Where Have I Been?

I know, I know, I’ve done it again.

Promised to be a good blogger and get my good old rambling in at least twice a month.

And as always, I’ve lasted a few posts then tootled off into the ether. Right at NaNoWriMo season too!

Well, I’ve got good reason. I’ve been using this blog to talk about good things, happy things. And to be honest, I’ve just not had the words to sit down and admit what’s been going on for the past couple of months. Properly sitting down and dissecting it has just seemed… exhausting. Time, to be honest, that if I was to find it at all, I wanted to spend writing other things, retreating into a proper fantasy world.

Oh, we’re all fine, really. It’s just been a bit stressful, that’s all.

My husband was made redundant. It came right before we were due to have our big holiday to Disneyland Paris – Teddy’s first birthday. In retrospect, we should probably have been sensible and cancelled the holiday. But I’d been looking forward to it for so long (ask anyone: I’d not shut up about it for literally a year) that the prospect of cancelling never even really came up.

Things were tight. We kept telling ourselves it would be all right: he’d find something else nice and quickly and we could carry on as we were in Manchester.

But we couldn’t.

Bills were looming, and I was waking up in the middle of the night having panic attacks that we were going to be homeless by Christmas.

We made the decision: we were getting out.

And so we’re back up in the frozen north; the actual North. Beyond the Wall, as some call it. Within two weeks of realising that we couldn’t afford to live in Manchester any more, we were installed back in County Durham. We’ve moved in with my mum for a couple of months, just until we’ve built back enough funds to be able to get our own place.

I’m not going to lie. It’s hard.

We’ve gone from living in a city with everything on our doorstep, easy and cheap public transport, constant hustle and bustle… to a rural town where you’re lucky to see a bus every half an hour. I had such a fabulous network of mum-friends back in Manchester. I’d found friendly baby groups and fun classes, after months of feeling like I wasn’t good enough and letting anxiety get the better of me (the time I cried in the middle of Didsbury because I was too nervous to go in late to a baby French class, springs to mind). Now we’ve moved, Ted and I haven’t really been able to get out to many baby groups, as they’re all closing up for Christmas. I’ve been a bit lonely, to tell the truth.

And it’s freezing. Only a three-hour drive away from Manchester, and we felt the temperature drop dramatically. We’d hardly been here five minutes before we got blasted with snow – two weeks before the rest of the UK had their little dusting.


Our view from the living room window on one of our first nights up north.

But it was the right decision. It really was. All the little issues that we’ve been having – job-hunting, loneliness, exceedingly slow internet connection – will all be sorted as soon as Christmas is over and normal service resumes. For a start, I’m not letting myself turn into a meek and terrified outsider again!

And when I say this was the right choice, I’m not just talking financially: the most important thing of all here is that we have my mum. Raising a child with no family within reach is bloody difficult. It’s already making such a difference to our lives having my mum with us – for a start, we actually went out as a couple, on our own, no baby, for a full afternoon the other day! The first time we’d been out, completely alone, since Christmas Eve last year. And Mum is just so, so good with Ted. She loves him, and he loves her. They have the most lovely relationship and I’m so glad it’s not just a once-a-month thing any more.

Wacky Races

Mum and Ted playing Wacky Races. Yes, that is a washing basket.

There are other lovely things about being here. We live in a house, for a start. Oh, it’s lovely having space again, after two years of being in a flat. A lovely flat, I’ll grant you, but when you had to dodge a pram, a trike, a ride-on digger and a bin bag to get in the front door, you started to notice things were a little cramped. We’ve got a cat, too! Well, my mum has a cat, and Ted is absolutely desperate to give him a cuddle. Poor old Marlon has other ideas, but he’s getting used to us.

And again, my mum is being fantastic, helping us out in every possible way. I’m totally reverting to my spoiled teenage self and letting her do all the washing.

…that certainly needs to stop.

I feel really bad for missing out these last couple of months of blogging. Lots has happened, not just the big move. Teddy learned to walk and he’s just come on so much – he turned one, and had a lovely holiday in Disneyland. I actually failed NaNoWriMo – I know, I know, hang my head in shame.

I have a lot to talk about, and I don’t know if I’ll properly get round to catching up. But either way, now the worst of the stress is starting to recede and I can sit down with my laptop again, I’m going to try and get back on the blogging horse.


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