Category Archives: Family Life
UK – Part II
Sunday in Corfe Mullen greeted us with cold winds and overcast skies. Later that afternoon we headed to the Lamb’s Green Inn to meet up with a group of old friends. I was absolutely blown away by how many people showed up, despite the yukky weather! It was so lovely to see old school chums, ballet school and college friends, and many more… people that I have known since I was a little girl! Honestly, upon seeing them all, it felt like I had never been away. That’s the beauty of old and true friends. It doesn’t matter how long you have been apart, you pick right up where you left off when you do see each other. Everyone braved the crappy weather outside in the beer garden (no children allowed inside near the bar)… and then finally we merged indoors and ate dinner. It was just so good to catch up with everyone. I wish I had been able to spend more time with everyone individually, but this was a great way to see friends and hug them when our time in the UK was so limited. I am truly so grateful to everyone who gave up their Sunday afternoon to come and hang out with the Porters! We love you all!
On Monday, we got up and packed up a picnic before heading off to Beaulieu. Beaulieu boasts a wonderful motor museum, house, and gardens. We met up with our dear friends Stoss and Michael (they drove down from Bucks) and enjoyed a fabulous day. The weather held out for us and Gwennie really enjoyed seeing all the cars (as did Bill and Michael!), the beautiful “palace” (Beaulieu house!), and she loved tripping around the gardens and children’s play areas. It was lovely to see Stoss and Michael… again we were so grateful to them for coming as Stoss had only just had a stent placed the week before! My hero! Nothing stops that lady!
On Monday night my BFF from Grammar School, Jacqui, came over for dinner. Jacqui came to our little reunion on Sunday, but she flew all the way from Spain to come and say “Hi!” to me, so we planned to have an evening together at Mum’s to just relax and catch up properly. We ordered a Chinese takeout and proceeded to laugh all night! It was SO good to see her. We haven’t done so in about 20 years! Again, it was like we had never been apart! I was so grateful to her for coming all that way so that we could be together! Wow… I have some amazing friends!
On Tuesday, we headed out to one of my favourite local places and historical landmarks… Corfe Castle! We parked the car and jumped on the Swanage railway. It was Gwennie’s first time on a steam train! So much fun! I think she was a tad disappointed though that the train didn’t look completely like the Hogwart’s Express on the inside! We got off the train at Corfe and walked around the ruins of the castle. It was a lovely day… the sun came out to play at last! We went to the Greyhound Inn for lunch and then had a mosey around the village. We visited the Model Village, which is always a delight. It boasts a mini-version of Corfe and its village, a fairy garden (big hit with G!), and areas to play draughts, Connect-4, croquet, hopscotch, etc. The garden there is just stunning! Beds crammed full with various colours of poppies, foxgloves, peonies, roses, lupines, and on and on. We visited some of the shops in the village and Gwennie has acquired a penchant for looking in churches, so we took her in to the Parrish Church, St. King Edward, King and Martyr. It was a really lovely day. We took the train back to the car park and then drove home via the ferry, which is always a fun thing to do. We stopped on the top of the hill and enjoyed the beautiful scenery down below of Sandbanks, Bournemouth, and all across the bay.
Wednesday we ventured closer to home to Kingston Lacy. It is an elegant country house now owned by the National Trust and boasts beautiful acres of gardens and parkland. We enjoyed looking in the house and hearing all the history and we had a lovely walk in the extensive gardens and surrounding area. We enjoyed a nice lunch sitting outside at the Stables Restaurant.
That evening we met up with my Godparents, Vera & Burt, and headed out to the Taj for an Indian meal! LOVE! It’s a standard when I go back home… I must have fish and chips, sausage rolls, and an Indian! It was fabulous to see V&B and Gwennie really enjoyed them. We had a wonderful meal and our servers were delightful.
On Thursday, our last day, we headed to Castlepoint to do a little shopping, before heading home to pack up out suitcases. (Boo!) Mum cooked us Toad in the Hole that evening! Another of my absolute favourite dishes (who says the Brits don’t know good food???). It was splendid, of course! What a great send off!
And Friday the 28th came all too soon. Our car picked us up at 8:45am and we were off to Gatwick Airport.
I’m feeling all emotional and choked up as I sit here and type this. I am not going to lie… I have serious post-Europe blues. I get homesick at the best of times, but it is only highlighted more now due to our recent visit. I am so grateful to my lovely Mum for putting the three of us up in her sweet little home and for taking such great care of Gwennie so that we could visit Paris. I am also so thankful for the dear friends and family who came to see us whilst we were there. To those that we didn’t have time to see, I am so very sorry and we will hopefully catch you next time. Two weeks just isn’t enough and I hope/plan to come for longer next time.
A little break now… I am trying to get back into the Florida swing of things again. Photo posts to follow soon!
Contemplating life and friendships.
Gosh, it’s been a long time since I have written. I have so many posts in my head.
I have so much to write about Gwennie… about her amazing progress at school… about her intellect, her kind heart, her talents, and sweet ways.
I have much to write about work… I am waiting on new photos of our amazing instructors and studio. There are some big changes going on and things to share.
I would like to write about my husband…. about his amazing new store and his unending impeccable hard-work etiquette.
But, whenever I am feeling down and a little sad… that is when I am truly inspired to write. I guess it is a little like therapy. We need to purge and let go to be able to move on.
I feel a little abandoned and cast-aside by some people I thought were friends. In hindsight, I realize that true friends stand beside you because they truly love and know you… but it doesn’t stop the pain from rising when people, due to certain circumstances, unceremoniously dump you. It doesn’t matter to what standards I hold others and myself; I cannot expect everyone else to think or feel the same way as me.
Needless to say, I am hurt and sad, and sometimes, downright lonely. I don’t really trust anyone and I always have an exit plan in my head. Always. Maybe that sounds bizarre to you. But I think you would be lying if you didn’t “get it” a little bit. Let’s face it… we all want to be loved and cherished.
I try to give out what I would like to receive. Am I perfect? Hell no. I know I have messed up many times in life, but I put them all down to experiences learned. But I do know that I have a good heart and I would do anything for anybody. If you cross me or hurt me repeatedly, then I have a very hard time forgiving you. I am a true Lioness. Mess with me and I will go into protective mode and shut you out. It isn’t because I don’t care about you, it’s because I need to protect my heart and the ones I love. Those of you, who really know me, understand I have been through A LOT in my life. Those of you who don’t may not understand why I am so sensitive. I’ll tell you one day if you will give me the chance. I would like to learn more about you too. Listening to one another’s trials and difficulties brings us more together, I believe.
I do believe that our upbringings and cultures play a lot into all of this. Before I go into anything, I just want to say that I am NOT putting down any culture, country, belief, or anything. I am just retailing my experience.
I have never felt truly at home here in the States. I love it here. I love this country, I love Florida and the weather, I love my husband and the good friends I have made… but it has been hard to make friends and still I find it very hard to truly trust any of them 100%. I feel like I constantly have to keep my guard up. I used to give so much and now I feel like it’s in my best interests to hold back…. Because no-one is capable of giving what I am used to giving. God, that sounds selfish, but I have friends from back home who I have known since I was tiny and we haven’t seen each other for years, yet we are still there for each other 150%. No question.
I feel like an outsider here. I don’t get the flakiness of “friendships”. How you can be the “in person” one month and then not the next. Why people can’t hold true to their word. Why I feel like I have to do all the work. If I don’t reach out to people, I don’t hear from them. It sucks.
And you know what? I know I am not the only person to feel like this. I know a lot of people feel this way. So what is it with our/this society these days? Are we so spoiled with the crazy technology available to us that we can’t physically communicate with people properly anymore?
And I know the people that will respond to this post. They will be the friends who live hundreds or thousands of miles away. And again, it will make me a little bit sad, because if I were a free bird, I would move back to be closer to these people. But I have made my family/home here and it is my responsibility to stay put.
I would love to hear how you feel. Be honest! Good or bad.
Names in the Sand
I was so touched to receive an email from Carly Marie Dudley last week.
Carly lives in Australia and suffered the tragic loss of her baby boy as I did.
Carly very graciously writes names in the sand of her favourite beach… it’s called Christian’s Beach (named so after her son).
Carly wrote Henry’s name in the sand for us.
She wrote thousands of names on that day and towards the end of her writing, the most amazing double rainbow lit the sky.
If that wasn’t a sign from all the dear little angels up there, I don’t know what was.
Carly is very proactive in helping grieving parents heal over their loss of their little ones. Please go and read about all the wonderful things she does at her website, Carly Marie Project Heal.
Thank you, Carly! You are a beautiful soul!
Henry James Porter dedication….
My friend Jenn.
My friend Jenn.
I met her back in the summer of 2005; we met through the mutual love of a band 30 Seconds to Mars.
We became friends online before meeting up for the first time at a 30STM concert in Daytona.
I had no idea that I was about to meet one of the dearest friends of my lifetime.
Let me tell you about Jenn.
Firstly, she blows you away with her striking looks. She has the most beautiful eyes that gaze deep into your soul.
She is tall and elegant.
She is tender and sensitive, fiercely loyal and true, funny and silly, and patient and kind.
Not once have I ever experienced one teensy ounce of bitchiness from Jenn. She is a rare gem.
I have never once doubted her love for me. I have never doubted that she always has my back.
It’s a pretty rare occurrence these days to find someone so genuine and sincere.
I cherish her. I love her.
She is a true friend and it is an honour to have her in my life.
Jen is wildly talented. She is one of the most talented artists I know.
Her paintings are outstanding and breathtaking.
She remains modest and humble.
Jenn loves Gwennie and Gwennie loves her back… very much!
Jenn is moving to Washington State next week.
My heart is so sad. Sad that I cannot just get in the car and drive to see her or vice versa.
I am so proud of her for doing this though.
She has been through many challenges and she is standing up and fighting back and is making a positive change in her life.
I can’t wait to go visit her.
We will ALWAYS be friends.
The one thing I have noticed is that miles can get in the way at times, but true friendships withstand those miles and can never be torn apart.
I love you, Jenn. I miss you already. You are always here in my heart and I will see you soon!
Maximus Max… big name for a little guy!
So it is about time we welcomed the new addition to our family.
His name is Maximus Max and he is a guinea pig.
It all started with Gwennie wanting a horse.
We managed to whittle it down to something a lot more smaller, thank goodness!
So Gwennie asked Father Christmas for a guinea pig.
Dad was amazing… he got on the case right with me and helped search for the perfect piggy!
He found Maximus at his local shelter and cared for him for a few days until it was time for F.C. to bring him to Gwennie on his sleigh (or rather in the back of a Surburban GMC!).
Max was in a cage with 3 other guinea pigs when Dad went to see him. He had been bullied and was covered in scabs.
He was just a baby… about 5-6 months old.
Dad and his wife, Pat, did a great job of nursing the little guy back to health and getting him ready for his big, special delivery to our dear little girl!
Gwennie was so thrilled when she discovered her wish had come true.
I have to say she has been absolutely amazing with Max.
The novelty has not worn off and she cannot wait to get home from school each day and let Max out of his cage and spend time with him.
When she is at home, Max is always hanging out with her.
He lives a very exciting and adventurous life now. He gets to go on walks around the neighbourhood…
He gets to talk to Granny in the UK every weekend….
He regularly gets a check-up from Dr. Porter…
And he gets to hang out with the big “guinea pig”…
He loves being with his best friend, Gwennie…
I never thought I would become so fond of a guinea pig, but he really is the dearest little chap!
He is so calm and docile and cuddly… and is very good-natured.
He has certainly landed on his paws and enjoys a wide variety of wonderful culinary delights, such as kale, oranges, celery, apples, strawberries, and carrots.
Kate has been ever so good with him!
She was very curious at first and definitely wanted to check out his cage and food situation, but now she just ignores him for the most part!
So welcome Maximus Max! We love having you be a part of our family!
Here’s to making lots of lovely memories with you!
Happy New Year! And a cleanse!
Goodness, it is January 12th and I have written anything in my blog yet this year!
Happy New Year everyone… I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and I wish you a happy, healthy, successful, and love-filled 2013.
Our Christmas and New Year was lovely. It all went by far too quickly and whoops, here we are back into the swing of the normal routine: early mornings, school runs, ballet classes, work, etc, etc.
We do have a new addition to our family. Maximus the guinea pig arrived on Christmas Day via Grandpoo.
He is the dearest little guy and I will have to do another post solely focusing on him!
Gwennie is completely enamoured (as am I !).
We all tend to indulge a little during holiday times. Well, I certainly do. Lots of rich food to taste and a little more drinking than usual.
I decided to do a cleanse this past week to purge my old body of some toxins.
A friend of mine works for a company called Beyond Organic. She suggested I try the 3-Day Suero Viv cleanse.
The Suero Viv cleanse is designed to support the body’s natural cleansing and detoxification systems and help you reach a higher level of health than you’ve ever experienced. Available in three options: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. I took the Bronze one which consists of two flavours… Raspberry Lemonade and Citrus. You drink 6 bottles of these juices per day… and eat nada. The drinks are made up of whey culture and potassium and sodium to help cleanse out the cells of the body whilst protecting the body’s natural flora.
You can watch a video describing the cleanse right here!
The cleanse was designed to be a group one and ran from January 8th-10th.
Day 1: This was the toughest day for me. I was teaching two classes at The Bar Method that morning and felt a little foggy in my head. By the late afternoon, my head was crashing and I couldn’t really focus on anything much. I texted my friend and she told me that I should have slowly weaned off caffeine before the cleanse. Whoops! I took some Advil and went to bed early.
Day 2: My headache had pretty much dissipated and I felt more human. I found it much easier to teach class today and even took a class, which I found challenging but got through unscathed!
Day 3: I felt really tired on this day. I didn’t teach, but I did go in to take a class and found it a real struggle. No protein = no bueno for muscles. By the third day I was just craving the sensation of being able to chew something and I was really tired of the drinks. They didn’t taste that great… they were both very citrus-y in flavour and left a yukky taste in my mouth so I had to clean my teeth every time I drank one. I have a confession to make… on this day, I ate a baby carrot! I gave one to Maximus and the temptation was too great! I had to have one of those cold, crunchy things too! It was uh-mazing! Hahahaha!
So, I made it through the cleanse.
Down sides; I got really fed up with the flavours of the drinks. I would have liked more variety. And I should have detoxed off caffeine beforehand so I wouldn’t have been so tired. If I choose to do a cleanse again, I would definitely start/do it on days when I am not working. (I did have horrible dreams whilst I was cleansing. Was it cleansing my brain also???)
Up sides; I wasn’t hungry at all during the 3 days. I wanted to chew food, but I wasn’t physically hungry. Impressive! I lost 3 lbs… not as much as I would have liked to lose, but it was something. I definitely lost that bloated feeling that I had post-holiday nosh-up! And my skin looks great.
If I do the Suero Viv cleanse again in the future, I think I would opt for the Silver one, as it has 3 varieties of drinks.
A little more variety makes a heck of a difference when that is all you are drinking for 3 days.
Cleansing isn’t for wimps! It definitely takes some willpower and I am so relieved I made it through 3 days.
Hopefully I did myself some good and got rid of some toxic sludge! Mmmmmmm!!!!!
Merry Christmas Everyone!
I have been meaning to write a post on a variety of topics lately, but time has escaped me!
So before the sound of sleigh bells is nigh, I just wanted to wish everyone a very happy Christmas!
I hope you all enjoy a wonderful time with family and friends… and I wish you all the very best for a happy, healthy, love-filled, and successful 2013!
I hope next year brings ever more peace, patience, tolerance, kindness, and goodwill to everyone!
Where are you, Christmas?
Yesterday, Gwennie and I were driving home from school and we decided to bust out the Christmas music.
Is it just me or does anyone else get all emotional listening to holiday songs?
I love Christmas.
I am not going to lie… there have been a few Christmases I would rather forget, but on the whole I LOVE Christmas.
I am not in the slightest bit religious but I will belt out Oh Come All Ye Faithful with the best of you.
I love the spirit of Christmas… the joy in children’s eyes and the act of giving to others.
Christmas is a time of remembrance for me too. I think about loved ones who are no longer with us.
Memories of Christmases-past with these loved-ones brings a smile to my face.
I am also reminded that there is someone important missing from our family.
There should be a little two year old boy running around our house right now.
But while his physical presence is missing, Henry remains constantly in our hearts.
I think about Christmases when I was a little girl.
I have fond memories of my Mum, Gran, and Great Aunt all cooking in the kitchen.
My Mum used to make the best mince pies and petit-fours.
My dear Gran would stuff the turkey each year.
We used to have the best parties over the holidays… I have such great clips in my head of fancy-dress hoorahs and evenings spent playing games and laughing raucously with family and friends.
I am an only child but I always felt surrounded by loved ones. It is a good memory.
Christmas definitely changes once you have a family. It’s so important to make your own family traditions.
Today, Bill, Gwennie & I are getting ready to decorate our tree together.
As I mentioned earlier, Christmas is a time for giving. I am trying to instill this concept into Gwennie.
Every year we have taken part in Operation Christmas Child. This year, we are adopting a Christmas Angel through G’s school.
We will be buying a present for a little 5 year old girl who “loves anything Barbie”! I can’t wait to go shopping for her with Gwennie!
So where are you, Christmas? I think you are in our hearts… in our memories… in our souls… in the laughter of our children and in the joy sparkling in their eyes.
Happy Christmas everyone!
The holidays are coming!
…and I haven’t posted in ages!
October was a funny old month. It was a month of feeling pretty blue. I am glad to say I have since picked myself up, dusted myself off, and am back on track again.
The end of October brought the loss of a dear friend of ours. Herb O’Brien was an amazing man who was like a father and mentor to Bill. It’s so sad to think he is gone and we won’t see him again. We loved him very much and we love his family. We flew up to Seattle the first week in November to attend his memorial service. It was held at his beloved Radar. It was a very touching affair and it was so good to see old friends. I am so grateful that I was able to go and I am very thankful to my lovely co-workers at The Bar Method for covering my classes so I could go and support Bill and Herb’s family.
We enjoyed a lovely weekend with one of my dearest friends, Jenn, last weekend. It was her birthday and so she came to stay with us for a couple of days. We went to Epcot for the day on Saturday and had a wonderful time! She is so easy to be with and Gwennie adores her too!
I had my evaluation with Karen at The Bar Method last week. It went well and was a positive experience! I am really looking forward to the future! I feel so lucky to be doing a job that I love!
Gwennie has had a busy week what with a Thanksgiving Pow Wow with her Kindergarten and The Nutcracker ballet recital! Such precious memories!
Now we are gearing up to the Thanksgiving celebrations which we will be hosting at our house.
My Mum arrives on Monday! Can’t wait to have her here for 2 weeks!
A very happy Thanksgiving to one and all! I am so thankful for my amazing family, for dear friends, a job that I love, and good health!