The Stressful Things Of Life

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So much has happened in the last few weeks that I don’t really know where to start. I mentioned it before disappearing into a whirlwind of life-changing events, but we’ve just ticked a couple of boxes of Most Stressful Things You Could Face In Life. I knew from experience that moving house was one of them so I looked online and sure enough, this is what I found:

1. Buying or selling a house.

2. A relationship break-up or divorce.

3. Getting laid off.

4. A death in the family.

5. Getting fired.

6. Being in debt.

7. Starting a new job.

8. Becoming a parent for the first time.

9. Planning a wedding.

10. Going broke or bankrupt.

Number 1 and 7 happened to us in a really short space of time: we moved one week and I started a new job – after a break of nearly four years – the next. The week after we moved I also became a student again and started a qualification in business management, in addition to having to find a childminder for the girls and buying a second car.

I must admit that I surprised myself by not getting stressed by the expected things. The packing was  painful and we lived in boxes for 2 months so by the end I was tired of it but, incredibly enough, not stressed. In the midst of that I went for a couple of interviews and got the job, and it was an odd time but not stressful to me.

What did happen however, was that there was only so much space in my head for the multitude of other decisions I needed to make in the space of two weeks, and I simply couldn’t give each issue the amount of engagement and energy they required. So finding a childminder and a car, these two things got to me. I found myself one Wednesday morning chatting to a friend when the realisation that I needed to sort these things out in the next seven days suddenly overwhelmed me so there I was, crying over stuff I didn’t even know I had been stressed about.

Life has been… exhilarating, busy, challenging, and then some!

We moved into our brand new house three weeks ago today, and it’s been momentous and exhausting. I am still in disbelief that it is a real thing that happened and I catch myself at times ‘so we actually live here?‘, as we had no immediate plans to move before mid-December when it all started. As to the move itself, it went very well but I am SO GLAD it is behind us now. I have had enough of living in boxes and I look forward to never doing it again. Unfortunately I can already tell this is going to continue for a while yet, as this past month confirmed that Badgerman and I both have the tendency to keep things, we’re basically beginner-level hoarders. The house is gorgeous, with loads of light and very well finished (one friend came to visit and left suffering from ‘banister envy’ as she put it). To be honest, it’s hard for me to get my head around just what an amazing turn of events this is. I’ve rented my whole life and house prices being what they are in the South East, it looked unlikely that we would be able to afford anything this spacious so I couldn’t be more grateful (even though we do only own a bit of it).

Then there’s the new job, and a completely new routine for the whole family. I was most anxious for the girls rather than for me, hence the meltdown over finding suitable childcare for them at short-notice – how could I think to move them from the only house they ever knew AND disappear into working life the next week? It turns out that the ‘children are resilient’ saying is true of my own; both girls seem to have adapted to their new circumstances with relative ease.

I don’t like being so busy that I don’t have the head-space to write or think about writing, but between adjusting, unpacking and studying (just, WHAT), it is where I am at the moment. I am aware that I am still in ’emergency mode’ and that I need to find a new routine for myself so that I don’t just play catch-up with my life but am able to carve space for relaxing and blogging. I’ll let you know when I figure it out!



Five Minute Friday: Keep

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I’m back this week to take part in Five Minute Friday, where you follow a prompt and write for five minutes flat. I did it long-hand and cheated a bit by giving myself 10 minutes. I think it’s fair!


Ever since we decided to buy a house last December, I’ve been trying to work out how to trim down our possessions, what to sell, what to give away, what to keep. I was… optimistic in my ability to make efficient decisions.

I’m not exactly a hoarder but I am not a tidy person and I like to keep hold of stuff. It’s a lethal combination. I like physical books and Badgerman likes physical music, specifically CDs. Between the two of us we are a removal company’s worst nightmare. I still have diaries from when I was a teenager, literary horrors full of emotional outbursts which I have no intention of reading again, but physical reminders nonetheless of the person I used to be. A part of me wants to hold on to that.

I tell myself that I might some day need this bit of string or that old candle holder and I store it (badly) until that day comes. And of course, for the most part, the day never comes and in the meantime, clutter accumulates, until you want to move out and dear lord do you feel inadequate then!

Sometimes I wonder ‘what would I take with me in the event of a fire‘? The answer should never be belongings, unless your passport happens to be by the front door, but it’s a good question, isn’t it? Would I feel like I lost myself if it all went up in flames? I am not my possessions and I do not want them to own me, yet as I ponder what to do with them all, I can see how much they do in fact have more of a hold on me than I would like.

The times, they are a-changing


Recently, it’s been radio silence on the blog, and for good reason. I’ve been ill, think four whole weeks of gathering to myself every wintery illness under the grey sky (apart from stomach flu, thank GOODNESS). I’ve barely managed to drag myself out with the girls by the tips of my fingers. But it’s not all that’s been going on, and now that I am feeling more energetic and that I am not reeling as much from all the crazy happenings, I’m ready with an update.

Over the last year, we have given a regular glance to our local Help To Buy website in the hope that a suitable property would turn up, and it’s been a whole year of nothing. Then a couple of weeks ago, I casually went online to check it out again and there it was, a 2-bed house that was local, affordable, and… well, a bit small but with potential. We went to check it out, and it wasn’t bad. Badgerman wasn’t convinced that it was big enough for our family but it had a lot of storage space so I was talking myself into it, thinking this was all we could afford anyway and if we ever wanted to buy, this was as good as it was going to be.

The property prices in the South East of England are a bit steep to say the least, only a small notch down from London prices, which are astronomical. With the money you pay for a two bedroom house down here, you can buy a seven bedroom property in Yorkshire. FACT. So with our limited means, we basically can’t afford anything suitable and what we can afford, even a hobbit would balk at. Until 2 weeks ago I had yet to see a house that had a bedroom big enough for both our girls’ toddler beds. I knew we had to compromise somehow but I didn’t know where and how to draw the line.

Within 24 hours of visiting the 2-bed property, the housing agency was waiting our go-ahead and our financial advisor had a mortgage agreement in principle ready for us. We weren’t expecting this kind of turn around so were completely unprepared to make such a big decision! Then the next thing happened.

You know the saying ‘you wait for the bus and then two come at once? In my experience in Britain, it’s been a case of ‘you wait for a bus and three or four come at once and you have to walk all the way down the line and hope your bus is still there by the time you make it’. In any case, the saying is accurate.

The day I was going to arrange a second viewing, we heard about a new 3-bed property just round the corner in the next village, and it was beautiful and perfect and so much more spacious…

And so here we are: in the midst of purchasing our first home, a brand-new, not even finished house in a quaint English village. If all goes well, we will have completed by mid-January and moved in by the end of that same month. I’m suffering from a mild case of whiplash from everything. Two weeks ago, we were just thinking about Christmas and presents. Now I have a month to do Christmas and pack up a house. The move is happening in the midst of the deadline for school applications, I have no car, no job as yet (but looking), no preschool for Little Girl to go to in our new location, and a serious case of jitters. I’m excited with a slight edge of panic but when an opportunity like this arises, you just have to go and grab it.

So this is what I’ve been doing. It’s quite likely that I will only sporadically be on the blog in the next month or so; I know it’s been a while already but it’s going to be so manic I am not going to be able to stick to a schedule. Please accept my apologies in advance and happy Christmas to everyone.