(Don’t) Get a Life

(Don't) Get a Life - Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaToday I found myself hanging out some washing, and doing a tiny happy dance that a stain had come out of my Orla Kiely linen. I mean, it is Orla Kiely and it cost me a pretty penny, but come on girl. It violates my street cred to get excited about stain removal.

What followed was an engaging debate between two voices inside my head about the relative merits and disadvantages of taking pleasure in such a small, mundane thing. I won’t bore you with the intricate details of the discussion, but I am unashamed to admit that the ‘enjoy the little things’ voice won, and resoundingly so.

This morning I read A Rosie Outlook’s new post about happiness sometimes being difficult, and it set me off on a spot of reflection. I think happiness is spontaneous and often easy, but contentment is harder to come by.

Taking stock of the mundane pleasures in life is a step on the road to contentment in my book, whether that’s a load of laundry done well, an omelette perfectly cooked, a new coin design in your change or the sun on your face as you walk to work. It’s these little things that when appreciated, make the humdrum of life less….well, humdrum. Don’t you think?

I’ve changed my ways. Don’t ‘get a life’. Enjoy these little things.

Toute Seule

The Vines in Rochester - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Sam in The Vines - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

New Sandals - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

After having spent the best part of 2014 on my own in Australia, this weekend was the first since returning to England, that I have not spent in the company of Mr H.

He’s off camping with some friends, and so I’ve had a whole weekend to fill with activities toute seule, as it were.

I’ve had a haircut, caught up with some friends, wandered around lovely Rochester, gone to the films (Jurassic World ftw!), and now I’m down to the last activities on my list, namely avoiding prep work and procrastinating over some housework. Le sigh.

On a better note, I’ve finally worn in my new specs (does one ‘wear in’ new glasses? It feels that way sometimes), and have had the occasion to wear both my favourite denim jacket and my new leather sandals, courtesy of the Mecca of fabulousness TK Maxx.

Life ain’t so bad really, it just sometimes feels a little less ‘yay’ and a little more ‘meh’ when you do it on your own.

 

Forty-Two Days

The Happy Couple - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

I’ve been counting the days for much longer than I should have. It’s a game between us:

Only 70 days! That’s practically 60 days, which is two months, which is practically six weeks, which is practically a month so it means we’re almost there!

It makes Mr Hello laugh, when it doesn’t make him anxious.

Nostalgia for the days of being simply boyfriend and girlfriend has spontaneously, surprisingly arrived. Now we’re fiancé and fiancée, soon to be husband and wife…nothing will change, apart from everything that will.

I remember his voice the most from the night we met. It was a friend’s birthday party, and as we walked to catch the train home I remember his deep, deep voice laughing. Not having crossed paths before the end of the evening, in our celebratory haze we find ourselves giggling, dancing together down the path to the station.

I remember the word ‘frisson’ appearing in my mind that night (sometimes I narrate my life while it’s happening). “He’s nice”, I thought. “I like him”. It was months before we saw each other again, but when we did, I was happy to see his face, and to hear his voice.

Six months later, I find myself in need of somewhere new to live, and before long, Mr H becomes my friendly, genial, iPad wielding, red-wine drinking, deep-voiced landlord.

Months later still, it’s 3 am, and I’m in the backyard with hot, wet rain falling on my face. The weather is as confused as I am, but I’m sure, at least I think I’m sure, that I’m not alone in how I’m feeling.

Two years later it’s forty-two days before our wedding, and I can’t help but feel everything is as it’s meant to be.

Kent: Europe’s Best Holiday Hotspot?

HSGS goes to Broadstairs

 

I had a couple of work colleagues choke on their tea on Wednesday morning as they perused that morning’s Guardian!

You see, dear friends, my lovely adopted home county of Kent has been listed as the best family holiday destination in Europe – I kid you not. I confess I’m rather proud!

As a matter of fact, I don’t personally find it that hard to believe as I totally adore Kent, and think it has a lot to offer culturally. More importantly the people from this county are some of the best, sexiest and most marriage-able in the world! You say biased, I say subjective. Ner ner.

We went down to Broadstairs a couple of weeks ago with the extended Hello family. A surprise visit for my soon to be Father-in-Law’s birthday. We had a wonderful time, mostly digging big holes that filled up with water, and terrorising the resident 3 year old King. It was pretty great.

It’s just occurred to me that the photo could almost have been of a beach in Australia. Funny, isn’t it, how life pans out?

Renovations Update: The Study

The HSGS Study

Feeling Satisfied - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

The HSGS Study View 2

I’m currently teaching three days a week and doing bits and pieces of cover work to fill up the rest of my week. This morning I fully expected to get called in to a school, but by 9:00 the phone had remained surprisingly silent and I found myself with a surprise day of writing on my hands. It was a pretty great feeling. I got to spend the whole day at my own desk, in my own house.

Mr H recently spent a couple of days putting up new shelving (customised from IKEA) in our study and it’s made an incredible difference to the feel of the room. While we’ve always had shelving here, somehow by taking out a free-standing book case and replacing with something more permanent, the room feels so much bigger!

I never have been and never will be one for a perfectly minimalist, styled home. We love art and books and so my hope for this wonderful home of ours is that we somehow manage to get it to all work together. I’m starting a new trend, it’s called the ‘maximalist home’. It’s the latest thing.

You may have noticed in the corner of the last image that I’ve done a swatch of white paint. The plan is to paint the study all white, *hopefully* before the wedding but we’ll see. I love the look of white houses that are filled with artworks, and so that’s the kind of style we hope to emulate. I quite like the idea of living in an art gallery!

It often feels like we’ve got years to go before the house is done, but then, when I get a moment to look back at what we’ve achieved in the first six months of this year, secretly, I think we’re doing ok.

Just When I’m in Danger of Taking Myself Too Seriously…

I remember that my laptop has Photo Booth…

At first I was like this (warning, serious pouting ahead):

Sam after Bridal Trial - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Then I was like this:

Dorky Sam after Bridal Trial - Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaYesterday I had my hair and makeup trial for the wedding. Don’t fret, these don’t give too much away! Rest assured there will be plenty of surprises on the day.

Hair and Makeup courtesy of the lovely Hannah at Lipstick & Curls. Dorky face, wouldn’t you know it, model’s own.

Wedding Planning: The Not/Boring Bits

The Wedding Interview Room - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

 

This is a truly dreadful picture, in fact, both the images you will see today leave a lot to be desired, but please bear with me.

You see behind that door, this morning my future husband was having our pre-ceremony interview. It’s not as exciting as it sounds, which must mean it was really rather dull, but in fact there was something exciting about it all.

The wedding is 53 days away (but who’s counting, right?) and today it all finally felt real. Mr Hello and I are participating in a truly human ritual, and one that we’ve all been doing for hundreds of years. There’s some magic in that.

I remember feeling the same way when we went in to get measured up for our wedding rings; for hundreds, if not thousands of years, we’ve been obsessed with putting shiny loops around our fingers. We’ve thought it was important to have an outward sign of our internal commitment to someone, and a really freakin’ shiny one at that.

This is not to say that the rings are all that important, it’s not even to say that getting married is all that important. Except when it is important, when you really, really, really want to marry someone. The way I want to marry Mr H.

Somehow, the slightest connection to the weddings of old can turn even the dreariest paperwork shuffling meeting into something a little more…epic. Although to be fair to our lovely Superintended Registrar, she was not dreary in the least.

I’ll leave you with a final poor image, hastily taken as we got our post-interview coffees. I felt it was necessary to mark the occasion with some posing:

After the Wedding Interview - - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

We’re gettin’ hitched soon, y’all!