Living in a rented house pretty much guarantees that at some point you are going to have to move on.  I totally get that and it’s something which we have resigned ourselves to over the years and yet each time we are forced to move on, it feels like the rug has been pulled yet again from under our feet.

We have been in the North West for just over 3 years now and were finally beginning to feel settled.  The cynic in me clamours for attention, shouting that this was absolutely the time when things would have to change whilst the realist buried somewhere underneath reminds me that long-term just doesn’t mean long-term in the world of renting any more and we were never going to be truly settled whilst living in a house which was not our own.

Regardless of whether I choose to listen to the cynic or the realist, it doesn’t stop the whole situation from being utterly frustrating and not something we were prepared to deal with this year.  2017 was going to be OUR year.  It’s the year I turn 30 and we celebrate 10 years of marriage.  It’s the year we see my brother in law and my sister get married (not to each other!) with James being best man at one wedding and me, maid of honour at the other.  It’s the year we go to Tuscany for a romantic break without the kids and the year I go to Chicago on my own.  There was so much for us to look forward to but also the type of year where we really just had to fly by the seat of our pants as there is so much to arrange and organise but it was going to be amazing and we were going to spend the majority of 2018 recovering.  In all of that, a house move really wasn’t on the cards.

Yet here we are.

If you had asked me two years ago whether we were going to stay in our current village I would have let out a resounding NO.  There were issues with school mums, lack of friends, a feeling of isolation and just so many reasons why I was practically begging James on a daily basis to let me look for another house.  But we practised patience, and I walked through the rubbish situations and I tried to learn from them and I waited and eventually things evened out and we felt settled.


Isn’t that just the way?

There is pressure on us to make a decision about how we are going to handle this situation and currently we are considering a move which we have floated a few times but never really had the guts to go for (see above).  It doesn’t mean moving far by any means but it would mean moving the kids into a new school, and getting used to a new area.  It would mean starting again with making friends and settling in.  It would mean another new house and another period of uncertainty.  But it would also mean an exciting new chapter and an adventure and just maybe and this is a very BIG maybe, the possibility of a house we could truly stay in for the long term.

It’s the kind of decision which I would love time to mull over and contemplate and yet it is actually one we have to make in a fairly short space of time.  Which is pretty terrifying, but also kind of exciting.  The wandering spirit in me thrills at the idea of something shiny and new, the opportunities it might present and the chance to do things better.  I just need to hush the worrier in me which tells me the kids will struggle with changing schools and we will be back to square one with lack of friends and who will I drink wine with on a Friday night when I just need to let my mama hair down…

So rambling post and splurge of thoughts aside, we are definitely going to be moving house, but to exactly where and exactly when, I don’t yet know.  With so much happening, you will have to forgive me if this little corner of the web becomes a bit sparse.  I will sit and write when I have the brain space but that may not be as often as I would like in the next few weeks.

Watch this space.

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With winter officially finished and summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to think about giving your car a little love.  Spring is typically the time when people start to clear their homes out and get ready for the new season and we should take the time to do this for our cars as well.

Safety
Making sure that you get your car serviced regularly is a great to have peace of mind that everything in your car is working as it should and that your car is safe to drive.  Over time, general wear and tear issues can become larger problems if left unchecked, a regular service will highlight any potential issues and enable you to nip them in the bud.  Just because you don’t have warning lights flashing, don’t assume that everything is okay in your car…get it serviced to make 100% sure.

Save money
As I mentioned above, getting your car regularly serviced can bring to light potential problems which, if left unchecked could turn into bigger and more expensive issues.  Better to get something dealt with whilst it is only a minimal outlay than to have a seriously expensive matter on your hands.  Consider something as straightforward as getting your oil changed versus having engine problems because you’ve been driving without oil.  There are so many places which offer good value for money too these days, whether you need a new exhaust or a new car battery; for example, somewhere such as Ossett Tyres is a great option.  Your car battery is an essential part of your car; without it you won’t be able to start your car, let alone do anything else so ensuring you have a well running car battery is essential.

In addition to this, cars which are well looked after are often more efficient, meaning you will spend less on fuel outgoings month to month too.



Get the most out of your car
A car which is well looked after is a car which will last longer so a regular service can ensure that your car really does go the distance, so to speak.  It might seem like an effort to take it to be serviced, or to get issues sorted quickly but if you factor the cost of getting a new car then suddenly it doesn’t seem like such a big issue!

Retain its value
Although this might not necessarily be something you are considering right now, if the time comes for you to want to sell your car and get something newer then by getting your car regularly serviced you are going to have helped your car to retain some of its value, meaning you get more money for it when you sell it, and more to put towards new wheels.



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With National Car Care Month just around the corner, this week I thought I would share with you some basic tips on how to love your car again.  We have been quite lucky in that over the last few years we’ve had a number of new cars through James’ work which we haven’t had to worry about maintaining but for the school run I drive a little Peugeot run-around which has had its fair share of visits to the garage.

Cars are something we rely on a lot and yet sometimes it can be all too easy to let small issues fall to the side, which can then become bigger issues until you are faced with a car that doesn’t run effectively or efficiently and maybe even one which is going to cost a lot to become roadworthy again (I’ve been there with smoke issuing from the bonnet as you drive down the motorway, it’s not fun.  Trust me.)

So if you need some inspiration on how to give your car a little love over the next month then read on:-


Clean it up
It is amazing how a simple clean can make your car feel shiny and new again.  For a real winner, you are better going to a car handwash rather than through a mechanical wash and often the handwash companies will also clean the inside of your car for a little extra.  We have a great local company and they always do a good job.  I’m not just talking about the quick, surface level clean but a real deep clean with the upholstery getting a good scrub and all those hard to reach places too.  You will be surprised at the difference it can make.

Get new tyres
If you are anything like me, it only ever occurs to me to think about changing my tyres when the MOT is looming but to make sure your car is running efficiently, you should regularly be checking your tyres, and getting them changed promptly when you need to.

Change the sound system
This is something which I have been considering for a while now; my car isn’t that old but the sound system is nowhere near on a par with new cars and this not only makes me feel like I’m driving an old banger but it also means I can’t listen to the type of music  I want to with ease.  It’s not a cheap thing to do but it’s also not a ridiculously expensive endeavour and I’m sure it will make my car feel like it has a new lease of life.


Sort the exhaust
You should have your exhaust checked at least once a year; it’s surprising how much effect an exhaust has on the smooth running of your car and you may find that it makes a huge difference to the way your car handles if you get exhaust repairs for your car; somewhere such as Dat Tyres is a good option.

Replace the rubber
One thing I have noticed which is a constant issue with used cars is the build up of grime in the rubber surrounding the doors and windows.  I think my last used car had a whole habitat going on in the green moss which somehow crept in.  It’s a bit of a brain ache to try and change the rubber but it’s fairly easy to learn how, and incredibly cheap to do so.  Not only that but replacing the rubber will ensure that your car is properly insulated and can minimise outside noise when you are driving too.  To get car rubber replacement done you can check Coh Baines.

So there you go, just some easy and fairly inexpensive tips on how to give your car a new lease of life.

Do let me know if you have any other tips to add!

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Now I know I may have casually mentioned this once or twice but this year we are celebrating two very special occasions: the first is my 30th birthday in May and the second is our 10th wedding anniversary in August.

In thinking about how I wanted to celebrate my birthday, I knew there were a couple of things I would like to do.  I’m not great with the pressures of a bucket list (so out went the ’30 before I’m 30′ idea) but I did have some things in mind for ways to celebrate and one of those was a combined birthday-anniversary trip, just me and James.

For my 18th birthday I went to Rome and I absolutely adored it, but I haven’t been back to Italy since so it was the first place which came to mind.  Let’s not also forget that Prosecco is also my drink of choice so heading to wine country seemed like the ideal option.

We ummed and ahhed and wondered about leaving the kids for any great length of time; it’s the first time the two of us will have been out of the country together, leaving the kids with their grandparents so it’s a little bit stressful but I have to say that since we got our accommodation sorted I am really looking forward to it.

We will have three full days to explore, plus half a day when we land which we might use to see some of the main sights of Pisa before we head to our apartment and there is so much that I want to see and do.  We have yet to put our final plans in place but some of the things we are considering include:-

Visiting Volterra
We are actually staying somewhere near to Volterra and although I’d like to pretend that my love of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series (it’s my secret shame shhhh) has nothing to do with it, I’m actually pretty excited to go and visit.  There is plenty of history to be found in this walled town including Roman ruins which is something both of us will enjoy exploring.

Drinking Wine in Chianti
This may actually be the main reason we are visiting; the idea of sipping authentic Italian wine as I watch the sun set over the Tuscan hills with a good book in my hand is just about a dream come true and we will be right on the border of the Chianti region, giving me every excuse to consume as much wine as I can possibly get my hands on (reasonably and sensibly of course…)  There are countless wine tours to be enjoyed too and I’ve spotted a couple which are also combined with food tours; good food and good wine, what is not to love about that combination?!

A Day Trip to Florence
I doubt that it would be possible to capture everything that makes Florence amazing in just one day trip but it would be fantastic to try.  This historical city has been recommended to us by so many people that it would be a real shame to miss out on a visit here.  Attractions such as the Uffizi Gallery, San Lorenzo’s Market, the Duomo and so much more…I really hope we can make it there, even if it’s just for the day.

Taking A Dip in the Thermal Baths
Did you know there were thermal baths in the Tuscan region of Italy?  Me neither until I started delving deeper into things we could enjoy whilst on our trip.  Two such natural springs are located in Saturnia and also feature waterfalls: Cascate del Mulino and Cascate del Gorello.  Both these springs are open to the public and are free to enter which certainly makes them even more appealing!

Relaxing by the Pool
We are going to Italy in June so are fully prepared for the weather to be a little changeable but it would be nice if we could spend one of our days just chilling out by the pool.  As any parent will tell you, time spent with no interruptions is a precious commodity and to be able to spend quality time together, relaxing, well…the hard part for me will be not packing 20 books in my suitcase and then squirrelling myself away for 5 days!

If you’ve been to Tuscany then please let us know what you would recommend we see and do!

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I spotted so many lovely spring related photos this week and I was so excited and then…then the rain came back!  We came so close though so actual warmer weather; it surely can’t be too long before hanging washing on the line and sitting out in the garden become part of our every day again.

Read

I am currently reading a book called Moloka’i, which is set in Hawaii and is about the leprosy island they had during the late 1890’s and 1900’s.  I’m almost at the end and it has been a really fascinating look into Hawaiian culture and the history of leprosy.  I didn’t know, for example, that Hawaii had no record of illnesses such as smallpox and leprosy before they began mixing with other cultures and that is why it hit the Hawaiian people so hard; as they had no natural immunity to it.  Fascinating fact for the day right there!


Watched

I’ve had such a lazy week, it has mostly consisted of putting the kids to bed and then going to bed myself and binge-watching Netflix.  I finished series one of Gilmore Girls and am well into the second series now.  We did watch Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them as well, James never got to see it in the cinema and as I am a huge Eddie Redmayne fan it just had to be done.

Made

I am so excited to announce that I have created an Instagram community for book related posts.  #ThatReadingLife is for anyone who wants to share what they are reading, or absolutely anything related to books.  If you’ve ever visited me on Insta you will know that I am a HUGE bookworm so I’m really looking forward to having people join in with me.


Wore

I’m not usually one for novelty clothing but I spotted this t-shirt a while back and absolutely fell in love.  As Eli kindly pointed out, I should wear it every day because that’s how often I have a glass of wine in my hand*

*He isn’t correct about that!


Heard

So I’ve been banging on about the fact that I turn 30 this year and I am planning to milk it for all its worth, WELL, we finally heard that we have some childcare sorted for a few months time so James and I can go away.  It’ll be the longest we’ve been away from the kids together so I’m pretty nervous but I’m also now frantically hunting for bargain flights!

And Lastly…

Meg got chosen this week to represent her school in a ‘gifted and talented’ gymnastics event and I could not be more proud of her.  I wasn’t allowed to attend unfortunately, but I didn’t want it to pass without noting that she had done something amazing.  She’s an out and out perfectionist and we’ve seen her struggle when she is surrounded by people who are better than her at things, often just walking away and giving up.  But she came home yesterday saying that although there were lots of people better than her, she had tried her hardest and knew what she wanted to work on to improve which is massive deal for her and made me all the more proud.

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