Real Housewife of Suffolk County

Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Baths of Aphrodite | Visiting Cyprus

In Primary School we learnt all about Greek Mythology. I still remember being fascinated by the myths and legends and stories we were told.
My favourite being Medusa, closely followed by Aphrodite.
Aphrodite, if you are not aware, is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. There are various different versions of how she came to be.  I personally like the idea of her arising from the sea foam (after Cronus castrated Uranus and tossed his severed genitals into the sea. Nice hey?!)

I was really excited when I saw that a couple of excursions on our holiday to Cyprus included a visit to the Baths of Aphrodite and to Aphrodite's Rock.

We booked ourselves on a Land Rover Adventure day, basically getting a tour of particular places on the island in a 4x4 rather than on a coach. We were lucky in that we were the only people booked in our Land Rover so we had our very own VIP treatment almost and had the driver all to ourselves.

We visited so many wonderful, beautiful places, one of which was the Baths of Aphrodite. Having read that the water can make you more youthful and beautiful if you bathe in it (which isn't actually possible) or splash it on your face.
Our guide, Akis, was so informative about the stories involving Aphrodite and answered my questions and talked about the area and the site.
He informed me that the water doesn't necessarily make you more beautiful on the outside, but more so on the inside.

I felt oddly emotional as we walked towards the pool, and felt my eyes well up with tears...which was strange as our tour guide then told us, without turning round to see me, that it is said that the water here is Aphrodite's tears for her lover Adonis.

As we walked back to the Land Rover I made sure I was at the back of our walking convoy, and took some of the water in my hands and lightly soaked some into my face. I can't say it's made me look or feel more beautiful, but it felt like it was the right thing to do due to tradition and myth. And it was really quite refreshing.

As we got back to the car I looked over at the views of coastline and at the landscape surrounding us and just felt so at peace and so relaxed. I also felt like a dream of mine had come true.
As a little girl, being so into Greek Mythology and still harbouring some of that excitement, this really was a dream excursion for me.
Which the next day was set to be even better.

Home Wanted: 5 Things That Should Be Done Before Signing On the Dotted Line

Guest post is courtesy of Apex Waterproofing Inc., an expert in basement and crawl space waterproofing and mold detection and remediation in Arlington, USA.
As a first time homebuyer, you probably can’t wait to sign on the dotted line and make that dream house yours. However, it’s important not to get too hasty. There are a number of things that you will want to do before you close the sale. The following are 5 things every first time homebuyer needs to do before making their first home purchase official:
  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage – One of the biggest mistakes that a first time homebuyer can make is not getting pre-approved for a mortgage before even beginning to look for homes to buy. This way, you have some idea of the price range you should be looking for. Having a mortgage pre-approval will look good with the seller as well and can often be the difference if you are competing with other buyers.
  2. Hire a real estate agent – Don’t think that just because you can look up listings online and get a feel for home prices in the area you are looking at that you don’t need a real estate agent. A real estate agent is vital to helping guide you through the home buying process, especially if you're a first time homebuyer. There’s a lot of paperwork involved with the closing and a lot of steps that you’ll need to take – a real estate agent will hold your hand throughout the entire process to make sure you don’t take any missteps.
  3. Make sure your budget is in order – You need to make sure you have enough money for a down payment and that you’ll be able to afford the monthly mortgage payments. Additionally, you’ll need to work in homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, homeowners’ association fees, repair costs, maintenance costs, utility costs and more. You’ll want to make sure that your current income is able to cover all of these things without having to stretch yourself financially. This means sitting down and creating a budget in order to determine what you can afford.
  4. Ensure that you are in a financially stable situation – Even if you are pre-approved for a mortgage, the lender can still pull your approval if there’s a huge change in your financial situation, such as if you are all of the sudden filling up your credit cards or have recently changed or lost your job.
  5. Hire a professional home inspector – You don’t want to buy a home full of structural problems that you didn’t notice before. Try limiting the number of home improvements you may have to do by hiring a professional to inspect the house from top to bottom. The inspector should pay extra attention to the basement and any crawl space area in case waterproofing or mold remediation is needed.
If the inspector determines that there are areas of water damage or mold infestation in your basement or crawl space, you may need to hire a contractor who specializes in basement or crawl space waterproofing. You can also use this information to drive down the cost of the home unless the seller is willing to pay for any repairs or maintenance that was suggested by the inspector.
If you are considering purchasing a new home, these are the 5 most important factors that you should do before closing on a home.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Me Time and Pakefield Beach #betterplaces

This year I really want to make more time for myself. I constantly put other people above me, and I am never really a priority. And that needs to change.
This week I decided to visit the beach once I had dropped Harry off at preschool. This is such a lovely beach and I have so many happy memories here.
I got engaged in the house my now-husband lived in, which was pretty much on the beach, and I had my wedding photos taken on there.
We would watch out of his bedroom window at thunderstorms over the horizon, seeing the fishermen getting their boats ready or bringing their boats in.

Pakefield Beach is situated close to Lowestoft, Suffolk. A dog friendly beach, popular with working fishermen, anglers and horse riders, it is ideal for a walk all year round.
 A beautiful mix of both sand and pebbles, hearing them crunch beneath your feet as you walk between the boats, being careful to step over lengths of thick rope and chain leading down to the sea from the fishing boats.

Walking one way down the beach, a walk we used to do every Sunday when we lived almost on the beach, you join Lowestoft Beach. A place with various ice cream shops, donut stands, chips, battered sausage or fish if you prefer. Or a lunch at one of the hotels on the promenade.
Walking the opposite direction, is Kessingland. Again with another beautiful stony beach with room to fly a kite, play a game of rounders, or simply sitting by the waters edge just looking out to sea.

There is something about this beach, I can't quite put my finger on what it is exactly, that makes me feel so at ease, and so relaxed.
Maybe it's the memories that bring me the comfort.
Or is it the fresh air? And the sound of the sea crashing against the shore?
It's almost like as the sea crashes in it brings you calm, and takes away your problems or stresses, even if just for a short time.

Visiting this beach, or any beach, doesn't have to involve food, sandcastles and fighting with a windbreaker. It doesn't have to be really hot, or even a little bit warm. You don't even have to be surrounded by family or walking a dog (although these are nice things too, of course).
You can be alone. With your thoughts. And relieve the stress of everyday life. You can sit and watch the world go by. And let your worries wash away.

Disclosure: This #BetterPlaces post is in support of the Syndol Find Your Better Place campaign with BritMums. Syndol is now formulated for headaches. Visit for online resources with information about headaches and how to restore calm in your life.

A Week Without the Internet

On Sunday, the 15th, we set off for Gatwick airport. My phone was on 15% battery and I decided not to charge it. I had already planned to not take it on holiday as I wanted to be free from the temptation of Instagram, Twitter, Bloglovin and my blog.
And it was lovely.
I had to take my phone with me in the end as we didn't want to leave it in the car but I put it in the suitcase with no power at all, and didn't charge it until the Friday night. With a couple of text messages exchanged between me and my mum and me and a friend the phone went back off, ready for when we got back to the UK on the Sunday.  

I spent the time I would have been on my phone writing a holiday diary and reading a proper book. It has been so lovely and refreshing, and holding my phone in my hand to write this (I was bored on the plane so got my phone out to draft some posts) seems quite bizarre. After just a week I seem to have forgotten how to use it. The keyboard seems foreign and my phone feels so thin.

We sit in buses, we sit in the airport and I realise how unsociable we are now. We can't sit and have a conversation with strangers because we are too busy on Facebook or Candy Crush. We lose the ability to have a proper conversation. To talk about anything other than the weather.
We stumble and hesitate when it comes to finding out someones name simply because we don't know how to ask, at least not without getting our phones out and asking if they have Facebook.

People just want to exchange email addresses now and don't want to be old skool and send a letter and become pen pals. This is something I'm encouraging with the boys and I want them to learn the importance of writing letters and how exciting it is to recieve a hand written letter in the post. This holiday we bought a postcard, Charles wrote his friends a note asking if they would like to become pen pals, and we gave them our address. 5 minutes letter, we had their address too, as well as email and Facebook because it is acceptable to communicate in the modern way as well as the traditional way so I'm definitely not contradicting myself for gladly accepting those details (and I have photos that they need to be tagged in, obviously).

On the plane there are few people reading a proper book. Instead there are ipads and Kindles with games and catch up tv, the odd person reading a book on theirs. The younger of the passengers are not looking out of the window, unless being forced to by their parents. They don't seem at all interested in the world below them, the land and water we are flying above.
And it makes me sad because, without wanting to sound old, these are the next generation, and if they don't appreciate what it out of the window then how will their children?

Mighty Mum: Ready to go Back to Work

After many years as a stay at home mum, most women choose to go back to work once their children begin full time school. However, no one tells mum’s that the transition from being a full time mum to a full time worker can be quite tricky. The world of 24/7 children to being in the centre of a universe full of adults can be both daunting and exciting. Well, here are some tips to help you get back into the swing of things as both a career woman and a mighty mum.
Choosing your career
Before you even begin to think about childcare or getting your family onboard, you should consider what it is that you actually want to do. Many mums find it quite difficult to find a job that works around their family life – and after all your kids are the most important thing to you. Whether you are opting for one of the support worker jobs Suffolk or an office job in London, you should ensure your employer knows and understands that you are a mum first and foremost.
Get your family on the same page
Once you have decided what line of work you are going to head into, the next important stage is to ensure your family are on the same page. When a stay at home mum goes back to work, it does impact the whole household, so you should speak to your husband or partner and your children to ensure they understand what these changes will be. You should also ensure that your children know that whilst you won’t be around as much as you used to be; being their mum is still your number one job.
Organisation is the key to success
Once you are working, it is even more important than before to be organised and have a clear schedule – especially for mornings; the school run is always stressful. So, ensure your kids know the schedule and it should run as smoothly as possible.
Leave work at work
Once you begin your working life you should always ensure that you leave work at work. Time spent with your family should be even more precious than it was previously so, be sure to leave any work stresses at the office and don’t let it impact your home life.
With these helpful hints and tips in mind, you can be the mighty mum of the home and office.
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