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Friday, 29 November 2013

Getting the house ready

It's officially on, the mad race to get the house ready for the 1st December. The house needs cleaning and the furniture needs reorganising so that we can somehow fit my beautuful 6ft Christmas tree in.  Hubster has tried on several occassions to talk me into having a smaller tree, but he failed, for me Christmas is not Christmas without a big tree. So we will be spending tommorow night moving furniture around in the lounge to find a way to make our tree fit. It will fit, one way or another!
So with Sunday being the 1st of December this marks the first of our traditions...
Firstly the tree goes up in the morning, decorated with love, so many of my tree decorations have a story. I have a selection of baubles that once belonged to my Grandad, some that I brought back from an awesome trip to Canada to visit family, special baubles from my childhood, so many with memories of others, very special decorations made by Nephew and of course Small Boy's additions. Finally there's the fairy, she's a woodland fairy and absolutely gorgeous. I searched far and wide to find the perfect fairy and perfect she certainly is. All this tree decorating is always without fail every year done by Hubster, Nephew and myself whilst singing along to our special Christmas album and scoffing a tin of chocolates! I have to confess this year I'm a little worried about how Small Boy and the cats will behave with the tree! Last but by no means least, there's Small Boy's advent calendar. We decided to buy him a Christmas wooden house advent calendar that he will use every year, we'll fill each drawer with his favourite chocolates, although all chocolate seems to be his favourite at the moment!
Once we've finished we go to Whiteleys Garden Centre to visit Santa, last year was Small Boy's first time meeting Santa and he did really well, never cried once, however he did try to pull Santa's beard off! We have a photo taken with Santa, take a leisurely walk around the shop looking at all the beautiful decorations, maybe even buy some then finally write and post a letter to Santa.  Then we move onto next door, the Whitegate pub for lunch, we love it here, the staff are wonderful and the children's menu is great too.
Once we're back home there's nothing better than curling up together on the sofa to watch a Christmas movie with a hot chocolate, especially a Baileys one!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Surviving a bus journey

Since Macca broke down last week we've had to make a few bus journeys, I can safely say it has been enlightening and that's putting it nicely! I noticed that the buses have notices up with certain seating rules and after observing other passengers I have come up with a few pointers to help others survive a bus journey...

1) THE SEATS AT THE FRONT These seats are supposed to be reserved for disabled or elderly passengers, but also parents with a pram. If you have a pram and need to sit here whatever you do avoid eye contact with the elderly as they board the bus, wow you just wouldn't believe the deathly ninja stares that come from them!

2) DON'T FALL ASLEEP Besdies the obvious, that you would miss your stop, there are many other dangers of falling asleep on the bus. The chance that there are a couple of school kids on the bus with a marker pen in their possession is highly likely, if you fall asleep then you're just asking for those whiskers, the porn tash or that pirate eye patch they've lovingly drawn on your face... If you're lucky enough to avoid this you still need to worry about embarrassing yourself, snoring, sleep talking, drooling. Not a good look for anyone!

3) WEAR A SCARF Preferably one you have sprayed a fragrance onto, you'll thank me for this one when you're sat next to Sir Farts-A-Lot!

4) MP3 Take your earphones with you, you'll need them to drown out the annoying voices, I guarantee you will hear at least one annoying conversation whilst on a bus journey and they're a great excuse to avoid talking to the random smelly weirdo that chose to sit next to you despite the fact the bus isn't even half full.

5) NO SINGING Whilst we're on the subject of MP3's, you must remember where you are, otherwise you could get carried away listening to your favourite tunes and let's face it, not many of us have the voice to pull off "Dancing Queen".

6) QUEUES Don't be fooled by the friendly looking pensioner who is stood behind you in the queue smiling sweetly at your tiny person who is sat  nicely in the pram. When they're looking at you stood there with the pram, juggling your shopping bags they're plotting their move, be ready! When those bus doors open you need to be ready to run like Usain Bolt because believe me they will move at the speed of light to push past you to be first on the bus!

I'd love to hear of any other survival tips that any of you may have for bus journeys as I'll probably have a few more to go on before Macca is back on the road...

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Its my shed, I like it, f**k off!

I've always loved cars even though I don't know very much about them, as a child I would imagine that the lines on the carpet were roads and run toy cars up and down them. I would always ask my brother, Ian to dig out the box of his old toy cars, Matchbox cars, they were my favourite! I have fond memories and photos from visits to car shows with my Grandad and Ian, as I've grown up this hasn't changed and I still love to look around car shows, although now it's with Ian, my nephew Zak, Scott & Griffin.

I bought my current car five years ago, I was very excited to own a Volkswagen and had high hopes for my little car. I took my nephew Zak with me to collect the car, which was lucky really as I spent twenty minutes at the petrol station trying to find out how to open the petrol cap, luckily Zak found a button for it under the hand brake. Yes that's right, an 11 year old had to help me put petrol in my car, the shame! It took me a couple of days to decide what I was calling my new car, well I say new car but I mean new to me, he was actually seven years old when I bought him, so I called him "Macca", named after the great Bradford City legend Stuart McCall. I loved him, I would take him out for a drive just for the sake of it. I've always found driving with some decent music on quiet roads without other drivers, especially annoying drivers, to be very therapeutic, I just love the freedom that comes with driving, how you can be in your own world, your bubble and whatever is going on in life just fades away into the distance.

Well I have to confess my friendship with Macca had a rocky start, after only three months the exhaust had gone, then the brakes, parts of the engine, even the hand brake. I couldn't afford to replace him and I needed a car for work and college so I would scrape the money together and repair him every time. I resented him for letting me down all the time, I felt like he didn't have a personality like my previous cars had, we just didn't have a connection. For the first time ever I didn't enjoy driving, it was becoming stressful wondering what disaster would happen next under the bonet. After three years I decided to pull out all my receipts and add up what I had spent on repairs, I was horrified to find it came to almost the same amount I had paid for the car in the first place! Not long after I became pregnant, and I'm sure you all know by now how awful my pregnancy was, so I couldn't drive Macca anymore, my mum had to drive him. Over those nine months I really missed driving, I started to miss my Macca. From that point on things started running smoothly for him and I found it frustrating that he was finally running well when I couldn't drive him, typical! I counted down the days until Griffin was born and I would be able to get behind the wheel again, which was delayed again thanks to the complications during labour.

Finally the day came that I was well enough to drive again, I had counted the days and it had been exactly 43 weeks and 2 days. At first I felt nervous, I couldn't help thinking what if I have forgotten how to drive? But I guessed that was silly as everyone says that it's like riding a bike, you never forget. So I packed Griffin up in the car, I decided to have my first drive without my mum or Scott there as I wouldn't feel as anxious then, and off we went. Well we didn't go far, just around the village and back, but it was amazing, absolutely amazing! I didn't even have to think about what I was doing, I just drove, for the first time ever the pieces fell together and Macca's personality came shining out, I finally felt that he was my car. I've often taken Griffin out for a drive with nowhere in particular to go, Griffin loves it, he just loves to watch the world go by out of the window and listen to music, now that he's older he sings along too.

Macca had a mini disaster at the start of the year when we travelled to Morecambe for New Year's Eve celebrations and the football match, just before the game I went out and the clutch bust. Typical the first day of 2013 and we missed the football and were towed all the way home which took hours! Luckily I managed to get Macca fixed pretty quickly and the rest of the year went well, he sailed through his mot, took us to Wembley twice, for the League Cup Final and the Play-Offs, and more recently he took Griffin and myself to Norfolk to visit friends. But it's happened again, on Tuesday whilst driving up a bypass the clutch blew, AGAIN! To be honest what upset me most of all was how dangerous it was, Macca just stalled and stopped dead, the clutch pedal was stuck and wouldn't move at all, we were in the right hand lane with traffic flying up behind us, it was pretty scary. Luckily my mum was there to help me get Griffin out of the car safely and onto the grass banking out of the way. Once again we were towed home, luckily not as far this time!

At the moment we need to have Macca looked at as we're not sure if it's just a new clutch that is needed or if there is any further damage. I'm really hoping no further damage has been caused to Macca as this could mean goodbye for him, he's 13 years old now and he may cost too much to repair. It's hard to think about letting him go, he's a very special car to me despite our ups and downs. He's the first car that I bought by myself, my statement of independence so to speak. I bought him when I got divorced, he took me to my first apartment, then he took me to a new job, that job is where I met Scott, he took Scott and I on our first date, to Scarborough where Scott proposed, to our wedding, he brought Griffin home from the hospital. Macca was the turning point in my life, when everything started to get better, when I found happiness and love. He's a part of our family and I know that cars don't last forever, that one day I'll have to let him go and find a new car, but right now I'm not ready to. So were keeping our fingers and toes crossed that the repairs won't be too big, keep yours crossed for us too because even though you may think he's a clapped out shed of a car, he's my shed. As his awesome sticker that Ian and Zak bought him earlier this year says... "It's my shed, I like it, f**k off!"

Now come on, don't be shy, who else drives a shed and likes it??

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Monday, 11 November 2013

More decisions to make...

I'm not quite sure what happened to the past two weeks, they seem to be a blur! We all had a sickness bug in our house which took just over a week to get over and we seem to be rushed off our feet every day recently.

There are so many decisions to make at the moment, one decision in particular I have to say for once I'm not enjoying... Which smart phone to choose? For the past five years this decision has been quite simple for me, iPhones all the way! But I have to confess I'm starting to feel a little bored of them now, nothing seems to change with them apart from the odd app here and there, but I'm not a very techy person and I'm sure they do, I just don't notice it myself. So I'm looking at other smart phones this week as I'm due an upgrade again. 

There are way too many phones out there now and they seem to have improved drastically over the last couple of years too. I've asked a few different people for advice and opinions are varied which has left me feeling lost! I went to look at phones in the shop today with Scott and to be honest they all looked the same to me, when I asked about the different phones I was left even more confused by all the techy jargon. I do love my iPhone though, it's my third now and I'm still very tempted to stay with what I know, it's a tough decision!

To be entirely honest I hate that I have become so reliant on smart phones, but I think it's just a part of life now for most of us. For me personally I have a laptop that is verging on prehistoric so I tend to use my phone to browse the internet as it's much quicker. I find it so convenient that if I'm out shopping I can use my phone to compare prices, reserve items and even find my way around if I'm lost. The convenience of the camera is also a huge asset for me as I never remember to pack the digital camera or the video camera. I also organise a lot with the apps, such as keeping track of my diet with the Slimming World app, shopping lists, appointments, to do lists... It's endless! 

Well writing that all down hasn't really made the decision any easier, so I'm going to have some chocolate and a think, yes chocolate is the easy decision here and solves all problems in life... Now do I have milk chocolate or dark? Hmm......