Two best friends

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I met my friend Grace at an NCT birthing class on the last trimester of our pregnancies. I was a 23 year old student nurse and nowhere ready to starting a family. Graham wasn’t much better, he was a student too. Everyone in the group was married, had a mortgage, drove an expensive car, had a cleaner, and for some reason, worked as a teacher. Everyone except from Grace and her partner Tim that is. They were very different.   It was her second pregnancy, she had tattoos and nose piercing, wasn’t married, didn’t have a cleaner, and I was instantly drawn to her warm and kind nature.   From that day we have been good friends and our kids have a very special bond, especially because they are only 12 hours apart in age.   It’s hard to find the words to describe how I feel about Grace and her family but I know they will always have a place in my families heart, even when they move far away at the end of the summer. And I hope we will always be friends.

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family weekend

The weather was forecast to be good this weekend so Graham and I cancelled our plans and headed out of the city in a quest for fresh air, friendly animals and a bit of family time.

Not having a set plan but rather a vague idea of where we were going we aimed in the direction of Loch Lomond because my Dad’s house is near by.  That way should we want to stay over we had the option.  It was a lovely weekend and we met many friendly horses, sheep, and a herd of Fallow deer that came to say hello between a fenced off part of the forest.

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And look at THIS crazy horse! Heehee!

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I’ve been trying to improve my botanical knowledge recently because I like knowing the names of different trees and plants, so I took some photos of plants I could identify.  This was utterly thrilling (note the sarcasm) for Graham and Beth but Arthur seemed to enjoy what I showed him…..

Apple blossom

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wild garlic

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Graham seems to be making a habit of splitting his trousers every time we go on a trip far from home.  It is always hysterically funny because he just goes with the flow and lets the rip get wider as he climbs about with Beth. People passing by must wonder if he’s noticed!

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breakfast in the garden

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Saturday morning I woke up really early, super early for someone that’d been breast feeding a hungry new born all night,  but I was glad to have gotten up when I did because It was such a beautiful peaceful morning.  I took a sleepy Arthur so he wouldn’t wake Graham and after a quiet cup of coffee I soon had a small girl by my side to enjoy the moment with.

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Summer Bucket List

This time last year I had just started working in a windowless department in a busy hospital.  It was a post I had always dreamed of working and yet once I was there I quickly learned that this area of nursing was far from the type of nurse I wanted to be.  I’ve always been pulled towards the caring side of nursing but because of the fast turn around in this department there was little time to do anything more than introduce yourself, and that’s if the patients responsive.  So last summer was a bit of a bummer.  I wasn’t happy where I was working and I hated being away from my family three days a week.  I’d leave for my 12 hour shift when Beth was asleep and would return home to her sleeping or desperately trying to stay awake.

After the summer things began to adjust.  I changed departments and went down to part time hours, and Beth became more settled to her new routine.  However, that summer was pretty tough.  And so from that I really want to take advantage of my maternity leave this summer and make the most of the warmer days with my family and friends.  Especially as two of my closest friends are emigrating in the coming months (one at the end of this month, boohoo!)

So when I found this in The Happy Family movement blog I felt inspired to participate and, well, here is our summer bucket list.

2013 Summer’s Bucket list

Swim in sea/lake

Have a BBQ with friends

Picnic in the park

Visit muddy boots farm

Make our own beer

Go fruit picking

Make a summer scrap book

We are beginning the fun today so I will update here as we go along 🙂

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Elderberry syrup for sick children

Yup!  Summer is on its way in Scotland.  This means rain, warm to windy cold chills, and runny noses.  Scotland is wild, beautiful and unpredictable, and so is it weather.  This spring time cold we are fighting here is stubbornly going nowhere.  Graham and I are surviving but poor Arthur is at the receiving end of snotty nose kisses and the odd cough in his face from his adoring big sister.  She really is a dotting mother hen to this sweet little baby boy.

When we were sick as children my mother used her doctorate in botany to make us her elderberry syrup.  Elderberries are rich in antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C, and this syrup has honey in it for its bacteria killing properties.  Oh, and it is very yummy!  My Mum also made rose hip jam but that’s for another blog.

So here is her recipe

(This is for anyone over the age to one due to the honey)

Take 1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried Elderberries and add 3/4 cups of water to a sauce pan.  Bring to the boil then allow to simmer for about 30 mins until the berries have softened.  Mash to get out all the goodness and then sieve the mixture.  Leave to cool then stir in 1 cup of high quality honey.  Take one table spoonful up to every two hours or even as a syrup on pancakes etc.  Stores in the fridge for up to about 3 months.

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