Ordinary Moments #1 – Simple Pleasures

The summer term of classes has finished, so I now have a couple of weeks where I have a little more free time as I’m not instructing as much. It feels really odd not to be rushed off my feet everyday, and for the first couple of days I found myself feeling quite lost and not quite sure what to do with myself.

So I decided to let myself have a few little indulgences this week, do some little things that make me happy, some simple pleasures that I normally don’t get time to enjoy.  Here are a few so far:

1. A spot of gardening – love growing things, I don’t  always do it successfully, but I’m having a few triumphs this year – lettuces, and the courgettes are coming along, I have a reasonable sized cucumber in the offering – something I’m particularly proud of as I failed dismally at growing cucumbers last year.  I’ve also got potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries and raspberries – however – the jury is still out on the peppers and butternut squash at the moment!

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2. An afternoon bubble bath, home alone, no kids shouting Mum every 2 seconds – just me, the bubbles and total silence

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3. A catch up over a brew with my bezzie mate – an hour of putting the world to rights, can’t beat it.  She is off work at the moment with a broken foot – so would be wrong not to take advantage, stick the kettle on and crack open the chocolate hob nobs.

4. Pouring over an armful of magazines, total guilty pleasure –  in my younger days it was Heat, Closer – any celeb trash – now-a-days its Essentials and Good Housekeeping – what happened to me – ditched the gossip for recipies and crafting tips!

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5. Homemade pamper time – was told somewhere, by someone I’m sure, that Avocado, natural yoghurt and oats was a natural Botox.. hmm.. not really sold on it, but I enjoyed adding a bit of garlic and lemon juice to the left over mix and putting it on pitta bread with a few toasted pine nuts rather than my face!

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6. An afternoon nap – don’t think I’ve had those since the girls were babies and we would doze together for half on hour on the sofa.  A powernap is certainly the way to go.  No longer the frazzled, snappy mum when they finished school, they had a chatty, almost serine mother – Jessica did ask what sort of happy pill I’d taken and could I take it everyday (cheeky!!)

7. Wimbledon – as a child, I hated tennis, but my mum loved it, and Wimbledon was an annual must watch thing – so over the years I came to not only appreciate but really enjoy watching it. To carry on the tradition, I now inflict it on my children. I’ve still not managed to watch a full match, but seen a couple of fabulous games here and there

Its been a week or so of enjoying a few simple pleasures, nothing major, nothing life changing and something I should definitely try and fit more of in to my ‘Daly’ life.

What are your simple pleasures?
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Blog of a 6yr old – entry No1

I said in my opening first blog that I wanted this to be a family affair – I want the kids to blog along with me, this is as much a record of their ‘Daly’ thoughts, feelings, happiness,  challenges as it is mine.  Natalie has been intrigued when I’ve talked about blogging, and tonight she decided she wanted to join in.

To make it easy (for me as much her!), we just chatted about the weekend, what is written below are her words entirely, no paraphrasing, no adult slant – totally 100% 6yr old magic

Me – Natalie, do you want to blog about what you did at the weekend? We can write down the things you remember

Nat – Yeah, thats easy.  Grandma was here so we baked scones.  She said they were the best ever, they were too. Oh, and on Sunday we went to visit our new house. I get my own room and everything.  I asked the lady if I could buy the house and how much it was.  I said that I have £95, it says so in my bank book, but I told her I didn’t want to spend it all, I want to keep some, maybe a pound for sweets.  I’ll share the sweets with Jessica.

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She thought that was funny. The lady had fishes and they were in a in a tank that changed colour, I hope she leaves them for us when we move in.

Me – What else did you do at the weekend

Nat – We went to our new church and I made new friends.  It was fun but weird, the same but different.  I want to go again this week and go to the wacky warehouse again afterwards.  The giant cookie we had there was yum yum in my tum.

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If we move, I will go to a new school – how will people know my name? Will someone tell me where to go?  What will I do about lunch, the school dinners might not be as nice as my school now, does that mean I can take sandwiches. If I am taking sandwiches can I choose what goes in them – ham and cucumber but no tomatoes.

With her thoughts on food (which is where Natalie’s thoughts usually are) off she went.  Interesting to see in our short chat things that are on her mind, school obviously features heavily, as well as icecream, sweets and ham with cucumber sandwiches – classic Natalie!

On the move

This year the Daly blended family are seeing some pretty major life changes.

Since marrying, we have lived rather unconventionally, insomuch that Ron lives in Todmorden, and I live with the children in Leeds.  These days, its rare couples don’t live together before they get married, and pretty much unheard of to live apart after they get married.  But for us, thats the situation we have lived with.

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Yes, its been hard, married yet still a single parent, having very limited time together, travelling back and forth constantly.  Its been tough and challenging to build a strong family unit.  Don’t get me wrong, there are positives to our living arrangements.  We have never had an argument – ok – so Ron never argues anyway and if I’m honest, I’ve had a fair few rows in my head with him! But in the main, because our time together is pretty brief, we do everything we can to make the most of it, so fall outs don’t happen as we don’t want to waste what time we have on them.

The plan has always been to live together at some point.  Its been the location thats been in question.  Ron having his business in Todmorden, and my business in Leeds led us to look for places mid-way between, but in all honesty we have been getting nowhere.  If I’m being really honest, I don’t think that we’ve tried very hard.

Mid-way was ok, but it still meant uprooting the girls from schools, friends, from everything they knew, for me it still meant leaving behind my support network (who I rely on very heavily) and moving to somewhere where I knew no-one.  Pretty daunting I can tell you after being here for 14years. So perhaps I’ve dragged my feet a little, put it down to needing to save more money, not being able to find the right size, location, price of house etc.

The kids
Time is marching on, Jessica turned 8 in January – how much longer did I want to leave it.  The older she gets, the harder it will be for her to settle, make new friends, integrate in to a new school quickly and seamlessly.  Natalie at 6yrs old, a bit less of a worry, especially given her outgoing, diva style personality anyway.  Jessica is more sensitive, more aware and I feel will be much more affected by the change.

Parenting
Its been getting harder, for all intents and purposes, despite being married, I am still a single parent.  I have to make all the day to day decisions, carry out all the everyday parenting tasks including juggling work and home life schedules, schooling, homework, activities, family time, discipline.  Yes, Ron is there at the end of the phone, and a couple of late evenings a week he is there for me to talk things thing through, gain his opinion and input, offer support. But the bottom line at the end of the day – the parenting is down to me – I’m the one thats here day in, day out 24/7.

Relationship
The constant separation is tough.  Yes, we are in a pretty good routine of which evenings Ron comes across to Leeds, what time he has available to spend with us on a weekend.  But time is so limited, and its always there, its always at the back of my mind, he’ll be gone shortly, or the knowing that he won’t be getting here till 10pm, and then be away at 7am in the morning.  With an hour or so journey each way, this has to be factored in to any plans.  As accepting of the situation we have both been, its hard not to let a bit of resentment creep in here and there.

At the back end of last year we said we would look to be in a home together by Christmas of this year.  That we would aim to have my house on the market beginning/middle of May.  Well, the end of May arrived, and the house was no where near ready for marketing, in all reality we had made no headway towards living together at all.  Talk was all we’d done, definitely no action!

I’m a bit of an all or nothing sort of gal, if I decide to do something, then it gets done.  At the beginning of June, I took stock a bit, if something didn’t change soon, we were never going to end up in the same house, before we knew it, another year would pass, and we’d be starting to get to a position where I wouldn’t want to move the girls school as Jessica would be coming close to high school.

I set myself a month deadline, to have the house ready and on the market by the end of June.  So with a lot of hard work, one room at a time was treated to a facelift.  Gardens sorted, hanging baskets hung, pots populated with plants, decking re-stained, fences painted.  Ron – with his ever cautious eye on spending resisted on pretty much everything – did we really need to paint that, buy that, replace this, stain that.. but I’m like a dog with a bone, if I want it done, it will get done regardless.  The result.. a house that was ready to market by the end of June.  And even Ron, yes Ron finally relented and agreed that the house and gardens looked great, and it was worth the hard work and money (excuse me whilst I faint!)

A couple of valuations later, we had a price point in mind of what to market it at.  We took the step of going with an online estate agent rather than the traditional high street ones.  The saving was huge on fee’s and given that pretty much everyone is online these days, why pay the extra for a high street presence that really isn’t that necessary nowadays.  I have to say, that it was one slick, smooth operation.

Within a couple of days of contacting them the For Sale board was up,

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a day later the photographer was there taking photos (and boy, what an amazing job he did of them!), and a day later we had the brochure and description in my inbox ready to approve.

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Saturday 4th July – it went live online.  I was a bit giddy, a bit nervous.  It all started to feel that bit more real, that bit more scary.

By Sunday, we had 5 viewings lined up for Monday evening, and by Monday evening we had 2 offers on the table.

Tuesday saw us accept an offer, the status change online to property Under Offer and the For Sale board change to SOLD.  I honestly can’t believe that the house sold in 2 days, I was expecting months.

Its become truly real, the Dalys are now on the move with all the ups, downs, traumas that it will no doubt bring along the way.  All I can say is Bring it On, its about damn time!

Summer of Love

I love summer (the sunshine in particular) and I love weddings – this weekend saw the combination of both which was fab.

Its a been a bit of a year of weddings (or just over a year if you include my own).  18 months ago Ron and I were married in what I obviously feel was the perfect wedding.

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In February we had the pleasure of attending Andrew and Joannes wedding (my now brother and sister in-laws) and this weekend it was the turn of Alex and Heidi – good friends of Rons.

Being a summer wedding I took it as an opportunity to treat myself a little, so new dress, – well, how could I not.  I love a bargain (as does everybody I suppose), so how could I not when I found this little treasure – perfect colour dress to match some shoes and bag I already owned, and then when I saw the price tag I took it as a sign from heaven.. it was meant to be.

So with a new dress (at a crackingly good price!), a last minute spray tan and a home administered manicure and pedicure I was all set to enjoy watching two lovely people make a life long commitment to love, honour and cherish each other.

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We’ve had a week of glorious weather, but woke on Saturday morning to fog, drizzle, clouds – but the forecast was reassuringly good insisting that it was set to improve – and so it did.  By the time we were setting off  the sun was peaking through, just a light breeze, no fog to be seen, and blue skies were definitely on the horizon.  So the shades were on, wedding card in hand, tissues in bag – all set

Like I said, I love weddings.  Every wedding I’ve ever been to (and there have been quite a few over the years from the traditional church wedding, to the not so traditional Cancun beach wedding) are always so personal to the couple getting married, as was my own.  Ron and I were on a budget (Ron is always on a budget I might add!), we wanted small, personal, minimum fuss, pomp and ceremony.  So we opted for a low key affair at my church for close friends and family, followed by cakes and fizz (of the non alcoholic variety – being a tee totaller, and a Mormon), and my favourite bit , a bouncy castle.  I tell everyone this was for the kids of course, but one of the best moments was having a bounce with my dear dad – hilarious to say the least!  Our reception was a curry at our fav Indian restaurant, and they didn’t disappoint – credit to them, they gave us great food.

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Alex and Heidi’ wedding was no exception.  Like I said, all weddings are personal to the happy couple, and this was certainly that.  The attention given to everything  was amazing, you could see and feel their personalities in every detail.  For example – arrived at the church – a lovely traditional church.

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We were met by Alex – the groom – I have to say,  my initial impression caused me to raise my eyebrows ever so slightly – here was the groom in chinos, checked shirt, braces, dickie bow and jacket – not the attire you generally expect.  A cheery hello, a kiss on the cheek, and I turned round to see Josh, Alex’s best man and brother, dressed the same, and then a few of the other guys who were the groomsmen and ushers, also in the same attire. It brought a real smile to my face.  This was pure Alex, and rather than go with the traditional suit, he brought his own style to his wedding – and it worked – they looked great.

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Then there was the Bride – Heidi – as she glided (and thats not an exaggeration) down the isle in a stunning princess style dress, fitted perfectly to her tiny waist (excuse me whilst I get very jealous), flowing to the floor, gorgeous lace, with a simple bouquet of gypsophila and fresh flower garland to accompany her midlength veil.  Gotta give it to her, show glowed.

To see such happiness in a couple was wonderful

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Heidi is a country girl, and you could see, and feel this throughout the theme of the day.  From the open sided marquee in the middle of one of her dads fields, to the relaxed layout of the tables, the favours of painted horse shoes at the place settings, jam jars filled with wild flowers decorating the tables.  Everything had a personal, almost intimate feel about it – truly drawing the guests in to the day.

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Whilst you could feel the quality of the day, there was no doubt we were talking serious money spent on this wedding, nothing felt glitzy, blingy, showy or over the top.  It was pure understated class, that made you feel relaxed, at ease and part of the most special day of their lives.

The reception started with a yummy fruit punch for me and a Pims for my lurvly sister in-law Joanne – big smiles all round

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Onwards went the day with great food (no mean feat when you’re serving 150 people + in an open marquee in the middle of a field – hats off to them I say!)  The speeches were heart warming, funny and just the right length (much to Rons relief!)

We took a mid wedding break after dinner whilst there was shift around of furniture in the marquee ready for the evening celebrations and we popped down to see Betty – my mother in-law.  Always a delight – I’m lucky enough to have a mother inlaw who is pretty fab.  Easy to get on with, non interfering, funny with a good heart whose brought her sons up well (if she reads this, I’m hoping for daughter inlaw brownie points!!)

A cuppa and half hour chat later we headed back up to the wedding to join the evenings festivities of singers, band, disco, hog roast (much to my delight and my veggie hubby’s disgust).

Sat outside the marquee, listening to the music, loving the view (really, without exaggeration the view was something that money could not buy)

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hubbys arms wrapped around me – all I could think was ..summer love .. how perfect.  And with two more weddings to go this summer – great excuses for new outfits and pamper sessions – can’t wait.

The Dalys – The Start of Our Daly Life Blog

Welcome to Our Daly Life – a blog about a ‘blended’ family known as the Daly’s  that will hopefully have input from all of us at some point or another.  All of us being:

Charlotte – Mum, Business Owner, Wife and general stress head,

Ron – Stepdad, Business Owner, Husband and one whom never gets stressed

Jessica, daughter no 1, 8yrs old going on 18!

Natalie, daughter no 2, 6yrs old and lives life to the full!

We are an unconventional family to say the least.  I was previously married for 14yrs and had two lovely children.  4 1/2 years ago I became a singleton again, and quite happily plodded along through life with my two lovely children.

I met Ron – thanks to a bit of online dating, and we married a year after we met in February 2014.  However, here is where we get even more unconventional, for whilst we are married – currently, we don’t actually live together, in fact, we don’t even live in the same county, never mind town or house!  This is more for practical purposes as his business is over in Todmorden and mine is here in lovely Leeds.  So for the past 18 months of blissful marriage we have lived apart.

Odd, strange, peculiar I know.. but it works.. for now at least..

But we are set to start a new journey in our life together – we are heading towards ditching the unconventional, for the more conventional and are looking to actually live under the same roof in the not too distant future.

Our lives are about to take a dramatic change, and in our Blog I hope to document and record for posterity the new chapter we are about to begin.

I don’t pretend to be a great writer, witty, or original, but I am honest (brutally sometimes!), and I have set it my mission to get all the family involved in our blog.  So expect not only my own personal musings, but also comments from a Step Dad, learning the ropes, from an 8yr old whose world revolves around something different every day depending on how the mood takes her, and the odd sentence or two from a 6yr old who is cheeky, delightful and has some of the greatest one liners.

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