Saturday, 31 December 2011


2011 - The year of MASSIVE blessings and dreams fulfilled.

1 x Marriage, adventure started
1 x Wonderful Husband
1 x Name change
4 x Countries visited
60 x Hours on a plane
1 x Volcano climbed
1 x Glacier hiked
25 x Whales seen
18 x Hostels slept in
6 x Friends Weddings
3 x New Jobs (at the same time) (Self-employment technically)
1 x Dream career started
30 x Books read
1 x New Flat
4 x Tax Rebates
1 x New Car
Approx 5000 x Photos taken
Numerous x Prayers Answered
Numerous x New revelations had

Plus lots of new friends made, new fantastic music discovered, stunning sunsets seen, board games played, friends and family visited, babies cuddled, happy tears cried, hugs given and received
.... to name just a few things! :D 

Wow! Here's to 2012, hoping yours is full of love, hope, music and JOY!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Keeping the kids busy!

How to occupy the kids I nanny for, on a cold, rainy, winters day the week before christmas, when screen-watching is rationed!?....... Why, by making a Gingerbread House of course! :D

Sticking the kit together was a mammoth task and took me about an hour - nightmare! Got there eventually though and whilst managing to prevent the disappearance of too many sweets into mouths, here's what we achieved...

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Things to be Thankful for...

  • I was horribly ill for the best part of this week, yet I am blessed to live in a country with cheap and readily available medicines, blessed to not have to worry about the financial ramifications of taking time off, blessed to have a wonderful husband and great friends to look after me! Feeling much better now :D
  • Amazingly in my ill-est but also busiest week in quite a while I still managed to fulfil the  vast majority of my commitments including singing at a friends wedding and teaching my final songwriting workshop of the year at NGM! Prayer works!
  • A beautiful winter wedding yesterday on a stunning frosty and sunny winters day, including christmas trees, mulled wine, mince pies and a yummy Hog Roast. That concludes the 7 weddings of this year - they've all been awesome! 2011 was clearly the best year to get married (not that I'm biased of course :P).
  • Heating that works (despite all the bad things I've heard about storage heaters)
  • Mike. My best friend, my chief cheerer-upper, my nurse, my hot water bottle provider, my paracetamol buyer, my hug giver and smile bringer - I'm always incredibly thankful for you!
  • That the only way I am saved is by Grace, I couldn't achieve salvation even if I tried! That is a HUGE relief... cause I mess up A LOT, but His Grace is enough.
  • Even more financial blessing! Mike and I have had 4 Tax Rebate cheques since september! The last of these arrived this week smack bang in the middle  of a conversation about how much we could afford to spend on a new car! We can now buy one next week - excited! Thank You God! Your timing is impeccable as always.
  • I got to buy and decorate our very own Christmas Tree and it does look stunning :)... if I do say so myself! Photos to follow I'm sure.
  • Tomorrow morning I get to sleep in and sleep off my weeks worth of sleep deprivation! (and then I have to write 14 reports but lets not think about that yet..... SHLEEEEEP!)
  • Two weeks today is Christmas (if it had escaped your notice!). My first christmas with Mike - ever!! I have hand stitched stockings, purchased and wrapped all my presents and can't wait to head to Tenterden for family fun. 
  • This time last year I had just arrived in Sydney, Australia. I can't believe it was so long ago, I have so many amazingly happy memories. Can't wait to return - this time with Mike in tow. Merry Christmas to all my Oz family!
Picture found {here}

Friday, 4 November 2011

Raspberry Bread and Butter Pudding

So... I never used to like Bread and Butter pudding that much... maybe as a result of Bread and Butter Pudding overload during the weeks my Mum made them as demonstrations for her class at school (she's a Food Tech teacher) when I was a teen.
One thing I'm not a huge fan of is the traditional use of raisins in them. So last week when we had a 3rd of a loaf of bread going stale I thought I'd see whether this pudding could be made with the things in my cupboard. I've heard suggestions of using Marmalade before but the closest I had was Raspberry Jam........ I can tell you now that it worked......... oh yes it worked a treat!
(Unfortunately I have no picture of my pudding due to a currently broken and battery-less camera - apologies)

Pic found {here}

15 fl oz Milk
2 Eggs
2 oz Sugar
5 slices of bread (you can use any bread, white brown, seeded, brioche, croissants etc - works best if the bread is going a bit stale.)
Raspberry Jam or Fresh Raspberries
Butter or Margerine

  • Spread butter and jam on one side of bread and cut into squares/rectangles
  • Arrange in layers in an oven-proof dish (if using fresh raspberries, dot these between each layer)
  • For the top layer put the bread jam side down and butter the other side (the top) of the bread.
  • Lightly whisk together milk, eggs and sugar
  • Pour the mixture over the layers of bread
  • Cook in Oven on 180°C for 40 mins or until golden crispy brown on top. (It will also rise quite a lot).
  • Serve with custard hot or cold to your liking.
Cheap, easy and extra yummy!!! :D

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Things to be Thankful For...

  • 4 months of Married Awesomeness!!!
  • My live-in husband back-scratcher = Bliss, actual bliss! :P
  • Cold autumn mornings, with fog and white breath and sunshine all at the same time!
  • Friends having babies - Baby Bella born yesterday and Baby Eden will be born next week hopefully! Beautiful, very excited for them :)
  • Time to do a Jigsaw puzzle with friends who are waiting for the imminent arrival of said baby Eden.
  • My first ever bunch of flowers from my husband! :D Don't worry though he is romantic in lots of other non-traditional ways :)
  • Being able to make the most of last completely free saturday (maybe till christmas), with Mr V! What started with a lie-in became a lovely lazy day complete with Fry-up, PJs, Xbox, lots of laughter, some Alias, and lots and lots of hugs! :D
  • A very successful first proper lesson at NGM on thursday, I felt like a proper teacher and everything! 
  • Amazingly after pulling a muscle in my back last weekend and having a VERY painful week beginning, miraculously the pain had completely gone by tuesday lunchtime and I have had a brilliant and productive week despite the setback. Thanks for the prayers!
  • Constantly finding more in our Bank Account than we estimated having in there.
  • Having a fantastically talented Mum who is making me a new winter coat for this year! After having bought her the fabric and buttons, she will still be saving me at least £30, and I get a well-made, designer, original Coat that will last years longer than one from the highstreet! Genius!
  • I got to go to the Cinema twice this week. Once for free, thanks to Nannying :)
  • After weeks and weeks of my designing, our Wedding Photo Book has finally been printed and is stunning if I do say so myself!
  • Being able to hold off turning on the heating that little bit longer due to sharing a bed! 
  • Having travel expenses paid for work that effectively covers ALL of our weekly petrol costs as they pay 40p a mile (about double what it actually costs)! TYJ!
  • The exciting weekends planned ahead!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

This Week...

I have been lesson planning... because tomorrow I start teaching!
God is amazingly good at opening unexpected doors but he also has a great sense of humour because, classroom teaching..... I have always told everyone adamantly I would never do (especially my mum, who is a teacher)!
But now every thursday I am teaching Music Theory and Songwriting to a class of approximately thirteen 18-25yr olds. (This means that some of them could be older than me :S weird!)
It's all quite daunting but really trying to remember the big picture of how awesome this actually is! Having been on their mailing list for years, seeing their shows, following their bands at Soul Survivor and the like, I am now teaching for NGM (New Generation Music) - an awesome Christian Charity {here}. This is BIG!! And it keeps hitting me what a potentially massive door this is for me!
In their own words...

"New Generation Music is a vibrant community of artists who are passionate about art and life.
Filled with creativity, ngm produce music, artists, dancers, musicians, unique artist training courses, innovative conferences, and much more. As artisans they seek to bring beauty, excellence, and influence through all they do. They help to transform people and communities through their creativity all infused with their Christian faith and values." 

Cool huh!? So excited, a tad nervous and expecting to learn from this experience as much I teach, is how I will go tomorrow. Let's see where this road leads... if you're of the praying kind, then please pray :)

Image found {here}

Monday, 10 October 2011

Things I am Thankful For...

Original found {here}, also found {here}

  • Slowly, but surely getting excited about song writing again! Feeling inspired and excited about ideas and potential collaborations.
  • Pinterest! If you don't know what this is then check out my page {here}. Pinterest has seriously helped inspire me this week and I have a new lyric notebook starting to fill up :D
  • Hugs that literally physically prevent you from breathing and all the words and feelings conveyed in those few breath-taking moments.
  • A taste of heaven whilst at Church last night - AMAZING, beautiful, stunning, tear-bringing, life-bringing, eye-opening, hope-breathing, reality-checking, flaming AWESOME Worship moment! There is nothing better, not one thing, than being in HIS presence! Need to remember that!
  • Once again for Mike, who I saw cry (good tears) last night for only the second time. What an amazing evening! So incredibly thankful to be on this journey with you, what an adventure and what a JOY!
  • Finding my voice again... thanks to a fantastic new music find, I have been singing all week. And strangely enough, for a singer, that hasn't been very common of me in recent years - ask anyone. Audrey Assad - 'The House You're Building' = AMAZING album! It's hard to pick one song to share with you but here goes...

Friday, 7 October 2011

Home Sweet Home

Thought it was about time I showed you our nest, lovely little flat number 5, small but perfectly formed! And very very tidy today - hence the photo taking :P

You have no idea how much fun I had organising everything onto these bookcases! Creativity and perfectionism combined! 
Take a lovely new black sofa (amazing blessing IKEA bargain basement purchase!) and add TONS of colour! With the help of handmade cushion from OZ and mum-made quilt! Ta da!
My Office :D (... and yes it is a backwards clock! :P)
Bedroom fitting a King-Size Bed in it perfectly - and I mean perfectly!
Bath Georgian TownHouse view :)
Earring Collection - or as I like to call them... wall art!
Kitchen, obviously!
Useful/fun whiteboard :D
Pretty window-sill decoration
AWESOME wedding pressie! Thanks Amy Samuel! (unfortunately due to renting and not owning flat, we can't put it on the wall in this home as it needs mega-holes drilling into the wall!)
Our view! Very Bath!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A Very Cute Bonus!

Check out the extremely cute bonus I get in my nannying job!
Blog... meet 'Widget'.......

I have always loved dogs, especially Cocker Spaniels and this 3 year old is adorable! despite the fact that I have had to pull him out of the canal on 2 separate occasions lol!
So I get to walk him with the kids, play with him and get lots of doggy cuddles but I don't have to foot his bills or de-flea him :P NICE! :D

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Things to be Thankful for... During the Lows!

For me it's been a week of both very positive/exciting highs and very confusing lows.
But in the lows I know that speaking out truth, joy, light and his promises over my situation is the best thing to do so I am really trying to remember and hold on to my many, many reasons to be thankful! For there really are, so many, amazing reasons!!

I'm Overwhelmingly Thankful for...
  • Music and its power to inspire, encourage, heal, motivate, create atmosphere, bring freedom, bring laughter, bring tears, break down barriers, surprise, comfort and create a cry in me of either complete joy or complete surrender of emotions.
  • The very exciting songs coming out of Freedom Bath & Bristol, the plans for our upcoming album, our passion as a team to reveal the heart of our church, the heart of its people - to the glory of GOD!
  • I love playing with Lego, playing sporty games on the Wii, searching for conkers and know enough about Rugby and the like to hold a conversation - all very useful when you look after an 7 year old boy 3 times a week!
  • This amazing book  'Living With a Creative Mind' by the brilliant Jeff & Julie Crabtree - I have a signed copy as of this week - before it's even published! Hopefully it's going to help me understand myself a little better :D (I must say - so far it's very good!)
  • That I have a start date for my new job with NGM! (New Generation Music and Mission) On the 20th October I start as a Volunteer Music Teacher - teaching music theory, songwriting and vocal workshops - one day a week, for this amazing Christian Charity!  It's going to be a steep learning curve I'm sure but a very exciting opening door!
  • Lots of people requesting my Singing Teaching services!
  • Being born for such a time as this!
  • However low I get, or how confusing life is, or how much I doubt myself, or doubt my abilities, or however much I'm overwhelmed by the task ahead - I know that HE is FAITHFUL, HE KNOWS ME more than I could ever know myself, HE will NEVER LEAVE ME, HE LOVES ME UNCONDITIONALLY! In short.... - Every little thing is going to be alright! (Makes me want to sing a song - thanks to Delirious! lol!)

Monday, 26 September 2011

Banana and Chocolate Cake!!

So as usual, it was the end of the week, and I had a small bunch of Bananas I had forgotten to eat, going mushy in my fruit bowl so I decided to be all 'domestic-like' and make a cake!!! (Definitely the best type of domesticity I think lol!)

Now I'm not one for following recipes because they always seem to involve a large amount of specific ingredients that I don't have - simple is good with me - using the basics I have in the cupboard to create something just as yummy! So I was very chuffed when I found the simplest recipe ever (thanks to Google) and it made a magnificent Cake! YAY!

Unfortunately the photo isn't mine (as a silly someone *oops* forgot to put a memory card in the camera!) but what's a recipe without a photo right!

 You need...
  • 4oz butter or margarine
  • 6oz sugar (granulated, caster, or mix in some demerara, whatever you have to hand)
  • 8oz self raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 large or 3 medium, very ripe bananas (I used 4 medium and it still worked)
  • Chocolate chunks or chips (or nuts, or cinnamon or nutmeg... whatever floats your boat)
To make...
  • Heat the oven to gas mark 4; 180C
  • Grease a 2lb loaf tin. (I used a 7" deep round tin and it still worked)
  • Mash the bananas with a fork.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together and mix in the eggs
  • Mix together the two yellow sludges you now have.
  • Mix in the flour.
  • Scrape into the loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes then lower the temperature to gas mark 2; 150C and cook for a further 30 minutes.
  • Try to let it cool (turned out on a rack) before you devour it. (We didn't suceed in waiting this long - whoops! :P)
And Wallah!!! Yummy Cake! Devoured by Mike, myself and my Band in about 15 mins flat!!
Original recipe found {here}

Friday, 23 September 2011

Thankful For...

  • The FACT that HIS Love never fails, never gives up and never runs out on me!
  • Morning sunshine after a couple of days of rain
  • My Husband who still thinks I'm lovely when I'm so sure I'm not
  • Having so much singing to do I'm actually losing my voice (need to get training again!)
  • For being woken daily with a hug
  • Time to pray whilst walking in the sunshine :) After a couple of weeks of distance and confusion it was great to connect again.
  • For someone whose only technically 'employed' 9 hours a week - I am feeling really busy!
  • Female friend time playing Lego Star Wars on the Xbox! Yes you read that right lol! Jess - we shall do it again! :D
  • We looked after our friends 9month old last night and he/we survived! He didn't even cry - in 3 hours! Thank you God! :D Also turns out he loves the camera. Blog, meet William...

(NB Just because I realise how a post about babies looks like straight after a post about my wedding... don't even go there lol! Not me, we're not at all broody! We just have lots of friends with very cute babies! Absolutely no need to currently 'watch this space' :P)

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Wedding Photos!

I finally have photos to share with you!!
Photos of the best day of my life! (so far! :P)
We have a portfolio of 700 photos plus about 4000 raw images taken by our official photographers plus some talented friends and family. I am finally going to share with you a few of Mike and my favourites because as I'm sure you'll agree I can't put them all on here.

So here you go... enjoy!