A Birthday Spread
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Over a crisp glass of Sancerre I meditated on questions and stepping into a future decade. Asking where I am now, my spread indicated balance, a word I am coming to terms with more and more.

Life cannot turn if an all or nothing approach is adopted, everything in balance. A wheel of fortune may nod towards current success, but it is a wheel, which turns from one side to another.

The seven of wands and four of pentacles regularly creep up for me. Reminders to remain nimble and hold ground. By weathering storms ahead and preparing stable ground, things look pretty bright, domestically content, strong in terms of leadership. As a child I grew up watching Days of Our Lives, at the start of the show a narrator states "Like sands through the hour glass, so are the days of our lives." I guess that's a pretty good statement to live by. 

Birthday Dinner

I've been spoilt. 

Utterly so. 

Celebrating a milestone birthday my little tribe took me to into the hills, pups and all and indulged in wine, vegan meals, and endless chatter. In our little home overlooking rolling valleys and Exmoor ponies, Andrew cooked up a wonderful risotto and we sipped my favourite white - deliciously crisp Sancerre. 

Moments like these, filled with laughter and chatter and chin chinning with pups curled up watching and windows open to fresh countryside air, moments like these are the ones that stay with us. 

Cheers to three decades thus far! 

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A family of little Birds

There has never been an opportune moment to remove an old bird box, installed by the previous owner. 

It causes me great distress because as work commences on the demolition and rebuild of my home, the box will be disturbed and removed. Right now though, with a few months of contract negotiations, we are leaving untouched while the family of blue tits swoon in and out throughout the day. Often when the rains are heavy, I'll sit in the storm porch where the box sits and read, sometimes the crested male hops close, sometimes he watches out from along the corridor. 

It seems that we both have a favourite time, early evening in the garden when he and I commune. I water the vegetables and tend to the fruit trees and he chases moths around, often dashing directly next to me. With so many beautiful cats who roam our little lane, the birds seem content in our garden, safe in the knowledge that the pups have no interest in them. 

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Blues in the Garden

With long warm days, we've spent the majority of any spare time in the garden basking under the magnolia tree. Sipping iced coffees and reading pages in the shade. 

This guy tends to pick a favourite spot on the old pathway between rows of tiny blue forget me nots. I say to Andrew repeatedly how lucky I feel in moments like this, moments brimming with utter contentment and simplicity. Sometimes I capture the moments to weave into my story, other times I observe and remain present, feeling love and knowing that one day accumulation of these times will thread into a wider tapestry of life. 

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Evening Walks

With a few injuries and recovery underway recently, our walks have been a little restrained. So tonight, we made a pact to leave the offices early and head to our favourite part of the world. It’s such a favourite that I’ve extended my Rightmove saved parameters - and turned on immediate notifications. Anyway, off we went.  

As we entered the woods, we stopped in the silence of an opening to see a large stag watching us. His large horns hauntingly still as he held our gaze. The pups remained on lead pretty much the whole way around the few miles of woodland.  

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Guild of Mercer Scholars Day Out ✨🇬🇧👩‍💼👨‍💼👩‍⚖️👩‍⚕️👨‍🔬👨‍🏫

Through situation and circumstance and the drive to support a wonderful city, I am thrilled to represent a great guild as a Mercer Scholar. We meet, support one another, mentor a wider community and raise one another in celebration of The City of London and the history in which so much is woven.  

Today we met for a fascinating tour of the Temple of Mithras and then the city Police offices and museum.  

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Sunset

The light today has been heavy and unsettled. Looking out onto the skyline suddenly it is as though we are so small standing here, a fleeting moment in time 🖤 Our lives unfold in often strange ways which we may never understand. What we can do is share these moments and find love with our companions, whether it is an online community, a family, or a trusted furry friend 🖤

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A typical working from home day

5:50am 

It's cold out, the snow from last night has completely frozen. The lane is ungritted and snow drifts have accumulated. I check the road statuses for a commute to a client office and there are closures and delays. 

I put a tired pair of uggs on and trundle outside to confirm suspicions and slip and slide. 

Decide to work from home today. 

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6am

Put kettle on, try to coax the pups out of bed. 

AJ gets up, makes coffee. I consider heading back to bed but the rooms upstairs are poorly insulated and cold. I put fire on, sip coffee. 

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6:45am 

AJ leaves for work, takes my AWD XC60 and I shudder to think what my fuel consumption will look like. 

I take the coffee to my WISP laptop and review personal finances for the house build. Drink in the realisation that another 5years and 9months of austerity measures would leave us mortgage free. Then wonder if my patience can take another 5years and 9months of austerity measures. 

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7am 

Plan day and days ahead with key targets. Pick out crystals to support planning and clarity. 

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7am - 10am 

Three intense hours of emails, contract preparation, revisit of programme and critical path items to inform delivery of a huge client project. 

Rise from 3hours of staring at a screen hungry for breakfast. 

Check business partners texts to find everyone snowed in and sharing breakfast photographs. Hungry I make fried Tofu Weiners on Sunflower rye bread and avocado. Garnish with chopped nuts and an orange. 

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10:15am - 10:45am 

Head down, progressing construction of some large engineering works, hear good news about mitigation to a possible delay. Thank the team. 

Pups start shaking into life, join me at the table. I send a photograph of pup at the table to husband who corrects me that he's not at but on the table. I reply with a shrugging girl emoji. 

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11am 

Hungry again, make an almond milk turmeric latte with cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup. Chomp down on a vegan chocolate flapjack that AJ prepared last night. 

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11am - 1pm 

3no. calls with different project teams and 1 quick call with business partners regarding expansion and employment. Try to practice Ekhart Tolle's Power of Now and not let the ego go wild on the idea of expansion. 

Listen to The ESP Enigma by Dianne Hennacy Powell on Audible when not in calls. Now onto more monotonous work so can afford to listen. 

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1pm

Sun is shining and snow now melting rapidly. I head out to caravan with laptop and 2no. down filled gillets, wave and greet neighbour, fumble with key to get into van, open windows, switch on heating, air it out. 

Take a conference call from inside the caravan via wifi. Hope that no bird appears at the window to disturb the pups into barking, thus leaving a weird explanation about why I'm in a caravan with two pups talking about the delivery of a huge UK project. 

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3pm

Return inside, lock up van, pups grateful to be back in the house. 

Hungry again, warm soup prepared yesterday. Eat that. 

Still hungry, call with construction team in headphones, I accidentally make guac, tortillas and marmite crumpet without thinking. Briefly consider subconsciousness theories. 

End call, still hungry, make smoothie bowl with chia seeds and physllium husks. 

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3:15pm

Check eyesight prescription, realise Optometrist has printed it out incorrectly. Exacerbated by another failing of village Opticians. Consider approach to take while driving to sort it out. Take a gentle approach, ask receptionist to get the manager to call me back later in the week as "I am disappointed by your staffs negligence." 

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3:30pm - 5pm 

Return home, try to review a technical document about soil and contamination and gas. 

Feel mentally exhausted. Clock 9 hours work, park review until tomorrow. 

5:10pm

Get in car with pups, leave the village in better road conditions. Agree to meet husband halfway. Road to enable halfway meet is under police closure due to impassibility due to snow. Regret plan. Quickly route optioneer - there are only three main passes up onto the ridgeway. Come up with alternative, make side note to add enhanced road knowledge to gratitude end of day review. 

Park in Forest Commission Car Park next to school in beanie and a hoodie, look dodgy. Husband arrives, swaps Loakes for the boots I've brought him. First step onto the track and mud is splashed on his work chinos, promise to find time to get them washed and dried tonight. 

Set watch to track my walk, take note of my recent lull of life insurance points, promise to do more later. 

Walk through beautiful winding woods through fields of lambs. The wind has changed direction and feels far warmer than yesterday. Clock this on the gratitude list and chat to husband incessantly about the day and theorise whether it is rude to not acknowledge drivers waving to thank you for waiting with another wave. No answer to the latter, park it with the technical report to think about tomorrow. 

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7pm 

Arrive home to almost all of the snow melted. Snow melt reveals thawing carcass of a partridge which we picked up for the pups and I left in the house overnight last week only for husband to descend the stairs to the smell of rotting flesh in the living room. In a panic I left it outside four days ago. 

Bad vegan. Terribly undomesticated. Feral even. 

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7:15-7:30pm 

After dealing with carcass. Head inside to sign 3rd party wall agreement for issue to our neighbours and friends. Make mental note to declutter mantlepiece. 

I start typing this up while husband is cooking vegan burgers and commences the detailed section plans of our new sewer.  

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7:30 - 9pm As part of the round of austerity measures in place to allow for building work and next steps, tonight I'm trying a home colour on my hair rather than popping into my favourite hairdresser. 

Will let it air dry tonight so will share colour tomorrow. 

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While I leave the colouring to do its thing I watch the BBC panorama documentary on gender pay. There's so much to say about it but my way of working the system may not be your way and vice versa. What we must all agree on though is that the conversation is not over. We've got to keep talking, keep sharing our experiences, and most of all, lifting one another. 

That's a whole separate post though, an essay even. 

Now it's late, I'm going to wash my colourant off, pop the washing on, and curl up to fall asleep. 

Lunchtime card making

A great winner with my job is that I get to visit and co locate at different client offices aswell as our own. Historically I work best in new locations, establishing great relationships with a wide range of fantastic people. 

Today, in a regular client office of mine who have lots of lunchtime events, activities and learning sessions, a card making session was underway - yes please! 

Refreshingly, we were lead by an expert card maker and scrapbooker, chatted away happily and were able to create something immediate, tangible - so far from the usual activities we champion in the office. 

With mothers day just around the corner I created a suitable card. We worked to create cards out of grids of 4 items with washi tape, stamps and crimpers. 

Creativity in the workplace, I'll take it anytime! Huge thanks to Julie for her excellent tutoridge and patience! 

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Snowy Walks

We kitted up with supplies and emergency blankets and treats then headed out for a walk into the woods. 

The pups kept warm by running loops in their jackets and we had treated their feet with a beeswax mixture to protect them from the icey cold. 

The woods were beautiful, silent. Quietly strolling we encountered so many animals who had taken refuge beneath the trees. Deer, Pheasants were encountered on mass, we left them settled and ensured not to disturb them as they huddled in the cold. 

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❄️☃️

Well, despite the weather warnings, the beast from the east came as a surprise. Since yesterday we've been intensely snowed in. 

The village is practically silent, with sounds muffled from the usual noise by a thick layer of freshly fallen snow. Temperatures are sub zero, it's freezing, wind chill is practically arctic and we're hunkered down with a roaring fire after a quick run down the lane with the pups. 

While the snowfall itself isn't a huge hindrance, the snowdrifts which have accumulated have created the biggest disruption, completely closing off two out of three of the access roads into and out of the village. The third route is via a steep narrow lane directly up onto the ridgeway and without snowchains, I'm not even comprehending it.  

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🐶🐶🐶🐶 four Vizslas!

 This week we have had my sister in laws two dogs staying with us while they are on holiday.  You will note that we already have two of our own and with two more, basic maths dictates four in total.   Four large hunting dogs in two up two down old terraced house has been quite the situation! 🐶🐶🐶🐶

  Today we have completed 19 km of walking over three separate walks and five hours in total. This has just started to knock their energy levels a little,  presenting some much needed peace and quiet with sleeping dogs beside the fire! 

 

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💏💕

This guy and I are kinda good together, in terms of a badass sidekick, he’s spot on. 

Cue Valentine sentiments ✌🏼

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Ahh... this old bathroom 🚽🛁🚿

 You know what?  Just a few months time we will be demolishing this bathroom as part of the work on the house 😬  sure it serves a purpose and when we moved in we had no intention of changing it because we knew early on the full renovation was on the cards.  

 We gave it a lick of paint and a deep clean and now I find sanctuary and comfort in this environment.  

 Feng Shui considerations are always a key part of my design process   and even though this room was only to be temporary I went to town and insuring that the Chi and flow of energy was supportive in nourishing my life 🔮✨

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Throwback! 😬🤣

 If you’ve read this blog for minute you’ll know that it’s pretty old 👵👀  it’s coming up to its 12 year anniversary soon.  The strange thing is such a long history captured on these pages is like opening an old diary while sometimes it may allow you to walk down memory lane with rose tinted glasses sometimes it would just make you cringe!  

 I found myself looking back over a decade at photographs I chose to share across these pages.  

 These are for highlights which jumped out at me 😬  we’ve got the drunken banana Republic silk dress which I wore as a staple and have great memories with friends and those I adore. 

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 Then there’s the vintage thrifted jumpsuit   which I equally adored and often wore it to client offices with a tailored blazer and ridiculously high heels. 

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 At one point in 2008 I posted posting that in this seasons wardrobe alone I had 72 dresses.  Back then I was certainly a maximalist whereas now in my own old day age I have become a minimalist.  The dress below was one of the 72 dresses 👗  and for some reason I chose to share photograph of me in that dress hugging a tree in Ethiopia 🤷‍♀️

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 Lastly I had to share this hilarious photograph from 2006 where I am wearing a vest top knee-high socks and some kind of bug eyed sunglasses whilst drinking a can of John Smith lager in a field somewhere in North Wales 🤪 

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 History can never be forgotten it can only be looked back upon and lessons learnt from it.  Many of the original posts are still on these pages and I like to keep them as a reminder of what not to do in life 😓

🙇‍♀️ Hair

 I have such a love hate relationship with my hair 💁‍♀️  Typically it’s very strong and grows incredibly quickly 💪🏾 right now it is luscious and long yet there is still something about it which leaves me uneased. 

The cut and style of it at present is such that I don’t unnerve those around me, my business partners and clients who are typically of a very studious and technical background.   A part of me wants to rebel with an extreme cuts and alternative colours, there is a fine line between self expression and discord in an aged old industry. 

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Rooibos Kombucha brewing

 It is no secret that I love Kombucha.  In May last year I bought my first Scoby and since then I have grown many more.   I always have a brew on the go growing in the kitchen. Dispatch is inspired by my uncle and it is made from Rooibos tea.  Sweetened with maple syrup and Musgavado sugar it’s deliciously refreshing and oh so good for your gut! 

While it may not be the prettiest thing to look at the health benefits that I’ve seen from it are fantastic!

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Switzerland with the team

A few of us from the WISP team headed over to the alps this weekend to surprise a friend. We arrived to bucket loads of snow, met fantastic people and chatted nonsense into the night. 

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Patricia SnookComment
Recharge

Reading my way through the book Our Separate Ways, a compilation of studies and fact based conclusions which explores the way in particular the corporate world makes often subconscious assumptions about the female workforce. While it's heavy on the studies and data, it's an unfortunate reality which really needs to be addressed by behavioural change in each of us. 

While my mind is being nourished I'm also downing bucket loads of green smoothies in an active flu combatting state. 

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