• 10 years on…

    10YEARS

    Today marks 10 years since I left the US to live in the UK. A whole decade. Just under a third of my life.

    Incredible.

    I’ve been thinking about it a lot, what the last 10 years has been for me, and I’m still undecided. The problem is that it’s been so many things.

    I was 25 when I left everything I’d known and was comfortable with behind for a new life in a new country with the man I loved. A young woman only just finding her own way taking a huge leap of faith. As someone uncomfortable around new people (with few exceptions – now my closest and dearest friends), suffering from depression, horribly shy and introverted moving can be daunting. Moving to a whole new country 3,000 miles away across an ocean? Sheesh. But I don’t do things by halves.

    2005 was a stressful year to say the least. Moving to a new country, getting married, and having to find a new job all in the space of a few months! Most of life’s most stressful events all packed into one massive punch. There was a brief time between the wedding and finding a job when, after weeks of applying for positions and getting absolutely nowhere, I felt defeated. I remember sitting in the pub for tea one night with Hubby nearly in tears saying I thought I wanted to go back home. It was all a terrible mistake moving here.

    He talked me down, he had a lot of experience with that, and we agreed to give it five years. If I felt the same way then we would discuss the possibility of moving to the US.

    Five years later I couldn’t imagine moving back to the US. This was my home now. No mistake had been made after all.

    The first five years were full of ups and downs, things were difficult for me to start with. The first year in a new place is always the toughest. I still get nostalgic for Virginia Beach every September and I don’t get to see the ocean as much as I’d like. (I hope now that we are marginally closer to the coast it will be more regular.)

    Five years on again, we’ve moved house twice in the last year and are finally settling into our new home. This is the beginning of the next phase for me – for us – and I am really excited to see where it leads. I’m most definitely not the same person I was a decade ago. I’d wager not many people are the same person at 35 as they were at 25 or even at 30. It’s just growing up.

    Am I where I thought I would be back then, now? No. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It’s life. It leads you down a path and you end up somewhere not entirely expected sometimes. That is the beauty of living – every day is a gift and surprise.

    I can’t wait to see where the next decade takes me, here’s to ending up somewhere unexpectedly wonderful!


  • It’s been a long road

    Getting from there to here… (I have to apologise, we have been watching Star Trek: Enterprise and I always have the song stuck in my head! Fitting though…)Orchids

    Anywho! We’re in!!!! We got the keys, as planned, on 27th March 2015. We’ve spent nearly every day since then (about a week and a half now) unpacking, trying to find homes for things, buying stuff we needed, and having a lot of visitors.

    But we’re here. It doesn’t quite feel real yet for me. I think because I’m not in a normal work-cook-sleep-repeat routine. It’s felt like I’m on holiday somewhere and I’ll be going home before I go back to work… but this is my home!

    The house is big. It’s funny how I thought the rooms could be small when, now that we are in, there is plenty of room. Seeing people’s faces when they come in and see the house is great. We always save downstairs for last and they always have the same reaction – jaws drop and eyes widen. The kitchen and family room are pretty impressive on their own! It’ll be more impressive when we decide what to do with the garden and have it done. Looking out onto dirt… well it doesn’t have quite the same appeal as a nice garden has does it? ;)

    We’ve managed to purchase all of the big items we needed. The fridge/freezer was delivered 2 days after we got the keys. For the lounge we found a really comfy leather corner sofa that was on offer, not the colour we were hoping for but the price was right and included a matching chair and foot stool, that’s being delivered today (I’m way too old to be sitting on the floor these days, so I’m thankful I don’t have to any longer!). The bed for the master bedroom is coming at the end of the month (it’s so pretty!), and blinds will be fitted the day before the bed arrives! The blinds will finally add a touch of colour to most of the rooms and I’ll get to work on decorating ideas around what palettes I’d like to use for each area. Proper decorating is a long way off yet, so I have a lot of time to decide what I’d like to do.

    It’s always surprising how fast you can spend money during a move. I have a lot of projects I want to do, but in the meantime I’ll have to wait for funds. It gives me time to come up with ideas and plan what I’d like to do. I’m excited to get some of my ideas on paper! Now that I’m in and can visualise what I want rather than just imagine it in my head, it will be a lot easier to decide!

    But for now? I’ll be content with organising what I’ve got and learning how to take care of orchids!

     


  • T-5 days

    So close! On Friday (27 March 2015) we will be (FINALLY) completing and getting the keys to our new house! What does that mean?

    • 5 days until we move
    • 4 days until we have our first peek at what all of our options look like inside
    • 3 days until I pack up our kitchen and the last bits around the house
    • 2 days left of working within 10 miles of home

    I don’t have a 1 :( I should have thought this through better…

    We spent the day yesterday going to pretty much every shop known to man. We looked at every sofa, bed, and Samsung fridge/freezer there was. Thankfully it wasn’t all for nothing.

    We found the fridge freezer we want in John Lewis! Finally able to see it in person was nice. We’ll definitely be getting it now that we have seen it. Note to self: don’t take the ice bucket out in the shop… it took 3 people 5 minutes to figure out how it went back in (it is easy though lol)! ;) The one we want isn’t on their website, but it’s this one.

    We managed to find a bed Hubby didn’t hate (a huge improvement over non-committal shrugs or grunts). Although to get the size he wants it means the wardrobe will be the 4th bedroom?! But hey, at least there will be room for all my clothes and shoes… We’ll see when we’re in.

    Sofas… who knew choosing a sofa was so much work. Hubby can’t be bothered bless him, and I want a corner one that will offer a bit more seating room. Then we found this one. It ticks the leather box for Hubby and the corner box for me (although I wanted more of a chaise lounge corner than a proper corner, but oh this is SO COMFY!) and it comes in grey which I want. Our only issue? It’s a bit bigger than I was hoping to get. But once we are in the house and can measure properly, if it fits in I’m pushing for it because did I mention it’s COMFY?

    In Ikea I got to look at the bookcases I was eyeing up online. At first I was looking at these, to get a bit of colour in the room. But I saw n example where someone used these ones and I loved the configuration. It’s just want I want to do, but without the pop of colour. I can bring in colour in many ways!

    My first projects after we are in is to refinish 2 wood items for the kitchen. I can’t wait!


  • March Motivation

    I’m not gonna lie, it’s been a long 12 months. I’ve realised it’s been a year since we found a new house to buy and put our old one on the market. We never anticipated it would take this long! Builders do lie to make the sales, that’s a given. But it’s okay, we are almost home.

    In the meantime it has been a long, cold few months. We’ve both gone from feeling absolutely stuck and ‘on hold’ to excited about things to come a couple of times.

    I sound like I’m complaining. I don’t mean to. It’s more feeling fed up of being stuck in a house that is just a holding place. It’s gorgeous and roomy and I love the view and the area but nothing works and it’s drafty and freezing ALL THE TIME. Okay, maybe I am complaining a little.

    But it’s only a matter of weeks now. And all my dreaming and planning in my head will finally become a reality.

    Back to feeling stuck. Personally I’ve gone through a few phases this last year, especially in the last 8 months. The first couple of months in the rental were good, great even. I was feeling great and motivated to get a new start, even if it was only a stop gap until the main event. Then things kept getting pushed back and I lost all that motivation and energy.

    I was in a proper slump.

    The good news is this: I did NOT let it go too far down the spiral. I didn’t get too depressed. But I did (and do) feel unmotivated. Lethargic. Just plain crappy. I cried a lot. And it’s been a few months of that.

    I’m turning it around now; things are looking up. I want to go into this new house in a better place than I’ve been in recently. So I’m focusing on MOTIVATION. Motivation to workout, eat better, plan, organise, take better care of myself.

    So I’m back to listening to my body and working out in the mornings. Thanks to The Fitnessista‘s book, HIIT IT, I’ve created my own HIIT workouts! I’m establishing a new consistent routine of cardio and weekly yoga for now. I’ll will add strength training to it later when I’m feeling stronger. I’m back to mostly gluten free eating and my body is definitely thanking me for it. No more bloat and a constant bad stomach.

    I’m getting organised and using technology to my advantage more and more. I recently changed phones (from the Samsung Galaxy S3 to a Nokia Lumia 930) and I must say, for a girl who never liked Microsoft much, I do love the Windows Phone! And OneNote.

    I won’t give up my numerous planners though. I just can’t do that.

    I still have all these big plans and now is the time to plan and cultivate those ideas so I have a proper plan to follow when it’s go time.

    More on these big plans later.  I’m starting to see the light at the end of this long, dark tunnel and I’ll be pleased when I can say we’ve made it through to the sunlight.


  • Home stretch

    With so much waiting on our house to be done and my current mood I don’t have many good (happy) ideas to write about right now. With the (hopeful) move date fast approaching we are attempting to plan for the move. So this weekend will be back to packing… all the stuff we don’t need/haven’t used for a while will start getting boxed up yet again, to add to our already packed up belongings. I’m dreading the packing, unpacking, and actual moving.

    Yes we could pay someone to pack it all up for us, but I’d never be comfortable with that. I like being organised and knowing where everything is.

    So amidst all the waiting we have been looking at things we need when we get in. This weekend (in between a bit of packing) we’ll go out and see if we can window shop and see some stuff in person. Of course I have an ultimate wishlist as does Hubby (most of his are techy!).  Here’s a sneak peak at what we’ve been looking at and some of my dream home items…

    Kitchen

    Fridge Freezer – I want a big American style one and Hubby has decided it should be a Samsung. We’ve been looking at them all and I think we’ve decided on this one. I am kind of intrigued by the 4 door model, but I’m not sure I like the drawers.

    Island/Booth – I would love love love to have something like this (without the sink in the island), but I don’t think I’ll be able to swing it anytime soon. I’d totally settle for this island though. Or maybe a smaller version?

    Coffee/Tea Station and Cocktail Bar – I have big plans for our free standing cabinet, I’m going to refinish it and take the doors off and it’s becoming the caffeine and alcohol hub. For serious!

    Lounge

    Sofa – Hubby seems to want a leather one this time. I don’t really blame him, fabric gets dirty so quickly! (I must clean our existing ones when we move.) I quite like this one, even though we don’t need a sofa bed… we’ll see!

    Chair – I want a nice comfy chair to go next to my books for a little reading nook. I’m in LOVE with this chair from made.com.

    Of course we’ll need a new TV stand for all the consoles etc (not for the actual TV mind) and some massive shelving/bookcases for the inset wall next to my nook!

    Bedroom

    Bed – We need a new bed since we’ll have more bedrooms. I can’t decide between this one, this stunning one, or the possibility of getting a Premier Inn bed. Those things are damn comfy (and tall)!

    Wardrobe – We didn’t go for a built in wardrobe in the master bedroom. Good thing too, because I’d have hated where they wanted to put it. So we’ll have a bespoke one done at some point… lots of ideas floating around but until we’re in and I get a feel for how much space is left to work with I’m just not sure what will happen.

    Not to mention night stands and mirrors…

    Office

    Chair – So one of the wheels on my desk chair has broken off. Fun times. I need a new one. I’m not really fussy… oh hello! Nah, I don’t think I’d spend that much on a chair really… would I?

    Desk – Definitely not a priority, but one day I will have a new desk.

    Garden

    Our garden will need a bit of a makeover (okay total makeover). But eventually there will be garden furniture and BBQs (maybe a fire pit?!) and a shed and all sorts back there to play with.

    Techy Stuff

    We want to do a lot of cool techy bits, like Sonos, smart film on the windows (when it’s available), and hubby is working on a ‘smart home’ system for us to control appliances and stuff. Woo!

    If you don’t follow me on Pinterest, I have a board with all our options there. Flooring, tiles, kitchen, bathrooms… I can’t wait to see it all together rather than the pieces I’ve pinned.

    We’ve had to push and push for any information and we met with the head office manager in charge of our site today. We got to go inside our house today! I took loads of photos, but all will be revealed later. Everything is on track and hopefully we’ll be getting in soon…