The Big Pre-Move Declutter!

Standard

I’m starting it today, properly. I have been clearing odds and sods for a while, but the sun is shining and I’m off work so I’m psyching myself up for a Grand Purge.

The Pie is well on board, I have given her a box and a bag with instructions to fill both (bag for the bin and box for charity). I am going to start small, with the bedroom cupboard of doom, and work my way up until I’m brave enough to tackle the loft. Rob is going to attack the garage when he gets in.

I haven’t decided yet whether I’m going to order a skip or whether we can do it all in runs to the tip and the charity shop. But honestly, the mammoth task is keeping me up at night. I know it’s going to be one of those jobs that is nowhere near as bad as my brain is telling me, but I am a bit wobbly about starting it.

The loft is mainly full of stuff I planned to take to the charity shop. My routine decluttering of clothes etc usually goes as follows: clear through clothes, stuff unwanted clothes into a bag for charity, walk past the bag every time I leave the house, eventually get the arse and throw the bag in the loft. Rinse and repeat.

I intend to be ruthless with the rest of the house. If I haven’t used it or thought of it in a year, it’s gone. I need to convince the Chums to do the same. My sticking point will be Rob who is much more attached to his things than I am and who will find a potential use for every manky old bit of carpet and broken camera unless I put my foot firmly down. I have a garage full of stuff as testament to that. But we are both in agreement that our new house will be a haven of calm and no clutter, so it must be done.

Right, less talk, more action. Wish me luck, Amigos.

 

 

 

The Pursuit of Happiness

Standard

I like to think I’m very good at being happy, it’s kind of my thing these days.

 

I made a decision a long time ago to just be happy and I took control of my life after years of bouncing around like a demented pinball. It was a game changing decision.

That’s not to say I glide through life on a magic carpet of rainbows and glitter, but I do my best to put a positive spin on most things and I have become increasingly convinced over the last ten years or so that the Law Of Attraction is a real, viable thing. Now, before you all shout at me for spouting Woo bollocks, I have evidence. Sort of.

When I was in my teens and early twenties I was very depressed, and life was shit. It was a vicious circle of things being awful, me expecting them to be awful, and things continuing to be awful. I made very few good choices. My late teens saw me jobless, homeless and basically a big pile of fuck up. I started to take control by applying for a volunteer post far far away (well, Basingstoke), but I didn’t make any real changes and although I completed my year’s voluntary work I didn’t get to the root of my unhappiness and the cycle started up again. I ended up living in what can only be described as the grottiest flat in the world, in a block that was due to be demolished, barely surviving on benefits and the goodwill of my rapidly dimishing circle of friends. So I did what any rational, right thinking person would do. I got pregnant.

I know right? Not good choices. It was a theme. But it was the start of something. I’m going to gloss over the next four years because it’s boring boring boring and I don’t want to give it a second’s more thought, but I’ll sum it up by saying I fell into an awful marriage, had another baby, eventually decided life was far too short for this shit and finally, finally took control of my own life.

So life began. My babies and I started our real lives. I went to college in the evenings and worked in a shop during the day. We rented a beautiful flat. Our home was full of love and cuddles and potential. I did affirmations every day for a year, literally standing in front of a mirror telling myself I was worthwhile, that I deserved happiness. It sounds jaw droppingly cringy, but I really would love everyone to do it, it works.

Being happy led to more happiness. The universe decided to send me Rob. In fact, I asked the universe for him and he came along. I’ve often said that the timing was perfect as I wouldn’t have been ready for him before, I was too needy and didn’t value myself. He came along when I didn’t need anyone, when I had my life in my own hands, which meant we could build a solid, grown up relationship.

My wonderful husband. He is gorgeous, talented, funny and kind. He supports me with my every hare brained scheme and crack pot  idea. He believes in me. And it’s reciprocated. Our life is based around making each other, and our children, happy. We have never, in seven years, had a cross word. He shares my positive attitude to the world, which has led to our friends gently mocking us for our ‘it’ll be fiiiiiiiine’ catchphrase.

But that’s the thing. It will be fine. We have decided to be happy. Which isn’t to say nothing bad ever happens, of course it does. But we can always weather it, I have been through enough shit (usually of my own making, to be fair) to know that I can take anything on.

We have so far sailed through income crises, debt the size of a small country, house moves, job changes, illness, bereavements, the whole nine yards. By sailed, I mean that the water was often choppy, but never what you would call stormy, because we’ve always been able to keep our eyes on the horizon and keep our course set.

I know I probably sound unbearable, I’m sorry. It’s really difficult to describe what I mean without sounding smug. I’m very far from smug, I promise. I do know and appreciate that luck plays a big part in happiness, but really and truly I think that you can make your own luck. Expecting good things, believing you deserve them, making real steps towards getting them and being thankful for the things you already have makes a HUGE difference to life.

My life now is so far removed from my life ten or fifteen years ago that it sometimes feels like it happened to someone else. But those experiences are what enabled me to have this life. I chose happiness and worked for it. I know, because I’ve done it more than once, that making huge, life altering changes is possible, if a little scary. You just have to believe that the life you want to have is within your reach and then grab it with both hands. Don’t compare your life to other people’s and grumble that they have more, because you will just end up with less. Law of Attraction, you see. Instead, tell the universe that you want more, believe that you deserve more, and then go and get more. Live well, have control of your own life, do right by others as well as yourself, make good choices and I promise you will reap the rewards. Don’t sit back and expect life to just happen for you. Because it will just amble by.

Anyway, that is my Saturday morning rambling life advice done with. I don’t have all the answers but I think I’ve mostly got my own shit together, and you may find it interesting or you may just want to punch me in my smug mouth please don’t.

Now I’m off to enjoy the weekend. I hope yours is amazing. Be excellent to each other, dudes.

 

 

:D xxx

 

 

 

 

Happy Mothers Day!

Standard

Oh I have had the most gorgeous morning. It’s been a wonderful weekend, actually.

I woke up to the sounds of clattering crockery from the kitchen, and came downstairs with trepidation. It was my Molly Pie, emptying the dishwasher. She’d also tidied the front room, plumped cushions and cleared all the assorted junk off my desk, and she then made me a coffee and gave me the pile of handmade gifts from all three Chums.

 

Image

Harry then made me a breakfast fit for a Queen (bacon with chilli, the boy knows me well) and cleared up behind himself. I am so proud of my babies, they really have made an effort for me and showered me with love and affection. And so far, there’s been no bickering and they’ve done everything I’ve asked with no drama. It’s been amazing.

Rob is away this weekend on his once a year jolly with his university mates. Although I’ve missed him, it’s been a really good time with the children. I’ve been stuck in a cycle of work/sleep/stress lately. So it was really nice to have the chums to myself, and it’s forced me (in a good way) to engage with them and spend time with them instead of delegating it to Rob.

On Friday we ordered a takeaway and watched Catching Fire. We had a blast, and a really nice grown up chat about the film as well, which warmed my heart. Molly slept in my bed with me ‘to keep me company’.

On Saturday we had a tidy up and a snuggle, and then went to Mum and Dads for the afternoon. Molly and I went to Tescos to get some bits for dinner and had a really nice time together, she is an angel when she’s not competing for my attention.

When we got back to Mum’s, two of my little nieces had arrived, so all the children played and sang the afternoon away.

Then we cooked an epic Chinese feast for everyone. I forgot that Rob eats more food than the rest of us put together, so in his absence we have enough leftovers to keep us going for a week. Oops.

We threw all the kids in the bath together, well except Harry who is a bit old for that now :( And then it was into pjs and home for an early night. Well, for the kids. I stayed up until 11, which means it was really midnight once I’d done all the clocks. I can’t remember the last time I stayed up until midnight without it being a party. Rock and roll.

And then on to today. The sun is shining, I have amazing children, my gorgeous husband will be home soon and the stress of the last few weeks (keeping the house ready for viewings, panicking over paperwork and worrying about selling the house in time to secure the new one) seems a distant memory. The move is all on track and we are exchanging contracts in two weeks. I am able to feel calm (well, calmer) and almost back to my it’ll-be-fiiine self.

Wishing you all a lovely Sunny Sunday, whatever your plans xx

 

Today has been a really good day.

Standard

So on New Year’s Day we decided we were going to move home. After a wonderful but cramped Christmas we finally decided that our house was too small to consider eking out another year of the boys sharing and no separate downstairs space for the nearly-teens.

So we started down this path. I’m not kidding when I say it’s been more stress than I ever imagined and I haven’t coped particularly admirably with it. When we bought this house it was an easy peasy transaction, we were on the market for less than a week and we sold Rob’s flat to the people whose house we bought. There were no real viewings, the couple who bought ours gave it a cursory once over for effect but I think by that point they were so desperate to sell (they’d been trying to downsize for the best part of two years) that when we said we’d do a swap they nearly chewed our arms off.

We LOVE this house. We’ve been here for five years, longer than I’ve lived anywhere other than my childhood home, and we have poured heart and soul into it. We initially bought it mainly due to the proximity to my parents (it is about 100 yards away) but it has been a labour of love since then and a hard one at that. We have completely redecorated throughout the house, made it very much ours, replaced the kitchen, but really in most cases we have been literally papering over the cracks and the bodges of old. It is a proper homey home, strung together with love and memories, but I have been yearning (as I am wont) for a blank slate that I can start from scratch. Those that know me will know I love new beginnings and fresh starts.

The first house we thought we would buy next, back in January, was a very similar house to this. Someone else’s project, an extended semi built around another family’s needs. The location was perfect for us, being just around the corner, and with my usual bullish aplomb we would have snapped it up. With the benefit of 20:20 hindsight I am very glad that they weren’t ready to sell (again, we were going to swap but it would have been after months of the vendors sorting out their divorce…) as the universe had a better plan for us. Ultimately we would have been moving into twice the house with double the problems so I’m very glad the brakes were applied which gave us a chance to regroup and rethink.

On a whim I dragged Rob and the kids to snoop around a show home in a local village. It was just out of budget (and completely mind blowingly gorgeous) but it made us focus on a whole different direction. By looking out of town, and by looking at new builds with all the associated incentives and extras, we would be moving, quite literally, into a whole different ball park.

So we did some sums and were chuffed to the rafters to learn that our actual dream home (and I don’t say that lightly) was within our reach. Our compromise,and there is always one, was the area. We’ve loved our time here, being within walking distance of my family and my best friends. BUT. By moving just three miles out we can achieve the mega house utopia and still be within striking distance of our nearest and dearest. You can probably gather that I do have massive guilt about the move from our little ‘sacred triangle’, painfully so. But we are a five minute car journey from them all, and The Boy in particular has already planned out his bus route and budgeted for a spare bike to keep at Nanny’s to ride round to his chums’. So it’s all good.

But Oh My God the process has been gruelling. Having to do actual viewings here (we’ve had about thirty) has been horrendous. Not so bad when we have notice and I can shove everything in the shed but properly nausea inducing when the estate agents call you at work to say they are on their way round and you realise there’s a nappy on the floor and knickers in the bathroom. Ironically, one of those last minute viewings led to a cash offer of nearly asking price so there’s a lot to be said for slacking on the housework…

Added to that has been the high speed chase involved in mortgage shenanigans. Hell’s bells. We went with a recommended mortgage advisor initially, because we’d been told that my past crappy credit excluded us from the best deals for a big mortgage, and that we’d need help. He was seemingly a hero (well, we paid him enough), and to be fair got us a low cost deal from a high street bank for the first house. However, when we went with the New Build we had to use their own bod (it’s in the contract for the freebies so whatevs), and I thought we’d stepped on to another rollercoaster of can-we-can’t-we, because with past defaults and three dependants it looked hairy. But we worried for nothing, in the end. Apparently we are supersonic and they will give us the moon on a stick, a sound system that goes up to 11 and a Delorean that gets to 88mph. Scary stuff, really, but nice to know we aren’t mortgaging to the hilt. It’s been a white knuckle ride and I have been at Stress Con 1 and maybe not very nice to be around, but it’s the home strait now so you can all relax. I promise.

So that’s it really, that’s how we got from here to over there. It’s been a weird experience where mostly I’ve had that ‘this is happening to someone else’-ness going on but it is a thing now, we are reserving our new house tomorrow (I imagine this process involves them trying to flog us wardrobes and curtains?) and then apparently we are moving in in a month. I love change, as you well know, and this scratches my newness itch in a completely, head tingly, gorgeous way.

Party at mine, soon, innit.

Sunshine!

Standard

Oh, it makes all the difference, doesn’t it? Everyone seems to have been happy and smiling this weekend. It’s been one of my favourite weekends for a long time.

We had three early morning  viewings on Saturday (well, 9.30 is early on a weekend) so we were up and out. We went up to Mum and Dad’s and chipped about for a bit, my Dad took the Pie off for her Saturday riding lesson, the Littlest Chum charmed everyone by being cute and clever, and my Big Boy made me cry by trying on a jumper for the secondary school he’s off to in September. My heart was full.

The we went home and sorted out the gardens. I may have mentioned before that this house has a stupidly large front garden for people who are frankly crap at horticulture. It’s basically a daily (well, bi-monthly, really) battle against the weeds and grass, which we rarely win. Yesterday though, in a stroke of parenting genius, I bribed the Big Boy with the promise of extra screen time to ‘pull up anything that’s brown’. And he did! Masterfully. I think he has just bagged himself a new regular chore. Rob mowed the lawns and tidied up but unfortunately I couldn’t pitch in as the Littlest Chum had fallen asleep in my lap. So I had to sit on the sofa and relax while they worked. Shame.

The Pie made her way over to her Aunt’s and convinced her that she should have a sleepover there. I believe this was win/win for my sister as the Pie is old enough and occasionally sensible enough to handle my nieces (2 and 4) with minimal adult supervision and create exciting and entertaining distractions for long enough for my sister to watch Grey’s Anatomy. She was on best behaviour for the whole time and is now gradually winding up towards DefPie 1 for us this evening as a trade off…

Today we went back to m’parents’ house for what basically amounted to a Christmas dinner (complete with crackers) because that was how my little brother wanted to celebrate his 21st birthday. It was properly lovely, all sixteen of us were there, the food was delicious, the conversation was great, nobody had an argument(!) and then we all sat in the garden, in the sunshine, while the children played.

I love seeing all the children together, there are seven cousins now. They range in age from a couple of weeks right through to my Big Boy who is eleven, and they all adore each other. It’s a great dynamic, we’re really lucky. Which is why we are getting a small amount of grief for planning to move a whole three miles up the road (we all live within a short walk of each other). We’d like to think it won’t change anything, things will just be less spontaneous. It is a shame we can’t transplant our new house into this exact area, but there is always a compromise and this is ours.

 

<small sob>

 

Still, I suppose we can console ourselves with the shiny newness and general hugeness of the house, all being well.

;)

Home now for baths and bed, all the children are pleasantly worn out and I’m about to settle in with Rob for some sofa and telly time (he deserves a rest, I suppose). I feel ready and recharged for the week ahead, because it feels like this weekend has been a rousing success.

Hurrah for the sunshine!

I am officially a Busy Person™

Standard

I’m not entirely sure how this has happened. Somehow, in the last few months my life has gone from mellow take-it-as-it-comes to frenetic micro organising and go-getting. I am enjoying the ride but bloody hell I’m exhausted.

I am spread incredibly thin (thinly?) at the moment. Between work, family, selling the house and seeing friends, something has to give. I suppose it’s inevitable that some things take more of my attention at times, but it does make me sad that seeing my loved ones is the thing that slips down the priority list.

My sister had her beautiful baby over a week ago. I’ve seen her twice, both times briefly. My friends are lamenting my absence. I haven’t had a proper conversation with my mother for weeks. I seem to be living my life in snippets. I haven’t even posted properly on Mumsnet for ages (can you imagine? The horror).

My weekdays pass in a blur of work, kids, work, housework, and sleep. And then it’s the weekend. Last weekend was a social whirl with two organised meals out, both great fun but ‘extra’ to my usual circle of friends and family. So my loved ones have been sidelined again. And I feel so terribly guilty.

This weekend is no better. We have two lots of viewings, three per day, so the mornings will be spent cleaning and tidying. Then we have haircuts, opticians, passport photos and washing (MOUNTAINS of washing) to deal with. At some point I’d like to see my parents and siblings, and it would be great to see my friends. I need a Tardis, really, to find all the time I need.

I just can’t seem to fit everything in, and make everyone happy. I’m barely managing to hold it together with remembering where the Chums have to be at any given point in the day, The Boy has two early morning clubs and one after school, The Pie has weekly and fortnightly activities to go to, the Little Chum has been to different childcare or at home with Rob on different days for weeks now, with one thing and another, and my pore ol brain can’t cope with it all.

I know Rob’s at full tilt too, he leaves the house at stupid o’clock in the morning in order to be home in time for school pick up. Then he organises homework, music practice, dinner and child wrangling. We have something to do on every single week night: Cubs, Scouts, Wing Chung, guitar lessons…on those nights we flop down on the sofa together at 9.30pm and then one or other of us (often both) will start snoring and that’s the end of the evening. The Sky+ box is full of our shattered dreams in the shape of unwatched episodes of, well, everything.

Tonight should be a valued rest. Rob is gigging and I’m at home with a bottle of wine and a film, and OH MY GOD I am bored out of my skull. I’ve been at full pelt for so long that having downtime feels alien. How the hell did that happen? I used to be SO GOOD at doing nothing, in fact it was my greatest passion. I’ve morphed into a Busy Person and it doesn’t feel like me. So I’m spending time with my blog, which is something else I’ve been neglecting.

This was meant to be a bit more lighthearted than this but there we go. I am tired and grumpy and pulled in all directions. I need to rediscover my slothful mojo. And catch up with my real life. Maybe next weekend…