Happy List!

So many things to be happy about this week – and I can’t wait to share them with you!

1. This first one has to be getting confirmation on where Pedro and I will be living together for the first time (argh!). A gorgeous house in an amazing location – not our first choice, but as Pedro and I have since discussed, that was a blessing in disguise! All my lovely commenters were right – everything happens for a reason.

2. Booking to go to Blogfest 2014 with my friend Emma of channelislands blog fame – our first time at a big blogging event and we are very excited! Hoping to meet lots of blog friends and find out how to improve our posts – and also perhaps to take advantage of the drinks reception…

3. Having my blog featured by @UKBloggers1 as their blog of the day this Saturday – very much appreciated, and I had loads of new commenters and followers as a result.

4. Seeing Pedro after a couple of really hard days at work – soppy I know, but seeing him made me feel so much better after a stressful 48 hours. It just reinforces how much I’m looking forward to actually living with him and being able to spend time with him every evening.

5. Dinner out with my friend Cat – we went for a great meal at Pizza Express, drank a bottle of prosecco then went home and promptly went to sleep – we are so cool.

6. Fantastic confirmation that I will be MD-ing (conducting) Bingley Amateur’s production of The Pyjama Game! It will be really nice to meet lots of new people in this society.

7. Getting through the Day of Doom (where we put all the new year 7s coming to my school into form groups). This is tough because we have to take into account all sorts of info and the result becomes incredibly complicated! I imagine it’s like planning a wedding guest seating plan (don’t worry Pedro I’m not hinting…) The support of my rather fabulous colleagues got me through! (Also diet coke)

8. Finishing writing an article to promote my very talented friends James and Rob’s new musical – a few tweaks to be made, but I’m pleased with the result! Will let you know when it appears!

9. Starting the scary job of sorting things out for the move without encountering any spiders – see my post from yesterday on packing here.

10. Finding out that my parents are getting a puppy this week! Cannot wait to meet him and get to know him! (photos to follow soon!)

What has made you happy this week?

Packing – or Why I Hate Moving House

Yesterday I began the marathon job of packing. By this I don’t mean I was putting stuff into boxes – oh no. I’m not at that stage yet. By this I mean I started the dreaded clear out. You know – where you have to go through secret stores of hoarded things that you haven’t actually looked at in months – or even years.

I moved into my flat 2 years ago, and while on the surface it is tidy, clutter free and organised, there are some secret stashes of mess and junk. One such place is the cupboard in the spare room. We call it a cupboard, it’s actually large enough to comfortably have a den inside – think a beanbag, a TV and plenty of shelf space to store DVDs/snacks (how I wish we’d used it for that now!):

Before

I mean, look at it. I’d love to say some of it is Housemate’s – but no. It’s all mine. You can imagine how little I wanted to get started on this pile of junk. I did everything but get started yesterday, until finally there was nothing for it but to wade in with bin bags in tow, and a bit of Ed Sheeran’s new album on.

The horrors I found in there…at one point I put my hand on something furry…After screaming, I then discovered my furry ear muffs (not a euphemism) which I’d been looking for all winter. Bonus.

Afterwards my cupboard now looks like this:

After

Look at the clear top shelf! Admire the space on the floor! And the stuff left on the shelves? All things I intend to pack and take to the new house (HOME!)

After this I needed a diet coke break. Standard.

Then I started on the next secret hideaway of junk – under the bed. Under my bed are two large storage boxes, which have never been emptied or looked at since I moved in, two years ago. I was intrigued to discover what was actually in these boxes.

As it turned out, millions of pairs SHOES (to the nearest million). That I have rarely worn. I decided to be ruthless and put most of them in a bag intended for a charity shop – after checking each pair and keeping a couple, of course. I also discovered a lot of junk – old makeup, random knick-nacks. All went in the bin. (I am BRUTAL).

After raiding these caches, I ended up with bags and bags of rubbish all over my spare room:

Rubbish

 

Foul isn’t it? Still, just think of the space saved when actually packing!

Afterwards I was a sweaty, dusty mess. Just awful. And today I start on every girl’s worst nightmare – the wardrobe clear out.

Repeat after me – I must be ruthless. I must be ruthless. I must be ruthless.

What are your tips for a successful wardrobe clear out? (I’m going to need all the help I can get!)

 

 

Who you gonna call?

Last night, Housemate and I had a visitor to the flat. It wasn’t a takeaway delivery man (how rude of you to even think it!). Nor was it the rowdy new neighbours who recently moved in downstairs who were having a bit of a party. It was a spider.

I have been scared of spiders for as long as I can remember. A completely irrational fear, yes, but they terrify me. Last night was a classic example of mine and Housemate’s getting-rid-of-them tactics.

The glass and card method

Once, my friend Emma was staying over. We were comfy in pyjamas watching a girly film (standard). Suddenly we both caught movement inn the corner of our eye. The movement was so large I was half expecting to see a mouse. But no. It was a spider. THE LARGEST SPIDER EVER. It took Emma and I a good couple of hours to get rid of it, just because it took us that long to be brave enough to get near it. Before even going near it. we had rung every boy in the area to see if they were able to come and help us. Negative. I fetched a glass from the kitchen and ventured closer…it became very clear that the spider WOULD NOT FIT. I had to retreat back (Emma had to stay in the room to watch it to make sure we knew where it was) and fetch a Cath Kidston mug – you know the kind, they’re enormous. We both tried to get near it in order to pop the cup over it. We tried again and again and again, defeated each time the spider moved a leg a millimetre, or when our creeping fear got the better of us. I remember at one point the spider moving and we had to run and jump on the sofa to get out of the way. Just awful. Eventually I put the cup over the spider. It only just fit inside. We then had to have a lot of wine to calm down, and I had to wait til the next day to dare to finish the job and slide a card under the cup.

The broom method

This method is a Housemate special. She loves it. One of the first evenings when she had moved in with me we had a massive daddy long-legs in the front room (I know, I know, daddy long-legs aren’t spiders, what you going to do about it?!). It was flapping round the room (honestly it was so big I could swear I could hear its wings) and we were a pair of well-educated, adult professionals running round the flat screaming our heads off. Housemate insisted that I get a broom. I had never used this a getting-rid-of-spiders method before, preferring the catch and throw out of the window tactic, principally because I don’t like killing spiders as I think it’s mean, and because I live in fear that all the spider’s friends would come and seek revenge. However in this instance, we could see no other way forward. Housemate favours the broom as it means you can keep a good distance away from the spider/daddy long legs and then bash it against the wall. It probably took about an hour for us to manage to do this. And the resulting mess made me vow never to use the broom again.

The hoover method

So with our visitor last night this was the method we decided upon. It was not large in terms of it leg-span diameter, but it was large in terms of its body mass. It was in the trickiest place possible, right at the top of the wall against the ceiling IN MY BEDROOM. I was outraged at its cheek – a girl’s bedroom is sacrosanct. I called for back up – Housemate. I was all set to go with the glass and card method, but as Housemate soon realised, it was so high up the wall it would be tricky to reach, and was against the ceiling so wouldn’t allow much room to get the glass in. Housemate suggested another favoured trick of hers – the hoover method. This is one she traditionally uses for spiders on the floor, not ones on the ceiling. Some cunning would be needed. We brought the hoover into my room, and after a brief discussion of what the spider would prefer in terms of getting it used to the noise before putting the nozzle anywhere near it, we decided on a plan. In order to minimise the worry of ‘droppage’ (the spider dropping down the wall towards us) we stood underneath the spider and came up the wall with the nozzle. We got fairly close before completely freaking out and having to stop. To paint you a picture I was in my pyjamas, and Housemate was still looking lovely from an evening meal out. I had drunk one and half glasses of wine, so was basically hammered. We were a ridiculous pair. The spider started running towards another corner of the room. We had another go at getting the nozzle close enough, but again freaked. We paused for a moment – a brief hiatus while we considered our options. Housemate suggested the broom – but with moving out soon I had no desire to clean a spider-splat off the wall. Housemate is sporty, and talked me through a visualisation of how we would go about this mammoth task. Step 1 – hoover on. Step 2 – sweep the nozzle up the wall towards the spider. Step 3 – rejoice. And this time I went for it, mainly because the spider was now above the doorway preventing Housemate and I from ever leaving my bedroom. And we did it – there was a brief sickening moment when it didn’t seem as if the spider would go down the nozzle, and we couldn’t tear our eyes away in fascinated horror. The whole thing took us twenty minutes – a new record.

I am hoping that Pedro is a good spider catcher, and that from now on I won’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of time with various household objects trying to get rid of them…

So what method do you prefer for getting rid of spiders? Or are you going to call Housemate and I – spider-busters extraordinaire?!

 

The Biscuit Tin

When Pedro and I went for our celebratory Chinese the other night, I realised I have a gift. It isn’t a gift that could help save lives, but I honestly believe it could enrich yours. I have a gift for relating foodstuffs to people.

This isn’t news, I’m sure. My post Cheesebook revealed this gift to the world (and made me want to eat cheese). However when explaining to Pedro that he is like shredded duck soup (warm and hearty, with depth of flavour, and not common like chicken would be – rare and unusual, hence the duck), it came to me. Sure, I won’t save lives with my ability. But maybe, just maybe it will get more people to think of people’s personalities and compare them to food – a wondrous conversation topic (you’re welcome). It could also help you find the one you love in a speed dating situation (it happens). Just so you know, Pedro said I was like sizzling beef. It transpired this was not because I’m hot – but because I’m loud.

So below you will find the biscuit tin – if you were a biscuit, what biscuit would you be?

The Digestive

foodsofengland hillsdigestives

 

Source

A classic. Both sweet and down to earth, this person is steadfast and loyal. Always someone you can come back to, time and time again. Perhaps there are more lively, outgoing people, but a digestive is a good friend.

The Shortbread

shortbread-selection-contents-354x338

 

Source

You know the kind of person – so lovely to be around, always saying nice things to you, and great when you see them. However, they can be flaky, and agree to show up on a night out but back at the last minute.

The Chocolate Hobnob

chocolate-digestives

 

Source

A tough cookie (see what I did there?!) Strong and resilient (dunk me! dunk me again!), wholesome and sweet. A best friend (in biscuit form). Exciting and stable – the best of both worlds.

The Custard Cream

custard cream

 

Source

A practical but kind friend. Not the most stylish, but sweet, good natured, and a solid presence.

The Jammy Dodger

jammie_dodgers_2655228b

 

Source

Cheeky, chatty and loud. Unashamedly dirty minded and always ready with a rude innuendo and chuckle. A cheeky chappy/chappette – who probably thinks they’re funnier then they are…(I’m clearly a jammy dodger)

The Pink Wafer

Pink wafers

 

Source

Lots of fun, outrageous in their style, and brilliant for a fun night out. But unfortunately with no substance to back it up. A fair-weather friend.

The Bourbon

bourbon_biscuit

 

Source

Serious and sophisticated. Quite a lot of us wish we were more like the bourbon – effortlessly stylish and grown up. I’m far too silly to be friends with a bourbon – but I admire them from afar.

 

Go on – what biscuit are you?!

Luxury Items

So now that we have a house (HOME – I must start referring to it as HOME) Pedro have I have had a reality hit.

We are moving house in just a couple of weeks – eek!

I’ll admit – I had a mini meltdown the other day. Work at the moment is absolutely crazy – the busiest time of the year for me with new year 6 students coming in to start the transition to secondary school – I have been run off my feet! Technology failed me massively and I somehow managed to mess up a spreadsheet (curse you excel!) and lose all the information I had inputted which had taken hours. After re-inputting it, you’ll never guess what?! YES. I did it AGAIN. With the help of a lovely ICT technician (aka my hero) and some rather lovely work colleagues who supplied chocolate and diet coke we managed to sort it – but not before I nearly vommed out of stress.

Add this to the very sudden realisation that there is so much to do in order to move house!

Not only is there the whole packing situation to look forward to, (I have boxes of stuff from when I last moved – 2 years ago – that I haven’t even opened since then. After a cursory look through I think I’m just going to bin it. I also have an entire massive cupboard in the spare room FULL of junk. By full, I mean if you open the door just a crack ALL OF MY LIFE will fall on you and you will be buried under a huge pile of christmas decorations, clothes bagged up to take to charity shops, 2 years worth of paperwork and bank statements and other miscellaneous un-named items. Don’t worry – I have claimed this weekend as a life-sorting out weekend to start being ruthless and chucking everything.) but there is also the whole admin situation when you move house. The people you have to inform. The being on hold for half an hour to change the name on things like the water bill. Urgh. These thoughts have been ticking away in the back of Pedro and my minds underneath all the work stuff. No wonder we were feeling a bit frazzled.

The other day, for the first time since we had our house (HOME! I meant HOME!) confirmed, I saw Pedro. We had both had a difficult couple of days, and when we saw each other I think we both became very aware of why we are putting ourselves through this – to be together, and be able to see each other at the end of a tough day.

Over a celebratory Chinese (had to be done!) we started discussing what we wanted to buy for the house (HOME!) first. Between us we think we have all the necessary furniture so wouldn’t need anything right away – better versions of what we have can be saved up for over time. So instead we started to think about what luxury items we would first buy:

My luxury items

1. Outdoor fairy lights – YES. I want my garden to look pretty at  night! We have a decked area to sit out on on an evening and I can just see us sat with a glass of something alcoholic enjoying the relaxed time, and the pretty lights! (I’m such a girl).

2. A BBQ. Not just those rubbish tray ones – a GREAT one. Housewarming/summer evenings eating in the garden – sitting out on an evening with a glass of something alchoholic…wait that sounds familiar…

Pedro’s luxury item

1. A fire pit – this is (I believe) a small metal cannister that you light a fire in so it’s safe but you can still enjoy the flicker of the flames when sitting out on an evening with a glass of…you see where this is going!

You can see our thinking – sitting together on a nice summer’s evening enjoying each others’ company, an alcoholic beverage, and appreciating being in our HOME.

What would your luxury item be? Or what was your first luxury item when you first moved into your home?

And the results are in…

This morning I was poised by the phone to call the letting agent of Dream House number 1. Bang on 9am I called up and got straight through. Unfortunately I was told that our number one choice had already been let. Not only gutting, but also embarrassing as I had already sent the letting agent a little supporting letter to forward to the landlord to persuade them to choose us…It was written much in the style of these blog posts, and was entitled ‘Meet Lucy, Pedro and Whiskeroo!’ The sympathetic way in which the letting agent spoke to me made it clear that she’d not only read the story, but had potentially read it out to the entire office…

Ringing Pedro to let him know we hadn’t got our first choice was very sad – I felt bad as I knew how excited he’d been over the garden of choice number 1. But he was very sensible and gave me a pep talk to go for house number 2 – and this one we were successful with!

I must admit it hasn’t quite sunk in yet – I will be living with a boy! In a really nice house!

So finally I can start blogging about actually moving in with a boy rather than cheese…Scary stuff!

Now we just have the difficult process of sorting out all our things, and chucking out those boxes of ‘stuff’ under the bed that I still haven’t unpacked from when I moved in to my current flat two years ago (I know I know – I’m rubbish!)

Breaking it to Housemate was tough – she really is the best housemate ever and I will miss her lots and lots! I’m not sure that Pedro will be quite as able to let me steal deodorant, toilet roll and orange squash, nor will he debate the ins and outs of current events such as the recent happenings on Made In Chelsea with quite as much passion with me. However I am very excited that Pedro and I are about to start the next chapter of our lives…(Yes – that last sentence was the stuff our letter for House number 1 was made of – you can see why I was so embarrassed…)

Now I just need tips on moving house!

Viewings: The Verdict

So yesterday, after almost a month of internet searches, phone calls, exasperation and anticipation, was V-Day: Viewings Day.

I was so excited. I put my hair up in a bun (aka bitch hair) in order to seem professional, inscrutable and down right mean if I needed to (I was damned if any letting agent was going to take advantage of frizzy, friendly Lucy). I had my clipboard of POWER (organising 6 viewings with 5 different letting agents all in the same day was a logistical nightmare – and I needed a spreadsheet of marvel to keep the timings appropriate and the properties straight in our heads). Pedro poo-pooed my clipboard – but several of the letting agents commented on how efficient I was (perhaps in a scathing way – I didn’t notice) – I took this as a win.

I started the morning by running out of my flat to meet Pedro – I was super hyper and talking veryveryfastnonstopforthefirstcoupleofhoursdrivingpoorPedroinsane. We went to MacDonalds for breakfast and a quick talk through the plans for the day – then to the first viewing.

Dire. I mean, DIRE. We didn’t start well by over-hearing the person viewing before us discussing the first property and one we were due to see later in the day – awkward. Then we looked round – unfortunately small, poky and very very dated. Less than 5 minutes later we came out, with nothing more than ‘NO’ marked in my notes column on the clipboard of power. We sat in the car, and I’ll admit I felt very low. Almost a months worth of research, work and booking viewings for this?! Pedro was amazing, and pep-talked me into boosting my motivation to continue with an open mind.

The second viewing – really very nice! A quiet cul-de-sac in the area we’d preferred with lovely modern interior, pretty decking out the back and a small lawn. We knew it was a go when we started discussing where we would put things and how we would use the rooms. The agent showing us round was professional, and seemed to know her stuff – after the agents I’d been dealing with over the phone for the last few weeks, I was impressed. We liked it a lot – but were still looking for a ‘wow’. A solid second choice.

Third viewing – busy road, not ideal for Whiskeroo! Also very dated and very expensive. A solid ‘no’. (I’d written ‘kitchen – URGH’ on the clipboard of power. Says it all.) Also our agent this time was about 3 years old (ok ok maybe 19) and even Pedro (who never notices these things) remarked she was perhaps a bit overdressed for the occasion.

Fourth viewing – aka THE ONE. Stunning. I mean, stunning. So much space. The garden – I cannot even begin. A decked area out the back of the conservatory (A CONSERVATORY) looking out over a MASSIVE lawned area with space for a veggie patch! THINK OF THE BBQS! I had images of outdoor LED lights draped over the decking like lovely fairy lights…Inside was so light and big. This is the one we want – but – spanner in the works – so do many other people. We’ll apply on Monday and wait and see…I’m scared to even think about it as I know that I’ll get too attached and be so disappointed if we don’t get it.

After this, I was tempted not to bother with the next two viewings. We had a short amount of time to kill, and Pedro took me for a quick cold drink, very much needed wee and sit down in a nearby pub. Once again he gave me a pep-talk to keep me going, and put across how sensible it would be to check out more properties in case we couldn’t get our first two choices. Great guy.

Viewing five – an unusual house – not that nice a back garden, and a massive surplus of huge rooms that we weren’t sure how to fill! Tempting though…a possible third choice. Viewing six – perfectly nice. Nothing wrong with it. Just not for us. Viewing 5 and 6 were the same woman – I liked her a lot. Loud, confident, and in a VERY short skirt (I made sure I was first behind her to go up stairs!) she was no-nonsense and matter of fact.

So all in all a great day – now leaving us with the tough situation of desperately wanting a house we know we will struggle to get – and the debate of how long we wait for a reply on that house before going for our second choice. I have the fear – what if we lose both?! What would you do?!

Still, with these things what will be will be – and my friend Emily at the end of the day reminded me of the true reason we had been looking for a house – to be together:

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