My husband will now be away for 6 months, and I could feel really sad about this. However I’m a strong believer in making the most of things and I intend to enjoy the next 6 months and make some lovely memories with friends, family and, of course, my dog. I decided for this deployment to have some goals which are all about me, it’s helping me to fill my free time with things I enjoy doing. I’ve kept these goals straightforward and easy to achieve. Here they are:
#Goal1 – Dog training
As you can probably tell I’m wildly in love with my fox red labrador Ziggy. He’s a loyal companion and running buddy who’ll set the pace for miles. Due to my obsession it’s fair to say I’ve let him get away with a fair bit. He’s a pretty cheeky character who, if given the chance, will run round the house with a toilet brush clamped in his mouth and avoid capture for a good half an hour.
Since he’s a super smart dog (bias? Yes!) I think it’s time we put that brain to good use and start some dog training. We’ll be kicking off 4 one-to-one sessions in May and I can’t wait. My overall goal is to get into gun-dog training, but we’ll take this paw by paw
#Goal2 – Write my grandad’s memoirs
My amazing Grandad turns 92 this year, he’s still playing golf and is one of the biggest inspirations to me. Every time I see him he tells me a different story about his life and I’m always blown away by his memories and adventures. This year I’m going to start documenting his memories and I can’t wait to discover aspects of his life I’ve not yet heard about.
#Goal3 – Get creative
I’m a somewhat closet creative, I enjoy making things and doing things but they usually turn into things which aren’t very useful so it sometimes it feels like a waste of time. I’ve decided to try a few creative activities and see if I’m secretly really good at something. So far I’ve started knitting and I’ll be attending my first pottery class (I’m imagining Ghost of course) next week. Would love any tips on creative activities I could try out!
#Goal4 – Get outside
Living in the Highlands meant we were outside more than we were inside. Now we’ve moved away from the mountains and the beach I need more motivation to get outside. I’ve started exploring the Cotswold countryside around where we live and hope to start documenting what we find on our travels.
#Goal5 – Makeup
Literally makeup. This is a random goal, but I’ve been doing my makeup the same way since I was 16. So it’s time for a makeup lesson so I can act my age (but hopefully look younger). My hair is going grey and I’m severely allergic to hair dye, so it’s time to up my makeup game and embrace the grey.
Our first home happened to be a house which we own, when we bought it the decor hadn’t changed since the 70s so we spent many nights and weekends stripping the wallpaper, painting and laying floors. It started out as a set of walls and become a labour of love. Then just as soon as we’d made it comfortable we found out we’d be moving, so we rented out our first home and experienced our first army quarter.
When selecting your army quarter you have the choice to have an unfurnished, part furnished or fully furnished pad (you pay more for part or fully furnished).
For our first quarter we took quite a lot of furniture because we couldn’t afford to buy (still can’t!) and all our existing furniture needed to stay in our old house for our new tenants. We took:
- Dining table and chairs
- Side tables
- Dressing table
All our rooms had built in wardrobes (really great!) and generally there’s lots of storage. Mixed in with all the army issued furniture we have an eclectic selection of other furniture to make things feel more homely. Most of this comes from charity and antique shops. For our next move I’ll be updating our curtain set – I’ll be hunting the charity shops over the next few weeks!
It’s fair to say that I’m a pretty independent soul. This, I believe, is a very positive thing. However a strong independent streak can also be challenging, for yourself and also for those around you.
I have to be very conscious that not everyone share’s my overriding desire to be self-reliant. In many relationships (both friends and romantic relationships) my independence has caused misunderstandings and challenges. In fact right before I got together with my husband I’d resigned myself to the fact that I might never meet anyone who could handle my drive to be self-sufficient.
As it turns out I now have a good balance of maintaining my independence and ensuring it doesn’t get in the way of healthy relationships. What I have learnt through being an army wife, particularly with a deployment on the horizon, is that independence is important.
To keep my independence I consciously make sure I’m doing things on my own, even if it’s just once a week. Sometimes this is just being on a train journey, other times it’s a barefoot run on the beach. For me the key thing is to keep up that inner strength so that when you need to face things alone, it’s easier.
House moves are widely recognised to be one of the most stressful experiences, up there with relationship breakdowns, divorce and starting a new job. In our first house move we faced a lot of change. In the space of six weeks we had sold our car, got married, had a two week honeymoon, moved house from Bath to the Scottish Highlands (12 hour drive!) and bought a new car. In amongst those six weeks Christmas also happened. It was all sorts of emotion from huge highs to late nights packing boxes and sorting logistics.
Now we’re on the verge of our next move and I’m determined for it to be less stressful. This time we don’t have a wedding or a honeymoon (those were the huge highs before!) but we do have a looming deployment which always adds pressure to the time we have together. So on this thread I’ll be sharing my thoughts on how to make a housemove more manageable.
To start with I’ll be doing a ‘Marie Kondo’ on all our stuff pre-move. If you don’t know who Marie Kondo is I suggest you give her a follow on Instagram: @MarieKondo and check out her website: http://tidyingup.com/. I’ll be sharing my updates on Instagram and on here so stay tuned!
I find that there’s a balance to strike when it comes to planning. Generally I’m a bit of a free-spirit, fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal. This lends itself well to being an army wife…at times.
Sometimes however a bit of planning is necessary and as you might imagine my other half likes to plan, it’s in his army DNA. Over time I’ve learnt to put some time and effort into planning, so that we can maximise the time we have together and make sure my work, home and army wife life don’t descend into chaos.
My husband is deploying soon and we’ve got a housemove on the cards so I’ll be posting lots about planning. To start with here’s my general top tips:
- Have a shared calendar with your other half, this makes sure you don’t double book and allows you to visualise how busy you are (so you can remove some commitments if it’s getting too much!).
- Go on a date, and take your diary. Often we’ll put time in the diary, to look at our diaries. Sounds geeky but it always involves wine and sometimes requires gin.
- Plan in fun. Don’t over do-it with an hour by hour plan of what you’re going to do on a Saturday afternoon but make sure you’ve got enough to look forward to in your diary. If your husband is away fill that time with friends and family. This is important as it takes keeps a good balance of practical logistics with the added sparkle of excitement.