Saturday, December 31, 2011


The last day of the year is always a funny one. It's like you've got the enormity of each day of the year gone by and a bit of expectation for each day of the year coming, and you've got to do something with it.

It's been a big year, the biggest so far even? So wonderful, but not easy. And grown up. More grown up than I thought 2011 might be on the last day of last year? Possibly. And I'm grateful for so much. For an amazing family who've been so supportive and loving through a year that was exciting and hard and new for them and for me. And generous, and space - giving. Grateful for my new family, and the amazing friends who've rallied round and helped in thousands of different ways through the most stressful, and happy, few months we've ever had - getting married, buying a house, changing jobs (both), moving houses (thrice between us), brain scan anxieties, homesickness and so much else.

I'm grateful for my amazing husband and best friend  - who's made this year the best one yet. I can't wait to do the rest of life with you.

But grateful most of all to a God who blesses and sustains. Always. Always.

We're especially thinking of my grandma in hospital this New Years eve, and my family scattered all over the place. But in faith we say - Have a very Happy New Year!

Here's some of why 2011 has been so fab:

Taking Steve to Bangalore, Jan 2011

Filming rhinos in Uganda, Jan 2011
Getting engaged! 5 March 2011

Quick trip home for some wedding fun and family time, June 2011
Making those really precious vows.... our fairy tale wedding. 8 Oct 2011
Our little home that we're so grateful for, and love SO much! 

Super - fun honeymoon. St. Lucia, Oct 2011

My first Christmas away from home, but our first Christmas as a family! Christmas day (left) and Boxing Day.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas at no.5

We're full of cold and having a duvet day today following a very busy few days, so I thought I'd update you on what our Christmas has looked like (with our REAL tree and all!).

More fab than the pictures below though have been times with friends and family over the season. And most of all we've got grateful hearts for a Saviour who came as a baby all those years ago, and still lives today, giving us reason to celebrate!

More later on what we've been up to.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Christmas to me!

So excited! This has been a long time coming! Now to go and play...

Friday, December 2, 2011

My mother's spare rib recipe

One of the (few) cool parts about moving out on my own was that I then only ate what I wanted, when I want and generally only cooked things I really, really liked. I still do that, apart from I now try and cook what Steve likes as well (or get him to like what I like). I've also found that cooking proper meals for us and for others is probably one of the major things that makes me feel grown up. And I really love it! Doing packed lunches each morning, planning our evening meals, supermarket runs, entertaining - all of it! And I've found I spend a LOT of time on the phone/skype to my mum - trying to download her recipes into my head. Thank you ma!

I got some pork spare ribs the other day and I really wanted to make my mother's BBQ ribs recipe tonight - so I did. I don't think they were quite there - but they were tasty, and we'll definitely have to try them again.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pretty shift dress

I really like this Green dress from Yumi. One for Christmas maybe?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Love in different languages

I do love words that you can't quite translate in a way that captures their whole meaning and Hindi and Sanskrit are full of those. My name - Arpana - is a little bit like that. It means dedicated/ Offering to God/set apart or something quite similar. The really sweet compilation below is by Pamela Haag at Big Think. My favourite is Cafun√©. It's great that there's even a word that means that!

Here are ten words, compiled from online collections, to describe love, desire and relationships that have no real English translation, but that capture subtle realities that even we English speakers have felt once or twice. As I came across these words I’d have the occasional epiphany: “Oh yeahThat’s what I was feeling...

Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan, an indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego): The wordless yet meaningful look shared by two people who desire to initiate something, but are both reluctant to start. 

Yuanfen (Chinese): A relationship by fate or destiny. This is a complex concept. It draws on principles of predetermination in Chinese culture, which dictate relationships, encounters and affinities, mostly among lovers and friends.
From what I glean, in common usage yuanfen means the "binding force" that links two people together in any relationship. 

Cafun√© (Brazilian Portuguese): The act of tenderly running your fingers through someone's hair.

Retrouvailles (French):  The happiness of meeting again after a long time. 
This is such a basic concept, and so familiar to the growing ranks of commuter relationships, or to a relationship of lovers, who see each other only periodically for intense bursts of pleasure. I’m surprised we don’t have any equivalent word for this subset of relationship bliss. It’s a handy one for modern life.

Ilunga (Bantu): A person who is willing to forgive abuse the first time; tolerate it the second time, but never a third time.
Apparently, in 2004, this word won the award as the world’s most difficult to translate. Although at first, I thought it did have a clear phrase equivalent in English: It’s the “three strikes and you’re out” policy. But ilunga conveys a subtler concept, because the feelings are different with each “strike.” The word elegantly conveys the progression toward intolerance, and the different shades of emotion that we feel at each stop along the way.

La Douleur Exquise (French): The heart-wrenching pain of wanting someone you can’t have.
When I came across this word I thought of “unrequited” love. It’s not quite the same, though. “Unrequited love” describes a relationship state, but not a state of mind. Unrequited love encompasses the lover who isn’t reciprocating, as well as the lover who desires. La douleur exquise gets at the emotional heartache, specifically, of being the one whose love is unreciprocated.

Koi No Yokan (Japanese): The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall into love. 
This is different than “love at first sight,” since it implies that you might have a sense of imminent love, somewhere down the road, without yet feeling it. The term captures the intimation of inevitable love in the future, rather than the instant attraction implied by love at first sight.
Ya’aburnee (Arabic): “You bury me.” It’s a declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person, because of how difficult it would be to live without them.
Forelsket: (Norwegian):  The euphoria you experience when you’re first falling in love.
This is a wonderful term for that blissful state, when all your senses are acute for the beloved, the pins and needles thrill of the novelty. There’s a phrase in English for this, but it’s clunky. It’s “New Relationship Energy,” or NRE.
Saudade (Portuguese): The feeling of longing for someone that you love and is lost. Another linguist describes it as a "vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist."


Our Victorian Terrace has lots of alcoves and I'm trying to think of interesting things to do with them as they've currently just got old shelves or nothing in them..
Here are some really lovely ones.

Really love the dressing table in this alcove from House to Homes.

There seems to be a pattern of wall papered alcoves. This one is from House to Homes as well.

I think we need to find a nice mirror as well...hmm...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Autumnwatching today

Today I'm off to help out on the Autumnwatch set at the WWT in Slimbridge. Autumnwatch is a hugely popular live show and you'd love it if you were between 50 and 95 years old. Steve was going to come along and be in the audience and then chickened out yesterday. (He's much too good looking for BBC 2 anyway ;)
This, along with some work I did on Live and Deadly (smash hit with 7 year olds) is to help me get some experience of Live wildlife television in preperation for when Fight for Life goes out next May. We've just been told our very exciting *top secret* presenter has been signed. :O
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Furnishing fun

We're in the middle of furnishing our currently dysfunctional lounge and I'd love to have some semblance of a nice room before Christmas. All we've got at the moment is a lovely period fireplace that looks a bit like this and a cream soft - leather sofa that's on it's way. I am loving whites and neutrals with lots of wood at the moment and the room in the picture makes me drool!

Lots more yummy living rooms here.


I stumbled across this blog post by Ruth today and it made me very happy! Like Steve said, "Oh dear!! There’s two of you!!"

Autumn talking..

I was thinking today how much I wished I had blog records for the very exciting 7 months between getting engaged and our wedding. Possibly the busiest and most stressful time of my life, yet so special in many ways. I feel amazed at how bits and pieces fell into place, and people (dozens and dozens of them) rallied round to help create such a perfect, happy day.

We've been married 6 weeks now and have a lovely lovely home (so excited about doing it up together!) and there's a pattern emerging of things coming together nicely. Come to think of it, that's probably been the case for all of the last 24 years I've known. I'm very grateful, to a very faithful God.

This is so I won't look back in another year and wish I had jotted down bits from the last here goes!

One of the little routines we've got into is sharing a buttered bagel before we run out the house each morning. Steve's job is to toast and butter and we often eat them as we walk down Greenbank road to the station. Is it trivial to be thankful for Bagel Mornings?