Upgrade Updates…

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I can not get over the view we are going to have from this caravan, and eventually our new home.

All the best laid plans, I believe the saying is…

So I had some grand plans for the caravan but there have been a few alterations. Initially I was going to paint the interior of the caravan, I did some research about the best way to do it, however upon looking at the caravan again with new curtains the walls are fine.

They are a mixed cream colour and I was going to paint them a similar colour….totally not worth it. I think the main issue with the caravan was the cushion covers and curtains, they are the elements that made it feel dated.

So I gave a sneak peek last time which shows the kitchen cupboards getting a fresh lick of paint. Definitely needed, they were pretty grim. Along with this I have added a few elements to make it more homely, there is now a kettle, utensil hanging thing, drainer and washing up bowl. The everyday essentials. I have also put up a new blind.

Here is a before and after of the kitchen part of the Caravan.

Before…

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After…

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The only thing I have left to do is cover the bit of wood that the pelmet was hanging from but it will make for a handy shelf!

I was contemplating covering the worktop with a kind of Vinyl plastic that is heat resistant and suitable for covering kitchen work tops. Initially I thought it would be necessary. But having put the first bit down, I really wasn’t sure. It’s amazing stuff, it really is and looks amazing but in the end I decided it wasn’t worth the money to put it in, though it only saved us £10, but every little helps.

Here is how the plastic covering stuff looked…

So the pale fake pine work top is much lighter and looks a lot cleaner, especially against the slightly peach coloured hob that is there. So for anyone wanting to brighten up their kitchen or just give your kitchen a new look, this stuff is only £5 for a 2m roll and it is so easy to apply. Very effective and a cheap way of revamping a tired looking kitchen. I have a feeling that the work top is relatively new so does not need changing.

With the living room, we can’t go to the extent of changing carpet, and though the colour sucks a little it is in good condition. So I made some new curtains, it was handy that the curtains we have in our house are stupidly long so I have been able to cut them in half to make curtains for the caravan. There was a discussion on re-covering the seat cushions but I decided, after a discussion with my mum, that they would be a nightmare to re-do due to the shape of the cushions. So I cheated……kind of, you will see in the picture below.

Before…

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After…

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So we purchased 3 MASSIVE bed spreads, which I have had in the past (though they were pink and pale blue) to cover a white sofa and armchair. They are slightly more robust that a fleecy blanket or throw, though we do have a shed load of those for when it gets chilly. We also got a few new cushions and stuff to make the sofa bit super comfy. For some reason I didn’t take this shot as wide angled as the last, if I had it would show that we do now have a TV set up AND we nearly have internet complete too!! I do still have some curtains left to make and swap in. Again I will be covering the Pelmet thing and it too will be a useful shelf.

So the other area I have actually made a few improvements too is the toilet, the walls were a bit grim and it’s nice to give it a fresh lick of paint. So I have put an undercoat on the walls and a new blind on the window. The hottest thing I have ever done as it is a small space and the sun was shining through the window….very very warm!!

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So it is starting to look a little nicer. I have again saved some money here, I was going to paint this room the same as the living room, but I have returned the paint and undercoat for that. I used the undercoat from the kitchen cabinets and we have some left over paint from our house which we can use in there instead. This I think was genius as it saved us a further £30.

I will hopefully finish the painting this week. Fingers crossed we can get the plumbing and water sorted soon as we are desperate to stay there, if it is sorted this week, we have every intention of staying there for the first time on Sunday.

We would appreciate all fingers and toes to be crossed and all prayers that the house gets a little interest soon and we can sell it to a lovely family! That is the next and biggest hurdle we have to get past.

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Naming our new home! 

So a few weeks ago we had to make a decision on what we wanted to name the house. 

As it’s not on a street we needed to choose a name for the new house. As it’s in Wales it was apparently imperative that it was a Welsh name. This threw up a few issues as we needed the translation of the name to make sense as that is the Welsh way. 

For example another house in the family was Maes Gwersyll which means Camp Field, due to the fact that it a as used as a camp for the workers when the canal was built. 

We struggled to find one that not only made sense but was also pronouncable as we would need to spend the foreseeable future saying the name to people. We also needed it to be easy to spell as we would also spend that time spelling it for those we tell it to. It’s welsh and therefore hard to spell! 

There were a few I liked, Maes Ardwyn was one. Which translated roughly to field on and hill. And though the field is a slope Alan didn’t really feel it counted as a hill. Sadly I had to agree even though I loved how it sounded. 

We then came across Pen-y-cae which translate to End of field. Although a slightly boring translation It works. The house is being built in the last stretch of field in the area where houses have been built and it is the end of yhe field the is owned by Alans family. 

So it made sense

It’s easy to pronounce

and relatively easy to spell

Name chosen! And we love it, it’s a lovely welsh name we can say and spell and we have recently had a confirmation through that the address has officially been registered which is very very exciting! 

I spent a lot of time over the bank holiday weekend in the caravan getting it a little more set up and I promise to share before and after pictures soon. I just want to get a couple more bits sorted first! But we will be there this weekend which will give me the chance to get the final bits done before taking more pictures 🙂 

Here is a sneak peak!

Slowly does it….

So as I mentioned last time, I thought I would post a few of the pictures I captured during the process of the caravan delivery.

Massive thanks the the fellers from Salop Leisure who did a sterling job with delivering the caravan to a really rather tricky location!

So the bottom of the drive has a 90 degree turn which was a bit of a squeeze! Lets just say the lads from Salop Leisure where glad it was only 10ft wide and not 12! Also we were grateful for all the patience and understanding of the neighbours that were around at the time. They watched with interest and kindly moved their cars to make the whole process as easy as possible. We really really appreciated it!

After the initial very tight corner there was a narrow and windy drive to navigate before making it to the bottom of the drive to the field. With my father-in-laws new antique lamppost to avoid and a narrow drive it was a tricky operation. So narrow that the wagon was very close to the slope on the one side which made for a very slow progress up the drive.

Having made it to the bottom of the field there was one attempt made to get it to the top….it did not end well, the second the caravan end of the wagon made it to grass it slid sideways. So they decided leaving it on dry ground and using something a little more powerful like a tractor would be the best way to go. So the lovey guys from Salop Leisure (after a well deserved cuppa) left the caravan with us after nearly 2 hours and we made plans for the following day.

After a little discussions with Alan’s Dad and Uncle Hywel about how to proceed, the caravan was slowly pulled up the field. First pulled forwards onto the building site then reversed up the field towards the space we had flattened out ready. This was a VERY slow process as one side of the caravan required planks of wood under the wheel the whole way up. So Alan was placing the planks inline with the wheel then as it moved putting the next, then taking the first and putting it next. Like I say. It was a slow process.

It was slightly hindered when they had to navigate over a rather deep hole, there was a moment when I thought it was going to get stuck in the middle of the field on the hill sideways, but we were okay.

After 2 hours it was up in place. Alan and his Dad then spent a further 3 hours jacking the van up so that it was sturdy and as level as we could get it.

Now it is ready for us to start sorting out, so we have some plans in place for a few improvements we can make to the interior to make it as nice as possible for as cheap as possible. I will share a bunch of before and after pictures of the bits we do to make the place a lovely little home for us to enjoy for the next couple of years. Fingers crossed we will have electricity and TV sorted this weekend with water and plumbing sorted next weekend.

Let the fun begin….

The Adventure Starts Right Here!

 

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Initially I wanted this blog to be about everyday working as a freelancer, but that has not really worked or provided much for me to write about. I get distracted and forget anything exciting I could write about.

However, life is a funny thing and can give new and exciting opportunities. A while ago I made a decision. Having left my job last august and started working from home doing odd bits here and there, I realised that my husband was still driving 70 miles a day for work while all I needed for work was an internet connection.

I presented the idea to Alan (the Husband) of moving closer to his work and he was hesitant, which I understood, I mean we had only been in our house a year having spent 6 months doing massive amounts of work to the house. A perfect kitchen, 2 bathrooms, walls moving, doors being relocated. It was a lot of work, it cost a lot and we were very happy with the results.

It took me taking him to see where a house I found was and how close we could be to his work before he started to really consider the benefits of being that much closer to work. Taking his journey from 50 mins on a good day to maybe only 10-15.

There were lots of things for us to consider, location; not just for his work but so I wasn’t completely stranded. Price; we only have so much money out of the house sale we can use for a deposit and we didn’t want future mortgage payments to be out of our price range. Size; we are very lucky to have a 3 bedroom house at the moment, and though there are only 2 of us, I need space for an office and we would like to be able to have kids without having to move again.

With all that in mind I went through many days of looking and there were a few options but nothing that was perfect for us. We were then presented with the offer of purchasing a house that has been in Alan’s family since his grandfather built it,  we were tempted, it had lots of potential but there were a lot of things that also made it seem like a little too much work and it was a bit of a tricky location and the price meant we would struggle to afford it an do the necessary work.

Then there was another option. A little back story, Alan’s family have always built their own houses, there are a few properties across the area that they were involved in building and have lived in for many years. I respect that and LOVE the history it creates. So Alan’s parents converted a barn many years ago and lived there and then built the house they are currently living in and have been since 1991. There is a  bit of land that they still own and Alan’s Dad, Gordon, got some plans drawn up and permission to build a new house which he was going to do over the next 5-10 year. So as the house was built he could save the rest of the money needed for the build.

Investing in this house build and living in the finished property became another option for us as Gordon really wanted the house to stay in the family. So with the money from the sale of our house, which we would have used as a deposit we are able to put that money in, hoping we can now complete the project in 2 years, maybe less (fingers crossed). This means for the next little while (2 years or so) we will be living in a Caravan. We had options to live with parents but we both felt that was a bad idea, and though we could rent, it is so expensive to rent in that area that we would be unable to save.

Saving over the next few years will be vital!! As we still need some funds to complete the house and we want to be able to finish it really nicely with a great kitchen and so on.

So the reason I have started writing about it now, even though this has been the plan for a few months now, is that the caravan we bought (for the lowly sum of £1800!) is now in place ready. Though getting it there was no easy task! It took 2 days to get it in place and then a further day to get it jacked up and secure. I will post a load of pictures soon showing the process of this.

The adventure feels a little more real today than it has done for a while as things are starting to progress further. I will post pictures of the caravan as it is (it’s a 1998 static caravan so the interior is a little dated) and pictures of the tricks I have found for me to try and make it as homely as possible for us.

So as the title says, the adventure starts right here!

Sneak Peak: here are a couple of images of the caravan being delivered and the lovely views we will have once we are moved in!

‘The Frey Life’

Over the last year or so I have started to watch more and more YouTube videos which has led me to following a few ‘Vloggers’. This started when I discovered someone who had been posting videos every day for the last few years (he is now into the 9th year), including the documentation of him discovering a brain Tumour and the following treatment. This included a video during his brain surgery.

It is mad to think of what people are able to share with the world.

A little while ago I came across a video to do with a very lovely couple and the life they live while fighting Cystic Fibrosis, or CF as it is commonly known. It has been eye opening, heart warming and inspirational to see this lovely lady fight and struggle with this condition whilst retaining a thankful and positive demeanour.

Mary has always had CF and has over her life learnt all that is needed to help maintain her condition to make the most of what she can do. I think it can be difficult when watching the videos to really imagine what it is like to live with such a condition and there are only ever small hints to how much suffering it causes. You see the occasional coughing fit and the impact certain medications have on her system and the way she feels but through it all she is positive and continues to fight.

One phrase which has become a little catch phrase for her is ‘Do what you think you can’t do’ and I think it is astonishing and moving to see her fight and push through the pain and discomfort. She is grateful for the time she doesn’t have a head ache or has managed to keep a meal down having just suffered a coughing fit. Something most people would really struggle to live with on a day to day basis. She has been pushing herself so that she can now maintain a headstand and even walk on her hands. I haven’t been able to do stuff like that since I was like 8!!

We complain and winge about the smallest of things in life, it seems to be the thing our generation does, with the internet providing us with a platform to anonymously and openly complain about every tiny detail in life. And I am guilty of this just like everyone else. I complain my hip hurts or that I have to cook diner for my very loving husband. My daily battles are not so draining and exhausting as Mary who has this exhausting and hard battle to live through.

Her husband Peter is a Pastor so it is lovely to also see people openly talking about religion, it is not bible bashing, in your face or any kind of over kill. It is just very present within the way they act and live their lives. They are passionate about it and it gives them such peace when dealing with difficulties. It is a nice change from the doom and gloom. For someone who has every opportunity to play the victim (and rightly so) they live their lives striving to help and encourage others, to push through and not let things get them down. To see the positives and happiness is every moment and make the most of the times when things are a little easier.

An inspiring couple who live their lives to the fullest and really do have a great sense of peace and purpose. I wish them all the best in their fight against CF especially as we head toward CF awareness month and a lot of charity walks being carried out to raise money towards research on the condition.

Though they are not likely to read this and I am not likely to meet them, they have inspired me the last few months to push myself and to prove myself wrong and to do what I think I can’t do. And for that I am truly grateful!

Here are a few links to all their social media bits;

https://www.youtube.com/user/thefreylife/featured

https://www.instagram.com/freyliving/

https://www.instagram.com/peterfreylife/

https://www.facebook.com/thefreylife

 

 

April!

I can’t quite believe it is April already! Recently I came to the decision that April is my favourite month and time of year. Especially in the UK.  

Over the last few years April has been warm and wonderful to a temperature I can deal with, lovely blue skies, slightly longer evenings. All in all a great time of year. Admittedly it can snow in April, or rain the whole month. Bur recently we have a better summer in April than we do in the summer! 

So updates…our house in on the market, with 2 estate agents in the hope we have some interest. It’s been on the market for nearly 3 months now and we have had no interest at all. Which I am finding very frustrating. I just want to move now and get going with things.  That and my husband is exhausted.  Partly due to work being busy and also wanting to work more hours to help us save. We do have a house to build after all 🙂 

This week, and last, have been particularly hard with Alan not being home before 8 which means there is not much time before we have to head to bed. But we push through and I do as much as I can to make life as easy as I can for him. This and the thought of a four day weekend for easter help us keep going. 

Fingers crossed the weather continues so we can get the caravan sorted and maybe tidy our garden up a little for people coming to view it. So many dandelions at the moment! 

We will keep praying and pushing for our new chapter in life to start.

I am still alive I promise!

It has been a really really really long time since I have posted here and I have no real excuse for it to be honest. Just life!

So we are trying to sell our house at the moment, we are so desperate for people to want the house so we can move on and get on with the next very exciting chapter of our life together and get going with the adventure of building a house and living in a caravan for the duration of the build.

It’s all exciting and stressful and scary all at the same time as we want to ensure it is all in place and sorted first time around with the right plumbing and wiring to suit all that we want within the house.

Along with this I have been busy with freelance work so that has kept me going and I am now trying to loose weight. I have had issues with my weight for a long time and struggle to get rid of it. Bad joints can make exercise painful and I’ll be honest I like food. I don’t think I eat too unhealthily it is more portion size I think and a serious lack of exercise.

So I am signed up to Weight Watchers to track and monitor what I eat which I have enjoyed so far seeing how low in points I can get my food to be while still being full. I have also joined a gym but find motivation to actually go very hard, though I enjoy it when I am there. I have resistance bands and weights for at home and I need to try and walk more…..however it’s not the nicest area to walk in at the moment as it is on roads and what not. But when we move, we will be living at the side of the canal and with a perfectly picturesque towpath to walk on I am hoping I will find it easier to go for nice walks.

I think I need to sort out some music on my phone to listen to, I have been relying on Harry Potter audio books recently but having finished the series (for the 5th time or something silly) I don’t really want to listen to them again, just yet 🙂

I also think the whole going out to walk thing will be easier once we get a dog, which I have been promised when we move….though this has now been pushed till we are actually in our house, caravan and puppy is maybe not the wisest thing in the world. One day I will have a dog this I am sure on!

Anyway, Day one of being more motivated for activeness and movement, healthy eating and more positive thinking oh and of course looking forward to the next chapter and challenges ahead 🙂

 

Rugby Season

So today marks the start of the RBS 6 nations with a surprise first result with Scotland having just defeated Ireland!! 

My husband loves rugby and it’s the only time I see he get really into a sport and get a little over excited. He gets distracted, shouts at the telly and complains about Owen Farell…a lot. 

I have started to enjoy rugby as I now understand it a little more but I still find it a little difficult to get excited about. It’s far more entertaining than football for me but still it’s sport. 

So for the next few weeks I will have an over excited puppy like husband telling me all about the rugby and be made to watch every match but I may be able to use this to my advantage…..there are a lot of girly movies I would like to see….I’m sure he will have to come with me now 🙂 

Caravan caravan take us away….

So the ball is rolling! We are very lucky that’s Alans dad knows everyone in the local area and works with a large number of them! This has come in handy when looking for a caravan. We get a good quality caravan for a very good price and have been  able to confirm that they can get I where we need it. 

Sadly the site for the house is up a slightly narrow and tight drive so we had a fear we wouldn’t actually manage to get a caravan up the drive. They have said it will be possible and will do all they can to help us get it where we need it. 

So having sold my car we can actually afford the caravan and have reserved it and once the site is ready for it and the house is sold we can get it set up and wired in and we will be ready to go. 

It’s quite a scary thought really. It’s hard to imagine and slightly daunting but we are looking forward to it. It’s going to be tough but also exciting and being right there as the house gets built will be so fascinating and exciting. A tough time ahead but worth it for the results. 18 months in a caravan whilst saving every penny we can. 

A challenge but BRING. IT. ON!! 

An Exciting Future!

Towards the end of last year my freelance work had slowed down and it felt like anything that could go wrong did go wrong. We had to get new tyres for one car, an oil and filter change for the other and a few days in London meant food being spent on train tickets and meals out. This along with a week away from home and a New Year’s gathering at ours meant that life felt expensive and hectic.

This new year has brought in some great new work and some exciting opportunities that many people of our age would kill for.

We are now in the process of preparing our house to be sold, this has meant we have a builder here every day helping to fix the issues left by the original workers. We are lucky he has become a good friend since working in the houses on our road. Thanks to him the house is looking much neater and will hopefully mean we can sell it nice and quickly.

It has now been valued and we are feeling happy with the valuation as the area we are in really hinders the value of the property. Also, we are lucky that there is a new Super Prison due to open later this year which means lots of people relocating or moving to the area to start a new job.

We are hoping we can sell it quick though we are both very sad to move on, we love this house and it has been our first grown up house. I love my kitchen too, I don’t want to leave it but I will be able to get another kitchen soon. It is more important for us to be moving into a house nearer to Alan’s work than it is to have a very lovely kitchen.

But to add to this, we are moving into a caravan…. well that is the plan.

You see we are going to be building a house. Complete madness I know, we are 26 and building a house!! We are fortunate that Alan’s Dad has been planning to build a house for a little while and was working to a 5-10 year build. However, with our investment after selling our house, we can help that project to be completed much faster. So, to help with saving money we are planning to buy a static caravan and live in it on site whilst the build happens.

So, I am hoping I can share every stage of the build here, I will try (and I mean try) to keep it updated every day and add some pictures. We are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity and need to be careful with money for a while so we can continue to add to the project fund.

It is exciting and we have just had 100% confirmation that we can go ahead with it. It is very exciting and we now need to get going with finding and sorting a caravan out and getting our house on the market and sold. Sad but exciting few months!!