity over the two nights of the concerts and it was always the highlight of my year. Rehearsals would start in October, once every couple of weeks. It was sometimes hardgoing as Lins is a perfectionist and knew how things should sound and how she wanted it to sound and so when it came to the performances, they were always amazing. Everyone who performed forgot all about how hard some of the rehearsals were (and how much of a taskmaster Lins was! :) I know that she will read this and I don't mind saying it because she knows it's true!!) and just loved being able to be part of such a great musical event. Even now, every Christmas I reminisce about those times and I can remember every song that was sung and the alto part to all of them! I composed a couple of pieces which were performed at the concerts. It was so special for me to hear what was an idea in my head being performed by a choir and hearing people walking around and humming the music that I had composed.

During mine and Seth's time in Lancaster, I met Sue Kureczko. Sue also loves music and when I heard that she wrote music, I was very eager to speak to her. We have worked together on many songs, about 17 I think, most of which are Christmas songs. Sue would give me the lyrics and the melody and I would come up with an accompaniment and the parts (soprano, alto, etc) to them. I had so much fun doing it and could literally spend hours working on the songs, without even realising that the time was passing! Seth always made sure that I stopped working on them at least an hour before bed because otherwise I couldn't sleep. I would have tunes just going through my head and it would keep me awake for hours. When Seth and I moved to London, life got busier and I haven't had the chance to work on any music with Sue for a while, but I am going to be getting back into it very soon, which I can't wait for!

So, as I said, shameless plug.... if any of you out there are choir directors, sing in choirs, are looking for music to perform in any Christmas concerts or any church event, check out Sue's website. All of the music on there can be performed as solos, by groups or by a choir. If you decide to use any of the music, let me know as we would love to hear your feedback and any suggestions that you might have! Enjoy!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

My confession

So in the last post, I confessed that I am a lover of watches, but now I have another confession to make..... I love wedding dresses. Now if I were single, I'm pretty sure that a statement like that would scare away any potential suitors so it's a good job I am wed! Before I got married I would always look in the windows of bridal shops and admire the dresses. It wasn't that I was really eager to get married because I really wasn't, even the thought of dating freaked me out! (Poor Seth had his work cut out for him when he started dating me, I have no idea how he persisted!). I just really loved looking at the dresses and seeing what kind of styles I liked and didn't like.

When I got engaged, I couldn't wait to go and try on wedding dresses. I went with my Mum and sisters and I had a great time! I only really ended up trying on the styles that I already knew that I liked, which in hindsight I regret. Being as though this would be the only time in my life to try on wedding dresses, I wish that I'd have tried on loads of different styles, just because I could! I was never really one for the ballerina, full-skirted style dresses - being as though I'm only 5 ft 2 and a half (that half is very important, so I'm claiming it!) I would never have been able to carry it off! I went for a lace, mermaid style dress and I tried on A LOT of them, all of which were pretty similar in design. You know, just to be sure.

As it happened, for someone who loves wedding dresses so much, I didn't end up loving mine. I had ordered it online and when it arrived it was a different kind of lace to the one that was advertised. Of course, no one else would have known that, or even cared but I was a little disappointed. The company apologised profusely and refunded some of the money and to be honest, by the time the day rolled around I really didn't care, I was just looking forward to being married to Seth and to starting our lives together.

I thought that once I was married, I wouldn't really care about looking at wedding dresses again, it would be a case of been there, done that. Kind of like me not wanting to watch "one born every minute" again after having Caleb! But I must confess, even now when I walk past a bridal boutique, I still can't help but look at all of the lovely dresses in the window. I love going to weddings and seeing what the bride's dress will be like. I hope that at some point in the future I end up having a daughter so that one day I will be able to go wedding dress shopping with her, but if not then my nieces will just have to suffer me tagging along with them!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Happy hundredth!

This post is my 100th blog post since starting my blog. Such a momentous occasion!

I quite enjoy having a blog, it feels a bit like I'm keeping some sort of a journal. I do actually write in a journal regularly anyway but I prefer to do this so that I can share things that are going on with us Mannings with friends and family.

I know that some people having varying views of keeping blogs. Some people think that it's really putting yourself "out there" for all to see and I suppose it is! I'm not a particularly private person so I don't really mind too much. It's not like I'm giving you my address and bank details or anything so I think it's okay. I try not to overshare with things that might be a bit too personal, or anything to do with Seth because unlike me, he is more private so I just keep things like that to myself!

There's also the occasional dilemma of telling people something that's going on with you and they respond with, "oh yeah, I read about that on your blog". Now is that a conversation killer or a conversation starter? One might say that by putting everything on a blog, you don't really have any conversation to have with people face to face as they already know everything that's happening with you anyway. For me, it's always been nice for me to know that people other than my Mum are interested enough to read my blog!

I also love keeping a blog because since starting to keep one, I have also started to read more people's blogs and it's so nice to gain friends in that way as well and to see what's happening in their lives. Does that make me nosy, or just interested in people?? I like to think I'm just interested in people!

As I realised that this was my 100th blog post, I couldn't help but think, what on earth have I blogged about for all this time to warrant 100 posts?! Some of it has been pretty significant things, such as falling pregnant with Caleb, having Caleb and watching him grow, a niece and a nephew's wedding (not to each other, that would just be weird!). And some of it has just been more insignificant things that I've just felt like sharing, even though they're not really that important! But regardless of what I blog about, I just really enjoy being able to document it all and share it in this little space that is my blog!

Monday, 11 November 2013


My poor little Caleb hasn't been feeling too great over the last couple of days. Anyone who knows him knows that he is usually so full of energy and he just never stops, so it's horrible to see him when he's not feeling that great. We're pretty sure that he's teething and that's what has been causing the temperature and him just generally feeling rubbish.

I hate that he has been feeling so unwell but Seth and I have loved being able to look after him and cuddle him. On Sunday while I went to church, Seth and Caleb stayed at home and cuddled on the sofa watching disney films. Caleb was more than happy to sit there the whole time just being with his Daddy. In the evening, although he perked up he still wanted to be close to us and he sat on my lap while we looked at books. He fell asleep in my arms as I was giving him his milk before bed and I must say, I kind of indulged myself by not putting him to bed straight away and just holding him in my arms for a little while. I was saying to Seth that it's funny how much more protective I feel over Caleb when he's unwell and seems so vulnerable. I'd much rather he felt better soon and be full of energy again than him be in an unwell and cuddly state, but whilst he is like that, I am enjoying the cuddles with my beautiful boy.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

My secret love

When people stereotypically think of women and the things they like to buy, shoes and handbags probably come at the top of the list. Who doesn't want shoes and a handbag to match their outfit? To be honest I'm no different, I also love shoes and handbags, although my current handbag is Caleb's changing bag. Its just too much effort to cart around a handbag and a changing bag so it doubles as both. But the main accessory that I love to shop for is watches. I blame my sister Laura for this. Growing up she always loved watches and it rubbed off on me. I don't have nearly as many as I would like and I often see ones that I want to buy but being as though I'm not working and we're living on Seth's money, I exercise some restraint!

I especially love Fossil watches! I think they're having a bit of a drought at the moment though because for about three months now when I've gone into the store, I haven't seen any that I like or that fit me. I have pretty small wrists and so some of the watches with the huge faces really don't work for me. Or there's just a lot of bling on them and I really don't like that either! I think I have probably bought most of my watches at outlets when we've been on holiday in the States. What I also love about having these watches is that for the most part, I remember where I have bought all of them and there is some sort of memory that goes along with them too.

 I have one other watch but I couldn't find it at the time of taking this photo. 

For example, the third one in from the left was the first fossil watch I bought. I think I bought this one at an outlet in Vegas, although Laura could probably correct me on that. The black and turquoise one in the middle, I bought in San Diego. This was when Laura and I went on a sisters holiday the summer before Seth and I go married. we were at an outlet when I bought it and I wasn't sure if I wanted it or not but decided to keep it anyway as I knew I would probably regret it if I didn't buy it. I have actually worn it loads so it's a good job I bought it after all! Laura bought the two silver ones for me in the Christmases of 2007 and 2012. See? She really feeds my love of watches!

Because I always wear a watch it has resulted in me having a permanent tan line on my wrist. And I mean permanent, it's even there in the winter, although obviously it fades a bit. It's not really a problem to be honest because there is always a watch that covers it. There was only one time when it was a problem and that was on my wedding day. A watch just didn't really look right with the whole bride look (at least, none of the watches I had would have looked right. I missed a trick there, I should have just gone and bought a new watch!). I got married in July and so the tan line was pretty crazy! I had to make a bracelet that was big enough to cover it.

So there we have it, my name is Kirsty and I am a little bit of a watch addict.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

A foggy day in London town...

Actually it wasn't foggy at all, it was rainy but that's not how the song goes. Anyway....

Last Tuesday it was my birthday. I never really look forward to birthdays that much like I did in days of old but they always end up being amazing. Since being married, Seth has made my Birthdays absolutely amazing. We have gone to see Ludovico Einaudi in concert and for my 30th Birthday Seth surprised me with a trip to Paris. Last year wasn't the best Birthday ever as Seth was at work and I was at home with a 12 week old baby who cried pretty much non-stop due to colic. When I say I was at home with him, it was my first day in our new home, we were surrounded by boxes and nothing was unpacked. We celebrated it a couple of weeks later though and went to see Les Miserables. I was really looking forward to this Birthday though. Seth told me that he had taken the day off work for it and I couldn't wait to spend the day with the boys.

On my birthday morning, I woke up to Caleb and Seth coming in to the room, wishing me a happy birthday and handing me a large Costa hot chocolate with a shot of hazelnut in. They had gone out before I had woken up to get it, bless them! When we had all got ready, we headed into London. I think I've mentioned once or twice that I absolutely love London but even though we only live 20 minutes train journey away, I don't really get to go in that much. It's not really that practical to go on my own with Caleb, especially when it comes to going up and down the stairs at underground stations! So it was lovely to head to the big smoke again!

Even though it was raining for quite a lot of the day, it didn't ruin our time there at all. Caleb was wide-eyed and taking everything in. He, much like me, loves the hustle and bustle of London! We headed to my favourite place first, Covent Garden of course! No trip to London is complete without going to Covent Garden! They have some great shops there and I always love listening to the musicians who perform there.

They performed Pachelbel's Canon, which I love! I walked down the aisle to it so whenever I hear it, it brings back happy memories. We then went to do a little bit of shopping and I bought some sunglasses. Yes, I know it's October and yes, I appreciate the irony in that it was raining when I bought them but I have been lusting after them since March and couldn't really justify buying them beforehand! What better excuse than having a Birthday to finally buy them?!

We walked from Covent Garden to Leicester Square. It was buzzing with people who were there ready for the Thor 2 premiere that evening. I really want to go and see that film by the way, it looks so good!

We would have stuck around there to see the stars arrive, but instead we went to the Shard. For Seth's birthday I had bought him tickets to a View from the Shard and he hadn't used them yet so we kind of combined both of our Birthdays and did it that evening. Even though it was Seth's present, I was really excited about it. I love heights, I have been to the top of the Empire State Building, The Hancock Tower in Boston and the CN Tower in Toronto and I have loved them all, so I was equally as excited about being at the top of the Shard. It is a newly built 87 storey building in London and it's the tallest building in Europe. Fair enough, it may not be that tall compared to buildings in other countries but for us, it's pretty cool.

Before we went up, Caleb was doing his usual and charming everyone in the lobby. The staff there were wonderful with him, they were really interacting and playing with him, which he loved.

We went at around 5.00pm which gave us the opportunity to see the view over London at daytime, sunset and night. It was amazing being up there and being able to look out over the city. I could probably post a million pictures here as I took quite a lot but I will exercise some restraint and just post a few!

The view overlooking St. Paul's Cathedral (to the left of the building with the sun bouncing off it)

Tower Bridge and the HMS Belfast with Canary Wharf in the background.

Tower Bridge at night

I think you're only meant to stay up there for around half an hour. We ended up being there for just over two hours! We had so much fun seeing the wonderful city that is London from such a height, it was the perfect end to a perfect day.

Friday, 25 October 2013

baby weight

So you know how people say that it takes 9 months to grow a baby and then 9 months to lose all the weight and get your figure back? I've seen some pictures on friend's blogs of their amazing figures just months after they've had their babies (you know who you are!!) but this really wasn't the case for me! I know that breastfeeding is meant to help with the weight coming off but Caleb only breastfed for 2 months (I had a fun old experience with that that you can read about here) so I don't think it did a huge amount in the weight loss thing. I didn't really bother exercising a whole lot in the first few months, firstly because I was recovering from the pain of it all (forceps delivery, lots of stitches, fun stuff like that!) and dealing with a house move too. Straight after I'd had Caleb and I was laying down, my stomach felt really flat and I thought to myself, "great, I've shrunk right back down!" Then I stood up and watched in dismay as my saggy stomach fell to my knees. Okay, it wasn't that bad, it just fell to my thighs! I knew I would need to do something at some point to shift the weight but it really wasn't an essential thing for me just then.

Before I had Caleb I was a UK size 8-10 and I didn't overly mind my figure. I didn't love it either, I would love to have the perfect bikini body despite not being a bikini wearer, but I have never been a crazy one for exercising. My sister Laura loves exercising and she does it every day. She is so disciplined with it and she looks incredible but sadly, this has never really rubbed off on me! When Laura and I used to run together, when I couldn't go any further, she would hold my hand and keep running so I had no choice but to carry on! We also used to play tennis together. I was never great at it but I always had a good time anyway, then when Seth and I got married and we lived in Lancaster, I went running 3-4 times a week for almost two years. I didn't love it at all, I was just trying to keep fit and healthy!

I had Caleb in the July and I think it probably wasn't until maybe after Christmas that I started to exercise. I walked quite a bit anyway but I started to do a workout DVD in the morning (Jillian Michaels). I would get Caleb ready for the day and then he would sit in his activity centre in the living room with me and watch me work out. Sometimes he would laugh, I would like to say that this was in encouragement rather than mockery but I can't say for certain! The weight started to come off pretty quickly, which I was pleased about but still not quite enough, there were those few pounds that wouldn't shift! When we decorated our home, as soon as Caleb was in bed at night at around 7.30, I was stripping wallpaper and fun stuff like that until around midnight. I didn't really think of it as exercising at all but a couple more pounds came off. Then I switched to a different exercise DVD. This one was a bit longer. To be fair, had I done all of the Jillian Michaels one that would have been okay too but I only ever did 2 or 3 circuits at a time. The new DVDs varied from 35 minutes at the easiest to just over an hour for the hardest one. I did manage to do the hardest one but then reverted back to the intermediate one after a couple of weeks off.

I weighed myself a couple of mornings ago and I am now back to my pre-pregnancy weight! I've been able to wear all my clothes again for a while now but they are a little but looser now. It's funny though because I think I managed to dupe myself into thinking that I had an amazing figure pre-baby and when I look in the mirror, I still haven't got the hot mama figure that I am hoping to see! My stomach is still wobbly no matter what I do and I still have the faded marks of stretch marks but I guess that comes with the territory! I still can't say I love exercise and I'm having a couple of weeks off at the moment (I've been ill and I'm also recovering from steroid injections in my wrists again!) but I'm quite pleased with myself for sticking at it and almost getting to where I want to be. And no, I'm not posting a before and after picture!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Ego boost

Anyone who knows me or who has read this knows that I adore my son, Caleb. I think he's pretty amazing and I feel like the luckiest Mum in the world to have him. I wouldn't change anything about him, except for maybe one thing. He doesn't like cuddles. When you try to cuddle him, he squirms and tries to get away or he cries. It's horrible when he's really upset about something and he is sobbing because the natural reaction is for me to pick him up and cuddle him to comfort him. But he hates that so I can't even do that, instead I just have to sit next to him and talk to him or play with him until he stops crying. I feel like an awful Mum for not comforting him in the way that I would see fit, even though it's not the way he wants to be comforted.

A few weeks ago I was feeling a bit down. I don't even know what about really and I can't even pinpoint what it was, I was just feeling sad. I think I was also feeling down because it just didn't feel like Caleb really loved me. It sounds stupid I know, but every time I went to play with him, he wasn't bothered that I was there, he didn't acknowledge me, he just kept on doing his thing.

One day, Caleb and I were out and about. He was in his stroller and we had stopped to look at something. When I looked down at him, he was already looking at me and when we made eye contact, he smiled at me. It was the kind of smile that told me that he loved me and the way he looked at me made me feel like I was the most important person in his world. When I go into his room in the mornings, he jumps up and down in his cot and he is so happy to see me. The other morning he was watching children's TV as he was playing and something came on that scared him (for anyone that knows, it was the momo's world song on "Show me, Show me", it freaks him out!). As he was crying he came crawling towards me at top speed and wanted me to pick him up and hold him. He quickly recovered and was fine afterwards. Those little things reminded me that it doesn't matter if Caleb doesn't like cuddles, he still loves me and thinks I'm pretty great! The feeling is reciprocated, I think I'll keep him around.

Don't be fooled by this, he was biting my shoulder but I'll take what I can get! :)

Thursday, 10 October 2013

eyebrows...or the lack thereof - my threading story

I should have really blogged about this a while ago rather than now as it happened a few months ago but I thought I would talk about it now anyway!

For ages I had wanted to have my eyebrows threaded. I just really like the clean look of it and the fact that the hairs take longer to grow back than when you pluck them. I was pregnant with Caleb when I first decided that I wanted to get it done but I'd heard that your skin is more sensitive when you are pregnant. Being as though getting them threaded is meant to hurt quite a bit, I decided that maybe I should wait until post-baby!

Naturally, I guess you could say that I have pretty big eyebrows. I am half South American (my Dad was from Guyana but his family are all Indian when you go further back) and I think I inherited my eyebrow size from him! They've never been particularly dense eyebrows, just big! I started plucking my eyebrows when I was a teenager and I am always so grateful that I never got into the trend of plucking your eyebrows until they were practically one strand thick, a trend that seemed to be pretty popular in the 90s! I've never done a bad job of plucking them, I think they've looked okay but a couple of months ago I decided to bite the bullet and get them threaded.

Problem 1: I kind of did it on a whim. Even though I'd wanted to get my eyebrows threaded for ages, I was out in a shopping mall one day, walked past a place where they were handing out leaflets and so I just went and got it done! I should have been wary when the girl who sat down to thread my eyebrows had the aforementioned 90s brow.

Problem 2: In order to get the exact kind of brow shape I want would involve my eyebrows to grow back to their full thickness and to pretty much start again. Even though I had tried to grow them back, they were pretty patchy and so I should have known that this would be slightly problematic in getting my ideal eyebrow shape!

Problem 3: It hurts! Although that's not really a problem because I didn't actually think that the pain was all that bad, contrary to what a lot of people say.

Problem 3: When I hear the words "I've raised the height of them to get a straighter line". Um, what? When I looked in the mirror, I looked permanently startled. It was not the best look in the world. I don't think anyone can rock that look.

Problem 4: I like big eyebrows. I know it's the fashion lately and while I like to look nice, I don't think I'm really a slave to trends, but I just think they look good. I love Lily Collins' eyebrows.

So why oh why, when I like big eyebrows, would I even choose to get them threaded in the first place?!

It was a fun experience getting my eyebrows removed threaded. I liked the cleanness of the look and I kind of liked the shape, if only there were more there! Since that horrible threading experience I grew them back a bit more (which took a while - one of the blessings and curses of threading!) and went and got them threaded again. I went to a different place the second time and they did a good job, I was fairly pleased with how they looked. I've stopped getting them threaded now, or at least for now. On me, you could see too much exposed skin underneath the eyebrow and I just don't like that look, it doesn't suit me. I won't get back my natural shape because I don't think they'll grow back to that extent, but I've decided that it's going to be me and my trusty tweezermans from now on!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Daddy and son time

I always love seeing my boys together. They love spending time with each other and weekends are really so precious. During the week Seth leaves for work at 7am before Caleb is up and for the most part by the time he gets home, Caleb is already in bed. Seth gets to see him every day though as we always go in and check on him before we go to bed (when I say "check on him", he's always fine, it's really just an opportunity for us to go and stare at our beautiful boy!). For Caleb however, he has to wait until the weekends to hang out with his Daddy! He loves the weekends, I love seeing his little face when Seth walks into his room on a Saturday morning, he gets so excited and jumps up and down in his cot. He has so much fun with his Daddy, there is always plenty of laughter whenever they are together.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Home Improvements

I feel like I've not updated on here for a little while. It seems we have had a fair bit going on in Casa Manning, so let me get you up to speed, in case you want to know what has been happening in our little lives.

Seth had two weeks off work in August. I had been looking forward to this for ages, firstly because obviously, he would be at home with us and secondly, we would be doing some work on our little home. I'll give you the background story that let up to this point, as I know you're dying to know.... or not.... Anyway, when I was pregnant with Caleb (4 days overdue in fact), we were given notice on the property that we were renting and we had to move out in two months as the landlord had decided to sell it. I went into labour that evening, I'm not sure if it was related or not! At the stage when most Mums want to be nesting, I was instead stressing with the thought of packing up boxes having just had a baby. Seth and I decided that we would buy our next home as ironically, it worked out to be a lot cheaper than renting. And so we moved in to our first bought property in October. Where we live, we can get into central London within 20 minutes by train and so I'm sure you can imagine, it's really not the cheapest area of the country to be living in! This meant that our first bought home isn't what I would necessarily have wanted. I of course, wanted a place where we could move in and it would be beautiful, nothing would need to be done to it at all and I would love it. Very unrealistic, I know, but I could dream! We had to buy what we could afford, especially as we knew that I wouldn't be going back to work. There were quite a lot of things that needed to be done to our home, the hallway was completely ugly with old, stained carpet and dirty, peeling wallpaper. It sounds so glamorous, doesn't it?! In the lounge there was a tiled fireplace with a fairly old and really not at all to my taste fire in it. I knew that that was one of the things that definitely had to be on the top of our priority list of things to be sorted, especially as I have had a mirror standing in front of it since we moved in to try and disguise the ugliness!

During the first week of Seth's holiday he spent 3 days at a boys church camp. While Seth was gone, once Caleb was in bed my task was to strip the wallpaper from the chimney breast in the lounge and in the hallway. You wouldn't think it would be that big of a task really, would you? I knew it would be messy and I was fine with that but I didn't realise it would take SO LONG! The chimney breast didn't take long at all as the wallpaper hadn't been up for all that long but the hallway took what seemed like forever, even with a steamer. There were 3 layers of wallpaper and the top layer had been painted a few times. The underneath layer I'm sure was from the 1950s! It really wasn't easy to get off, I definitely had my work cut out for me! I more or less managed to get it done by the time Seth got back, so I was pretty pleased with my efforts.

The next week was so busy, Seth took out the fireplace, a plasterer came in to plaster over the chimney breast, Seth laid some laminate flooring which had to be replaced in the lounge, re-wallpapered the chimney breast and painted the hallway and I painted the doorways.


Seth did a lot of this during the day time while I was out with Caleb and in the evenings we would work on it together. It was so nice being in the hallway together, just chatting away. Seth reminded me that the floor didn't need to be filled as I seemed to be getting more filler on the floor than in the holes on the wall. We laughed a lot about it and for some stupid reason, even though I have never filled holes before, I managed to keep choosing the biggest and most awkward ones. I had to keep getting Seth to fix up my mess each time! One evening we were working on the hallway until 3.30am, but it was so much fun. At some stage in the process of me trying to paint doorways, I managed to lean on one of the freshly painted walls. Epic fail.

The lounge is finished now aside from just a couple of minor things and the hallway has been a bit of a work in progress. We didn't manage to get everything done while Seth was off so he has been laying the laminate in the hallway in the evenings when he gets home from work. Once the skirting boards are on in the hallway, that will be done too. I'm really pleased with how it looks, we chose (I chose) a grey paint and I love it! We have other things that we want to get done eventually but it's quite satisfying to be able to see what we have done and the improvement that has been made. I'm going to be doing a photo wall on one of the walls so once I have done that I will post a picture so you can see it in all its glory :).

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Going back in time

Last week, Seth was running a young mens camp for our church and so it was just Caleb and I in the house for a couple of days. On the Thursday, Lins, Sam and Caitlin came down to see us. I always love catching up with my family. I know I get to see Mum and Laura quite a bit but I don't see Lin and her family as much. We are a really close family and I miss living close to them and seeing them a lot so any time I get to see them is a novelty! Sam and Caitlin were so excited to see Caleb and to see the progress he has made, he changes so quickly!

The main reason for Lins and the kids coming down is so that we could all go and visit our old haunts. You see, I actually spent the first 8 years of my life living only about half an hour away from where I currently live. You would think that being as though it is so close I would have gone back to visit and have a look around, and yet I've not done it. I don't really know why I've not got around to it, it's one of those things I've been meaning to do. We were pretty excited about being able to do it with Sam and Caitlin. The first port of call was going to the home where my family lived before Laura and I were born. Lin told us stories of when she used to live there and the mischief that she got up to! Sam and Cait were entertained by it all and enjoyed climbing in the trees that Lin used to play in.

The next stop was Lesnes abbey ruins. The abbey dates back to 1178, so it's pretty old! I was really excited to be there again, as Lins would often take Laura and I there when  we were younger and we would have fun playing and climbing all over the ruins (yeah, we weren't meant to do that, but they were just so inviting, what child could resist?!). Sam and Caitlin kept up the tradition and spent a while playing while Lins and I chatted and Caleb entertained himself with a bottle of water!

We went to visit our old school and as luck would have it, it was open! Workmen were there painting it so we went in to have a look around. Lins and I commented on how it hadn't changed at all since we were there, which was 23 years ago for me and slightly more for Lin! There were some small modernisations but other than that it was pretty much the same. Being back in that school, it felt like no time had passed at all, it was very strange being back in there but also a lot of fun to revisit it.

When we left the school we went to visit our old houses and went to the park in the local village where we lived. It is so much cooler than when we lived there, the park is huge and there are so many fun things to play on. I may have played on a couple of things. I'm not saying that I did, just that it is possible......


I had so much fun being with my lovely family and taking a trip back down memory lane. I had such a great childhood and it was really nice to be able to share it with Sam, Cait and my own child!