Emma Bridgewater factory tour

I find very interesting a factory tour of a working factory. Even thou I’m not a huge fan of Emma’s designs, I feel they are a little too colourful for us, I find them very cute. So, a short trip to Stoke on Trent to see her factory was something I’ve wanted to do.

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The guide was a retired employee and she was lovely. She told us so many things about the factory and she loved being there to show us everything.

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We’ve started with the making of the moulds. She told us a lot of interesting facts, like the moulds have a limited lifespan and have to be replaced quite often.

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Next stop was where they pour the clay into the moulds.

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This is how the cups look like after they are removed from the moulds and left to dry.

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There are a few ladies who wash the pieces from residue from the moulds. Although I hate washing dishes (we’ll order a dishwasher very soon, we have the place and the plumbing sorted), the process was quite interesting. They are making the cups and teapots look beautiful.

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Some of the plates are made with moulds and the majority are made by hand.

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Pottery wheel, it’s so fascinating how fast and perfect the plates looked like.

The last place we’ve visited was painting and the kiln. As you’d imagine, the kiln is not that interesting, just a huge oven. The painting is a different story, they are making foam stamps by hand and then use them to decorate the pieces.

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Isn’t that sweet? The cups with harts and the teapot is very cute, but way too much for us.

My boy in the garden

My boy is having fun in the garden. I’m so happy we’ve decided to start with the garden and now he can play on the grass. On our daily walks, we’ve seen that we’ll be in walking distance from a new park. On the board explaining the project is mentioned the deadline: Spring 2015. Isn’t that just perfect?!
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Everyday life as a fit person

This past 2 months I’ve felt quite often the difference between being fit&strong and not being able to lift a few pounds. I have the same weight as 7 years ago, but back then I wasn’t as fit and surely not as strong as today.

A couple of weeks after we’ve got married, the paperwork was finalized and we finally got the apartment. It was a project, so we’ve started refurbishing it. We had skilled workers, my in-laws came to help too. I felt I can’t do a lot of things blaming, obviously, the fact that I’m a woman, so I shouldn’t have to be able to lift something heavier than 10 pounds anyway.

It was hard for a couple of reasons. I couldn’t help hubby move things around the house so it took longer. I was able to do some projects and I was (still am) very proud of what I’ve done. I’m not happy with manual labor, but doing things to make our home look better gives me an amazing feeling. I couldn’t imagine 15 years ago that I will fit tiles in the cupboard and that I’ll be proud of it. Funny how life changes a person.

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A couple of years later I started my journey to loose weight, because I’ve gained 40 pounds due to changing the job and gaining with that a lot of nasty habits (no food during the day, only 6-8 cups of coffee and a big meal for dinner). I felt poorly all the time, with no energy or strength. Loosing weight by eating properly, a few times a day was not enough to get me to where I wanted, so I’ve started exercising. As I’m not a cardio person, lifting weights was the way for me and it had such a major change in my life.

Now we are in the process of refurbishing the house (we’ve almost done it) and the things couldn’t be more different. I can lift up to 35 pounds and it’s pretty odd how many things weight around 25-30 pounds. I could help hubby move the furniture. I can go up and down the stairs with a door or big pieces of furniture. I loved the look some guys from B&Q had when they saw me maneuvering a trolly with some drywall sheets, some concrete floor sheets and a few more bits and pieces. Hubby had his own trolly, much heavier than mine.
I could even lift our inflatable kayak so hubby can put it the loft…it weights 35 pounds and it was impossible for hubby to carry it on the ladder, as it’s so big. If I didn’t have enough strength to lift it, right now it would eat away space in the cupboard or we would have to ask a friend over to help us.

Looking back at the last 10 years and how I’ve evolved and changed, I’m so happy with my journey. Gaining all that extra weight put me on a different path. I can do things for myself, things that I didn’t believe I can do years ago. It’s not that just now I’m able to do more than 100 push-ups per workout and 7 years ago I wasn’t able to do 1. It’s about all the things I can do now, real things that help me in my real life.

I want to do even more things in the future. I want to go beyond my current limits, to be a better me.

Lawn update

In the middle of September I sow grass seeds hoping it will be enough time for the grass to grow before moving in. It was tricky sowing so late and only a couple of days after removing the concrete slabs. The soil is not the best and it was another issue to worry about. We’ve made little preparations to the soil before sowing.

I’m so happy with the result. What we have in the back garden can be classified as lawn. This picture was taken yesterday, a little over 5 weeks after sowing the seeds.
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In March I will sow again lawn seeds, same brand – Verve. Before buying the lawn seeds I had no idea there are so many types, the one that was best for us was: Family Lawn Seeds. The grass should be thicker, more durable, but at the same time it needs more sun and water. As the garden is sunny, it was the perfect choice.

From what I’ve read, the fact that we have magpies in the garden doesn’t help. Initially I thought they are after the grass seeds, but in fact they are looking for some type of worn. Well, we’ll have to hope the grass will be resistant to our “neighbors”, as they can do some damage. I’ll have to look into garden birds (I plan to have a bird feeder and maybe a nesting box) and see their requirements.

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A few days after sowing, the grass started to appear, see Soon to be lawn.

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The lawn after 2 weeks and a half.

after 4 weeks
after 4 weeks

Buying property

As I mentioned in the post Put the Kettle on top, we are moving in our new house in a few weeks.

This is not the first property we buy, the first one was a flat (we’ve finalized the paperwork a couple of weeks after the wedding: that is a 1st year of marriage test 😀 ). Well, with the flat in Romania was complicated, but in a way, easier. Maybe because we were familiar with the process. Our solicitor (the 2nd one) told us that from what we were describing, the system of buying property in Romania is similar to the one in Scotland.

Buying a property in UK was a very daunting process or at least for us. We went with the solicitors the Selling Agency recommended and after 6 weeks (their estimate deadline), we’ve changed them with a local solicitor who finalized the papers in 4 weeks and this because the seller’s solicitors went on holiday and it caused a delay, obviously.

My advice, for new buyers is to look for brick&mortar, local, solicitors. I have no idea why we’ve went with a big company, with a lot of employees. We weren’t able to talk with the same person each time and hubby called them every day.
To find the new solicitors was pretty easy. I looked on our bank’s website for directions and they had a link to lawsociety.org.uk. There we could see the local solicitor firms and we’ve decided to set up a meeting with a small firm. It was the only way we were sure we would be able to speak with the same solicitor every time.

It was a gamble to change the solicitors in the middle of the process, but there was little progress after all those weeks. The new solicitor explained to us why we need the searches. In the beginning we didn’t want to do them as we thought this will take a lot of time and we weren’t compelled to do them. The searches will take less than 2 weeks and they cost around £250. If they say it takes longer is because the solicitors aren’t bothered to do them on time.

Well, the searches can reveal a lot of possible problems with the property, like the risk of flooding or if it’s built on a landfill (can be structural issues for building an extension for example).

Also, having the parish search was quite important. It is called: “chancel repair liability search”. Basically, if you buy a property and it is in the area of a parish established before the Dissolution (1536-1539), the owner can be liable to pay for the repairs of that church! Medieval law at it’s best, isn’t it?
But it’s the law and we didn’t want to risk it, even though we were pretty sure it will not be a problem. It wasn’t, but we sleep better with the search done.

Now we are refurbishing the house, like we did with the flat a few years ago. It’s another long and complicated process, there are so many choices and we do tend to make our lives more difficult (like changing the good pipes with bigger ones 😀 ). Can’t wait to move in (3 weeks, no matter how the house looks like, we gave notice) and enjoy our home.

How I met hubby

It was a cold morning, 5.30 am and I was waiting in the train station. A day before the Uni had started, but I thought it’s a good time for a couple of days off to go on a trip.
In an unexpected way, for me, I arrived earlier to the station, have no idea why as I usually run after the train. I decided to get into the 1st coach of the train, even if I usually prefer staying somewhere in the middle. Didn’t have tickets with a specific seat, so sitting anywhere was fine.
I shouldn’t have been in that train. The Uni had started and I was involved in a few different things, like charity work. I was busy and it was a lousy time for a 2-3 days trip.

I got into the train, cuddle up and fel asleep. An hour later, at another station, a tall man got into the train. He was usually taking the 1st coach, a fact that I will discover later. He asked me if the seat in front of me was taken. The compartment of 8 seats was empty, beside mine, obviously. We started talking and we talked and talked and talked for 3 hours, until we arrived at our destination.
He shouldn’t have been in that train. He had some unexpected issues with his student accommodation and that was the reason he was going to Bucharest again. At that time he was supposed to be already moved into his room.

Before we arrived, we’ve exchanged phone numbers and email addresses and I thought that was it. It wasn’t. A few days later he called me and we started talking again and less than a month we were officially together as a couple.

This happened 12 years ago, today. After a couple of years spent in a long distance relationship, we’ve moved together. And a couple of years after that we’ve got married 😀
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