What Stephanie did next...

So, would you believe it? It's been almost three months since I stopped my daily commute to The City.  Seriously I don't know where the time has gone.  But I do wonder how I ever made time to actually fit in a full-on full-time job.  I've discovered that there's a whole new world to tune into and explore.

Many of you have asked what I've been up to. That's a hard question to answer, but I'm going to give it my best shot...  But first thank you to everyone who signed my leaving card or signature book and wished me well for whatever lay ahead. I know most of you won't have seen my picture from my first day at work so here it is: 

I can also tell you I was wearing a burgundy wool jeans-style skirt.  Both were Christmas presents (and I remember who from - and it's not who you think!)  

I'm probably also wearing blue mascara and look as if I've overdone it with the Sun-In too!  As I said it was 1984. Anyway, that's enough of that... but thank you.

I'd ear-marked February for lay-ins and general pottering; I'm good at both of those as anyone who's tried to book a 9am meeting with me knows. To start with not working felt like I just had some time off... But after two to three weeks I knew it was different and something I'd chosen to be just that.  I also knew it would be relatively easy to spend my days on the sofa watching crap TV and "flicking fruit" (as MOH - that's Steve who's known as My Other Half on here - calls Candy Crush) especially when the weather was grim in those first few weeks.  

And boy was it grim, even down South. 

So I needed to find something to do and something to replace walking to/from the station everyday which up until now I'd never considered exercise, just something I did.  So I set myself a challenge to walk 500 miles by the end of July.  While it's not a patch on Davina's Sport Relief challenge (way to go Davina!) it is mostly getting me out and about and the target and tracking appeals to my inner geek...

There've also been trips up to town for evenings out, leaving drinks - including my own - and lunches and these have helped me transition to my home-based life.  It's good to catch up with you and your news and I still have many lunches and evenings to arrange, I will be in touch!  Or get in touch with me and we'll definitely sort something out. 

On those days I've doubled up and taken the opportunity to go to places I've not been before - the British Library for the Georgians Revealed exhibition, RIBA for The Brits Who Built the Modern World exhibition and a garden tour of the National Trust's Fenton House in Hampstead - and places I've not been to for a while, such as the South Bank and the V&A as well as Greenwich food festival, and I'm compiling a list of places and exhibitions I want to visit too, David Bailey's Starburst exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and Liberty's for a look around to name a couple. 

I've played more netball than I have in a while too, even in the grimmest of weathers - yes I must be mad - and although I never quite made it to training the fact that there was training featured on my radar for the first time in a long time. So never say never - but don't worry I'll give you fair warning if I'm popping over.

I've revamped my blog, which you're reading now.  I started it when we were having work done on our house and never got around to sharing it on Facebook before.  There's a couple of linkys (yes, new to me too) that I've joined in with; the main ones being 52 Cookbooks and the Grow Write Guild plus the latest addition which is Word of the Week and through all of these I've made some new virtual friends.

I've written a CV for the first time ever. It needs some work, but whose CV doesn't and I've time to work on that. The hardest thing was working out what to include, not only how much detail but remembering which offices I worked in when - I've done a lot of stuff in the last thirty years!

Oh yes, the kitchen is finished too. Finally. It's only taken eight months, two project managers and countless visits on their part, but we're there and it's looking good. Finally.  Steve says never again. I say, yes dear, but really mean not until the next time - I suspect he knows this too.

We've had some time away in Norfolk and we packed a lot into four days (read about our visits to Blickling EstateCastle RisingOxburgh Hall and Steve's first spa visit - you'll be pleased to know we'll be trying another one at some point, so it was a success). We're off to Derbyshire after Easter for a week in a cottage in Beeley, or rather a converted chapel and I'm hoping to sort a week in Portugal for our wedding anniversary; it's seven years, this year.  So you'll be pleased to know I'm still finding some time to get away from it all, even if the all I'm getting away from has changed somewhat!

There have been a couple of things I've found hard:

The most obvious one was going from a large, friendly office environment to being on my own during the day.  Don't feel sorry for me though as I'm happy to spend time in my own company, it's the conversation with friends and colleagues that I missed (and still miss at times). 

To combat this I went through a 1950s housewife stage where I popped to the shops to buy supplies for dinner each day and my conversations with the local butcher, greengrocer and garage mechanic (not that I ever bought dinner there) were invaluable and went beyond the "hellos" and "nice day" type conversations they'd been before.  

As you'd expect there were also conversations with the shoe shop lady which were equally useful and those have resulted in new shoes, so these must be restricted (remember, Steve may be reading this too) well, to at least one a month. 

And Steve was getting a whole load of conversation thrown at him (in a nice way) as he walked in the door, just because I hadn't spoken to anyone that day. I know it's probably the last thing he needed after a long, stressful day but he never said. Now I'm more like my dad and can strike up a conversation with anyone when I'm out, not that I was shy before as you'll know. 

The other thing was feeling guilty for enjoying myself. For having some time to myself, having a coffee out or a day in town to do what I wanted and for not spending time "working" in or on the house. I know, daft right.  But there you go.  Now the weather is much less grim there's more I can do in the garden, and I've a whole load of work to get through so we can lose our temporary builder's yard. And I have a list of places I want to go to too, so I'm working that one out as well. 

It's not all worked out quite how I planned it in my head:

By March the house renovations would be in full swing, or so I thought. It's towards the end of April now and while I have found a builder, and have a quote which we're almost happy with (negotiations are still underway) we haven't quite given the go ahead yet. Perhaps that's because I've an understanding of how disruptive having tradesmen in can be and maybe I'm just enjoying spending some (undisrupted) time at home. 

But soon, we will be saying yes to more work as we still need our bedroom and the spare bedroom decorated, as well as some wallpapering downstairs (don't ask) and some making good in the porch. Then we're done. No really we're done. For at least five or so years. 

I've also not found as much time as I thought for cooking. Clearly I have Steve's dinner on the table when he gets home (as if!) and am managing some cooking, but nowhere near as much as I'd anticipated. That's no bad thing though as remember we'd have to eat whatever I cooked and there'd be a very real danger of us both being quite round by now. 

There is still time to make bread though, so I continue to make sourdough but now more regularly than before. I've not branched out into the more fancy sourdoughs yet, but that's still on my list. 

Now don't laugh but much to Steve's amusement (and my own tbh) I now tackle the washing up almost on a daily basis. I'm only a beginner and don't yet trust myself with progressing to the advanced level of washing our fine wine glasses (the everyday ones go in the dishwasher so no problem there!) but it's a start. And clearly I defer to Steve's superior experience when he's at home (for the record, that's washing up matters only). 

I have found time to do some craft, which doesn't mean I'm 90!  I've made some cards, started knitting again and done some more decoupage which as Steve quite rightly says is cutting up bits of paper and sticking them back together again. And very relaxing it is too. And creative. So ner!  I'm building my way up to sewing slowly, I will make some quilts I'm sure but first I want to finish this twenty year old cross stitch (still not done!!)

And time, it's going so quickly...

So what's next:

Well I have got mildly addicted to Pilates, which I used to liken to "laying down breathing" not exercise. Clearly I was doing it wrong as now I know it's more than that and don't like to miss my Friday morning class. So much so that I was there for a 9am class on Good Friday, so there'll be more of that. 

I'm also starting to do some marketing volunteer work for a local charity, Severndroog Castle. Briefly it's been restored - you may remember seeing it featured on the TV programme Restoration back in 2004 - and will soon be opening to the public for the first time in 25 years, no pressure on marketing this then!  I'm sure it will go well, so look out for more on this especially if you're local and even if you're not it'd make a great afternoon out (see what I did there?)  There'll also be a cafe, no doubt serving scrumptious cakes, see I knew you'd be interested. 

I'll be polishing up my CV too, I guess and getting myself out there again and seeing what the future holds. Who knows, but I'm sure I'll be ready to tackle whatever comes my way...

And finally, this post is way longer than I intended it to be but I plan to keep updating my blog with life as we know it and life which I don't yet know. I don't often do such personal posts, but who knows maybe I will again; what I don't plan to do is share each of my posts on Facebook, so if you want to carry on reading please bookmark my blog, follow Life at 139a on FacebookTwitter , Instagram or Pinterest, or follow me on Bloglovin' or Google+ (if that's your thing). 

It'd be great to have you read me more often, and don't be shy about leaving a comment or two either.

So for now, take care and have fun - I know I'm going to!