Dating My Fiancé

As I’ve mentioned in my last couple of posts, life has been difficult lately.

Along with the usual merry-go-round of work, family life and wedding planning, there has been grief and extra work pressure added to the mix.

I’ve also been away for two nights in the last week and overall, I’ve been feeling completely exhausted and as if I’m running on fumes.

Gary has always taken wonderful care of me when I feel down and the last few weeks have been no exception. He has been there to give cuddles, send supportive messages throughout the day and to take care of practical tasks, like housework and cooking, that I just don’t have the energy to tackle.

This weekend was one that we had earmarked as a quiet weekend. We try to make sure that we have at least one of these each month, although we don’t always manage it. Quiet weekends are for no visitors, no chores and no pressure. They are for pyjamas all day, long baths, film or boxset marathons and a chance to recharge.

We have worked hard from the very start of our relationship to make sure that we are equals in every way. We both put equal effort into communicating with each other and we both put equal effort into being romantic and thoughtful. This takes many forms, from leaving little notes in his lunch bag, to him bringing home a little token that he knows I’ll love, to us planning weekends away.

As tends to happen in life, there are times where this balance is slightly out of kilter and the this has been true in the last few weeks. My time, energy and focus has been on tackling the challenges in front of me and that hasn’t left much space for Gary.

As I was sat at my desk on Friday afternoon, frantically trying to clear everything down before my week off with the boys, I started to think about how much he had supported me through the last few weeks, quietly and without fuss. He never makes me feel guilty when I’m too tired to talk in the evenings or when I just want to crawl into bed and sleep. He loves and supports me, holds me when I feel crap and finds ways to make me laugh through the madness.

And I wanted to remind him of how much I appreciate him.

The Christmas before last, I had made him twelve envelopes, one for each month of the year. Inside each was a date idea for that month and we had so much fun, going on our little dates. We ate ice cream at the seaside, played mini golf, had a board game night, baked a cake (which was a TOTAL fail; it came out like a pancake!) and just had little breaks from the pressure of real life.

But I realised on Friday that it had been way too long since our last date.

So I text and asked him out.

And he said yes.

We – like a lot of people I’m sure – are guilty of falling into little routines and going to the same old places. And what I wanted from our date day was to get away from the usual haunts and to take a little break from everything that has been going on.

So, we jumped on the motorbike and headed to a town about an hour from us, called Marlborough.

He had been there before but I never had and it was lovely to just potter around, holding hands in the sunshine and talking about nothing. It was also enough of a ride to make it feel like we had travelled away from our usual patch and Marlborough is a really lovely little town.

I treated him to lunch in one of the pubs, which by pure chance turned out to only sell pies – so Gary was in heaven!

We also visited the local sweet shop (standard for me, I can’t walk past a cute sweet shop without popping in!) and a shop that had a whole range of Harry Potter goodies – although I resisted as my birthday is only two weeks away!


We came home happy and relaxed and spent the rest of the day just hanging out and watching films.

We pick Charlie up for the week on Monday and so it felt good to have a little time to ourselves before the chaos and noise of the next week.

And as we didn’t have dessert yesterday, we’re off to hunt for cake on the bike this afternoon!

Love is a verb and to me, it’s the most important one of all.


VJ x

Boys Week.

My week has been difficult and heavy and exhausting.

But that is not my story to tell, so here are some snaps of the boys, on their fun week off…


It was rubbish having to go to work whilst the boys were off having fun but I know how crucial it is for them to have one on one time and we have a week off all together in the middle of August.

Counting down to that week, we have SO MUCH fun stuff planned…

VJ x

That’s Not My Cat!

(Our internet still doesn’t work. I don’t want to discuss Talk Talk. And Netflix seems like a very distant memory….)

Gary was away for work on Wednesday night and so after collecting the trial run for the wedding menus (the fact that I waited to eat it until he got home the following day is proof of true love!), I headed home and settled in for a quiet night.

I ate dinner, tackled a few chores and then went upstairs, planning to have a pamper night. You know; manicure, pedicure, hair mask, face mask, bubble bath…

I flopped onto our bed for a moment (have I mentioned that work is manic and life is at full tilt at the moment?!), and that is when I heard it.


I rolled over onto my back and listened.


I knew that Cass was downstairs and I had all the windows closed, so it wasn’t coming from outside.


Sitting up, I moved to the edge of the bed and hung my head over the side, to look underneath.


A black and white cat was peering at me from under the bed, curled up on our overnight bags, colouring books and the usual assorted crap that seems to gather under the bed.

Oh. Shit.

I got up off the bed and crouched next to it, keeping my eyes on the cat. He (I knew it was a boy cat, no idea how!) didn’t seem that bothered and just kept staring at me, occasionally mewing in a slightly husky voice.

This was not my cat.


After a slightly panicked phone call to Gary, I closed our bedroom door to stop the cat escaping and I closed Cassidy into the lounge, to stop her from getting worked up. She didn’t seem the least bit bothered at this point and was sound asleep on the sofa.

I also called my friend, Layla, who works with the Cats Protection League and she said that she would make some calls, to see if she could find a space for him for the night. I also called our local vet, but they would only take him if he was badly injured.

Whilst I waited for Layla to call me back, I managed to coax him out from under the bed with a few treats.

He was a very handsome chap and really friendly; he curled up on my lap and purred like an engine, occasionally chirping if I stopped fussing him. He felt a bit skinny and had a patch of fur missing from the back of his neck but otherwise, he was in good condition. No collar and I couldn’t feel a chip in his neck anywhere.

Layla phoned back to say that the Cats Protection League didn’t have any spaces for the night but that she would come over with her boyfriend, Hannes, as they have a scanner and we could be sure if the cat was tagged or not.

Whilst I waited for them, I took some photographs of the cat and did a quick lap of the neighbourhood, knocking on doors to see if anyone recognised him. No one did but a few people suggested that I put him on a couple of local Facebook groups, so I went home and requested to be added.

I also called Gary back and updated him. I explained that I couldn’t bring myself to just kick the cat back outside but that we obviously couldn’t keep him either. Cassidy had caught wind of what was happening by this point and was getting really agitated and vocal.

Gary suggested that I ask his mum to take the cat for the night, so that we could make a proper plan in the morning. I called her and explained (at almost ten at night!) and she agreed to take him.

Layla and Hannes arrived, scanned the cat and confirmed that he wasn’t chipped. They also confirmed that he was a male and hadn’t been neutered. They were kind enough to bring some food with them and we decided that I’d ask Gary’s mum to take the cat up to the local cat home in the morning.

I gathered up all the bits that he would need (thankfully I had spare cat litter under the stairs!), wrestled him into the cat box and got him over to Christine and Terry’s.

The cat was very vocal, both in the car and when I let him out in the flat, but he settled down and was apparently well behaved overnight.

I got home and collapsed into bed, finally falling asleep just before midnight.


When I checked Facebook the next day, I’d had several messages from people that live on the estate to say that they had seen the cat hanging around on one specific road. Based on the number of people that had said it and given that the cats home also didn’t have a space for him, we decided to let him out on the estate, with the hope that he would find his way home.

Terry released him that morning and he trotted straight off.

We haven’t seen him since but I hope that he found his way home. And if he hasn’t, we are keeping an eye out for him and will scoop him up if we need to.

It was quite an adventure and it’s made me cuddle Cassidy that little bit tighter.


And if you have a cat; please remember to put a collar on them, have them chipped and have them neutured!


VJ x



(Yes, I’m STILL blogging from my phone, so this will be short but sweet…)

I’ve been struggling this week; I think it’s a mixture of everything that we have going on with the wedding, work being so intense and the feeling of desperately needing a holiday (but that will have to wait until September!).

I just feel tired and rundown and a bit…blah.

It’s now been six months since we got engaged (how?!) and so my engagement ring was due for its first clean.

Not wanting to drag Charlie across Bristol on a Saturday afternoon, we decided that I would take my ring in and Gary would hang out at home with the boy. And so I ended up with an unexpected solo trip to Cribbs Causeway…

It felt odd to fly solo on a Charlie weekend, as our time with him is scarce and therefore precious, but it was also nice to have a chance to potter around the shops alone and to go where I fancied. It was also HEAVING, so we defintely made the right choice about me going alone!

And whilst I waiting for my ring to be spruced up, I couldn’t resist getting a few little treats…


‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood is probably my favourite book (which is a big statement, given how much I love to read!) and I have a much bigger post planned, once I can write properly on my laptop. I already have three copies of it (including one signed copy!) but I can never resist another one, particularly if it has a beautiful cover.

I’ve also heard great things about ‘The Power’ by Naomi Alderman and it was recommended by one of the lovely ladies in Waterstones, so hopefully it will live up to the hype!


I love to send postcards to my friends at random, just to say hello and brighten their day (adult life involves far too many bills and scary bits of post!) and so I picked up a few new ones from Paperchase. I have two people in mind for a couple of them and I’m sure I’ll find receipients for the others.


A friend of mine is coming to visit in August and her favourite flowers are peonies. So when I saw a little peony scented candle, I just had to have it. And the fresh cut roses one smells so glorious that I grabbed that one too, for the lounge. I love to have scents that match the season and they are both really fresh and summery!


Gary’s brother, Dean, celebrated his birthday this week and today we’ve had the traditional family roast. Which meant that yesterday, I needed to get him a balloon (in our house birthdays mean presents, cake, roast lunch and a giant balloon!). He loves Minions (and I knew it would make Charlie laugh!) so I grabbed the biggest Minion balloon that I could find!


And finally, I couldn’t come home without a little something for the boys!

I saw these Hogwarts House pins in Waterstones and grabbed one for each of us (Charlie is a Slytherin, I’m a Ravenclaw and Gary is a Gryffindor), which went down very well. House pride is very important in this family!


Now obviously, a few candles and couple of books haven’t solved anything but it was nice to have a couple of hours to myself and to have some little treats to bring home. Sometimes a little break from real life can help soothe the soul.

And look how sparkly my ring is now! I had no idea that it would make such a difference!


VJ x