Thursday, 8 November 2012

A new-to-me blog

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(credit)

I have just added another parenting blog to the list I read. 
 
I don’t know what it is about these blogs that appeals to me...despite having a 2-and-a-half-year-old-soon-to-be-stepdaughter, I have no urges to reproduce myself yet. I just find reading others journeys through motherhood fascinating, and I enjoy reading them. Especially when they are as well written as Write like no one’s watching and My Pretty Mummy.
 
And let’s face it, cute pictures of babies are nice to look at. 
 
Rachel x

Friday, 12 October 2012

Not-so-Fitness Friday #2



I’ve been a naughty girl this week. Last weekend I worked at an exhibition from Friday – Sunday, meaning I had no time to do any exercise at all.

I’ve felt a bit poopy all week, I’m guessing as a result of not having a day off for 2 weeks. Feeling poopy = no motivation, so I haven’t done any exercise this week at all either!

Bad Rachel.

I will give myself a kick up the bum and get motivated and energised next week. In other news, my PPI payment has come through therefore I now have the cashola to buy a bike. Kaching! I’m hoping to get it here and assembled in time to bike to work a few times before it gets far too dark in the mornings and evenings to do so safely!

Also - I was sent a link to this article earlier - and its still creeping me out. Its basically old balck and white photos of people wearing weird and wonderful masks, so nothing too scary really, but its really quite creepy. Look at with caution if you're of a sensitive disposition!!  

Hope y’all have a lovely weekend. I’m intending on stepping up my blogging game as well as exercise, so expect some more posts and a fixed blog design soon!!

Rachel x

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

A birthday.


Somewhat delayed post but 1st September saw Steve turn 29. Cue jokes about trading him in for a younger model...mwa haha.

As we’re planning some pretty spectacular celebrations for his 30th next year (helllooooooo Barbados), this year was fairly low key.

I bought him a snazzy new wallet, a modern family boxset (does anyone else watch this? I introduced Steve to it when we first met, and he’s possibly more of a super-fan than me now!), a posh case for his i-Pad and some socks (who doesn't love socks?).

During the day, we punted. It was a lovely warm afternoon, and even though it was his birthday, Steve did most of the punty-work. I did have a bash though, and managed not to fall in, but did manage to crash into a wall. Hmph.

Cambridge is a beautiful city, and we are lucky to live so close to it. Punting is a great way to see some of the historical sights.


The evening saw us go to a local country pub with some friends and eat steak. Steve had a 24oz T-bone, which FYI, is a whole lotta’ meat. I opted for a 10oz sirloin, medium rare thankyou please, and it was mighty lovely.

Both of us had a lovely day. It was a perfect mix of ‘us’ time and time with friends.

I love birthdays, even if they're not mine. 

Rachel x

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Help.


























Eep. I’ve managed to drink 4 cups of coffee in the past hour.

This coming from a ‘tea-drinker till I die’ kinda girl. Before I’ve only ever sipped the stuff, generally following that with a wrinkled nose and a ‘bleurgh’ noise.

I’ve figured out how to work the posh coffee machine at work, and have been trying out lots of variations. It was the steamer that did it – that stupid, alluring steamer, making me want to play with it. And then feeling bad for wasting company property, so forcing myself to drink the cups I made.

I’m starting to shake but am typing at the speed of light. Swings and Roundabouts I suppose.

Rachel x

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The most wonderful time of the year.


My birthday is a month before Christmas too, double excitement. From mid-November, I am pretty much unbearable with giddi-ness about these two occasions.

As I’ve gotten older, Christmas has become less about the presents (I still want presents though if you’re reading this, Steve), and more about the decorations, the smells, the sights and the feeling of joy and spending time with loved ones.

In the spirit of being a touch more personal than usual, this year Steve and I have decided to give our friends and family Christmas hampers.

So my question to you, bloggy friends, is what should I put in said hampers? What would you like to receive? I don’t think it’s going to work out cheaper than buying individual gifts, but the good thing is we need to pre-plan and spread the cost.

I’ve already been inspired by the idea of making apple and cranberry chutney from Cider with Rosie, and will be looking for a few other recipes for things I can make (jams, cakes, yaddy-yadda).  I also thought a Christmas candle of some sort would be a good addition. That is where my inspiration finishes for now. Any help?

Rachel x

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

I don't want to upset you, but....

My friend sent me a message the other day, saying: I dont wan't to upset you but...

And followed with this pic.





















I'm not going to lie, I did tear up a little when I saw baby Dora.

But it's a lovely pic regardless of the fact that one half of this beautiful pair is no longer around.

I love kittens.

Rachel x

Friday, 28 September 2012

Fitness Friday

I saw Catherine from Running in My Wellies (one of my most favourite blogs – go read!) linking up and posting Fitness Fridays, and thought I’d jump on this bandwagon. I’m on a real fitness kick at the moment and love doing classes rather than the actual gym. If I’m booked onto a class, I’m less likely to sack it off and sit on my bum in front of the telly. Here’s what I’ve done this week!



Sunday
Body Attack – 1 hour
This was a new class to me, and can only be described as aerobics on acid. It was high intensity, involved a lot of sprints, jumping, jogging, kicking, burpees and squats, and I was most definitely wearing the wrong bra.  Noted for next time – strap boobies down. I was ruddy knackered by the time we finished, the instructor said you burn around 800 calories in one class. Win!

Monday
Just Zhoom – 1 hour
Again, a new class to me. It’s a Bollywood dance inspired fitness class, and while it was great fun, it was fairly slow and I didn’t work up too much of a sweat, therefore don’t feel it was of huge benefit. That said, it did get me up and moving and it’s a nice easy class for a Monday night, so perhaps I’ll try it again.

Tuesday
Body Pump – 45 mins
My favourite of all classes. A high intensity, weight lifting class to music. I feel so strong after these classes, and the results you get after a couple of months of 1 or 2 classes a week are phenomenal. Good bye saddle bags! See ya bingo wings! Helloooo definition and abs!

Wednesday
Rest day
Ate spaghetti bolognaise & chocolate souffle with some girly friends. Well earnt, I feel.

Thursday
Zumba – 1 hour
I love Zumba, it doesnt feel like a workout. We had a different teacher this time and she wasnt as high intensity as my usual teacher.

Friday
Tonight I shall be having a rest night. Tomorrow I have a 1 hour horse riding lesson booked, which is a pretty good workout in itself!!

What have you been up to this week?

Rachel x

Monday, 24 September 2012

Help! Book Suggestions Needed.

I’ve joined the world of Kindle owners. I treated myself to one today, and can’t wait to get it set up and lots of books downloaded!

I’m not really one of those people who wouldn’t have a Kindle because I love real books...obviously, I’ve just bought one! My main reason is, I love to read, can easily get through 1 or 2 books a week, but my house is cosy (read: small) and I just don’t have the space to store the books I’ve read anymore.

We’ll see how I feel in a few weeks as to whether I change my mind, but for now I am happy with my decision!

So the real question is...what should I read? I need lots of suggestions, and I’m turning to you, dear reader, in my time of need. What's your favourite book? Do you have a Kindle?

Suggest me up!

Rachel x

Friday, 21 September 2012

Tag: If I were...

If I were a gemstone, I’d be opal
If I were a scent, I’d be sandalwood
If I were a pair of shoes, I’d be winter boots

If I were the weather, I’d be bright, cold & crisp
If I were a facial expression, I'd be a sceptical eyebrow raise
If I were a car, I'd be micromachine

If I were a time of day, I'd be mid-morning
If I were a month, I'd be November
If I were a place, I'd be the Masai Mara

If I were a liquid, I'd be ice-cold water
If I were a taste, I'd be sharp
If I were a sea animal, I'd be a seahorse

If I were a food, I'd be an eton mess
If I were a colour, I'd be teal
If I were a musical instrument, I'd be a piano

If I were a flower, I'd be an aquilegia
If I were a song, I'd be a live lounge cover
If I were a planet, I'd be Saturn

If I were an object, I'd be a feather-filled cushion
If I were a fruit, I'd be a banana
If I were a sound, I'd be waves lapping against a shore
If I were a day of the week, I'd be Saturday

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

An Effy Update

Effy is growing up fast, and is without doubt the most MENTAL kitten I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning.

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'just chilling'

She’s absolutely bonkers – I know that kittens are highly energetic in general, but this little girl never seems to sleep. She’s constantly bombing around, jumping from sofa to sofa and in the blink of an eye she’s halfway up the curtains. She harasses poor Chester constantly, he gets entirely fed up of her jumping on his head within seconds of walking into the house. She lies in wait under the dining room table until I walk past, then jumps out and bites my toes. Similarly she’ll sit on the stairs and swipe at my hair/face/ears through the banisters as I walk up them.


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EFFY! 'Who, me?'

She’s a smelly little thing, I’ve never know a cat to have such awful flatulence! It has calmed down a bit since we’ve wormed her and changed her to a dry food diet (although she occasionally snaffles some of Chesters wet food when he’s not looking) but she still lets off the occasional ‘pop’ and my word, does it smell. We did have a few weeks where she refused to use her litter tray, driving me to my wits end, but thankfully she seems to ‘get it’ now - or maybe she understood what was being said when Steve screamed at me that she’d have to go back to where she came from if he had to clear up another poo.

Smelliness and litter problems aside, she’s a dear little thing. She’s so affectionate (when she eventually does calm down for 5 mins), and loves a good cuddle on the sofa. She’s turning into a proper little lap cat, much like my Dora was, which makes me so happy. She’s such a pretty little girl too.

Here’s a question for fellow cat-lovers – do you think Effy has a bit of Maine Coon in her? I've done a little research today and all the signs (apart from her not being massive...yet) seem to say she could well be a mix.

Rachel x

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

An Update.

This isn't really an exciting update, more of an update on my life recently. I have no real reason or justification for going AWOL for a while, but sometimes blogging has to take a backseat to real life.

Work has been (and still is) really busy, and unfortunately the time I feel most inspired to write blog posts is mid-afternoon, and at the moment I simply don't have time to stop working for 10 mins to whack out a post.

I'm going to make more time to post, I do miss blogging and being part of 'the community'. I have 15 mins spare before heading out to the gym, so here's what I've been up to...

Gymming
I'm attempting to be a gym bunny again. I used to go regularly and run 10k's without breaking a sweat (ok, there was a little bit of sweat but you know what I mean). Then I got shin splints, and took 6 months out to heal. Then another 6 months because I'm lazy. So I am essentially starting from scratch with my fitness level again...but am determined to build gymming and running back into my routine. I've started with 3 classes and one swimming session a week; with the aim to start running again once I've built up some 'base' fitness and muscle tone.

Weddings
Steve and I ventured to Halifax for one of his school friends wedding. I knew quite a few people there, and we had a jolly old knees up. Much alcohol was consumed, and moves busted on the dance floor.

Getting organised
I've bought a filofax. I never thought I'd see the day, but after a busy, busy month, missing important bill payments and double booking myself over and over again by relying solely on the calendar in my head, I took the decision to invest in a planner. Boring decision = anything but boring filofax. Its pink, its snakeskin, its hot. I cant wait to fill it with stuff!


Saving pennies
I've had a small tax rebate, and am awaiting a PPI payout (yeah, I jumped on that bandwaggon. And why not, when I actually realised how much I'd spent on PPI I didnt want, I had a small heart attack). The rebate is sitting patiently in my savings account, and when my PPI goes in, I shall treat myself to a bike, and some Marc Jacobs Dot perfume. Mmm it's possibly my new favourite.

Being Thankful for
Beautiful, generous blogging friends. Follwing the loss of my kitty cat Dora, the wonderful Charlotte (from Charlottes Web) sent me the most wonderful silver necklace complete with kitty charm. I welled up when I received it, and was/still am genuinely touched. None of my 'real-life' friends really took any notice of my sobbing and heartache following Dora's death. Charlotte did and for that I am thankful.

Geeking out
All 3 Lord of the Rings films over the bank holiday weekend. I got my geek on and loved it.

Looking ahead
To Christmas. Yes, I am 'one of those' people who gets stupid excited for all things festive. Today I put together my 'Christmas Spreadsheet' - more on this soon.

So that's it really - forgive me for being neglectful recently please. I have still been reading many a blogpost from you lovely lot.

Rachel x

p.s - I've been p*ssing about with the design of my blog, and well and truly messed it up. When I have time, I'll fix it, promise.

Friday, 17 August 2012

What I've Googled this week #4

WIGTW took a short holiday (which was at the same time I went, coincidentally) but is back. Hooray I hear you say.

Here are some of the random things I’ve typed into Google this week. (Any one else really missing the Olympic themed game google doodles?)

Jason Manford Blog


I’d read that Mr Manford had a pop at the trolls that were saying disgusting things about Gary Barlow following the loss of his daughter, and his performance at the Olympic closing ceremony.

I decided to read his blog post, and am glad that I did. It’s a beautifully written piece, and I hope it goes some way to shaming the supposed human beings who wrote such awful things. I agree with every word Jason says.

If you’d like to read it (I urge you to), go here

St John Ambulance

I’m a qualified First Aider (in the work place), and enjoyed the training & the thought of helping people so much that I want to go a step further. My dream job when I was little was to be a paramedic, and I’m unsure as to why I didn’t follow that career path now. There’s still time I suppose. Anyway, I’ve contacted the St John’s Ambulance with a view to getting more training, and volunteering for them at events in and around Cambridge.

Stomach Ulcer Symptoms
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I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I’m a sufferer of IBS. This is what the Docs say you have when they essentially don’t know what makes you feel so ill. I won’t go into too much detail but cramps, bloating and toilet issues are a daily recurrence in my life, and it’s difficult to manage because what you react to can change on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.

The pain I get has changed recently, it’s more of a burning, acidic pain and it’s in a different place than usual. To me, it feels like an ulcer, hence why I did some research on it. I’m not sure if I fit the demographic of people who usually get stomach ulcers, but I’ve decided to take action and have booked a docs appt for a weeks time, and until then will be keeping a food, pain and toilet diary so an assessment can be made. Fingers crossed it gets sorted, as I’m not sure how much longer I can cope with being doubled over in pain regularly!

September & November Birthstone
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September = Steve's birthday, November = mine. I can’t remember now why I wanted to know what our birthstones are, but FYI – his is sapphire and mine is topaz. Lovely stuff.

Centre Parcs
Its Steve's birthday in 2 weeks, happily landing on a Saturday this year. We have his daughter with us for the day, so I am looking into day passes (we're only 30 min drive from the Elveden Forest CP) for the 3 of us to have a day there, splashing around in pools, riding bikes and generally having fun.

What have you Googled this week?

Rachel x

p.s - apologies for the dodgy image sizes. Blogger seems to have taken a real dislike to me uploading more than 2 pics to my blog. Clearly need to take better pics!!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Cornwall #6 - Holywell Bay and Seafood

Our last proper day of holiday was spent at Holywell Bay. It was a bit chillier this day, so I mostly sunbathed wearing a cardigan (not very effective for getting a tan, FYI). The eight of us dug a hole, which was about 7ft deep.

We stopped off for cream teas on the way back to the house which were YUM (cup of tea + scone + jam + cornish clotted cream = cream tea).

Steve and I headed off on our own for a romantic meal at the Boathouse in Newquay that evening, where we gorged on smoked mackerel, crab, mussles (him, not me. They look like bogeys and for that reason I can't eat them) and wine.


Monday, 13 August 2012

Cornwall #5 – Boat Fetish & Feeder

On Thursday we headed to Falmouth for a wander. Its basically just a harbour where big cruise and transport ships are built and docked. I didn’t take any pictures here as I don’t have a boat fetish (as one of the lads we were with claimed he did). We had a nice lunch then headed back to the ranch for more drinks and hot tub time.

The highlight of the day, and possibly the whole holiday, was going to see Feeder that evening at Lusty Glaze. Lusty Glaze is a cove, and because of its shape and layout, it’s a natural amphitheatre. Lots of bands play here and we were lucky to have timed it with Feeder, who I really like (you all know Buck Rogers right?), so we drank cider, watched the sunset, saw a streaker and rocked out in the sand. Good times were had by all.





Guess who? Yeah, thats me. And Steve. I've never put pics of us on here before...I'm a bit scared.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Cornwall #4 - Fistral Beach

I will try to keep my poor attempts at surfer speak to a minimum during this post. Dude. Steve and I took a day on our own to go hang ten at Fistral beach. It wasn’t the prettiest beach we visited all week, but the waves were gnarly. Dude.
We hired body boards and wet suits and played in the sea all day like children. I did manage to ride a few waves (they were massive, it was a little bit scary) but mainly wiped out A LOT.



Thursday, 9 August 2012

Cornwall #3 - Wadebridge to Padstow

I cant say I’ve ever been very active on previous holidays. I’m more of a ‘this is my sunbathing spot, I have my book, I don’t intend to move now bring me a cocktail’ kinda gal. So when a bike ride was suggested, I was intrigued. Movement on holiday....really?! Not wanting to be a party-pooper I went along with it and was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed myself.

We hired bikes in Wadebridge and cycled the 5 and-a-bit miles down to Padstow. I felt so care-free and refreshed with the wind blowing through my hair as I cycled along. We cycled along a disused railway line which had been cemented over, along the river leading to the coast. It was so beautiful and it reignited my love for cycling.  I haven’t been on a bike since taking part in a 100km bike ride a couple of years ago and being put off by the pain from that!

I fell in love with the bike I was riding (similar to this one) and am saving up to buy myself one now. It was such a comfy ride and when I do buy it, Steve and I can go for long countryside rides at the weekends and I can realise my ‘dream’ of cycling to work!

When we got to Padstow (the cycle ride took us 40 mins with a few photo opportunity stops along the way) we stopped off and had fish and chips for lunch, a snoop round the shops and a wander around the harbour. We had a few drinks in the pub and cycled back in the sunset. Aahhhhh heavenly....











Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Cornwall #2 - The Eden Project

I'd heard mixed reviews of the Eden Project. As we were only a 30 min drive away, we decided to investigate for ourselves. I loved it, although the rainforest biodome with its heat and humidity was hard going with a hangover! I can highly recommend a visit here if you're in the area and like pretty flowers.

p.s - remember to take a hayfever pill, yeah? I forgot, spent the day sniffling with streaming eyes. Attractive, no?












 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Beetroot & Feta Soup

Initially, I felt as dubious about this recipe as you probably do right now.

I like beetroot, I like feta, but together?!

But, bear with me. The result is gooooood and surprisingly, beetroot and feta are a match made in foody heaven.

Here goes....

You will need:
  • 3-4 medium (apple-sized) beetroot (about 500-600g/1lb 2oz-1lb5oz, grated coarsely, or chopped into small dice
  • 500g/1lb 2oz ripe tomatoes, halved
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped roughly
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
  • 500ml/16½fl oz good strong stock (beef is best, but chicken or vegetable will do)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 125g/4oz Greek feta cheese
We used fresh beetroot from our veggy patch...yummy.

Method:

1. Place the halved tomatoes in an ovenproof dish. Throw over the garlic and drizzle over half the olive oil.

2. Roast for 25-30 minutes in a fairly hot oven (190C/375F/Gas 5) until soft and pulpy. Rub through a sieve to remove the skin and pips.

3. Heat the remaining oil in a pan and sweat the onion for a few minutes until soft. Add the beetroot and the stock and bring to the boil. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Simmer gently for 7-10 minutes until the beetroot is tender.

4. Stir in the tomato purée, transfer the soup to a blender and process until completely smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary

5. Divide between warm bowls and crumble over a little feta into each bowl. Serve with crusty bread.

Result:

No awards will be won here for photography. Or presentation. But it tasted hella' good!

A quick, easy, cockle-warming soup. THAT'S PINK. Who doesn't love pink food?

Bon appetit!

Rachel x

Monday, 6 August 2012

Cornwall #1 - Crantock Beach

Its high time I shared what we got up to during our week in Cornwall, isn't it?

In the weeks prior to us going, we saw rain of biblical proportions, freezing cold nights, and even hail stones in some parts of the country. I was so worried that our holiday would be a total washout, and it made packing very difficult. There is not one outfit combination I didn't take - from wellies to sandals, bikinis to waterproof jackets and fleeces, I had all outcomes covered.

My pack-a-thon was a  wasted effort though - when we arrived it was a wonderful 28 degrees, and stayed that was the whole week, meaning that I wore in total about a third of what I took with me, mainly pretty dresses and bikinis. It was heaven, and I managed to get a tan. Score.

I think I'll split what we did into several posts. Yes, yes I will do that. I, for once, took a zillion photos, some with my proper camera and some with my i-Phone. So expect the following posts to be rather image heavy, but they are well worth it. Cornwall is literally stunning, I feel so lucky to have been able to enjoy it in the sun, with copious wine.

Day 1:
We headed to Crantock beach on our first day, and sizzled on the sand all day. We paddled in the sea, ate ice creams, and all got a little bit sun burnt. Typical Brits, ey?!

The evening was spent BBQ-ing in our garden (we rented a huge house for the week) and relaxing in the hot tub.




Stay tuned for day 2!

Rachel x

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Baby you're a firework.

Last night, Steve & I headed to Rugby with some of my work colleagues to see some fireworks. A fireworks championship infact! 4 pyrotechnic companies went head to head to put on the best 10 minute display to music.

I'm a lover of fireworks in general, 5th November may well be my favourite day after Christmas.

The shows were breathtaking, I've literally never seen the sky light up the way it did. The music was great, much wine was drunk, I got to know my new colleagues under the influence of alcohol and all in all, was a different and fun Saturday night.

As usual, my pictures aren't great (I WILL start taking better pics) but hopefully you can get the jist of just how truly spectacular they were.





Monday, 30 July 2012

Holiday Blues & Sad News

I’m back from a lovely(ish) week in Cornwall, and the holiday blues have hit hard.

These are no ordinary blues – there are other contributing factors.

1. My car has just failed its MOT, and is going to cost me around £450 to get it fixed. Ouch.

2. I have a nightmare colleague who has been giving me grief the second I stepped into the office this morning and I’m running out of patience with her and her blame culture ways.

And most importantly:

3. Heartbreak & loss

I had a phone call whilst I was away from the local vets. Sadly, Dora was hit by a car and killed instantly.

I am heartbroken. Truly and utterly. She was a wonderful pet and companion and I miss her terribly already.

I take some comfort that the person who took her to the vets did so, so I know what has happened rather than wondering where she is. And I take some more comfort from the fact that it was instant, and she was in no pain. But these don’t make it hurt any less.

I’ve lost pets in the past and I don’t ever remember the pain and sense of loss being as strong as this. Perhaps because I’m now older and more aware of what’s happened, or perhaps because Dora and Chester were my first pets that were mine, all mine. The thing with pets, even cats who are notoriously (and unfairly, I think) labelled as not being very loyal, is that they love you unconditionally, and are always there when you need a cuddle. There were many times that Dora was a source of comfort to me during a hard time, and many more times that she made me laugh with her funny little ways.

I cried a lot on the first day I found out, but since then I’ve really tried to not think about it. Which sounds harsh but its self preservation really, if I don’t think about it, the grief won’t be all-consuming and the pain will stop. Simple. Well, not so simple but I can try. Steve did ask if I wanted to get another cat to take my mind off it, but I can’t bring myself to. I still have Chester and Effy, and even fleetingly (don’t judge me) I considered giving them away, breaking ties, and never owning another pet again as I’m not sure how I’ll cope when their time comes. I now realise I was being irrational and that won’t help – and I love them dearly – so we all just have to get on with it. Chester is not a happy boy at the moment. He disappeared for 3 days after she was killed, and I’m sure he was looking for her. He doesn’t seem himself at all still, thus proving that animals bond and mourn too.

I feel so silly for feeling this way – I’m sure a lot of people don’t really get being this attached to an animal.

The vets she was taken to have kindly kept her body for me, I’m not sure if I’m up to actually looking at her, but I am going to collect her tomorrow and will be taking her blanket to wrap her in, and I will bury her somewhere where I am able to visit her in the future (i.e not in my rented garden, probably at my Dads)

RIP Dora the Explorer – you were such a lovely cat, and I’ll remember you, love you and miss you dearly, always.

Rachel x

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