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

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Guest Post: Rosie (Cider with Rosie)



Good morning lovely readers of The Reluctant Bumpkin! I'm Rosie, and I write a lifestyle blog called Cider with Rosie :) I'm here to fill the space usually occupied by the lovely Rachel today whilst she's off sunning herself (the lucky thing!) I'd like to introduce you to my little family, who feature daily over on my blog...

Jason is my handsome boyfriend, whom I love very much ♥ He has a scratchy chin (because I nag him not to shave!) and is part French so has that 'sulty moody' thing going on ;) Jase likes KitKat Chunkies, Starbucks vanilla lattes, has the world's shortest memory and is a mine of useless information!

Alfie is our little cat, and is otherwise known as 'Lord Alfred'. Alfie's hunting skills are quite legendary, and he considers himself to be the king of the communal pond and gardens in front of our house. He can often be found lording it up on the sofa, begging for milk, and snoozing amongst piles of clean laundry.

And finally, I'm Rosie! I'm 21, regularly get asked what year of school I'm in, and have been compared to Monica from Friends more times than I can count! ;) I love silk headscarves, twinings english breakfast tea, can fall asleep at the drop of a hat and am a prolific list-maker.

Thank you very much for having us! If you'd like to read more about our little adventures, you can find us over at Cider with Rosie!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Guest Post: Daisy (Lovely Memories)

Hello all you lovely Reluctant Bumpkin readers, my name is Daisy.

While Rachel is away on holiday (lucky girl!) she asked me to do a
guest post for her, and I can't tell you how excited I am about this.

My blog is called Lovely Memories and I started it as a way
of documenting what we get up to as a family but has grown into so much more.

You can find a bit of this (me talking about my little family)
Some of this (ah, I love cooking and have shared a few recipes)

This (hmmm, outfit modelling, not my strength....I promise there are better ones)
and some of that (crafts I have made)
So, now you know bit more about my blog. Come and say hello OK!

On to the guest post.
Rachel asked me to talk about a day in my life...
So, here is EVERYTHING we did Saturday.

It was an average day where nothing exciting happened, but everyone was happy.

We all woke up relatively early, kids are still in that stage
where a sleep in means getting up at five minutes past seven instead of
seven on the dot.

Made breakfast. I had mini croissants and pain au chocolats in the freezer
so I quickly baked them in the oven for a continental breakfast.
Emily decided she wanted coco pops instead.

Kids were excited because the school fair was on so they ran up to get dressed as soon as breakfast was finished.
 
Redressed they kids. Dylan came down wearing trousers that got way too short
and Emily decided to clash her colours. I am not that strict on what they wear but I don't
want them to look like little clowns.

It was too early for the school fair so the kids decided to watch a cartoon

Emily spilled orange juice all over her top so I send her up to change clothes AGAIN
 
 Found Emily in her room doing her hair and she asked if she could do mine.
I let her. We look nice, I know!


Got her another top ready and had a shower

Did the dishes.

Asked Simon to quickly do the hoovering

Watched Simon do the hoovering.

Got ready to go out to the school fair, noticed Dylan's sandals are now too small too.
Has this kid grown overnight??

Got the kids scooters out of the garage and started walking

Walked back because it started raining and we needed an umbrella

Kids still wanted to scoot to school so off we went

Walked around the school fair and spend too much money on needless things
and tombola tickets.
 
Won a necklace in the tombola, yay!

Walked back home in the rain

 Simon decided to treat the kids to Mc Donalds for lunch. Kiddies were
very happy with that decision. 

Ate Mc Donalds and went back home
Decided we should buy Dylan some new clothes as he's turning into a
little giant
Drove to Canterbury (in the pouring rain)

Too rainy to walk around town so decided to stop in The Range instead.
 
Looked at all the craft stuff and made some mental notes. Also found some great ideas for
summer holiday projects with the kids.
 
Nearly bought some new curtains.

Went to Matalan to buy Dylan some new clothes and shoes

Went straight to the Woman's shoe isle
 
Let out a squeal when I saw these
 



Tried them on and put them in the basket
 
Found Simon and the kids in the kiddies shoe isle.
 
Helped the kids try on some new shoes
 
Decided on a pair and went to look for jeans for Dylan
 
Ignored all the "oh can I have this?" pleas from the kids
 
Ended up buying more than what we came for, including new towels and a bucket!
 
Went home, it was still raining
 
The whole drive home we discussed what we were going to have for
dinner. We settled on pasta bolognaise.
 
Stopped at the supermarket and changed our minds to have
pasta pesto chicken instead.
 
Hubby quickly ran in to buy the ingredients while me and the kiddies stayed
in the car. We turned the radio up and sang along as loud as we could to Bruno
Mars's "Today I don't feel like doing anything".
 
Came home and Simon made dinner.
 
Kids and me decided on what movie to watch.
 
started watching Jumanji.
 
Had delicious dinner while watching Jumanji.
 
Continued watching Jumanji with Emily on my lap because she's scared of the hunter.
 
Finished the movie and send the kids up for bath time
 

They had a quick shower and put their pyjama's on

 
Tucked the kids in bed and read them a bedtime story.
 
Sang songs to the kids.
 
Came down and found Simon had done the dishes (great husband!)
and his dad was visiting.

Kids came down to see who was there, said hello to grandad and went back up
 
Simon went up to tuck them in again
 
Watched another movie (Source code), while stuffing myself with
biscuits and crisps.
 
Felt bloated and went to bed.
 
There you go, that was our Saturday. Nothing spectacular happened but it was a good day.
Sometimes those days are the best.



Photobucket

Saturday, 21 July 2012

A Holiday.

I'm on holiday! Wooooo!

If my schedule post thingamibob works, I will currently be about half way to Cornwall with 7 chums for a week of surfing, drinks and hot-tubbing.

Hopefully I'll be looking at views like this:
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Can you believe this is actually the UK? I swear it is!

Drinking some of this:

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Eating some of this:

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And doing lots of this:

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Fear not, I have some lovely posts from some lovely ladies coming up over the next few days so please come back and have a read and maybe discover a blog you hadn't heard of before!
See y'all in a week :-)

Rachel x

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Pantone Love #1

As a Marketer, I love looking at the Pantone chart, and seeing what emotions and feelings various colours evoke. I love how brands come together and pick colours to support their messaging and how a colour can become associated with one brand and ethos and nothing else – perfect example being Cadbury’s purple. I love pretty colours full stop. Hence my thinking behind these posts. Colour is a passion of mine and what would life be without colour hey?

What better place to start my ‘Pantone Love’ series posts (we’ll see how it goes ey?) than with Pantones Colour of the Year 2012 – Tangerine Tango.



In Pantones words:
“Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute®. “Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.”

In my words:
This colour screams passion. It screams ‘look at me, I am strong, I am bold, I am unashamed’.

It’s a summer colour, and as Leatrice Eiseman says above, it’s reminiscent of sunsets. Remember your last hot destination holiday? Remember the feeling you go as you watched the sunset? For me, tangerine tango brings those amazing happy feelings back.

I’m considering bringing this colour into my own actual wedding theme, that's how much I love it. I’d love to stick my bridesmaids in dresses this colour, clash it up with turquoise shoes and have my flowers to match. It could look disgusting, but then again it could look phenomenal.

Get Inspired:
Love these. Love their price. MINE. Buy here

(image credit)


I'm no fashion blogger but Jen loos HAWT (image credit)


Guaranteed smiles from all who knock at your door (image credit)
(image credit)
I'm no beauty blogger but this polish + tan = off the scale lushness (image credit)
(image credit)
Introduce a little tangerine tango into your life. You won’t regret it.

Rachel x

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Effy

I’ve noticed that my blog has become rather cat-focused of late and for this I apologise – it isn’t intentional, just a by-product of getting a new kitten I suppose. Normal non-crazy-cat-lady related service will resume shortly.

I do just have to share the following post with y’all though.

Introducing...Effy.
AKA Effy-pants, Effy-cake, Effington, or Effmeister General

She’s so ruddy cute and I’d forgotten how fun it is to have a kitten around. And also how stressful – the first few nights were torture, she’s not allowed to sleep in our bedroom with us (not my rule) and she was very lonely and a bit confused having been taken away from her mummy and siblings, and cried all night. ALL NIGHT. It was heartbreaking but at the same time, I appreciate that she needed to get used to it, and what do you know, she has. So now I can sleep in peace!

Please excuse my horrendous PJs

She was literally riddled with fleas when I picked her up, I didn’t realise at first, so we’ve had to spend the last few days deep cleaning the house, soft furnishings and treating her too. I applied some Spot-On treatment to her Saturday morning and spent my Saturday night picking dead fleas off her. ROCK AND ROLL PEOPLE. Thankfully she’s all clear now and has stopped scratching, happy days.

Chester and Dora are not entirely impressed with her. The first few days of her joining our household caused them to not want to come in the house at all. We have progress now though and although there is still the occasional hiss, Dora and Effy curled up together on my lap for a cuddle yesterday.
I’m hoping that in another few weeks they’ll all be bestest friends.


The stress aside, she’s a little sweetheart. She’s so bold for such a young, small kitten, and certainly rules the household at the moment! She makes beelines for Chester and Dora and literally bombs at them wanting to play, likes to chase my feet as I walk through the house and loves to climb up the sofa. With her claws.

So there you have my new baby – and my last cat-related post for a while. I hope. Maybe. I make no promises!

Rachel x

Monday, 16 July 2012

Veggie Patch Update: Holy Potatoes!

We have edible potatoes people. This is a momentous day.

We picked (harvested? dug?) the pots from our veggie patch yesterday morning, and enjoyed them with our roast dinner that very same day.

The haul


Note Steve's manly wheelbarrow.

OMG they were divine. We boiled them and served with some salt'n'pepper and a borderline unhealthy amount of butterry goodness. They were fluffy, light, slightly nutty and just 10000000 times better than shop bought ones.

Roast dinner in July? Sure why not.

You may notice, I am cack-handed and eat with my fork in my right hand. I am utterly NON-ambidextrous and cannot do anything with my left hand, let alone aim sharp, pointy things at my mouth.

I can't really think of a potato related question to ask, so instead, how are you today?
Rachel x

Friday, 13 July 2012

What I've Googled this week #3

I’m going to bang out this post fairly quickly today, I'm not going to lie, I have a hangover, am tired and emotional. I’ve had 2 fairly heavy nights in the space of a week (one being last night – a school night) and my body, brain and bank balance can’t cope with that shit.

Anyhoo, here’s what I’ve Googled this week.

Alanis Morrisette

Heard ‘Ironic’ on the radio, reminded me how much I like Alanis Morrisette and Jagged Little Pill, so googled her to see what she’s up to now and subsequently downloaded the album on I-tunes.

How many mls in a pint
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I feel I should know this anyway, but I don’t. My chum came over for dinner in the week and I made jambalya. I couldn’t find my measuring jug so I guesstimated the stock using a pint glass. It turned out very well despite adopting a ‘hope for the best’ attitude. (the answer, by the way, is 568)

The Big Bang Theory
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The TV show, not the actual occurrence. When I first watched this show I was really unsure, but I’ve grown to adore it and it is generally my ‘watch whilst cooking dinner’ programme, much like Friends was before they took it off E4. I love love love Sheldon, he’s hilarious.

Glossybox
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Where the hell is my July box? It was apparently dispatched on 6th July, a whole 7 days ago. I said that I was going to give the whole Glossybox thing a 3 month trial....this is my 3rd box and I’m totally unimpressed with the whole thing. My first box was pretty good, 2nd box was full of utter tat, and this one hasn’t even shown up. NOT a well spent £12.95 me thinks – I’m cancelling that subscription asap.

Ophthalmology
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I now work for an infection control solutions manufacture company for the veterinary and human healthcare markets.

Its incredibly interesting, and I’m coming across ‘new’ words everyday. So I can at least pretend to know what I’m talking about, I’m having to google define them and remember them all. FYI - Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eye.

What have you Googled this week?

Rachel x

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Dora says RELAX

I love afternoon naps. Dora agrees.

Zzzzzzz
Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend!

Rachel x

Friday, 6 July 2012

What I’ve Googled this week #2

Heat

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The magazine, not the energy transferred from one system to another by thermal interaction (Thankyou Wikipedia). To read up on the Katie/Tom divorce saga. How cute is Suri?

Kittens
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Last week was puppies, this week = kittens. I need to quell my broodiness for a baby animal SOOOOO...I’ve decided to expand my itty bitty kitty committee and we have a new addition to the Harvlop (Mr Harvey + Ms Heslop = Harvlop) household arriving this weekend.......!!!!!



Here she is (fluffy tabby on the right, the b&w is her sister)! Name undecided...all suggestions welcome...and in true ‘crazy cat lady’ style, I will dedicate an entire post to her once I’ve picked her up.

Weather in Cornwall

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I’m going. In 3 weeks. I do not have high hopes for glorious sunshine and days on the beach. Scrabble, anyone?

Pinterest


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I’m trying to get the hang of it. Some of the pics in the post are from it. I’m not sure what actual use it is going to have for me though, other than wasting hours looking at pictures I wish I’d been creative enough to take myself? Or is that it's only use?

Sore Eyes


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My eyes have been swollen, dry and itchy all week long. I’ve been religiously taking my antihistamine so I’m not sure it can be hay fever? Who knows. Anyhow they hurt and look gross, so I’ve bought some Optrex Refreshing Eye Drops and OH MAMA is this stuff good.

What have you Googled this week?

Rachel x

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

New Love...

Fallen a little bit in love with Rob Ryan.



Check out his inspiring, wonderful work here

Rachel x

Monday, 2 July 2012

Presents from the cats.

Chester and Dora have been quite creative with their gifts as of late.

Wanting to step above the standard mice and rabbits, over the weekend they presented me with a mole. Yup – a mole. They live underground dontcha know? Which leads me to wonder how exactly C & D caught it...did they don miners hats and go on an underground expedition? Acquire tiny little spades and dig the mole out?

In any case, Steve is very happy as we will no longer have molehills in the garden, and I am a little in awe of their hunting skills. I had a look at the mole (from a safe distance, naturally) and they are actually amazing little things, with the softest looking fur and hands like spades.

A mole who has not been killed by my cats.
Steve poked it with a stick for a bit, confirmed it was indeed dead and disposed of it accordingly.

RIP Moley.

Rachel x
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