BEDN: Travel

Blog Every Day in November



To me, it’s rather entertaining that this is today’s topic. This morning I’ve been working from IKEA in Milton Keynes while Chris has been at work. Today is the start of two weeks-ish of “solo parenting”. Do any other parents out there never know whether that’s an okay phrase to use? Just me?).

In a little while, I have to go and collect Chris from work and take him to the train station. He’s then taking the train from Milton Keynes to Euston then joining the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow (it sure is a lot colder than when Jaxon and I did it before). He’s then going to travel from London to Lilongwe in Malawi. Well, technically it’s the flight to his first destination before he catching the connecting flight tomorrow sometime.

So, most talk about travel in our house has revolved around Chris’s latest adventure. Two friends have just been on crazy adventures – one got back from Hong Kong (You can read about her visit to Hong Kong: Disneyland here) and another just got back from Japan. (Yep I am a bit jelly lol).

The list of places that I would love to visit definitely keeps growing, especially with my growing obsession with travel documentaries as a way to see the world until the budget allows! I watched Salt Fat Acid Heat a few weeks ago and wanted to go to Italy to learn about growing and harvesting olives which is hilarious because I do gardening out of a necessity rather than because I enjoy it. Maybe that one comes in the “Hide your passport before watching” category. Eat Pray Love is similar in that I get to Julia Roberts being in Italy eating Gelato and Pizza and I want to be back at Il Maggiolino stuffing my face with that fabulous pizza! You can read all about our adventures in Rome here. The other one is Julie and Julia where I get this crazy idea about decamping to France for weeks on end and blog my way around while eating as much French food as I can eat. Well, ignore the fact that Chris thinks I can be a fussy eater sometimes. (The only fish I eat is fish fingers and avoid mushrooms like the plague!). Oh and that Amy Adam’s version of Julie Powell would be my best friend and she’d guide me through how to cook Julia Child’s, Beouf Bourguignon. (A friend of mine emigrated to France earlier this year, maybe she needs to teach me how to make French Beouf Bourguignon so that I can make it when I come back? Right?)

My current list of places to visit is available here on my blog – it’s called Hannah’s Wanderlust List.

Where’s your favourite place to visit? Have you got a worst one? 

BEDN: Something New and Personal

Blog Every Day in November

Something New and Personal

Share something new about yourself. A personal story. Introduce yourself to new readers. What do you stand for?

Hello! So it’s Blog Every Day in November and while I may fail and could end up skipping days, hopefully I will be here most days.

So in case you’re new in these parts, hi I’m Hannah. I’ve been blogging in some variation for the last 11 and a half years. I started blogging somewhere around the time that I was in my final year at university and Chris and I was about to get married. Since then we’ve become both foster carers and parents. Our little family is probably considered a normal size but when you look at ages etc the maths goes a bit squiffy!

In those 11 years, I’ve been a student, a PA/Housekeeper, Admin Assistant, Customer Service (for a Safe Manufacturer), Data Entry (for an energy company) and somewhere along the line also worked as a Kitchen Assistant (at a residential home). For the last four and a bit years I’ve been a full-time Mum as well as (attempting) to run my own business. My blog seems to have taken such a back seat that it’s actually locked in the boot of the car instead.

But here we go, let’s see what we can do with these prompts from Elizabeth and hopefully somewhere along the line I’ll find some ideas to write about.

Decluttering Your Mind… A Quick Thought…

Sometimes I just want to throw out a random thought or a few and see if anything comes back. At the moment, I’m reading The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll. I’ve just started the chapter “Decluttering Your Mind” and this is one of the opening sentences.

“Studies have suggested that we have 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. For context, if each thought was a word, that means our minds are generating enough content to produce a book.”

The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll

Wow! That’s a lot right? No wonder my brain feels like an internet browser with too many tabs open some days!

I read this quote in “The Bullet Journal Method” by Ryder Carroll. For most of the last 6 maybe even 8 years even before I knew what bullet journaling was, I have been doing some variation of bullet journaling. Occasionally I wander away and try other planners but more often than not I end up back with a notebook with grid pages, starting another bullet journal. I’ve tried plain and dots but every time I come back to grid. I just get on with it better it seems.

While reading this page I was cleaning my teeth. Even in the ten ish minutes between cleaning my teeth and writing this I think I’ve had twenty or more thoughts.

  • Where are my pyjamas?
  • Is Chris asleep?
  • Is Chris’s phone still in his hand seeing as he’s asleep and it’s not on the bedside table?
  • Should I shut the bedroom door? (Leaking roof issues there!)
  • I need to scan our passports tomorrow.
  • We need to fill in that paperwork.
  • Is Jaxon warm enough? Is he too warm?
  • Is all of Jaxon’s school uniform ready for Monday?
  • Should I be in thicker pyjamas?
  • My bullet journal is downstairs. Do I have paper to write this post on? (Answer is no, I used Pages on my phone!)
  • Is this really enough for a blog post?
  • Should I publish on my blog or Instagram?

Okay so that’s just the ones I remember thinking between the bathroom and my bed. Crazy isn’t it? Sure explains why using my bullet journal helps to keep my brain in order. However with the bullet journal being downstairs, now I’ve remembered all those thoughts I need to write them down somewhere so I don’t forget them when I wake up!

Simplify 2018: Bathroom

Both in 2017 and 2018, my focus word is simplify. I’m sure I was supposed to pick another one but as I hadn’t finished what I hoped to, it became my word for this year too.

Every year, I’ve always struggled with resolutions. At school, we’d often have that task in English where we had to write our resolutions and it would do often be a pointless exercise. My resolutions would fail either because they are unquantifiable or have been unenforceable. So often I wouldn’t bother but maybe they just needed to be simplified. Make them into attainable goals with quantifiable results.

We’ve been in this house almost nine years now and so through wear and tear some bits of the house have needed to be redecorated and things like that.

While the boys were away in Malawi last year, I worked on decorating the bathroom. It made the most sense while there was just me in the house rather than when the house is full.

Some of it was easier said than done. Chris and I had already chosen the paint so thankfully I didn’t have to do that and risk getting it wrong. When I opened it though I wanted to paint it the purple not the grey! Actually it was just where it needed stirring a bit. Then it was about getting the paint on the wall. Without removing the toilet and the sink, I had to lean and stretch all over the place which I’m sure probably broke a bunch of health and safety rules!

It seemed simple enough. Grab a brush or a roller and go for it. Then I got round to the radiator and actually it wasn’t that simple. I ended up calling Dad to see if he could take the radiator off the wall for me so I could paint behind it.

Well, I was getting there. It probably took me longer than it should of because I was doing bits in the bathroom then going off to other bits in the rest of the house while I had the chance.

When the boys got back, most of the paint work was done but some bits still needed finishing also we still needed to replace the bathroom unit (in the above photo) and the flooring.

Fast forward to earlier this year, we finally got the flooring sorted and a new unit.

Chris decided we’d get the Vilto unit from Ikea. I wasn’t so keen on the idea of open shelves but was willing to give it a go. This also helped with the task of Simplifying because it meant we couldn’t have too many bottles on the shelves. In the end I’ve added some storage boxes, to store shampoo, shower gels etc in but they in turn do make it look tidier. Since I discovered Mrs Hinch and the #hincharmy, I’ve added a further two drawers/boxes on the top shelf to store the cleaning materials and Chris/Our Sidekick’s shaving stuff rather than them both mixing together and escaping across the shelf. This definitely makes it easier just to grab what I need to clean or to tidy the shelves again.

I thought we were there and that we were finished on the bathroom but then we had an issue with the sink. There’d been a puddle appearing across the bathroom floor but we’d figured it was Jaxon playing with the water. However, when it happened again on a day that Jaxon hadn’t been playing with water in the sink we knew there might be a problem. Chris was out on the Saturday evening so I took a screwdriver to the sink and figured out where the problem was.

Because it was around 9.30pm by the time I’d figured out the issue I told the boys not to use the sink. Chris decided we needed a sign too in case any of us forgot. Once Jaxon got over the change of routine, he thought it was kind of novel washing his hands in the bath after going to the toilet.

Following church, Chris and I set about taking the sink apart again to double check what we needed. I’m glad we did because actually it was the metal bit that connects the waste pipe to the sink that had corroded and was leaking into the pedestal and then onto the floor. We went to Wickes, to get a new part and also got some sealant to re-seal the bath while we were at it. While I pulled off the old sealant Chris worked on the sink. At one point Jaxon was watching cartoons on the iPad sat on the landing so that we could keep an eye on him at the same time.

So it took a while because of how it all worked out but now our bathroom is complete. I’m sure we’ll find some bits we need to change over time but hopefully they are little bits and pieces rather than big projects. Onto the next room now…

Fall 2018 – 10×10 Challenge

Fall (well Autumn) has arrived here in Bedford. Some morning it’s chilly but by lunch time it can be warm again. For instance, today as I write this post, my phone tells me it’s 19C (66F) but earlier this morning it was a low of 9C (48F). It’s completely varied so something that I might wrap up in for the morning school run can be too warm for the afternoon school run! Helpful right? I wore my red lovely scarf earlier for the morning school run but as soon as I got home I had to take it off as I was cooking!

Autumn Leaves

So what is the 10×10 challenge?

Well, my lovely friend Shelby has started fall with a 10×10 challenge. So you pick out 9 or 10 pieces to wear and coordinate for 10 days. I’m attempting to join in from October 1st-10th.

My week didn’t entirely go to plan and it’s now the 5th and I’ve finally got chance to take a photo of my outfits. Great right?

Stylish Fall 10x10 Challenge

So in my picture I have:

  • 3 short sleeved t-shirts (red, navy blue and pale blue)
  • Black Hoodie
  • Red Star Jumper (which is kind of my Christmas jumper but is also unchristmassy enough that I can wear it the rest of the year!)
  • Grey Cardigan
  • Two pairs of Black Jeggings
  • Grey jeans
  • Dark blue/indigo jeans (that I’m currently wearing so they aren’t in the picture!)

For a long time I’ve often end up wearing, a t-shirt/jeans combo because it’s been easier to keep up with Jaxon or just chuck it on in the morning. I want to try and be more adventurous and start dressing more grown up than my current “student” look that seems to still be going on!

Shelby says on her blog post that a successful 10×10 challenge is where you can coordinate the pieces together to make different outfits. Included in my picture are a new pair of black jeggings and the (not pictured) blue jeans. Because they are both new they still have that “I’m jeans but I can be smart” kind of look if I had needed to go out this week. Also dressed with the red jumper over one of the t-shirts this would have worked for going out.

What is also not pictured is my black t-shirt that I needed to wear for work on Monday. I was on standby to work for one of my Mum’s Clients and the uniform there is a plain black t-shirt with black trousers. In the end I wasn’t needed.

With the weather being so changeable I decided not to include a coat and as I practically live in one set of trainers I also didn’t include them. (I guess if you were trying to be strict with the rules you’d include them in your count too in which case I have too many items!)

So these are my 10×10 outfits and hopefully I’ll come up with some good combinations.

If this challenge sounds like your kind of thing you might like to check out Shelby’s Dressember challenge too. I’m still trying to decide if I can do it!

Is a challenge like this your kind of thing or do you like the whole range of your wardrobe to pick from? Do you have different wardrobe setup like a capsule wardrobe?