Moving house can be stressful enough!!!

So this weekend a very good friend of mine moved into her new home. My husband and I, along with others helped them with the move.

Now, for me, there are 3 types of house purchase you can make!

  1. Moving to a brand new house.
  2. Moving to a wreck of a house, but it’s ok as you only bought it for the footprint.
  3. The pre-loved house, that will soon be your dream home with a few of your own cosmetic changes to fit in with your taste!

So lets take each one of these in turn.

Moving to a brand new house. This is probably one of the easiest moves you can make, providing the builder has done everything you have asked them to! I’m not saying this is a stress free move, especially if you have a house to sell, but moving in day should be easy.

With a brand new house, the builders would have had cleaners in the day before, so when you walk in for the first time, it is sparkling. All you need to do is bring your boxes and furniture in, and work out where to put it all!

My hubby and I moved to a new house nearly 3 years ago, and I have to say, it was lovely not having to worry about replacing anything or decorating straight away. Although, we did want to put our own stamp on it, so hubby was painting the kitchen within a week! The beauty is though, is that you can take your time doing everything, because it looks so nice and clean!

Moving to a wreck of a house.  We all must know of some little house somewhere that you have walked past, that doesn’t seem to have been lived in for many years, then one day there is a ‘For Sale’ board outside.

This type of move is probably the one that you need to be a bit more organised with. You may love the house or location, but once you open the door, you know it needs completely gutting. You need to get plumbers, electricians, builders, you name it, you will need it before you can really live in it! It really doesn’t matter what it looks like inside, as its going to be ripped out very soon.

You may even only bought it for the land, so it really doesn’t matter if the window and doors are falling off, or there is a family of rats living inside. It is the start of a big project to give you your dream home!

Buying a pre-loved home. Now this is probably the most common move most people would make. My friends house was pre-loved. Now, when I say pre-loved I use that loosely! To me, when a house is loved it is well cared for. I’m not saying that everything has to look all shiny and new, but there are some basics I would expect! I has to be clean when you first walk in!

We are all very busy people, and when you are moving house, your time is even more precious. You have to pack everything up ready for moving day! Moving day comes and you are probably looking forward to your next adventure. Even if your move isn’t your choice, this is still your home that you are passing over to someone else!

I was so shocked when I walked into my friends house. I know not everyone is a ‘Monica’ when it comes to cleaning but I’m not sure whether this house had ever been cleaned properly before!

There was thick dust on curtain poles. Cobwebs on cobwebs! Dirt and grease in the kitchen! I could go on!

Thankfully 3 of use were able to give the place a really good deep clean. It looked so much better after, but I felt sorry for my friend. When you get the keys to your new home, you know you are going to change it. You are going to make it your own. What you don’t want though is to walk in and have to scrub the place before you can even bring your own things in!

It really takes the shine off moving day! Whenever I have moved, I have scrubbed my house within an inch of its life. I didn’t want anyone to walk in and judge me or the house. The house had been a big part of my life. I wanted it to be a big part of someone else life now!

It isn’t too much to ask is it?

Surely, even a quick clean wouldn’t hurt would it? Maybe my expectations are just too high? I don’t know – what do you think? Would you prefer to walk into your new home, all clean, or do you want to have to put on the rubber gloves and scrub it before you can start to think about unpacking?

After a disappointing start, I know my friend will be very happy in her new home, the pleasure of it was just delayed.

I used to be a terrible ‘Monica’. With 2 dogs, I have had to chill out a bit more, but I would like to think that if I ever moved again, my inner ‘Monica’ would come out again!

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The joy of the daily commute!

As many of you know, I have the joy of a 1.5 hour commute each way every day! Some days the journey goes smoothly, but today wasn’t one of them!

Our usual train is always very busy. Its 4 carriages and starts in London! By the time it has reached my station it is standing room only!

After doing the journey for over 6 years, you do start to learn tricks to get a seat! The best one is to locate very quickly someone with a lot of bags! With a bit of luck, they may be going to the airport which is the next stop! You position yourself near them, in the hope to grab their seats when they get off!

Sadly, if they don’t it is very disappointing!

The other one is to know who gets off at what stop! If you again can get near them, you can but hope to have their seat when their stop comes up! Boom!

It is all fun and games, but hey, this is public transport! Each man or women for themselves!

As I said, today was one of those days when the train service was not working in our favour!

First of all, our usual train was extremely delayed. This meant that the next train after it was going to arrive before ours! When our usual train would arrive, it was now only going 1 stop before it was terminating. So for us, there was no alternative, we would have to get onto the later train which was arriving next.

Now, it would be helpful if I mention again that our train is usually 4 carriages! The later train is 8! Thankfully, Fridays are usually quieter, but we know that now there are going to be 12 carriages of people, trying to get onto 8 carriages. My expectations are that it is going to be a busy commute in!

We are all there on the platform, in our usual spots! Oh yes, us commuters are creatures of habit! We all have our little spots on the platform. We all head for the same carriages every day!

As the next train expected is 8 carriages, we are spread out more on the platform that we would be for our usual train. I don’t know the people on the platform down the very end. We have usually gone before they arrive!

The train starts to pull into the station. We all move forward in anticipation of being by the doors when it stops! You can’t help look through the windows to see how crowded it is, or in hope of a spare seat! Then it dawns on us all! It is only 4 carriages!

The people down the other end of the platform now have to move very quickly to the train. It’s already full we can see that! The doors open! It is full right to the doors! Now we have a problem. We know there is no next train, we have to be at work, but the train is full!

There is only 1 thing for it! You squeeze on!! There is nothing like feeling like a sardine! Thankfully we do get on but it is very cosy!

The fun really starts when we get to the next few stations. More people trying to get on is fun enough, but when someone needs to get off, it is even more hilarious!

On days like this you notice there are 3 types of commuters!

1) The ones who have a seat, head down, pretending they don’t know how busy it is!

2) The grumpy ones, who obviously got out of bed the wrong side and are not happy that you are standing so close to them! I mean, it isn’t as if we have a choice!

3) The ones that just take it in its stride and have a laugh with fellow passengers!

I’m pleased to say I am number 3. Lets be honest, we are all in the same boat! Not one of us caused this problem. The blame for that lies with the train company! What is the point in being miserable about it! The journey will be much more pleasant if we accept if for what it is!

I know that there will be more days like today! Ultimately, I got to work. Maybe a bit late, and probably knowing more about some of the commuters private life than I expected, but I’m safe and well!

So next time you have one of these days, look at the positives, you will start your day in a much better frame of mind if you do!

Happy Friday everyone.

Are you ready for Valentines Day?

I have to say, there is no excuse for anyone who travels along the road I take to work, to forget it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow!

There is a bright red sign reminding every car. It’s been there for a week, and is actually an advertisement for a florists! A very good marketing strategy.

I know many people feel that Valentine’s Day is just a gimmick to make money, but I really like it!

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want my hubby wasting money on over priced flowers or presents, but it is a great excuse to remind ourselves why we are together.

Life gets so busy these days, so it’s nice to take time out together. Valentine’s Day is a perfect excuse for that. Again, I’m not talking expensive restaurants, a takeaway or a meal in the local pub is absolutely fine too!

It’s about spending a few quality hours together over a meal cooked by someone else, and sharing a bottle of wine or fizz together.

I treasure my life with my hubby. I really enjoy his company (most of the time ha ha !!). So will we be doing anything tomorrow? We certainly will.

I have booked a table at our local pub – The Kings Head.  https://bit.ly/2ti1dYy.  It’s a nice pub and after its forthcoming refit, will be even better.

At the moment, it’s nothing amazingly fancy, but it will be good food, good wine and even more important, good company.

We will spend the evening together talking.  Probably planning where we will go if we won the lottery, or what we would like to buy if we had an open purse, or just telling jokes.  The important thing is, we won’t be distracted from each other.

Since getting married, we have made sure we take a night away, or just a meal out every few months.  It gives us time together, and stops us taking each other for granted.

We work together and live together, which you would think means we are together 24/7.  Reality is, we don’t.  We both work full time, when we get home, there are jobs to be done and we both like time out separately to enjoy our hobbies!  If you ask my hubby, he will include cleaning as one of mine!  For the record, that’s not true!!  Although it is satisfying when the house is clean and the washing and ironing done, but don’t tell him that!!

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow, to just have some quality hours together, oh and someone else cook my dinner!

I have a bottle of Slimline Fizz on chill too, to enjoy before we go out and when we come home.  With work the next day, I know by drinking that, I am guaranteed not to have a hangover!!

So if you have that someone special in your life, why not use tomorrow to show them how important they are to you.

Remember, it’s not about how much you spend in money, it’s about the quality of time together!

Whatever you do tomorrow have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

I blinked and you were gone!

Does anyone else feel like that when Monday morning comes round ?

On Friday I was so excited at the prospect of a couple of days off. The next thing I know, the alarm is going off for work! It’s like Groundhog Day! How can it be Monday already?

I suppose I shouldn’t complain though as this weekend, whilst disappeared in the blink of an eye, was really fun.

If you have been following me you will know I have been doing dry January! As my hubby didn’t think I would do it, we had a bet on! Whoever lost the bet paid for dinner out at Lambs in Stratford-upon-Avon.

I thought I had booked our table for 1 February, back on 2 January. It was for 7.30 pm, to give us chance to get home, walk the dogs and get dressed up!

On Thursday last week, by chance, hubby checked the email confirmation. I’d some how booked a restaurant in Gloucester ! Eek!

I quickly cancelled that and rang Lambs! Thankfully they could fit us in but only at 7 pm! So on Friday it was a mad rush to get ready and make sure the dogs got their usual walk!

Dress is on my 21 Buttons page

https://bit.ly/2WMsRuh

Then there was the issue of parking. If you know Stratford-upon-Avon, you will know that there isn’t many places with on site parking . So after finding a carpark a little way away, I then had to try and walk rather quickly in heels! When you haven’t worn them for a while, that’s about as easy as trying not to spill a glass of wine while rowing a boat on choppy seas!

Finally, after a very rush start to the evening, we arrived at the Restaurant only a few minutes late !!

The meal as usual was amazing! As I completed dry January, I enjoyed my first glass of wine this year !

Ok, I actually had a bottle. Eek! I have to say, if you want a nice meal out, check out Lambs in Sheep Street. You won’t be disappointed!

https://bit.ly/2MRLI2F

The meal over, I now had to manage the walk back to the car with the added challenge of alcohol in my system !!!! Don’t worry, I had a secret weapon! Flat shoes ! Oh yes! I had a pair of folding pumps in my handbag! They were like slippers! The walk back was now relaxing ! Phew!

We had a 5am wake up call the next day as we were off to London for the day, so it was home to bed !

5am came far too quickly! It was a brisk walk with the dogs before a quick shower, change and out.

We had booked an early Virgin train. Mainly because it was cheap and fast. The only drawback was that it went from Birmingham so we had to leave home earlier than we would for work!

Isn’t it funny how on a week day it’s a struggle to get moving, but when you have something on you enjoy, it’s almost a joy to be up so early !

The train trip was really relaxing. I’d taken food with us, but bought teas and coffee on the train. It was lovely to sit back and look at the countryside. Most of it was covered in snow. It really was beautiful!

Now I’m not a fan of London if I’m honest. It’s too busy and people just don’t seem that friendly!

We hopped onto the tube and underground easily. We then have to go onto overground to the Olympia. This trip, everything was literally there in minutes. It was hassle free!

We arrived with almost an hour before the exhibition opened so went for coffee.

Not knowing the area we went to the first place we found ! It wasn’t the most fashionable place but it did a good cup of herbal tea! The toilets on the other hand ! Well, let’s not go there !!!

As we still had time to kill, we decided to have a walk around . We first passed some flats which I commented looked quite nice ! There was a sale board in the windows so we had a look! £3.25m! Seriously! I’d want a mansion and grounds for that!

We then came across a shop selling cars! There was this horrible looking 4×4 outside. Second hand and a few years old but still £280k! I’m seriously doing something wrong!!!

We decided to start heading back to the Olympia before we got anymore shocks!

The Holiday and Travel show was brilliant . We both love to travel and there were so many ideas! There was also a lot of free bags and brochures which we seemed to have picked up!

My favourites were a classic car holiday and the railway holidays ! Both very different but looked amazing !

The classic car holiday was based in 3 countries, Romania, Bulgaria and Macedonia. You have to make your own way to those countries, but when there, they pick you up from the airport and take you to your hotel. There you will get to see your car for the week. It will be a classic car from that country – a Trabant. They give you a Sat Nav, mobile phone and vehicle tracker. There is also mechanical support throughout. You drive each day taking in heritage sites, vineyards, Cold War sites, and ancient historical sites. Each day you only drive about 2 hours, at your leisure and all fuel is included. You will end up at new hotels each night which are all organised for you too, including breakfast.

I think this would be a amazing holiday for a group of friends. They only have about 5 cars in each group.

If you are interested check out their website www.classiccarholidays.co.uk

We would also love to do a train holiday, but sadly I think they are out of our price range!

We spent a good 4 hours wandering round, wishing we had won the lottery, so we could book some of these amazing holidays. Getting hungry and loaded up with ideas and brochures, we decided to head back to Euston and find somewhere to eat.

Not far from the station is a Prezzo which seemed the perfect place . We had a lovely meal chatting over the day and planning where we would get if we won the lottery ! You have to have a dream !

We headed home chilled and in good spirits ! During the journey home I needed the loo! I will share my experience on my Youtube channel!!

It had been a good day!

England had played Ireland at rugby earlier in the day which we had recorded, so we snuggled up in sofa up watch it. Hubby with a beer and me with my slimline wine ! If you still haven’t tried it, you so should. My favourite is the sparkling which is available at Tesco, or visit their website for their full range!

The day just got better as England won! Woo hoo!

Sunday was going to be busy but our plans changed last minute . It was a cold day but the sun was out ! We decided to take the opportunity to take the dogs on a long walk along the canal!

There is a lovely pub on the canal side called Fleur De Ly in a little village called Lowsonford. It’s a beautiful pub! Inside it’s so cosy on a cold winters day. On days like Sunday and in the summer it has an amazing garden, where you can sit out and have a drink or dinner, overlooking the canal!

We parked up and took a 4 mile walk! The canal was still frozen, it was cold, but with the sun out, it was perfect.

On the return, it was only right we stopped off at the pub for a quick drink !

https://bit.ly/2MUsA3R

We headed home, having had an amazing weekend! Hubby caught up on his rugby while I visited my parents and updated my YouTube channel!

Check out my amazing biscuits and update on my month!

Sunday roast was the order of the day to complete the weekend !

The next thing I knew, the alarm was going . It was Monday already !

It was a wonderful weekend, but it was over in the blink of an eye!

Check out my vlog on YouTube on the weekend which includes more photos!

Letter to my scales!

It is with deep regret that I find myself writing this letter!

We have been together for many years now! You have always been a trusted friend. We have seen some highs and lows. You have always been honest with me. You have never hidden the truth from me, regardless of how bad it has been!

You have ensured my clothes on a Wednesday don’t exceed 0.3kg! You have even made sure I have never exceeded my baggage allowance when I went on holiday!

We have fond memories of my puppies when we checked how much they were growing! It was lovely to see them grow week on week.

You have been such a huge part of my life.

It saddens me now that you have suddenly changed towards me! I don’t understand why! There seems to be no explanation!

I’m doing everything I can for you. I’m eating well, I’m going to the gym. I’ve even done dry January ! What more do you want from me!

I really don’t want us to part company but this attitude towards me has to change!

I hope this letter will clear the air between us.

I look forward to seeing the changes in you when I see you again soon!

Your ever hopeful friend

Xx

When the scales are not kind to you!

So, from 1 January I have been trying to shift a stone in weight, which I had put on last year.

I decided, as well as getting back fully into my healthy eating, I would also do dry January. Anyone who knows me, will know that I love my wine. Especially Slim Wine, and in particular their sparkling wine!

So when I suggested I would do dry January, everyone laughed, and said there was no way I would do it! Now if you know me, you never say things like that to me, because if you do, I will make sure I prove you wrong!

27 days into January, I am still going strong. Even an opened bottle of fizz in my fridge has not bothered me!

I honestly thought that not drinking alcohol would really help me lose that stone quickly! The plan was that I could lose 3.5lbs per week for the 4 weeks of January.

I started again writing what I was eating each day in my journal. I ensured I planned every meal. I have completely stayed on plan every day. I am allowed 15 syns a day with Slimming World, but gave myself a 12 syn allowance each day. Most days I have had less that 3 syns a day!

Everything was in place for a fantastic month.

The first week I lost 3.5lbs Woo hoo. I then went down with the flu. This meant, that I went from planning to go to the gym 4 times a week and doing 17,000 steps a day, to doing only about 1500 steps!

On top of that, my asthma flared up! After a visit to the doctors, I was given steroids! That week I dreaded the scales, but was over the moon to see another 3.5lbs off! Happy days.

After 2 weeks off, I eventually returned to work. I had continued to eat so well, I was sure that now I had increased my walking, I would achieve the 3.5lb again if not more! I was so disappointed when the scales said only 1.5lbs!

I could easily have fallen off the wagon, but I didn’t. I have a goal in my head, and I want it more than anything.

When I started this journey, I measured myself. Today, I revisited those measurements. I may not have seen the scales moving in my favour, but the inches had. I was so pleased to see 1.75 inches off my bum and an inch off my waist.

Sometimes, you also need to look at the non scale victories to see how well you are doing.

I have 6 more days on dry January. I have 3 opportunities to go to the gym before month end!

I may not be at the target I want on 1 February, but I will certainly be closer to it than I was on 1 January.

So what ever you have to lose, whilst it is good to set yourself a goal, don’t give up if you don’t reach it when you planned to!

Our bodies are funny things! Sometimes, they take a bit longer to catch up with us.

I’m going to hit that target, I know I will. Why? Because I want it!

If you believe in yourself, anything is possible!

Watch my personal account of this week! https://youtu.be/UYYyPGo37kM

This cold weather plays havoc!

As an asthma suffering, I dread the winter. I can go for 8 months of the year without a single problem. Once the temperatures start to drop, so does my ability to breath!

Asthma is a condition that effects the airways. When someone has an asthma attack, the muscles around the walls of their airways tighten, causing the airway to narrow. The lining can become inflamed and swollen, with a sticky mucus or phlegm building up, causing the airways to close further.

When this occurs, it is difficult for the person to breath, causing tightness of the chest, wheezing or coughing. It can feel pretty scary!

I was diagnosed with asthma in adult hood, but it can start from childhood, as is the case for my younger brother.

There are a variety of situations that can bring on an attack. Allergies, such as pollen or animal fur, smoke, pollution, cold air, exercise, and infections like colds and flu, are the most common.

For me, it certainly is the cold weather, and colds and flu.

Tomorrow I am returning to work after 2 weeks off. Initially, I went down with the flu. I have had the flu vaccination, but this does not mean you are immune from getting the flu.

I have to say, I think that this was the worst case of flu I have ever had. It completely knocked me out. I then had the added complication of my asthma.

As with other sufferers, I take inhalers everyday. One is to prevent an attack which I take twice a day, and the other one is to relieve any symptoms, as and when the happen.

Unfortunately, neither seemed to help. Night time was worse. I would lay in bed and feel like I was physically chocking. I would end up sitting up in bed or actually getting up, until such a time as I could lie down again.

After 6 days of not improving, I visited my GP. I attend annual check ups, where they measure my peak flow. This is the measure of how much air you can blow out of your lungs, and is an indicator as to how well air is moving out of your lungs. Mine was down by 25% and so I was put on a course of steroids. I don’t particularly like taking them, they can cause weight gain as well as poor skin, but at the end of the day, if it helps me to breath again, I will.

When your asthma isn’t controlled, you feel extremely tired. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have slept, or just laid around unable to do anything, over the last couple of weeks. Even now, because it isn’t fully sorted, I am exhausted all the time.

It also means that I struggle to do exercise. As you know, I love the gym. Being fit does help keep asthma under control, however when you have had an episode, it is very difficult to firstly get the energy to exercise, and secondly to do so without coughing, wheezing and struggling to breath.

I am hoping that next week I may be able to get back into the gym, even for light exercise, and build myself back up.

If left untreated, asthma can turn into a lung infection (pneumonia) or even worse, death.

As a sufferer, it is really important that I manage my medication properly. I know when I am most vulnerable, and try to find things that will help. Unfortunately for me, my current lifestyle doesn’t help me.

My company relocated over 6 years ago. I went from driving to work in a warm car, to having to commute on public transport. This means that during the winter months, I have to stand on a train platform in the cold and damp. I then have a walk to the office. Both of these put a strain on me. I always increase my inhalers during the winter months, but sadly, I am always going to be more open to attacks.

On the plus side, a few years ago, I was suffering with my asthma. We were flying out to South Africa to visit my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Unfortunately, my husband and I were seated on separate rows. I was coughing very badly. The gentleman next to me must have thought I had a cold, so very kindly offered to swap places with my husband! I didn’t think it would be worth telling him the truth! Ha ha!

Although most asthma sufferers will manage their own symptoms, if you do see someone who is struggling to breath, get them to calm down if they are stressing, as this makes trying to catch your breath worse.

Get them to sit up. Look for their reliever inhaler. It is usually blue. Get them to take a puff every 30 to 60 seconds, up to 10 puffs. This many puffs will make the person feel dizzy, but that is normal. If they are not improving call for an ambulance immediately. Get them to continue with the blue inhaler.

If they don’t have their inhaler and are struggling, call for an ambulance straight away.

Approximately 3 people a day die from asthma attacks, of which they estimate that 2/3 could have been prevented. By recognising the symptoms early, and controlling them, many more lives will be saved.

Thankfully, for most of us, with our medication we can live normal lives.

Tomorrow is forecast to be really cold. I will be making sure I am wrapped up warm on the train platform. I will have a scarf to prevent the cold air getting into my lungs! I will be carrying my inhalers, and making sure I take them throughout the day! I know I will be coughing a lot throughout the day, which will make me tired, so an early night will definitely be in order tomorrow night!

If you want to know more about asthma visit https://www.asthma.org.uk/