Thursday, 31 December 2015

My 2015 :)

It's almost the end of 2015, and normally I will go through my blog and list the highlights of each month. This year there really has been too many highlights to be doing that with, so I'm going to list some awesomeness and find a photographic representation of each of my highlights, and group them helpfully. Here I go!

In 2015: I became an Auntie
My niece joined my family in April, and then my nephew in August - I am became an Auntie twice! They are adorable little things and I'm looking forward to growing old with them around! :)

Here we all are, my family in 2015.

This is my current favourite photo of my niece.

Here is one of the best pics I have of my nephew, catching his rare smile.

In 2015: I went around the world, thrice.
I've done the maths and officially, I've traveled at least 73,538.22 miles this year. I flew a total of 28 times this year and only 2 of the flights were delayed! Hoorah! I've also been back and forth from London/Oxford at least 6 times! This doesn't include all my trips to Wrexham and Leeds, and none of those day to day pootles. 

I went to Australia to take selfies with kangaroos

I went to the Virgin Islands to attend a wedding

 And then I went around the world, visiting Costa Rica... 

...and Singapore for the first time.

In 2015: I hung out with my extended family
My cousin, Karen and her family came over the to the UK from Hong Kong, and then I went to Hong Kong to see all of my family!

Here is Karen and family.

Here is Karen and Amanda, representing both sides of the family over there. And my other family, Morgan :)

In 2015: I met up with lots of friends
It's always great to catch up with folks that you've known for a while, and this year I've done that quite a bit. I met a lot of new friends too but I won't embarrass them too quickly on my blog here :) Here are some of the less camera shy folks:

There's Nadia!

These two, Morgan and Andy. I saw them quite a bit this year. :)


Ric! :)

Dave, Lee and J! :)

Shyen Sook!!

Adrian, Victor, Carmen, Wing Chi, Tracey and Valerie!

There's Shazia, behind the complicated game.

Ricky! Yay!

Wing Chi, Fiona, Angel and Lisa in this pic!

In 2015: I was published :)
In a frenzy of activity that feels a little like many many moons ago, Morgan and I published our first ever book. It still seems peculiar to me that I would have written a book with someone and that someone could possibly buy it, but there you go: it has happened! Here it is!

In 2015: I wrote 365 postcards
Yep, I'm just about to go out and send my last postcard now. You can see them all here - you might even be able to spot one that I sent to you! Here are some of my favourites:


Rainbow leaves

And my favourite this year, just some colourful circles!

It has been a wonderful 2015, a year that I wouldn't have expected to happen. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would travel so far. And I would have never thought that I could publish a book, post 365 postcards and be brought so much joy by tiny little humans new to this world, and slightly bigger folks who have been here a while. It has been the year of two Summers, a year of two babies, the year of postcards. 

I feel blessed to have this all in my life and hope that 2016 will bring its own adventures too. I wish you all a very happy new year - hope to see you soon!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Two Crazy Days

On Christmas Day, we had a glorious day. It was a quiet day in, eating, relaxing, watching films and chilling out with the family. Outside, it was rainy, but to us there didn't seem to be much cause for concern. It was warm and cosy inside and everyone was passing my nephew around for giggles. Here are some pics:

This is my current favourite photo of my nephew.

Here we are, both confused about the person we were sat next to.

Here's the peeps, posing with this year's Christmas meal - a "pun choi".

It is filled with 11 different dishes of food including chicken, pork, prawns, vegetables and mushrooms! Enough to feed us all!

I couldn't sleep that night because I didn't do enough moving, but I totally regretted it the following morning. On Boxing Day, there was major drama. The river next to where I live swelled up big time and burst it's bank. It flooded the neighbourhood streets where I walk all the time, around my local post office and threatened to take down the bridge - our main access route. Thankfully, the water did not get to our house, but it had us worried for a while. Here are some photos:

This is how high the river got. You can't even really tell that's a bridge any more! There were policemen, and officially looking people everywhere.

There's my post office. It was so bad - at some points there was 3 feet of water :(

My nephew went out to investigate the situation. We decided to move him out of the house when the power went out.

Here are me mum and dad in the 3rd hour without power. We were totally powered by candles - and gas :)

Our power outage lasted 33 hours and although that sounds pretty bad, we were definitely not the worse off. The post office street only got their power back this evening but they won't have any gas for a little while - the floods caused a local footbridge to collapse taking with it a gas pipe which normally serviced the area. The streets which had it worse started their ordeal late on Christmas day and I genuinely don't know how long it will take for their lives to get back to normality.

It's been a dramatic few days. We're praying that there is no more rain for a little while so that the poor folk in the streets near by can get their houses dried out before any craziness starts again. Hope you all had a nice Christmas and Boxing Day - stay warm and don't take electricity for granted!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

A PM Christmas Bake Off Party

So my friends and I have been doing a Bake Off Bake-A-Long this year during the TV baking competition but I was unable to complete the entire list of bakes because I decided to fly all the way around the world. To make up for that, my friends and I decided to finish off the year with a big bake - a get together to try out our bakes, and to do one of the final challenges. I chose the showstopper challenge, a 3-cake dealio, and Shazia picked iced buns. Lee decided to go savoury to balance everything out and made a pie and hey presto - a PM Christmas Bake Off Party. Here are some pics:

Here they are - chocolate Victoria Sponges with buttercream and fresh raspberry filling! I tried my hand at a bit of chocolate work too - it's pretty hard work for not very much! Haha!

I really like the effect of the alternate buttercream and raspberry filling. I might be doing this a lot in the future.

Here we all are. And there's the pie and iced fingers too!

And this is my secret santa gift - it's a yolk fish! I've been wanting one of these for literally years!

I had a lovely day catching up with my friends and therapeutically baking and decorating! I'm chuffed with how my bake turned out, and I'm glad that I was able to share it with people I care about. I'm so pleased to be sharing another Christmas with my friends from college. Hope there are many more Christmases to come! :)

I'm going to knuckle down and do some work tomorrow. It's time to log some non-Christmas work hours in. Time to sit in my new purple dressing gown (thanks Shazia!), covered in my new purple monkey blanket (thanks Lee and Dave!) and do some serious work. Haha! Hoorah for friends, food and Christmas! :)

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Four Days Down South

I pootled down south to take Morgan to the airport and then to hang out with my brother and sister and their families. I went to help out a little as well as hang out with everyone. Of course this means that I spent a good deal of time with two adorable babies. Here are some photos:

Here is me with my little niece, having some morning happy time.

Babies are so much more cheerful in the morning! She can sit up now and looks super cute when she'd doing it! Clothing styled by her mum. Haha.

And here is my nephew. He finds me hilarious.

My nephew looks suspicious in this pic. Ah well, I'm happy! :)

I had fun on my baby adventure. I changed my first nappy, ate a lot of food and generally had some dribbly baby time which was wholly delightful. I came home yesterday pretty sleepy but it was totally worth it. It was good to hang out with their parents too - everyone seems to be doing very well with this new baby thing. Hoorah!

Now to settle in to a couple of days of Christmas things and work. Hoorah too.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Video Highlights of an Amazing Adventure

It's taken me a couple of weeks to get this done - mostly down to computer error - but finally here it is! Filmed, edited and produced by me, here are highlights from our adventures on the Pop-Ups World Tour 2015! There's so much awesomeness and play in this video - hope you enjoy! :)

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Zan On Tour 2015: Celebrations

Last Saturday was a very busy day. Despite being wet and windy outside, Morgan and I were still able to complete the Pop-Ups World Tour 2015 with a bang at an adventure playground in Sheffield. We talked about memorable moments we had on tour, the people we met, the communities we interacted with. We shared stories, playful observations and reflections to a playwork audience who were encouraging and lovely. It was a wonderful way to end our adventures around the world, and we are so pleased that it had come full circle by starting and ending in the UK.

But the day didn't end there! After standing in the rain for a bit next to a very determined fire, I went home to be greeted by a house full of people and babies! My niece and nephew had both arrived at our house for the first time along with their parents so the house was bustling with activity. Here are some photos from the weekend:

Here they both are at Zan's morning childcare. Hello there little people!

Here is my nephew - it was his 100 day celebration so that's why the whole family was in Manchester. Hello there little one!

And here is my niece. She always knows where the camera is and she's always looking confused. Aww, so sweet.

Being covered in babies and also having so many things to celebrate really made it quite the weekend. There's a lot to take in and reflect on, but for now, I will leave you with pics of my cute little people and return with more thoughts soon! 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Zan On Tour 2015 - Coming Home

I laid down in my own bed last night and realised that I had traveled around the world. Around the whole of it in a complete (albeit slightly) wiggly circle. It feels a little bit like it never happened - I got familiar with home way too quickly, almost like I never left. Yet many of my conversations with Morgan can still begin "Remember 3 countries ago when we...". Now that isn't a phrase that many people get to say!

The more I thought a little more about that "home" feeling, the more I thought that perhaps I had been feeling at home since I got to Hong Kong. I was surrounded by people I knew and hung out with them all week so maybe I had already relaxed about a week ago!

Here is Karen and Amanda, my two cousins who basically spent the entire week showing us around Hong Kong. I did more tourism in HK than I have ever done ever!

Here are 6 folks who used to all live in the UK and now all live in HK. It was kinda awesome to catch up with them for an evening. From left to right, I hung out with Adrian, Victor, Carmen, Wing Chi, Tracey and Valerie.

And just before I left Singapore, I also managed to meet up with Shyen Sook, a friend that I haven't seen for 10 years! Oh my! It was so great catching up! :)

I feel really blessed to have had the opportunity to spend so much time with my family and old friends over the last few weeks. They have definitely helped me to feel at home and I feel warm inside, even if it's super cold here in Manchester. 

Coming home, back to reality, I am tired but grateful. I'm going to rest up, catch up and do one last stop on this tour and then it's time to make some new plans! More adventures ahoy!

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Zan On Tour 2015 - Singapore and Hong Kong

This has been quite the busy segment of our trip, so busy that I haven't really had time to blog much. Since I have a few minutes, let me show you some of the things we have seen in Singapore and Hong Kong. Photo highlights include:

Taking photos with the hippos near the boat in the sky in Singapore.

Being completely ecstatic about the road filled with durian in Singapore.

Riding on the super old trams in Hong Kong.

This amazing photo of sunset at the harbour in Hong Kong

Hong Kong by night from the Peak.

And this photo of my new relative (my Dad's brother's son's son, whoever that is). The smiliest baby I have ever met, who it literally named "laughing".

We go home in 2 sleeps and I really can't believe that 2 months ago we were sat in Manchester, kicking off our world tour with our Directors. There are so many stories to tell but for now I will leave them for another day. We had an awesome Pop-Up today and another tomorrow so I must rest up for that. More soon!