Spring in Pet Corner Part 2

Since I last wrote just a couple of weeks ago, it feels like lots has been going on with all the furry members of the family!

Not least with Charmer, who, when I last wrote had just recovered from his eye ulcer, and has since decided he was missing the vet and a few days later came in on three legs holding one of his back legs up in the air. 😩

At first we were really concerned that it looked like a serious tendon injury or similar, and I was very upset at the idea of a long box rest or something really difficult to deal with at his age – but our vet was great, and in the end concluded it was a flare up of his usual arthritis – which we’re at least so used to dealing with, so he could have an increased dose of his anti inflammatories for a while and take it day by day. He’d had a couple of days box rest while we sussed it out, but since then has been out to keep him moving, just with his few hours in a day for hay and dinners! And I’m really delighted to report he’s doing much better and is enjoying life again. He knows how to keep me on my toes these days… but I’m really so glad he’s doing well and back to enjoying his views. 🥰🥰

In the house, I’ve been absolutely loving lots of time with the little pets!

Rory-boy our new wee gerbil has settled in so well in the last few weeks. He’s such a brilliant wee character. He turns out to be very friendly and not averse to being handled at all, has enjoyed some time out exploring and is very confident.

I have been doing lots of reading and scouting of people’s set ups on gerbil care groups online, and decided to upgrade him from the old Savic XL gerbilarium we had to a longer tank-style cage. Had been keeping an eye out for a second hand glass tank not unlike Fish’s, as I’d read glass is best for gerbils, but in the end found a Ferplast Maxi Duna Multy on Marketplace for a great price so have gone for that. May live to regret it if Rory turns out to be a plastic base chewer! But for now I’m really delighted with how it’s turned out.

It’s just under 100cm long, and have left about 2/3 of the length of it with deep bedding about 8-10 inches deep, which is what he had in his smaller first tank, and we knew he just loved to make tunnels and caves. Even though the depth is almost the same, and length too given that we’ve put a wee cardboard divide up, it still feels a much bigger space just by being wider, and it must to him too, as he’s loving it. The other third is on a lower level with less bedding, and has space for his wheel (which he’s not got the hang of yet, will update on this!!), food and water and chew toys.

I’m really amazed at how much he seems to be enjoying it. I think with being able to see out easier, having a wider and longer floor space and having a separate area for his pottering about, he just seems to really love it. He’s been very active since I transferred him and loving watching us all more too.

I’ve also been reading on how to introduce him to a companion if we decide that might be doable, and on what’s best with that. Lots of advice is that gerbils are so social, and really appreciate a friend, but I am nervous with him having been alone so long and how content he seems to be in his own company. We’ll continue to look into it, but I’m just over the moon to see such a happy wee critter for now, and the different tunnel networks that appear every day!

Young Buzz has also got in on Rory’s shout with a couple of wee twists to his cage layout. Reading so much about gerbil care for the first time actually drew my attention more to something I’d already seen a mention of on the rescue page we have homed Buzz and all our recent hamsters from – which was the fact that the Blue Cross have recently updated their guidance for small animal enclosures, taking all hamsters, even dwarfs like Buzz, from a recommendation of 80cm unbroken floor space (which is what Buzz has in his very old Ferplast Mary cage), to 100cm. For gerbils, the change, both just a few weeks ago in April, took it from 75cm for them to 100cm too. Rory is a cm off that now (😅 which we won’t quibble over!!!) with the Maxi Duna Multy tank being 99cm, but Buzz at the moment will stay in his cage he’s been in long term. Our rescue are still allowing these for hamsters of Buzz’s type, and I feel really confident that he’s very happy and settled in his little home.

However, doing a wee bit of reading on how hamsters also can enjoy the digging and burrowing like gerbils – and seeing how much Rory does – thought would add a little grass mat to one side for Buzz, to heighten his cage at that corner and let me add some proper digging material and space. It remains to be seen whether he takes to this, as he eyed it with much suspicion when I was setting it up and so far hasn’t had a wee explore – we will see! Think our Buzz might be more of a pootler than a digger – he’s forever in and out of all his little houses, on and off his wheel, and scurrying food around. It’s always fun to learn more about the wee animals though, an try new things to take their attention!

Rosie and Theo are doing grand, spending long sunny days out in their catio and lazy evenings in with us – these first two photos below were when a moth dared to fly in one night at bedtime, they definitely put on a united front to chase it 😅😅🐾

And today is an exciting day for our little Pet Corner, as we are once again welcoming some new additions which I am so so excited about! When I last wrote I’d said we’d been planning to add some pet rats to the family for the first time in years, my very most beloved of small pets 🥰🥰 And this week we were accepted to rehome some baby girls from a local SSPCA centre, who we are travelling to collect this afternoon. ❤️ Have been working hard on creating the area for all the pets and we’re so excited to bring home the new additions.

It’s been a whirlwind of a week, and we originally thought we’d have a longer wait, as we were on a waiting list for breeder rats not yet born, but we’d also had our names down with the SSPCA and this week got a call about these little girls, and after a video home check on Thursday, we’re all sorted and due to collect today.

I’m absolutely loving having so much time with all the pets at the moment – Charmer, the cats and all the little ones, and I’ve so missed having a “mischief of rats” these last few years, so this is such a big day. Will introduce them soon!! 🐁


Spring Update from Pet Corner 🐾

Lovely to find a wee Sunday morning chance to write here again for the first time in a while – when I last wrote a wee round-up of life with us, and in particular our wee furry contingent (🐾/) we were just coming out of winter.

It feels like lots has moved on since then in our little family, though in really positive ways. We’re on new work and nursery routines – which has been really exciting, but also really settling, and we are finding our new pattern one that’s working for everyone, giving us lots of time together – and with the animal members of the family too! 🥰

Charmer, Rosie, Theo, Buzz and Fish have all been doing very well the past couple of months, and we’ve got some new addition news too! 🥰

My biggest boy first, my lovely Charmer has just celebrated his 27th birthday. 🥳

He’s had a really good end of winter / beginning of spring – has been sound, happy and healthy which is all I could ask for! ❤️

He’s had his feet done in the last month and has a new farrier now too, who seems great – we’ve been very lucky with our farriers old and new – C can find picking up his feet tricky with his arthritis, and they are so understanding and accommodating.

He did have a bit of a blip a couple of weeks ago when he came in from the field with a sore eye, and, after being checked by the vet, turned out to have an ulcer. But, a week of wrestling eye-drops in twice a day later (not easy!!! 😅) I was delighted that on her return the vet could confirm we’d got rid of it. He’s still sporting some very fetching eye-wear when it’s bright!! But otherwise doing great.

In some ways it was a great catalyst to get us on to our summer routine; as he couldn’t be out in the light while his ulcer was worst, so switched to nights out, and is now enjoying being out all night and some of the day too – transitioning to spending lots of time out when there’s a bit more grass. 🌾

He’s not the only one to have had a birthday this week, as Rosie and Theo turned 2 yesterday!

We gave them a good wee fuss yesterday, the kids loving setting them up a party, and it was lovely to celebrate them. I do love a good old pet birthday – I just think it’s lovely to have a chance to reflect on them and their role in the family. It’s hard to believe that it’s two years since we decided to add “a cat” (originally!) to our family, and that a couple of months later two wee scraps of fur were with us, that have somehow turned into these lovely wee adult cats we’re so lucky to have. ❤️ 🐈‍⬛ 🐈‍⬛

We’re so lucky they get on so well together too – they can seem quite independent of each other, and don’t ever curl up properly together to sleep, but they always like to be relatively close to each other; and we’ve noticed more than ever recently how strong their bond is. Rosie has always kind of “mothered” Theo because she was such a big strong healthy kitten and he was really just wee tiny one in the litter, and that dynamic remains. At night if he can’t find her in the house (usually because she’s out in their catio where she loves to lie in the evenings watching birds and bats), he desperately tries to find her and meows his special anguished emergency meow 😅, and she comes running. He’s always checking she’s here and ok. And the other day Theo was doing the classic furball wheeze and Rosie came running from a different part of the house and started licking him. I know it can often be that when cats hit adulthood they don’t get on as well, so count ourselves very lucky.

Our wee Buzz hamster is just doing away, doing very well, as is Fish, our lovely goldfish in the tank next to him. 🥰 Buzz is a wee ball of a hamster these days so hoping to get him spending a wee bit of time out exercising!!! But he’s a happy wee character, loving his cage and a wee hello out and about too. And Fish, who is over 7 now, doing what he does best! 🌊 🐠

Their usual little Pet Corner has been added to this week, with a new addition.

We have recently been discussing as a family a plan to get some baby rats at some point in the future, and had been exploring the options for how we could keep them, where to get them from and approaching local breeders about possibly going on waiting lists for future litters. This was a plan we were taking our time slowly to think through, and one we’ll continue to look at. I kept pet rats for almost ten years and only stopped when my oldest daughter was a baby and I had a lot less time (when I first started this blog over 6 years it was about 80% rats!! (And the other 20 Charmer! 😄))

However, in the midst of this, I’d started popping into our local pet shop a bit more on my days off with my littlest – buying our regular cat and hamster bits, but also letting her see the rats there and looking at the new bits of equipment we’d get for our rats down the line when we get them.

There we met, several weeks ago now, a wee gerbil in the adoption centre. His name was Simba, and he was two years old and had been handed in by his old owners when their circumstances changed. I asked about him the first time I saw him because I was so surprised to see one on his own and they told me he’d always been on his own after being separated from others when he was young due to being bullied. We’d seen him again and again over a few weeks; and the girls in the pet shop, who are really lovely, had said he was having very little interest.. well, you can guess the rest! I found that I had an old gerbil cage in good working order in the back and on Friday brought home a much less well-planned out, more impulsive addition, but one I’m so glad to have. 🥰

“Simba” has now been renamed Rory – as we already had a house-rabbit Simba who was a big part of our home for years – and is such a feisty, spirited wee soul.

I have a lot to learn about gerbils in general (I haven’t had one since my very first pet as a child, who was a silvery gerbil called Rustler I really loved), and how we can help Rory in particular. I am unsure whether it will possible to introduce him to company in the future – have been doing lots of reading the past few weeks while keeping an eye on him in there; and I know introductions can be difficult, though not impossible, so think we will have to take our lead from how he seems. Although the pet shop were happy with our cage too, and Rory seems VERY happy to have a deep bedding area to tunnel in, he would benefit from a bit more space, so we’ve started looking into some DIY cages and different options.

With the changes work wise recently, I’ve found myself with a bit more free time in the evenings; and I’m loving having more time with the animals. That was why I’d looked to return to keeping rats, but also why I’m so glad to have a new wee rescue on our hands. The lady who helped us with the adoption did warn that Rory doesn’t seem very keen on handling at the moment, and they don’t think he’s been well handled, but I laid my hand in his cage for a while last night and he was very curious and unfazed.

I’m so looking forward to getting to know him. I love a small pet, I love learning more about their care and personalities, and I’m looking forward to a project to see if we can build up his confidence with people and give him plenty of companionship.🥰

That’s all from the wee crew here just now, but hope you’re all having a lovely long weekend.


Quiet Sunday, and 2022 reading round-up ❤️📚

Having a quiet start to the day, after a busy back shift last night and with a lovely but busy family day ahead of us. Enjoyed a coffee in the garden, watching Teddy-cat Theo potter on the grass, a wee step out of the usual breakfast chaos of Yoto daily podcast, over-flowing bowls of cereal and over-flowing excitement for the day ahead.

Sometimes life is so busy I feel like I hardly take the time to sit and enjoy the outdoors at home. I’m never not grateful for the sheep and deer in the field across the road, that we can point out to each other in the mornings, dashing into the car for the nursery drop off run; but have been wanting for a while to take more time to slow down properly and enjoy it.

Sitting out this morning – watching the starlings swoop in their huge flock from rooftop to rooftop; listening to the chickens two doors down pecking and pottering and making the loveliest morning chatter to each other; and Teddy sniffing at the crocuses just appearing along the fence – it was lovely to take some time and enjoy it.

Also gave me a chance to finally catch up a bit on my reading round up for last year had been meaning to transfer over from Instagram to here. I enjoy writing there with so many similar readers but this is where I always used to post my reading along with everything else, and I know a lot of you do too and have loved seeing some recommendations on here!

🌟 2022 ~ My Year In Books 🌟

In 2022, I read 47 books, a few less than the last couple of years, but a couple more in the end than I expected when I set up my Goodreads Reading Challenge, which I just hit on the 27th December right on time!

It was a good year for books and I enjoyed reading a lot. Not included in this were so many articles, chapters and parts of books read for work and studying last year. It was brilliant being back to learning so much and I really enjoyed it.. and my reading for pleasure last year provided a lovely balance to that too, lots of it light and positive and easy to get lost in.

Enjoyed having a look at the type of things I’d been reading – in amongst these 47, there were 28 fiction and 19 non fiction – probably the highest non fiction ratio I’ve had!

37 of the books I read were typically for adults vs 10 children’s books… which I do always love! ❤️

I had a lot of new reads last year proportionately – with 38 new to me and just 9 re-reads… pretty low for me as I love to re-visit old friends.. 🥰

In the mix were 7 crime/mysteries, 6 memoirs, 7 romances, 16 contemporary novels, 4 parenting books and just 3 classics last year as my reading seemed to have been pretty modern (not a single Jane Austen – must remedy in 2023!!)

There continue to be themes that stand out for me that I come back to time and again – I read (between fiction and non) 8 books with older age (particularly dementia) as a major theme this year; and also 8 animal/ pony/nature books, a type of book that will just always be my absolute favourite. ❤️

There was some branching out too as I read my first graphic novel (Hearstopper❤️) and another (Talking to Gina ❤️), and also just in last few weeks of the year started enjoying audiobooks, something I’d never done before.

🌟📚 Books I Loved in 2022 📚🌟

I usually do a Top 5 books of those I’d read new to me within the year – and I have again this year with a wee mix of 3 fiction and 2 non, and so many of the topics close to my heart in here – animals, murder mystery, ageing and family relationships all in my ✨ Top 5 ✨…

🌟 A Boy Made of Blocks ~ Keith Stuart
🌟 Dementia: The One-Stop Guide ~ June Andrews
🌟 If Only They Could Talk ~ James Herriot
🌟 Where Memories Go ~ Sally Magnusson
🌟 The Bullet That Missed ~ Richard Osman

These books were all wonderful and I would whole-heartedly recommend. “A Boy Made of Blocks” and “Where Memories Go” in particular are two books I know I will never forget and I think are just incredibly written, moving and important books.

I did have a few more I wanted to also mention though that I really enjoyed too so have another five, again all new to me this year, that would make it into a top ten!

🌟 The Sober Diaries ~ Clare Pooley
🌟 How to be a Calm Parent ~ Sarah Ockwell-Smith
🌟 The House in the Cerulean Sea ~ TJ Klune
🌟 The Christmas Bookshop ~ Jenny Colgan
🌟 Still Life ~ Val McDermid

Again 3 fiction and 2 non, these five very varied with crime, romance, fantasy, parenting and Clare Pooley’s moving memoir of her journey to sobriety.

Across the ten, just noticed now there’s lots home-grown, with 4 Scottish writers… but otherwise a pretty eclectic mix!

All these I’ve posted reviews of over the year and would love to know if others have read and enjoyed any of these books or if anyone ends up picking any up!

Although at a very gentle pace, have enjoyed a good start to reading in 2023 too, and will post some January reads soon.

Hope you’re all having a lovely Sunday! Xx


Winter-time catch up… mostly pets! 🐾

It’s been so long since I’ve written – seem to be managing a quarterly (at best!) scribble on here, and just as infrequently on to find time to enjoy reading all the lovely blogs I love to follow.. but have found myself with a wee hour in a cafe this morning on a sunny February day with a coffee and a view, and it’s lovely to get a chance to gather some thoughts on the last few months.

All has been ticking along well in our corner of the world, if in a bit of a whirlwind sometimes! I last wrote just as December was approaching, but realised when I looked back that I’d missed the chance to update on pet changes from further back – so will start, (as is often the way!!, and certainly always was back in the beginning of my blogging), with our animal contingent!

A wee introduction first of all to our new addition I realised I’d never found time to write about… young Buzz, a dwarf hamster we adopted back in July – who we still consider our little baby but who is now 8 months old.

Just after we lost our last wee Sparkle hamster in July last year, we learned that our local hamster and small pet rescue, where we’ve been glad to welcome our last three hamsters from now, had just taken in a mum and litter of eight kittens, one of whom was our Buzz.

It was amazing to have had the chance to see his story documented from when he was two days old, to have seen pictures of him growing and changing with his lovely mum and his brothers and sisters (all of whom had Toy Story names by pure coincidence in what, for our girls, was – very appropriately – the Toy Story-est of summers!).

We brought him home when he was six weeks old and just a tiny wee soul. Buzz is a lovely hamster – he’d been well-handled from a couple of weeks old and is very friendly, and an industrious climber and player in his cage too. He’s a lovely part of our family.

As for the rest, they’ve mostly just been doing well and time’s been flying by – Charmer, our lovely Fell pony, is turning 27 in April. He’s close to the end of yet another winter and I’m delighted he’s done really well this year. We settled to nights in sooner, he’s been in every night since I think around the beginning of October and wouldn’t have managed without that, but has really thrived on the routine and enjoyed his days out in the field, and his evenings in the stable eating hay.

He’s had his teeth done this winter, and they’re doing not too bad for his age – we do have a plan for different forage should he need it but at the moment maintaining weight on his regular hay and his winter feed, and, though we’re looking forward to summer, he’s done really well this winter.

He did struggle for a bit with a shoe-less experiment we tried in the autumn, but now that he has his shoes back on is moving really well, and I’m really pleased to see him enjoying himself.

His little charges have been spending lots of time at the farm and in his old age he’s given up any pretence of grudging their attention and has just settled fully to letting them fuss over him and feed him treats all day long.

Rosie and Theo, our little cats, are almost 2 years old now, and are doing well. Both seemed to mature a little when they hit around 18 months in the autumn, with Theo a very lean springy boy-cat now and Rosie a slightly rounder little lady. They are both still very petite, and very content with life, spending time in their run out the back shouting at birds and enjoying the sunshine, having occasional dashes around the garden with us, and lounging around the house being top office cats while my husband works from home, with mad half hours tearing up and down the stairs chasing each other thrown in (usually when we’re all trying to go to sleep!).

Since then they’ve enjoyed their second Christmas, where they spent no less time climbing the Christmas tree than their first, just increased the number of baubles they could dislodge with each climb due to being slightly bigger!!

We’ve had the odd little break this year and have left them overnight a few times now, finding our way with what suits them for holiday care, something we were really nervous about navigating. In the summer, we were away once for 3 nights with family and once for 4 ourselves, and they stayed together in a local cattery we were recommended and were really pleased with. They seemed to do ok there, very happy to have each other and we would definitely consider again, but they do seem much more comfortable and happy at home, so we’ve also used, so far just for a night each time, a local pet sitter who calls in on them at home, which has been brilliant as they’ve got their own routine and comforts and they seem to do ok with that, especially since we’re never away more than a few days at a time.

For the most part though, we’re just all at home – they love that at least one of us is in almost all the time – and they seem to be very relaxed as they creep up to two years with us, which has passed so fast!

It’s also a whole year next week since we added Fish to our brood, our now 7-year-old goldfish, rehomed from our family. Fish-keeping was all new to me when he arrived with us, and I’m still really enjoying having him. Did lots of reading on goldfish back when he was new, and know that really still, ideally, he would have an bigger tank than he does or in fact best of all be living a pond life, but we did increase his tank space as far as we can for the space we’ve got when we found a 120l tank online second-hand and transferred him over to that at the beginning of last summer. He seems to really enjoy having a bit more swishing room and flitting around. I still can’t get over how much there was to learn with a cold-water fish – filters and cycling and pH readings were all new to me, but it was really fun to learn it and I’m very fond of our wee Fish who always comes to greet me in the morning, ever hopeful of more food!

One final update – not an animal who is still with us, but once a part of the family always a part of the family! Our valiant wee Pidge, who stayed with us for a while last February when we agreed to take him as an injured unwanted racing pigeon, and who later went to the best temporary home with a pigeon rehabiliator a bit away from us. We had a lovely message not too long ago from the person who’d given him such a wonderful recovery and home for the time being, to say that Pidge (now renamed Willy, after his period of will-he-won’t-he survive!) had found a forever home in a beautiful place with lots of space to fly, adopted together with a mate who he was devoted to… if that’s not a wholesome ending to the story of a pigeon who stumbled across us in a storm, I don’t know what is. ❤ We were glad to be part of his story and lovely to hear he’s safe and well.

I’ve tapped away so much on pets I’ve barely time to cover the rest of us, but we’re all doing well. One big girl who turned 5 at Christmas, impossibly long-leggedy and grown-up now, and one whirl of an almost-3-year-old running headlong into everything she does and enjoying it all, and us just doing away, juggling work and kids. I’ve so much more I’d love to catch up on. We’ve just booked two trips for this year I’m soo looking forward to – one in just a couple of weeks time now just for one night to Stirling, where we first met and used to live, to show the kids some favourite haunts, and a longer holiday for 4 nights in the summer down to the Peak District in a caravan. I’ve still been meaning to write about our last year’s summer holiday, which I will when I can! And some catching up too on reading, which I’ve still been diarying away on my Instagram with, but will do a wee round up of 2022 reading on here, and maybe (just maybe!) get a monthly summary of books read this year too.

I really do love writing, and reading all your stories too, and I do hope all of you and families, pets, adventures and corners of the world are doing well too!


October & November 🧡🍁🍂

My last blog entry, back when we’d all had Covid and had a little hiatus of at-home peace, was called Slowing Down – and this one could very easily be Speeding Back Up, as – despite falling in love with the gentle pace of life we had for a few weeks there and doing my best, at first at least, to keep things a little less busy – before I knew it, we were back to as much of a whirl as ever.

Sometimes, with my care home job, extra bank shifts in the NHS, my volunteer work with the playgroup, college, the kids – changing and growing and spreading their little wings, the pets, including the pony, who’s on an in-at-nights routine now for winter….. sometimes all of it can be a bit of a juggling act and there have been times in the past few months that I’ve found myself stressed and struggling to balance it all.

But, while it was wonderful to have the pressure off for a bit and just enjoy time at home with the family, I’ve found my perspective shift on all the busyness in the past couple of weeks and I’ve been very grateful for it. My focus is very much on the time with family as the most important thing, and I truly love the days when we’ve nothing to do but put a cosy film on or head out together for a day’s exploring, but within all the busyness there have been so many amazing experiences.

Both girls are reaching new stages all the time – our oldest is thriving in nursery now – just a few months away from school and suddenly seeming ready for it being around the corner, gaining confidence in herself and all her activities every day; and youngest still keeping me busy with all the toddlers groups we go along to together, loving the routine of different things every day, but also having just started one morning a week being dropped off at playgroup, settling in beautifully. Being part of their little worlds at this stage is amazing – and all of it I feel just so all-in with – the music group both of them have always gone along to, youngest still going every Monday morning, is somewhere I feel so happy to have a little community of parents and children and to know all the songs and atmosphere of so well – same with our village Toddlers and our regular soft play cafe with friends. My Littles thrive on the routine but I do too. Recently I got involved in helping with a little weekly library in my Big Little’s nursery and I’ve loved it, being in her environment, getting to know kids and staff and get an insight into her days. (Plus it is a joy to see the kids’ joy at borrowing books!)

With working with playgroup too, Littlest Little’s transition has been so easy, as she’s been used to popping in and out with me, and I love knowing the staff well who are looking after her as she moves away from us a couple of hours a week for the first time – a big thing for a lockdown baby!! We seem to be moving fast away from this little toddler / pre-school era and I really want to take the time to enjoy it all while it lasts.

In working and studying at the moment, there are a lot of plates spinning, but I have found some ways to settle it down a little in the last little while – I’m really glad to be working relief / bank and being able to reduce down or increase hours where needed, and, at the moment, with so much going on, I’m sticking to a routine of 2 days a week in the care home, and been taking just (pretty occasional at the moment!) ad hoc extra shifts at the hospital with the NHS over and above. I don’t feel able to settle into a regular pattern there at the moment, but the shifts I’ve been doing – sometimes in our local hospital in rehab wards, sometimes in the bigger hospital in the labour wards and maternity department, have been amazing. I’ve learned so much, and it’s amazing experience I’m glad to build on slowly. Being in maternity is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I was in with my first and I love having a chance to work there on and off. All of it ties in so well to college too, where we’ve just begun our SVQ along with our weekly classes, and so are doing lots of reflecting on work. And, in fact, all of the playgroup work ties in too as I’m getting such an insight into early years care and especially all the care standards side of it, so between the three there’s such a lot to inform all our interesting conversations in college, and it’s great to have so much to draw on and really lets me make the most of the time studying.

But keeping all this to a limit has meant that there has been some time again for those totally relaxed times with family, at home, with the animals, or out adventuring. In the past couple of months we’ve managed a couple of lovely trips I meant to find time to post about – one up to Pitlochry to the Enchanted Forest, a traditional highlight of our year – this year the first since 2019 and therefore first for our Littlest Little – we all just loved it, and had an amazing time. It was as beautiful as ever – very simple, very stripped back, and such a peaceful and magical night.

A couple of weeks later, we were back up in the same area (our original trip would have been combined but had to rearrange both when we weren’t well so ended up two jaunts, one just for the evening and a second overnight!). We spent a night in Aberfeldy, and a couple of days exploring Aberfeldy, Pitlochry and surrounding countryside, and had a wonderful time. Things had been busy for all of us, with all the kids’ activities and and our works – my husband a couple of months into a very busy new job too – and it was so lovely to take what was really just a 24 hour break, but felt to us like a week away, in the midst of it all.

As we come to the end of November, we’re all looking forward to December, to Christmas and all the family celebrating (a 5th birthday coming up, not that I can quite believe it!), and I’m so enjoying it all. The pets are doing well – more of a post on them when I can! Today both girls are home as it’s a strike day at the schools, so we are off to do our horse chores shortly and enjoy some unscheduled time with the big nursery girl home.

Hope you are all well. ❤


Slowing down

A couple of weeks ago, we finally succumbed to Covid for the first time in our wee house. I had picked it up at work, testing positive just as the ward I’d been working on in the hospital was closed due to multiple cases, and within a couple of days the rest of the family had fallen with me… We did feel pretty bad for a day or two each, and our littlest took a little longer to bounce back, as she sometimes does (I think really just because her normal involves about ten times the energy of everyone else’s!!) – but, for the most part, we’ve been very lucky indeed not to be badly affected at all, and to have felt well enough to enjoy our time at home.

Although I was a little sorry of course when I tested positive to have to pull out of work and miss seeing the people we had planned to and doing all our usual day-to-day things; really a huge part of me was just overwhelmingly relieved to have the gift of being able to stop.

Life has been very busy recently – very positive and rewarding and full of things we’re glad to be doing, but just a bit of a constant whirl. It was quite amazing for it all suddenly to come to a halt. One morning we were out in the rain on the nursery and toddlers run, dashing to meet family, stop off at college, get the food shopping done, my husband and I juggling our works and childcare… and the next it was all cancelled for the next few days at least, and we had nothing to do but press pause, and enjoy each other’s company at home.

Morning dash on our last morning before we paused ❤️ lovely to do, but lovely to take a break from too.

Often with the little ones I’ll tend to take us out to a cafe or park or soft play, but in the past couple of weeks we have found such a lot to love about time to just be, whether it’s playing in the garden, cosying up to watch Disney films of an afternoon with hot chocolates, crafting or reading stories.

I had already decided to pull back a little on the number of days I’d been working (the beauty of relief work!) because I felt like I’d started missing a bit too much of family life, but this chance to totally absorb myself in the day-to-day of the kids and their games and loves has just been amazing.

After a few days in completely, the past few I’ve got back to getting out to the pony at the farm in the mornings, going early when everything is quiet and bringing him and his fieldmate in, giving C his breakfast, taking him a little wander around the farm. Laterally, this had been done every day but in a total rush, sometimes squeezed into the shortest time possible before the day began, and others juggling the junior jockeys too – which always made it more chaotic. But the past few days since I’ve been back to it it’s been lovely to give it its proper time and really enjoy the routine.

This afternoon, after a showing of a family favourite, Toy Story 2, the girls played in the garden for an hour and a half – first all of us chasing and running and then evolving into them doing some impromptu water and mud play when they unearthed some very past-it old plants in plant pots in the corner of the garden and decided (optimistically) to water some and recycle the soil of others. They’ll have to wait until they get back to nursery and playgroup after the holidays to actually grow something (gardeners we are not!) but it was amazing how much joy came from old pots, dirt and water, and I am really, really loving having so much time to get caught up in the explorations of the moment and just enjoy it all.

I think we were overdue for a slow down, and am really loving the new pace – and, when we do get back out more and more as the days go by (we’re into the October holidays now so no rush to), I really want to keep it as much as possible. It’s lovely to take time to just enjoy all the little moments.

Hope you are all having a good week. Xx

BLOGGING & AWARDS, Uncategorized

Back to blogging….

It’s been literally months since I last wrote… we were just edging into spring, watching the first daffodils open; and since then the busiest few months have tumbled by, leaving us with September just around the corner – the new start and fresh notebooks of the academic year and the first yellowing leaves in the air. ❤

We’ve had such a full few months here – one nursery year drawing to a close, six weeks of summer holidaying with both girls home (and even a short holiday away down to Northumberland, our first in sooo long), and another year beginning – with a whirl of work and family twists and turns weaving through it all.

I was just beginning all 3 of my new ventures when I last tapped out a blog entry (which goes some way to explaining why it’s been so long!) and am settled in to all now, very much at home at my care home, settling to bank shifts at the NHS, and properly bedded into the playgroup, all of which have complemented each other really well and been such a learning experience individually and together – challenging, rewarding and fascinating – and have kept me very busy as I’ve tried to get up to speed and find a balance that works for family life.

I’d love to write a post when I can about our summer holiday away – it was only 4 nights but was our first proper wee holiday as a family of four, and first since summer 2019, and we all loved it so much. But there’s been so many wonderful experiences too just here at home over the summer – in woods, at wildlife parks, having picnics and explores. Been so grateful for the extra time with the little ones. 🥰

Can’t blog without mentioning the pets too – our beloved rabble. Just after I last wrote, it was Charmer’s 26th birthday, which he celebrated in style ❤️❤️ , closely followed by the cats’ 1st birthday – our little kittens no more! – and then a couple of months’ later by Sparkle’s 2nd, making him approx 100 in his little dwarf hamster years. We were lucky to have him to a wonderful age, especially he was already in his older age when he first arrived with us last November, but we said goodbye to him earlier this month.

Charmer turning 26!
… and Rosie and Teddy turning 1 ❤️
Stitch Sparkleworks “Sparkle” ❤️

Charmer, Rosie and Theo continue to be thriving, as well as Fish ❤️ who moved to his new tank not long after I last wrote and seems to be enjoying life!

Even young Pidge (for anyone who remembers our short term stint as pigeon owners!!) is doing well. He was actually due to leave for a sanctuary in Derbyshire at the beginning of the summer who take pigeons and lots of birds, Linjoy Sanctuary. I’m sure it would have been fantastic, but in the end Pidge had so charmed the pigeon rehabilitater who had done so much to help him, that he has ended up staying there among other his pigeons and birds. ❤️ A happy ending for our handsome arrival into a winter barn if ever there was one.

We’re looking forward to new chapters here – the little ones are hitting their stride again, the oldest beginning her deferral year before school next year, and the youngest back to toddlers, music classes and soft play. I am also starting my HNC in Social Services at college next week, which I’m really excited about, first time as a student since I left uni in 2009!

It’s lovely to have a chance to tap out some thoughts again, and I hope to again very soon!

Hope you are all well ☺️ xx


A Springtime Hello 🌷

Been so long since I wrote here and just wanted to say a springtime hello from us… Here in our wee corner of the world things are coming to life… the daffodils in the driveway have been out for a little while but our first doorstep daffodil opened up yesterday, causing much excitement among the kids!

We’ve had a mix of weather recently – mostly really lovely and warm and sunny which has been amazing, but also some dashes of rain, hail, wind and snow just to keep us on our toes. I’ve been reminded as I am every year of my favourite quote about this time of year…

Life has been hurtling on a fair pace, with the kids reaching new stages and keeping us on our toes, and in the past few weeks I’ve started a new job as well as taking on another voluntary role that’s been keeping me busy too. Really loving my new work – still in elderly care, but in a new care home I’m so enjoying settling in to; and also the new challenges and lots of learning as chair of the committee of the playgroup the kids have been to / will go to!

I’m going to start working more over the next little while – in the care home and also (eventually, taking a little longer to get all the training set up!) in the NHS at our local hospital too. Both are very similar roles and both on a relief/bank basis so I can build up my hours slowly and adjust as needed, and I’m really looking forward to it all.

But I continue to love all the time I get to have at home with the Littles – which has been all the more this week as we’re one week into the Easter holidays and filling our days with soft plays, park explores, cycles round the village and just all those chilled-out everyday things – and we met Bluey this week which definitely wasn’t an everyday thing and blew everyone’s mind!

Since I last wrote, we’ve had the whole spring term and got established a school start date for our biggest girl, something we’d been spending lots of energy deliberating over as she’d been on the younger end of her year and we had the chance to defer and therefore choose whether it was best to go at 4 1/2 or 5 1/2. We’re now set that she’s starting in August 2023, with one more year left of nursery, where she’s really learning and growing, which feels like the best decision – and it’s lovely to see everyone settle into a new settled-on plan! Our littlest too has been enjoying her toddlers groups, wee music class and a new gymnastics one too which is right up her street – building up her confidence of different places and groups before she starts at the playgroup in October when she turns 2 and a half.

It’s been lovely to have lots of time with both wee ones – and we had an extra special time last week as the tiniest turned a big 2!

We spent the day the four of us at the sea life centre we’re lucky to have just ten minutes away and are very excited to have booked a family pass so we can make trips there more often, as it’s something both girls are loving just now.

The animals have been doing very well too, with “young” Charmer creeping up on his 26th birthday and even younger Rosie and Theo following a few days later with their 1st! The last week of April is a big one for the furry members of the family, celebrating our oldest on the 23rd and the youngest pair of tearaways on the 29th… so expect more ramblings on all of them very soon!

Little Sparkle-hamster is doing great too, 21 months old and enjoying life – in fact this little positioning of chosen bed and food bowl the past few days have been making me laugh that he has life made – doesn’t have to move far! Though actually he really does choose to, such a happy wee exerciser, especially for his age!

We have actually added a new addition to our pet count since I last wrote (and it’s not Pidge, though more on him in a minute as he is still going strong – against all odds!! – with the rehabilitation people who have him) – a new very handsome six-year-old Sarasa Comet goldfish, inherited from family and here with us to join our household now. ❤️ I had no idea there was such a lot to learn about goldfish, it’s been such a learning curve so far! But also no idea how quickly you could become attached to one, very fond of my swimming friend.. ❤️

(As is Rosie….!)

(If anyone is a fish expert let me know!.. as I am learning all I can about them and currently like a little chemistry student with my test strips navigating the world of nitrogen cycles before we transfer Fish to a new tank we’ve got for him..!)

Last but absolutely not least is the handsome Pidge, who has made a remarkable recovery and is still in the very capable hands of the pigeon rescue experts at the moment. They don’t have the capacity to keep him long term so we do think at some point he may come back to us again for a wee stint before finding where he’s best to spend his days! Part of me would love to keep him and offer him a base here but I’m really not sure we’re the best place and want him to have a happy life after all he’s come through. But wherever we end up finding for him, or what next twists and turns his wee journey takes, Pidge has had some story and we will have been so glad to be a part of it for as long or short as we are.

It’s a very eclectic mix of animals at the moment! Been taking me back to my days of rat cages stacked up and new and interesting characters coming in from rescues and teaching me lessons every day. The last two have just found us when we were least expecting them, and very glad to have them all as temporary or permanent additions to our home.

Saturday morning now as I’m finishing this off and and have enjoyed a wee bit time with my biggest boy and some whole-family biking fun before my back shift later. With the new working routine time making the most of all the time we get to have the four of us and a proper springy day this morning to enjoy it.

Hope you’re all doing well, have a lovely weekend.