My Dream Home

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The other day I started to write a post about my dream home. As I was writing I realised I kept changing things because I didn’t feel they would ever be realistic for me, but then I thought, “No, this is my dream home. It doesn’t matter whether it’s or not realistic. It’s what I want. And if I have it all written down somewhere, then it will give me something to work towards.” So here it is, my dream home…

First of all it has to be three miles or less from work. Last summer I walked the three miles to work nearly every day. If the weather was particularly agreeable I walked home too. I didn’t always enjoy the walk, but I always felt better for it. It also gave me the time to listen to a lot more music and audio books. So that is my first wish. To live close enough to work that I can walk instead of drive. It’d save me about £20 a week in petrol (that’s £1,040 a year before you start to say I’m cheap!) and I’d get fitter in the process.

The next thing may surprise anyone who knows me well as I want quite a big garden. I know I don’t have green fingers and I tend to kill plants just by looking at them, but I’d keep it quite simple. My main reason for wanting a garden of a substantial size is because I want lots of space for socialising. And a mahoosive sheshed. Don’t forget about the mahoosive sheshed.

The shed, hereafter known as the workshop of dreams would take pride of place at the end of the garden. It would be painted pretty colours, have curtains up at the window and bunting pretty much everywhere! Oh and there’d be a rocking chair on the veranda. Yes, the workshop of dreams has a veranda. Inside would be a crafter’s paradise and would be where I escape to do my book folding and make bunting to my heart’s content. I may even be able to learn how to do paper cutting once I have this little place of tranquillity.

Anyway, back to the rest of the garden. I know it’s the Guide Leader in me, but I’ve always wanted to have a fire pit. Despite the fact I’ve been guiding since I was 11, I don’t particularly enjoy camping, but in my mind there’s nothing better than sitting round a campfire, toasting marshmallows to make s’mores and chatting about anything and everything. Imagine if you could do that in your own garden on a summer’s evening sitting around on giant beanbags playing Uno with your friends. Actually, maybe not the Uno bit. Not with my friends anyway. Tends to get a bit violent.

I would want the garden to be a place that I could really relax in during the summer months so of course my hammock would have pride of place and there would be a swing seat too. There would be some plants, but they’d have to be easy to look after otherwise it would spoil the whole effect. I nearly stopped myself from writing this, but it is my dream home so it’s also got to have a tree house for my niece and nephews to play in (OK, for me too!)

Let’s move into the house shall we? Starting at the top, my room would be in the attic with an en-suite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe. There would be skylights with motorised blinds on a timer (seriously, anyone would think I still worked at Tropical Blinds) so that in spring and summer the daylight could wake me up each morning, but not until I wanted it to. The bed would be a Super King Size just for the hell of it and I’d have a cosy armchair in the corner for reading of an evening. I wouldn’t want too much else in there. Definitely no television! There might be a Bluetooth speaker as I like to have a sing and a dance when I’m getting ready, but that’s about it technology wise.

The middle floor would have two bedrooms and the main bathroom. I say it would have two bedrooms, but really it would be one as the other would be my office. My office would have bookcases on nearly every wall and they would be filled to the brim with my favourite books and those pesky language textbooks that are still hanging around from my university days. My love of big bookcases stems from when I used to have French lessons with a tutor and her study had a wall full of books that I just wanted to pick up and read each time I was there. I’m reminded of it when I watch Giovanna Fletcher’s vlogs and see her bookcases. My office would be nice and roomy. The desk would be big and spacious so that when I am planning training sessions I could have all my resources spread out around me and still type away at the computer easily. It’d also be good to have a sofa of couple of armchairs in there so that if a few of us wanted to have a planning meeting, we could have everything to hand and still be comfortable.

There’s not much to say about the spare bedroom except that it would always be ready for guests to stay. It would be tastefully decorated and I wouldn’t inflict my obsession of all things pink on anyone who came to visit. I quite understand that it’s not to everyone’s taste. I wouldn’t have as many sets of towels as Monica does in Friends, but my guests would probably end up with fluffier ones than me!

Continuing with the social theme, the kitchen, dining room and living room would all be open plan. I like the idea that if you have friends round for dinner, you can still chat to them while you are preparing the meal instead of deserting them in another room. It also means I would be able to keep the same colour scheme throughout that floor. In my case it would be black, white and red (apart from the pink NutriBullet – should have gone for red!). There is an amazing pottery shop not too far from my parents’ villa in Spain and they have a beautiful range in these colours. Every time I go out there, I plan to buy something else and set it aside for when I get my own place. They do all sorts and the fact that everything would match would be bliss.

Wherever you are in the house, there would be something on the wall. Whether it’s photos of family and friends, artwork (most likely by family or friends – I might be biased, but they are fricking awesome!) or decals, I just couldn’t have blank walls. And in case there was any doubt, you wouldn’t have to go far to find something Harry Potter or Disney related! I love a fairy tale so you’d also find lots of twinkling fairy lights and candles everywhere to make the place feel a little magical. I’m also big on comfort so there’d be loads of giant floor cushions for people to sit on.

Well that’s the tour of my dream house finished. I hope you liked it and I hope one day it will be more than a dream.

Feeling a Little Nostalgic

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While I stand by my last post that Spring is most definitely in the air (the daylight is sneaking in through the gaps in my curtains to greet me each morning and I get to drive home from work while it’s still light), I have to say I am a little disappointed that my plans to sit by the castle during my lunch break are not yet a reality.

I forgot about those pesky April showers you see. Yesterday I was positively teased with beautiful sunshine until about 11:50am when all of a sudden dark clouds started to creep across the sky threatening rain. For the rest of the afternoon the weather alternated between brilliant sunshine and light showers leaving me stuck at my desk until 5:30pm when I dashed to the car.  

I don’t actually mind the rain. I find the sound of it so relaxing, almost as if it’s washing away all the crap ready to start afresh. Of course it is nice to have a bit of sunshine too. On the odd days this year when the sun has made an appearance, the feeling of it’s warmth on my face has filled me with joy and hope. That’s why I’m counting down the days (33 in case you wanted to know) until Mum and I fly out to Barcelona for our holibobs.

Barcelona has a special place in my heart as it was my first placement abroad while I was studying languages at university. Leaving home to go to university wasn’t that big a deal. I went with four friends from school so while it was new and exciting, it wasn’t scary or lonely. This placement was six months in a country that I’d never been to before and with a language where I could barely string a sentence together. I went there with one girl from my course, but she came out a bit later than me so when my parents left me in my grotty apartment in floods of tears, I was starting to think that my choice of course had been a huge mistake.

After a little while I decided that I couldn’t sit on my thin, uncomfortable, single bed crying all day so I grabbed my bag, found my way to the metro station and went into the city centre to explore. Now this was 12 years ago and my memory isn’t as great as it used to be, but to this day my parents still remind me of their shock when they received a cheerful text from me saying that I’d been to the city, had a little wander and got some shopping.

Those first few days when I was there alone started a big change in me. I was experiencing true independence for the first time. I had to rely on myself and it was bloody empowering even if it felt terrifying at the time. Even simple things like buying a bunch of flowers to brighten my room or getting a SIM card for my phone felt like huge achievements and gave me the confidence to carry on. A few months later when my friend’s bag was stolen, we went to the police station to report it so we could get her a new passport. Doing something like that would kick start my anxiety here in the UK, let alone in a country where I couldn’t speak the language.

Whenever I start to feel like my degree was a waste of time and money, or I get annoyed that I can’t remember the subjunctive in French or how to ask for a beer in Spanish (ha, like I’d ever forget how to do that!), I remind myself of those first few weeks on that first placement abroad and I realise that it was all worth it for that alone.

The weeks and months that followed are all a blur in my mind now, but every now and then a random memory will make me smile. It could be something like sitting in the computer room writing one of my long emails to everyone back home, or sitting on the beach sunbathing before my next lecture, but they all remind me of one of the happiest times of my life.

I’ve been back to Barcelona several times since. This will be my fourth time and I’m hoping to do some things I haven’t done before. I’ve done Gaudi to death and it’s getting so expensive now so I have no plans to revisit any of those tourist hotspots. Instead I am looking forward to a week of wandering around the city and finding some of its more hidden treasure. I’ve always wanted to visit Mount Tibidabo (and not because of Joey’s story in Friends) as I’ve heard that it has one of the best views of Barcelona at sunrise. That would mean a 5:30am start though which I don’t think my mum would be too keen on.

And when I get back I won’t have the post holiday blues for too long because yesterday Mum and I booked to go down to the villa for a week in August. I need a break apparently. Not going to argue, especially if I get to go to the pottery shop and pick out a few bits for my future house (even if they do have to go into storage when I get back!)
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