Sunday, 9 September 2012

Couple Of Things...


It's Sunday and I go back to work tomorrow after a week off, so I'm a bit fed up, but I just thought I'd pop in and tell you about a couple of things...

Firstly, I've joined a Craft Club!! This is quite a big deal for me, because I am generally very very shy, and I'll find any excuse I can to stay at home and not 'put myself out there', so to speak. So the fact that I drove all the way there and walked in on my own and spoke to strangers etc is a big step (I know it probably sounds silly to anyone else, but there you go). I've only been to one meeting so far, earlier this week, and it's only held once a month so I've a little while to wait for the next one, but I am planning to attend if I can. It's not very local to me, but it's not far from where I used to live so I do know the area a bit and it's not difficult to get to. It's the first one I've come across which sounds like just my kind of thing - we meet up in a church hall, and there is tea, coffee and lots of cake provided!! I took my crochet blanket and managed a few rows; I was sitting at a table with some other women who were knitting, and one was teaching another one to crochet, although I don't think she was really getting the hang of it. I'd be happy to show people, but I don't think I'm very good at explaining things.

I did feel a bit left out because most people seemed to know each other, either from going to the club last month, or from being members of other groups or living near one another. But they were friendly enough, and I was quite happy sitting there just quietly getting on with my blanket, and occasionally chipping in to the conversation. At least next time I go, I won't be the 'new girl'.

* * *

The other thing I wanted to mention is that just over two weeks ago, I started a diet. It's called Celebrity Slim (stupid name!) and it's a meal replacement diet. It was actually Chris' idea; a woman he works with was doing it and had started losing weight, so he bought me a couple of the products to try. I said I'd have a go, so he paid for my first order online (I think you can buy it in places like Superdrug, but ordering in bulk online is easier). It's basically a reduced-carbs diet, so I've had to cut out bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and cereal - I was eating at least one of those things every day (breakfast cereal every morning, and sometimes for lunch and tea if I couldn't be bothered making anything else, and we were always having pasta bakes, curries etc). So I don't know if it's the Celebrity Slim products, or the reduced carbs, or a bit of both, but in my first two weeks I've lost eleven pounds, which I'm very happy with! I rarely feel hungry - I think part of that has been kind of 'retraining' my brain to not think about food so much, or to not see it as the answer to everything. You know, "I'm bored - what can I find to eat?", "I'm going to watch a film - what can I snack on?" etc... On the CS diet you're supposed to drink at least 2 litres of water every day, but I'm afraid I just can't manage that, although I wasn't doing bad when I was at work. Being at home this week though, and going over to my mum's a lot, has kind of messed up my routine a bit.

As well as the meal replacements, you're still supposed to have one balanced meal each day, and for someone who is not great at cooking, it's been interesting trying to create a meal without using bread, pasta, potatoes. I'm having a lot of chicken, mushrooms, bacon and eggs (not necessarily at the same time). I'm also having a lot more fruit and veg, which can only be a good thing.

Anyway, I just thought I'd let you know about Celebrity Slim, you might be interested in giving it a try. I'm not on commission or anything like that! To be honest, I'm normally sceptical of these type of diets and not convinced that they work. Even with this one, I think it's probably the fact that I've reduced my carbs which has made the biggest difference. I will say though, their range of shakes are delicious!! I have one for breakfast every day and I really look forwards to it!!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

At Last...

For the past few months, 'a thing' has been happening, which I've avoided discussing on here for fear of jinxing it. Now, at last, it's over. It's nothing big and exciting to anyone else, but it was a fairly major 'event' to us.

My mum has moved house!

She'd been wanting to move for a long time, but my dad wasn't keen on the idea; he didn't like the thought of all the upheaval. He was an 'anything-for-an-easy-life' type of person, as well as being limited by poor health too. Eventually he came around to the idea and agreed to move, but sadly it was too late, and he passed away a short while later, before any plans had been put into place. This made my mum even more determined to move, so she waited to get Christmas and New Year out of the way, and then got in touch with some estate agents to get a valuation. The house went on the market in March, and within a couple of weeks she'd had about 5 viewings, and had accepted an offer! Fantastic! In the meantime, she'd found a lovely little bungalow and put an offer in on that, which was also accepted. So far, so very good. Boxes were packed and labelled, lists were made, certain unwanted items were given away to charity (and quite a lot came to me!). Everything was going really well, and when there was probably just a couple of weeks left before arranging the moving date, the couple who owned the bungalow pulled out, and took it off the market.

So it was back to square one for my mum. She was worried that the couple who were buying hers might get sick of waiting (they were first-time buyers, currently renting), so she felt she had to find somewhere else really quickly.

She found another bungalow which, on first impressions, was really nice, if a bit on the small size. She actually put an offer in, but after thinking about it for a couple of days, we realised that the place was just far too small, and needed too much work doing to it. So reluctantly she withdrew her offer, but she'd found a third bungalow by this time, so arranged a viewing on that one. Chris and I went with her, and we all agreed that it was so much better than the first two, although unfortunately that meant it was a bit more expensive too, but still within her price range. So, she put an offer in, he accepted, and it was all systems go, again!!

It still seemed to take a long time, possibly due to some not very proactive solicitors and estate agents (on the vendors side - my mum's 'people' were pretty good on the whole). There was a hiccup where the couple buying my mum's house said they didn't want to move until October (my mum really needed to be in before September for work reasons), but that issue was resolved and she finally got a moving date for last week.

I asked for the day off work, but I could only have the afternoon off in the end, which was a bit annoying because I wanted to be there to help my mum with all the last minute things. Not only that, I wanted to be there for emotional support, as I thought she might be a bit upset. She'd lived there for about 37 years - it wasn't just a house, it was a home, full of so many memories. I'd gone over the day before, and felt quite sad walking around it for the last time. I went into my old bedroom and looked out of the window. It had a really nice view, looking over open fields, and I remembered all the time I'd spent gazing out of that window, daydreaming, when I was supposed to be doing homework and revision! It was very strange thinking that it would be the last time I ever set foot in that house, and the garden.

Anyway, in the end, my mum's auntie came over to help, and so on 'moving day' I went straight home from work and loaded up my car with some things that my mum had given me to look after. The removals men didn't leave until after 3pm; my mum rung to say they'd gone, and I drove over then to see her in 'her' new bungalow for the first time.

It was chaos, as expected, but she was in, and there hadn't been any major problems. After she and her auntie had been to the estate agents to pick up the keys, they managed to get lost, despite it being an area that they both know quite well. A lamp got broken at some point, and her washing machine wouldn't fit in the gap where it should go, but apart from that, it all went quite well. The bungalow was well looked after and quite nicely decorated, so she can 'live with it' for now - the only room she wanted to get painted was the living room, and she knows a decorator who has already been and done that for her. She wants to get a new gas fire and a carpet, and then the living room will be finished. The bedroom will take longer because she wants to have some fitted wardrobes built, but hopefully someone in the family is going to do that for her in the coming weeks. So it's all going quite well.

I was a bit worried about what she'd be like on her own, in a new, strange place. She's had so much on her mind for the past few months, now that she's finally got moved in, I wondered if her mood would fall a bit 'flat', especially as we're coming up to the anniversary of my dad passing away. But I think it's going to take her a long time getting her new home just how she wants it; she's a bit of a perfectionist, and she's always had a really good eye for interior design, so hopefully she'll keep herself occupied for quite a long time getting things 'just so'.

Another good thing about where she is now, is that she's about a 15 minute drive away from me, whereas before it was about 45 minutes. It's great being able to leave her house at 9pm, and be back in mine by about 9.15! It's also about 15 or 20 minutes from where I work, so this past week I've been calling in on my way home, and it's not really out of my way at all, as it's heading in the same direction. It's a lot better having her so much nearer to us. 

So it's been a very stressful five or six months, obviously worse for my mum, but I've found it difficult too, seeing her so worried (because she really is a worrier!). I've always tried to stay positive, but my mum can be quite negative, and there have been times when I've just run out of things to say to her. There's only so many times you can say "everything will work out" before you stop believing it yourself!!

In the end though, everything did work out - it's a lovely bungalow, and I think she's going to be really happy there.

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