Reflections of life

Leave a comment

Setting Down Some Roots

Finally, after more than 5 years of living in Canada, we are in the process of buying our first house. Exciting and scary times ahead. After 2 years of being debt free, we are about to take on the biggest debt we have ever taken in the past.  It’s supposed to be a good debt! Investing on borrowed money!

After 5 years and paying almost $100,000 in rental payments, we are finally going to pay our own mortgage off. I can’t begin to express how I feel.  Maybe this will be the something that was missing in my life for the last 5 years. Somehow,felt like a visitor still, was here on a work permit, not really feeling settled. Feeling very negative about everything, though desperately trying to feel positive!

So, what buying our first property here is like setting down roots…And I hope it will bring me the peace within myself.


Leave a comment

What I’m Worth

I get it that doulas have to be paid a certain amount because they are worth their weight in gold, and they have to charge a rate that makes it viable to go to work. Rates that will cover their expenses for instance like childcare , transport costs etc etc. There comes a point though, when clients begin to question fees, as I was recently . They were more than happy to pay what I was asking for, but not so happy to pay the same to a colleague who did not have the same amount of experience as me, nor the training, or the nursing and midwifery background. I then thought to myself, that 1) It was time to raise my rates and  2) Clients do look at training, certification and previous experience when it comes to rates.

Looking back, when I qualified as a registered general nurse, my first job was paid at then what was known as a D grade. Basic rate for a qualified nurse. I can’t remember what it was, something like  GBP 10,000 a year. We had yearly increments of this rate until we went for promotion to a higher grade, which meant taking on more responsibilities, which we were more capable of doing as we had been gaining experience in the early years. This would mean a significant pay rise as compared to the yearly increments.

I automatically went up a grade when I completed my midwifery training, because I was then a registered midwife and had gained an additional  qualification, knowledge and skills. With this also came additional responsibilities, and my pay reflected this. Throughout my service with the NHS, I felt I was adequately paid for the job I was doing. I was not going to be a millionaire, but that was not why I became a nurse and midwife. We had the benefits of 7 weeks leave of work a year, sick pay and a great pension plan.

Back to what I was saying about doulas pay. So, if we equate a doula’s experience and previous learning, training, workshops that they attend, then it works out that the more experienced ones would demand more money and perhaps attract more clients as the clients  would want these doulas to be looking after them.

When I started out as a doula, I only asked for $15-20 an hour, as I was new. OK, I had a nursing and midwifery background of 19 years, had had 2 children of my own whom I breastfed, delivered more than 100 babies, looked after even more and helped mums breastfeed, BUT, I was new to the doula role. With this in mind, I did not feel I could command a higher rate. That would come with time. With each family that I worked with, each recommendation that I would get from them, I was building my experience and able to say, I am worth this rate.

Now, after more than a year of working as a postpartum doula and looking after more than 14 families, I have put my rates up and am worth it!

Leave a comment

Playing the waiting game

It’s been a while since I penned anything down. Just glancing at my last post, I was talking about the sale of our house in the UK. Well, that’s all done and dusted. We had a lovely if somewhat manic 2 weeks in England in the summer, and triapsed to the Gower peninsular on our arrival, scattering mum’s ashes in Rhosilli Bay, followed by a scrumptious dinner with the family. We stayed at a lovely penthouse apartment in Swansea. I will do a review of that at some later point. The next day was spent wandering around Mumbles, reminiscing our many holidays and weekend trips down to see mum and dad whilst they were still living in Langland.

We then left for Bristol and spent a lovely evening with the Greenslades. The following morning we left for Nottingham and headed straight for Beeston, reuniting Jasmine with her best friend Laura. Mitch managed to hook up with some of his pals but it was all a bit hit and miss. Laura’s family very kindly put us up for a few days.

We stayed 4 days in the end, the extra day waiting for Mitch’s friends to return from their holidays. We left for London on Friday, minus the kids and stayed with Karen for the weekend. It was lovely if somewhat strange not to have the kids with us, which was in all intents and purposes a family holiday. At least my kids were having a family holiday, spent with their friends’ families!

We did a few sights in London, visiting Kew Gardens, London and Tower Bridge, The Tate Modern, The V&A and Harrods of course. On Tuesday, we headed up North, back to Beeston to pick Mitch up and we then drove up to the Lake District, staying in Ambleside. Jasmine was already there having been invited by Laura’s family to holiday with them.

We took a boat ride on Lake Windermere and did a short walk along the lakeshore and had a few good meals. All too soon it was time to return to London, to meet up with the family one last time before catching our flight home on Sunday.

It was lovely for all the cousins to get together and what a blast and a laugh we all did have. Time flies when you’re having fun.

Our flight back to Toronto was delayed by 4 hours. So, having returned the car early to save a day’s car rental, we had many hours to while away in the Queen’s Terminal at Heathrow. It was all done up and very pleasant. We had dinner at Yo-Sushi, one of our favourite haunts when we lived in the UK.

Now, on to the waiting game bit. We are still awaiting on the outcome of our PR application. 13 months have come and gone and we have still not heard form the Canadian immigration department as to whether we’ve been granted landed immigrant status. It’s playing on our minds a bit and stopping us from making too big a financial commitment towards anything. Dave’s Lexus needs some exhaust pipe work doing and will cost over 1K, and we were thinking of changing the car as it’s now 10 years old and has done many miles. We were thinking of buying a house but have put this on hold as the prices are ridiculously high and also we are uncertain of our future here in Canada. We would ideally like to stay until both kids finish high school. But this may not happen of course, if we do not get our PR. It’s all a bit up in the air and fairly unsettling. Sigh.

I have started teaching crochet and knitting at Michael’s in Markham. It’s been good so far, though there are many classes that go unfilled, meaning no students have signed up. My next doula contract does not start till the end of November, so I have been busy crafting for the Thornhill Moksha open day.

Anyway, going to end here as I have to get ready to leave for work at Michaels soon.

Leave a comment

Update On the House Sale in Beeston

Well, the house sale is going through… well, I hope it is. We had quite a lot of interest resulting in several offers which went to a bid. It went for 10K more than we were asking for in the end.  We are pleased indeed very pleased with this result but of course we will now have to wait to see if it all goes through.  The house has to be surveyed by the buyer’s surveyor and the fun will start then,  I am sure and some haggling of price will undoubtedly happen.

Anyhow, it’s all good and fingers crossed, 5 Fellows Road will have a new owner soon.

Leave a comment

Making Lists




As I sit here at my desk, wondering whether I have packed everything needed for Malaysia, I find myself wishing I have made a list! But I am just not a list person. The only time I ever make a list is if I have to go grocery shopping. And not always either. When I do make a list, I find I get to the shops and I have left my list at home. There are many different ways now that I could make a list apart from physically getting a pen and a piece of paper and writing it all down.  I could do it on my phone, type it all down. I could even dictate it using the voice thingy majiggy and I would have the list done in no time at all. I am sure there are apps out there that make making lists a doodle too. I haven’t looked to see though.

I just tend to store everything in my head, shopping lists, packing lists, things to do.  Inadvertently, I forget something. So far, it’s not be anything vital nor the end of the world, but I am sure one day it will happen as I am aging and my memory does not appear to be as good as it was.  Though, this morning I realized that I had forgotten to send Jasmine off on her trip with a photocopy of her health card, or get her to take a picture of it on her phone.  I did text her the number and tried to send her a picture of it, but she can’t receive pics on her SMS plan! Darn and double darn. This is not an efficient way to go about things!

I know a lot of list makers, I am married to one, and my sister-in-law Karen is a great list maker. I think one can derive great satisfaction when crossing out things on one’s “to do” list. A sense of achievement. Let me attempt to be better at making lists, to aid my memory. Let’s start now.

Things to do before I leave for the airport

Pack suitcase and hand luggage

Leave Jasmine’s health card and library card behind

Leave my car keys behind for Dave

Get ready to leave by 12.30

Check in on-line and print boarding pass

Check I have a valid passport

Lock all doors and make sure all lights are turned off before I leave

Buy mum an orangey lipstick at the airport.

Ok, all of the above I have achieved already apart from locking the doors and buying the lipstick as I have yet to leave, so what was my purpose of making this list? Double checking I guess, to see if I have done everything I need to. Also am doing it backwards, I really should have made the list before I carry out the tasks!

Another list I could have made was the packing list, let’s see is I have forgotten anything.

Clothes for 1 week at least, outfit for dad’s party.


Toiletries including make up

Accessories? Pandora bracelet?  –  forgot to put this on

Chinese herbs and stuff for mum and dad

maple syrup


books to read

some yarn and needles



goggles –  forgot these, will go hunt for them

Hair brush, tooth-brush

See, that was useful. I forgot 2 items that were in the recesses of my brain, and writing it down, drew them out. Time to put Pandora on and find those goggles.

Ok, this will be my last entry for a bit. Will write more on my return…. see you all in 12 days….






1 Comment

5 Fellows Road, Beeston, House for Sale




After owning our house in Beeston for almost 14 years, it’s time to move on. We have not been living in it for the past 4.5 years as we had left the UK to work abroad. After having it let for the past 4 years, we have decided to sell it. We seemed to have settled here in Canada, and may not move for several years until the kids have completed their high school education. If we did move back however, the house would be too small for us now anyhow. We currently live in a rented 3 bedroomed townhouse with 4 bathrooms, great luxury!  I don’t think we could ever move back to what we had before, we would end up killing each other.

We had bought the house on our move up from Bristol in 2000.  Dave was changing careers and had been posted to Nottingham. As his sister, Karen and her family lived in Nottingham, we decided to look at houses in her neighbourhood. Beeston is a nice neighbourhood. It has several great primary schools, a great library with a wonderful children’s section upstairs. Everything was within walking distance to us, just 5 minutes down the road was the town centre. schools, ballet classes, library all a short walk away. It’s a great place for a young family to grow up in.

It was by chance that we even viewed the house. I had gone into the estate agents and thought I had picked up the details of the house I was interested in, but had picked up 5 Fellows Road instead. It was slightly out of our price range at the time but we thought we’d have a look anyway.  Fellows Road is a lovely road with mature trees and  lovely houses with nice kept gardens. The house had off street parking too. It was in ‘vacant possession’ when we viewed it, so had no chains and no hassles with timings. We looked inside, walked out into the sunny garden with large patioed area, and was looking around when we noticed that Mitchell had settled down nicely on the steps outside the french glass doors and was patiently reading a Thomas the Tank book whilst the grown-ups were busy chatting and looking round. He looked as though he was home and our hearts melted at that moment, and thought, this is the house for us. Another thing we noticed that was in the garden was a Jasmine bush in full bloom giving off the most glorious scent alongside the honeysuckle…. another good omen.

It’s a bit silly to be sentimental about a house, but it was a house filled with love and we looked after it well and added on things as coffers would allow. Double glazing, solar panels for free hot water- this was super efficient, in the summer we would not have to turn to boiler on for hot water for weeks on end. We replaced the wall between the living room and dining room. Replacing the carpet downstairs with laminate flooring was a good idea too. Much easier to keep clean. The kitchen cabinets got a spruce up with new doors, we got a gas hob and extractor fan and a new double oven put in too. All in all we were very happy in our house and it was almost perfect. Plans to put in an upstairs toilet was next but we moved to Trinidad before that was done.

So, the time has come to say goodbye to my children’s childhood home. They remember it with fond memories, and nicknamed it our little house, even though it had 3 double bedrooms! So many memories, kids birthday parties in the garden, a bouncy castle, a pool party, a Wendy house, tents set up for daytime camping, the apple tree that was so old that almost all the apples were inedible.  Another chapter in our lives closing, and onwards to the next.

Here’s the link to Right Move for the details of our house

Leave a comment

Take a few ingredients and make a soup- Celeriac and Apple Soup

There were some ingredients from my organic box that I get delivered every week from Mama Earth Organics, and in my fridge that needed using up. What better way than to throw it all in a pot, boil and then pulverize to make a yummy soup?


1 large celeriac bulb cut into 1cm cubes

1 large onion chopped

1 leek chopped

3 carrots chopped

1 apple peeled ,  I used a dessert apple chopped

1 vegetable stock cube

about 1 litre water boiled

20 gm butter or thereabouts, you can use cooking or olive oil if you want

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp dried parsley

Salt and pepper

Some freshly grated parmesan cheese



These were all ingredients I had handy, I guess I should rename myself the handy soup maker!

First, heat pot and melt butter or oil if that is what you’re using. Toss in the onions and leeks and fry till soft but not browned. Add spices, herbs and carrots. Fry for 1-2 minutes, add celeriac then last but not least apple. Stir and fry till apples start to soften a bit.  Add the stock cube, crumbled into the other ingredients. Boil a kettle of water, pour over all ingredients until all ingredients are covered with water.  Add more if you want a thinner soup. Put lid on pot and bring to boil. Once boiling reduce to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, test the celeriac, if it is mashable with a wooden spoon against the side of your pot, it’s cooked. Time to pulverize! I use a kitchen aid hand blender but you could transfer to a blender to blend all ingredients until you get a smooth soup. Check seasoning, and viscosity. If you want a thinner soup, add some water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve  garnished with a swirl of cream if wished, some freshly grated black pepper, and grated parmesan cheese. We had it with some nice home-baked bread and lashings of butter!