Header Title and JS

original christmas rocknroll stpats easter beltane superheroes movies seasonscolours worldcup update pirates footy animals halloween mii simpsons shrek gaming 2009 2012

The Family Bandwagon

Our family is spread out across the country and across the world, and what better way to keep in touch than a collaborative digital journal?

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Happy Birthday Ossie!!

Dear Oscar,

Hope your birthday was very fun
Can't wait to see you!

Lots of love and hugz,
aunty dayna & unkie bruce

Monday, 27 January 2014

Where did January go?

On the train from Birmingham to Cambridge, perfect time to write an update. This month has disappeared far too quickly! And there hasn't been anything much going on.

Was back at work on the 6th and I've had a trip away most weeks.. to Aberystwyth for three days, an overnight in Bangor, a day trip to Swansea, and another overnight in Bangor. This trip is for a three day team meeting in Cambridge - I get back late on Wednesday (just less than a week after leaving, because it was less travel to spend the weekend with B's folks rather than heading home before Cambridge). Phew!

And yet work has felt less busy than the end of last year.. I'm trying to get more organised, GTD style (Getting Things Done  by David Allen - bottom line is to write down everything that needs be done and free up brain space). I'm also trying to cut the long hours but it's difficult when there are so many things that wouldn't happen if I didn't do them. :-\ and it doesn't help having to work evenings and weekends (eg, now)... but I'll get there.

B has had a tough time with work - the Techniquest job finished at the end of December, so he's back doing supply teaching. The schools aren't great, the classes are challenging (not in a good way), and it's such a temporary existence. There haven't been many jobs to apply for but he's had interviews for all those he did. Unfortunately, none have ended with a job. :-(

It's not all doom and gloom from us - we're off London next week to see Cirque du Soleil's Quidam. It's my present to B for his birthday (next Monday). And we've got three weeks at Easter to look forward to too. :-) by the time we come back, the weather should be less depressing. Hopefully. :-)

Let's get back to regular updates.. the Little Masons are putting all the rest us to shame. ;-) Lis, Glenn & Dee, Mum, Carolynn, Jared? How's January been for you?

*hugz* to everyone.

Friday, 17 January 2014


Time from a post from me! We've been pretty busy since... Lisa's party, I think? So, there was the party, followed by Christmas Day, our Boxing Day Brunch, a few dinners out with family, lunches out with friends, Shihan's visit, and then Damien returned to work. We're back into the usual routine now, minus kindy. It was so nice to be able to spend a lot of time with everyone during the break, and especially nice to have Damien on holidays :)

The kids loved Christmas! Presents, cousins and lots of food... we all had a good day :) It was our first one living in Bendigo, so we took the opportunity to host Dinner at our house (with the help of mum and Rach!). And no driving 7.5hours afterwards!!

We had planned on getting a kitten in the new year, but as the Bendigo Welfare & Community Services took a while to get back to us, we've decided to wait until after our overnight stay in Melb later this month (for a friend's wedding). Looking forward to going away for a night, and then getting a kitten! 

Os' birthday will be the same week as school starts. We've got a couple of things planned for his birthday, plus iai-do starts up again, so it will be a busy week! At least Os' first "week" of school is only one day, so he'll have the following weekend to recover :)

Last weekend Shaun (landlord) installed an air conditioner into the office. It's Lovely! And just in time for the heat wave we're currently experiencing. Air conditioning for the rest of the house will happen at the end of this year, so for now we're using the existing AC in the lounge and vising family/friends/shopping centres. Nights have been pretty terrible, but the cool change is on it's way!

My final "Nourish" questionnaire and weigh & measure have arrived in the mail. It has been really good to be part of the study (childhood obesity) for 5 years! Hopefully some programs/information for new parents will come of it :) 

I'm still doing pilates once a week. It's a studio session, so me and two others plus our instructor. I'd have to say, pilates machines are fun ;) It's working very well, too! My abdominal muscles are closer together and can actually meet in the middle! :) Damien's also got me started on some exercises at home.

I've probably missed something, but I'll leave it at that for now. Hope everyone is well and enjoyed their break.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Our Pre-Xmas Trip

One of the benefits of living in the UK is how easy it is to travel. We decided to make the most of Bruce's leave with a quick trip to Northern Ireland before Christmas. On Thursday 19th we flew out of Bristol. We caught the coach from Cardiff and it dropped us right at the airport. It's only a short flight across to Belfast and on arrival we collected the tiny hire car that would take us around for the four days.

After a lovely dinner with one of my work mates, we headed to the hotel. We arrived at 11.10pm and found a sign on the door that said "Check in by 11pm or your room will be re-sold"!! We phoned the manager and our room had indeed been re-sold!! However, after some discussion and a half-hour wait, we had somewhere to sleep that wasn't the car! 

Our day in Belfast started with Paddy's Black Cab Tours - our driver, Sam, was great. He told us about the troubles and took us to some of the main areas - Protestant murals near Shankill Road, the Peaceline (a wall longer and higher than the Berlin wall with gates that are still shut at night and weekends), and a Catholic remembrance garden. He dropped us off near the town hall and even gave us an umbrella (because the weather was damp). There was a Christmas Market at the town hall, so we had a look around before wandering around the city centre. It's much the same as any other city - shops, cafes, a sight-seeing dome on the top of the shopping centre(!).. There was lots for us to see.. and that was without going anywhere near the Titanic!

The next day we headed west (go west, young man) to the highest sea cliffs in the country, Slieve League. Our teeny tiny hire car didn't have guts but it managed to get us from one side of the country to the other. Eventually we found the parking for the lookout - or so we thought. We walked up the hill to discover that the lookout was another couple of miles along! A short drive later we had the chance to admire the view. Bruce went for a wander even further up the hill.

From here it was more narrow and winding roads to the thatched cottage which was our bed for the night. Beautiful building with slate floors and an open fire. We ate at Leo's Tavern - a pub owned by the father or Enya and Clannad - and chanced upon Rudolph enjoying a pint. :-)

Day Three had us driving back into Northern Ireland and over to the Giant's Causeway - columns of basalt, formed by a volcanic eruption or a giant who threw them into the sea to make a path to Scotland.... We parked, paid our exorbitant entry fee (thanks National Trust) and collected our audio guide. The stones were quite a walk from the visitor's centre and by the time we arrived we were frozen! I'm sure the audio guide tells you some interesting things but my hands were too cold to work the buttons. We might have to visit again in summer (and walk from the Inn - it's free if you don't park or get the audio guide).

We had planned to visit Bushmill's Distillery on Day Four but it was closed for Christmas (d'oh!). So we headed along the coast to the Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge. Fortunately, the bridge was open (weather was a bit dodgy, so we weren't sure it would be), so we paid our fee and went for another walk. The bridge crosses to a little island that used to be used for salmon fishing. To be honest, I think the steps down to the bridge were scarier than the bridge itself - even though the attendant told us to hold on with both hands on the way over. Having cleared out our cobwebs, we got back into our teeny little car and headed down the costal road - arriving just in time for our return flight.

More photos here: Pre-Xmas Trip 2013

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Roll on 2014

Happy new year! Good riddance to 2013 and roll on 2014, says I.

We celebrated with the Melrose clan (the Scots) by taking a picnic down to Bicentennial Park for the fireworks display -- it's the park right near our house, so not too far to go and we had a good view of the fireworks from both the Harbour Bridge and in Balmain. We also weren't the only people with the same idea! Very family friendly: they even put on early fireworks ("fa th' wee wains") at 9pm, after which Dee took Jules home to bed. He was kind of over the crowds and noise anyway. It was a pretty impressive show!

We had a few drinks, it must be said, but we also had a stack of sandwiches (Dee) and pastries (Dot) to help even our respective keels. We sat around on a blanket (ooh, which I need to pop in the washing machine! Red wine accident, thanks Rab) and chatted -- me picking Andy's brains on how to prep for a marathon, what kind of nutrition he uses before, during and afterwards, etc. Did I mention I'm running the Sydney Marathon this year? And Andy may fly back for it too (but he's already run a marathon, so is already much, much more advanced than I am).

2013 wasn't all bad for me personally, but it certainly had moments that felt like it was never going to end. To focus on the positive:

Some of the stuff I'm looking forward to this year includes:

  • Doing a lot of running!
  • Going snowboarding and/or skiing! (September, maybe?)

So that's it! I'm going to have a look at the calendar to plan a visit (to Cockatoo, and Bendigo) but in the meantime feel free to update the blog!