Dream House #6: The One That Sold Itself

‘You know, we’ll miss you when you’re gone.’

NOT great words to here when you turn up for work. I mean, seriously, WHAAAAAT?!?!

‘Oh no. I mean when you move. You’re not being fired. I’ve said too much. You heard nothing.’

No, colleague, my dear. You – and everyone else – have clearly NOT SAID ENOUGH, because it seems that although I’m the ONE person in the office this is happening to I’m THE LAST TO KNOW!!!

Apparently our section (which consists of me, some new bloke who starts on Monday and whose name I can’t pronounce, and somebody they’ve yet to appoint) is moving around the corner…which is pretty damn spooky as some weeks ago – before the big big boss came rolling into town, changing everything – I had a dream that we would move to the street around the corner! Now all I need is Phil and Kirstie from Location Location Location to drive me round the market square and my dreams will have literally come true!!!

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Still, having that feeling that everyone is talking behind your back isn’t the best motivation for getting stuff done. But hey ho. I guess we’ll see what happens on Monday.

I wonder if I’ll get my very own desk? Exciting! And I suppose at least I won’t have to feel bad every time I see the two colleagues I’ve gazumped, who will now be in the less shiny world of lettings. The Christmas party might involve less getting drunk before lunch on champagne though, which is a shame as I was rather looking forward to that.

But anyway, onto the dream house. I’ve not posted any property porn for a while. But this one is worth the wait. It’s just a shame it’s not actually on the market any more as it’s

THE ONE I SOLD!!!

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Not that it took a lot of selling.

Applicant: Id like to make an offer.

Me: Are you sure wouldn’t like a second viewing?

Applicant: No. Sometimes you just walk into a place and you just know.

When I got to meet up with him and the vendors at the property last week I could see what he meant.

Absolutely one of the most gorgeous homes ever! It makes me sad that I don’t live here. Some houses have a vibe about them and this one just screams ‘WOW!’

There’s the pretty drive up to the electric gates (arriving home would feel even sweeter than ever!).

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In the house, light floods through the windows and skylights and highlights the Farrow & Ball palette. It’s all been done with no expense spared with quality written all over it: exposed beams, limestone kitchen floors, reclaimed oak in the living room, log-burning stove, £10,000 silk curtains!!!

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Then there’s the history of it being a 600-year manor house (or at least what’s left after a fire 200 years ago).

And the absolutely most gorgeous kitchen ever!!!

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(I swear, I could’ve cried at the sheer beauty of it!)

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It has absolutely everything you could need in a home… including gym in the 2-storey garage…

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…Which might be no bad thing for burning off a beer-belly as the local pub is actually attached to the property (very discretely, but with secret access too, which is beyond cool!).What could better than shouting your order over the wall, taking the secret shortcut and then having your drinks lined up at the bar? And you wouldn’t have any distance to stagger home after either!

It’s just glorious, inside…

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…and out.

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It helps too the vendors are just the loveliest, warmest people ever. And thankfully so are the purchasers.

Unfortunately I failed to marry a millionaire, so I shall never be able to call it home as they will. But as my first sale it will always have a place in my heart. And maybe I could use my commission to get myself some similar cushions. Although I’m going to have to sell an awful lot more homes before I can have that kitchen!

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Family Days Out Are a Big Mistake #6: Collective Accountability

Collective thoughts of the Gluestick family earlier in the week: Oh bugger! We’ve frittered the summer holidays away working/lazing around in pjs all day waiting for some sun. Better squeeze some fun in now!

Which is how come yesterday we came to do BOTH the model village at Beaconsfield AND the Roald Dahl museum at Great Missenden. Both great family attractions and the museum would get us brownie points for being parents who go the extra mile Boo some brownie points at school for being the kid whose read ahead. BUT both in the same day? Was that wise? Not so, really.

But we were ALL to blame for the minor disasters of the day. (Still, at least at any family attraction you get to eavesdrop on the complaints and whinges, scoldings and under-the-breath-mutterings of other families, which is always a reassurance.)

• GRANDY

Whilst driving it’s possibly not the best idea to put the deaf member of the family in the back of the car thus defaulting childcare responsibilities to them.

Noodles: Juice. Juice.

Grandy:

Noodles: Juice! JUICE!

Grandy: Kindle?

Noddles: *Howl!!!*

• NOODLES

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Noodles has at last realised that ice cream should be eaten, not just carried like some melting trophy. (Or dropped in deer poo.) But he also hasn’t quite figured out that just shoving your face in it whilst it melts isn’t the best idea. Cue ice-cream covered wailing when we try to sort him out and a t-shirt that later didn’t really fit in with the Great Missenden sartorial ethic. (To be honest, he looked like he’d had some misadventures in Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory to such an extent other visitors were probably wondering where they’d hidden the exhibit!)

Baby wipes, however: Best. Invention. EVER.

Still, it could have been worse. I feared he’d not realise the importance of railings and would ransack through the tiny houses of the model village. Thankfully instead he chose to weld himself to one particular spot to watch the model railway trains.

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Apologies though to the little girl whom he had a bit of a scrap with when she wanted a look too. And to the family who got a shot of full-blast wailing when their son stood in Noodles’ spot.

• HUSBAND

When trying to squeeze two attractions into one day it’s always best to minimise travelling time. So why Husband preferred to guide us round the back roads of Buckinghamshire when he didn’t know where to go rather than let me use the sat-nav is beyond me.

Sweet moment of the day: him admitting defeat and me getting to turn the TomTom on. Guess who got us there better?

• ME

The model village had been on our summer holidays to do list from the beginning. The museum was a new addition to the list after Boo enjoyed a performance by them at the Lollibop festival. 2 for 1 tickets bolstered that incentive.

So, it wasn’t a great moment, at the admissions desk, to realise that although I’d definitely packed the discount voucher, I’d also unpacked it by taking my diary out of my bag (because I wouldn’t need it, so why carry it around all day?) with the slip inside of it. A loss of two admission fees and 10% off in the gift shop. Sorry, Husband.

• BOO

Ok, it had been a long day, but if you’re sat in an intimate food-themed poetry workshop presented by published kids’ author and all-round really nice chap, James Carter, it’s best not to sit there with a face that says ‘I want to go home.’ Even more so, best not to say ‘But Mummy, I want to go home,’ out loud!

That said, James won her over and she eagerly read out her poem and five-word story to the assembled collective at the end.

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Her food-based poetry:

I have a friend
Her name is Hollie.
Her favourite pud
Is rainbow lollies.

And:

The elephant’s stew was scrummy.

And my effort (based on the fact that James kept showing guinea pig photos whilst the poor boy from the museum was trying to do the ‘in event of a fire’ talk):

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Don’t put your guinea in a sandwich
As the Peruvians like to do.
They’re far too hairy
The claws are just scary
And there’s far too much to chew.

To be honest, both attractions were brilliant. But too much for one day. Next time we’ll be less ambitious, but also hopefully more organised too. Or maybe not. We are the Gluestick family after all. It’s always going to be sticky.

A Tale of D’oh

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Sod pride coming before a fall (although sometimes that’s true also). Sometimes, more accurately, eagerness comes before massive, sweat-inducing panic.

I had thought my luck had come in today. I’d sorted the works email nightmare. I’d remembered to buy nappies for Noodles on my way back from a viewing, thus saving me a drive out of town. (Get me, managing the multi-tasking mum thing!) I’d been offered full-time hours at work…and turned them down (because I’m not that good at multi-tasking to be able to do it all day every day, but I must be fooling someone somewhere well enough into thinking I’m vaguely competent at my job, as opposed to just vague and incompetent). And – and this had really got me excited! – I’d got a pair of salad servers for JUST £3.00 instead of £7, because they didn’t have a barcode, were the last on the display and I happened to ask for help from a pair of clueless teenage boys who didn’t know how to cope so just grabbed the cheapest similar item to hand and ran that through the till instead. Result!

I literally skipped out of the store, I can tell you.

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Except…

When I got home I straight away had to go out with Noodles on a chocolate button run (which turned into a chocolate, Disney Princess trading cards, Frozen stickers and Rio 2 DVD run after asking Boo if she wanted anything – never ask a 7-year-old if she wants anything! I’m surprised she didn’t add a trampoline and a pony to the list!). At the till, DISASTER! My card was MISSING!!!

Oh, *!?@#!!!

I tried to stay calm. I paid with a different card, went home and tipped my handbag out. Nope. I checked through the collection of receipts and loyalty cards that replace actual real money in my purse. Nu-uh. I emptied out the carrier bag containing my now-possibly-not-such-a-bargain-if-my-card-has-been-pinched-and-my-bank-account-ransacked salad servers. Obviously, nada. Niente. Diddly squat. My card had vanished.

I bet myself that in my bargain-elation is left it in the card reader at the store. I decided it would be wise to call the store – thank heavens for 24-hour opening! – and check before cancelling my card. It may be 24-hour opening, but that doesn’t mean 24-hour phone answering on customer service.

?#@*&%!!!

This meant I would have to confess to Husband. Not good. (Although it could have been worse; at least it wasn’t the card for our joint account. There wouldn’t be words if I ever lost that!) his reaction, lets say, wasn’t especially positive.

I decided with one last hope to drive back to the store – so much for being organised and saving time. Not so epic now, GSM. But if I could save myself from having to order a new card, that’d be good.

I found Clueless Boy #1 still on the checkout. He hadn’t seen my card. Great. I’d obviously been stalked by an opportunistic identity thief who at that very moment was surely wringing every last drop from my bank account. (Although I would thwart him with my limited spending potential. Ha! Being broke has never seemed so positive!)

Nevertheless, I tried customer services too. A cursory glance in the cupboard yielded no sign.

“Oh, ok. I’ll just have to order a new card. Thank you,” I said out loud.

“*!?@#!!!?#@*&%!!!” I thought to myself.

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I wandered out to the car park and glanced into my purse…

…and there it was, MY SODDING BANK CARD, sat in a slot in my PURSE, albeit on the opposite side to where I’d normally put it!!!

My first reaction: PHEW! Yet, WTF?!?! How had I NOT seen it?!?!

Needless to say, when I got home I had nothing but praise for the staff of Sainsbury’s for spotting my card so promptly and keeping it safe for me. 😉 Only you and I know the magnitude of my muppetry.

Just don’t tell Husband, hey?

Tech, NO!!!

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In all honesty, if you’re reading these words it will be some sort of a miracle. Because today technology has been a big, fat meanie to me. Like some gruesome clique in the playground technology has got itself together and rounded on me, making me feel small, stupid and bullied and ready to run into a dark room and cry. But unlike in the playground there’s no dinner lady to turn to, just tech support, who rather than giving technology 5 minutes in the naughty corner instead joins in with the slang that I don’t understand and makes me feel even more stupid, whilst simultaneously failing to resolve my problem.

First up, the email at work has decided to stitch me up. I can send them, but my inbox has been resolutely empty. Not good. Microsoft helpfully informed me that it was a 0x8004060C error. Well, of course, Microsoft. Now you’ve said that, it’s all become clear. NOT! Because when I said ‘helpfully’ I was lying.

Lying in much the same way as all the solutions to Error 0x8004060C lied that it was a simple thing to clear – I just needed to make space. In the tangible world, that’s great. When it comes to the ether though, things are less simple. Microsoft and I seem to have very different ways of counting. For every 20 emails I deleted it would reduce the tally by 1. Where did the other 19 go? Did they scamper back into another box to continue to clog the system? And what’s the betting the 1 email of 20 that DID permanently delete will be the one I’m asked to access tomorrow?

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Massive headache induced and lunch foregone, I somehow got through to home time. Great!

I’d not had a chance to physically go shopping for the remainder of Boo’s school uniform for next week. But never mind – I could do it online and have the clothes delivered to the store for the next day. Isn’t online shopping great?

Well, no, actually. Store 1 would only give me an option of ordering to home…and couldn’t deliver for 2 weeks. (One year I’ll be a hyper-ready mum with new uniform sorted before school breaks up…but not this year.) After jumping through the hoops of setting a new password (EVERY. TIME. The only person being kept from accessing my online accounts, it seems, is ME) Store 2 teased me with the option to deliver to store for FREE…and then (and I swear it did this on purpose just to make blood vessels burst for kicks) refused to let me click in the Confirm button for the store I wanted. I ended up picking an inconvenient home delivery option AND paid extra for the non-privilege.

(I WAS going to insert an appropriate funny image here but, appropriately enough, I can’t get it to upload. But of course.)

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Even my beloved WordPress has joined the tech bullies today.

But I did at least get to vent my frustration as I was invited to give feedback. Whoever has the task of reading my thoughts tomorrow, it’s nothing personal, but I was apoplectic at the time. If it’s any consolation, spewing my frustrations did make me feel better. Temporarily.

‘Temporarily’ because I then decided that it would be a good idea to upload some photos from my camera phone. My camera phone that I have to carry around separately to my normal phone because my iPhone’s capacity is full to bursting and I don’t understand my iCloud and how it works.

I thought I was onto a winner. I had the right attachments to connect my camera phone onto the creaking, whirring, slow laptop that Indy donated to me, her creaking, whirring, slow mother. But a cable isn’t enough. I need an admin password AND the internet. I had neither.

We’ll draw that one as a blank too.

And then, the straw that broke the camel’s back, Noodles wanted to watch Despicable Me 2 on DVD. He’d watched it in Boo’s room the night before, but she needed to get ready for bed. I offered to put it on in my room. Even though I have to swap cables around (annoying enough) and Husband has managed to lose the remote (additional annoyance) even I can manage to stick a DVD on.

Except, no.

‘BAD DISC’ the DVD player informed me.

What??! It wasn’t a bad disc last night. How can it be a bad disc, just because I touched it?!?!

Still, it’s ok, because an insert in the DVD box stated that I could stream the film to computer, phone or tablet for free. Another round of password creation and according to Flixster I OWNEDDespicable Me 2. Except…I also owned the actual, physical DVD, but just like the actual, physical DVD, owning it wasn’t the same as BEING ABLE TO PLAY it. I could only access the trailer!!!

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But never mind, because instead Noodles just grabbed the tablet and started tapping away with a technological proficiency that has alluded his inept mum all day.

I’m not sure what the moral here is? Don’t mix a Gluestick with technology – it just gets sticky? Pre-schoolers make the best Tech Support, although you’ve still no chance of understanding them?

All I know is that if I could get this guy round, I’d probably feel a whole lot better:

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But so to bed. Consider me Unplugged.

Grown-Up Kicks

Today is Husband’s and my 10th wedding anniversary. To celebrate we fled from work and the kids and headed to the bright lights of London.

When everything’s been about working and parenting, chores and not getting enough sleep by half, having a full 24 hours alone together and one of the world’s best cities at our feet was bliss, but guilt-inducing, an abundance of options, but a desire just to crash. Not really being able to drink solidly for a complete day and night and no distraction of the kids, would we have enough to talk about?

The guilt didn’t last long. About as long as it took to step across the threshold of Room 11 of the Zetter Townhouse, funnily enough. I swear luxury hotel rooms have magical properties. I suspect it may have something to do with marshmallow-soft pillows and pristine bathrooms.

Things to love about a city escape:

• A different view.

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Looking out across the city, The Shard in the distance. The city at our feet. But the ability to do as much or as little as we want. Too exciting.

• The ability to visit the grown-up attractions.

Not that I necessarily always understand them, mind you. But we opted for some culture at Somerset House.

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A fireplace of cushions may not have been Husband’s thing (he doesn’t understand the need for cushions on a sofa after all, let alone spilling across the floor as art)…

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…but the Return of the Rudeboy exhibition was amazing.

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• Getting dressed up

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• Dining out

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A Wednesday night is instantly transformed into fabulous when it includes a champagne.

• Cocktails

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Just bring on the booze!

• A blissful night’s sleep

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I actually slept so deeply and well I’d recharged by 4am. Still, just being cocooned in crisp, clean cotton was heavenly.

• Breakfast in bed

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Particularly as I rarely get breakfast let alone combined with a lie-in.

• Wallowing in a tub

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Although why are the baths increasingly put in the bedroom? What’s that about? Maybe it’s sexy when it involves young, nubile, lithe bodies…but when middle-age is creeping up, better to keep it behind a closed door.

• REN miniatures

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And yes, I did snaffle them into my suitcase. Obviously.

• Taxidermy boxing kangaroo in the hotel’s dining room

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Ok, that was maybe a little odd.

And, as ever, it was all Husband’s fault. But in a good way this time. Miracles can happen. I blame the hotel room. Literally magical, I tell you.

Funnily enough, with a tiny, or as I prefer, ‘select’ readership, I was in no way bribed to share my enjoyment of the Zetter Townhouse. All opinions are my own. HOWEVER, I’m not above bribery if any luxury hotels ever fancy giving me a freebie stay in return for flattering comments.

Squeaky Floorboard

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Felix is 2 years and 8 months old today. By my calculations, that’s 942 days old.

If we say he’s woken up on average twice a night, I’ve crept out of his room approximately 1884 times over that time.

So how come I still haven’t worked out how to get past the squeaky floorboard on the landing outside his room?!?!

Let’s just say I didn’t get much sleep last night.

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And breathe…

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It’s been a long few days.  A busy few days.  Busy weeks even.  I thought summer holidays were about lazy days and fun?  Only if you’re in the school system I guess.  Otherwise it’s so much more than normal, but with additional guilt for not making the most of the time the kids have got off school.  Bad mum, working, leaving them to laze in their pjs and zone out on various tablets (of the technological sort, that is – drugging my kids as I go off to work would make me a REALLY bad mum – although the effect is pretty much the same, I guess, only with less intervention from social services).

I feel I’ve deserted you too, my lovely Pressers (is that what we are?) and I promise to catch up with you soon.  But for the moment sleep is my precious and there’s little enough of it to go round.  Only a couple of ,more weeks and things will go back to normal.  Well, normal for the Gluestick house, which is probably not normal by others’ standards.

But I do want to catch up on a few things before you fear I’ve cashed in my Mum Points (I’m not sure I’ve written about my Mum Points before – one for my To Blog list) and headed off for the call of a child/Husband-free life spent in a hammock overlooking the ocean/been committed (which is probably more likely to happen than the hammock thing to be honest).

FAMILY DAYS OUT CAN BE A GOOD IDEA – JUST DON’T TAKE HUSBAND

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Our second Mr Bloom encounter of the summer.

Not wanting to jinx things, but it seems Noodles may be coming out of the Tunnel of Toddler Hell  This summer we’ve had not one, but TWO days out that haven’t resulted in him a) having an epic, ear-shattering meltdown or b) just wanting to potter around the outskirts of wherever we’re at, playing in the dirt.  And actually I managed to spend a day at a festival without a) having an epic meltdown or b) just wanting to potter round the outskirts avoiding the dirt.  But it was a kids’ festival (festival-lite) – Lollibop at Hatfield House – and our genetically strong bladders meant we didn’t have to use the portaloos, but it was a genuinely fantastic day.  Boo and Noodles got to see their favourite kids’ TV presenters (Mr Bloom possibly now thinks we’re stalking him…or Noodles now thinks Mr Bloom is stalking us!) they got involved in wand-making, story-telling, pom-pom creating and fleecing Husband and I out of extortionate amounts of cash for chips and ice cream.  

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It was just a shame Husband was the stick-in-the-mud.  Leaving home for a festival that’s a 2 hours’ drive away three minutes before the gates opened meant that we missed a chunk that included Boo’s very VERY favourite TV characters, because a) apparently I’m the only person out of Husband and I who can wrangle the kids, getting them dressed and fed and packing up everything in the world and b) no matter what time we’re due to go anywhere he will always make us wait to leave the house whilst he has a last minute poo!!!  Could he not manage the poo at the same time I’m sorting out everything else?!?!  (OK, it would only have saved us minutes, but it’s EVERY. TIME. and it makes me want to roar at him, which is not the best atmosphere for kicking off a nice family day out.)

And then, once we’re there, he has to flit about, changing our collective plans every second.  ‘Let’s got to the story tent!…Oh, let’s do some craft activities on the way!…Actually, shall we get some candyfloss?’  And if there’s one thing that gets Boo in a tizzy it’s the flitting.  For the sake of saving tears if the original idea is to go to the story tent, then let’s go to the story tent, then do some crafts and then get candyfloss.

And on the topic of food, it’s surely not nice to abandon your wife with the kids under the auspices of getting Noodles a second cone of chips and coming back with lunch for yourself, but nothing for your wife and THEN declaring on the way home that we needn’t stop for anything to eat because YOU’VE eaten already.  

But apart from that, it was a lovely day.  Next time I shall be tempted to leave Husband behind though.

LET’S PAAAAAAARRRRRTY!!! (SECOND TIME LUCKY)

IMG_5592So, the British summer can be sunny, albeit with a spattering of rain, just to elevate the tension as we all sat down to our picnic lunch.  But thankfully the second attempt at Boo’s birthday party was a success and everyone had a great time, not least of all Boo (no tears until the end of the party is a MAJOR step forward!).  OK, I had to make all the sandwiches and cakes all over again (…whilst Husband lazed in until 11 o’clock, because it was a Sunday), I had to organise the party bags for a second time and I exhausted myself entertaining a clutch of children for a couple of hours AGAIN (I can only thank whoever decided that parachutes made great play equipment from the bottom of my heart)…and I think I managed to re-break my toe (tip: if you have a recovering broken toe, chasing after small children whilst wearing flip flops is NOT a good idea – I swear I heard it crunch!).  But the smile on Boo’s face was worth the time, the energy, the money…and the pain.

Typically she already has plans for next year: a vintage garden tea party…again in the park!  I’m putting my order in for sunny weather NOW!  (Anyone know what sacrifices I need to make?  Maybe I should consult Indy. I don’t suppose I could sacrifice Husband rather than a goat, could I?)

 

AND IN OTHER NEWS…

I sold a house today!  My first!  BOOM! But more of that tomorrow, I think.  I really need to sleep.