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There’s Something Missing

Since I joined Facebook in 2007 I’ve seen various family members, friends and colleagues do the same thing each September. They’ve all posted photographs of their children, often wearing super cute over-sized uniform about to begin their first ever day at big school! 

Each September I’ve also read poems, letters and memes all dedicated to the Mummy ‘losing’ their now grown up babies to the education system, the words providing comfort to those who are emotional and empowerment to those who are super proud of their offspring. 

But each September I’ve always had the same thought. Is it really that big a deal?  Your child is starting school. The likelihood is that they’ve been to nursery, they have socialised, played and are therefore probably emotionally mature enough to deal with a 9-3pm day in a classroom. 

Perhaps it was ignorance, but I just didn’t understand the need for such a song and dance about it. I didn’t ‘get’ the need for tears, it’s part of a child’s path (usually) after all and because I’m a huge supporter of education, I actually found myself looking forward to the school years my children would have! 

Yesterday that all changed. I called Gabriel’s school to speak to his new teacher from September and to arrange a look around the classroom and communal areas of the school. She informed me that the next day Gabriel had an inset day, so he needed to be at the school for 9am and that I’d be leaving him there to become familiar with his surroundings. I won’t lie, I was a little apprehensive- would Gabriel cope well with this transition? I hadn’t prepared for any attendance until September and neither had he. 

I raised the prospect as we ate last night. Gabriel seemed pretty keen and I was relieved. So this morning we ate a hearty breakfast and then chose his outfit together.  Then I took him to big school for the first time. 

Of course, an obligatory photograph was taken.. 

And of course, I uploaded it onto Facebook. 

I had become one of those Parents.

But, I do not care. 

I am super proud of Gabriel and all that he takes on board. He always wears that gorgeous smile across his face- he’s such a happy child. He makes me cry with laughter most days, and I just know that he will flourish at school and get along well with his new friends. 

After we dropped Gabriel off at school, Willow and I climbed back into the car. As I indicated out of the parking space to head into town Willow said, 

‘Mummy, there’s something missing’ 

I turned to face her and she pointed to Gabriel’s empty booster seat. 

She was right. There was something missing!  

My baby boy, my first born is at big school and it’s so bittersweet! From now on, days when I am not at work it will just be me and her for most of the day.  A new chapter in our lives is about to begin and with it comes restriction as well as freedom, development and fun! 

However, no memes, poems or letters required. But I may have had a little cry… 

Good luck little man! May your school years be awesome! 



Keeping Up With The Jones’

With all this fantastic weather we having heating the house is one of the last things on my mind, but saving money and also preparing the house for the Winter months which will be no doubt with us soon, isn’t! 

I’m a huge fan of being Eco-friendly. After all, we all have a responsibility and a role to play in protecting the environment for our future inhabitants. I work hard day to day in reducing my carbon footprint,  I use public transport, I recycle where possible and I also when looking for a boiler to purchase, chose an Eco- friendly system! Not only do these choices make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but they also save me lots of my well-earned pennies, which lets face it, we all need in this current climate! 

I have, rather annoyingly had to look at purchasing a new boiler this year in fact. Hearing those words ‘Sorry, but it looks like you’re going to need a new one’ from the heating engineer were not the words I wanted to hear however! 

The new boiler was for the house we rent out, and whilst I knew buying a boiler was both necessary and our responsibility, it was money which I really did not need to want to be paying out! So, I shopped around the offerings of boiler installations in Bradford I knew there would be lots of deals, I was right- but it was a minefield! I wanted to find a boiler system that was reliable, cost effective for my tenants, eco friendly and also easy on my pocket! I knew from attending the launch of Eco Energy in Bradford that boilers didn’t need to be confusing. A free check by a reputable company should talk you through the options and they can even offer you boiler finance meaning paying monthly instalments ensuring the dint in your pocket isn’t too large. 

Now we all want the latest gadgets, smart phones that have all singing and dancing apps to dazzle our friends, the latest camera to ensure our photographs are perfect and wall-hanging worthy and we buy clothes, home interiors and use beauty products to make both our belongings and ourselves as aschecically pleasing. But what about our larger appliances? The ones that aren’t necessarily on show, but the ones that affect our cash flow in the long run! If you have an old boiler in your home, it could be as little as 60% energy efficient. A new boiler can turn almost 90% of the energy it uses into heat, all whilst helping the environment! That’s certainly something to tell the neighbours! 

An energy efficient boiler, central heating or an underfloor heating system is a useful, future-proof investment for your property. By increasing the energy efficiency, and you don’t need to wait until it breaks before looking at replacing it, with affordable deals out there. Doing it now also avoids wasting money on call out cover and maintenance fees- so keeping up with the Jones’ is actually a sensible solution! 

Now I admit, I was confused when it came to the technical bit. Surely, a boiler is just a boiler? The terms Eco and efficiency were being banded about in product descriptions but what does it all mean?!  Well,  by installing a modern, A-rated Eco-friendly boiler, you will most definitely cut your household bills, help the environment and create a warmer, more comfortable, purse-friendly living space. Perfect all round! 



*Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with Eco Energy Bradford. Please see my disclosure policy for further information* 


Digital Nostalgia: Friend or Foe?

At the age of 33 I feel I’ve reached an age where I have become nostalgic about the way things used to be. Growing up, I would listen to my grandparents, parents and other adults talk about the ‘good old days’ when of course everything was better! But I quickly learned that the past is a time that you can look back with hindsight, rose-tinted spectacles and also judge without the stress, worries or cares that perhaps were prevalent at the time.

I’m lucky. I’ve grown up in a generation parallel to some incredible technology advances. The internet, mobile technology and the creation of social media in particular. When it comes to technology, I am fairly savvy and interested. I am also the first the fly the ‘social media flag’ in discussions surrounding nostalgia and the future. After all, having shared experiences with people all over the world, many of whom you’ve never met is amazing and I genuinely feel that when it comes to being social, the more the merrier! We all share our fun experiences and important news online. We send tweets, update Facebook and show off our photographs on Instagram. They create wonderful memories for us and they remain there, documenting a ‘story’ of our life.

I like memories. The good and also the not so good. I am not one for regrets because I know my decisions, choices and memories shape who I am today. But just recently I have began to question my love for over-sharing my life online. The internet has been around long enough now for us to be reminisce digitally, creating ‘digital nostalgia’. The creation of applications such as Timehop and My Shoebox have made this super easy, each day you can head to the app or even choose have each memory emailed straight to your inbox- giving you your daily dose of ‘Oh wow! Look at us crazy cats eight years ago on holiday in Malia! We look SOOO young (and thin..)’ and so on.. The apps then allow us to re-share the photographs on social media so we can re-live the experience with our friends all over again.

In February this year I signed up to Timehop and My Shoebox. I thought it would be fun to see what happened on this day one, two, three, four and so on years ago and I was also grateful of the extra storage facilities! Timehop tells us as we download the application ‘Welcome to a time capsule of you- we will help you celebrate the best moments of your past with friends’ But will it? It’s no secret that in the last year my life changed forever. I made the decision to go it alone by ending my almost five years of marriage and of course it’s had a huge effect on all our lives. Within a few days of downloading the apps I was inundated with emails and alerts on my phone. Photographs of past family days out from the last few years, filled to the brim with obvious happiness and joy. I will not lie, it was heartbreaking but also nice to be reminded of the happy times we spent as a family; and for those times I will always be thankful. It was great to share these memories with the kids, I also had many laughs with friends attempting to play detective, working out old cryptic Facebook statuses and cringing at old photographs!

After a few months, the 8th May came around. A reminder of my hen party- five years previous.. (OUCH). Again, this was fun to see, it was a great weekend and a failed marriage cannot and will never take that away from me. It was a weekend with great friends all together in one place and the memories of that weekend are wonderful ones (despite being dressed as a flamingo for most of it..).

Then the big one hit. The 30th May. Our Wedding anniversary! Not only was I greeted that morning with alerts from various websites wishing me ‘HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!’ I was also subjected to an email montage of our most popular wedding status updates and photographs. It was heart wrenching. I have had to grieve my marriage, the loss of sharing my life with Dave and in turn coping with placing the marriage into the memory box, rather than being the current situation. I realised right then, digital nostalgia is both a friend and foe.

Being sent reminders sporadically isn’t ideal. But what’s the alternative? Not use these apps at all? Delete the memories physically from Facebook, fool and trick Timehop into not knowing that these massive events in our lives didn’t exist? After all I have removed all the physical remnants of the wedding from my home, because it’s just not appropriate to keep those photographs hanging but what is the answer in a digital sense, should we just cope or ignore and know that each year it will likely become less raw and dramatic? It must be far worse when it comes to death. The loss of a loved one coupled with daily reminders of updates, photographs and memories. A stab in the heart each time, or maybe now it’s all part of an accepted healing process that digital nostalgia brings us? Either way, it’s a new phenomenon and it’s here to stay, so I suppose the choice is there- delete the apps, avoid social media or ride it out.

On a personal level I’m in a really happy place at the moment, but it doesn’t mean I want my past relationships pushed in my face. I still think it’s useful to look back though, to smile and remember, to see how far we’ve come, to remind us how much our children have grown and celebrate our successes so I won’t be deleting events from my social media accounts or this blog. But from now on for me the viewing of these apps will only be a glance. Nostalgia will drive me forward, not back. Memories are great but I prefer to be busy making new ones after all I want to have something else to feel nostalgic about in five years time..