The time has come…..

I’m a sociable person (and by sociable I don’t mean a drinker I promise!). Some people find energy and focus in solitude. And I find mine in other people. I need other people. I guess I’ve always known that on some level, but it’s only recently occurred to me just how much. I’m guessing it might explain why being at home alone without Oscar has been so ridiculously hard for me. And may be why I seem to write better, more from the heart, when I’m with or have been with other people.

Admitting the truth of my needs has been longer coming than you might think. I seriously can’t remember how things were before Oscar came along, but I know since then, my needs have been totally subsumed. By him, by Autism, by getting through today, by planning for tomorrow. I don’t think that’s unusual. Parents, and particularly mothers, are often consumed by their children. Thing is, I didn’t think I would ever lose myself inside motherhood, but I have.

So admitting I have a NEED for human interaction; that a lack of it was depleting my reserves was something of a really important epiphany. And it made me look at areas of my life I hadn’t considered before. The size of our house has always bothered me. We bought it, a two bedroom cottage, before we knew Oscar was on the way. We bought it thinking we had a decent size spare room and with thoughts of extending the ground floor. The spare room became a nursery within a year and the extension turned out to be more expensive (due to lack of access) than it was worth.

I could never understand why this bothered me so much. We have a wonderful garden and yes the house needs a bit of tlc (what period property doesnt?) but it does have charm. So I started to look objectively. To ask why having no spare room sat so heavy in my heart. Why having nowhere for a dining table made me so sad. I’m not a materialistic person. Yes I love the odd new gadget here and there, but I don’t measure my life’s worth by the ‘things’ we have. So I asked what would I do with all this extra room, what would it mean to me, to our life, to MY life? And the answers astonished me.

I want a spare room so friends and family can come and stay with us. I want a dining area so friends can come to dinner. I want a larger lounge so we can seat more visitors. Every reason I had for wanting more space was not about me. It was about other people. And then I realised it wasn’t about other people at all. It was speaking to my need to have other people in my life.

The house we have might fulfil our basic need for shelter and security, but I’ve come to realise our beautiful house no longer meets MY needs, on a very fundamental level.

And that’s quite a sad realisation. This was the first house we ever bought. It was Oscar’s first ever home. And it’s hard to accept you no longer fit into a large part of your life. Or more specifically a large part of your life doesn’t fit YOU anymore. It will always hold a very very special place in our family history. The memories we’ve created here will always be with us.

But the time has come.

Even though it means having to deal with estate agents and legal processes and finance and all things that are liable to send my anxiety levels sky high. Even despite all that it entails.

The time has come to move.

I’ll let you know how it goes…..

Time to move on….

Home

The other day the hubster and I had a… let’s call it a disagreement, about the use of the term home.

HOME

It’s a fairly inoucuous term in itself. A small word, meaning “the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household”.

Home.

The disagreement came about because I referred going to Plymouth as going ‘Home’. He was upset by this as, in his opinion, where we live now, leafy Surrey, is home. Plymouth isn’t and therefore should not be referred to as such. It makes technical sense I guess. It is factually correct. We do live here. We haven’t lived there since the late 90s. So, yes, in that way, Plymouth is not Home.

But this really bothered me. This black and white thinking. This ‘this is this, that isn’t’ mentality. What really was the issue here? I mean I’ve just always called wherever I feel comfortable home. Hell, I’ve called wherever I’m living or even staying at the time, Home. For as long as I can remember. So like, if I was to go on holiday (😂👏🏻) and we were to go out for the day, I wanted to ask if we should head back to the hotel, I’d refer to the hotel as Home. I just would. I wouldn’t mean anything by it.

I thought other people did this, but it turns out not. At least not my husband and it also explains why my mum was so angry at me for referring to university halls as Home, when I first moved to London.

To me it’s a word, a shorthand to communicate ‘the place you’re living’. It would seem I don’t place the same deep  meaning on the word that other people do. That other people do enough to be offended when I don’t.

But why don’t I? Well, I guess I’ve moved about a bit in my life. Not as much as some I guess, but thirteen different places to call Home feels like a lot to me and posssibly offers up some explaination as to why the word has somehow lost its deep meaning to me that it hasn’t to others.

Thinking about it I’ve also technically (if we want to get technical about this) been homeless three times in my life. I’ve never needed to sleep on the streets thank god, but I have, at three times in my life, fallen into the category that the charity Crisis call the Hidden Homeless. I don’t think I realised at the time(s), partly because I was with people I loved, but I look back now and understand. This coupled with moving around so much, is it a wonder I have lost the connection some people have with the term they hold so dear?

And while we’re on the subject, I also really struggle when people, and they do, ask me where I’m “from”. It’s a perfectly innocent question after all. And I’ve never lived in another country (unless you count moving to Wales as emigrating 😉). But I have moved around so much, from such a young age and with such regularity, that no one answer feels authentic anymore.

And it wasn’t until having Oscar that I realised how much this has impacted me and my sense of identity. My sense of belonging, my sense of home.

I remember everywhere I’ve lived in. I carry them with me, no matter how little I realised that until recently. The first two homes I had were in the same county and until we left that county when I was twelve, that is where I was ‘from’. Then part of my fractured family moved to the other end of the country and suddenly this place, where I knew no one and nothing was now my home. What had come before was packed away and I stopped referring to it. The new place was now called Home. And despite moving many times since, because the majority of my strong ties are still there, I guess I still do. Even though in truth it doesn’t feel like it is. Or perhaps even ever did.

So the question might be, what is going to change that? If buying a house and having a baby all in one place isn’t enough to give you a deeper sense of what Home means, isn’t enough to make you give up calling everything else Home, then what the hell is?

But in reality does that matter? In today’s global society do we have to pin our colours to one home, to one house, to one town, to one…. place, just for the neatness of explaining yourself to someone when they ask so where are you from? After all where you live and where you’re from are two completely different things for a lot of people these days. Why should the answer have to be neat?

Maybe it’d just be enough to have those who love you, know and accept that you are going to call many places Home. And that’s unlikely to change.

For now.

 

Our Favourite Five – May 2016

The summer is well and truly under way in our part of the world. And this is what the Savage family have been enjoying this month.

1 Eurovision

Of course! What else could start a list of things my family has enjoyed in May? My husband put the televised song competition in our shared diaries as soon as the date was released! This year we found out our neighbours were as bonkers about the show as we are, so invited them to come down and watch it with us. It’s so much fun sharing the madness with someone else. Although to be honest, there was a lot less crazy in Eurovision this year. Much more slick and a little bit less fun for it unfortunately (I mean Justin Timberlake, while the votes were counted? Seriously? Sigh) Anywho, we had a lovely time just hanging out, drinking wine and commenting. Much as we all agreed we like Graham Norton as host, we were also in agreement that we miss Terry Wogan getting gently sloshed and more acerbic as the evening went on. And as a fitting tribute to the man, who died earlier this year, we were sure to raise a glass of his favourite tipple at song number 9 (his personal cue to start the evening’s drinking). It was an emotional moment. And yes, tears were shed!

To Terry

To Terry!

2 Ribs

Whenever I used to have friends over, pre Oscar, my go to choice of food was always ribs. They never failed to please, but I haven’t made them for years.  So, I decided to do them for our Eurovision shindig. In the past I have always marinated the ribs overnight (a Nigella recipe) and then baked them in the oven. What a faff! This time I decided to utilise my slow cooker and boy were they a massive hit! Tender and juicy and sticky and delicious. And so much easier to make. I bought the ribs from the butcher instead of the supermarket for a start and that made such a difference. They were so much bigger and had so much more meat on them! Then I just chucked them in the slow cooker with the following ingredients. Blooming gorgeous!

Spicy BBQ Ribs

  • 1 X 500g bottle of BBQ Sauce (I used a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray Barbecue Sauce)
  • 50g of brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp of cider vinegar
  • 3 tsp of oregano
  • 1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp of chilli powder
  • 1.3 lbs of pork ribs (I got a rack from our local butcher who cut them into individual ribs for me)
  • Salt & pepper
  1. Combine the bbq sauce, brown sugar, cider vinegar, oregano, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, and chilli powder in a bowl.
  2. Salt and pepper the ribs. Place ribs in slow cooker, and cover in sauce. Cook on low for eight hours or high for four hours
  3. Devour.

I served them with coleslaw, roasted new potatoes and sweetcorn.

No, they weren’t Slimming World in any way, but saved for a special occasion, I’ll definitely be doing these beauties again. Only I may have to make double quantity next time! Yum!

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Delicious!

3 M&S Food Hall

A month or so ago Haslemere got it’s very own M&S Food Hall. Regardless of your opinion about whether our town needed a M&S Food Hall, you can’t deny that their food is good quality and often different to what’s on offer in the ubiquitous chain supermarkets (one of which is just over the road if you’re that bothered by it). I’ve found myself popping in throughout May. I bought some of the nicest and biggest (they were a ‘King’ variety) Strawberries I’ve ever had, to take to a friends house, a beautiful bouquet to say a big thank you to a neighbour, and on days when it’s all been a bit much and I need somewhere to take five, I am happy to admit I’ve been Found wandering their aisles. I’m not saying I’d get my weekly shop there, I wouldn’t. But for occasional nice ‘bits’, it’s been a boon.

The M&S Haslemere Coffee Shop has made a nice occasional change.

The M&S Haslemere Coffee Shop has made a nice occasional change.

4 Our deck

I’ve mentioned before that our garden is bigger than our house and as soon as the sun came out at the beginning of May, we were straight out there, tidying up the garden for the summer season. We have a long lawn, but a few years ago we also built (with the help of some very kind friends) a deck. Big enough to take a decent table and chair set, it’s becoming my favourite part of the garden. It’s definitely where I spend most of my time out there, so this month I’ve been adding a few sweet little touches. Cushions for the chairs, a parasol, a wall mounted planter and wild flowers in a jar have all made this corner of the garden a lovely little nook for eating, writing and just hanging out!

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Bright, comfy cushions from Sainsbury’s.

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Bluebells and rosemary, all picked from the garden.

Is this not the cutest planter you've ever seen? A perfect spot for my Thyme and Oregano

Is this not the cutest planter you’ve ever seen? A perfect spot for my Thyme and Oregano.

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I wanted a cream parasol, but picked up the wrong box in Homebase. Hey ho! Oscar doesn’t care and asks me to put the ‘umberella’ up as soon as the sun comes out!

5 Driving Lessons

I wrote about learning to drive a few weeks ago (you can read about why I don’t already have a licence here). It’s been a big part of May for me, although to be honest I’m not sure I’d call it a ‘favourite’ as such. It’s hard learning a new skill any time in your life, but the older you get the harder it is (not my words, words of clever science type people in white coats) and I am finding it hard. But every week I’m noticing little things improving and my anxiety (which behind the wheel has been at a spectacular all time high) slowly fall. Slowly. I’ve done four lessons and now I have a two week break. I only hope I don’t forget everything in that time!

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What have been your family favourites this month? I’d love to know!

 

 

Small rooms don’t have to be badly designed

At the beginning of the year we started to talk about building the extension we’ve always dreamed of, since we bought the house in 2011. The idea is to knock down an existing lean-to conservatory (that leaks and is cold for most of the year!), knock down the existing external kitchen wall and build a brick extension giving us an open space to redesign a kitchen that actually works for us, including space to put a decent table. It was such an exciting idea when it was all in my head and even when we got the architectural plans drawn up. But now we’ve started to talk logistics, it’s definitely more daunting than I thought. Our tiny terrace cottage has terrible access for building work, making things both physically awkward and expensive. Potentially too expensive.

So we’ve had to start considering the possibility of not doing the extension. Sad as it makes me, perhaps there was a reason the previous owners stuck with a chipboard conservatory. But if we’re not going to do the extension, perhaps there is movement to have the existing kitchen redesigned. The space we have is rather small, but the existing kitchen is so badly lain out that it makes the size all the more noticeable. The more I look online the more I can see that small kitchens don’t have to be ugly or awkward. Small kitchens just have to be clever, something ours is definitely not!

KITCHEN : Modern kitchen by Burcu
So many drawers – I love drawers in a kitchen! KITCHEN by Burcu
NEW KITCHEN IN A SMALL SPACE : Modern kitchen by 2A Design
I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have room for an island but I love the simple and bright colour scheme. NEW KITCHEN IN A SMALL SPACE by 2A Design

In fact, that’s the same in pretty much the rest of the house. Little or no thought has been put into the design of any of the the rooms and space is being underused everywhere. On my digital travels I’ve also been looking a small living room ideas. We complain all the time that we have no surfaces, but our walls are practically bare! Don’t get me wrong, I know the importance of white space for the eye, but surely we could be using this space better? I think we need to stop focusing on what we don’t have, and start making the most of what we do have!

Wall mounted Tv unit : TV stands & cabinets by EBANISTERIA GAMBELLA
I love these cabinets. High up storage for precious things by EBANISTERIA GAMBELLA
St John's Wood : Modern living room by Patience Designs
OK, I dream of a day when I can have such a clean lounge, but shelving in the alcoves is definitely something we should be looking into. St John’s Wood by Patience Designs

Either that or we’re just going to have to bite the bullet and move somewhere bigger!

This is a collaborative post.

 

The gift of friendship

It’s not often a friend comes along that just gets it. Be that you, or the situation or whatever, they’re just right on the money every time. And you know they’d have your back, whatever the cost. Which is nice.

It’s my birthday this Saturday. I’m turning the grand old age of 37 (37! boohoo 🙁 ), but to be honest I feel like the past few months have aged me so much more. But it doesn’t matter how hard or weird or confusing or miserable my life has been this year, Bethany has been there. And it means a lot.

So anyway, today, as an early birthday treat and while the children were in preschool, she took me for pancakes and coffee. And she bought along my gift. We’re off for a night of drinkin’ and bitchin’ on Saturday night, so she wanted me to have my present today, so I didn’t have to carry it round with me on Saturday.

First off it was beautifully wrapped. And who doesn’t love gorgeous wrapping?

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Then I opened it. And burst into tears.

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In fact I bawled. In public. If you’re not sure why, you should read this post

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Then I turned it over. And bawled some more.

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But she didn’t get embarrassed at my outburst. She cried with me.

Cos she’s got my back.

She’s going back to work full time in January and I’m going to miss her so much. It can’t help but change things. But I couldn’t be more proud of her for taking this massive step.

Because she inspires me too.

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Thank you for my beautiful present Bethany. See you on Saturday! And I promise not to cry again.

Much 😉

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