Sian spent the day with her friend Holly and they enjoyed pampering and doing hair and make-up together. They looked so beautiful as they went out into Newcastle. It blew a gale as they posed for photos under the shelter of the "Tin Sheds" in Newcastle before heading on to their meal and dancing.
It felt strange waiting up at home for Sian and Holly to come back in the door. They had big smiles on their faces and shoes in hand to relieve aching feet.
I truly have felt my emotions go around and around this last couple of weeks as I see Sian making subject choices based on Uni plans for 2016. She is growing up so very fast. No longer a child to be nurtured and molded but a young adult to be allowed to grow and become her own person. If the glimpse she gave us this weekend is what she is becoming then I think we are very lucky parents.
To our Wonderful Gareth
When I married your Dad and we talked about having children he said he thought 2 would be great. I wanted 3 so I told him I wanted 4 and we could compromise on 3!
First we had Sian and then two years later Rhiannon. They were a bit of a handful! When I realised I was going to have a third baby sooner than planned I was a bit overwhelmed. I was scared I wouldn't be able to cope with so many little children. We all know the story about how that baby didn't make it to being a part of our living family. After so much sadness your Dad said he didn't want to risk trying for another baby. He didn't want to see me hurt if things went wrong again but I yearned for one more.
On the night that baby should have joined our family I found myself kneeling in a small church in my hometown. Tears ran down my face as I prayed and begged God to let us have another baby. To let it work out safe and healthy. To let me have the third child I wanted so badly my heart physically ached for it. I made promises I swore I would keep. As I kneeled there crying I didn't know that you were already snug deep within me. Just waiting for another few weeks to go by before I would start to realise that I was pregnant. My prayers had been answered before I had even put them into words.
When you came into the world 11 years ago you were the most perfect, HUGE baby boy! We were complete. I had my three beautiful children and we had the added excitement of a boy to help the balance in favour of your poor Dad.
Our family is so lucky to have you in it. You are such a wonderful person. You have such an enquiring mind, always seeking answers, answers I don't always know so I tell you "Best go ask your Dad..." You are funny and sensitive. You feel other peoples emotions as though they are your own. You are quick to apologise and to look out for others. You are a total computer genius! I know you get that from your Dad. You will go far in life with those brain cells and be a good person too. Your friends are fortunate to know you and I know that as you grow and mature that you will make many people happy simply by being a part of their lives.
Gareth Patrick Baynham, We love you so much. Our big handsome 11 year old!
You are loved so very much,
When visitors are arriving from your homeland space must be made in the suitcase for the familiar longed for packets of biscuits, tea bags, relishes and sauces. In this ever shrinking world we see some brands on the shelves that seem international. I grew up eating Kellogg's cornflakes in Dublin, I could buy them in England and now here in Australia they continue to make it onto the shopping list. But Tayto crisps... I haven't had them in years!
I can't begin to tell you the wave of nostalgia that swept over me when this card arrived in the post recently...
Do you recognize any of the brands in the card above? Do you still live in the country you were born in? If not, what do you miss the most?!
I saw the last 5 minutes of a cookery show on tv as I started ironing the other day. They were showing you how to make Earl Grey Cookies. Now I love Earl Grey tea and so I just had to try these out. I searched on-line and there a few recipes out there that are all fairly similar. I tried the one below but have since found a Martha Stewart one that uses some finely grated orange zest. I plan on trying that variation next time for sure!
What I liked about this recipe was that it gets made in the food processor which minimizes washing up. I also liked that you put it in the fridge to harden the dough and can then cut off disks to bake in just a few minutes. You can also cut off disks to eat raw when no-one is at home to tell you off!
The day I made my first batch I spent a few extra minutes making a pot of real Earl Grey tea with the tea leaves I had bought for the recipe. Instead of drinking it while multi-tasking and rushing around I stopped and poured into my lovely birthday cup and saucer from my brother Joe and actually went up and sat down on the balcony for 10 minutes. It was lovely!
I can admit to you all here that my main motivation for taking the time to drink it slowly and overlooking the lake was the thought that I could take a photo and use it as a future blog post. I've been pretty slack in my blogging recently as normal life has been a bit busy. Here at last I have made the time to post this photo and share the recipe with you. I hope you can find the time to have a few minutes to do something nice for yourself today too!
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
In a food processor, pulse together the flour, tea, and salt, until the tea is just spotted throughout the flour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F/ 180 degrees C
Slice the log into 1/3-inch thick disks.
On a recent weekend afternoon I came home from work to find Byron wanting to show me a video he took of a fire in our laundry room.
He didn't seem overly bothered and wouldn't explain any further, just asked me to watch the video on his phone...
...I'll let you see for yourself!