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Today is our 11th wedding anniversary. We’ll have been together fifteen years in September and still my wonderful husband manages to suprise me every now and then in the most wondeful way. Roy doesnt really “do” Facebook so waking up to this update from him this morning was a bit of a suprise. For obvious reasons I cried a happy bucket and am sporting the not so sexy blotchy-faced look now.

I really am a very lucky lady.

I’ll start by saying it’s not necessary to comment on the post, I’m not writing this to get anything in return and most probably my brothers will use this as an opportunity to do some brotherly Roy bashing.

I don’t post much on Facebook because of a great dislike for it. I prefer to have face to face conversations or at the very least voice conversations. One reason being that text can be taken the wrong way, with the lack of vocal inflections, emotion, humor and even sympathy can be lost in a phrase or sentence. Another is that I don’t really associate my social standing with how many people I have in my friends list or how many likes I get on a post. In fact with many acquaintances in my life I can probably count my true quality friends on one hand. And the last reason why I don’t often post on Facebook is that I can’t spell for toffee. That’s why I’m writing this in a Word document before posting (the joys of spellchecker). I explain this because there is a reason for me breaking my Facebook semi-silence, and that is to use it as a public forum to say this. (It’s either this or I climb up on the roof, but knowing my luck I’d end up in traction)
Over 14 years ago, I was young and very foolish. Getting drunk and fighting on a weekend, sleeping with anything that would have me and generally being a testosterone fueled young man. But one particular night my brother and I saw a pretty young woman who held herself with grace and poise, almost instantly I was mesmerized. As young lads do, my brother called dibs (yes young men actually do that), which caught me by surprise, but out of brotherly loyalty I refused to get in his way, even though secretly I was gutted. I watched as my brother pulled out all the stops to woo said young maiden unable to take my eyes from her; trying to catch her beautiful green eyes. At the end of the evening she went home alone, as did me and my brother and I thought I would never see her again.
Low and behold, two weeks later when I went out alone to meet with my small group of friends, who should be sat with them, but this beautiful green eyed woman. We made small talk, and to my surprise I discovered that she hung around with my small circle of friends, but yet I had never seen her until the night two weeks previous. Through the night week joked and laughed, talked a whirl of conversations, barely touching our drinks. When it was time to go home I said good night, she gave me her number and asked for a kiss, and I, playing it like a Casanova, gave her a gentle kiss . . . . . on the cheek. (I never said I was an expert in the ways of women).
The following day I couldn’t stop thinking about her, and throwing dating decorum out of the window I rang her that morning. We met that day in a small, quiet country pub, and picked up the conversation from the night before, and it was amazing how we fell into the comfortable ease of familiarity. For three months we met and talked, sharing dreams and stolen kisses, and on the night of millenniums eve I proposed to her . . . . . . . by text. (Hey, she was working; it wasn’t all smooth romance you know!)
From there, our great journey began and in this journey she made me want to be a better man. Several months after proposing, we rented a ‘fixer upper’, blinkered by the bliss of our first home. Three years later on the 28th of June 2003 we married. But not all was smooth sailing, we had our ups and downs like all couples, the heartbreak at finding out that we had a slim chance of ever having children, and after 3 years of trying, the joy of discovering she was to have the first of our two boys, who was born July the 1st 2006 the second born 2010.
My wife is a truly amazing woman, she’s intelligent and kind, a full time mother, full time freelance writer, full time housewife. She’s hard working; up at 4 o’clock to write 1000 word essays on inane subjects like the consistency of compost, or the chemical compounds in a 1kg tub of Mr. Universe Muscle Enhancement Powder (it’s not real so don’t Google it), making breakfast for me and the boys, shipping us of to work and school respectively, coming home again to work, collecting the boys and making the tea, and somewhere in there the house gets done. All of this is done, without being expected to, without wanting gratitude, without holidays and without the children losing out on precious parent time. It is done to help subsidize my little-over-minimum-wage income, to help pay massively stupid bills and she puts up with me to boot. She leaves me with no doubt, especially when look into her beautiful green eyes, of how much she loves me (and on rare occasions how much she wants to kill me!)
So to those who say about anyone, about anything ‘Well, if they can do it, it’ll be easy for me’, I make this statement, ‘Try it and find out, the reason why it looks so easy is because THEY WORK DAMN HARD!’
To my wife of 11 years on the day of this post, my lover for over 14 years, friend for my lifetime and soul mate for eternity, I write this with all emotional sincerity I can muster in text (going back to my earlier explanation) I APPRECIATE AND LOVE YOU, AND I CAN NEVER SAY IT ENOUGH!!
NICKI CAWOOD, HAPPY 11th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY AND I HOPE TO HAVE MANY, MANY MORE YEARS WITH YOU!!!

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I am a Mum. I have two fabulously cute boys who love mud pies, arts and crafts, Minecraft and water guns. One goes to school, the other to pre-school for two days and a child-minder for another two days. We have after school clubs and classes etc.

I am a full-time working self-employed copywriter and deputy editor. By full time I mean that I work 40-50 hours a week however I work these hours around the two mud-covered, giggling children.

I have a house. It is a beautiful house with a large lounge and dining room, a brilliant kitchen (with a Belfast sink no less), a large utility room (with magical washing baskets that refill as soon as you empty them), three big bedrooms, a bathroom to die for…. and it all needs cleaning and tidying regularly.

I also like to cook. In fact I love to cook and this means spending hours making everything from scratch, prepping foods, cooking and not forgetting the shopping!

I also insist on spending proper family time with the boys and my fabulous husband.

With only twenty four hours in the day you can see how I’ve become something of a juggling expert over the past few years. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my life and how busy I am but sometimes, just sometimes I start to get that slightly frayed around the edges, a feeling so many parents and workers feel when they aren’t getting enough proper sleep.

In an ideal world I would pack my bags every six months, kiss the kids and the husband goodbye and book myself into a hotel for a couple of nights.

To sleep!

If you’ve ever stayed in a really nice hotel you’ll know that there is something quite special about hotel bed linen. It is clean and crisp and yet it feels special. Perhaps it is the fact that you haven’t had to wash and iron it yourself however I fancy that it has more to do with the quality and luxury of it.
SimplePolycottonPhoto credit: http://www.mitrelinen.com/products/bedrooms/bed-linen/

Sad I know but when I used to travel for work sometimes, for training, meetings or when I used to run accreditation reviews on services (a lifetime ago before the children and before I started running my own business) I actually used to get excited about opening the door to my hotel room and finding a beautifully made up bed complete with hotel bed runners and cushions.

Sevilla AutumnPhoto credit: http://www.mitrelinen.com/products/soft-furnishings/runners-and-cushions/ 

As grabbing a bag and running off for some R&R isn’t an option (and besides, I’d miss Roy and the boys too much) I am working to create my own hotel room at home. I’m not talking about dodgy wallpaper and a minibar (although….!); I’m talking about a room that is calm and quiet and oozing with luxury. Roy and I work damn hard at work and at looking after the home and the kids so when it comes to bed time we deserve a special place where we can relax and enjoy a proper rejuvenating sleep.

Thankfully it is now possible to enjoy quality hotel bed grade linens at home too and so all I need to get hold of is a Do Not Disturb sign for the door and I’ll be all set!

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