Living Without

For a year and a half, we have had no ceiling lights upstairs or in the loft bedroom.  We have been getting by with 3 little bedside lamps, which we moved around as required.  When we had visitors, a while ago, we had to give them one of the lamps – which meant our loft bedroom was in darkness for a week.

It hasn’t really bothered me – we have just got used to it and are now really good at getting around in the dark. 😊 But today the electrician has been around and we are on the way to being mostly all lit up!

This was my loft bedroom lighting before….20170420_194936







And now….20170420_195000


What a difference it makes and how surprising.  It’s amazing what you can get used to.  It is only when things change that you realise what was wrong.

Another example, is getting a dishwasher at the age of 43.  I used to poo poo anyone that said dishwashers were amazing.  I didn’t mind washing up, I was used to it.  But now if you took my dishwasher off me – I would stab you.  Where did I get the time to wash up?  Why did I not mind doing it?

We are all adaptable, we can all survive and all things can become normal.  Living in DIY hell for the last 12 years is normal for me.  I do not ask when things are going to be finished.  I do not ask what has been achieved.  I just get on and live and then I get delightfully surprised when something changes.  Truly I am not cross – Hubby is doing is best but money and time get in the way.  It’s just life, isn’t it?

So, in relation to this, as you may have seen in last week’s video – my mum is now here in the UK forever.  Now that is really something that for 25 years we have just got used to … living on the other side of the world from our Mum.  It was normal and we just got on with life.  But now all has changed …. oh, my what a change and realisation of what we had been missing.

It’s wonderful that we as people are so adaptable because otherwise we would just be miserable all the time.  But isn’t it wonderful when things actually come together and all becomes light and bright and happy and joyous and we don’t have to put up with no lights anymore or no mum anymore.  Woohoo!


I Have Stopped Fighting With My Daughter!

Sorry I didn’t write last week.  I went to the Pub!  Yes, I know – I was shocked myself.  I went out on a school night to A PUB.  But it’s alright I only drank tea 😊.  I met up with some girlfriends.  We used to meet up in the day, but as our children have got older, we have all got busier – so it has to be at NIGHT TIME and at a PUB.  And it was lovely.

To think that when I was living and working in London, I was out EVERY night.  How did I do that? How did I afford it?  How was I not exhausted?

Yes, I know the answer – children and age.  Sigh…..

Anyway, this week I wanted to tell you something.

I have stopped fighting with my daughter.

Well, not about everything, just about her mess and her diet.

Firstly, her diet.  She is a grazer – all day nibbling at things.  Drives me nuts!  And a lot of it is crap.  But, also a lot of it is fruit and vegetables.  It made me so very, very cross.

Then we went to the orthodontist and he remarked that her teeth were immaculate.  I was shocked, considering the amount of sweets, chocolate and other crap that she somehow gets her hand on.  Then I noticed that she actually has been eating all her dinner and I have also noticed that she does not sit down. Ever!!  She is either cartwheeling, hand standing, balleting or something.  Plus, she does 2 x intense ballet classes a week and is growing healthily at a rate of knots.

So, I stopped yelling at her about her eating and just let her get on with.  Yes, she does eat crap, but she cleans her teeth VERY well.  And she does eat a huge amount of good stuff too.  And yes, she is a fussy eater, but I just leave the sauce off or chuck some chicken nuggets in the oven instead of chicken pie etc.  I am sure that when it comes to her first date with a boy, she will be too embarrassed to order chicken nuggets and chips!

Now this is her mess.


I used to scream at her everyday to tidy it up and when she didn’t do it, I would tidy it and then I would get resentful and then even more cross when it was back to the same state within half an hour.

To be fair the poor girl has no room of her own, she shares a corridor with her brother and has her stuff outside of the bathroom because of our building work.  So, she is frustrated.

Then I got really busy with work, new business and study, and I stopped yelling at her about it. I have got used to pretending that it is even there. I am getting good at just glazing my eyes over it.

I also know it’s not MY mess and my friends know that I didn’t make that mess, so I am not embarrassed anymore.

And do you know what…We are getting on really, really, really well.  I mean, I actually like her.  And I even enjoy her company.  We are so much more relaxed with each other.  I still yell at her if she is rude, mean, disrespectful or if it’s to do with school work, but mostly we just get along.  It’s been absolutely lovely and a revelation.

Plus, I absolutely love, love, love it when she comes down stairs and states “I can’t find…….”  And I just say “Oh dear!” and get on with what I am doing.  I love, love that smug feeling I get!

Leaping Into The Unknown


Before Christmas and all the drama that ensued, I signed up to do a Social Media Management course and I also started up a little business with a friend.

It’s been a bit slow to get off the ground, as so much happened over Christmas, but I can happily say we now have 5 good clients and 2 new ones just about to join us.  We are doing this on top of our day jobs – we both just need a bit of extra money and wanted a whole lot of learning and excitement and new strings to our bows.

It’s frightening what you can jam into just a day – running our company, looking after Hubby’s company, working, studying, helping my mum move countries, rebuilding our house and of course all the kids/house/life stuff.  But I have always enjoyed a challenge – just don’t mention that I haven’t brushed my hair or that the floors of my house are a little bit crunchy when you walk on them.

So, what are we doing????  It all started with Hubby’s company – he wanted to get some more clients, and also to steer the company to more project management, rather than just fixing.  I started fiddling with his LinkedIn and created a webpage, Facebook page and Twitter account.  He has since got a big new client and lots of interest – so really chuffed.  Then Baby Girl’s dance teacher needed help – so I set up her Facebook page.  Anyway, it has just gone on from there.  We are helping very small local businesses to get on Social Media and to manage and post for them.  It’s so much fun.

We are helping electricians, builders, hairdressers etc.  We are not a big advertising company, we are just two mums who know a bit of techy geek stuff and know how to write nice stuff and choose nice pictures.  Well it’s a bit more complicated than that, but you get the gist.

We are helping the people that just really don’t have the time to post and fiddle and twiddle on Social Media.  They have usually spent all day doing what they have to do and then the last thing they want to do when they get home is sort out their social media.  We also help those people that don’t want to know about techy social media stuff (…. Hubby….) or the ones that are frightened of it all.  We are also helping the companies that don’t have huge advertising budgets, but are just surviving month to month – just like us.  So, it’s all very local and relatable.

Our lovely hairdresser, brought her gorgeous little girl to our first meeting and my partner promptly went and found all her daughter’s dolls for her to play with.  We like a happy meeting 😊

It’s all very exciting, but I must say it’s quite daunting to put yourself out into the real world and sell yourself.  I am more hide behind my computer screen and my written word kinda girl.  Luckily my lovely partner is a great saleswoman, so we make a great team.

Do you know what I like about it?  I like seeing the real results – the “likes”, retweets and comments.  It’s an immediate pat on the back for the work you have put in.  I also like when a client is happy and they are seeing results.  It’s nice to help people.

So yes, I am busy, but I’m using my creative techy geeky side of my brain and I am making a little bit of extra money and learning so much – love learning new stuff.  I am a happy, if somewhat tired woman.

So, if you want to see and maybe like or follow or even comment, please do, we would love you to join us on Social media.  So wish us luck on our endeavour and if you know anyone that needs a bit of social media help and loving send them our way 😊.


Death and Paperwork

When my Dad died and my sister and I went home, it was interesting the roles we took in the whole episode.  Being a nit-picking, list ticking, pedantic nutcase, it seemed best I took on all the bureaucracy and paperwork.  I have since been ringing Mum everyday to support her in all the things she has had to do since and it breaks my heart, that I can’t just do it all for her from here.

It has surprised me just how much there is to sort out and how messy it all is and how many unexpected surprises/shocks that we have had.

For example:

campbellMy poor mum lost one of their dogs, just after Dad died (he was very old and poorly, but still not a nice thing to happen.)  Anyway, a box got delivered.  It was medicine for the dead dog.  Mum had no idea about it.  She rang the company and said she didn’t want it as the dog was dead.  The lady said “Oh dear, well it’s a monthly order that your husband has organised, we will need to talk to him.”  Mum said, “He’s dead as well.”  The poor woman at the end of the phone must have gone into complete shock – but kindly offered to take the medicine back and stop the monthly payments.

My mum then tried to sell her TV and as it was brand new, she wanted to transfer the warranty as well.  But Dad had bought the TV, so Mum had to fill in forms, get a justice of the peace to sign a statutory declaration and a copy of the death certificate.  JUST TO SELL THE TV!

The solicitor has been trying to organise the sale of Mum’s house – but Dad had forgotten to sign the end of the mortgage papers in 1989.  Mum had to troop off to the bank with all the forms.  The woman said that she would have to take the forms home and get them signed by her husband.  I think at this point Mum had had enough and promptly and loudly stated “I can’t get him to sign them, he’s dead!”  Who would of thought that something from the 80’s, other than our dreadful perms and plastic jewellery, would come back to be a problem.

Then get this one… so Mum needs to move her money over to the UK when she leaves Australia for good.  The banks in the UK won’t let me open her a bank account until she is physically present here.  But the Australian bank won’t transfer her money if she is not in Australia. She is going to have to put it in my account, which will set the worlds fraud alerts off and I will get a phone call from the somebody querying it.  Honestly why do people have to complicate things so much.  Surely with internet banking, it’s just a matter of transferring some numbers on the computer.  They don’t actually have to package up the notes and post them over or anything.

Anyway, here are my top tips for dealing with paper work when and before someone dies.

  1. Talk to your partner or the person who will deal with everything after you have gone. If possible, do not leave them with surprises and if possible give them the information about everything.  I have started a “What if” book.  It has who we have our electricity with etc., bank accounts, email passwords etc.  My hubby has no idea about any of it and he wouldn’t know where to start.
  2. If possible, put money away for a funeral – THEY ARE EXORBARANT – even the cheap ones.
  3. Do not go and pay all the outstanding debts without querying them. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!  So, pay attention.  If the debt is only in the deceased’s name – the widow does not necessarily have to pay it.  The company or bank WILL NOT offer you this information, as they want it paid, no matter if the grieving widow can’t afford it.  Always push for information of the legal requirements.  For example: A secondary card owner of a Credit Card Debt is not liable.  They will not tell you this!  And they will try and chase it.  But hold firm.
  4. Expect surprises and lots and lots of silly paper work. Start a little notebook to keep track, as there is A LOT!
  5. When contacting companies, banks, government departments always search out the bereavement contact number and/or if you are dealing with older people, the pensioner line. This will get you through quicker and to a more helpful person.
  6. When talking to people about sorting it out, admit complete confusion and keep talking about the drama of it all – being a grieving widow, daughter – gets you a lot of help, and people are more likely to go above and beyond for you. Bit harsh saying that – but at this time, you need all the help you can get, so you might as well play the card.
  7. To find out the hidden things, scan the bank accounts for the last year, look for things that are paid regularly – they may be a set up payment you need to cancel etc. It’s a really good place to start if you have no idea what’s going on.
  8. Lastly expect it to take time and don’t fret, just take it step by step, one silly paperwork issue at a time.

I hope this helps someone, sometime.  Because trust me – it’s been a HUGE learning curve for me and more so for my poor Mum.  But this time in 4 weeks she will be here with us and I will be so grateful.

I Said NO

giphyI say NO in a loud Australian accent to my kids ALL THE TIME, constantly.  Do they listen. NO!

But when it comes to other people – I am not very good at saying no.  If it involves work or helping someone, then I can’t seem to say it.  It automatically comes out as a YES!

Recently a lovely lady at work asked me to take on a new task.  And with everything happening in my life at the moment, I was reluctant, but as usual I said yes.

I shouldn’t of.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been finishing work really late and I have been in a permanent state of panic.  And then I made some mistakes.  I don’t like making mistakes – it makes me nauseous even thinking about making mistakes.

Eventually I had to admit to myself I wasn’t coping at all, not even a little bit.  I had to write an email and say NO.

It hurt.  I was letting them down.  I was pulling out.  I felt absolutely dreadful.

But I have made the right decision.  Today was the first day without the extra task and I have lost the swirly feeling in my tummy.  And I might, just might, even get to lie on the sofa and watch some of the hundreds of TV shows I have recorded, that I haven’t had a chance to watch since before Christmas.

I think I need to say NO more.  But I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t run around like a mad thing all day every day.  If I said NO I would be very relaxed and chilled out and sit on the sofa a lot and that just wouldn’t be right.

But I will consider my answers from now on and will weigh up just exactly how much time I have available before I promise anything.  Mainly because I could end up even crazier than I am now and that would scare the children.

Love from Mum

mum1Today has been an emotional day.  Tears have been streaming all day and that’s unusual for me as I am a bit of a hard nut.  And it’s also made working at the computer all day a bit blurry!  Not good.

But the reason is that my mum has booked her flight to come over here for good.  I think I have been holding everything in and together until I knew that it was really going to happen.  Can’t imagine what it’s actually going to be like at the airport – I am expecting floods.

So, I thought I would let my mum guest post on my blog today.  This is an email she sent out today to all her friends and probably what set my tears off.

Love from Mum

The last two months —what a drama, a catastrophe, a kerfuffle, a chaos and an altogether life changing experience. I have been through many stages – loneliness, indecision, panic, tiredness, lethargy, self-doubting, worried, confused and bamboozled.

The garage sales were successful, irritating and exhausting–the house looked like a bomb had hit it with (treasures, possessions, clutter, crap -take your pick) everywhere. Then it was mostly all gone and the remainder sent to Animal Welfare (picked up in a truck) bless them.

The next step was to get the house ready for inspection. Well that was an adventure to say the least. More decluttering, scrubbing, bleaching, painting, sawing, hammering, washing curtains, plugging up millions of picture holes in the walls and making the house beautiful for the photographer. Friends were amazing, energetic, practical and supportive. Without them it wouldn’t have been possible. Thank you to everyone— you know who you are.

Finally, with only one minor hiccup, the house was sold due to a mammoth effort from my estate agent, and the next stage is slowly getting under way. I have to get boxes to go on the ship, sell the remaining furniture (house sale on Saturday -7.00 to 1.00), get the dog her rabies shot and her dog box to practice sleeping in, get my flu shot and history from the doctor, decide what to pack in the boxes , what to discard and what to pack in my one suitcase to last me at least a couple of months, book my ticket, finalise the bills etc. and of course play a bit of golf and have a farewell party. Writing this down gives me a shock –but it will get done somehow. I plan to leave on the 12th of April and be in time for Easter in England.  Springtime in Southampton??? Flowers, sunshine and family or maybe rain, cold and family. Whatever– I will be there.

Love to everyone –come and see me sometime–Betty Lou.  

Waiting for the Hiccup

Lean really close to the screen, because I want to tell you something, but I don’t want to jinx it…. So, it’s just a secret between you and me, okay?

Everything is going very well at the moment…. Manic busy and everything balanced precariously, but everything is slotting into place.

My mum has had a bidding war on the sale of her house and signed a contract for more than the asking price and will be here by Easter!!!!

She said to me that she keeps waiting for the hiccup, that it has all gone too well and was too easy.

That made me take a step back.  Why does she expect a hiccup?  She has worked day and night, so very, very hard to get everything ready for the sale.  Of course, it should go right, she has put everything in place for it to go right.

giphyBut I do know what she means.  I am in a permanent Ninja pose, ready to tackle the next thing that is thrown our way to disrupt the flow of life.

Why do we do that? Why do we expect the worse to happen? Why are we so tense?

I was chatting to the ladies I am doing my course with and I admitted that I had gone ahead in the planned weeks study.  I do this just to make sure that if anything does happen, I will have some leeway.  I can’t help myself, I am mentally preparing for something disastrous to happen.

There have been some things thrown at us previously that maybe would give us this attitude – Dad being bitten by a snake at Christmas, being one of them.  But in reality, mostly life just ticks along.  I need to stop living in a sense of panic and chill out.

  1. Normally – bad things don’t happen
  2. Normally – things work out
  3. We only get the normal amount of difficulties that most people deal with
  4. Any bad thing that has happened, we have coped with and sorted out

But because I work so hard to keep everything sorted and ahead of schedule, that is why we can handle the bad things when they do happen.  I am that calm looking duck on the pond, who’s little feet are paddling away furiously underneath.

But I do think I need to relax my ninja pose somewhat.  I also need tell Mum to take a deep breath and try not to expect those hiccups.  I know if they do happen, we can handle them without even breaking into a sweat, because we have done it before!

Toilet Roll Mystery

I have been struggling over the last week trying to come up with something to write.  My last posts have been so emotional and a bit epic, that I feel a bit drained by it all.  And I am so insanely busy at the moment….so busy that I haven’t put the clothes washing away and Hubby had a meltdown because he couldn’t find clean jeans!  Hahahaha!!! Bothered?  Nope!!

But there has been something mysterious going on whilst I have been running around being insanely, chicken with its head off, busy.  WE RAN OUT OF TOILET ROLLS!!!  I HAD TO GO TO THE SHOP!!!!

Now dear, dear readers you will know from reading ALL my previous posts (you have, haven’t you?), that I don’t like going to the shops.  It’s all a bit too peopley at the shops.  So, over the years I have got my household shopping down to a fine art.  I order online once a week (Sunday evening) and the delivery comes on Monday morning.  I have enough food to last the whole week – because I plan my meals for every day.  Yes, yes, yes, we all know I am a control freak.

Well, I also have toiletries planned and timed perfectly.  I know that 1 big packet of toilet rolls will last us 2 weeks and a bit.  Every 2 weeks I automatically get another pack.  So, to run out – well that is completely unheard of.  I was completely flummoxed. How could this happen in my well-ordered life?

I had noticed that the rolls were a little bit looser on the toilet roll holder. I decided to go off to investigate this mystery.

20170215_201403You are not going to believe it people – really you are not.  They have increased the diameter of the cardboard roll in the middle.  So…wait for it…. you get less toilet paper!!! Now why would you do this.  I DON’T UNDERSTAND.

Then I realised that the price of the toilet paper had not gone up.  Therefore, to cover their increasing costs (?) they have increased the inner roll and dropped the amount of toilet paper.  I can see their flawed logic behind this, but really do they think this is the best solution.

Why muck up peoples perfectly planned lives to save putting a products price up.  Surely the reconfiguration of the machine to make the bigger rolls would have cost a bit. Was it worth it? We all know that the price of things go up – JUST PUT THE PRICE UP.

Don’t mess with my head – it’s already too messy as it is.

Community Spirit

When my sister and I left Australia after our father’s funeral, we left my mother with quite a bit to do.  It was so hard leaving her, knowing the mammoth task she had ahead of her and for her to have to do it all alone.  I can only help so much on our daily phone calls.

The estate agent asked her to clear the 5-bedroom house of all the stuff and take all the hundreds of pictures off the walls.  He also asked her to fix all the broken bits, clean and paint. She had just over a month to accomplish this before the Open Day, to sell the house.

Mum and Dad have lived in this house for 30 years and have filled it to the brim of 70+ years of their stuff (and to be honest some of my sister’s and my stuff too :)) How was she to get rid of it all?  How was she to mend rotting skirting boards and facia boards?  How was she to get rid of the mould on the ceilings, which comes with the territory of living in the Tropics?  How was she to do all this alone?

Well I shouldn’t have worried.  Mum hasn’t been alone, not for one day.  An army of neighbours and friends have been around EVERY day to help her.  They have sorted, packed, taken to the dump, garage sale organised, sold things on Gumtree and Facebook, cleaned, bleached, pressure hosed, mended, fixed, painted and oh my word – just everything.  And these people are really a bit cross that we are taking Mum away from them, but they have all come together as a community anyway and helped her – so very, very much.  They have worked in 35-degree heat and 85 percent humidity, they have got sweaty, dirty and tired – all for my mum.  They are just wonderful and I don’t know what to say to express just how beautiful and kind they are.

The world at the moment is pretty yuk with all the nasty politics going on – in fact I am a bit worried we are going back into the dark ages with scientists being vilified, domestic violence being decriminalised (Russia), racism, wars, etc. etc. – yuk, yuk, yuk.

Then I am reminded about community.  Our communities, the life we are living in and I have a resurgence of hope.  I am so amazed at the people that have and are helping my mum.  I am amazed at the lovely community of ladies at my work, who let me run away at a moment notice at Christmas and have since been regularly checking in on me to see if I am ok.  I love the very essential community of mums at the school gate, who I know are always there to pick up my kids if something happens.

I have also joined a new community for the course I am doing.  I have entered a little peer group of woman who are all juggling, work, life, kids and now studying.  They are lovely and we are all there to help and support each other.  I am loving it.

I know that celebrating our communities may seem pointless in the face of the horrible politics going on, but I definitely think it’s a good starting point.  And also, a nice personal reminder that not all people are racist idiots.  So, here’s cheers to all the lovely groups of people that help us get through our days! Thank you…