When I started this blog over a year ago I wanted somewhere to write, I called it my musings – I have no explanation. I wanted somewhere to collect things, ideas and thoughts, in essence this hasn’t changed. I am writing this two months into lockdown during the time that may be referred to by future generations as The Great Lockdown 2020, without using expletives that is. For many people this has brought a time to recollect thoughts, for learning new things if the fancy took you, or a time for hanging tight and looking after yourself and your family. I am sure you have all seen the posts on Social Media like the following:
So whether you have used this time to learn Mandarin, complete Netflix or simply look after yourself doesn’t matter, it’s what you had before, what you want to change and what you want to remain when this is all over that does.
I want to rush back to my dreams and my goals. The ideas and plans that I have sat on for years. The reason that I started this blog over a year ago, and lose the fears that have caused my relationship with Instagram to be inconsistent to say the least. There are so many reasons to not do, so many worries and fears about what could happen, but what about the millions of reasons to do and the excitement and wonder that something wonderful might, might just happen.
Today, I rewrote my Instagram Bio, yesterday I wrote a new about page for this blog. I wanted to show not only who I am, but who I am aspiring to be. They read, in the staccato fashion that online bio’s tend to, Business, Home, Lifestyle, Travel. Dog Mum. Writer.
I wrote on my first blog post that ‘my job is nothing to do with this, the polar opposite really, and that’s how it will remain’. Well, what a difference a year makes. I have never spoken about my career apart from with those within my industry. It has only taken me 17 years to realise that I have been doing myself a compete disservice. For those 17 years I have worked in Direct Sales and Marketing, building both sales and marketing teams, delivering targets and I have loved nearly every second of it. It has been a huge part of my life, many people would say it has been my life, to leave it out of here would be not only complete madness, but also untrue. The realisation of my own skills and achievements, I am good at building teams of people, I am good at coaching and advising people and and that highlighting and shouting about it is not only allowed but is positively wonderful. These skills and achievements can only grow as I grow, why I never thought it would be part of Her Stuff is beyond me. Expect to see much more business focus, both past, present and future, from here on in.
This is the easy part. I love our house and I love building our home. By no stretch of the imagination am I an interior expert but I have loved renovating our property so far and cannot wait for the next phases – even if they feel very far away at the moment. Sharing our home and renovating journey was part of the original idea of the blog and will be here to stay, whether it is the big stuff like steels, or the little things that we have collected for our shelves on our travels. If you are anything like me there is nothing better than a little peek inside others homes for ideas, for oohs and aahs, and for sheer pleasure. This will be a little peek in to mine.
I love the life that me and Mr P are building. We are making decisions based on what we want our life to look like in months and years down the line, making sure that the elements are being built now. We want a life that is full of enjoyment, pleasure and as much happy as we can get.
I could write a huge list of things that I love, but think Books, Films & TV shows, Food – both eating and cooking, and the times I hit the yoga mat to make sure that I never lose the ability to touch my toes. I will also be daring to have a conversation about health issues and the impact these have had on my life, but there are many posts to be written on that subject.
If you follow me on Instagram you will know that in the last year we have had a new addition to our wee family in the shape of a cocker spaniel x puggle named Duke. There are not enough joyful words in the world to explain the happiness he has brought in to our life. It goes without saying that Duke will factor, probably shoehorned photos in every post. Lets face it you might come here for the words but you will stay for the dog.
Who doesn’t love seeing new places, whether that’s with your own eyes, or through another beholder? Expect holidays abroad and the UK, overnights, days out, reviews, ideas and dreams. Duke will demand many of these are dog friendly.
You can go and see our kind of travel with this post from last year
There may also be a travel business announcement on the horizon………….
I was listening to Elizabeths Days’ podcast How to Fail it was the episode that Elizabeth was talking to Cush Jumbo, Cush states that ‘It’s difficult to make things if you are hiding’. This sung to me. I need to stop hiding if I want to move forward with writing, Instagram and a new part of my life. I need to get out there and join in. So here I am stepping out from behind the wall, to stop hiding and start making things.
Christmas Day 2018 I was surprised by Mr P with a boarding pass for a flight from Manchester to Paris on April 1st 2019. I cried, not because the boarding pass couldn’t possibly be real, because for the second year in the row we had made the decision we were not doing Christmas presents; for the second year in a row I did receive a Christmas present, for the second year in a row Mr P did not. We do not spend Christmas Day together, choosing to spend the day with respective families but I am entering into a completely different type of post.
I can’t really think of anything nicer than a surprise trip to Paris apart from a surprise trip to Paris where your best friend MB, had also been surprised on the same Christmas Day, with the same boarding pass (albeit hers said from Glasgow) and we would be meeting in Paris as a four ready to spend some quality time together. The boys did good.
Where we stayed; The Apartment; The Area
I am a hotel girl, I love love love hotels. I can spend one night in a good hotel and feel like I have been away for a week. I love the feel of a hotel room, I love meeting in the hotel bar before you go out and I love the nightcap before you retire (fall in) to bed. I want to order room service and realise that the m&m’s I ate last night from the minibar cost more than my flight. A hotel it was going to be, until we started looking and we stumbled upon an apartment, just the one apartment in particular, Exclusive Loft in Le Marais, on booking.com. Once we had seen this, we couldn’t quite get it out of our head, it was booked.
We were greeted by our host at the apartment, which was convenient and comforting. The host also adjusted the check in and check out times as best as they could to suit our flight times; this way we had more time to enjoy our break. We could not believe the location, bang smack in the middle of Le Marais, in the 4th arrondissement. Le Marais is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Paris but is fast becoming one of the most fashionable. The streets surrounding the apartment were steeped in history, smells of food and wine, and fashion – the majority of shops surrounding our apartment were selling very pretty items from jewelry to beautiful cloths, materials and bags, but 90% of them were for trade customers only; very interesting if you are a buyer.
The apartment itself was just wonderful. The front door opened on to a stylish kitchen and living area. The pictures we looked at on booking.com literally are exactly as the apartment looks in real life. There was a place to sit and relax, peruse one of the many books on offer. There was a dining table for the four of us to sit at. This was actually one of my favourite things and a serious selling point for us. We all wanted to relax as well as see Paris. The ability to get up when we wanted, without the pressure of having to organise the night before what time we wanted to meet for breakfast. The ease of this made our trip all the more pleasurable. As it went in the mornings, everybody got up exactly when they wanted. On the first morning I very much enjoyed five minutes quiet time just me and my coffee(freshly made in the fancy Nespresso coffee machine) on the sophisticated sofa, enjoying the warm bask of the feeling that I was in Paris. From that first morning and the continuing two, one of the boys went to the local boulangerie on the corner for croissants, pastries and baguettes.
The table was set, the coffee was made, the juice poured and we sat and ate and talked and laughed. For me this was a real-life point, a real memory; when something so normal is elevated it makes your soul feel good. We would then all get ready in our own calm time and by midday we would be out pounding the Paris streets, ready for the next sight, the next delicious food and definitely the next drink.
After getting organised in our own bedrooms with wardrobe space, hangers, beautiful interiors, wonderful bathrooms. I will stop here and appreciate the bathrooms for a moment, they were both a great size and wonderfully decorated. Privacy with bathrooms is high on my life necessity list. Two of our party were particularly excited about one element of the bathrooms – the Dyson hairdryer. I wouldn’t like to say that it was the highlight of the break for MB, but think it was going to be hard for her considering it had reached such dizzy heights a matter of hours into our visit to Paris.
What we ate
Anyway, after we had ooohed and aaaahed at the marvellous apartment we would call home for the next 3 nights and four days. We set out to explore. First, we were hungry and thirsty and not necessarily in that order.
Our first port was about a 3-minute walk from the apartment to a very busy cross roads, that had at the heart of it a cafe Les Art & Metiers that currently had the sun beaming down on it. Luck was on our side, as we were being sent messages from home of the turn in the weather and possible snow in April, we managed to find ourselves seated at a table on the pavement, being warmed by the glorious sun.
It didn’t take us long to decide that the drinks were to be champagne and beer, and the food order was to be four Croque Madames, we decided Madames over Monsieurs as we were famished, we wanted something to soak up the champagne and the beer, and we wanted sustenance for our ongoing afternoons stroll in Paris.
The champagne was French, crisp and cold, the beer was large, cold and with perfect fizz. The Croque Madame was delicious, fresh, comforting and carb loaded. The waiter was attentive and perfectly Parisian. We could not have asked for a better first afternoon in Paris.
If you were to ask the boys what was their favourite day or memory of the trip they would both say the Tuesday late afternoon into Tuesday evening. Earlier in the day, we had spent the afternoon on the Champs Élysées, ate patisserie at Pierre Hermé the Pierre Hermé x L’occitane to be precise. The patisserie was beautiful and delicious.
For us, Champs Élysées lacked the warmth that we had found elsewhere in Paris, if you are looking for large designer boutiques this is the place for you.
We decided to get the BatoBus along to Notre Dame, that way we could take in all the sights along the river, and look up at the all the awesome bridges, that punctuate the Seine.
Getting off the boat, we wandered a little looking at the little stalls that line the side of the river, selling books and art. I will be haunted by the old copy of the Hunchback of Notre Dame for €80, that I never picked up, we live and we learn.
I was desperate for a comfort break and I could tell that the boys were beginning to count the hours from the last time they had indulged in a beverage. I suggested that we pop in to the lovely, very Parisian looking bar, on the corner at the end of the bridge directly across the river from Notre Dame. La Frégate. As soon as we entered the bar, we all fell a little bit in love, with the dark wood, red leather, and bustling waiters, it was the Parisian bar we had been waiting for. We managed to get a table for four right in a corner by the window. The waiter was quick to attend and we ordered red wine and a cheese board for the girls, beers and Croque Monsieurs’ for the guys. As our drinks arrived, we looked outside and the heavens had opened, the rain was literally bouncing off the ground as we watched Parisians and tourists alike run for cover. Serendipitously we had decided to enter that bar at that time because within ten minutes every spare seat they had, had been taken by slightly soggy people. One glass of wine, turned into another. The food was delicious and typical of what we wanted to find in our Parisian bar, the bread was fresh and delicious, the cheese was strong and moreish and the red wine was intoxicating.
Second comfort break in and us girls arrived back at the table expecting to leave when it seemed the waiter and the boys were conspiring against us, or simply with each other, to stay and enjoy the atmosphere we found ourselves in. Our waiter was attentive and definitely made us feel at home, regaling us with tales from Paris to Brazil, and he also kept us happy with a constant feed of warm cheese Choux buns. I cannot tell you how good these were, little bites of fluffy cheesy heaven. There is no pictorial evidence of these little bits of heaven, so they or may not have existed, either that or as we were so well lubricated they never lasted very long in their basket. Needless to say we never made it inside Notre Dame to visit, instead we sat in the bar, talking, drinking, eating and laughing. Four friends catching up, spending time together, listening and responding. Did I mention the laughing? Literally thought we were the funniest people in the place. Eventually we left at 10.30pm after arriving around 5 pm. We walked back to our apartment (probably more staggered than walked) but not before we stood in front of Notre Dame complete in slightly drunken awe. The photos that accompanied this of three of my favourite people posing on demand in front of the beautifully lit monumental building are definitely among my favourite photos ever; since our trip I have looked at them fondly, not before laughing, at the sheer splendidness of that evening.
In Montmartre, we settled into another corner table, this time a pavement table, in the sun; this time the complimentary blankets were greatly received and wrapped around our legs. We ordered small beers (to take the edge of the night before), French onion soup, a cheese burger and moules mariniere – a few more boxes ticked on our Parisian adventure. I never took the name of this restaurant, as we were still in a hungover just seen Sacré Coeur haze, so if anybody would be kind enough to tell me the name of the red restaurant on the right hand said of the square walking down from Sacré Coeur I would be grateful. If you go and see this restaurant, get the French onion soup or the moules.
Our last day also fell on MB’s darling husband, Mr B’s birthday so we planned a slightly more birthday-ish brunch than we had the other days – he would have been happy with nothing, which makes it all the more enjoyable to do in my opinion. Think cake, cards, sweets and the first choice of croissant. Anyway, we had until about 5pm that day to see and do what we wanted, so we decided on more walking which took us to a lovely lunch at the Louvre. The weather that day was one of those days where if you got a spot in the sun, then you could bask in it as it warmed you to your bones, if you got a spot in the shade then those aforementioned bones were positively jittering. It just so happened the one of Louvre restaurants has a balcony, The Cafe Marly, that is very well enclosed within the stone arches and its supporting pillars. The outside tables are nestled either in front of the balustrade or between the pillars.
It had socially set tables with comfy cushioned chairs; proper china, silverware and crystal wine glasses. You can have your lunch whilst gazing over at the awesomeness of the Louvre and all the building has to offer. The food was delicious for half of us and small for the other half, the other half particularly enjoyed the cocktails. I think the salads are a very good order, the Salad Nicoise was fresh, salty and delicious with the perfect egg on top. The Chicken Ceaser Salad also went down well.
There are definitely worse spots to sit and take in the majesty of Paris, yet also people watch at the ordinary happening around you as every tourist bustles to get the perfect photo. It was the perfect Paris lunch to top our few days, before we headed back to the airport.
As our chosen mode of transport was by foot, it was repeatedly commented that it was hard to get over the scale of the buildings both in their intricate detail and decoration, but, also their size. The boys could not get over the size of the Louvre , without even going inside and getting lost along its halls. Tuileries Garden in the beautiful April sun, which was reaching 21 degrees at this point was full of lovers kissing on benches (this happens a lot in Paris), co-workers having picnics on the grass, families enjoying time in the warm open air all the while tourists are buzzing round taking as many pictures with selfie sticks as they possibly can. Continuing our walk along the Seine it became even more apparent how good people are at using this city. There are locals in suits, dangling their feet over the riverbank with their bottles of wine and plastic cups enjoying an after work drink, there are many many runners up and down the Seine making you wish you yourself were a runner but then you don’t have the Seine to run on every day, and there is us walking, chatting, looking and soaking up every last ounce of sun and Paris river air. After stopping for another drink, at one of the many bars that appear along the Seine and the all important comfort breaks, we headed to the Eiffel Tower , who had been gazing down at us during our last twenty minutes or so of walking along the Seine.
Mr B took it upon himself to be our personal navigation system, although at this point it felt like he was playing chase the Eiffel Tower. Either way he found us the best route in, I have been to the Eiffel Tower before, but, previously I approached from the river side through the amusements and lucky lucky men. This time by chasing the Eiffel Tower Mr B had found the perfect side street to approach the Eiffel Tower, as if she was born out of the streets and grew into the sky.
Where she had always belonged but looked like nothing else around, a place that allowed her to be seen as majestic as she is. I know a lot of people, particularly Parisians would disagree, but I personally can’t quite get over the engineering feat, and I think she is beautiful. I also like sparkly things and when she lights up at night, she blows my mind.
We all decided we were going to summit, this was something I previously did not do. My last experience was a lift to the restaurant, a lovely dining experience and back down again. I have to admit this time certainly took my breath away. After queueing for some time, we made it to our turn in the lift. The first lift goes up one of the legs, it had not occurred to me at this point that even the first level was quite high and the lift is perpendicular and could send someone quite queasy. Needless to say by the time I got out the first lift, I was feeling weird and when I looked at the mid-height bar that was between the people and the great outdoors it seemed my legs did not want to move. The other three in the party were absolutely fine and marched on ahead to get the next lift to the summit, stating we can look from this view on our way back down. I could not be the party pooper nor could I listen to them regale of the views they saw from up there, and the ‘you should have seen it’ ‘you would have loved it’ ‘I wish you had been there’ and so on and so on. So up they, and I, went.
The summit lift, was the longest lift I have ever been in, and the noisiest, every clunk I envisioned the worst possible things. As my panic rose, the lift driver (would they be called a driver? an attendant? they seemed more important than an attendant) announced that we are at the summit. We stepped out and the first thing that hit me was the air, we had been lucky and it had been a beautiful day, the temperature had dropped this evening, it was still only April after all, but the air up here was clear, crisp and you were able to take in the deepest breath. For some of us this deepest breath was more important than for others. The picture and the presence of Paris was immense.
We arrived at the summit just after dusk, when the sun had just disappeared for the day so we saw Paris come alive by lights, for a magpie like me it took me to a very happy place.
Talking of magpies, I have a serious gypsy gene that draws me to every sparkly, some would say tacky, I would say kitsch souvenir, that on after exiting the gates I have to succumb to one of the lucky lucky men, for a light up Eiffel tower. Now currently looking fabulous in our home.
With tired legs and hungry tummies we decided we were too tired to walk home, the 16500 steps we had done that day had been enough. We walked towards the taxis when a little fairy light covered tuk tuk stood out to us and before we could say Bonjour Monsieur we found ourselves hurtling around Paris, listening to French opera music, lit by blue fairy lights and holding on for dear life.
That little tuk tuk took us directly to the end of the little street our apartment was on, and stopped outside what turned out to be a wonderful café providing delicious burgers and fries that the boys ordered and brought back for us to eat with a glass of fizz, on the sofa watching Netflix after exhausting ourselves on our first day in Paris.
The morning after the night before (the best bar in Paris) gave us a slightly slower start, we headed on foot from Le Marais to Montmartre. We found going on foot everywhere was, yes tiring, but you got to see parts of the city you would not have necessarily seen otherwise. Streets that held beautiful buildings that housed people’s homes, each area holding its own businesses and much different to the next. On the walk to Montmartre we knew we were getting close as the streets became steeper and steeper until we arrived at one of the staircases that leads to the Sacré Coeur, with a big inhale in and best foot forward we climbed the stairs.
Yes, I want you to think we were amazing for doing this with a hangover. I had never visited Sacré Coeur before, I had often dreamed of the soul and the spirituality, and it did not disappoint. Being an old romantic I could not wait to see what Sacré Coeur and the bohemian Montmartre had to offer. Everything about Sacré Coeur fills the soul. From the views that look out over the whole of Paris, the magnificent building itself from the outside, to the ethereal beauty inside. I am not a particularly religious person but I find a calmness and stillness that comes from a religious building very intoxicating. None more so now than Sacré Coeur. I enjoy and look forward to the moment you light a candle, and take a moment to think of the thing that comes to your mind, whether that be a loved one, a wish, a loss or a dream; to take pause is a wonderful thing to do.
After drinking in all the atmosphere Sacré Coeur had to offer, we headed to the cobbled streets of Montmartre. We turned a corner and there was a group of football supporters clinking beers and chanting football songs. There were kids running around the square, artists lining the street, with shop owners and waiters chatting and laughing, all whilst trying to barter you into their shop, restaurant or to paint you. Everything you would expect. We took it all in, perused the shops, buying the obligatory tea towels, perfect Lautrec prints, a snow globe (I love a snow globe) and a little wind up music box that I completely fell in love with. This little box, when wound, plays La Vie En Rose and can transport me right back that square. This magpie never leaves empty handed.
On the same day, once we had changed into our glad rags we were picked up by our taxi and swept through the crazy busy Parisian streets back towards Montmartre for the Moulin Rouge. The iconic windmill, not as large as in my imagination, draws you in to the Moulin Rouge doors.
The decor is gorgeous, like you have stepped into a 1940’s movie set, the lush red velvet enhancing the gold facades to create an atmosphere of glamour and grandeur.
The queuing to get in, held back by big burly bouncers all dressed in black slightly takes away from the glamour but all is forgotten once you are inside. The tables are packed in and the dinner service is pleasant, the food tasty and better than average, but fast and attentive is putting it better than abrupt. But you do not come to the Moulin Rouge for the culinary experience. We were well looked after, kept watered and were ready for the show when the time arrived. The show itself is as sparkly, camp and boobtastic as you would expect. The dancers, both female and male, are beautiful and talented, the other performers all amaze and draw gasps from the crowd. It may not be the Baz Luhrman spectacular but it is a spectacle and very entertaining. If you can sit back, enjoy the entertainment and the beauty then please go.
How we got there and got around
The guys had booked us flights with Air France and it could not have been more perfect as we were due to land in Paris within twenty minutes of each other. The only downside for us was we actually flew out with Fly Be in conjunction with Air France , the plane was smaller than we thought, therefore, the carry on luggage we had did not fit, our luggage ended up in the hold. I will state at this point I have vowed to check in my luggage at all times now, the stress of fitting all of my toiletries into one of those teeny tiny little plastic bags to just be pulled aside for my case to be gone through is just an anxiety step to far from me, very pleased for the security but not for me. So its checked in luggage for me. The flights were pleasant and got us to where we needed to be.
We had pre-booked a taxi, but after a multi-lingual argument between myself, the taxi driver and his boss on the phone, the pre-booked taxi left without us in it. I had been told to book the taxi through booking.com, as it saves time at the airport, you know your transfer is sorted and it is often cheaper. Obviously in this instance it did not work out. I got half of my money back, I am still arguing about the other half. So read the small print before you think it is a good idea.
Anyway, we were soon on our way in a very nice airport taxi, that actually ended up cheaper than the pre-booked taxi, and got us directly to our front door. All’s well that ends well. Those of you who have been to Paris before will know how far away Charles De Gaulle airport is from Paris City Centre. On a good day in a car this would take at least thirty-five minutes, when I was first in Paris five or six years ago it took about forty minutes, this time the traffic was immense. It took one hour and fifteen minutes for us to get to our apartment. The good thing is the airport taxis are flat rate, so the thirty-five-minute journey would cost the same as the seventy-five-minute journey.
Apart from the taxi that took us back to the airport, we used one further taxi company on the night we went to the Moulin Rouge, G7 taxi, the service was online, quick, the driver was lovely and took us through the very busy Paris roads to the Moulin Rouge. There are many boat tours and buses that pootle up and down the Seine all day everyday, we chose the BatoBus as our means of travel for one day, it cost €17 each, and we could hop on and off as many times as we liked, as it sailed from Jardin Des Plantes down to the Eiffel tower and back again. Apart from that we walked, we walked and we walked some more. For us this was the best way for doubling up sight seeing and commuting. The average street in Paris is a sight in itself, you do not always have to go to the tourist hotspots.
If you see a little tuk tuk with blue fairy lights, belting out opera – get in, enjoy the ride and hold on tight.
Paris for me is…….
Thomas Jefferson said “A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life”. To me this sums up Paris, Parisians are mingled in their everyday life among the tourists who are seeing all these things for the first time, I believe both are as equally in awe of this beautiful city.
The architecture in Paris really does take your breath away. You could choose to not go and see any of the tourist sites and you would still be blown away with the architecture, the beauty and the history. It’s the very ordinary in the extraordinary. The city is there to be used, seen, lived in and enjoyed. If you haven’t been, yes take your wallet, but please go. Paris I love you and I will see you soon.
Friday 13th October 2017, we moved into our home,which at that point was most definitely just our house.
I had lived in a city centre apartment for 9 and a half years, which was fabulous, and I love it. Mr P moved in with me there. We had a lovely life there.
We made the decision in early 2017, having been together for 2 and a half years we wanted to start thinking about our future. The conversations led us to imagining what our future might look like. I fantasised about an old house with fires and room for my books. Mr P spoke of trees and eventually getting a dog. At this point it was also important for him to find somewhere that was all about us.
The apartment sold within weeks. We had started looking for our home, we could move anywhere we wanted to really, if it was within driving distance of work. We pinned our apartment location on a map, and drew a circle 10 miles in all directions, this was where we would start.
In my dreams of a future house I always imagined the country, but when the reality set in of it maybe happening, the idea of not being able to walk to a shop, for a coffee or the local pub ground us to a halt. This move had to be about us imagining our future, we did really sit down and ask ourselves what we thought that would look like and what are the things that would make us happy.
We looked and looked, and nothing felt quite right. We started driving round areas rather than looking at specific properties and one sunny afternoon in May we stumbled across the village we now call home, under 3 miles from the glamorous city apartment. We sat on a little table in the sun in front of the bar with bi-folding doors, with two cold beers and thought well this is the life. The life we imagined started to feel like it could become a reality. Major problem, and no surprise houses don’t often come up for sale. There was one house that suited our budget and the type of property we were looking for. We booked a viewing, we didn’t like it. We went in a huff.
We moved in with my parents when the apartment keys were handed over. (My parents are wonderful and my best friends, but I didn’t ever really envision living with them again, as four adults. Sometimes lovely, sometimes not). The same week as moving in with my parents, we were emailed Information about a property that had just come to the market. I didn’t like it, I moaned, I was not bothered. Mr P booked us a viewing anyway.
The Saturday viewing came around and off we went, we drove through the village we fell in love with smiling. We could not find how to get to the house, we could see it but not how to drive to it. Abandoning the car we set off on foot, there is the gates for the back, there is the house, but where the heck is the front door? Eventually we found the little private walkway that goes directly to the front of the houses. My eyes were beginning to go into soft focus.
On entering the house, I could see there were a few existing Victorian features. The house was far from nice décor, and there was stuff everywhere. A couple were already in viewing the house when we got there, and a couple arrived after us. The popularity for the area and period houses was becoming obvious. I was showing some interest but still hadn’t been swayed from my previous days moaning’s. That was until I saw one of the couples out in the garden whispering among themselves. Standing in the spare room looking out the window, I turned to Mr P and said, “they are going to put in an offer”, shocked he answered “what do you care”, “We can’t lose this house” I said.
We walked around the house again, this time looking at what it could become, how would we use the space. It had three bathrooms, what period property would we find again with three bathrooms. It had a loft conversion with a possible master bedroom and ensuite for us. Mr P was quick to point out that with me being a very private person but loving family and friends staying at our house, the loft room would become one of my favourite things about the house.
We clutched the property details, smiled all the way back to my parents’ house. I wasn’t even sure why I was smiling. I had not wanted to view the house, and I was very overwhelmed about how much work would need done.Mr P takes everything way more in his stride, thinking we just need to make the decision if we want to put in the offer, the rest can come after the first decision. Meeting my parents in their local, we started talking about the house, the area and everything we thought it might be. My parents booked a viewing for the following Monday.
I remember the call I received from them both as they sat in the car outside one of the coffee shops (well actually my Mum remarked she could see the champagne bar) on the village high street telling me how much they loved the area and they could imagine us walking down said high street. At this point they hadn’t seen the house. You don’t know my Mum and Dad (unless you do, and in which case, Hi!) but they can be particular about what they envision for their children in all areas of our lives. The house looking like parts of it did, I was expecting a call to say “Princess* – what on earth are you thinking”. This has to be said in a sarcastic Glaswegian accent.
*Princess – Yes I know this doesn’t seem like me and I am not really a princess, but it is what My Dad calls me, always has been and always will be. And for the record my parents are Mammy and Daddy to me.
That call never came, what came was a buzz of words one after the other, about what we could do, the space it could be, the bathrooms,the privacy etc. They had the same reaction as I had when I saw the other couple interested. Mr P smiled that he had known all along.
We went back for a second visit and by the Tuesday afternoon, our offer was in and by Wednesday it was accepted. We then had a few months of all the legal stuff, the chain of house moves that had to happen. We started making plans and having surveyors, engineers and builders round to the house (even before it was legally ours), to be certain the plans we had in our head could happen.
On Thursday 12th October 2017 the keys were ours and on Friday 13th we officially moved in.
We had found, bought and moved into the house that would hold our future memories. Our growth as a couple and what family may mean and look like to us. To invite our families into our home, host and entertain the way our parents and my sisters had done. To hold hands as we walk to our local pub or pizzeria. Walks along the canal, through the fields, looking up at the trees to remind us there is a world outside the day to day. We had a long way to go to make our house our home but just like that our future had begun.
How many times have you restarted your life? How many times has Monday rolled around for it to be the Monday where you change your life? For me this has happened pretty much every Monday since I turned 18, which means this has happened on 895 Monday’s so far. I am determined this is not going to turn into 896 – 896 a indeterminately scarier number than 895, why? Who knows? But the thought of getting any closer to 900 Monday’s where I have not done something other than what is expected is more terrifying than anybody actually reading this.
So here it is the beginnings of my blog, my mind, my musings. There is going to be all sorts on here, nothing specific and everything in random; hence the name herstuff, as this will be all my stuff – thoughts, food and home mainly I would imagine. I can’t even decide what it should be about but why decide, why not post what I feel like, what is interesting to me at that time. Hopefully, it will interest some people, sometimes it might even help people.
My job is nothing to do with this, the polar opposite really and that’s how it will remain. That’s all I have to really say about that.
I am simply attempting to get words down, to start, to do something and hope it can, and by that I mean I, can continue. I am not sure what I wanted this post to be apart from the beginning and beginnings come in all different guises I guess. This one for me is panicked and anxious ferocious typing to simply get it done. Whilst trying to think how I style the home page and the post and where people get pictures from and how done should it be before I publish it etc etc. The anxiety is palpable and I literally can feel the adrenaline.
I feel the need to step away from this for twenty minutes and come back to see if it reads as mad as I feel it feels……….
That twenty minutes actually lasted the best part of three years. So, it must have either been mad ramblings, or the madness of day to day got in the way. I haven’t deleted a word from the above, as that’s what I wanted to write then; even though I feel different about this space now.
This blog will be a way for me to find my voice. I am going to be 38 years old soon (which means I am approaching 1040 Mondays), I have a good career, a loving family, a wonderful relationship, yet I am not sure who I am. When I read articles or scroll through Instagram there are lots of amazing women who feel the way that I feel, but most if not all of these women feel that way as they have become mums. I am not a mother. Yet I feel my voice is quieter, I am not sure what my place in this world is, I don’t feel my body looks the way it did a few years ago, all the things you hear mothers say. I am here to say this can be about life experience, about getting older and about reflection and how you chose your life to look. Although I will still be writing about my thoughts, my home and my first love – food.
So this is me finding my voice, 3 years later than I first penned above, what feels like a hundred years, and 50 lives since I first wanted to start writing.
Right now there is only one thing that matters……..