Today was a weird day. A hard day.
It was one that I'd almost had, but knew it would still be there and would happen one day.

Today I, we, handed over the keys to what once was home.
The home that was actually mine, ours. The place that we had put so much time, care and love into.
The place that started a new life, and stored memories. Saw laughter, saw tears, saw fun and games, saw arguments, saw frustration and most of all saw two people try to love.
But like certain things in life, they come to an end.
And this was one of them.

And although I knew it was coming, I knew it would happen, I guess I put it to the back of my head and made myself believe that it wasn't such a big deal. Because was it? It's only bricks and wallpaper (and lots of white paint) at the end of the day.. But then, it always felt so much more than that. So much more than just a house.
It was the place we really got to call home. Our home. And the home where we learned so much more in life, from wallpapering a room to changing a plug fuse. Where we welcomed everybody in with laughter filling the rooms and memories being treasured. Where we brought up our cats with love and affection and saw them grow from sweet kittens to big cats. Where we grew as adults, good human beings. The home that was pleasing on the eye, with white interior throughout and accents of grey and blush tones and the home that made us feel proud. A huge sense of pride for what we'd built. And I suppose, when you think back on these things, it does become almost harder to let go.
Because as humans, people, we treasure so much.
But something about this brings difference to whenever I've left somewhere else. Difference to how I felt when I left my family home of 23 years. I was sad, I didn't want my parents to sell even though it was for the right reasons. And packing up the family home and memories into boxes wasn't easy but within weeks, it became clear how easy it was to move on. The only home I'd ever known was just a memory. A fond memory, but a place that had easily been forgotten. I didn't feel sadness when I drove past it anymore, and I didn't feel the urge to move back in. I drove past it with a sense of warmth. There were good times there.
Yet, this place. Our place. It feels different to that.
I drive past it with sadness in my eyes. I think back to how I could have changed it, and whether it could have made us happier even though I knew in my heart, that not just a home could make us happy. I packed up those boxes with my stomach feeling tight wondering if I'd ever see this place again. And I left it with an empty feeling.
An empty feeling that I've never felt before.
It feels very different.

And even after walking out of that door nearly nine months ago, it doesn't get any easier.

I walked out of that door with my belongings in the van, and said goodbye as though it would be the last time. But deep down in my heart I knew it wasn't the last time, and maybe that was a coping mechanism. I had that small thing to hold onto, for comfort. There was still that last little connection holding us together even though we knew it wasn't right anymore.
It kept us going whilst dealing with heartbreak.
It brought us down whenever the house fell through.
It gave us sadness when we thought back on those times.
It made us feel warm knowing what once was.
And now? It brings reality.

The door to our house that once was, is time for new memories.
The door to our house that once was, is now someone else place to create love.
The door to our house that once was, is no more.

That finally, with the hardest and saddest feeling in our hearts and the courage in our minds, to close the chapter on this part of our lives together.
And move forward separately.

With no going back.

This is really it. This is to new beginnings.

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I think it's fair to say that we've well and truly got Winter settling in.. I mean it's made it's arrival with it's wind and sudden change of temperature and I don't quite think it's going anywhere anytime soon either. So with the heating on, the curtains closed tightly and the kettle boiling, me and Runkle are preparing to hibernate under the covers most nights this week.
That's one good thing about the cold, Runkle likes to curl up underneath the duvet.
Although, I'm not quite so happy about being big spoon...
Boots are worn whatever the weather in my eyes, and there was always this tradition of buying a new pair each month. Most likely in the form of them being either black, brown or stone. This year however, I've made it my attempt to go back through my boots I currently own - and I'm giving them all some extra love. It's like having brand new shoes all over again! These ones are this months favourite.
Time seems to be going incredibly fast lately, and with leaving the house when it's dark and coming home to darkness is one of the not so great things about Winter. And with the confusion of it always being dark, I never leave the house without a watch. I've always been an Olivia Burton girl but Daniel Wellington may have just pulled it out of the bag with this beautiful tan strap watch,  and has certainly attracted some fair comments from family members asking to borrow it. I told them to shove off and get their own - and kindly offered them a 15% discount code (littlewinter15!) so I don't have to share with anyone.
Everywhere you turn in my house there are candles. Candles lit on the fireplace, tealights filling up the cupboards and various scents lurking in places you never knew existed is how it works in my house through Winter. And I'm fairly adamant that they DO give off heat and can warm up a room. With the help of a radiator. And the door closed. Oh and you've got to light about twenty in one room...
Thick and snuggly jumpers are the go to during those cold mornings. Nothing beats popping on your best winter knit (minus the cat hair...) and heading to work for a day of warmth and being extra comfortable. I like my knits to be big and slouchy but fitted on the sleeves to not let any heat out. Oh and preferably black - but this old green thing? I can't quite get rid of it just yet. It nearly, very nearly makes up for not being able to wear my duvet.

And throw in a scarf for good measure. Blanket scarves in particular.
The best creation ever.
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There is no right or wrong way to be doing life ever at all. What you're doing right now? Yeah, that's your life. And you're doing just fine. Honestly.

You will never be a burden to your friends. Ever.

Those mean comments people make about you? That is THEIR problem. Not yours.

Learning to love yourself. Remembering that YOU are awesome. Fret less about it and find out what you like about yourself. Then embrace it.

People around you, your parents, your family and your friends - yeah, they've had a similar experience. They know what you're going through. They get it.

A problem shared, really is a problem halved.

Things will bite you on the bum, people will bite you on the bum (maybe literally too..), and life will sometimes test you, but picking yourself up is one of the strongest things that you'll ever do.

Be proud of yourself. Because you're not doing as bad as you may think.

Wine. It really is the best medicine.

There will be days when you just want to eat all the ice cream in your freezer. And then think that telling people will make you look super independent and like no one can tell you otherwise. Yeah. Maybe don't do that so much.

You'll cry a lot. Yes, even over simple things.

It's OK to still ask for advice and listen to what people think. It's OK to question choices and thoughts, but never ever let someones' opinion overshadow yours. If you make that choice, Stick to it. Own it.

Confidence is sexy.

That sometimes, life doesn't always work out for you as your other girl friends. You may be going down different paths but none of those paths are wrong. And they'll still be there.

Spend less time trying to be nice to those who don't matter, and focus more on those who do matter.

Take time out for yourself. Do what makes you happy.

What you're doing or have done, may not always be right or wrong. It may not be the wisest idea you've had, but you've gone with your instinct - and in that moment there was a reason as to why you did it. Learn from your instincts. Learn from your decisions.

Girlfriends. They're the absolute best.

Invite your grandparents over for coffee. They'll really appreciate it. And listen to your parents. Because they really are always right (most of the time anyway...)

Don't text that guy when you're drunk. Whatever you do.

Eat the pizza. And eat the cake. Unless you have an intolerance... 
Then don't eat the pizza. Or the cake.

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Self awareness. That's one thing many of us lack.
I know I lack it.

When people praise me on the work I've done, I brush it off as though it's just my job.
When people thank me for things, I tell myself that they're just saying that because.
When people pay me a compliment, I think they feel sorry for me and ultimately are trying to appear nice.
When people tell me that I'm not doing so badly, I wonder if they're trying to lift my spirits.
When people say nice things to me, I'm adamant it's just words.
When people want me to help them because they believe in me, I tell them I'm only average.
And when people ask me about myself, I'm never kind enough.
I talk down about myself. A lot in fact.

I don't ever think of myself as someone who has done great things and I don't believe that I am the person that people appear to see me as. What if I can't be what someone wants me to be, or expects from me? Is this because I'm scared of failing people? Failing things? And so, by putting everything down as just being below average, just doing a mediocre job, wouldn't set myself up for failing? There wouldn't be the opportunity to come crashing down when the goal post isn't set so high.There can only be improvements, and resulting in pleasing people more surely?
But then am I not pushing myself enough? Am I not testing my own self worth? And by telling people confidently that I can do this, even if I doubt myself in my head, will only challenge me to prove myself wrong. And maybe learn that I can do more than I think. Push myself further.
Maybe I don't believe in myself?
Maybe I don't think I'm anything more than the other average girl in the world. And sometimes, actually most of the time, I'm happy with that. I don't feel like I need goals, and targets to be driven or successful because in reality, I'm not a driven person. And what is a successful person? Surely successful is what you make of it. I'm the one that answers the Five Year Plan question with a simple "Just to be somewhere that I'm happy with", because honestly? That's about it for me. I have no goals.
Now whether that's a bad attitude to have in this modern world, I'm unsure but maybe, just maybe, there are people in this life who are happy just being. And take each day, and each challenge and hurdle as it comes.
I thrive on others, my energy comes to the surfaces around loved ones, and I constantly feel the need to be loved (who doesn't?), but maybe I thrive on it so much because they push me without me realising. Because I feel they need to push me, otherwise, if they don't - who will?
Me?
And what am I pushing for? To be better? More successful?
To be better at what?

To be better at noticing my own self worth. I think that's a start.

"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. 
If you love what you are doing, you will be successful"

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When the sun was shining through my window last Sunday morning, and the blue sky was showing off, I knew how I wanted to spend my day. I popped on my coat (before taking it back off a short while later), grabbed my trainers and took a refreshing walk around Wicksteed Park fascinated that it was the start of November, yet felt more like September. I've told myself that I'm going to walk places more..
But it's getting colder, so maybe I'll start in the new year...
A few weeks ago whilst pottering around town, with a few hours to kill, I decided on a whim that I wanted to go in search of new magazines. To read (or just skim through), but honestly? Because I wanted a magazine pile of quirky prints in my living room - I wanted my guests to think I was hip, and I read (I do read, kinda) and I keep hold of fun things. And actually, I found myself really enjoying Oh Comely. So much so that I bought the next issue.
I mean, they look great together now... (I'm kidding! Kinda..)
There is always time for a Prosecco and Elderflower night (fairly sure I talk about Elderflower than I do my cat at the moment). And it's made 100 times better when there's Camembert involved, Spent with good company, Gossip Girl on TV and laughter filling the room - THAT is how I did Saturday last weekend. The good life.
Another weekend, another spontaneous trip to the seaside for chips in a cone. Because chips in a cone are much much better than chips in a box right? And if you ask me, that smell of the British seaside, with its cold wind in your hair, the salty taste of the sea  and seagull poop (I went there!) doesn't quite compare to the beaches abroad..
I mean, I know I'd rather be sunbathing in a bikini than getting wet seaweed off my feet, but you know, fudge and candy floss make up for it so I can't complain.
OH THAT FACE! I've been in and out of my house all week, and haven't spent much time with this big belly. But one thing I do know, is that the moment he steps outside he becomes the laziest animal in the entire planet. He'll take himself off up the tree, and perch himself on a branch for the next eight hours of work...
Now behind closed doors? That's a completely DIFFERENT story.
On Sunday, mama and I took a last minute trip to Brighton to see the brother. We caught the train super early, spent three hours talking life, before spending the next few days strolling along the front (I say strolling loosely because the three of them have much longer legs than me so what felt like an amble for them was certainly a marathon for me and my little legs...) with the wind in our hair and tea and cake on the horizon. That night consisted of some incredible Mexican food (La Choza - you must go!), Elderflower Cider, Motown singing and some family decision swiping on Tinder (mama loved THAT part!).
If there's one thing I like, it's spending a Monday morning by the beach. And shopping of course!
And those fun weekends aren't stopping anytime soon...

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"Get yourself back out there. On that dating scene".. That's what they said.
               
"Try Internet dating. You won't exactly find anyone at the vets or down the cheese aisle" They said.
                 
"You'll be single forever when they see you like cats" They said.
              
Dating.
That word I never thought I'd ever come across. I don't date. I don't go to fancy restaurants or pretend to drink martinis. I don't take long walks in the park and I don't have a wardrobe of bodycons for the occasion.
I hang out with my cat. I eat lots of cheese. I like watching films under the fur throw.
And I like sitting about in my knickers.
So is a dating app REALLY that ready for me. I don't think my brain is quite...

What happens if they don't get my facial expressions?
They might find me weird?
Maybe I'm not as advertised with my pictures?
Will they find me boring?
OH GOD. I FORGOT TO DE-CAT HAIR MY TOP.
I wonder how they'll react when I tell them I like cats. Like really like cats.
Will I make them laugh? With me? And not at me.
I wonder if anyone here knows me? Or even them?
Am I too nice?
What happens if they're disappointed when they meet me?
Will they end up seeing me naked in the future?
WHAT HAPPENS IF THEY DON'T LIKE MY BODY?
AND MY SMALL BOOBS.
AND MY REALLY BIG CELLULITE BUM.
OH GOLLY. But what happens if I'm single forever?

What happens if I don't like them, but I'm too scared to leave the date?
I'm too nice to get up and take an emergency call.
Real life isn't like the movies.

I'll just stick it out. I get to finish my pizza at least...

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My weekends are always planned around visiting friends. And full of food, drinks and catching up in our pyjamas. And a few weekends ago was no different when I packed up my car and turned up in Essex a couple of hours later with a bottle of fizz, some flowers that looked like cabbages (they were cute honestly!) and was greeted by Polly.
After a quick snoop around her house (I can't help it. I'm one of those people who looks in everyones fridges..), and a big squidge with her cute little cat Dave, we whizzed over to Southend for some pretty pale looking chips, a wander around the town and a cold ice cream on a very cold beach front. Because, English seaside!
We spent that night catching up, and laughing over embarrassing and awkward stories on all our parts. We ate some pretty tasty Thai food and had endless glasses of Prosecco and cider. Nights like these with company, whether it new or old is literally one of my most favourite things to do. Especially when there's cats in the house too!
On Sunday morning we scrubbed up my ultimate breakfast (soon enough I'm going to have to STOP eating this breakfast every weekend, just not yet!) because when there's cheese in the house, cheese must be eaten on a Sunday morning! And drank lots of tea whilst watching trashy TV and laughing over the night before's stories.
And of course no weekend could be complete without a picture of a truly awesome cat, Dave! His fluffly little face and those cute paws had me itching to take him home all weekend.
I mean, surely Runkle needs a friend like Dave right?
But if I snuck Dave out of the house, I'd have to take Polly too.

I'd be OK with that. She's awesome!
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Just like everybody else, sometimes we have down days, or even weeks. And last week was just that.
The house finally sold, with the exchanging taking place last week and with it now being a new chapter, its fair to say that it's felt strange. Those months of having to talk negotiations, make decisions, all whilst trying to begin again sometimes takes its toll, because we're only human.
We have feelings.
I felt a sense of weirdness. Calmness. And I felt reality. But also that life really has started again. And I'm finally ready for that. I want adventures, and new exciting things. I want different feelings and exciting opportunities.
And it seems like the perfect time to start again.
So I'm dusting myself off from my bed sheets that I've hidden away under a little bit this week, and I'm reminding myself of things that have made me happy in the past seven days..

Fresh Flowers. When mama surprised me with some flowers the other evening, because she just knew. That's what makes me happy. I like flowers in my house. And I also like my mama. A lot.

Spontaneous Trips. On Saturday I didn't want to sit in, I wanted to do something - and after a quick message to my cousin we were heading to the seaside within half hour. With our coats and scarves in tow we walked along the beach and found a spot to talk, laugh, reminisce and cry, with a cone of chips in one hand and a tasty ice cream in the other, whilst looking out at the calm and peaceful horizon. I could spend hours there.

Bed Sheets. Sometimes I think we forget just how much we love our own bed. I know I love mine, especially with fresh bedding, lots of cushions, a big warm throw and a mug of hot chocolate resting carefully on top of the sheets on a dark evening and getting lost in a book (that we're still working through). Bliss.

Pimms Cider. Tried and tested. And approved. A lot! Pass me a box of this next time please!

Girlfriends. Because girlfriends really and truly are the best medicine. Whether they're standing at my door (or letting me into my own home..), meeting me for coffee or even at the other end of Whatsapp, they're just there. Their patience, wisdom, advice and jokes are never missed and I genuinely have all the time in the world for them.
I'm still working on a way to get them to live in my house for good. But there's a few obstacles to get thought first.
Starting with their equally nice partners. And the miles between us.

Ladies, you know who you are.
You're the best fruits I could ever have picked.

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