Tag Archives: marriage

2016 :: A Year in Review

2016 Year in Review - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

It is not, it appears, the fashionable thing to admit that 2016 has been a rather good year for “one”. But disastrous referendums and potential WWIII aside, it was a year of much joy for me personally, and one that I will no doubt look back on fondly.

2016 was the year in which I ceased to be a newlywed, and became just a ‘wed’, and I feel I truly embraced the role of a wife. Y’all, I wifed my damn butt off this year, and in return, Mr H husbanded me even better. Admittedly, that makes me seem like some kind of farmyard animal, but it remains nevertheless true. After the initial honeymoon phase of marriage began to dissolve, I was left with the most wonderful life partner who actively cares for me each day.  What a boon.

Allotment 2016 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

It has also been the year where I have developed a taste, if not skill for gardening, and seen my beloved allotment go from strength to strength. It was our tentative first year, with many mistakes made, but I can’t help but feel incredibly proud that I stuck to something for so long. I have no plans to give up the sacred plot in the foreseeable future, rather the opposite, I heartily plan for years of dragging reluctant future children over to do a spot of weeding.

Portugal with T - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

In the summer I went on holiday to Portugal, with my wonderful sister T. It made me remember what a privilege it is to have your family close, and that there are very few people in this world who know and tolerate me as well as she does. It also made me realise I am not, and never was a party animal, and that one should not book an AirBnB in Biarro Alto if one values their sleep.

My Career 2016 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Professionally this year proved my most challenging to date, and although there were many days where I woke up thinking that I couldn’t possibly continue to do this for another day, let alone for the rest of my life, there were also many days where my heart sang for the joy of watching young people learn something, or at the least run around the playground pretending to be a horse. Teaching is a bloody hard job, for want of a more eloquent way of describing it, but I am a long time from throwing in the proverbial towel, just yet.

Teaching also gave me the opportunity to realise a long dream of mine, to direct my own play. It’s not something I think I’ve mentioned on the blog actually, but my school was a part of the 2016 Shakespeare for Schools Festival, and I was the Teacher-Director of a 20 minute production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was a huge undertaking, with 22 primary school students taking part, most of whom had never performed before such a large audience before. It reaffirmed for me the realisation that seeing others perform under my guidance gives just as much of a thrill as performing myself once did.

 

But what of 2017?

What indeed. I have the somewhat expected goals of getting fit, losing the extra heft I’ve carried for the last three years, but what else?

To tell you the absolute truth, I’m not exactly sure. I have some abstract goals that I don’t feel ready to share just yet, but also I’d quite like to continue in much the same manner as 2016.

I would, however, like to focus more on 2017 being the year of friendships. My dear friends have taken a rather paltry 3rd place after Mr H and my job this year, and so during the next I’d like to perhaps place maintaining and developing friendships slightly higher on the list of priorities. One tends to miss one’s friends, even more so when one is almost entirely to blame for not seeing them.

And so, to you my dear (possibly imaginary) readers. How has your year been? What goals or dreams do you have for the next? I raise a glass of mediocre but cost-effective champagne to you all.

Our Anniversary :: The Houndgate Townhouse Review

Anniversary Trip 1 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

So about three or four months ago, I booked some tickets for us to go and see the show Kynren in Bishop Auckland. It was billed as 2,000 years of British history, with the involvement of over 1,000 local people. I love a bit of community art interaction, so I thought this sounded like as good an opportunity  as any for our first little road trip! The dates happened to coincide with our first anniversary, so it was perfect!

Now if your British geography is as good as mine (i.e. awful) you will be interested to hear that Bishop Auckland is what we call “Up North”, pretty much as far north as you can get before you hit Scotland. It took us about 5 and a half hours to get there, because we did faff around a little bit when we left, and stopped off for a coffee en route.

Anniversary Trip 19 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Anniversary Trip 18 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

We stayed in the Houndgate Townhouse in Darlington, which is about 30 minutes from Bishop Auckland. The Houndgate is an 8 bedroom boutique hotel, with a bar and restaurant. From the first moment we were utterly impressed with the hotel. The front of house staff were all very courteous and helpful, booking us a taxi for the evening and helping us to find the carpark.

Anniversary Trip 11 - Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaUnfortunately this was the only downside of the hotel – because of its central location there is no on-site parking, and so you need to park in the multi-storey which is behind the hotel. This is paid for by the hotel during most hours during your stay, and it is very new and secure, but a tiny bit of a faff, and after the long drive I was feeling particularly brain dead.
Anniversary Trip 2 - Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaI had booked a luxury  double room for us to stay in (it’s only your first anniversary once!) and we were not disappointed. The bed was gorgeously comfortable, and the carpet had that reassuring thickness which prevented the am-I-walking-too-heavily angst that I am prone to.

The room was absolutely spotless, and decorated perfectly on what I would call the the tasteful side of Laura Ashley. The staff even wrote us an anniversary card, which was a nice touch!Anniversary Trip 3 - Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaSomething to bear in mind was that we could hear the bar below our room playing music and getting ready for their Saturday night trade, which we didn’t actually find disruptive, but it was definitely audible through the floor. If you’re a light sleeper  it may be an issue, although given my experience of the staff, I am sure they would turn the music down at a moment’s notice if you mentioned it!

That evening we went to the show, and ended up getting back quite late (see my review of Kynren here).  I have never been so glad to crawl into bed.Anniversary Trip 12 - Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaAnniversary Trip 14 - Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaAnniversary Trip 13 - Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaIn the morning, we headed downstairs to grab some breakfast. The hotel offers an a la carte menu for breakfast (although it was included in the cost of the room) and so Mr H and I both decided to go for the full English. I neglected to take photos, unfortunately! It was beautifully cooked and presented, with our baked beans coming out in their own little copper pot. It was very cute. 

The coffee was hot, fresh and tasty, and our waitress sounded exactly like Sarah Millican. It was *most* satisfactory.Anniversary Trip 17 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Anniversary Trip 16 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

I would have liked to stay in the hotel a little longer than one night, and to have tried their restaurant, because the menu looked delicious and it had great reviews.

Despite our short day, would recommend the Houndgate Townhouse to anyone in the area because the service was impeccable. It’s a stylish retreat, perfect for couples, and sometimes that can be intimidating. On the other hand, I feel like you can often overlook shabby decor if the service is great. Luckily in this case you don’t have to, and can enjoy great decor and great service, which is the best of both worlds!

1 Year, 12 Month, 365 Days, 525600 Minutes :: A Year in the Life

150801_Sam+John_0168

I got married one year ago. 

For someone who considers herself to be quite in touch with her emotions, I often find it difficult to express how I feel properly in public. I’m conscious that despite his decision to marry me, the number one sharer of personal information, Mr Hello is a very private person, and over the time we’ve been together I’ve found myself to lean that way more and more. 

Despite this, I’m going to put my thoughts out there, into the universe for all to see, but also for me to look back on in the future. I’ve loved having such an extensive record of my life available to me, many memories that I’d filed away in my mind, and forgotten. I never want to forget my first year of marriage. 

Easy. In a word, this year has been easy in so many ways. The marriage part has been easy, and the strength of our union has made the professional challenges we’ve both faced this year easier

Mr H does not appreciate the brilliance of the Dixie Chicks, but who cares. This song is it.

Happy one year anniversary my love.

 

Life Lately :: March 2016

Life Lately March 2016 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Long time, no blog! I’d apologise, but….I won’t. As the title of this post suggests, life kind of got in the way of documenting it. I’ve made peace with this style of blogging, and I hope you have too!

Since last we spoke, I’ve had a week’s half term (by which I mean, 3 days since I tend to work a couple of days during each break), and then have headed straight back into teaching, which I’m sure most of you can understand, is undertaken at quite the relentless pace.  Ho hum.

I also had a suspected broken nose after spectacularly hitting myself in the face with my car door. It was dark, I was trying to check my parking, and was sufficiently convinced of its poor quality that I went to move it and – WHAM. Door to the face time. Noice.

In the spaces between, here’s what I’ve been up to. Clockwise from top left:

  1. Super bargainous £4.50 hat from the M&S outlet down the road. Headache-inducing-frozen ears no more!
  2. Getting my allotment on – after a couple of month’s break Mr H and I got the ol’ wellies on and trekked up the hill to our piece of earth. There are few things as good for the soul as a couple of hour’s worth of fresh air.
  3. Work, bitch. I spent a small, insignificant, teeny, tiny (I swear!) portion of my most recent paycheque  in the Body Shop last week. I wanted to check the wear on it, so pre-work selfies it was. Plus, let’s all agree that the eyebrows are on point, no?
  4. I made a thing. A trial run quilt for a couple of lovely pals who are currently pregs. I completely and utterly winged it (shock horror), and to my actual surprise, it turned out rather well.
  5. Planting seeds in trays – I’m sure there’s a technical name for that, but let’s not dwell. One more example of my current obsession.
  6. Champs in front of the TV because broken noses hurt and being tired is laaaaame.
  7. I’m getting….older?! The shape of my face is changing, and getting a bit saggier, but I actually quite like it! Another example of the Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation in Yorkshire Rose. It smells really nice, and it has Aloe Vera in it, so my skin has been rather good lately! I also picked up the Fresh Nude Foundation Brush, which is seems to be a cross between a regular foundation brush and a kabuki – I like it!
  8. Getting in to work at revolting-o’clock isn’t quite so bad when you get to see a sky like this.
  9. My main man. Over half term we went out on mini-dates several evenings in a row, and it was double delicious spending time out of the house, on a school night, with him. We made a pact to get out more during the week once the weather improves!

The days are now becoming lighter, and so I am taking it upon myself to take a few more photos for this here blog, and even once coat weather has been banished, perhaps even a mini shoot! What do you think, pals? Can I do it without being totes awks? Not sure.

Hope all is well for you all out there in Blogtopia.

xx

Sam

Thoughts on 2015

Looking Forward - HSGS

I do realise that we haven’t yet reached that all important 25th day in December, but nevertheless it hasn’t stopped me from starting to reflect on the year that was 2015.

To prevent you from having to hang around here all night, here are some of the things that have happened this year, in the Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha family:

  1. I returned from Australia, and resumed life as an expat
  2. Mr H passed his driving test and our lives were transformed by having so much more time
  3. We developed our back garden
  4. A new job for me
  5. I started driving lessons
  6. A spell of freelance writing work for me
  7. We got the hallway re-plastered
  8. My first UK teaching job finished
  9. Oh yeah, a wedding
  10. My family came to visit and many of them stayed with us!
  11. My second job started
  12. My life went crazy when I started primary teaching
  13. I booked my driving test (9 days peeps!)

So, yeah. It’s been pretty crazy. Professionally this year has kicked my butt, but as my new hero Brené Brown says, I’ve been down in that arena, daring greatly. I’ve managed, however, to end on a really high note at school, but am seriously looking forward to having a proper break.

Personally, there are a few goals I’m thinking of setting for the new year, and once I’ve settled on them, I’ll definitely share them here on the blog – perhaps it will keep me honest.

2016 is the first year, in what seems like forever, where there will be no big changes. I’m not moving anywhere, I’m not changing jobs, I’m not getting married again that’s for sure, so I’m looking forward to it being the year where I can really smash out some personal and professional achievements.

It’s been a big old year, that much is for certain. I am looking forward to 2016, but before that, let’s all see out what’s left of 2015 in style.

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!

 

 

Change of Direction, Change of Heart

A NEW DIRECTION - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

I’ve been feeling guilty.

Sadly this is not a new phenomenon, I feel guilty about something all the time, as a rule. 

If you had asked me a year or two ago what I felt most guilty about, my answer would have included things like: not Skyping my family enough; not responding emails fast enough; that I was spending too much time in my regular day job and not being creative enough. If only I could get my act together, everything would just be…perfect…

The guilts are strong in this one.

Because I can’t work in England until I pick up some paperwork, I’ve been a temporary housewife for a couple of months. It’s been problematic for several reasons, not least because I feel guilty for not contributing financially to my household for a few months more. What it’s been great for is getting me focused on the renovation work we need to do here. I say need, the truth is we already have a wonderful home and I am so unbelievably lucky to live here, but there are some cosmetic elements we want to change to make it more ‘us’. Cue several weeks of tradespeople traipsing through the corridors measuring and delivering upsetting quotes that have commas after the £ sign.

I’ve spent an unmentionable amount of time on eBay, searching various combinations of ‘Victorian front door’ or ‘reclaimed Georgian door’ or even ‘Victorian/Edwardian front door with glass’. For a task that seems so boring straightforward, deciding to replace one’s front door means deciding to offer up weeks of your life to the Gods of Time Wasting, who’s powers seem to miraculously focus on fast-forwarding the clock to 16:30. Another day gone. Another attempt at vanquishing guilty feelings before I can sleep.

On the one hand, I find myself excited by the work and recognise it as part of a recent spell of nesting, which I think is symptomatic of my impending wife-dom. I want our home to be finished, because then it becomes our home, not just the one Mr Hello bought (he’s kinda great like that). I feel like it is valid to be excited about this.

On the other, more insidious hand I feel guilty about spending my life in this way. I’m focussed on my home at the moment, and by default that means I’m not focussed on becoming an amazing teacher or creative businessperson, or writer of great repute. I feel frustrated because I don’t feel like I am achieving at a pace I expect of myself, and then I feel more frustrated because I can’t cut myself some slack. My attendance at local events has dwindled, and I’m not sure who I am if I am not that person who is at every arts event. That’s the core of it. If I’m not a creative ‘face’ around Kent, then who am I? Am I just like the colleagues I used to turn my nose up at, who came to work and then went back to their own lives without engaging in myriad extra curricular exploits? Or does nothing change at all? Am I still Sam, just the Sam who’s priorities have changed?

Our lives change directions so suddenly it seems, so why is it so hard for our expectations to keep up?

My Weekend Has Been Spent #7

Fleabag Marlowe Theatre Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Sam at the Marlowe Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Saturday Morning Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Lunch with Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Sam at Lunch Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

  • Starting as I meant to go on, by attending a really wonderful production of Fleabag at the Marlowe Studio in Canterbury. A great show, and I’ll post a proper review soon!
  • Attempting to take a discreet selfie – proof that I really did go out on a Friday night! Yes, me! I went out!
  • Waking up Saturday morning to breakfast hand prepared and delivered by Mr Hello. He don’t half treat me well, don’t he!
  • Attacking the spare room. Still not complete, but at least now it’s tidy enough that I have evidence that there is a bed in there! We’re hoping to get the walls and ceiling replastered and painted soon, so it looks even more presentable before some guests descend for the wedding.
  • Heading into Rochester to pay the deposit for our wedding rings. We are getting them from Kaizen Antiques, a jeweller on the High St. Lovely shop, lovely service, terrrrrrible website.
  • Taking our luncheon at the institution of Pizza Express. We got a lovely private table and partook of some rather delicious food. Many despise any chain restaurants or stores on our historic High Street, and while I can see the point, it’s also hard to argue with something like Pizza Express, that has consistently good food and good hygiene standards, when other local businesses get very poor hygiene ratings indeed! Blergh.
  • Taking some more surreptitious selfies in PE. Proof I was out of the house!
  • Heading back home for an afternoon nap that turned into an early night.
  • Waking on Sunday morning bright and early – getting the ol’ body clock back into gear now that I have a new job! (PS I have a new job! Starting in April)
  • Improvising a breakfast pizza which was weird and delicious but being unable to share the ingredients with you because you will judge me – you definitely will.
  • Heading to the gym because I am sad and I have a dress to fit into, goddamn it.
  • Taking a turn about TK Maxx with the chap. Two new frying pans being the result.
  • Heading home and changing into my “no-one must see me in these” clothes in preparation for:
  • Deep cleaning the house from top to bottom. God this task is very dull but somehow immensely satisfying.
  • Cooking a roast that worked (yay) and Yorkshire puds for the first time that also worked (double yay)!
  • Sitting on my derriere for the rest of the evening, watching Call the Midwife & Poldark. Quite satisfactory indeed.
  • Grabbing my laptop to write this. I’m really keen to keep the blogging mojo a-flowing.

Next weekend my goals are to actually leave the house properly and possibly even talk to someone who is not a cat or my future husbo! Chance of success remains to be seen. Hope you had a fab weekend – I am terribly nosey so if you fancy chatting in the comments please do!

Wedding Planning: The Dress

I found my dress about two days after getting engaged. It sounds utterly ridiculous, I know. The whole process of finding what is to be the frock I’ll wear when I go from Ms to Mrs has been incredibly painless and totally without setting foot in a bridal store. Go figure.

I know it’s not the done thing these days to admit you’ve thought about your wedding day for a long time. But to hell with being embarrassed, let’s be completely honest here – it had crossed my mind on a not-infrequent basis over the years. To the point where after I found out about Love My Dress, I began to regularly read, despite being three er, a couple of years out from getting engaged. For a long time I imagined having as fancy a shindig as possible, but by the time the concept of getting married had become more realistic, my tastes had changed and I began to naturally lean towards a simpler, much more chic aesthetic.

Gah, I am desperado to show you a picture of my wedding dress, but I know for a fact that Mr Hello reads this here blog and I want to maintain a bit of mystery for the grand day itself. So…as a compromise I have created the collages below, to give you an idea of my personal style, and maybe even a hint or two…

Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Wedding Dress InspirationHello Sam Goodbye Samantha Wedding Inspiration

What do you think? Any favourites?

I was a little bit afraid that having bought my dress online I would feel like I had missed out on the bridal shop experience. Being a bride often feels like a real rite of passage, and I don’t want to miss out on meaningful experiences with my Mum or my sister, or in fact any of the significant women in my life. I was a little bit concerned that a one-time opportunity had been missed, before I came to the realisation that I genuinely despise clothes shopping with other people. I feel self conscious about my body, and I question my own style when I ask other people for their opinion, so in the harsh light of day, perhaps the decision to choose my dress from the comfort and relative privacy of my own laptop was for the best.

Soon after our engagement I was casually Googling wedding dresses, you know, like a totally normal person. When I saw a picture of my wedding dress, I knew within a second that it was the one for me. What I didn’t realise at the time (but did shortly after) was that it was also the wedding dress of a bride from one of my favourite real wedding features on Love My Dress (nope, not linking to it you cheeky thing!). But as luck would have it…..it was a 3 year old dress, and the company making it had sold out. Noooooooooo. This is where it took me a little more time to actually buy the dress I’d somehow chosen immediately. I hit up eBay, with no joy, then PreLoved, also no joy there, and the threads of desperation started to get their sneaky hands on me before at last, I found one in my size on OnceWed. With nary a second’s hesitation I send off an enquiry email. Happily, within a few weeks I had bought it from the lovely Bonnie in Virginia, US, who not only sourced the best postage deal for me, but sent me a beautiful engagement card along with my dress in its original packaging. It was very special. Now OnceWed uses Escrow.com for all financials, as supposedly it’s much safer than PayPal. In the end, Bonnie and I used PayPal to seal the deal and I had absolutely no problem. I can’t vouch for others, but I had a great experience.

Luckily for me, my dress is actually everything I never really knew that I wanted. Buying a secondhand dress actually feels really meaningful, almost as if it’s already a happy dress. That it gets to be a part of more joy, and in turn brings more joy with it. On top of that, it cost me $650 (£350) including shipping. Not shabby at all!

A Funny Old Time

It has been a funny old week, the beginning of my last assessed period of university, and the start of the last interminable stretch before Mr Hello gets his cosy little toosh on a plane to come and pick me up. A mixed bag of tricks, if you will.

GOING UP:

All of my assessments (bar one, rather critical one, my school placement) have been submitted. There is now nothing I can do about it, and my results are in the hands of the gods. Or my lecturers, which is somewhat one and the same, if the stories are to be believed. I’m so freaking relieved, it’s incredible how we put the pain of assignments out of our minds once they’ve been completed. It can be QUITE torturous. Oh well, all done now, and qualification is just around the corner! Hoo-friggin-rah.

I’ve semi-successfully changed my sleeping hours so that I wake at a reasonable hour, not the 1:30pm that had become my norm. It’s quite a pleasure to be awake as the world rises, and although it means I’m yawning at 10:30pm. Not quite such a pity seeing as I have renounced every possible form of a social life. Over my first few years in the workforce I realised I much prefer having extra time to get ready rather than more time in bed, and so when I get in a habit of waking up on time I like to linger over an extra cup of coffee or reading one more blog post. I realise this is what is known as an INCREDIBLY BORING THING TO SHARE but at the same time, such is my life, and I daresay most people’s lives tend to revolve as much around the mundane in life as mine. At least I hope so!

 

GOING DOWN DOWN DOWN:

I am totally and utterly obsessed with the thought of seeing Mr H again. He’s my default thought with every mental break I can get. I don’t know if any of you have undertaken a long distance relationship (LDR) before, but let me tell you, it’s not something I would recommend. I’ve luckily (wonderfully and gratefully) been in the position to never once question my partner’s fidelity, but the terrible thing has been the intense boredom that has pervaded my life since we parted. Sure, life is beautiful and glorious without him being next to me, but it sure as hell ain’t half as interesting. Recounting a funny incident on the train isn’t quite the same as laughing uncontrollably over a shared experience. Catching someone falling asleep just as you’re waking up does not make for particularly fulfilling conversations. You begin to live on faith, despite your belief system. You just have to trust that you’re still in love with someone, even though you KNOW that you are, but you somehow don’t feel it quite so much as you do when you can roll over and kiss their hot cheek next to you in bed. It’s agony, truth be told. Boring, hellish, and seemingly never-ending agony.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the fact that my right shin had developed shin splints, which caused me to take a break from my new running regime. Unfortunately I took it upon myself to discount numerous medical recommendations and took a mere 1 week break from running, which has proven to be totally insufficient. I was struggling on with the pain before I realised that in combination with the terrible blisters I was still developing, there was no hope for me to run in the future if I didn’t take a proper break. My blistered feet aren’t quite recovered yet (mores the pity) but the status of my shins is yet to be determined. I’m not sure if the self-inflicted break is a balm to my lazy-leaning temperament or stressing me out even more, but I feel anxious about it and I want to get back to running as soon as possible, if only to prove my inner lazy yet critical demon wrong.

Lastly, someone in my close family is going through a terrible time with chronic depression at the moment. I don’t feel totally comfortable sharing more details online at the moment, but I want you all to know that if you’re in the same boat, you sure as hell aren’t alone.

~