Adventures in semi-veganism

Not a title I ever thought I’d write 🙀

And no, I’m not truly vegan at all, but I had already noticed, not even really a week into these new food restrictions, that “vegan friendly” alternatives are my best bet to satiate dairy cravings.

I’m yet to try the solid “cheese” options, but so far I have under my belt:

  • Cashew milk
  • Coconut and almond creamer
  • Oat based “non dairy frozen dessert”
  • Coconut based “non dairy frozen dessert”
  • Strawberry “yogurt” – made with almond milk
  • Vanilla rice crispie treats
  • Chocolate rice crispie treats
  • Vegan butter alternative
  • One cream cheese style spread

So, I thought I would start (potentially) a series of review posts, as I explore life post anything fun.


Okay yes that is a tad dramatic I know, but it’s how it feels goddammit 🤣😂


Reviews Session 1:

So, buckle up my buttercups and let’s start with the…

Coconut and almond creamer

In a word? Vile. I picked it up because I had previously tried soy and (I think) rice milk in my tea back before and during the hysterectomy period and they were thin and horrid. So I assumed that maybe the viscosity was the problem and tried this.

That’s a no from me. I made a single cup of tea, drank it, and threw the rest of the carton in the bin. It was sweet and all kinds of wrong.

See, I’m an oddity (stop giggling at the back there) I like my tea strong. And not sweet. I basically describe it as;

Builder’s tea but hold the sugar

Which generally translates as: if the spoon stands up by itself? Then we are good.

And the problem with a significant amount of these “milk alternatives”? They are sweetened. Or at least way too sweet for my tea palette.

So my hus-creature, who as I may have mentioned is fairly gosh-darned awesome, did a little research for me and came upon this very informative blog post about milk alternatives for tea drinkers.

So we scrubbed the creamer alternative from the list, and moved on to:

Cashew Milk

I know right? How do you milk a nut? Well I’ve also been asking how you milk peas etc and I am still none the wiser 😂🤣

And honestly? As previously noted, cashew milk has been the best that I’ve tried so far. It makes my tea approximately 80% acceptable to my palette. Which is fine. I’ll go with that. It nothing else, it’s cut down on my consumption a little as there is still a slight aftertaste of “something weird and nutty where there should not be nuts” but I will be making a concerted effort to retrain my palette. It’s just going to take time.

So that’s a tick in the plus column. Oh and as it stays “good for drinking” for 7-10 days post opening if kept refrigerated? It’s not as much of a money sink as some of them.


Seriously, only one week in, and the sheer cost of these things is mind-blowing. So anything that has a vaguely decent shelf life is vital.


Next is…

School Safe Marshmallow Bars

I’m supposed to be cutting all added sugar out of my diet too but come on. That in theory means I’m not supposed to eat too much fruit either. And mostly that is solving my sugar cravings. However, I’m also a sucker for Rice Krispie treats and these were a dairy-free equivalent.

No, they aren’t marked as vegan but they are good. More specifically, the chocolate chip one is delicious. The vanilla one?

The consistency is all “off” and honestly does not taste of vanilla. All in all? To quote the great Prue Leith

Not worth the calories

I mean there’s only 90 of them but still. Also not worth the cost. All in all? Won’t be buying the vanilla ones again.

Next up is

Strawberry Almond Milk Yoghurt

Now, there will be a few of these in the days to come, as I am trying different bases (of the milk substitute) and different brands so first up is

So, as you might imagine, I’m more than a little suspicious of non dairy products of this nature, but I’m a game girl so here we go…

On first look I thought

Oh no, I hate “set” yoghurts

And it’s true, Greek style never ever appealed to me. Also the separation liquid always queases me out a touch. However, then I remembered a nifty little trick from when I was much much smaller.

You just take your spoon and stir like a complete maniac.

Et voila – smooth, unseparated yoghurt 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

And honestly? It truly was very tasty. I would happily eat this one again. I couldn’t tell any difference between this and a “normal” strawberry yoghurt. So this one gets a big thumbs up ☺️

Moving on from fridge to freezer:

Frozen Non-Dairy Desserts

I’ve tried two varieties thus far:

I needed something to deal with lack of chocolate, so the hus-creature picked this one from the coconut base end of the spectrum. Honestly?

I was underwhelmed. I mean, yes it had chocolate flavour, but not enough. Once I broke through enough to get to some of the “chocolate hazelnut swirl” it became acceptable at best.

But it does at least look the part. Next up we have:

The oat milk mint chip variety. I actually tried this one first, as I thought that it wouldn’t upset my pre-conceived ideas of ice cream too much. As it turned out, I was right. This one was pretty darned delicious.

I mean, in the interest of giving a truly honest review, it’s consistency was slightly off, and there’s definitely a porridge-like aftertaste, but overall? A darned good attempt at ice cream made from oats of all things. The chips tasted of bitter chocolate and were a pretty good size and texture and the mint wasn’t overwhelming. I most definitely preferred this to the previous one.

I’m not yet feeling brave enough to venture too far outside of my usual flavour profile comfort zone, but this weekend’s grocery shop has netted me two more varieties to try – one of which is Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia in non-dairy which is a firm favourite of old, so I shall report back later once I have sampled.

And finally, two truly acid tests

Butter substitute #1

I was (and still am really) highly suspicious of all of these. And I drew the goddamn line at “I can’t believe it’s not butter” no really those adverts are stuck in my head from years ago and no I’m not encouraging that. Just no.

But this? Well it looked the part:

However, please note the description? See where it says whipped? Nope. It’s not. It’s rock solid straight from the fridge. However, it does have a consistency that allows me to scrape not-butter-curls to allow me to spread it on toast:

And honestly? It’s a bloody good facsimile of butter. I’ve eaten almost all of this week’s half loaf of Artisanal Bread


Oh dear god what have I become?

Is this now me?!?!?


So last, but by no means least is the one thing I was most scared of:

Cheese substitute

The hus-creature persuaded me that a spread type one was the best way to go, and that going straight for one with a strong additional flavour would probably help best to beat my brain into gear. So, here it is:

Interestingly, it’s the same brand as the first yoghurt I’ve tried and we should note that I did like it. I hadn’t noticed when I chose it though 🤣😂

Doesn’t look too bad does it? And actually? Yes it’s delicious. I mean I scoffed two liberally coated slices of bread yesterday and had to force myself to put it back in the fridge. This tub? Cost six dollars. But I may indulge in my baguette meal with this and I won’t want to stab my eyes out with a rusty spork.

Overall? A win. It could be so much worse.

I do still need to brave the oat milk on cereal, and *whisper it* chocolate brownie hummus.

Yes. I bought some. Yes I’m a sick and twisted (slightly hypocritical) individual but guess what? I understand it’s purpose now.

I’m still not ready yet though….

Two years

As of today we’ve been living out here, in Massachusetts, for two years!

I’d say I can’t believe it, but I can.

It still doesn’t feel quite like “home” but I’ll say it now feels more like home than not.

Apart from the people we left behind, I don’t honestly think I have any major regrets left.

There have been some very hard moments in the last 12 months. We had to deal with the first death in the family (on the hus-creature’s side) and some similarly hard news on my own and that was tough.

I suspect that if and when the next immediate family baby is born I will find that equally hard but at least that will be a good thing that has happened.

It’s the hard moments that really make you realise what you did once you emigrate.

We’ve been discussing longer term options once (please oh great Flying Spaghetti Monster) our green cards are confirmed, and it’s making me a bit antsy. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to my audience that I very much would like to move out of here as soon as is comfortably feasible.

We’ve definitely decided to stay in Melrose until TT finishes school, but then might move further into Massachusetts but we shall see.

I think it’s part of trying to handle the giant cloud of uncertainty that this process leaves over your life – planning for when it no longer will.

The children are flourishing here though. #1 Son had a birthday party yesterday that was “organised fun” and despite constant orders to

Pay attention

From the party organiser…


No the hus-creature wasn’t able to take them to one side and explain, which I find myself (probably unreasonably) annoyed by…


He was able to come home with a smile on his face and tell me that he had had fun.

We also celebrated 19 years together and 12 of them married last week.


It helps that there’s only 2 days difference I will admit 🤣😂


Due to difficulties with sitter availability we split the difference and the hus-creature took me out on a wonderful romantic dinner cruise on Thursday night ❤️🥰

We spent some quality 1 on 1 time together with food, and booze and fantabulous views and it was amazing.

I was very spoiled and felt very loved.

We are over halfway through #1 Son’s summer camp and he is still coming out with a smile on his face which is such a relief.

We’ve had some minor breakthroughs with eating but are back on the ups and downs there sadly.

(He has now decided he no longer likes peas).

Got about a month and a half to go til Second Grade, and I’m still praying he gets to keep last year’s teacher as a. She is completely amazing and b. A little bit of stability will do him good.

I’m attempting a doctor-recommended diet which we are describing as “Keto aligned” as when you tell the counter staff at Burger King that, they give you this for your lunch:

Which is surprisingly non-horrible. Basically in an attempt to get a handle on my pain I’m to give up:

  • All dairy 😰😰😰😰
  • Enriched processed food
  • All added sugar in everything (including natural sugars like honey, agave etc)

As those of you who know me in real life can probably guess, this has gone down like a lead balloon. He would also very strongly prefer that I go vegetarian, but I put my damn foot down there.

That may well be where this journey ends, but right now? No fucking way.

Tea with cashew milk is 80% tolerable I have discovered:

And one of the local sushi places does a DIY Poke Bowl for $17 which was surprisingly filling:

So all in all? I’m not at “wanting to stab things” level of anger and rage yet. Though mostly that’s down to the hus-creature who is embarking on this with me to support me. Have I mentioned how much I adore this man?

In closing? Two years has flown past.

From this:

To this:

The First Day of Summer Camp

Which is what we are calling the “Summer Learning Academy” which is a 6 week long, 4 day a week (except the week of Independence Day 😂🤣) for Elementary aged kiddos with IEPs.

#1 Son is enrolled and it started today.

Last year he was put on the fast track side for education. This year they will be focusing on the social side of it.


He’s actually got a specific slot every Tuesday for it, which is great!


That wasn’t too successful, as he resented having to redo Kindergarten work. Now today when I picked him up?

Came running out with a big smile 😍

Now, admittedly it’s only Day 1, and we’ve just had a pretty decent family vacation, but I’m taking that as a positive sign.

Also, given he read an entire story to his sister first thing this morning, and did a reasonable amount of additional reading in class today, he’s thrilled to be told he doesn’t have to do more today 😂🤣

So, since it’s being held 8-12 at the most local school, which is next to our usual playground, I’ve decided to let them both spend an hour or so (depending on weather) in said playground to burn off some energy.


You never know, it might help with the whole “herd of elephants” issue 🙄🙄🙄

Apartment Life

Can suck. Suck utter balls.

We live on the first floor. The landlady lives above on the second floor.

Around December last year, after significant unpleasantness, new neighbours moved in downstairs on the ground floor.

I took down soup and apologised in advance as I have two children, one of whom is around full time.

Everything seemed fine.

While we were away, one of said neighbours complained to the landlady that:

The children run around so much it shakes the light fittings.

Now I admit, my children can be… boisterous… but no more so than any other 3 and 7 year old pair of siblings.

In fact, #1 Son, when left to his own devices, is perfectly happy snuggled in his room with his tablet.

So I was mortified. Since I thought we had dealt with this issue last year.


Apparently there were issues with doors slamming. We put large rubber bands over the relevant door handles and the problems went away


However, more information has just come to light. The landlady and her partner came to do some light maintenance (with about four hours notice this time 🙄) and the topic came up.


Side note: if you’ve never had kids do not try and discipline someone else’s thank you very much. Yes the landlady attempted to talk to TT and #1 Son about the excessive noise and, rather unsurprisingly, was ignored.


However, as it turns out, downstairs have set up a Meditation Room and have placed it under my kid’s bedrooms.

I’m more than willing to work with my neighbours, but that? That is taking the piss.

Fortunately, the landlady’s partner has grandchildren. He understands kids. She is child free, and kind of seems to view children as little aliens/a different species. Which is fair, but I am not hobbling my kids. They are entitled to live in their homes.

And though I would never put it like this – we were here first. They saw us all leaving the house en masse on the day they viewed the property. So they knowingly rented an apartment where they knew there were kids living upstairs.

So, there have been discussions of what can be done. The landlady and partner have suggested they will buy large Ikea rugs for the relevant rooms.


I’m not footing the bill for it. Rugs are a bastard to keep clean.


And I have suggested (and will follow through with) buying slippers for the kids. I have no problem with that.

But I have stated, on record, that while I will happily have “no running in the house” as a rule (indeed have been trying to institute that since we moved in) I am not stopping my kids from playing in the place where they live.

TT is in bed before 7pm, #1 Son before 8pm. That is not unreasonable. I am not putting their lives on hold for a Meditation Room.

I will not be shitty about it, we all need to live together, but I have my limits. I know my kids well, including their flaws, and they are not as bad as is being made out.

Mama Dinosaur mode has been engaged.

Great Wolf Lodge – Part the First

So, after a lot of stress from various home quarters we are here. It’s… impressive.

I’ve never been to Butlins or Centre Parcs, but honestly? I cannot see how it could be better.

Check in was at 4pm, but from 1pm you can have access to the water parks! Also, as everything is indoor, it’s warm and non weather-dependent.

Cue two ecstatic small children.

We basically splashed, slid, swam, and played for two hours whilst our room was gotten ready.

#1 Son went down massive water slides – a major improvement on last summer; and TT is, basically, a fish.

So far we have only explored half of the area, but even in the small swimming area there’s several flumes, slides and a current area for rubber rings (provided) and swimming.

#1 Son went round that by himself. Obviously the hus-creature stayed in the general vicinity, but he didn’t need us, which is fantastic.


Basically we split into two teams – one parent with one child, and TT is basically my shadow whenever she is unsure of her surroundings


And, amazingly, TT wanted a go. So around and around we went, occasionally switching children, because my god is it tiring even with TT in a floatie.

As for the room itself? We are in the classification known as Wolf Den which is standard for a family of 4.

The kids have a little enclosed nook with a bunk bed,


Yes there was a power struggle for the top bunk, no we didn’t allow TT to win it!


And their own little tv – which we have tuned in to Cartoon Network and have declared it done. But honestly? I don’t anticipate us using it much. There’s just so much to do here.

We’ve paid for two premium packages:

    Wolf Pass – for #1 Son. It’s impressive and he gets a significant amount of extras thrown in:
  1. Unlimited rock climbing
  2. One game of mini golf
  3. One game of bowling
  4. One Harry Potteresque game that he and I will do together – he gets a wand and there’s loads of interactive stations all around the resort (I’ve already seen teenagers playing it 🙀)
    Pup Pass for TT – her only “extra” that her brother doesn’t get is one Build A Bear stuffed toy.

So what did she choose? Out of all of the options available to her?

Yup, not any of the bears, nor even the rainbow sloth? Nope. A shark. A bloody shark 🤣😂🤣😂

She even named it:

Yes, she’s a girl shark, called Misty. Yep, I have not one, but two Pokémon obsessed children 🤣😂

Some of the things that they both have access to include:

  1. A free 12oz candy cup – which we paid an extra $2 each to upgrade to a 16oz – #1 Son appears not to like jelly beans though 😖🙄
  2. A free scoop of ice cream, which we’ve yet to cash in on.
  3. 20 free “paw points” to spend in the arcade.
  4. A pair of GWL branded goggles each, which we will claim tomorrow.

And for anyone wondering why we upgraded the candy:

It’s been an amazing day, with 4 more to go!

Both kids are exhausted, and so are we to be honest 🤣😂


However, the room sharing has not gone as well as hoped, though no worse than feared, so the plan tomorrow is simply to wear them out as much as possible.


And I admit, both the hus-creature and myself are already in our pjs. For once we ate dinner at the same time as the kids, and we are settled in for the night. I will be astounded if we are both awake beyond 10pm.

We have paid to include food, breakfast is a separate deal, and booze is available.

Sadly our room is right next to the main play area – the rock climbing, mini golf etc so the noise level is high, but it’s closed by 22:30 and it does appear to be tailing off already.

And as a just because:

Father’s Day 2019

And other stories.

The hus-creature doesn’t tend to see the point of “Hallmark Holidays”, but after almost 2 decades together, understands that they are important to me.

He’s also impossible to surprise. No, honest to god, this has been a bone of contention in our marriage.

I, on the other hand, am oblivious enough that I failed to notice a Playstation 4, in plain sight for over two months.


I wish I were joking – alas, I am not 😳🙄😳🙄


So, how was I going to celebrate the upcoming Father’s Day? Well, for once? I WON!!!!

These arrived on Thursday:

Why yes, yes those would be bacon jerky roses. A dozen of them. Dipped in dark chocolate.

Yes, they lived in the fridge until this morning (and were in fact returned there) and he didn’t peek. The sealed silver Jiffy bag probably helped 🤣😂

He’s not opened them yet, as we head to Great Wolf Lodge tomorrow afternoon and there’s the usual “consume within 3 days” warning, so I shall try and remember to report back once they have been tried and assessed.

He had no idea. At all. He obviously knew it was something edible, but hadn’t even come close to speculating correctly.

The kids thought they were great – #1 Son found the concept of “edible flowers” hilarious, and he knows daddy loves bacon. And TT? She just wished daddy a happy birthday and handed over the gift card 🤣😂

Summer is here!

Annnnnd it’s raining. Because of course it is.

Fortunately yesterday was the last day of school and it was a half day.

We have graduated from First Grade. From this:

To this:

And honestly I could just burst with pride. He’s come along so well. I’ve read his end of year school reports and nearly sobbed. This has been the best thing we could have done for the kiddos.

So, anyway once #1 Son was safely deposited and lunch consumed, I decided to take them to the park – as a quick check of the weather app on my phone pre-informed me of the utterly shocking weather we were due to have today.

They had such fun. #1 Son was playing appropriately with other kiddos, and TT was mostly following around after;

“playing with the other one childrens”

While I knitted.

Yes, while they played, I worked on finishing a project I’ve had on the needles for almost two years. ADHD is such fun when you’re a crafter 🥺

Sadly it wasn’t all fun and games – when it came to going home for dinner, TT reminded me forcefully why going out is such a faff.


And that I should never, ever, forget (or choose not to use) the goddamn stroller 🙄🙄🙄🙄


I had to literally drag her home kicking and screaming – much to #1 Son’s chagrin. But it’s okay, we will work on that. After all, we go away for five days on Monday. I’m sure it will be absolutely fine….

Right? Right?

And, not to toot my own horn, but it’s Day 1 of the summer vacation and we’ve done all the “required reading”, ticked off four of the options for Summer Reading Bingo


Yes this is a thing, no I am not joking…


And made a start on the Math lessons – which are separate to the Summer Reading and Math logs…

I’ve got to wonder how long we will be able to keep that up…

Everyday Sexism

We all know it’s a thing. But I think we tend to assume that it is purely levelled at women.

But no, allow me to share a little anecdote from today’s little trip to the mall.

So, we had a very fury-inducing experience in TJ Max this afternoon.

I was trying on swimming costumes (we are going to Boston’s Great Wolf Lodge – a water park type thing in 8 days!) so the hus-creature was watching the kids – they were just puttering around together in the relevant aisles.

Apparently whilst I was pouting over ridiculousness in sizing labels;


Seriously how do three suits in the same size all fit so differently – two didn’t fit at all and one swamped me 🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️


A Mall Security Guard came over to him to apparently assess an “unmonitored children” situation.

May I remind you, dear audience, that their FATHER was with them – in close proximity.

We do NOT leave our children unattended in department stores.

I mean seriously? We would leave TT unattended?!?!? The bill we’d be handed would be hospital level large.

And indeed #1 Son just tends to find somewhere to sit/stand quietly nowadays until we are done. So it’s just TT who needs active chasing about these days.

Apparently when said security guard got close enough to realise that there was indeed a (penis owning) adult present he started stammering:

“Oh, I’m sorry. Are these YOUR children?”

“I was concerned… well not *concerned* but they seemed…”

And other equally backtracking and ridiculous phrases.

Initially, I thought that either he took it upon himself to worry because there were children *not being attended to by a female* OR someone reported it, because OBVIOUSLY they wouldn’t be with the MALE adult in their vicinity. He must be a random stranger. Couldn’t possibly be their DAD right?!?!?

The hus-creature filled in the blanks for me a bit later**: it was apparently a middle aged white lady (with the stereotypical “I want to speak to your manager” hair) who reported my kids being with their dad as requiring security intervention.

Allow me to repeat this: she flagged down mall security on a pair of kids who had their dad with them.

Apparently these women (usually known colloquially as Karen’s) don’t just want to insist you work somewhere when you don’t and then get you fired.

And afterwards? She merely dismissed the (somewhat befuddled I suspect) security guard and carried on browsing the shelves.

I am now even more fucking furious. And given I know some lovely Karen’s do not wish to refer to her by that moniker – therefore I dub her…. Ethel.

Fuck. You. Ethel.

I find myself outraged at this.

Why the FUCK would he not be their dad?

So yes, everyday sexism doesn’t just affect those of us who are female.

Oh and while I’m here:

Its not babysitting when you’re the dad – it’s parenting your own damn kids.

Also – put baby changing stations in male bathrooms in shops and restaurants.

Ok my semi political ranting is done. We will return to the usual family life posts imminently – I need to recount the birthday party.

As there are no photos today have a gif of some puppies as a palate cleanser:


**I suspect for everyone’s safety and sanity – I was angry enough at the time. God alone knows what I might have said if I’d known she was still there

And then he was 7

Yes today my pride and joy, the light of my life and my first born turned seven years old.

What a ride it has been.

The Birthday Boy with his (ice cream) cake ❤️

I couldn’t ever have predicted parenthood. Certainly not the journey we’ve had.

But, and I really feel the need to state this:

I would not change him for the world.

I’m so gosh-darned proud of my boy. He’s kind, funny, caring, intelligent and just all-around amazing.

Do I wish he didn’t have certain struggles? Yes, yes I do. But only because I worry about the world. He has such a beautiful soul, I don’t want anything to harm or mar it.

But, those struggles have helped me grow. Through him I’ve become a parent and he helps me become a better one. Day by day, week by week, month by month and year on year.

I know what is and isn’t important. It’s not about grades or accomplishments or academics. He will find his place in the world without those should that be necessary (though I don’t believe that it will).

I shall end with sharing the First Grade section of the school concert we went to last night. We stayed through Act 1, which was Grades K-2 and not only did he perform, he stayed through the whole thing.

Readers may remember last academic year’s Christmas concert, where they moved him into the first part of the performance because he just couldn’t handle it.

Not this year – he did it all. And if TT hadn’t been nearly an hour past her bedtime we might have stayed for the rest.

First Grade Concert – listen at your own peril 🤣😂

(For the relatives reading this, he’s in the second row from the front in a grey hoodie and camo pants)

I cried many happy tears last night.

I love you kiddo. Here’s to the next trip around the sun.

I am one very proud (and introspective 🤣😂) momma this evening.


I also turned 36 yesterday – but no one needed a blog post about that!!! 🤣😂🤣😂🤣


The more things end

The more they stay the same.

Tonight was a hard night for me. Two of my favourite shows aired their season finales.

Star Butterfly Vs. The Forces of Evil

and Game of Thrones.

In. One. Day.

It’s just added to the list of shows that I love that are “done”.

  • Adventure Time
  • SvtFoE
  • GoT
  • Big Bang Theory

I find myself torn. On the one hand I don’t want to spoiler things for anyone. On the other hand, I want to say one thing.

I am unexpectedly happy with how both shows ended.

I know right? Complete and total shocker!

I don’t know what I’m going to do with my Sunday evenings for the moment though.

Anyway, a metric tonne has happened in the rest of 2019.

  1. Our Green Card applications are moving forward which is nice. It’s complex and complicated but is happening.
  2. #1 Son has almost finished First Grade and is doing amazingly well. And there’s a chance that he could keep his current teacher into Second Grade – which would be awesome for him. He has also been signed up for the Summer Learning Academy again and that should really help keep his progress going. He is starting to read automatically and independently – only small things right now (signs etc) but it’s becoming muscle memory. He’s a sassy bugger too which I love. He has also lost three teeth – which his sister is now convinced is happening to her on a daily basis 🙄
  3. And speaking of his sister… TT is… well, she’s a bloody handful is what she is. She’s a boundary-pushing stroppy ball of not-hormones. Honest to god it’s like looking into the future at times. But she can also be so sweet and so caring. Again the difference between the two is so utterly marked. She continues to idolise her brother and can’t wait to “go to school” long may that continue 🤣😂
  4. The hus-creature just returned from his second business trip to Seattle, and I didn’t commit infanticide, nor burn the house down; so I consider that a big tick in the plus column.

That’s it for now. I’m going to make a better effort from now on. I’ve missed the blog!