I’m back, baby!

That’s right, after a year and a half of being unable to do much more than a google search, I am once again the proud owner of a computer that will allow me to do high tech things like talk about food and upload photos of that food.

A surprising amount has changed in just 18 months, some of it good, some of it bad. I’ll try to keep it all in order!

First, I should mention that Charlotte girl, who I believe was the focus of my last post in August 2016 when we were celebrating a year of knowing each other. I’m pleased to say a year has become two, soon to be three and bring on the rest! I’m genuinely happier every day with her.

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At the end of December 2015, I managed to score a job with a charity I have always wanted to work for and was thrilled to bits. It was always a very meaningful cause to me. Unfortunately, within a year, seven people left the fundraising department due to severe bullying problems- I was the seventh. There was a known issue in the department for some time which wasn’t being dealt with. About 6 months into my experience I became a member of Unison which is one of the smartest decisions I have ever made as, another six months later when everything came to a head, they were in my corner and made sure the problem could no longer be ignored. My employers were not aware I was a member of a union when they chose to suspend me for “gross misconduct” under the category of “insubordination” following my attempt to report the bullying issues I was facing from my manager- but they certainly became aware soon after! Having Unison meant everyone immediately needed to start behaving legally- any so called “investigation” on me was closed after I was finally able to give a statement and after this, to a degree, I was finally able to leave on my terms. I say “to a degree” as, in truth, I never wanted to leave and I am still sad that this happened. It had been my dream to work for this charity and I envisioned my long-term career with them for the rest of my working life. To have it all taken away in just under a year was devastating. It took a lot to bounce back and to describe Charlotte as my rock at this time is an understatement. I’ve come a long way, but I still have a great dip in my confidence as far as a fundraising career is concerned but am continuing to work on that. A small help is that, following Unison’s involvement, the charity in question had no choice but to carry out a true investigation on the department. The person who caused me, and others, such misery now no longer works there. I have intentionally not named the charity, however if you do happen to know the charity I’m referring to, I stress this experience is NOT a reflection of the charity themselves, but a reflection of a small group of people. The charity continues to do fantastic work and is very forward thinking on the issue it represents. Despite the personal experience I have had, I would still donate to this charity and still trust that the money is being spent wisely.

In January of 2017, Charlotte and I moved to Cambridgeshire for a fresh start. While I was still living in Northampton, we would both meet for monthly lunches with my Grandparents- something we all loved doing! I also had them over to my flat a couple of times.

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It only made sense, therefore, that they should be our first guests to our new flat in St Ives!

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We’ve had them to stay twice. One was just for the day in February, when we enjoyed Roast Dinner and a cozy day on the couch watching My Fair Lady.

The other was overnight, arriving on a scorching hot day which meant we got to do a grand tour of our local town too- including a boat trip!

These are such special memories which I will always hold dear, particularly now as, sadly, my Grandma is very ill and appears to be in the final stages of Alzheimer’s. Both she and Grandad have always shown me such love and kindness and have done nothing but prioritise my happiness, as well as that of my sister and my Mum. I love them both so very much.

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Our new home in Cambridgeshire is really quite something- two huge gardens, one backing onto a field, actual PHEASANTS just waddling around the place and nothing but fresh air for miles! Our lovely cat, Binx, who Charlotte got almost 3 years ago now (that’s pre-Lauren times!) has been so happy here compared to the dull and frightening streets and roads he knew previously. He has brought us enough shrews to open a small attraction- if only they were still alive- and has discovered that he’s not quite tough enough to take on a pheasant.

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Unfortunately, I’m clustering the bad news together here.

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Despite the masses of safe space for him to roam, on June 1st I came home from work to discover our beloved Binx Cat had been hit by a car. The driver of the car had kindly stopped and waited for me to come home- which I thought was really brave of her and something that has prevented anger at a time of grieving. She sat beside him and petted him and, thanks to her, the last thing he knew was kindness. I then took over and attempted to rush him to the nearest vet. We lost Binx that day. I’ve never lost a pet like this before, so I’ve never really grasped how much it hurts. It really does! We still miss him, but we’re in a better place with it now. Although I don’t believe we’ll get another pet while in this property, we certainly will again one day.

But, the universe often does have a balance and there has been good news this year, too! In January, when Charlotte and I moved to Cambridgeshire, my sister and her husband showed us how things are REALLY done and moved to Madrid in Spain! And if that wasn’t enough… They also announced they’re pregnant!

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On September 1st, the beautiful Sienna was born and safe to say the whole family just adore her. We’ve recently celebrated her first Christmas where she was spoiled rotten- a theme I see continuing for the rest of her life!

 

In the middle of Hana’s pregnancy, we also had a terrific family holiday to Portugal to celebrate my Dad’s 59th. Talk about setting the bar! Who knows what his 60th will hold this year.

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In terms of other changes, as well as cooking I’m now also pretty into making beer! In the beginning it was a bit iffy, but I’m now very proud of what I’m starting to produce. I even entered my first brewing competition! Didn’t place, but still had a lot of fun and am continuing to come up with new ideas and hope to enter a few other competitions this year, too!

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A few more tweaks to the ABV of some, and the flavours of others and who knows? Maybe I could sell one day…

So, that more or less brings us up to speed. With my birthday around the corner, I’m really looking forward to seeing my friends Stephen and Ali for a spa weekend and the next year will have a strong focus on brewing beer and developing my brewery- BINX Brews!

Watch this space!

 

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