A while back I used to post Five Things Friday posts on Fridays.
Well, today isn’t Friday, – it’s Tuesday and I feel like I probably have more than 5 things to share, so I’m going to try for a Ten Things Tuesday post instead…
We’re still working on our house…I fear it will never be complete!
We’ve actually been living in our house for three years now, which is insane! Although our house felt almost instantly like home there is still so much that needs doing to it. The work on our last property was completed much quicker as it was a much smaller property and we completed the majority of the larger projects before we moved in.
This house came with challenges though. A major update required – new bathrooms and a new kitchen, new boiler, new carpets, new radiators and skirting. It seems like we’re taking forever to get through the list which we made, and whenever we do manage to cross something off, we always spot something else that needs improving/updating/changing. I’m not sure that we’re in our forever home, but it is definitely the perfect home for our little family right now. Dan and I upsized from a two-bed to a four-bed house in 2015, but had to compromise on a smaller garden in order to do so. Having focused mainly on projects in the inside of the house over the past couple of years, our focus has now shifted to the garden ever since Oscar took his first steps and wants to be outside all day every day!
I really, really wanted our garden done ready for Dan’s birthday next month but it’s unlikely to be complete in time. We dedicated one solid weekend to trying to make some headway on clearing everything, but because of the heat it was impossible to work for too long in one go and one of us always had to keep near to Oscar as the garden has an open pond. We also had help in the form of Dan’s Dad for a few hours that weekend and friends for a few hours the following one. I can’t wait for the garden to be finished now – it will be so nice to be able to let Oscar out to play without having to spend two hours sat holding his hand by the pond as he stirs the water with a stick!
So far we’ve cut down the giant monkey puzzle tree that was at the back of the garden, removed several walls and mini hedges, cleared the patio area and flattened the ground out ready for grass. It’s definitely getting there but I’m looking forward to the day when I feel like I can finally sit down on a chair in the garden and get out a book and a cold drink to oversee Oscar playing on the lawn.
(Our garden in it’s current state)
The plan is to turn the entire right side of the garden to lawn, pop a bench on the far left-hand side of the garden overlooking the pond and then fence this whole area off, then remove the wall and shrubs on that same side. At this top end we’ll keep Oscar’s outdoor toys.
It’s still very much a (slow) work in progress.
I’ve totally had enough of this heatwave.
We all like a bit of sun but this is getting ridiculous now. It would be nice not to feel like I need to change my outfit every two hours during the day and to be able to go outside without having to cake Oscar and myself in gallons of suncream first.
The one saving grace? There is no way that this heatwave can last until mid-September when I attempt my next 100 miler…right?…
I had such a good day out with the Decathlon Blogger’s Team on Saturday.
…Like, the best day.
Other than when I’m out running (which I usually try to schedule for early in the morning before Oscar wakes) it’s rare that I have any me-time at all these days unless I also have a child in tow and it was so, so lovely to head out to the Decathlon Blogger event in London on Saturday. I hadn’t met any of the other bloggers before in person, although have followed and chatted to several of them online now for a number of years.
I’m waiting for the pictures to come through from the event before writing my recap post in full but will just say that we played some friendly team sports on the roof of the Decathlon building, headed over to the park for interviews and volleyball and stopped for a gorgeous lunch too. Outside activities and good food – the makings of a perfect day!
I had a bit of a nightmare getting down to London though.
My brother arrived late the night before to babysit Oscar for me. He came with his girlfriend and two stepkids who Oscar adores…resulting in lots of bed jumping and excited chatter until I finally managed to get Oscar to bed just after midnight.
Oscar then woke again at 3am and stayed awake on my bed until 5:10am when he fell back asleep – giving me just 5 minutes sleep before my alarm went off! 😭 A quick rush round to get ready, but one of the kids had moved my purse the night before and I couldn’t find it anywhere. Luckily I had an emergency £30 stashed away upstairs which came in useful! It then took my step-niece and I ten minutes to wake my brother, by which point I was cutting it really fine to get to the train station on time.
I made it to Bedford, missed the car park turning so had to turn around. Rushed over to the ticket machine. The machine I’d entered my registration number in only took cards as payment…then it wouldn’t cancel my registration number so I couldn’t use another machine! Finally I managed to select my car registration on another machine only to discover that the machines didn’t take notes, only coins! I rushed inside, queued in Starbucks for change only to be told that they didn’t have any, but the lady on the ticket booth did, handing over a selection of pound coins in exchange for my fiver. I rushed back outside, got my ticket and rushed back in agaom. From my place in the queue (of two) I asked the woman on the turnstile if I would be able to buy my ticket whilst on the train. She started asking me questions about which train I was traveling on. Turns out I did have to buy my ticket from the ticket booth, so I turned around to re-enter the queue at the same time a group of about 12-13 other people all joined on at the back. 😭 I did have a little cry – literally everything was going wrong for me!
With my train sat on the platform and just one minute left before it was due to leave, I forlornly turned around and headed back to my car, resigning myself to the drive. How hard could it be?…!
Turns out London isn’t the easiest place to drive and I was definitely feeling rather stressed out by the time I pulled up in a local Tesco carpark a while later. Even more stressed out when I realised that I would only be allowed to park there for four hours, – at least an hour less than our meet up was due to last. I started to spill out my tale of woe to the lady on the checkout at Tescos and she quickly reassured me that the Customer Services Manager would be able to add my car registration to the list which would have access to unlimited parking that day. Luckily, after slightly more persuasion on my part, the CSM agreed!
Coming home was a further nightmare as my phone died a death in the middle of an upgrade on my walk back from lunch. I had my car charger with me so wasn’t overly concerned until 20 minutes of charging had happened and my phone still wouldn’t turn on. I suddenly realised that I was in the largest city in the country in complete unknown territory with no satnav to direct me home, no phone to call for help and no money to pay my way out either!
I made my way to the nearest phone fixer-upper shop I could find and spilled out my tale of woe once more. Luckily after 30 minutes or so of poking, prodding and testing, the amazing guy behind the counter wished me a better weekend and returned my (now-working) phone free of charge! My hero!
I miss reading blogs.
I try and keep up with social media and can usually catch Youtube videos when I’m doing the washing up so know roughly what most of the people I follow online are getting up to, but I’m rather particular when it comes to reading blog posts. I like to sit upstairs at my desk in the office uninterrupted so that I can easily type a comment on a blog after I’ve finished reading it. There’s nothing more faffy than writing a really long blog comment out on my phone! There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in my day at the moment though, especially since Oscar has been much later going to bed since the start of this heatwave. Hopefully, now that I’m cutting two nights from my working week I’ll be able to slot a few hours of blog reading back in again. Fingers crossed.
We’ve been spending lots of time with family just lately.
…Which has been nice. Oscar has four cousins (the eldest is six), four step cousins (the eldest is ten) and another baby cousin due at the start of September.
Dan’s brother and sister joined us for a day out at West Lodge Farm Park a couple of weeks back with their four children.
It’s Oscar’s favourite place at the moment. It’s still free for him to go until September when he turns two, and I got a season ticket a few weeks back so we intend to visit a lot over the next few months.
We had a look around to see all the animals before spending time in the playpark, grabbing a barrel ride, eating our picnics and watching the pig racing. Then we decided it was time to try the walk to the Witch’s House. Dan decided to tell the kids that a real witch lived in the house and would cast spells on them if they were naughty that day, so they needed to behave. An OK tactic in principle, but as the kids nervously talked about whether the witch would be in when we arrived, he didn’t retract his statement and continued with the pretence. Dan’s brother had been left behind with his youngest child in their buggy when we reached a steep set of steps a few minutes away from the Witch’s House. The other three children and Oscar eagerly followed Dan towards the house when we arrived. Now in full character though, Dan told them all to wait back and that he would check to see if the witch was in first of all before letting them come forward. They waited nervously in anticipation as Dan earnestly knocked on the door then peered into the window, updating them all the time. When he peered into the window, his back was to the kids so Dan thought it would be funny to let out a loud cackle as if he was the witch. Oscar and Isla remained stood where they were but Jenson and Georgia ran as fast as they could towards the spot where I stood with Dan’s sister. Dan hadn’t realised that he’d frightened them and so let out a second cackle at this point and Georgia took off – shooting through the nettles and brambles, desperate to get back to where her Dad was in the wood, with me desperately trying to chase after her! Dan got a severe telling off from me afterwards!
I am really enjoying running right now.
I need to bring speedwork back into my weekly training schedule, but this should hopefully be easier now that I have dropped a couple of shifts at work.
I was a little nervous about attending running club after my first 100 mile attempt last month. My 10k time means that I sit just inside the qualifying time to run with Group 4, but I worried about having lost speed whilst ultra training. In the end, on my first night back the club was a coach short and so Groups 5 and 6 were running together that evening. I had been half tempted to run with Group 5 when I turned up to the club meeting point, but wasn’t so keen on running at the much slower Group 6 pace, so did run with Group 4 after all. Turned out that I had to turn back and collect runners during the run – I wasn’t near the back at all!
For about a year I was rarely able to attend club sessions. Dan didn’t get home from work until 6:20pm and with club runs held 8 miles away unless I dragged Oscar out to club every week so that Dan could meet me in the car park and take O home, I just couldn’t get there in time. When I gave up my position on the club committee in April though, Dan agreed to speak to his boss to see if they could work something out and he now starts and finishes work half an hour early on a Thursday so that I can run out with club and feel more part of things again.
I don’t think I’ve processed the death of my Mum yet.
I’m not really sure what to write about this other than just that. I’m not sure if it’s because my life is so busy that I haven’t really allowed myself to stop and think about it but I’ve never really gotten upset and I feel like life just carried on when perhaps time should have stood still for a little while first.
It’s already been eight months but I think because it was such a long, drawn-out process it feels like much longer. I still visit my Dad in Norfolk every couple of weeks and speak to him most days on the phone. I will be more concerned for him when Winter rolls around than now though. He’s really thrown himself into the garden this Summer.It’s absolutely beautiful and consumes a lot of time, but that’s a Summer activity and I think he might notice that Mum has gone more when Winter rolls around.
I’m really excited about our upcoming holidays.
Dan’s Mum bought a holiday place (I think a cabin/static home type place?) in the Isle of Wight at the start of the Summer. She’s been down most weeks since, and Dan’s sister has visited several times but we’re yet to test it out. We’re hoping to spend three days down in the Isle of Wight at the end of August. We’re also planning on staying with my Dad in Norfolk for a further four days the following week. There is always so much to do in Norfolk and growing up here myself, I know all the attractions to take Oscar to. I am really looking forward to having a proper little break back in my home county.
I seriously underestimated quite how hard life as a stay-at-home-parent would be.
Oscar has just hit the ‘Terrible Twos’ and seems to be having a meltdown over absolutely anything at the moment. Quite often it’s a food related meltdowns and it seems to have tied in with him dropping his daytime nap. One super-tired, super-hungry one year old can often be found screaming at me or trying to headbutt me when he gets really frustrated. His meltdowns are always over something completely unreasonable.
Oscar: Oscar wants falafel.
Me: Wait one minute while I put this away and then I’ll get you one…OK, here you go.
Oscar: NO FALAFEL! NO FALAFEL!
Me: Alright, I’ll put the falafel back in the fridge again.
Oscar: OSCAR WANT FALAFEL! Banana! Milk! OSCAR FALAFEL!
It gets quite draining. It ends up being more draining staying at home and being frustrated at not being able to get on with anything (or have everything undone as you tick jobs off!) than it does heading out for a few hours though, so we do go out for the day quite a lot at the moment to take his mind off of things.
No-one articulates quite how much hard work and how lonely bringing up a child can be, and without family living nearby I’ve found this even more so at times.
Why did I not make the most of Norfolk when I lived there?
I miss my friends and family, the beach, I miss how laid back Norfolk life is compared to life in the Midlands and I miss the memories of my childhood.
Oscar is loving outside life at the moment and whenever we visit my Dad he eagerly helps dig up potatoes…
…test the raspberry crop…
…or just spends time watering the flowers…
My Dad is known for making en epic salad. Here’s the one he greeted me with at lunchtime today.
Dan doesn’t eat any salad items so we have it much less frequently as a meal choice than I would like. Especially at this time of year. Oscar eats a much better variety when we stay at my Dad’s, and he helps to collect the food from the garden – something my Mum would have been so chuffed to have seen him do.
Oscar adores taking my Dad’s dog out for walks and insists on walking the whole way himself, even if it does take him an hour as he stops to look at every single plant and creature on the walk!
I took Oscar down to the beach for the first time last week and it is probably his new favourite thing. He had so much fun running around with the children of two of my best friends and constantly wanted to be paddling in the water or digging sandcastles. I can’t wait to take him to the beach with Dan when we both come to stay in August.
Any suggestions for places to visit/things to do on the Isle of Wight?
How are you finding this heat?
When do you tend to read/write blog posts?