What 1 year of marriage has taught me

At the beginning of this month my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary (I know, crazy right?!). This got my thinking about what I’ve learnt during that first year and wanted to share my thoughts with you.

1. People still judge me

One of the main gripes I had during my engagement was people judging me because I was going to be 23 when we tied the knot. Now, at 24, I find that people still have the same issue with me not acting like a noncommittal slut.

When the question about my age does get asked, their response is now to just say ‘oh’ as if I’ve just told them I have some life threatening illness or that I’ve just insulted their mother.

I still wouldn’t change the age I got married at all, it was the right time for me. So why do people feel that they can still criticize my decision? What is going to change now it’s happened? If you’re in the same boat, DON’T let other people’s comments get you down, you’ve chose to make that decision so stick to your guns.

2. Things go very flat after wedding planning

We were planning our wedding for 18 months and it was all over in one day (plus a week if you count the honeymoon). Suddenly we went from spending our evenings and weekends planning to not have a lot to do once we came home from work.

I did feel the ‘twiddle thumb’ moment once the wedding had been over because it did take up a lot of our lives and (luckily) we ended up having to move house soon after the wedding so we did have something else to focus on.

If you are planning on getting married soon, then a great tip is to make sure you have a project to start on once the wedding is over. Or peer pressure your friends into getting married so you can plan all over again (I joke, of course).

3. Changing your name is WEIRD

As mentioned in a previous blog post – I chose to change my surname once I got married. I never imagined how weird it would be once it actually happened once we said ‘I do’.

In the first few months I did have to think every time someone asked for my name, and it would take me a while to twig that someone was calling me by my new surname.

Now, a year on, I’ve gotten used to my new name but I still find it weird being a Mrs. The title doesn’t feel odd because of the age old argument which is ‘oh women are sooo suppressed having to change your title,’ but it’s more that it feels far too grown up!!! But at the same time, there is something that’s nice about being Mr & Mrs (or Mr & Mr, Mrs & Mrs) because to me, I feel like part of a unit.

4. The first year is a test

The first year of marriage is designed to be a test. Call me crazy if you like, but we both encountered obstacles and challenges which I believe were designed to test how good our relationship is. Your vows are put into action and only the best survive.

I am happy to report that despite illness, stress and a looonnng house move; we passed the test! If times for you are a struggle then don’t give up, you married your other half for a reason.

5. I wouldn’t change it for the world…

My Post Election Reflection

The General Election is over for another 5 years, and one week after the election has finished, I thought I’d take the time to add my views and opinions to what I’ve witnessed over the past few weeks of canvassing, televised debates and a “I didn’t see that one coming” end to the election.

The part of the election that annoyed me the most this year was the canvassing. Mainly because the political leaders of each Party seemed to spend more time telling me why I couldn’t vote for so and so, rather than saying “actually, you should vote for me because…” Politicians, spend more time talking about your own policies rather than ridiculing your opponents.

The social media backing for the General Election helped to show those who are more vocal about the need to vote and pushed a bigger variety of political Party into the limelight. I am very passionate about the need to vote and will shout from the rooftops the importance of voting (the main reason why will be explained later). I did think it was a good idea for sites like Facebook to allow you to add an “I’m voting” status to your profile, though I can see the negative peer pressure that can be attached to these methods.

I do not like it when people don’t vote (sadly my husband is in this camp) as I believe that you cannot moan about taxes, the NHS, education etc if you haven’t at least tried to have your say. I was impressed by the out pour of support and encouragement for people to vote and perhaps we will soon see an increase in the voting population.

After the voting closed and the ballots were counted, I was very surprised that the Conservatives held the majority, I had my bets on another coalition. What did disappoint me the next day was the out pour of negativity. Personally, I’m not happy myself that the Conservatives got in, however I found myself getting annoy with those (especially on social media) who have moaned ever since. You can’t one minute be telling everyone to vote and the next moan that everyone didn’t vote for the party that you wanted to get in. Sadly not everyone has the same political view (I myself vote for the Liberal Democrats and look what happened to them at the election) and for the time being we should accept that the people who actually bothered to vote, voted in the Conservatives.

Sadly, until a Party in power actually decides to change the electoral system, it’ll probably stay this way for a while. And if you do find that you’re not happy and you haven’t voted, well you know what to do next time – VOTE!!

5 things I already love about being a homeowner

Once again, I’ve been neglecting my blog… Never good for a wannabe writer.

However, I have been busy moving house. The mortgage was finally approved, the seller got her act together and Andy and I are finally on the property ladder!!!

Even though I have probably already spent half the time moaning about the new house, I’ve not regretted our decision one bit. Without sounding like a smug ‘look at my with my mortgage’ person, I have listed below my already top 5 things about being a home over and would love to see if anyone else agreed when they got their first property.

1. Redecoration

We’re currently in the process of decorating what was a very bland, boring and beige (well, magnolia, but that’s not good for the alliteration) house. I love that we’re able to add our own stamp onto the property and are no longer restricted by the landlord’s poor taste in decoration. We agreed from the very start that our house was going to be bright, colouring and welcoming.

We are even ripping out the old carpets and have replaced the very 80s looking light shades. It’ll take a bit more saving up before we are able to do the bathroom and kitchen but what’s the point in doing everything at once?

Once we’ve finished phase one of revamping, I will make sure to post some before and after photos just for showing off purposes mainly.

2. Space

We’ve been so lucky in being able to purchase a 3 bedroom house. Whilst it’s currently only the two of us we don’t technically need all three rooms. But why the hell not?

There’s plenty of room for us not to be on top of one another and it’ll be nice being able to say to friends and family “hey, why don’t you just stay over tonight?”

3. Being able to make decisions

The thing I hated most about renting was when the inevitable problem happened with the property. Whilst now if something happens to go wrong I can just call a plumber/electrician/builder to fix it, it used to be; call the landlord, wait at least 2 weeks for a response and when he finally got his act together, he would do sweet f.a. about any issues we raised.

Even though now it’s us who have to pay for any repairs, at least we are now in control of what gets fixed and what doesn’t.

4. Having a garden

We didn’t have a back garden in our flat (for obvious reasons, it was a flat!) and we actually have a proper garden this time round, with grass and everything!!! OK, so it currently looks like a tip and compare to everyone else’s gardens on the road, ours is a bit of a blot on the landscape.

But like with decorating, the garden has so much potential to be AMAZING and I can’t wait to get my hands on it over the summer. I look forward to being able to have a BBQ or 5…

5. The already emerging community spirit

We’ve not even moved in yet but I’m already starting to see a very nice community spirit going on. Every person who we bump into on the road always says hi and stops for a chat. One of our neighbours just puts the bins out for everyone and someone else volunteered and has chopped the trees down at the end of our garden and wanted nothing in return (n.b they are our trees and she did ask first).

I have always loved community spirit and its sad that we don’t have enough of it in Britain any more. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it continues.

No more to add for now, will keep you all posted =)

The commuter’s nightmare

I’ve been in full time employment for nearly two years now and I drive to my place of work every day. Sitting in rush hour traffic gives you far too much time to think, far too much time…

As my blog seems to be dedicated to my various thought processes, this post is dedicated to what annoys me about driving to work every day. I’m sure that a lot of people will read this post and relate my love/hate relationship with other commuters.

The double lane road

An example I will use for this is the main road I drive down to get to work, Abbeydale Road. At one point, the road forks into two sections for commuters to turn right onto Woodseats Road. Now, I fully acknowledge that with this stretch of road you are allowed to drive straight ahead in both lanes. However, when there is a massive queue of people waiting to go through the traffic lights in the left lane, it irritates me so much when drivers nip and go down the right lane. We are all British here, British people are not afraid to queue (whether we grumble about it or not), so poo poo to those people who can’t be bothered to queue for an extra two minutes and instead would rather block up the junction and actually make the waiting time longer!

The bus lane jumpers

Sheffield has a LOT of bus lanes, and many of the main roads in Sheffield will start out as public road, the slowly merge into a bus lane. Another irritating habit that some drivers of Sheffield will have is even though 99% of us have already prepared for the fact that the bus lane is coming and have merged into the other lane there are the 1% who will zoom straight down until right at the last minute and then expect you to just let them into your lane.

NO NO NO

This is the same problem with above, that people can’t bare to wait an extra couple of minutes and would rather block up and irritate other ‘well behaved’ motorists. And don’t give me an evil look when I won’t let you into my lane, you’re the one in the wrong, just acknowledge it.

But I want to cross here Pedestrians

Back onto Abbeydale Road again. There are plenty of traffic lights on this road, and yet there are so many people who will try and cross the road in a random place, in busy traffic when there is a crossing literally 5-10 metres down the road from them. And they won’t just do this when the traffic is stationary, I have had to swerve out the way of these stupid people before! What is the point? And don’t give me evil looks when you’re the one in the wrong.

It’s even worse in winter, when driving home at 5 o’clock means that it’s pitch black outside. The ‘but I want to cross here’ pedestrian are now camouflaged by their desire to wear all black clothing.

Please stop this, for your own safety and for my genuine fear that one day I’m going to hit someone =S

Cyclists who ignore the rules of the road

I don’t mind cyclists, no seriously I really don’t. What I do hate about cyclists though is when after they moan about cars not letting them cycle down the road, they then ignore the basic rule of the road – stop when the traffic light is red!!!!!

If you were in a car you’d get pulled over by the police, fined and given penalty points. But for some reason if you are on a bike, it’s perfectly acceptable. If you want to be respected on the road then abide by the rules of the road.

People who speed in 30 zones

You really don’t need to be there in that much of a hurry, it’s 30 for a reason, stop being a dick.

Start the year as I mean to go on

January…

Who invented the month of January?!

I hate January!!!

I can see why they call it the most depressing month of the year, because boy don’t I feel depressed! We all spend most of December celebrating in some form or another which I do love and enjoy. But come January there are no celebrations going on and no one has any money thanks to the 6 week gap between pay days. I also hate how early the sun sets in the evening, making the days feel really short. I don’t know how people cope with living in places like Sweden when it is dark for 20+ hours a day at times, I think I need to go somewhere with hotter weather and a calmer environment.

This month is also ending up being a waiting game for me and Andy. Even though we only got married 8 months ago (but still, where has the time gone?!) we are now in a position where we are buying our first house together! We have had an offer accepted on an amazing 3 bedroom house, but we’re now in the waiting game for everyone else to get their act together.

The thing I am most struggling with with this house sale is the lack of control I have over what is going on. I love knowing where I stand in a situation and if something is going wrong, then I can solve it – simples. But with the house move, everything is out of my control and there is very little I can do about it. With being a first time buyer, there is an added stress of getting our mortgage approved for the first time and when life and technology makes it impossible for things to move on, well, it’s not making me a happy Hannah.

It’s interesting how the media focus so much on how impossible it is for first time buyers to get on the housing market, but from first hand experience, I completely see why it is so hard for first time buyers. For a start, the deposit is a killer, especially when you live in a city like Sheffield, where house prices aren’t exactly cheap. At times, I almost felt pressured to move out of the city I love just to get a cheaper house (but as if I’d leave the Steel City!).

Next, it’s the mortgage companies. I’ve never felt more judged in my life and conscious of how much money I have in my bank account. I’m always paranoid that I’m going to be quizzed on the money I have in my account. And dear God the process for getting this done is soooooo slow!!!

I shouldn’t really start my first post of the year with a moan, but sometimes in life you’ve just gotta get stuff off your chest. I think this year I really need to focus my writing in this blog into a specific subject area. I think this’ll focus my writing skills and hopefully improve my writing skills. I just need to get focus, and try not to spend too much of my time moaning…

More than just a dog

I realise that I haven’t written a blog post in 3 months (bad Hannah) and I apologise that my first post back will not be the most cheerful post. But I felt I had to write, as a tribute, about the sad death of our family dog last week.

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Today would have been Candy’s 14th birthday so I am writing this post in her memory. Candy is a Bichon Frise who to be honest was probably related to a sheep somewhere down the line. She has been in our family for the past 6 and a half years and has filled our lives with plenty of noise but a whole lot of love. Her death to me was unexpected, even though she was an old girl, and it has been a very long time since I have grieved this much for a loss.

Candy was the friendliest, happiest and silliest dog you would have had the pleasure to meet. She was always pleased to see you no matter how long it was since you last saw her, whether it was 1 minute or 1 month.

The innocent look...

She was also a madam, I’ll give you that! She was always demanding to sit on your knee and it was known that she would get very cross with you if you weren’t sat in the room that SHE wanted to be in!

Like most dogs as well, if she had the opportunity to eat something a bit rebellious she would take full advantage. I’ve known her on walks to eat egg shells and cigarette butts. She also famously ate my birthday cake and has managed to eat a whole packet of chocolate coins (even taking the wrappings off).

The pictures I have put up as well also do show her at her whitest. One of her favourite (and most disgusting habits) was finding the smelliest poo she could roll in, and then looking perplexed when we would then give her a bath, as if it was our fault…

Now my dad’s house is so quiet without the padding of paws around the kitchen and the background noise of her usual whining. The pain of losing a family pet is definitely equal to that of losing a family member, how could you not grieve for a pet who was in your life all day every day? Things just won’t be the same without her, no laugher as she head butted the floor after a sneeze, no squeaks from her basket as she is trying to scratch that itch on her head, no warm dog to sit on your knee and lick your jeans (don’t ask, she had a weird obsession with jeans!).

So Rest In Peace Candy, Cand, Cand Dog, Peewwwwch, Candyfloss, Stinky Dog – I really will miss you…

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This post is written with the blessing of my dad and step-mum.

Holidays vs Parenting

I was watching the news this evening whilst the husband cooked the tea (check me out delegating!) and there was an article that came on about the quite alarming rise of parents being fined for taking their kids out of school during term time in order to go on holiday. The number of fines being issued was up something like 77% from last year.

I understand that holidays are expensive, and I do think that it’s a massive bitch that holiday companies deem it acceptable to bump up the prices of a holiday during peak periods. But isn’t it setting a bad example to our kids by taking them out of school?

I know that I’m not a parent, therefore my argument is pretty weighted, but I got really tired of these parents only justification being “we save a couple of hundred pounds” when the fines for taking children out of school is £120ish per child. Your kids are missing out on education!!! I found it hard especially at A Levels to catch up after missing one day at school, let alone a week! Surely it’s almost selfish making your kids fall behind in their education? And it’s setting an example that it’s ok to not go to school, something that I definitely wasn’t brought up with.

And what about teachers? They have their holiday exactly the same time as kids, they can’t just take a week off work to go on holiday because it’s cheaper for them. They’d get sacked.

Surely the solution is to crack down on the travel companies who put the price of holidays up by ridiculous amounts for 6 weeks of the year. Everyone wants to go on holiday when it’s hot anyway, so people will still book, in fact, people will surely book more holidays if prices were lower? Think about it travel companies…

I’d love to get the view point of parents, like I’ve said I feel pretty biased not having a kid myself. So please comment below and share your points.