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I can't believe it's only a week until NaNoWriMo! Nicky is saying that she'll do it with me this year, which would be awesome! Can't wait.

We've had a really busy couple of weeks. I've been travelling around for work (travelled 19 hours over two days last week!), our friend Rachel came to stay with us, and Nicky's mum has been up for a couple of days too. We took Nicky's mum to her first hockey game on Sunday, and it was the best game she could have come to! The Blaze were playing the Nottingham Panthers, and the two teams were both so good and so closely matched it was absolutely brilliant! Plus we won, which is always nice!

It's been fun, but we're both exhausted (Nicky's been doing some night shifts too) and have been a bit under the weather. Time to step up the vitamin C!

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Liz and Laura came to stay with us last weekend! We had country ales in various country pubs, went out for afternoon tea, visited the castle and Laura got rather snuggly with a knight! It was an awesome weekend, we can't wait for them to come back!

On the Sunday after they left, Nicky and I went to the hockey and saw the Blaze get slaughtered by the Belfast Giants 5:2. We stayed for the interviews with the coach and the man of the match after the game, and apparently they've brought in a Canadian to strengthen up their defence! His visa has been approved and his first game will hopefully be tomorrow, which should be good!

Nicky and I are having our first weekend at home without visitors for a while, so we're going out tonight into town to experience the nightlife that Warwick has to offer, and to go to the "mop"! This is a carnival that's appeared right in the centre of town - it was quite startling this morning to see it there when we went to get haircuts!

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You shouldn't have to wear boots in June

I'm on the train on the way to the office in London, having got up at 5am to catch it - yawn! Nicky was on a night shift last night, and it was a bit strange leaving an empty house this morning. I'm staying with our friends Liz and Laura tonight, and then they're coming back to Warwick with me tomorrow evening to spend the weekend with us. Exciting!

I made a t-shirt yesterday evening for my cousin Matthew who is turning 8 this week. I did themed presents for all of my cousins this year, making them a t-shirt each with a design based on their initial and age. I think this one turned out pretty cool! It's supposed to look like a guitar - I ummed and ahhed about adding strings to make it a bit more obvious, but decided not to. How very postmodern!

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Girlfriend? Boyfriend? Butler?

We've had a very busy week, filled with visitors! It's awesome that people actually want to come and stay with us, but we're not used to it yet - no one wanted to come when we lived in Lewisham!

Dad arrived from Canada last weekend and stayed with us overnight before going back down south for a week of business meetings. We really enjoyed showing him our new house and cooking for him, and he took us shopping to buy us housewarming gifts! Dad and I also went to the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon (Nicky had to work unfortunately), which was very good. Here's dad checking out Lady Penelope's car!

My friend Greg and his girlfriend Tomoko came to visit from Japan on Tuesday on a whistlestop tour of England and Paris. We hadn't seen Greg since he moved to Japan in January 2010, and had never met Tomoko, so it was amazing that they could come! We're going to Japan to visit them next year! I showed them all round Warwick on the Tuesday afternoon, we went out for tapas, and then visited Stratford-upon-Avon on the Wednesday.

The cool thing about the Heritage Motor Centre and all the Shakespeare houses in Stratford is that you get a 12 month annual pass included in your ticket price, so you can return as many times as you want within a year for free! We have these stuck to the fridge so we can use them for other visitors.

Our final visitor this week was Nicky's mum Angela who arrived on Friday for the weekend. We decided to go to Stratford all together on Saturday so we could use our annual passes for a cheap day out. We had a great time pottering around the town, and visited both Shakespeare's birthplace and Nash house. We also got caught up in the grand opening of a new shopping area, and watched the mayor of Stratford do a balloon release!

In the evening we went and had a pint at a pub by the canal, which was lovely even though I was feasted upon by mosquitos and my back now looks like a relief map of the Rockies. (I have ELEVEN huge red lumps on my back that look more like horse fly bites than mosquito bites!)

After Angela left yesterday, Nicky and I went to the Skydome Arena to see the Blaze play the Dundee Stars. It was an aggressively fought (sticks broken, two men at a time in the penalty boxes, pucks flying into the stands etc.) game which ended up as a 3:3 draw, although we did win during the 5 minutes of sudden death in overtime. Great fun!

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It's always a nice day when there's a bear

My mum has been coming over once a week, usually on Nicky's day off, so they spend the afternoon gardening or crafting together whilst I work, and then we have dinner all together. It's awesome - they've pruned back everything that was overgrown, and have planted lettuces, spring onions, radishes, spinach, bay trees, mint and garlic. We also went blackberry picking by the canal after work last week and managed to fill a whole ice cream tub of blackberries which are now waiting in the freezer to become jam, pie or crumble. Yesterday they pulled up a rogue young horse chestnut tree, and then spent a happy few hours knitting - Mum's been teaching Nicky how to follow a knitting pattern and she's doing great!

It was Nicky's birthday last Friday, and her mum came to stay with us. I got Nicky a surprise birthday cake (with the help of my mum who helped me to sneak it into the house!) but her mum also brought one, so she ended up with two!

I haven't done anything project-related for ages, as all my time has been spent either packing up and moving, or unpacking and nesting, however last Thursday I made a peg bag at Nicky's request. I say "made", but really it was more "re-purposing", as I used the bag one of our pillowcases came in, and a wire hanger. I think it still looks pretty cool and it does the job!

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We went to Coventry on Saturday to buy our Blaze jerseys, but the youth in charge of the shop looked absolutely terrified at the thought of customers and asked us to come back on pretty much any other day when someone else would be in charge, so we went to the British Heart Foundation furniture shop across the road instead and had a look at their desks and chairs. I've been balancing my laptop on my lap (well, on an ergonomically designed plastic tray thing) for work, as we were waiting to order the desk and chair we'd chosen from IKEA, which is not the most comfortable thing in the world, so we decided to save money and time, and purchase from the BHF. My new (to us) workstation arrived yesterday! I love it!

We stopped at Leamington Spa on the way home and had a look at the Food and Drink festival that was taking place. (By "had a look", I mean "did several rounds of the free tasters, bought some cupcakes and went home".)

On Sunday we went to see the Blaze play the Fife Flyers, and we won NINE NIL. It was an awesome game! We ended up having a drink in the Skydome bar after the game and watched the man of the match being interviewed for Sky. We also finally ordered our jerseys! Nicky's should arrive next week, and mine will take 3-4 weeks. Exciting!

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I'm on the train on the way to London for my first day in the office since we moved to Warwick. Even though the train was at 6.12am it feels quite civilised, and I brought my Tassimo coffee out in a travel mug so I'm happy!

Remember I mentioned that we bought a giant courgette for 50p the Sunday before last (turns out I remembered wrong and it was actually £1, but still a bargain!) from the horticultural show? Here it is in all its glory:

We finished it yesterday! This is what we made (some portions of the below are still in the freezer):

Roasted and stuffed courgette (3 portions):

Courgette and potato bake (5 portions):

Courgette salad (2 big portions):

Courgette and squash curry (4 portions):

Courgette, marrow and squash soup (10 portions):

Another courgette salad (2 big portions):

Courgette fritters (4 big portions):

Roasted veg inc. courgette, celeriac etc. (4 portions):

Ok so miracle-wise it's not quite on a level with the feeding of the 5000, but still amazing! We do love a bargain.

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We have a glut of green tomatoes at the moment as my mum came over last week and tamed our huge mess of tomato plants into beautifully neat individual stalks tied to canes. We managed to fill a whole wheelie bin full of tomato plant foliage, but saved some of the nicest looking tomatoes. Unfortunately since they were all hidden under leaves before, they won’t all ripen.

Here's what our tomato patch looked like before:

And after all mum's hard work:

This is what we're left with (some of these are actually reddening slightly now after all the sunshine and rain we've had this week):

This means green tomato chutney, fried green tomatoes and green tomato salsa are in order! Waste not want not, what what!

We've been really busy since we moved, but it's felt very calm and peaceful; it's just so lovely and quiet here. Nicky's started her new job, which is going very well, and I'm getting used to working from home. We went to the ice hockey in Coventry on Saturday which was awesome! We're both so excited to live so close to an Elite League team, and we're right on time for the start of the new season. We shall buy our new jerseys next week and become proper Coventry Blaze supporters!

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We've been in our new house less than 3 days, and have already harvested (and eaten!) carrots and tomatoes from the garden! Amazing! There are loads more tomatoes on the brink of being ripe too, I think we're going to have to cook them up and freeze them!

Moving day went really smoothly, and we were really grateful for Mum and Nigel's expertise in packing and driving the van. Nicky's mum came too with her car, and did a great job helping and sorting.

We absolutely love living here. The house is perfect for us, and the whole town is just lovely. Nicky's mum has been staying with us for a few days, so we've been out exploring as well as unpacking. We went to a local horticultural show today, and bought a giant courgette for 50p! We are definitely not in London any more!

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Only 4 days until moving day!

We're pretty much all packed now. Nicky has never properly moved house before (she's lived in the same house her whole life, and just did quick and easy moves in a taxi to get to and from her student accommodation) so she's been quite overwhelmed by the whole process, but we've kept on track with meticulous planning and To-Do lists.

She does like the packing though. The other day I put the book I was reading down on a bookshelf and went to have a shower. Clean and pyjama'd, I came back in, ready to settle down to read for an hour or so before dinner.

Me (confused, looking at the now empty bookshelves): Where's my book?
Nicky (happily sitting on the floor surrounded by boxes): What book?
Me: The one I'm reading at the moment, I've only got 100 pages to go, it had a bookmark in it.
Nicky (seeing where this is going): Um, a lot of books have bookmarks in...
Me: It's the first Game of Thrones book, I'm re-reading the series! It's got Sean Bean on the cover.
Nicky: Ohhh... I packed it.
Me: Oh ok, no worries, I'll just undo the box and get it out. Which box is it in?
Nicky (vaguely pointing at a pile of boxes): Well... I think it's that one. But it could be that one... Or that one.
Me: Never mind, I'll start on book 2.

I should probably just be grateful that she enjoys it so much!

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March 2012


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