Tag Archives: Mr Hello

A New Chapter :: Announcement!

Mr and Mrs Hello in London

Life has well and truly happened to the Hello Family this year. Work, work, work as per usual, and we seem to finally be making some headway with the whole renovating the house thing!

But I think the main reason why this here blog has lain fallow for so long is that I have been in the midst of my first trimester of pregnancy. Yep, you heard it here first guys, Baby Hello is on its way and due to make an appearance in the middle of November!

When I first began writing this post, I was 12 weeks and 2 days preggo, but I am now officially 16 weeks pregnant, so things have been moving along at pace!

I’m going to do a little first trimester update very soon, but so far so good, I guess. I’ve escaped the first three months relatively unscathed, all things considered. Major fatigue and nausea, but no actual sickness, which is something to be grateful for. In fact, the only constant reminder that I was ‘in pig’ as Nancy Mitford might say, was that I am steadily increasing in size and now more closely resemble Violet Beauregard than ever before. Ho hum. Insert grand plans of maternity leave fitness here.

Mr H and I could not be more thrilled, it was definitely a planned pregnancy and we’re both so ready and looking forward to becoming parents. Looking forward to sharing the journey here with you guys!

2016 :: A Year in Review

2016 Year in Review - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

It is not, it appears, the fashionable thing to admit that 2016 has been a rather good year for “one”. But disastrous referendums and potential WWIII aside, it was a year of much joy for me personally, and one that I will no doubt look back on fondly.

2016 was the year in which I ceased to be a newlywed, and became just a ‘wed’, and I feel I truly embraced the role of a wife. Y’all, I wifed my damn butt off this year, and in return, Mr H husbanded me even better. Admittedly, that makes me seem like some kind of farmyard animal, but it remains nevertheless true. After the initial honeymoon phase of marriage began to dissolve, I was left with the most wonderful life partner who actively cares for me each day.  What a boon.

Allotment 2016 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

It has also been the year where I have developed a taste, if not skill for gardening, and seen my beloved allotment go from strength to strength. It was our tentative first year, with many mistakes made, but I can’t help but feel incredibly proud that I stuck to something for so long. I have no plans to give up the sacred plot in the foreseeable future, rather the opposite, I heartily plan for years of dragging reluctant future children over to do a spot of weeding.

Portugal with T - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

In the summer I went on holiday to Portugal, with my wonderful sister T. It made me remember what a privilege it is to have your family close, and that there are very few people in this world who know and tolerate me as well as she does. It also made me realise I am not, and never was a party animal, and that one should not book an AirBnB in Biarro Alto if one values their sleep.

My Career 2016 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Professionally this year proved my most challenging to date, and although there were many days where I woke up thinking that I couldn’t possibly continue to do this for another day, let alone for the rest of my life, there were also many days where my heart sang for the joy of watching young people learn something, or at the least run around the playground pretending to be a horse. Teaching is a bloody hard job, for want of a more eloquent way of describing it, but I am a long time from throwing in the proverbial towel, just yet.

Teaching also gave me the opportunity to realise a long dream of mine, to direct my own play. It’s not something I think I’ve mentioned on the blog actually, but my school was a part of the 2016 Shakespeare for Schools Festival, and I was the Teacher-Director of a 20 minute production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was a huge undertaking, with 22 primary school students taking part, most of whom had never performed before such a large audience before. It reaffirmed for me the realisation that seeing others perform under my guidance gives just as much of a thrill as performing myself once did.

 

But what of 2017?

What indeed. I have the somewhat expected goals of getting fit, losing the extra heft I’ve carried for the last three years, but what else?

To tell you the absolute truth, I’m not exactly sure. I have some abstract goals that I don’t feel ready to share just yet, but also I’d quite like to continue in much the same manner as 2016.

I would, however, like to focus more on 2017 being the year of friendships. My dear friends have taken a rather paltry 3rd place after Mr H and my job this year, and so during the next I’d like to perhaps place maintaining and developing friendships slightly higher on the list of priorities. One tends to miss one’s friends, even more so when one is almost entirely to blame for not seeing them.

And so, to you my dear (possibly imaginary) readers. How has your year been? What goals or dreams do you have for the next? I raise a glass of mediocre but cost-effective champagne to you all.

Pottering About :: A Visit to Stone Green Nurseries

Stonegreen 1 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Things on the allotment front have now calmed down a little. We’ve harvested all of our main vegetables for the year, and our minds have now turned to preparing for next year. 

 I plan to do an update post showing you the progress we’ve made over the year, which is really quite considerable, considering that we both work full time, and that we have approximately no clues as to what we are doing. Apart from blogging, I’ve never really stuck with something this long before, and so I find myself quite impressed….with myself…..ahem. 

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A couple of weeks ago we made the journey out to Bethersden, to visit Stone Green Nurseries. The nurseries were originally set up to sell to trade, that is, Garden Centres and the like, but now they have about 10 open weekends a year where they sell direct to the public. 

Mr H and I have been looking for a couple of extra plants, particularly another fruit tree for the orchard area of the allotment, and some echinacea for our borders at home. I was also on the hunt for some raspberry canes, again for the allotment, but unfortunately none were to be found. 

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After a good meander, we came away with a 7 foot fig tree, a lovely thyme plant, some echinacea and a currant tree. We got 20% off as part of the open weekend and walked away having spent less than £30. A bargain in anyone’s books!

I actually really enjoyed the drive there – at the moment I am loving driving through deepest darkest Kentish countryside, with wistful dreams of moving further out there one day. A pipe dream for now…..

If you’re looking to add to your plant collection, I really recommend Stone Green Nurseries, and their next open weekend will be 24 – 26 March 2017. Keep an eye out!

1 Year, 12 Month, 365 Days, 525600 Minutes :: A Year in the Life

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I got married one year ago. 

For someone who considers herself to be quite in touch with her emotions, I often find it difficult to express how I feel properly in public. I’m conscious that despite his decision to marry me, the number one sharer of personal information, Mr Hello is a very private person, and over the time we’ve been together I’ve found myself to lean that way more and more. 

Despite this, I’m going to put my thoughts out there, into the universe for all to see, but also for me to look back on in the future. I’ve loved having such an extensive record of my life available to me, many memories that I’d filed away in my mind, and forgotten. I never want to forget my first year of marriage. 

Easy. In a word, this year has been easy in so many ways. The marriage part has been easy, and the strength of our union has made the professional challenges we’ve both faced this year easier

Mr H does not appreciate the brilliance of the Dixie Chicks, but who cares. This song is it.

Happy one year anniversary my love.

 

Life Lately :: My Summer Break Begins

Summer Break 2 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Well the summer has finally arrived in the Hello household, and I am sooooo pleased to have made it through my first year of primary teaching.

The weather in our part of the world has been really incredible recently, nicely coinciding with the holiday feeling I seem to have been cultivating! I was lucky enough to get a couple of bottles of fizz as thank you presents this year, and so I cracked one open at the earliest opportunity and toasted to my class!

Summer Break 3 - cHello Sam Goodbye Samantha

A funny story, although one that I am almost certain Mr H doesn’t want me to share. The champagne flute in the picture above is part of a Royal Doulton set called ‘Linear’. We got a set of wine glasses and some decanters as a wedding gift,  and I’d been searching for some flutes as well, as I’d heard the range had been discontinued. I stumbled upon a set of flutes in John Lewis, and snapped them up as soon as I saw them. I brought them home to some eye-rolling from Mr H, who for some unknown reason, doesn’t get as excited about glassware as I do. Literally, the next day, as he was putting the glasses away in our cupboard, he dropped one, on to two other glasses, smashing half of my new set!

He was obviously devastated on my behalf, although I was surprisingly accepting of it, trying to make sure he didn’t feel too bad! Things are things, and to be perfectly honest I was a bit surprised  that it wasn’t me that had broken them first!

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We’ve also been spending a lot more time in the allotment – it’s basically harvest time! We’ve eaten all of our lovely potatoes, and my god lovely is truly the right word. I’d never considered potatoes to have a particularly distinct flavour, and I’m Polish, so that’s saying something! But freshly dug potatoes are so creamy, and their texture is just divine. All hail home grown taters!

I bought a couple of courgette and pumpkin seedlings when we went to the Kent Garden Show a few weeks back, and I’m pleased to say they have both gone absolutely mental. We picked Big Bertha the courgette a couple of days ago, and I know she has a couple more friends ready waiting to be picked any day now. No pumpkins yet, but I pruned a couple of the vines back to see if that would make a difference – I want the plant to use its energy to make the pumpkin, rather than a long vine. I do, however, find it rather pleasing to see a huge pumpkin vine cascading over our plot, but still, eyes must remain on the pumpkiny prize. 

I’ve taken this week really easily – a couple of days cleaning up my classroom, some gardening, quite a bit of expensive shopping (more on that to come) and general lazing about. The next few weeks will undoubtedly have more structure in them, as I’m determined to be a super efficient machine-type woman in the lead up to the new school year, but this week I am happy just to take it slow. 

 

 

 

The Northern Seaman :: Rochester

The Northern Seaman - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

This Saturday Mr Hello and I decided to go on a DATE. We’d heard rumours of the opening of a new micro pub  down on the Rochester/Chatham High Street, so thought we’d head down to check out the vibe and sample their wares.

The Northern Seaman 1 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

The Northern Seaman 2 - Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaThe Northern Seaman describes itself as a new micro pub upholding “traditional pub values in a fresh, innovative manner”. And that, my friends, appears to be exactly what it is! It’s a great little bar – I would go so far to say it’s as much a bar as a pub – with trendy (but not too trendy) decor and an impressive range of beers and wines. YAS, YOU HEARD RIGHT – SOMEWHERE ON THE HIGH STREET SERVING PROPER WINE.
The Northern Seaman 3 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

The state of the wine on offer in Medway has been something of a bone of contention on my part for, hmm…years? Kent does a fine old pub, and in fact my favourite pubs in the world are virtually on my door step, but can this West Australian gal get a decent glass of wine anywhere in the region?

Not until now. The Northern Seaman is not only offering ales from such excellent brewers such as Nelson Brewery, Dartford Wobbler and Caveman, but it is also the only bar in Medway (that I have come across, at least) that serves wines from Biddenden and Chapel Down Vineyards, both of which are located in our lovely county! It’s silly, really, but one of the things I miss most about Perth is being able to just pop in somewhere for a really nice glass of wine and a natter with a pal. I hate to be a snob, but the ol’ Blossom Hill just doesn’t cut it!

Having said that, on this visit the ale proved to tempting to resist and I was expertly guided by the barman Tim towards my very own pint of the Golden Wobbler. At £3 a pint it was very reasonably priced, and served at a lovely drinkable temperature.

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We stayed for a couple of drinks, watched the bar fill up with young hipster types (Yay! Hipsters!) and spent some quality time together, on an actual date, being an actual couple.

The Northern Seaman 3 - Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaIn fact, I’d really recommend The Northern Seaman as somewhere for a date – it’s happening but not too busy, and not necessarily in the part of the High Street where you’ll be interrupted every 5 minutes by someone you know, which, for us Medway-ites, is often a occupational hazard! There was a real buzz while we were there, so it’s obviously filling a hole in the market!

The staff were courteous and friendly, more than happy to share their knowledge, and seemed genuinely pleased to see us there. The decor is contemporary with a handmade vintage twist, and you’re not going to be intimidated out of the joint by regulars propping up the bar.The Northern Seaman 5 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Although there seem to be a few new venues of this ilk popping up across the Medway towns, I say bring it on – places like The Northern Seaman can only add to our cultural landscape, in my humble, wine-loving opinion.

Go check it out and let me know what you think!

 

P.S. – I have not been reimbursed for this post at all, I am simply spreading the love!

A Walk by the Medway :: Visiting Temple Marsh

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Last weekend I got a major case of cabin fever, and so Mr H proposed a little jaunt out of the house to visit a piece of land that had piqued his interest over the last few weeks.

Temple Marsh 3 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Temple Marsh is, funnily enough, an old landfill site, which is now safe to walk on but not yet ready to be built on. It’s directly over the River Medway from Rochester, and often on our walks we’ve noticed it and wondered what in the world it was. Temple Marsh Map - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

It was a bit of a soggy stomp to get there, and we had to be kindly redirected by an interesting chap who lived on one of the houseboats moored nearby.

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It was a really pretty walk, and we even got to meet a very neat little fox, who actually looked rather surprised to see a human in what I expect is their playground! We walked with no real plan in mind, just soaking up the atmosphere and the opportunity to be out in the fresh air before the heavens opened once again.

Anyone who lives in Kent will attest to the fact that the weather recently has been absolutely diabolical!

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I’ve pulled together a short film of the walk. Take a look:

I’m pretty new to vlogging and video editing, and this is the first time I’ve worked up the courage to post something I’ve pulled together. Lots to learn, but let’s not let the fear of looking a fool get in the way….never stopped me before!

Temple Marsh Flowers - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

As we began to make our way back we noticed the tiniest apple tree bursting with fruit!

Temple Marsh Berries - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

The route back is not what I’d call particularly peaceful, as Temple Marsh more or less backs on to a somewhat grotty industrial estate, however, this little gem is also nearby:

Temple Manor 3 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Temple Manor is a 12th Century building that was once owned by the Knights Templar. The fact that I have 12th Century buildings virtually blows the mind of this here colonial, so Mr Hello and I simply had to pop in and have a look around.

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While the building is essentially empty now, once upon a time it was an important Manor House on the side of the River, supporting many farming tenants on its land and monitoring the comings and goings of the bridge crossings.

After WWII it fell into terrible disrepair, but was thankfully restored by English Heritage in the 1970s, I believe. It’s a real little treat amongst the fading industry of the area, and relatively under appreciated I think! There’s definitely something lonesome about it, rising up proudly from its now-modest surroundings.

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Another interesting day out for the Hello Family. More to come soon!

HSGS Does Half Term

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On Friday afternoon I skipped out the door of work and said a jaunty ‘HELLO’ to a whole week off.  I say a week, but in fact today I headed back in to prepare for next term and write about 3,000 school reports. But that fact paled into insignificance in the face of what is officially known as ‘Half Term Holiday’ in the HSGS household.

Mr Hello also booked a week off, and we kicked off the break by getting into the garden. BIG TIME. I’m talking allotment, I’m talking back garden and then we headed to the Kent Garden Show to pick up a few treasures.

Over the weekend we had a few friends over who brought their little girl over. This meant a couple of hours of delicious food, great conversation and an excellent round of the game ‘Off The Pudd’, for which no-one seemed to know the rules apart from a three year old. What a delight.

Mr H and I then journeyed forth to Suffolk, to hang out with his sister and her delightful son, and the only thing to somewhat spoil the day was that our clutch failed on the motorway as we headed home, so instead of an evening on the couch we spent an evening sitting in the carpark of a motorway hotel scoffing chocolate while we waited for a tow!

With a couple of days left before TERM 6 (I repeat TERM 6)  starts,  I plan on pottering around the house a little bit, finishing off some report writing and faffing around with my camera settings! I’ve also got some more seeds to plant out, and am looking forward to seeing all my new plants in the garden.

How’s your week been, pals?

This Week I am Grateful For #8

Loki Gratitude - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Well my Gratitude Series has undoubtedly proven itself to be a huge success, with a grand total of 7 posts so far. Still, I remain determined to continue on, despite the growing sensation that no one actually remotely cares. Never stopped me before!

This week has verged slightly on the ‘Oh my god, HOW is it only TUESDAY’ side of things. Work has been insane, with a variety of disruptions that have cause my class to become shouty and unfocussed. Myself even more so.

And yet. This week I have become even more grateful for my relatively tranquil home life. Mr Hello and I have managed to carve out a delightfully hum-drum routine of quiet Friday nights and long days at our allotment. We’re clearing the wood from our garden and having the odd bonfire.

Quiet home life seems to be just what I need right now. And I am thankful for it.

January Joy :: Done and Dusted

January 2016 Instagram - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

This January has, far more than any since I moved to the UK in 2010, been about hunkering down and getting through. I’ve really suffered this year from the January blues, which I think is a combination of being halfway through my academic year, not exercising at all enough because of the pants weather, and oh yeah, the consistently pants weather.

Admittedly, however, it hasn’t been all bad. Here’s a minute collage of some of the nice bits of the first month of the year. Clockwise from top left:

  • An extreme buffet of cheese, crackers, veggie sticks, hummus and scotch eggs. A couple of episodes of Graham Norton with my husband and my Dad. Say no more, agreed?
  • Heading back to the allotment after a few weeks’ break. It’s grassy now, instead of muddy, but a lot better than we expected after such a mild winter. We feared our hard work in October might have been in vain. Once I’m on half term we’ll start terracing!
  • Achieving a goal: 30 days without a drink. As I said in my Dry January post, I don’t usually drink during the week, but when I found myself in social situations this month, it did take a bit more oomph to opt for a 0% lager instead of my usual glass o’ red.
  • ENGLAND vs AUSTRALIA. The Aussies won, by 15 goals (CCCCC’MOOOON!) and an English player was sent off! Never seen that before in a pro game. It was a messy game for both sides, but I really enjoyed introducing Mr Hello to my favourite sport.

I’ve got plenty of things to look forward to in February as well – a week’s holiday (which is 2 days in teacher-speak as I’ll spend most of it in my classroom!), a couple of friends going public with some GREAT NEWS, my first V-day as a married woman, which co-incides with 6 months of marital bliss!

So here’s to a great February. If you’ve had a kind of crap January as well, fear not, we’ll stand together in solidarity and flick the bird to it.  Then we can have a drink to celebrate! Yee-haw.