The Joys of the South

So I have to start by explaining that I did grow up in the south….I was born in Pembury and lived in Tunbridge Wells until I was 18. At this point my dad got a new job and we moved up to Shropshire to live on the border with North Wales.

I wasn’t that happy about going. Leaving my friends and the boyfriend I had at that time. Anyway I spent a large amount of the first 6 months travelling back and forth and eventually went to uni. 

Now, some 7 years later I am married and settled in North Wales and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. It is however nice to occasionally visit the south, my brother and his wife and my friends. Ever more occasionally to take a trip to the big city which, until I took him, my husband had never done. 

So we decided with some of our wedding money to book ourselves a trip to London to see a show and have a chance of meeting up with a few friends. This started with our train being 15 minutes late on a freezing cold morning followed by a dash across chester station to make it onto our second train. This was then diverted back to Birmingham adding 45 minutes onto our journey…….when your husband hates trains this does not start the trip off well. 

We made it to London and we found our hotel and I have to say we could not have been more central. We were 5 mins from trefalgar square. 5 mins from Covent gardens. 5 minutes from Leicester Square and 15 mins from the London eye. So we headed towards the river and headed up to the London eye which Alan had never been on…..here we were presented with an hours queuing even though we had tickets. By the time it was dark we made it onto the wheel and London looked stunning at night! 

We then met my friends for a meal which was lovely and headed back to watch a movie in our hotel. The next day we managed to meet up with a friend of Alans before heading out to Greenwich where we paid to go into the observatory where the meridion line is. However there was a cue of tourists just to take your picture standing on the line. The lasa that normally shines out over London showing the line was not working and you could no longer get a certificate with the exact time you were there…..that and it was at the top of a very steep hill. From there we made our way back to the ferry where we enjoyed a 40 minute wait for the taxi boat….finally back at the hotel we put another movie on and I fell asleep…..Lots of walking around does that to me. 

The highlight has to be the show though. We saw phantom of the Opera and it was brilliant. The singing, the staging, the costumes, everything. We enjoyed it immensely with a lovely late night meal out after. The theatre was only 10 mins walk from where we were staying so it was around nice little wonder across trafalgar square seeing the Christmas tree.

We spent a bit of time the next day in Leicester Square and Covent garden just wasting a bit of time before we made our way to Euston a little early…only to realise when we got there that we left our luggage at the hotel!!! So we quickly made our way back to the hotel to then go back to Euston where we waited for our train! 

A lovely lovely trip but we both miss home and the green space where we live. It’s hard to wonder slowly and enjoy your surroundings a little in London and even harder to walk hand in hand. People are rude and just walk into you so we like the odd visit. But they will stay just that. An odd visit now and then. 

I never thought it would happen but I’m a bit of a country bumpkin now and I know Alan is the same. Also we haven’t been home since before Christmas so we are looking forward to sleeping in our own bed again tonight! 

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Being an Adult at Christmas

 

20161215_143645When you’re young Christmas is all about the receiving of gifts, any concept of giving gifts doesn’t really compute. We rely on our parents to buy us a gift for the other parents and any siblings we have. And when it comes to extended family we might sign our name in a card or two or even a gift tag but that is the limit of our involvement.

As we grow a little more we are maybe asked for an opinion on what to get the people in our lives, you might even take some baked goods in for your friends at school but again we don’t have to worry about it. Mum and Dad, have it under control!

Once we start earning, things shift, we are expected to not only decide on what to buy for the Dad that has everything and uses nothing, or the brother who just wants the latest most expensive game for whatever console he is on. But we are also expected to pay for it, wrap it and present it as a gift. We do have a bit of calm in this decision making storm as this responsibility for gift buying is pretty much kept to the closest family members and you can still get away with a name on a card for the extended family. You don’t even have to put the effort in to sign it really as you know mum will do it for you.

However, this does not last. I have discovered that once there is a ring on your finger and you are no longer a loner in this work you are required to take full responsibility for purchasing gifts, not only for your new husband, but your close family, along with your extended family to include all Aunties, Uncles, Cousins and Grandparents. For me that is a lot of people as both parents are one of 4. But now, this is extended even further.

I am also not expected to do all this for my husband’s family, he is 1 of 4 and the other three all have partners, there are his parents, his granny, his uncles and aunties, and a few cousins too. Now I love his family I really do but I have only known them a little while and so trying to decide what to get them is tricky. This is made even harder when Alan’s answer to what can we get your mum is ‘I don’t know, let me think about it’……argh!

I have managed to sort it all out (never fear Rogers this year there will be gifts for you, picked and packed with love) but it don’t half make life more expensive.

Combined we have at least 38 people to sort gifts for and that doesn’t even include gifts for one another. I mean it’s insane. Then there are the cards we are expected to send. I mean he hasn’t even posted or handed out his Thank you cards from the wedding. Postage isn’t free either!

Now don’t get me wrong. I totally get that everyone is in the exact same position every year. But why has it become this stressful thing of trying to get a gift for everyone that they will like, gifts for people that keep them happy, ensuring gifts for cousins are equal to ensure no one is offended. This constant battle with ‘will they actually like or use this?’

I love Christmas but being an adult has definitely taken some of the charm out of it. I love getting gifts for people and seeing them open them. It is funny to think how it shifts, I used to hate giving gifts, just receiving them as any child does. But now, I would rather gift gifts to the ones I love than receive them. This is what is making this year so hard. I currently don’t have full time work, since just before the wedding I have been trying my hand at a bit of freelance work when my job ended the way it did (that is a long story for another day). This means I have limited finance, and rely on my better half bringing home the bacon, and bread and milk….you get the idea.

This has meant I don’t have money to really buy my husband a present let alone anyone else. I have resorted this year to making many gifts, I have the time and the ability so that has kept me busy. Alan’s main gift is handmade and made with love but I still feel like I’m short changing him as he has worked so hard the last few months, which he has done for us. For me. So I can continue to do freelance design work whilst also having time to be creative and keep up with the washing! (he does a very muddy job)

As an adult Christmas is different, priorities change, expectations are added, responsibility grows and it looses some of the magic. But I think this year it has helped me to realise that life is what you make of it, even if that means literally making things for people!

I am just glad Alan gets a free Christmas tree from work and I have been able to get the odd job in the run up to Christmas to add a little bit of the needed sparkle back into what is meant to be the most wonderful time of the year!

If you have nothing nice to say….

There are very few things in life that can really make my blood boil and cause me to rant but this is one.

The other night I was just flicking through Instagram before I slept, not a good idea really what with that whole, you shouldn’t look at screens before sleep. Anyway, I came across a post from someone who, over the last few years I have grown a huge respect for.

Giovanna Fletcher for those of you who don’t know is Wife of Tom Fletcher (member of McFly) and mother of 2, Buzz and Buddy. But beyond this she is also an amazing singer and musician, a very successful writer, YouTuber and generally an all-round very lovely person. The thing that has got to me a little recently is hearing about the negativity this person has been receiving. Any negativity like this, to anyone is a hugely disappointing aspect of humanity and I think it is a cowardly nasty thing to do.

If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything!

It’s horrible to think there are people of think it is okay to share rude and harsh thoughts about others who they only ever see a glimpse of though social media or YouTube videos. It amazes me to think that a small insight into people gives people this idea they have an authority to judge and be nasty. Why can’t people see the best in people and comment on that, build people up instead of this childish act of picking out fault, negativity just to drag people down.

This is the post and comment that caught my eye and really upset me;

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So you can see a screenshot of 4 comments made on a YouTube video (I think) that pull at different aspects of Gi and pull them apart.

First, the real low blow of going for her kids. I am sorry but who would ever think to say something like this. She is a human being and a parent, and every single parent has the right to struggle, regardless of whether you feel they have it ‘easy’ because of their life or financial situation. Surely every parent has had days where one kid is teething and the other is poorly and you are on your own trying to deal with both crying children having had a couple of hours of sleep and haven’t had the time to shower for the last two days.

Seriously!!

‘this women’s poor me attitude, it’s so negative’

This line really gets me, she is being honest, showing not just the good but also the bad times, there are great parts of having children but there are always going to be very hard points to it as well. Ask your own parents if you are too narrow minded to see this! A real-life view on what it’s like to have kids is better than one that glosses over the lack of sleep, the tantrums, the running around, the having no time for yourself. Just deal with the fact that people are entitled to struggle, regardless of whether or not you feel that you could handle it, we are all our own people and handle situations in our own way.

The second comment, so infuriating. Look beyond the end of your nose. How many couples where they have married just because they are famous have survived? Did you know that Tom and Gi have known each other for years? That they were at theatre school together? That they were together before McFly became famous? Or that the song that really pushed McFly into fame was a song that Tom wrote for Gi? For a couple that have been together a very long time, married a few years and have 2 kids, to say ‘oh well you are just there for the money’ is shameful and a horrendous attitude.

If you paid any attention you would see that Tom is often away doing gigs or touring with McFly and Gi is home on her own with the kids and she is still there, they still make each other laugh and it is heart-warming to see a tricky relationship that is strong and full of love. For those who are thinking she was just there for the money or the fame are clueless and have a very disturbing outlook on life.

The next comment about having a Ghost Writer, I don’t really have the words! If any other author who you didn’t see on YouTube or the TV wrote a good book and got it published, was a big success leading to more books in the series being written would you jump to say, they had a ghost-writer do it!

This is a passion for her, which is clear from early YouTube videos where you can see thousands of books behind her. I just think it’s a harsh thing to say to someone, what if this person loves painting and does a great picture and when it sells they get some success from it, then I come along and say, well they had someone else paint it for them, they just decided what they wanted the picture to be of. Stop pulling someone down just because they have worked hard to produce something they are proud of that has brought them some success!

And the last comment….

COME ON!!!!

There is something seriously wrong with the world when we think it is okay to make a comment about someone looks. Okay if your best friend is wearing a hideous dress that makes them look fat, go for it, they are your friend and they will appreciate it. Why has it become acceptable to judge and make comments on people we don’t know and have never met. How do you think that is going to make people feel! What is the point of saying it, does it make you feel better about yourself? Do you feel like you have a voice by being negative?

I don’t get it, I mean I was bullied horribly in school and sadly it has destroyed any sort of self-esteem I could have or confidence in myself. This is to the extent of find it hard to believe people want to be my friends as that was always a funny prank to pull on me at school. Or to believe my Husband when he says I’m beautiful because so many people have told me otherwise. It has a lasting effect on people being spoken to like this. The negativity I have received means I can pretty much talk myself out of anything I might be good at, and turn any compliment into an insult.

How Giovanna can keep her chin up and a smile on her face is an inspiration to me. Everyone goes through tough times and no two people on this planet have gone through the same struggles in the same way. We are unique and different, we are here to be ourselves which means we deal with things differently. But what gets me is why people think that sitting at a computer and being anonymous gives them the right to be nasty. Be positive and you will get positivity back. Why pull someone down when we should be working to build people up, encourage others, celebrate others success and feel happy for those around us. Strive to be a good influence and happy voice and a positive member of society. Move away from selfish ways and towards being there for others and being happy for those you like to follow through social media.

If you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything and if you don’t like the people you follow on social media or watch on YouTube then stop wasting your time and theirs. Don’t watch their videos or read their posts if all you are going to do is be rude and hurtful. We want children brought up to be respectful and nice people not Trolls.

I have no illusion that Giovanna will ever read this but if you do, be proud of the women you are and the role model you are for those who see your beauty and talent. You’re a gorgeous, warm and loving mother, wife, author and human being who deserves positivity and encouragement not hate and judgement.

Rant over. 🙂

The Big Kid I Married

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Now as every married women will know, it can be tricky. Some even have the added stress of the man they married still being a massive kid at heart. I have been so lucky to find someone who loves me and I love him, massively, and his childish ways. However, it can also be a challenge but I think, personally, it is important to face these challenges with a smile, try to be positive and make life fun.

I have struggled with positivity all my life but since my job ended and I went freelance and we got married I am trying to force myself into positive thinking and to turn frustration into fun.

A previous example of this would be from a little over a year ago. When Alan and I were living in my little one bedroom flat I gave him a box of Lindor chocolates (one of his weaknesses). Over the next few days I was finding the wrappers from these chocolates everywhere!! The bedside table, kitchen, coffee table, there were even a few in the bathroom.

Instead of getting annoyed I simply turned it into a bit of a game for myself, posting the pictures on Facebook each time I found one and make comments as though I was tracking a rare creature. It was very amusing and on the plus side he got a little embarrassed so ended up collecting them all and throwing them away 🙂

So this time around it was something a little different Alan has a habit of not throwing things away as demonstrated, this time though it was the box from his Toothpaste. I asked if he was keeping it for any special reason to which I had the reply of ‘to make a rocket’ and I asked when he was planning to make it just so I knew how long it would be sitting on the bathroom shelf. He replied that he was busy and wasn’t sure when he was going to get around to it but he was going to.

Obviously I am now used to hearing all kinds of excuses for why rubbish makes it only so far and never quite to the bin. However, this excuse amused me greatly as it was not what I was expecting to hear. So, last night as I was falling asleep I was planning out how I could quickly and easily turn his toothpaste tube into a rocket for him.

Alan starts work early (normally in by 7 at the very latest) and as I bought a house that is an hour away from his work (this was before we were engaged or married) he has a bit of a commute for the time being. Some days I will now get up when he does and stay awake as I struggle to get up otherwise. This morning I spent this time making him a rocket.

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Okay so it’s a bit naff and as someone pointed out the windows don’t look great and are a tad odd but I was going with the simple and quick idea. That’s what a 6am start does to me apparently.

Don’t get me wrong, one of the things I love about Alan is his ability to be a bit of a child and enjoy life, someone who doesn’t get hung up on things that are going on and is laid back. I think he has helped me to chill out a little (though I am still pretty bad to be honest) but he makes me feel safe and though I do the ‘adulting’ I wouldn’t change him for anything and love him just the way he is, rockets and all.

I have also started his Christmas gift and made myself a cute little pin cushion. The gift I will share late, don’t want to ruin the surprise or anything 🙂

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