We are going on a road trip to Ireland

Well our bags are packed and we are ready to go, we are off on a road trip round Ireland in a Motorhome for 2 weeks and I’m really looking forward to it.

We are starting off in Belfast to see my folks for the night and collect the Motorhome – we are very lucky that my Dad is lending us his for the two weeks as they are so expensive to hire.

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From there we are heading down the East Coast of Ireland to Wicklow where we will stay for three nights. I have found a great campsite there that has a pub on site (bonus!) and an area especially for adults only which I have booked into.

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We are then heading down to a little village in Co Waterford called Tramore for 2 nights. The site is 5 minutes walk from Tramore which is a seaside town, so plenty of walks and pubs!

 

We are then going to head over to Cork, my husbands family are originally from there so we will be camping up with them for a few nights.

 

We are then heading over to the other side of Cork where we will catch up with the other side of his family before heading to the pretty little town of Skibbereen for a few nights.

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From Co Cork we are going to start heading back up inland towards Co Clare and the village of Mountshannon for 2 nights.

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Before heading right back up the West side of Ireland to our final stop in Co Leitrim for 2 nights

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We will be away for 13 nights touring, just me, hubby and the dog. Wifi will be limited (((eeeeep))) so I will pop on and off where I can. I have downloaded lots of books and magazines and hopefully will be returning with some crochet that I can share with you all.

Look forward to telling you all about it when we get back.

Claire xx

Twitter and the power of friendships made.

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Following on from my best friends post I wanted to talk about twitter and the amazing people that I have met through there.

I have to be honest with you, I didn’t ‘get’ twitter at the start. I joined it and felt really overwhelmed with no idea how you spoke with people or got to know them but that all changed when starting to plan our wedding. I slowly started following people via the hash tag #ww which once I found out what that meant (Wedding Wednesday by the way) meant that I could link in with others planning their weddings. I have met so many amazing ladies who were all getting married around the same time as me and we all still tweet each other now!

From there and getting the confidence up to follow new people and chat with them my follow list got bigger and bigger with real life people, not just celebrities or companies. I followed friends of the friends I had made and joined in conversations, soon I felt that I had made some real friends and I believe I have.

I have shared my friends lives, been their through ups and downs, had people support me through mine and shared secrets (ahh the bonus of Direct Messages) Twitter is never a lonely place when you have so many thoughtful caring people on there. Yes you can come across those who annoy you or even worse offend you in some way but that’s where twitter has the power and the magic unfollow and block buttons!

Some people don’t get twitter, don’t understand how you can call someone a friend when you have never met but I know that you can. I have been lucky too though and have had the pleasure of meeting up with some of the girls I have met through Twitter, actually quite a few of them through joining a book club which was organised on twitter, I’ve been for afternoon tea and to the Zoo, all with people I’ve met from twitter and followed through their blogs. There are so many more that I would love to meet, but the downside to twitter is that your friends suddenly get spread out around the world. I would go as far as saying though that my friends on twitter know more about me than my real life friends!

I count too many people on twitter as being friends to list everyone on here but I know if you are reading this that you will know that it is you that I am talking about, all of you! Thank you all for being there, for sharing your lives with me and for sharing in mine. The power of Twitter and the friendships I have made on there is amazing. I’m just glad I stuck with it.

Twitter has come into it’s own this weekend and I wanted to come back and add to this post before it goes live. One of our very lovely friends has just gone through something so devastating and although most of us have not actually met her in real life our hearts are breaking for her like she is part of our own family. The shock that has gone through twitter and through our lovely group of friends is one I can’t describe. The reaction has been for us all to put everything we are feeling to one side, to join together and to show the power of true friendships. Yes we may not all have met, we may be scattered round all parts of the country but we are together, together for our friend and for each other. Thank you twitter for helping me find some amazing ladies.

Here’s to friends….

Claire xx

Only the best will do!

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Where would we be without our best friends?? I don’t have a huge circle of friends, I never really have, preferring to have a few close friends, those I do have mean so much to me and I believe are all in my life for a reason.

I’m not in contact with childhood friends anymore apart from Facebook, the girls I went to school with lived in a different part of the city so it was very difficult in Belfast when I was growing up to see most of them outside of school that much as it sometimes wasn’t too safe. Once we left school we drifted apart but now because of Facebook we can still keep in touch and I love that.

Once I moved away from Belfast I knew no one! It was so scary getting on that boat to leave ‘home’ for my initially planned 6 months and leaving everyone I knew behind but I made some good friends with the people who were also working on the ferry that season. Once my season on the ferry finished I decided to stay on the Island with a few friends and I ended up going to work in a local bank this is where I met the gorgeous Charlotte and the rest as they say is history.

I can’t even remember the first time I spoke to Charlotte, I’m hoping she might post on here and remind me! I know it was at work and we probably ended up out drinking. I just feel that she has been such a big part of my life that those early days fade away, though not the regular dancing in her living room after drinking copious amounts of vodka memories, I can still remember those nights. Though I think that they might be the cause of me not being able to recall much of our early days. Charlotte helped me get through my first Christmas away from home, that Christmas was still one of the best I’ve had living away. She also made me eat pasta for the first time when she had kindly offered to make me dinner and I didn’t have the nerve to say I didn’t like it so had to eat it. We have shared so much, we survived being away from our families, being stranded on a little rock and a pretty rubbish job by all accounts and we did it together.  She was there when I met my husband and me when she met hers. The decision to leave the Island and leaving Charlotte behind (even though she had left me first for a stint in Dublin) was so hard. Charlotte thank you for always being there for me no matter what, for introducing me to pasta (which I now love) for dancing like no one was watching and believing in me. Even though we can go months not talking I know we will pick up as if we have only seen each other yesterday!

Siobhann, I met when I moved to Scotland and started my first nursing job. She kept me sane more than she ever knows and not only with work, Siobhann knows more about my day to day life than most after listening to me on a 13 hour shift. Siobhann helped me find my feet and confidence in a ward and area that I had no idea about and many an hour were spent putting the world to rights in the staff canteen. When I decided to move jobs she was the only person I cared about leaving and I made sure I regularly made time for lunches. She was there for me planning my wedding, has listened to me without judgement when I have had moaned about so much and she was there to give me the biggest hug when I finally married the love of my life. She has since moved jobs too which makes it even harder to meet up but we still do and it doesn’t matter how long we have not seen each other we can talk for hours! She is always there for me and me for her. I only wished we lived closer to each other and could see more of each other. Thank you for everything.

Kirsty, I met when she was my mentor at my final nursing placement and we just clicked. When I found out she had a Schnauzer (I was still lusting after one) that was it, she wasn’t getting rid of me and she still hasn’t! It’s hard to say when our professional relationship (I’m using this term lightly) turned into friendship but it did and I am so thankful for it, not least that if it wasn’t for her we wouldn’t have our gorgeous dog now. Kirsty says it as it is, there is no beating about the bush with her, not in a nasty way though but she does have a way with words that took me a while to get my head around! She has a heart of gold though and would do anything for you but isn’t shy at telling you to wise up if that is what is needed too and I love that about her (ps: I’m not just saying all this as just because she dog sits Hamish!!) but that helps 🙂 She gave me the confidence to believe in myself, she made me a better nurse and taught me that humour is necessary to get us through. She is there for me when I am having a freak out and is able to calm me down, for that I am forever thankful. I am proud that she is one of my closest friends.

Thank you ladies not only for being you but allowing me to just be me. Love you all.

Claire xx

The one where the waiting continues….

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Well I finally got to speak with my GP yesterday and it seems I have been stuck in limbo land for the last 10 days for no real reason. She is happy with the results of ALL my bloods!

I did ask about the Estradiol as obviously that’s what was mentioned in the results phone call and they are actually only 0.01 out of the reference range so really nothing to be concerned about. My FSH and LH levels were fine so she thinks it could have just been caused by the fact that we did them a day later than recommended, due to the bank holiday.

It’s weird and I know I will sound weird saying it, but for once I actually wanted them to find something wrong, to have a cause and possibly a solution. I don’t want unexplained infertility, it sounds so hopeless in my head. I mean I know it’s not and plenty of people go on to have babies after having unexplained infertility but for me and my liking to be organised and in control it’s not great.

So the next step is a referral to go into the local fertility clinic. We have a satellite clinic at our local hospital which can do all the basics in treating infertility, the waiting list for initial appointments there is around 6/8 weeks so fingers crossed we don’t need to wait too long for that. I just need to find the courage and strength to keep going, to pick myself up and keep on going.

I know I have said it before but boy is trying to conceive one big waiting game and now we are requiring further investigations it’s just become an even bigger wait. I hope it passes quickly and our dreams come true.

Claire xx

A Sunny Scottish Weekend of Fun

I have had a very busy weekend of fun this weekend and loved it.

It all started on Friday night where after work I went and met some of my twitter/Blogger friends at an adults only night at Edinburgh Zoo.

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I had a great time, I had  met one of the lovely ladies before, the lovely D from Adventures of a dizzy girl I was nervous about meeting up with everyone but the other two ladies, the gorgeous Bex and Roz from Olivedragonfly fame were so nice and really welcoming. I don’t know why I was nervous about going.

I was so excited to be finally seeing the famous Pandas, Sunshine and Sweetie, they were both indoors though and sleeping! Even still it was great to finally see them and they were so cute despite the size of their claws.

My photos do not do the zoo any justice, I only had my iPhone with me, Bex was taking loads with her amazing camera so I can’t wait to see the ones that she has got when she blogs about it

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Sweetie or Tian Tian the female is the one on the left and Sunshine or Yang Guang the male is the one on the right.

We had a great time exploring the Zoo and it was really nice to not be surrounded by kids trying to get a good view, it was however very funny to just hear adults cooing over the animals.

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20130526-170953.jpgThe Zoo was open until 10pm but we were quite disappointed that they closed the top half of the Zoo at 9pm so we missed the lions.  It was a really good night though, they are running another one in June and if you are around the area I would recommend it.

Saturday was forecast to be lovely and sunny so off we headed to the beach for a walk in the sunshine. The forecast was only up to 16 degrees but the car was at 20 degrees for most of the afternoon and it felt very warm.

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What I didn’t expect to see when I rounded the corner from the car park was it to be this busy! It was like everyone had, had the same idea and people were out in their droves, also as it being Scotland and us not normally having many sunny days there were even people in bikinis…..

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It was a lovely walk along the promenade, we have not been there before but will head back, hopefully on a less busy day as it’s only 3 or so miles from Edinburgh town centre.

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A little bit of Scottish humour…. sure where else would the swim centre be but in the sea?!

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We stopped at Crumbs for a coffee and to let Hamish sample their Liver Cakes especially made for dogs…he loved it!

On Sunday, hubby was at the football so I decided to take the dog for a nice long walk, it wasn’t as bright as Saturday but the sun did keep peeking out through the clouds and it was still quite warm.  We ventured to a local woodland which partly runs along side the canal, we are really lucky that you can walk here from our house and by the end of the year it is going to be linked to a new park area that they are currently designing so there will be even more good places to walk.

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We found bluebells, walked the toe paths, sniffed around the human sun clock and took shadow photos, Oh and if you were a Mini Schnauzer, spent most of the walk panting with your tongue hanging out.

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It’s a good circular route in between the woods and canals and you can see a variety of wildlife, I was hoping to see some deer today but they were hiding.  I did manage a 3 1/2 mile walk though which I hope will burn off some of the wine I managed to drink this weekend whilst celebrating the fact we had some sun!

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Unfortunately for me it is not a bank holiday today, I think it’s more the minority in Scotland who will have it off rather than the majority, I do get a bank holiday in September though to make up for it and to be honest I like that more as then they are spread out a little.

Hope you all have had a lovely holiday weekend.

Claire xx

Personalised hanger

Today I thought I would show my personalised wedding dress hanger, my dress still hangs on this 18 months later (thankfully we have good wardrobe space and I have been able to hang it up there) I first posted this on the blog I had for the wedding – From Scotland to Spain

I first saw these on Etsy but thought they were very expensive so I set about trying to figure out how to make my own.
I found a tutorial here on weddingbee which was really easy to follow. I did find it hard to find wooden hangers without a trouser hanger but did eventually find some on eBay.

For the wire I used this although it may be easier to use slightly thicker wire possibly 16 or 14 gauge. The important thing to know when choosing your wire is that the lower the gauge number the thicker the wire will be.

This is how my trial run ended up, I needed to drill some holes into it and place the wire into that rather than just tie it around the hanger and I also needed to twist the wire to make it straighter (this is easier said than done!) but overall I was really happy with it.

First attempt

I followed the instructions above and downloaded the font Riddle’ here The first letter is size 225 and the others are 110.

The template and hanger.

It took me about 1 hour to twist the letters round and I found taping them to the template the easiest way to keep the flow of the wire going.

I didn’t get great photos of it on the wedding day, this is the only one that you can really make it out in, but I did love seeing my dress hanging up waiting on me to put it on that morning and I loved seeing my married name displayed.

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I think this would be great to make for kids hangers too, using the same tutorial and principles you could make them up in kids first names. I am sure that would put a smile on any face.

Claire xx

Limbo Land ~ Fertility Testing

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Yesterday I received an answer machine message asking me to contact my GPs practice, never a call I want to get when undergoing fertility testing!

I had my Day 21 bloods checked and the results of those came back two weeks ago and they were fine, confirming ovulation had taken place. We weren’t lucky that cycle either though so I went on to have beginning of cycle bloods done and I wasn’t expecting the results of these for 2-3 weeks so to get the call from the GP’s practice threw me quite a lot.

Unfortunately I need to get the proper results from the GP and I can’t get an appointment until the 27th May hence why I am limbo land. I did manage to get nurse on the results line to tell me the problem seems to lie with my Estradiol levels but I am not sure in what way.

Estradiol is very important in your cycle and is responsible for ensuring the lining of your uterus is thick enough to accept an egg, another reason to have your estradiol levels checked is to determine your ovaries’ ability to produce eggs – though from my other tests this doesn’t seem to be the problem.

I have been looking into this a little more and found the following from here

High levels of estradiol indicate that you might have a problem with your ovarian reserve. It could also mean that the estradiol is suppressing FSH. Either of these things could mean that you will have more trouble getting pregnant, more trouble ovulating (even with treatment) and reduced success with IVF. In rare cases, high levels of estradiol could indicate an ovarian tumor or hyperthyroidism.

If your estradiol levels are low, it can indicate polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or hypopituitarism. Women with eating disorders or extreme endurance exercising may have low levels of estradiol. After menopause, estradiol levels are also low.

So there could be a few issues, hopefully solvable and there are Estrogen replacement therapies that are available though I think that would need to be via a fertility clinic.

In the meantime I am hoping its simply because we tested a day later than recommended, due to it being a bank holiday the week we did the test. Fingers crossed for that.

Claire xx