A Quiet Christmas Break | A Day in the Life

A Quiet Christmas Break | A Day in the Life

Well hello, 2020! The start of a new decade and a world of possibilities – or just the transition from Tuesday to Wednesday – whichever you like.

I have been fairly quiet both on this blog and on social media for the Christmas period, withdrawing completely for a wee while and then just posting sporadically, whilst not actually sharing that much at all compared to normal. I have felt quite tired with one thing and another, I did a lot of travelling in December and then, of course, there is the mess that is/was Brexit.

After the general election on the 12th December, it winded me. I realised that unwittingly I had curated my friends and social media pals to only include people with the same sort of world views as my own and therefore I was sort of convinced that the Tories would be ousted. When they were voted in, I was gobsmacked. I felt out of touch, disappointed and sad quite honestly.

So when I finished work on the 20th December, I sort of shut up shop. Came off socials and withdrew. I should apologise to anyone that I perhaps should have caught up with on my time off, I, unfortunately, didn’t have the energy.

But what I DID end up doing was a sort of ping pong between dog walks 👣 garden centres ☕ eateries 🍳and family 👪 .

I posted on Boxing Day that I was hoping to get out loads, but this just didn’t happen. We went somewhere almost every day but stayed fairly local. Daisy dog’s Cushings Disease means she doesn’t have much energy, so when we tried to take her on a small adventure to Pennington Flash, she walked for a reluctant hour, but it zonked her out for the rest of the day!

We did have a few significant events happen though, firstly, our Fridge Freezer packed up after 15 years of loyal service. We bought it after we moved in together and quickly realised that my ancient under counter fridge (that came with my then house) could no longer keep 2 x people’s food cold! We have a new one coming today actually, but buyer beware, Currys are charging us £35 to have the door open the opposite way to normal, despite it only needing the screws moving to the opposite side! Cheeky buggers.

In other news, I ordered myself a new car, which is coming in a few weeks (dead excited). I also sold my old car, which means for the 1st time in years, I am without my own transportation! I never really wanted to be 18, so that I could drink, I always wanted to be 17 so that I could drive as I knew it would give me freedom… so I can’t wait to have my own wheels again…..

But overall, this Christmas break has been quiet and wonderful. I haven’t seen many people, but M, Daisy and I have had some quality time together. Played games, gone on walks, marvelled at everyone’s Christmas lights, watched some fab Telly, eaten some lovely food and rested so wonderfully every day. It’s been GLORIOUS.

I am starting work again for 2020 on Monday and part of me is looking forward to it and part of me is constantly wishing for a lottery win and a Caribbean cruise!

Welcome 2020, let’s make sure we have fun together 👯

G x

Be gone Squirrels | House

Be gone Squirrels | House

One of my few goals in life was to have a garden before I was 40 and I achieve it with just about 3 days to go. I have loved playing with and in the garden, changing it around to suit my mood and one of the things I have loved it seeing it filled with wildlife.

It’s not a big garden, but it does have an enormous willow tree which covers the bottom half of it. We have recently cut it back, so at last, we have more light.

One thing we loved is when birds visit us, but one thing we have also struggled with is squirrels! Every time we put out bird food, the pesky squirrels steal it. Why not get one of those squirrel proof feeders I hear you ask, well we did and the squirrels just figured out how to get into them. One even chewed a bigger hole in the plastic so he could get his gob in it!

We have tried a few things to get rid of the squirrels, and today sees us trying I am hoping will work. I found an article on the RSPB which recommended a few things, one of which was Chilli powder on bird feed, which does not bother the birds, but the squirrels don’t like.

So I will let you know how we get on…. Hopefully, a video to follow!


Happy Boxing Day! |Life Update

Happy Boxing Day! |Life Update

Hello all you lovely people! Thought I would write a quick post to wish you all a very Happy Christmas!

Ok ok, I know it’s Boxing Day, but I am still definitely in the Christmas mood. Yesterday was a lovely day as I spend the morning at home, walking the dog and opening presents with M, in the afternoon we had lunch out at a local hotel and then yesterday evening we went over to Grappenhall to see M’s family.

Christmas isn’t always easy and I am sure tensions happen in every family, not just mine, but as it happens, yesterday was lovely.

I was mega impressed with the Christmas meal at the Holiday Inn in Haydock, nothing was rushed, the food was lovely and the staff were just fantastic! Loved it all.

I was lucky enough to get lots of lovely things from my loved ones for Christmas as I got an Apple Watch, a few lovely candles and LOTS of cool beauty bits an bobs – I am a very lucky girl!

Today is Boxing Day in the UK, which is another bank holiday and for us means M has been for a run this morning with his running group, we are chilling for a bit this afternoon and then going out to M’s parents later for tea and then quickly back home so M can watch the match.

The Christmas period is usually the only time M and I have a full 2 weeks off work. I finished on the 20th December and I am not going back until the 6th December. Utter bliss!

I am hoping to make use of our National Trust Memberships whilst we are off and even though Daisy Dog is still only has the energy of a hung-over slug, we are going to do our best to get her to some new places!

Happy Boxing Day Everyone, lots of love from my house to yours


1 whole year of Daisy | Pupdate

1 whole year of Daisy | Pupdate

How is it 1 year since this delightfully little doggy entered our lives? To give you a little re-cap, we adopted her from Cheshire Dogs Home a few days before Christmas in 2018. It was such a rocky journey throughout 2018 to try and find a dog for our family, but when we met Daisy, everything just fell into place.

She is a very very quiet dog, almost silent in that she hardly ever barks and doesn’t cry at all. She’s not entirely silent though as in her sleep she snores like an overweight grandad and then perhaps 5-6 times in the whole of 2019, she has done a tiny little bark when she hears us moving around upstairs in a morning and she is downstairs waiting for us.

She has been fairly easy to train as she is VERY food orientated. We took her to a Kennel Club Class at a local Dog Training place called The Dogs Country Club and it was BRILLIANT. We learned Sit, Stay, Recall, Door Control and basic lead walking. The course was 8 weeks and we loved it. Daisy got little food rewards every time she did anything right and she was SUCH a good student because of this!

House training initially went really well and she was probably completely house trained within a month of us getting her, with her being 80% trained within about 2 weeks. This did leave us to believe that she had perhaps lived with someone back in Romania and hadn’t always (if ever) been a street dog.

However, the house training thing has hit a bump in the road as at the end of August we noticed that Daisy was drinking more than normal. We took her to the vets and what followed was a horrible waiting game that included some VERY expensive test and horrendous waits, to find out that Daisy has Cushings disease. Thankfully it isn’t fatal, and can be treated with medication.

But this does mean that Daisy’s excessive thirst means that she can’t hold in all the pee 😒 The vet told us this was to be expected and even now, a few months later, the medication balance isn’t quite right and she is still having accidents. We have decided to manage the symptoms for now and as she always seemed to pee in the same place, we bought a few washable pee pads and she she uses them if she can’t hold it. Not ideal, but manageable…

We have also taken Daisy away on 2 x holidays this year, with varying levels of success as it turns out Daisy isn’t a natural adventurer. Our 1st trip was to the Lake District and after an active day on Day 1, Daisy was too tired on the Day 2 to really do anything and in addition, she wasn’t keen on the hotel and peed on the carpet – more than once…. oops 😳

Our second trip was a week in Anglesey at our beloved and regular holiday haunt near Llangefni. Daisy had just had her tests to diagnose her Cushings and had to wear a medical vest to shield her stitches. Daisy again was really uncomfortable in new surroundings and only started to settle mid-week. She peed everytime we left her and there was really nothing we could do about it. But this trip was slightly more successful as we took Daisy on some lovely little walks (we learned from the 1st trip to pace ourselves) and visited some beautiful beaches. We took her crate and her comfy cushion with us and that helped loads.

Daisy isn’t an energetic dog and in fact will happily sleep for about 18 hours every day. She does love a walk, but not for more than an hour and in the warm weather, even less than that. She favours a couple of shorter walks rather than one long one and thankfully, she is great off lead as she doesn’t really run anywhere and comes back when she is called. She has always walked quite close to us and her favourite thing is to sniff every single inch of ground, foliage and wall.

From very early on we have used a dog walker during the day when if we are out at work and he takes her on group walks with 5-6 other dogs. This really helped her socialisation and has meant that she is fine with other dogs. Every now and again if a dog is too pushy with her on the park, she will grumbly growl at them, but that’s about it.

Daisy is such a sweetheart and the waggiest dog I have ever met. She wags her tail every time she sees either M or I, every time there is food or anything wonderful going on. She also, quite randomly, loves my singing. A few months ago I was upstairs getting ready for something and singing away to myself (as you do) and M said that when Daisy heard me, she started wagging. She does it now, if I am singing to myself, she wags and comes over for a cuddle. Cutest, thing ever!

Daisy was 7 when we got her and hopefully she will be with us for a few more years yet. I love having her around, I love walking her and I love being her friend. She is a very quiet and shy dog when you first meet her, she won’t jump up or shower you with kisses, but when she gets to know you, she will love you forever…..

I will be forever grateful to Cheshire Dogs home for helping us adopt her and for Daisy for choosing us for her retirement.

Happy Christmas! 🎄

G x

Finished Work for 2019 | Day in the Life

Finished Work for 2019 | Day in the Life

It’s becoming a little tradition of mine to write a post on my final working day of the year. It’s fair to say that this year has been unique for me in that I have had 3 full time jobs. I started the year working for The Prince’s Trust and it was with a heavy heart that I decided to leave, a very bittersweet decision. I LOVED the people and PT as an employer, but I had more or less done everything I could and it was time to leave.

From there, I went to work for a local NHS trust and this was nowhere near as successful. I have never worked somewhere with such a toxic work environment which meant that after just 8 weeks, I resigned. The rotters made me work an additional 8 weeks, but thankfully I had a lovely new job to go to.

Since July 2019 I have worked for Addaction as a Learning Lead. It’s fair to say my learning curve has been steep and I boy have I travelled around… in the last 6 months I have been to…

DestinationVisit Count

But I am really loving the challenge and being home based is definitely for me!

But it IS the Christmas holiday and however much I am enjoying things, a break is always welcome and more than looked forward to. M and I are off for a full 2 weeks and we can’t wait.

I am always grateful to be gainfully employed and I will never take that for granted.

But for now work and I are are done! Happy Christmas!

G x

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

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