Sunday, December 31, 2006

Cooking in the wee small hours

We're back home again too (see this post by Kim) and have also had a lovely family Christmas. We went to York to stay with Jase's parents, as did my parents. This meant that the whole family was together at Christmas time; Lauren loved having all the attention from both sets of Grandparents!

We had our now traditional goose again on Christmas Day, which we get directly from the producer. As always, it was a absolutely superb goose. On the day, I roasted it with a forcemeat stuffing and an apricot and chestnut stuffing, with all the trimmings. It was a huge success, and very little was left over.

Lauren received a mountain of presents, which she is continuing to enjoy. She opened them with a look of wonderment on the day, which was a joy to behold! She especially loved the animal farm, her fairy boot house and all the books with sounds that she received. We also received a number of lovely presents (I was especially excited with this parcel!).

Over the Christmas period, my brother Hubert and his fiancee Bonnie got married in a civil ceremony in Chicago. They aren't counting this as the actual wedding but are having a proper church wedding in 2008. We are all thrilled for them and looking forward to the big bash. We can't wait to see the photos from their day!

After we left York, we travelled to Northampton to see Pradeep, whom we haven't seen for months. It was his birthday, and we were invited to dinner by his lovely parents. Pradeep's mum cooked us an amazing meal and we finally got to meet Pradeep's sister Angela (we've known Pradeep for 12 years and never met her before, despite meeting all the rest of his family!). Lauren had an absolutely amazing time playing with Pradeep's two lovely nieces. They were really excited to meet the "baby" and she got spoilt by two big sisters for the evening. Everyone had an amazing time!!

Pradeep is now staying with us in London over New Year; we're having a great time catching up. If you're wondering about the strange title of this post, I'm finally getting around to explaining it.

Tomorrow, we have invited James, Alex, Julian and Sally to lunch and here I am at 02:00 cooking the main course because it looks like we will be tight for time. Hope they realise the amount of sweat and tears involved!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Yes, I know I'm technically a few days early but as we're going to York tomorrow and will be mainly offline I thought I'd wish you all a Merry Christmas from us.

I actually think Lauren understands that something is going on, even if she doesn't understand exactly what that is. She's been taking little peeks at her presents (which have been inside large carrier bags in the living room until tonight). Funny things is that she's had a really excited look on her face even though she can't know that they are for her.

Anyhow, I took a few pictures of the little girl in her Christmas party dress (which I had to buy and just love). I had to share them with you - I think she looks absolutely gorgeous in these photos!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Back Online at Last

Sky Broadband just went live. Seem to be getting about 12 Meg.
We are away in York from tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Friends for Lunch

Sunday lunch was a bit of reunion, as we finally managed to drag Gareth over to our place for some grub. We also got to meet Gillian (the infamous "GK" from the Blog comments) in the flesh.

Anyway we had good food, a bit of wine and Gareth made Serena and I jealous!!!!

Lauren built something when playing with him! Before she has been happy to watch us build something and then she would knock it flying whilst squealing in excitement. But No! Not for Uncle Gareth. He would put down a cube and she would grab another and place it carefully on top and then repeat the process whilst Gareth stabilised the tower.

Anyway, much fun was had by all and it was great to catch-up. Must do it again soon!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Definitely Offline....

OK, broadband went dead last night - finally.

I spoke to BT Wholesale this morning and the line will be cleared down on Tuesday night allowing us to re-apply with Sky next wednesday.

Clearly I can blog from work but don't expect much activity from Rena for a while.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Bad day

Poor Lauren has been unwell since Thursday night last week with this vomiting bug. She's finally beginning to turn the corner in my opinion. Although she's not got her appetite back (poor girl) she has not vomited today and has kept down all the food she ate. She's had lots of milk, which she wasn't able to manage before, so I am confident that she is on the mend.

However, I have felt really queasy all day, culminating in not being able to eat any dinner at all tonight. I am really upset because I may have caught Lauren's bug. This weekend, I am meant to be working on Saturday and we have friends (Gareth and Gillian) coming on Sunday.

I'm pretty gutted but at least I have not vomited (yet). I hope I'm better before Sunday.

The Great cake tasting session

It's been a real foodie weekend. On Friday (because my brother Jase was away in South Africa) I accompanied Charlotte to a food tasting event run by the company who are doing the wedding reception. They showcased some of their food (which was fabulous) and Charlotte had the opportunity to speak to the Chef who runs the company. It was enormous fun!

Then on Sunday, we invited Jase and Charlotte around to our house for the great cake tasting session. I've got the honour of baking their wedding cake, so we decided to have a fun tasting session to see the kind of fruit cake they would like. They had already discounted sponge cakes as Charlotte is not a fan of these.

I bought a standard fruit cake from the supermarket and made four little fruit cakes from different recipes that I had from various cookbooks and other sources. The house was filled with the wonderful aroma of Christmas cake all afternoon!

I can't believe that I even managed to find blindfolds to match their outfits!

A great time was had by all, and they managed to finally decide on cake A as their wedding cake. As it was also Charlotte's birthday, we had a big celebration meal in her honour - roast duck with stuffing and a jam roly poly for dessert. Unfortunately, I think they had too much Christmas / wedding cake and couldn't manage much!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Tragic in Triplicate

Lauren has had her ups and downs over the weekend. Unfortunately all the downs seem to come at night so Serena and I are completely knackered.

Lauren is still not better although she was doing great until bed time when she bolted her milk a bit fast and then threw it back up.

She has been catching up on sleep during the day whilst Serena and I work, so come bedtime we are knackered and she is ready to party!

Hopefully we can get her back to her happy self over the next two days as I am away from Wed to Fri and Serena is supposed to be at work.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Tragic Girl

Our little girl may be teething but she has also picked up a tummy bug.

Lauren spent the whole of last night throwing up and unfortunately repeated the problem this morning after her breakfast milk.

She is on boiled water only now, but seems happy enough. She is fast asleep being completely knackered. I just wish I could crawl into bed next to her, but I have three sets of our bedding to wash along with three pillow, three of my t-shirts AND I have to get as much work done as I can whilst she sleeps.


Ten tooth girl

We were both absolutely shattered this morning as Lauren woke about 5 times overnight. We couldn't work out why because she wasn't running a fever and seemed well in herself. When I got to work, all my colleagues told me to check if she was teething.

When we got her out of the bath tonight we had a look in her mouth. To our surprise, there were TWO new teeth (premolars) there in the upper jaw that definitely weren't there at the weekend.

So tonight we made sure that Lauren had some nurofen before she went to bed. Poor girl! Her gums must have been sore last night. Also explains why she's not been keen to eat over the last couple of days.

Still, despite all of this the little girl seems quite cheerful during the day. Children are just so resilient!

*As a quick aside, our broadband is still going strong. UKOnline still haven't cut us off in our switch over to Sky!*

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Offline for a while

After much mucking about we have cancelled our current broadband account.... Now to see how quick BT can be with the reconnection.

We're on dial-up for a while, so there will be little in the way of blog updates from Serena.

Busy Weekend

I'm just recovering from working two 12 hour shifts this weekend. It was busy at work, so I'm pretty knackered (or "jiggered", as Jase always says!) . It's nice to be able to spend time with Lauren though, since I saw her for about 30 minutes in total the entire weekend, as she would be asleep when I got home after my shift.

She's having her afternoon nap just now, and I am contemplating the Christmas cooking I need to do. I love cooking at Christmas time, and whenever we are broke (like now) I like to make edible gifts for the family. When Lauren wakes up, I think I'll have to pop to the supermarket for some ingredients.

Daddy and Lauren seem to have had fun at the weekend in my absence. Lauren was initially full of the cold, so they didn't go out on Saturday but I've been told that there was a visit to see Uncle Jase, Auntie Charlotte and Rafferty on Sunday.

She loves climbing in and out of things at the moment. She especially likes to sit inside her cart and be pushed along. She was exploring some new storage baskets from Ikea this weekend.

She loves being mobile and really seems to enjoy walking about the house. Now that she knows how to walk, she doesn't crawl as much, but still reverts to crawling if she wants to get anywhere in a hurry. She even tries to run whilst pushing her cart!

She's also talking quite a lot now, but speaks to you in her own baby language (and then looks at you expecting you to understand). Having said that though, she does say some words in both English and in Cantonese that make sense: "boo" for book, "mil" for milk, "joi" for dummy (Cantonese), "jurk" for bird (Cantonese), "goo jah?" for what's that?, "da" for that. It's so much fun to watch how she changes week by week!

I also got news at the weekend that my friend Alison (who was my bridesmaid) has had a baby girl. We're thrilled for her and can't wait to hear how she and the baby are doing!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Pink Champagne

Yesterday afternoon, I got my exam results.

It was so stressful because I discovered whilst at work that the results had been put up on the College website. Even worse, they were listed by candidate number and I could not remember which one I was.

In a blind panic, I phoned the College and they gave me my number. I looked up the result at least four times to be sure.


I was so relieved!!!

Well, it was definitely a cause for celebration. I had already agreed to meet up with some girlfriends for a drink and maybe some dinner in Chiswick. It turned out to be a full-on celebration, complete with pink champagne.

Excellent stuff.

We had a lovely Thai meal following this (must go back there with Jase, it was really good) at the Thai Bistro in Chiswick. Afterwards, I drove one of the girls home to Kilburn (very funny because I'd never been there before) although coming home was a bit hairy! I ended up on the North Circular so all was well (as this is very familiar to me).

Yay! I'm so happy and relieved!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

End of Exams!

The family went out on Saturday night for dinner at the Royal China in Bayswater to celebrate the end of exams. We had an absolutely amazing meal!

I don't know why, but the food on this occasion was particularly good. Our last meal there was good; this was exceptional.

We had deep fried oysters, fish, lobster, duck, tofu and a fantastic lamb hotpot. Everyone enjoyed it (as you can see from the photos).

Even Lauren tucked into the lobster, the fish and the tofu. She especially liked the noodles which came with the lobster (so did I).

It was a real shame that my brother Jase missed the meal (he is away in South Africa at the moment). I think he was quite gutted when Charlotte told him on the phone about the meal! However, as compensation, it sounds like he has had a really good time in South Africa. He got a personal tour of Nelson Mandela's House in Soweto.

I'm still waiting to hear how I did in the exam. Not sure if it will be this week or next; I just hope I did enough to pass. Just glad it's all over.

I've arranged with work to work some extra weekends because we're really broke at the moment (because I got paid less during my exams as I did no weekends on duty). It looks like I will have to work the next 4 weekends! I may not be able to blog as much as a result.

Now the exams are over, Jase and I are thinking of trying for another baby. I've had a chat with my work about the future, and they're prepared to pay my maternity leave as a consultant (as long as I get appointed in April) providing I go back to work for them afterwards for a period of time.

Fair enough.

Otherwise, we either face delaying having the next baby (not good because I am 34 next year!) or I face the prospect of no pay or very little pay during my maternity leave. Not good options, especially as we have a massive mortgage and the Bank of England interest rates have gone up to 5%!

So it looks like we will have to delay going to Australia until 2009. Jase is adamant that we do not leave it any later than that though. He doesn't want to disrupt Lauren in her schooling (which will happen if we leave it any later than that time) and I have to agree with him.

I'm sure that both our sets of families are happy about this, though I know that they understand that we will still eventually have to go. We haven't changed our minds - the plan is just on hold.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Life Starts Here


This lunchtime I finished my Clinical exam and felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Today was OK; again, I felt it had been a fair exam and even though things came up which I hadn't really practiced, they were all things I could do.

I felt I did my best and was pretty happy with the performance I gave. And that's all you can do really.

So now it's just a matter of waiting for the results in 1-2 weeks' time, but until then I get to play with Lauren and enjoy not having to lock myself in the bedroom to revise every night.

Lauren gets her Mama back and Jase gets his wife back. Everyone happy.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

One down, one to go

I've just got back from the College after sitting my Academic and Management Viva exam. I'm happy to say that although it was extremely stressful, I thought it was a fair exam and the examiners appeared to be happy with the content of my answers. They were really keen to put us at ease when we sat down; this definitely helped.

Most of all, I am really glad that the stuff I've been revising for weeks on end came in useful (unlike the previous written exam). The things they asked were typical big topic things and not small print stuff. I definitely came out feeling I'd given it my best shot and without feeling I'd said anything stupid (always a bonus).

I am so glad that bit is over. I have 2 hours and 42 minutes of clinical testing tomorrow morning, then it will all thankfully be over.

Back to the revision now; I don't want to fall at the final hurdle!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Final Countdown

I am now counting down to the final parts of my exam on Wednesday and Thursday. Just thinking about it makes me feel sick at the moment. I'm not sleeping too well either because I'm really stressed about it.

I know everyone has been saying it'll be fine, but I can't help thinking that it's all been really horrible. It has taken over most of my life since May this year and I feel that I've lost yet another summer (last year I was heavily pregnant so was alseep for most of it! Then Lauren came along and there was no sleeping to be had...)

I'm really down at the moment about the exam and can't wait for it all to be over. There's so much I need to know; I have no idea if any of the stuff I've read or practised has stuck.

When it's all over I am looking forward to spending some time with the family. Roll on Thursday afternoon!

Who needs help??

Over the last few weeks Lauren has been starting to take a few unaided steps.

Day by day she gets more confident so I thought it was about time to publish some more video.

Here are three short clips of our little girl walking.

(Remember to press Play in the bottom left corner of each video)

Friday, November 03, 2006


Lauren is really developing fast at the moment. Every day, she seems to learn new things.

Yesterday, she took four steps unaided towards me! I was very proud of her. Today, I was told that she's been walking unaided at nursery too. They're amazed at how strong she is, considering she's quite small. She's really gaining in confidence with her walking. She's even beginning to crawl up the stairs, although always when we're watching her. However, she is a cautious little girl (and believe me this is a good thing) and currently refuses to try going down the stairs.

She's also recently figured out telephones. She will hold a phone to her ear and say "Aaoo" whenever she can get hold of my mobile or any of our home phone handsets. She likes phones so much that Suzanne bought her a toy phone which has ring tones and plays music. Needless to say, she loves it.

She also loves copying people. She's copy your actions and any funny sounds you try to make. Some of her baby talk is also beginning to sound like proper words. She knows "Ebra" (Zebra), "Mama", "Baba" (Daddy), "MuiMui" (Milk), "Nene" (NoNo), "Aaoo", and "Djerk" (Cantonese for bird - she loves watching birdies!). We've also figured out a few baby words; "Gah!" means "Look"!

She continues to be really affectionate, coming for hugs and kisses on a regular basis every day. We are so lucky!

She will also hug and kiss her soft toy animals! She especially loves the two zebras (of course), the octopus, the two teddies and the big St Bernard puppy.

Strangely enough, she will also give kisses to her bunny nappy stacker (not sure why!)

I suppose he looks friendly enough...

Fun with the Grandparents

I've been working hard this week and have been greatly helped by Peter and Suzanne being here to look after Lauren. They've had some real fun with Lauren over the last few days.

We all went out to eat last at at what is becoming one of our favourite haunts in Chiswick. The Pacific Bar and Grill in Chiswick is really child-friendly and serves great steaks. We were welcomed by a roaring fire and although it was bitterly cold outside, we were cosy once inside.

I had the fab calamari followed by the obligatory and lovely rib eye steak, which I shared with Jase. He had prawns for starter. Peter had the fillet steak, whilst Suzanne opted for fish. It all went down very well.

Lauren has a drink with Grandad, then goes to investigate Grandma's food...

Lauren was very well behaved and wanted hugs from everyone.

Lauren has hugs with Daddy.

Lauren had fishcake, butternut squash and some French fries followed by ice cream but didn't eat a huge amount because she was tired. She obviously did enjoy herself though!

I am reading yet more stuff today in a vain attempt to take in as much as possible before the exam. I'm very stressed and tired and just want the exam to be over now. I will be very happy come Thursday afternoon and the exam is over. Only two weeks to wait after that to get the results.

I'm hoping it will be a good Christmas and New Year, and not one spoilt by the need for more revision for resits!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Thank you Boots!

Early Middle-age Ramblings of a Lost Yorkshireman: Thank you Boots!

"Lauren has had a really nasty cough for a few days. This means she gets a really bad night's sleep (and consequently so do Serena and I) and also can cough so hard that she throws up! (Poor thing!)

Anyway, I popped to Boots yesterday and bought their own brand "Night Time Cough Syrup for 1-12 Year Olds" which is Pholcodine based and includes a decongestant.

It works REALLY well.

Lauren had a dose around 6 pm and slept soundly until 2.30 am this morning. We gave her a second dose and after about 30 minutes she was out like a light again and we didn't hear a peep out of her."

Posted by daddy on his blog.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Cough, cough, cough

We are absolutely shattered. Lauren has kept us awake two nights on the trot with her coughing. I've also been coughing away too, so am partly to blame. Every time she coughs, she wakes herself up. Sometimes she makes herself sick with the coughing, poor girl.

She's sleeping in our room at the moment because of this. I was initially getting out of bed every hour to soothe her back to sleep but by 04:30 on Sunday morning I had had enough and had moved her into our room. Last night, despite sleeping in our room, the coughing still woke her up on a regular basis and she needed us to help her get back to sleep. At 05:00, after she'd been a bit sick, I moved her into bed with me and Jase retreated to the sofa.

At 07:50 this morning, I was aware of a hard object hitting me on the head, so had to wake up. Lauren had taken the remote control from the bedside table and was bashing me on the head with it. She obviously felt it was time for Mama to get up!

Obviously, I was not impressed. Thankfully, Suzanne and Peter are with us at the moment and were able to take over for a while and I got a little bit more sleep.

Lauren, Tedwina and Suzanne read "Country Living" together. Lauren and Tedwina are planning renovations...

Lauren enjoys reading with her grandparents!

She is fast asleep now, having a morning nap. Seems to sleep better during the day than at night unfortunately! Despite this lack of sleeping at night, Lauren remains as fresh as a daisy whilst the grown-ups are flagging.

Lauren and Dada play with Lauren's cart. Lauren has emptied everything out in order to get in. Is Dada looking for instructions?

Lauren loves being pushed around in her cart!

All this is not good for the old revision, sadly but it isn't the little girl's fault. Poor Lauren, poor Mama and poor Dada...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Leaving on a Jet Plane

My brother Hubert left the UK for the US yesterday for good. He's already sent his stuff on ahead and should have already arrived in Chicago.

Mum and dad were understandably really upset to see him go. They phoned up in the early evening to say that they were going to go out for dinner because they didn't want to go home just yet. Mum and dad normally went round to see Hube every weekend in Glasgow (or Hube would go to their house in Edinburgh) so I know they'll really miss him.

We'll all miss him too. I know he's going to miss not seeing in Lauren in particular because he's really fond of her. She'll be almost 2 years old when he next sees her (likely to be at my brother Jase wedding to Charlotte).

So for mum and dad, here's a picture of all of us at the Felix Bar in Hong Kong January 2005 (taken by our cousin Monica). The Felix was a really swanky bar on the top floor of the famous Peninsula Hotel. Really cool, but drinks required a small mortgage!

More photos of our Hong Kong trip are on our Flickr website. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 26, 2006


OK, I've officially got lurgy. For the last two days, my voice has been going, and yesterday I had no voice at all. All of yesterday I had one of those horrible headaches that no amount of painkillers could shift. Every time I coughed, it felt like my head was about to burst. Somehow, I still managed to give my presentation at St Mary's (though they did laugh at my lack of volume for a change!).

Last night, I was running a temperature and felt shivery, even under stacks of duvet. After a while, I felt all hot and horrible. It took about an hour and a half (and drugs) for the temperature to go down and for me to feel comfortable enough to sleep.

When I did get to sleep, I slept surprisingly well. I woke up briefly at about 7:45 this morning before going back to sleep.

Anyhow, I think I'd better stay at home in quarantine and not give it to anyone else. I was meant to meet up with a friend from work to revise exam stuff but I know she wouldn't thank me if I gave it to her just before the exam!

Poor Lauren doesn't realise I'm unwell and has been wanting her usual hugs from her mama. However, I suspect that she'll be fine, as I suspect she gave this bug to me in the first place!

Hope I get my voice back before the exam; can you believe the next two parts are both oral exams i.e. viva and clinical? Typical!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Insomnia strikes again

After taking a short break from revising, I am back to the books for the final two parts of the exam in two weeks' time. It is very stressful, despite having passed the first part (I really don't want to have to resit because I muck up the next two parts).

It's playing havoc with my sleep. Having suffered for 2 weeks with waking up at 3-4am every night in the run up to the last exam (and therefore surviving on about 5 hours' sleep) I cut out all caffeine in a desperate bid to get back to normal.

Unfortunately, it hasn't quite worked. Last night I woke again at 3am and was unable to get back to sleep until about 6am.  Today, I've developed a really sore throat, lost my voice and am running a slight fever. I've had two colds in the last 2 months; very unusual for me as I am normally the last person to succumb and am almost never ill.

I've got a presentation to give tomorrow at St Mary's so hope that my voice returns before then!

I have a lot of ground to cover before the exams on the 8th and 9th. What a nightmare! I console myself with the knowledge that it will all be over in 17 days' time (well, as long as I've passed, I suppose!).

I want my life back!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Saturday Breakfast

Jase's car needed a service and MOT on Saturday, so the whole family got up and left the house bright and early to take the car to the garage. After we dropped off the car, we drove into Chiswick in my car to have breakfast. We ate at the excellent Balans on Chiswick High Road.

Lauren had some more pineapple juice and sat on Daddy's knee whilst we were waiting for the food.

We ordered scrambled eggs for Lauren.  Jase had the blueberry pancakes and I had the Eggs Royale (poached eggs on a muffin with smoked salmon).

Lauren is fascinated by my teapot!

Lauren in full octopus mode...

The little girl clearly enjoyed her breakfast outing as much as we did!

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Call of Down Under

Yesterday, Jase and I both went to the Australian Embassy as part of their skilled migrant programme.

I can't remember if I've talked about this before, but after Jase was made redundant (see my post and his post) I spotted this advert in my industry journal.

The advert said that Australia were actively trying to recruit professionals from overseas to try to fill job shortages in Australia. I was quite surprised because for years I had been told that Australia had trained too many doctors so therefore no hope of migrating there.

Anyway, turns out that my job is on the list of professions that they are especially keen to recruit. Since Jase's job was also terminating at the end of this year, we thought it wouldn't do any harm to apply. After all, we had always said that we would return to Sydney some day, since we have loved it so much the first time we lived there in 2002.

The photos were all taken by me when we lived out there in 2002; brings back some wonderful memories!

We were really surprised when we were both invited to attend their expo over the weekend. We were told it would be an opportunity to meet potential employers and immigration officers to talk about living and working in Australia.

This came in the same week as I was told by work that they've secured the funding for the consultant post next year so would definitely be in the position to offer me a job if I were to apply. So you can imagine that we had slightly mixed feelings about our futures.

However, yesterday brought clarity to the situation. Jase and I were told in no uncertain terms that we would have no difficulty in applying for their skilled migration programme, and that once we have this 5 year visa, we would have the right to work anywhere in Australia we wanted (and not be tied to any particular job or location, unlike the employer sponsored migration).

Jase's old boss in Sydney emailed him to say that he could help Jase find a job in Sydney within the group. I spoke to the director of Medical Workforce development in New South Wales, who gave me her email address and told me that she could get me across to Sydney and a job as soon as I want, because of their severe shortage of people in my profession.

All quite a shock. But in an exciting way.

We both feel that we can also offer Lauren a better way of life in Australia too. After my time up north in Middlesbrough (OK, not a very attractive town but really nice, friendly people) I came to realise that we have really not settled well into London. I still find it dirty, aggressive, unfriendly and a hassle. It's not child friendly either. We would continue to find life tough here. It's also really expensive; I don't think we can really afford a bigger house in London, and schooling for Lauren would cost me £12000 per year (from the time she turns 3).

Of course, we would miss our parents and Lauren would miss her grandparents. However, Jase's parents are retired and my parents are getting closer to retirement. I would hope that they would be able to come out to spend some time with us every year in Sydney, and we would certainly come back to the UK for visits.

We also have friends and family out there. Some of them have already said how excited they would be if we were to go back to live in Sydney. So we wouldn't be going into the unkown.

Sydney is calling and it is impossible for us to resist the call. Once I get my exam, we are going to start the application process unless something major intervenes in the meantime. It takes 9-12 months to get the visa, so we would plan to go in late 2007 or early 2008. Plenty of time to get sorted until then.

Today, Lauren and I are at home having some time together. She's been playing on her nest of cushions on the floor and we've been watching the Teletubbies. It's been lovely to have some time together after all that studying. I need to hit the books again soon, but in the meantime, we're having some quality time together.

Exam results, Part 1

Last week, I was teaching mid-week at Guys and Tommies so didn't have much time for updating the blog. Jase and Lauren both caught the tummy bug and were unwell mid-week. However, it was relatively mild as they were both better after 48 hours.

During the week, I got an email from my College saying that if I wanted, they could email me the results of my written exam on the Friday. I was quite surprised as we were originally told that we would not find out until late November.

Of course, I emailed them back to get my result.  I can't imagine that anyone would not want to know!

Anyway, I got my result on Friday.

I passed!!!

As you can imagine, I was thrilled. It's not the whole exam, and I do have two more components to sit, but I was most worried about this written paper.  Scarily, it will all be over in 4 weeks' time.

I just can't wait to get on with my life. Everything seems to have ground to a halt whilst I've been working towards this exam.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Rewind to last weekend

Ok, I admit I've been a little slack lately when it comes to posting on the blog. I have good reasons though (honest!) - last weekend I was feeling unwell and this last week has been one hectic blaze of events.

Last weekend, I came down with some stomach bug and slept most of the weekend. Jase took Lauren out to Chiswick to go food shopping, but ended up having ice cream and cakes! I have photographic evidence...

Lauren waits patiently for daddy to decide on the order...

Lauren charms the waitresses...

Lauren with a full tummy after the ice cream!

When they came home, there was time for a story with Mama before going for a nap in the afternoon.

Lauren clearly likes her new book!

We had a good weekend!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Steak Dinner

Before Hubert left on Thursday, we took him out to dinner for one last steak dinner in London. We took him to the Pacific Bar and Grill in Chiswick, where we had had an excellent dinner before.

He's planning to leave for the US next week if his visa comes through in time. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and had to take pictures on my camera phone, which does not cope with low lighting conditions very well.

So apologies for the graininess of the photos. They look better at the smaller size; however, still not bad for a 2 megapixel camera on a phone with no real flash!

We all had a good time and the food was really good. When it came to dessert time, Lauren had some strawberry ice cream and almost everyone else had a chocolate fondant in hot chocolate sauce. I had their baked cheesecake which is excellent. Lauren ate some of my dessert too!

We were all sad to say goodbye to Hube, but he's promised that he will start a blog of his life in the US with Bonnie, so that we can all keep up to date with their news. We all wish him every happiness in his new life with Bonnie and are looking forward to hearing all about it!