Graduation Celebration, Balloon Festival and Lime Kilns!

I had a graduation of sorts, a trip to see both sides of the family and lots of fun! 

Click here to watch the vlog or see below. 

This vlog is actually very much spread out. It started off mid-week for graduation. I’d originally booked the day off work but with no one organising anything and university being absolutely rubbish and not communicating with us at all, I picked up an extra shift at work instead. Very last minute – literally days before! – one of the girls ended up organising the most perfect graduation party. It started whilst I was still at work, so I did get there about 3 hours late, but it was lovely nevertheless. 

Rachel and her kids had made some paper graduation caps, whilst Chris had borrowed some of the church’s choir gowns. Despite the disappointment, it was perfect and so lovely to see everyone and catch up. Rachel’s husband made homemade pizza’s in the pizza oven all night: garlic bread, pizza and dessert pizza with smores or biscoff as the choices. It was honestly surreal, never how I would have imagined graduation, but at least we got to celebrate in a small way, even if I was exhausted.

The following weekend, Luke and I headed to Wakefield to spend time with my mum. We had a family barbeque reunion with her side of the family which was perfect. Again, lovely to catch up with people, especially because we’ve missed out on the last 3! Luckily, despite the weather not being great, the rain did just about hold out for us, which was good. The next day, for a late Sunday lunch, we headed to a local Italian for a yummy meal, before driving back to Nottingham for another week of work. 

A couple week’s later, I actually booked a few days off in advance. I’d originally wanted annual leave but that sadly wasn’t possible so instead I used my four day monthly allowance of requests to get the time off to have a trip to Wales. I’d been wanting to go to the Oswestry Balloon Festival for the last three years so this time I wanted to make the extra effort to attend. My sister and her kids ended up making a little bit of a holiday out of it as well, but even so, I was quite surprised to see them already there when we arrived. We had a lovely night in front of the fire pit to enjoy the warm evening and marshmallows. 

The next day, we went to Powys Castle and walked up through the village and grounds, to enjoy a picnic on the hill. Then walked back down the other side and to the garden centre for dessert before another walk back along the canal. Let’s just say grandpa’s idea of a short walk, is not the same as the grandkids. That evening, we went out to a restaurant to celebrate my sister’s birthday. 

The next day was slightly more relaxed. We had a bit of a later start with a large, cooked brunch, before meandering over to the Oswestry Balloon Festival. I don’t think it was quite what any of us expected, but it was still interesting to me. Most of the other’s just sat in the shade, but I found the set up etc quite fascinating. In the end, we did see a few balloons hover, and a few more get put up and down, but sadly due to the weather, they didn’t actually set off. By that point, everyone else wanted to go home so I reluctantly admitted defeat. The main event ended up being the impressive night glow disco in the evening and the pictures and videos online looked amazing. The next day, the balloons did actually take off, but at 6am in the morning when we were all in bed. 

The next day was more so just catching up, playing with the kids and dogs, doing board games and then my sister and her family left just before lunch. It was a short but sweet little weekend together, and it was surprisingly comforting to see Luke with kids, especially Rafe. I think for little boys, they always tend to veer to men as role models. 

Once we’d gathered some supplies up, us four ended up heading out to a new part of the canal for me. It was actually really lovely. It was quite a gentle walk that took us through a nature reserve and then up to see some lime kilns, the largest one still standing in the UK. I got a little bit of a history lesson, having never heard of them before and took lots of pictures. When we got back, we had a yummy Sunday roast before watching a film together and getting an early night. I think dad and Karen’s lack of sleep over the week made them need it even more so it was a 10pm night time for all of us. 

We didn’t do much the following morning because Karen was at work and we ended up setting off relatively early so that we could work on some things when we were back in Nottingham, to get ready for work. It was a lovely respite whilst it lasted though.