Recent Posts

  • Class Anxiety, a Weird Experience | Life Update

    Class Anxiety, a Weird Experience | Life Update
  • Is it really only 4+ weeks to Christmas? | Life Update

    Is it really only 4+ weeks to Christmas? | Life Update

Class Anxiety, a Weird Experience | Life Update

Class Anxiety, a Weird Experience | Life Update

The class system is a weird thing in the UK as we like to define our selves by what “class” we think we are in. Lots of people that I know are proudly “working class” and some are less proudly “middle class” and honestly I couldn’t tell you the difference. People that are “middle class” work, so why aren’t they working class – what is the entry qualification for Middle Class – Waitrose Loyalty Card? Avocado consumption?

I was brought up by parents that definitely thought of themselves as working class as did their parents and no doubt, their parents too. I myself have worked since I was 16, University not really being for me and now I am in my 40s I am really not sure what I am or if I am even bothered… however……

Recently a leaflet was pushed through my front door from a start-up cleaning company and I gave them a call as I wanted someone to come and give my house a real deep clean before Christmas. My house isn’t minging if that’s what youre thinking, but I do hate cleaning my bathrooms (yes, we are lucky enough to have more than one) – that’s not very working class is it?!) I digress..

Long story short, I called the company and arranged for them to come and do a clean, stayed in on the day…. they didn’t turn up. I messaged them and they just didn’t reply. Ding ding, back to your corners of frustration and start again.

The 2nd company I booked were recommended by a couple of people. Great communication and turned up bang on time. Good start I think we can agree.

I gave the cleaner, which I shall call S, a little tour of the house and explained that we wanted a deep clean concentrating on the bathrooms. I had provided a caddy FULL to the brim of cleaning products and left her to it.

She asked me to check her work when she was done, which I did, everywhere she had been was SUPER clean and as I was paying her, she said “I have moved a few things, but you should still be able to find them, you can text me though if you can’t”. I thought nothing of this as I fully expected her to move things to clean them and then of course, I wouldn’t have expected her to remember EXACTLY where everything went back. But… OH. MY. GOD….. OH MY GOD….

When I say she had moved EVERYTHING except the large furniture, I am not kidding. It took me 25 minutes when she had gone going from room to room, putting everything back in it’s rightful place. I am not sure what she was thinking, but she seemed to be under the impression that not only was she there to clean my house, she was also there to give it a makeover… For example…..

  • She moved almost every ornament or decorative item in every, single room – to another position in the same room or in a different room!
  • She moved a pot which keep with various keys from the very place it’s needed the most to a tucked away part of the TV cabinet – fun game of hide and seek when needing to open a door later that night
  • She moved my HRT tablets from the couch end table (where I leave them so I don’t forget to take them) to sideboard drawer (WHY was she going in the drawers?)
  • She crammed a pile of ironing I left out in preparation in a storage cupboard (WHY was she going in cupboards?!)
  • We have a Hotel Chocolate Velvetiser on a shelf in the kitchen, she uncurled the cord and lay it flat down the back of the shelf, instead of leaving it curled up where it was????
  • She moved my headband from the kitchen onto the hall table (WHY?)
  • In the bedroom, she re-arranged both mine and M’s bedside tables.
  • She moved my alarm clock onto a set of shelves in the the bedroom.
  • She moved some loose photos that were on the windowsill into my bedside drawers – again WHY was she in those private drawers??
  • She REMADE THE BED, WHICH WAS ALREADY MADE FOR THE DAY… in what I can only assume, was her preferred style. I was really annoyed by this, it felt so over the line.
  • Michael and I both had small piles of clothes at the end of the bed, she put them all into one pile ?!
  • In our box room where I have my dressing table, she had gone to town with the re-arranging…
  • She took a framed photograph of my nieces off the centre of a shelf and put it on my windowsill and then moved a photo of M and I off the windowsill and put it back on the end of the shelf.
  • She re-arranged EVERYTHING on my dressing table, moving everything around, brushes and makeup all in new places.
  • She got a glass tray out of a basket which was on the floor (as I no longer use it) and re-arranged some nail polishes and creams on it in the centre of my dressing table. WHY?!?!?!
  • On our top floor, I have a set of drawers and I put on there various decorative items that I no longer use and just can’t quite bear to part with.
  • She took it upon herself to get stuff from there and place the various bits in the bathroom and home office that’s up there. WHY?? There was a cushion up there that I can’t use, but can’t throw away, it was the last thing my mum bought whilst I was out shopping with her a few weeks before she died. S took it from it’s place on the drawers and put it on the sofa. I was FUMING…

We are still finding things a week or so later, or should I say can’t find things that she has moved. Today was a headband that I use when I am putting my makeup on.. yep, tucked in a basket where it DOESN’T LIVE!

She left me a bag of rubbish, but when M came home from work, he opened it to see what he could re-cycle… yep, broken kitchen spatula – didn’t tell me about that did she??

But here’s the thing, I felt so uncomfortable approaching the cleaning company as class anxiety kicked in big time. I have been brought up in a family that drilled in to me working class values, but surely having a cleaner is stepping up or out of that? Almost like I have ideas above my station.

But as I write that, I know it’s BS, the whole class things is just another way to label people. I have, over the years hired plumbers, mechanics, gardeners, plasterers, decoraters and never once turned a hair.. .why does having a cleaner or worse still, complaining about the cleaner, make my classy teeth itch?!

It was a bad service that massively overstepped the line in terms of what I hired them for, let alone personal boundaries. But you will be pleased to know there is a happy ending to the story..

I did contact the cleaning company and explained everything that had happened and that I felt violated. Good customer service meant that I got an apology and felt like I was listened to. Phew….

Please tell me that I am not alone in feeling uncomfortable when having people working at the house..

G x

Is it really only 4+ weeks to Christmas? | Life Update

Is it really only 4+ weeks to Christmas? | Life Update

How does Christmas creep up on me each year? It’s not like it moves dates OR the world ignores it.. but I feel like we have seriously fast tracked our way through Autumn and all off a sudden Mariah Carey is out of the deep freeze and sleigh bells are ringing!

I have been away on an off for the last few weeks and have 2 more trips to Cornwall before I can declare work done for the year. We live in the North West of England and Cornwall is right at the other end of the country. As I work for a charity, I have to try and pick the most cost effective ways of getting around. So it turns out, that It’s cheaper and FAR less time to fly to Newquay from Manchester than get the train.

FromToMethodCostTime (approx)Notes
Warrington Bank Quay StationTruroTrain£1807 hours 3 x Trains
Manchester AiportNewquay AirportPlane£96 (cabin bags)
£134 (hold luggage)
4 hours
(the flight is 1 hour)
This includes transfer to and from the airports and waiting time

I have got used to being away from home, but it’s not my favourite. There is nothing like your own bed and I am not a natural traveller. I never realise it whilst I am away, but I am always exhausted when I get back! This last time, I got back and I had been home about 45 minutes, M was making my tea and he came in to ask me something and I was already falling asleep — it was 7pm! I managed to eat my food and I fell asleep again for 20 minutes at 8pm and then I finally went to bed just before 10pm 😴 I think it’s just the relief of being home, in that I can finally relax.

When I tell people I am flying to Cornwall, people always gasp and express their jealousy. They forget that I am definitely NOT on holiday, but what I am, is a person, on their own in a town that closes at 5pm (like most small towns) and I am there for work, which means my day is Hotel>Work>Hotel on repeat.

At this time of year, it’s dark by 5pm and whilst I am sure the people of Truro are lovely, I still don’t feel comfortable walking the streets by myself at night. You see, not quite as glamorous as you might think…

Being away this year means that I am going to miss out on a few social events and the 1st one I’ve had to say no to, is volunteering on the Rotary Christmas float, which I did for the 1st time last year. In case you aren’t familiar, it’s a float that is driven around the local area with Father Christmas on it. People can make a small voluntary donation and the funds raised are then passed out to local good causes. It was SUCH a good thing to be involved in last year, so I was gutted to find out I couldn’t take part this year.

But despite the being away far too much, I am really enjoying my job. I have learned so much cool stuff and the team I am working with are ace. I still do miss The Prince’s Trust gang, but inevitably, they are little further away in my rear view mirror. But a positive of social media is that I see their antics online from time to time, which always makes me smile.

So anyway, it’s just over 4 weeks to Christmas and as usual, I am really looking forward to the break. Are you looking forward to it? Is Christmas your thing?

G x

I (finally) love my curly hair | Blogtober 15

I (finally) love my curly hair | Blogtober 15

One of the benefits of getting older is that not only do I worry much less what people think of me, but I am also starting to love myself and the way I look a little more.

It’s a tough thing to admit that I don’t always like what I see in the mirror and I definitely have days where I want to wear my duvet and not leave the house, but I am trying very hard to not always let that voice in my head get so loud.

For years, I have always hated my hair. It was curly, it has been curly from birth and I ALWAYS wished it was straight. I used to look at other girls, other women, colleagues, friends and literally anyone with straight hair with envy. Straight hair always looks so neat and tidy. It could be teased into gentle waves, have a poker straight fringe and pony tails looked cute. My hair has always looked messy, it has always grown down, but also out. I hated it.

Until I was about 26-27 I wore it short as that is how it had been since I was a kid and I started straightening it the second I could get my hands on straighteners. I toyed with having it long mid-teens, but I had no clue what to do with it, so it ended up as a fluffy pineapple atop my head.

My mum wasn’t very girly and as a lifelong sporter of short curly hair herself she used to scoff at people with long hair, perpetually wondering why they would grow it long and then tie it up. (One of many odd things she thought).

I have been to countless hairdressers over the year and I have yet to find one that could cope with curly hair. I ALWAYS got it blown straight as if I was ever feeling brave and asked them to dry it curly, I came out looking like an 80s fluffball

So in the mid 2000s I found out about a treatment called opti-smooth with claimed it would permanently straighten my hair. I couldnt believe it, but was at the point of frustration, where I was willing to give anything a go!

The treatment was over £250 and took 4-5 hours. But these were the results:

Their claims were true, my hair was straight, even when wet – it was a MIRACLE! The treatment lasted until my hair grew it out, which was usually about 10-12 months at which point I had to have it done again. I carried on doing this for a good few years, until I had it done one time and it didn’t take.

I didn’t notice at first and then one particularly bitchy colleague said to me “Do you know your hair is curly at the back?”, I ignored her, but checked with M when I got home, who assured me it was straight. But then we saw my then tiny niece who asked me “Auntie Gill, why is your hair curly at the back?”. So back I went to the hairdressers, who re-did it for free, but it still didn’t take. 😡

So since about 2013 I have reluctantly let my hair go curly, only really feeling comfortable with it in last 12-18 months.

I just sort of realised one day that my hair is NEVER going to look neat and tidy in the same way that straight hair does and that’s ok. I’ve also started to use some better products to look after my hair, making sure to use good conditioner and serums to tame the frizz. I also don’t wash my hair that often, perhaps once a week and my hair copes fine with that.

But mostly, I tell myself that my hair is my hair and I am ok with that. Age has done that for me… lucky me.

G x

Starting to Feel Human (ish) | Blogtober 14

Starting to Feel Human (ish) | Blogtober 14

So I finally think the Killer Cornwall Cold is finally starting to leave the building! I actually ventured out of the house by myself yesterday to do a bit of shopping. It’s only a couple of weeks from Halloween and traditionally M and I (well mostly me) love a bit of decoration for the house and so we do already have some quite a few nice bits, but I always like looking in case there is anything else that takes my fancy. This time, not so much, but I did get a few little bits that I needed, so all good. Here is my Insta showing a few of our decorations:

I have got a really busy week this week with trips to Preston, Halton and London, one of which I am bit nervous about. On Thursday I am delivering some training for the 1st time in a subject that is relatively new to me. I have done a fair bit of swotting up and I think I know my stuff, but I am still a little 😫. However, I have got to keep telling myself that I am a very experienced trainer and so I need to trust my abilities a little more.

But otherwise it’s nice to be busy and I’ve been at home a lot lately and it will be nice to get out and about for a few days.

Right then, I am currently watching The Fugitive with Harrison Ford – gawd I love a retro film. I can’t bring myself to call it an “old movie” as to me, these are Black and White!

See you tomorrow!

G x

The Killer Cornwall Cold | Blogtober 13

The Killer Cornwall Cold | Blogtober 13

So you know when you have a burst of creative inspiration and then decide to a blog series, but then come back from a business trip feeling like death which stops everything in its tracks.. No? Just me then!!!

On my penultimate night in Cornwall I started to feel yucky and by the morning, I was feeling awful. Thankfully my flight was on time, and none of my taxi drivers wanted to chat too much.

But once I was home, my body sort of gave up the ghost and the cold took full hold. Scratchy throat, snotty nose and my nemesis, a rotten cough. I say my nemesis as I had the WORST whooping cough in 2016 and was a coughing mess for 6 weeks. *shudders*.

The next thing that inevitably happened was that M got it too. Which means that for the past week we have been in living parallel lives in the same house. Taking various cold remedies every 4 hours whilst having the energy levels of weak kittens. M has slept on our top floor for a few nights so avoid either one of us coughing too much and keeping the other one awake. I have actually worked all week and this was only possible as I work from home, but there was definitely one day when I couldn’t speak to anyone as the coughing was ROUGH!

But I think that after just over a week, we are starting to feel better. We actually went to Bents Garden & Home yesterday for breakfast and didn’t need a 2 x hour nap afterwards! They have already started their Christmas campaign and the shop was full of Christmas trees and decorations!! It feels WAY too early yet, I am only just starting to think about Halloween!

Anyway, I wanted to apologise for being absent, but now most of the cold fog has cleared, I should be business as usual!

Catch you tomorrow!

Gill x

Changing to Multifocal lenses | Blogtober 9

Changing to Multifocal lenses | Blogtober 9

In the last few months my body had literally yelled at me “You are 45 and here are a few things to prove it!” One thing is the menopause and the other thing is that whilst I’ve had glasses for distance for about 17 years, I now also need glasses for reading. OK then.

For years though, I have been going to Specsavers in St Helens, but I am not going to lie their customer service is very hit and miss. It’s always VERY busy and sometimes the staff are great and others, not so much. St Helens has very much become a ghost town with all the major retailers pulling out of the town centre and to be honest, Specsavers was one of the few reasons we would still go in.

BUT… in my last visit the waits was long and customer service poor, so I decided to switch opticians. After an approximate 3 second search, I found out there was a Vision Express in a Tesco Superstore not that far from me, so I decided to give it a go.

My bulletted impression is as follows:

  • VERY small store
  • Helpful staff (although one had a dreadful cold which I was afeared to catch whilst she was talking to me)
  • Awful chair in the initial consultation room (I cut my ankle trying to move the very heavy chair closer to the apparatus).
  • Good consultation with the optician re: general eyesight
  • Texts to remind me of appointments are very helpful
  • Contact lens consultation was only ok.

So now I have multi-focal glasses AND contact lenses. It took me about 1.5 weeks to get used to the glasses as they have a slightly blurred aspect on the each side of the lens with a prescription on the top of the lens for distance with the reading prescription on the bottom. I think years ago, these types of glasses would have a separation line, but now it’s just a normal looking lens.

When I first wore my new specs, everything felt a bit “swimmy”. My eyes felt very tired at the end of each day and I really had to persevere not to revert back to my old glasses. But all the advice that I had been given and/or seen told me NOT to put my old glasses back on as it would take my eyes and brain longer to adjust. So as I said, it took me about a week and a half before I realised at the end of the day, my eyes didn’t feel tired and I hadn’t really noticed the fact that I was wearing them during the day.

It’s true that with multi-focal lenses that you have to position your eye in the lens which results in a little head bobbing at first, but eventually it becomes second nature.

I am now starting to also try out multifocal contact lenses and so far so good – although I have NO idea how they work.. literally none. I did ask the optician at Vision Express and he just shrugged and said that they just centred themselves. ?!?!?*

Anyway, if you are wondering whether or not to give them a go, then I would say go for it. Most opticians let you try them for a while and will give you a full refund if it turns out they aren’t for you. My M tried them a while a go and couldn’t get used to them, so he just took them back.

If you have tried any of the above, why not leave me a comment to say how you got on..

G x

p.s. I found this video on YouTube which explain how mutli-focal contact lenses work. It’s basically an advert, but it’s a good explanation.

Everything is upside down |Blogtober 5

Everything is upside down |Blogtober 5

I do sometimes wonder how this period in history will be remembered 50 years from now and just how many dissertations about BREXIT will be written in the next 10 years! To me it feels like the downward spiral started in 2016, the year in which SO many famous people died, Trump was elected and the UK voted to leave the EU. It somehow has got worse worse week by week with no end in sight.

The last few years has actually taught me a few things about myself, mainly that I am a liberalist who sees good things in diversity and also that I really want us to stay in the EU.

Yes, I voted remain, which does seem to stand at odds with what my local constituency voted, but that doesn’t and should matter to me.

Ok there are a few reasons why I voted to remain and as we know I love a list, so here are the top 3 reasons:

  • I love being part of the European Community and I don’t think being proudly British and part of the EU are mutually exclusive.
  • My sister and her small family have some serious medical issues, and whilst we are still in the EU they would receive free medical care whilst on holiday in Europe. If we leave, especially without a deal, then this would immediately disappear.
  • The backstop. I remember the fighting in Ireland and how long it took to come to The Good Friday Agreement. I am not saying we would go back there, but a hard border is definitely a step in the wrong direction.

I hate the way the politicians are dealing with it all, stood in parliament using age old language, unable to agree on a way forward, despite over 3 years of trying. I hate the way Brexit has become so divisive between ordinary people, each determined that it’s their way or NO way. Social media hasn’t been fun for a while as people add letters to their socials to indicate their Brexit preference. “Remoaners” or “Brexiteers” are just made up terms to fling dirt at one another. I hate it all. No matter what we all voted for in 2016, none of us voted for this mess.

Then of course there is Trump. He continues to be a misogynistic, bombastic leader who seems to listen to no-one. He uses Twitter to feed his ego and as a place to shout dangerous rhetoric. Be maybe there is hope? As I write, he is on the verge of being impeached for trying to blackmail the Ukrainian leader. His election and presidency makes me wonder how America could have got it so wrong.

Having someone with such harsh and right wing opinions in a position of power can never lead anywhere good. Calling yourself a “stable genius” without any sense of irony, along with calls to “Send them home” are now somehow accepted? How is that possible? How do we want this mentality for future generations? How can we ignore such disgusting and immoral behaviour…from a president?!

So here’s the thing. Quite a lot of people aren’t ignoring this behaviour, either of Trump or of people spreading hate right here in the UK. But good, kind and welcoming people don’t make the news. Katy “couldn’t win the Apprentice” Hopkins and Nigel “fuckface” Farage will provide 10 sound bites per hour for literally anyone and their onerous political views will always make news.

But the world is still full of wonderful people who are doing everything they can to make the world a better place. People and organisations that help refugees and who support marginalised groups of people are still going strong and will continue to do so. My town held its first Pride this year and the people standing up for what they believe in have been epic!

So I encourage you to MUTE your social media and turn off the news from time to time if it all gets a bit much and focus on the positive. I try to think that whilst it’s a maelstrom in the world of politics at the moment, it’s quite a period of history to live through. I just hope we come out alive.

G X

See Blogtober 4 – Daisy’s Illness Update >>here<<

Daisy’s Illness Update| Blogtober 4

Daisy’s Illness Update| Blogtober 4

So after my little jaunt to Cornwall this week, I thought I would spend today chilling out and in today’s blog, I would give you a little update on how our dog Daisy is getting on.

You may have seen if you follow my social media that at the end of August and the beginning of September I noticed Daisy was drinking more than normal and booked her in at our local vets. We were told that she could potentially had a deadly disease she would have caught from a sandfly back in Romania (her home country).

A few tests revealed that she DIDN’T have the disease, but she did have a poorly liver. One biopsy later and a few MORE tests later we got the news whilst we were away in Anglesey that her liver issues were benign and reversible!! Huge sigh of relief. However the vet told us that the liver disease was secondary and that we had to do another test to find out whether or not she had cushings disease. And it turned out, she does.

So, what does this mean? Cushings Disease is apparently common in older dogs and is the overproduction of Cortisol in the body. All of which is explained brilliantly in this post by the Blue Cross. According to our vet, there is no cure for this, but it can be controlled with medication, a little like Diabetes. This time, the sigh of relief was so big, when I got the call with the good news, I burst into tears. 😭

So we are now embarking on a new regime of medication twice a day for Daisy, which she is thankfully ok with taking. She is basically a scavenger for food, so as long as she takes it with food, then she’s happy. She really did have us worried though and I couldnt be more grateful that what she has isnt life threatening.

Hopefully she will be with us for a long whilst yet.

G x

See Blogtober 3 Flying to Cornwall Part 2 >> here <<

See Blogtober 4 – The World is Upside down >> here << (updated soon)

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