Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The emotional stages of moving in with a boy

So I've done it, I've taken the plunge and I now live with a real-life boy.  Yes, a real-life, breathing male.

There were a few moments of panic and worry, and quite a lot of nerves, in the weeks leading up to our moving date.

I quickly realised that he's going to see me at my absolute worst - first thing on a morning; last thing at night after a long day at work; with a hangover; with a stinking, snotty cold; straight out the shower with mascara pouring down my cheeks - there would be nowhere to hide!

We've learnt things about each other that we could never have known previously; we've discovered each other's bad habits; and we've found out that there will never be boundaries again when it comes to conversation topics at meal times (apparently it's ok to talk about faeces while I eat my weetabix at 8 o'clock in the morning)

Since moving in, there have been some emotional moments of panic - not least when I realised how many pairs of shoes and items of clothing I possess.  Sharing a space with someone is all well and good until you realise that your 'share' is considerably larger than theirs.

A little tip for all of you panicking about where all your clothing is going to fit - unpack it all before he gets chance, that way he can only fit his stuff in the gaps.  It's working a treat for me so far!

The only downside?  I have no proper shoe storage space and my many, many, many pairs of shoes are now in the bottom of one of (our many) wardrobes.  This would be fine if I didn't have a few trusty pairs of Primark/New Look pumps which, every girl will know, don't smell like roses after you've worn them a few times.

Yep, my worry about having nowhere to hide met me head-on just hours after I unloaded my shoes and laid them all out in the wardrobe when Tom opened it up and nearly knocked himself out.  He trotted downstairs and sauntered into the kitchen where he said, cool as anything: "I think we need an air freshener for your shoes in that wardrobe."

We learnt that my feet stank very early on.  The day after the air freshener remark, I was receiving a foot rub.  Suddenly, the foot rubbing stopped - I looked at Tom and he was smelling his hands and pulling the sort of face you pull just before you're about to be sick.

Incase he didn't already know, my feet can sometimes smell.

There are a lot of emotional stages to moving in, and living, with a male - the worry, the panic, the stress, the anticipation, the excitement...  And then, when you move in, there's even more excitement teamed with a lot more stress, anxiety, pressure, and more panic.

Everyone wants to come visit and be shown round; you don't want any mess left anywhere (to the extreme where even a solitary breadcrumb leftover on the kitchen worktop from making lunch makes you break out into a hot sweat until it is removed); and you perish the thought of someone walking around on your plush, fluffy, cream carpets without taking their shoes off first.

Surely I can't be the only person who gets freaked out by these tiny bits of mess and gets palpitations at the thoughts of the slightest of stains on my carpets? 

Aside from the general housekeeping worries, and trying not to sound like I'm his mum nagging him to clean and keep tidy, moving in with a male is a complete eyeopener.

I have a brother so I am aware of how messy boys can be (hair gel all over the bathroom taps, the shaving aftermath left in the sink, dirty socks thrown around the room...) but I've learnt it's different without a parent there to clean it all up.

There's the odd pair of pants left on the bedroom floor but, other than that, so far things have managed to keep very tidy and organised and clean.

He's obsessed with our Henry the Hoover and will have it out the second he spots a crumb or piece of fluff (I'm hoping that isn't just a novelty and that it will continue).

He's also shown his cooking skills to be pretty on point.  On one of our very first nights in our new home, I was treated to a meal totally from scratch.  I was locked out of the kitchen until it was ready and, upon being summoned to the table, walked in the door to be greeted with a scene of sheer destruction. (I retract part of that previous paragraph about things being tidy/organised/clean)

There was onion and spinach choppings all over the worktops and floor; there were used bowls and empty packets littering the surfaces; mashed potato all over the floor and dripping down the washing machine; olive oil dripped across the worktops; peelings from potatoes all over the side; and all sorts of mess on the hob.  The kitchen was like a sweatbox and Tom stood there looking like he had just come out of a bikram yoga session.

Just as I was about to have a Monica Geller-inspired meltdown I glanced across to the table and saw a beautiful meal on our cute little table - I'd even had a glass of wine poured and waiting for me.

It was at that point that I realised that with the bad also comes the good - you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

And, in Tom's case, you can't make a delicious meal us both without trashing the kitchen in the process!

I've also realised, in the 11 days that we have officially been living together in our own home, that me and the Xbox aren't going to be enemies after all.  I was worried that once the 32" television and the Xbox moved in, I'd be pushed to the side in favour of Fifa and Call of Duty and whatever other games he obsesses over.  But, in fact, I am actually counting down the days until we have internet and he can get back to his virtual gaming world.  That way, he will spend more time on it giving me more time to watch the soaps/trashy tv in peace (and will also give me some time to re-plump the cushions and clean up without him judging me!)

Surprisingly, all my preconceptions about moving in with a male have pretty much been quashed since we actually moved in together.

So far I think I have experienced more emotional stages because I've learnt things about myself rather than Tom -

  • I am seriously OCD when it comes to cleaning, the organising of the cushions on the sofa and the bed, the layout of the candles on the cabinet, the positioning of the chopping board in relation to the hob, and so much more..
  • My shoes smell (and so do my feet)
  • I can be distracted from mess for short period by a good meal and a glass of wine
  • I am excited to welcome the Xbox into our lives 
I've always known deep down that I have been like Monica Geller's soul sister but since flying the nest and moving in with the other half this has been consolidated.

The emotional stages of moving in with a boy definitely lead you to learning more about yourself and your bad habits, flaws and, in my case, super-organised/OCD nature than you have time to learn about your significant other.

Although, we have only been living together for 11 days so I am sure there is still plenty for me to learn about him.  After all, they don't call it the honeymoon phase for no reason...


You may also like: 17 things you learn about yourself when you move out.

17 things you learn about yourself when you move out

After living in my own home for just over ten days, I have already learnt a lot of things about myself/my partner/being a homeowner.  If you are considering buying your own home soon, this list should help you prepare for what is in store.  And, if you have already moved out into your own place, I'm sure you will be able to relate to many of the points.

1. You find you're starting to turn into your mum.
      'Well if you don't like it, do it yourself next time'; 
       'I did a wash yesterday, why wasn't it in the wash basket?'; 
       'I didn't buy those chocolates just for you!'

2. You would rather put another jumper switch on the heating.
     'It'll be on in an hour, just stick another layer on.'

3. You obsess over lights and plugs being switched off when not in use.
      'Oh it's like Blackpool illuminations in here!'; 
      'You won't be leaving all that on when you see the electricity bill!'

4. You will quickly develop OCD.
      'You're squashing the cushions, could you just sit up for a minute so I can rearrange them'; 
      'Who moved the candles, they're in a different order?'; 
      'Please use a coaster.'

5. You realise you'll never be able to afford to do anything again.
     'Oh yes, hello pay day! Oh, hello mortgage payment, council tax, electricity, water, gas, Sky, internet, food shopping...'

6. Your plans for the week are now centred around who is putting the bins out and how the housework is being split (because you can't afford to do anything else).
     'Well I did the bathrooms and the dusting this week so can you do them this week and I'll do the hoovering?'

7. Your shopping habits will change dramatically.
     'Shall we go to Aldi, Morrisons or Tesco this week?'; 
     'We need to go to Homebase'; 
      'Have you seen them new pans in John Lewis?'

8. You will realise you should've paid more attention in design and technology at school.
     'Dad, can you come and hang this on the wall?'; 
     'Dad, will you come and put our new furniture together?';
     'How do I check if this works?'

9. The thought of having a dinner party excites you.
     'Let's not go out on Saturday night, come round to ours and we'll have a dinner party and drinks.'

10. You quickly learn how to make a culinary masterpiece out of leftovers.
     'Yeah, it's just some bits I threw together out of the fridge.'

11. 'Use by' dates are rarely adhered to.
     'It went out of date three days ago but smells fine so I think we'll be ok.'

12. You will never really learn how much pasta or rice is enough.
     'We'll have to take this for lunch tomorrow because I made too much.'

13. You realise why your parents got so annoyed at you not loading and unloading the dishwasher.
     'Yes, the machine washes the dishes itself but it can't open the door and load it on its own and put the clean dishes away as well.'

14. 'Shed envy' becomes a thing.
     'Where did he get his shed from?  I wanted one like that!'

15. You will suddenly find yourself analysing other people's houses and their choices of decor.
     'Ooh, I like your lamp where's that from?';
     'Oh, their kitchen was awful!  It had all these gaps and the worktops weren't as nice as ours.'

16. Some things will never have a proper home.
     'Oh just put it wherever there is a space.'

17. You sometimes sit and look around and wonder 'wow, all this is really ours and in our own home'
     And, I imagine, that will never get old.


You may also like: The emotional stages of moving in with a boy

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Has the true meaning of Christmas been lost?

This year's Christmas was a bit different from all my previous ones.  There were a number of reasons why - the main one being I didn't get to see or speak to my brother.

My brother is at university in America and should have been home for Christmas a couple of weeks ago.  But, after an accident involving his passport and a washing machine, he was unable to come back.

Due to having no internet yet in our new home, I had to speak to him on FaceTime while I was at mum and dad's.  Because of the time difference and Christmas dinner plans, though, I didn't get to see or speak to him properly on Christmas Day.

It's not until someone important isn't there on Christmas Day that you realise that spending time with the people you love is all that Christmas is really about.

It's not about the Michael Kors watches and bags or the new laptops and tablets.  It's not about who can upload the picture of the most impressive haul of presents or who has the most expensive new piece of jewellery. 

It's not about who has the most presents under the tree or who has the best, new designer clothes.

Those things are all lovely, and it's always nice to be spoilt and to be able to spoil people, but Christmas is about more than just material things.

It's about family, friends and love.

Don't get me wrong, I received some lovely presents and felt very lucky as I opened them at various points in the day - but none of that mattered because I wasn't able to share the day with my brother.

I can't help but feel that the true spirit of Christmas is lost these days.  I'm sure I've been guilty of focussing on the materialistic things in the past but it seems more and more people are losing sight of what matters at this time of year.

It's not until you're without someone important for the day that you realise what it is really about.

It's renowned as a time to give presents and, for some, the level of present giving demonstrates the scale of love.

Personally, I love giving presents - I love seeing people's happy faces when they open them.  But presents are just a small part of Christmas and what it's about.

Christmas is the season of goodwill.  It's about showing someone you care and sharing the love with those closest to you.  It's about spending time with family and friends and making new memories while recalling those from Christmases gone by.

It's about sitting down together at the table for Christmas dinner without the interruption of smartphones and technology.  It's about talking and laughing and family and friends.

I felt incredibly lucky this Christmas - I got some lovely, thoughtful presents and was very spoilt.  But those presents weren't why I felt lucky. 

I had a new family to spend part of my day with who made me feel very welcome and loved.  I got to see my mum and dad and spend some of the day with good friends.  Then, we were able to go back to our own home at the end of the day.

The only thing missing from the day was my brother, and all the presents I got meant nothing because I didn't get to see or speak to him.

There was always going to be the first Christmas that I wouldn't see my brother and, while it made me sad, it helped me see what Christmas is all about.

Material things are brilliant but I'd settle for love, family and friends over presents any day.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

I came, I saw, I conquered.

Earlier this year, I wrote a post called Looking to 2014 - I reflected on what had been good about 2013 and made myself a list of things I wanted to accomplish in the upcoming year.

When I wrote that list back in January I didn't, for one second, think that this year would have gone the way it has.  I have achieved everything I set out to, and so much more.

Here's a quick round-up of what I wanted to do:

1. Stop snoozing my alarm so much
    Pretty much straight away I stopped hitting the snooze button all the time.  Rather than giving myself 55 minutes to snooze my alarm, I just set it 55 minutes later (for the time I actually need to get up).

2. Think less, do more
   Yep, I definitely do more now.  Of course I still sometimes worry 'what if' - but you only get one shot at life, there's no time to dither.

3. Follow my heart
   Looking back, it's a bit cringey that this was one of my goals for 2014 - but I would say I definitely followed it (so much so that I have ended up working with my other half!)

4. Find a job doing what I love
   TICK TICK TICK! Not only do I have one job doing what I love, I have TWO!!  I spend Monday to Friday as a news reporter at the Selby Times, and work as weekends as a broadcast journalist/news reader at Minster FM.  A year ago, I definitely wouldn't have thought I'd be saying that!

5. Move out (again)
   This was the most unlikely of them all but, on Friday 19th December (just 12 days before 2014 ends) we will be moving into our own little house with my other half.  Not only have I moved out (again), I have bought a house with someone.  If you'd have told me in January that I'd be waking up on Christmas morning in my own home I would've laughed in your face.

6. Stop dwelling on the past
   This became even more relevant this year and I have definitely stopped doing that now.  What's done is done and can never be undone.  All you can do is learn from previous experiences and apply what you have learnt to the future.

7. Go on holiday
   I went!  Two weeks in Djerba in July was amazing.

8. Find someone to go on holiday with
   The Goodliff/Nancarrow/Hughes party stepped in just at the right time and provided me with a surrogate family for a fortnight.  I had the best two weeks with them and couldn't have asked for a better group of people to go on holiday with.

9. Find something to smile about everyday
   I didn't think this would be as easy as it was.  At some points at the beginning of the year it was tough, but everyday I managed to find at least one reason to smile - and it really made a difference.

10. Get over my fear of speaking on the phone
   Starting work as a journalist, I had no choice but to conquer this one.


So there it is - it's been a busy year!  On top of all those things:
I got myself a brand new car
I saw Michael Buble (again!)
I celebrated with family for weddings and milestone anniversaries
I went to Coronation Street
I had an amazing weekend in London with my best friend at Summertime Ball
I got my first tattoo
I spent a month in London (living with my surrogate family <3) and had some amazing experiences
I celebrated my best friend's engagement
I got drunk on free champagne in a box at Old Trafford
And I got to spend the best part of the year with the best person ever.

2014 has taught me that it is impossible to plan your life.  Whilst you can have ideas and preferences in place, major things will happen at the most unexpected time.  

This time last year, I was just finishing work at City of York Council, ready to begin my journalism course.  I had hoped to be pretty much qualified by now and be looking to move down South to find a job.  Instead, I am still on with my NCTJ qualifications but have a full-time job as a journalist and a freelance job that I love!

My blog has also taken off quite dramatically.  Earlier in the year, when I wrote the post about 'No Make-up Selfies' my blog got over 250,000 views thanks to being shared on social media.  Since then, I get between 5,000 and 10,000 hits a month - okay, I'm not up to Cosmo standards yet but for a little blog like mine that is quite impressive.

I used to have a life plan, where I envisaged the age that I would be settled down, married, having children etc.. But life is unpredictable and spontaneous, and I would hate to miss out on something exciting and new just because it didn't fit in with the plan I had made for myself.

2014 has been an amazing year and I already have some amazing plans lined up for 2015 which include darts, Ed Sheeran, a hen do, a wedding, and lots of exciting trips.

New Year's Eve was never one of my favourite nights out of the year (although I have had some amazing NYE nights out in the past) but I always felt a bit of a lemon when it came to the countdown and the kissing part.  This year, there'll be no stress about going out or making plans to go somewhere - me and my other half will be spending a nice, quiet night in our new home with some food and drinks.

Life is very good at the moment and I cannot wait to see what 2015 is going to bring.

Merry Christmas to all you lovely people and I wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year x x