Getting into the spirit

As someone who loves Disney, musicals and children's literature, it probably comes as no surprise that I also love Halloween. I hate anything scary (the scariest film I own is Woman in Black with Daniel Radcliffe, which, as my friend who loves scary stuff advises me, 'isn't scary at all'), but I love the silly, over-the-top, cheesy side of Halloween. If it means I can dot gaudy decorations around the flat, eat novelty sweets and listen to Monster Mash over and over on my walk to work, then I'm happy.

As well as decorating the flat and eating more artificial flavourings and sweeteners than is advisable, I have been making a habit of long walks in the crisp weather - there's just something lovely about red and gold leaves, grass covered in fallen conkers and wrapping up against the chill in pretty knitwear. I plan on soaking up every single second before autumn starts to make way for the miserable rain and wind of winter. And even now when the nights draw in, and the temperature drops to more cutting than crisp, there is something lovely about a toasty night in with good food, good friends and my favourite Halloween films (Casper and Addams Family Values, FYI).

So while some people moan that Halloween is commercialised nonsense and tacky-beyond-belief, I welcome any excuse to not take life so seriously - so hooray for pound store decorations, Wednesday Addams (one of my favourite ever female film characters) and for living with a boyfriend who put a ghost candle in our bathroom 'because, well, why not?'.

For those of you out there who share my love for this, the tackiest of seasons, then I hope you have been enjoying the build up to October 31st. And for those who hate Halloween - at least this means we're getting closer to Christmas!

Moving out lessons

I bought a flat with my boyfriend this summer and we moved in in the middle of September. This is the first time either of us has bought a home before so the process has been bewildering, exciting and stressful. Now that the WiFi has finally been set-up, I thought I would share some of the moving out lessons I have learned over the past few weeks.

1. Arrange for your internet connection to be installed as soon as possible.

We had some last minute panic with our solicitors over our move in date so we didn't want to arrange any of our suppliers in advance - cue phoning TalkTalk on our very first morning in the flat, who advised an engineer would be out in three weeks to install our TV, phone and internet. Three weeks?! I didn't bat an eyelid at the TV or phone, but three weeks without internet access felt like a sentence. When I told a friend about my struggle going cold turkey, he admitted he arranged for his internet to be set-up before his move in date was confirmed - a gamble which paid off when his internet was installed a couple of days after he moved in. Learn from my mistakes, people.

2. You will come face-to-face with some uncomfortable home truths.

I hate washing dishes. I also didn't do any ironing for almost a fortnight (I have even found myself picking out clothes in the morning on the basis that they don't need ironed). I might not be proud of these facts, but I have to own up. With no flatmates, siblings or lodgers to use as a scapegoat, when housework goes undone there aren't many places to point the finger of blame. I can't even blame Sam because he is strangely neat - although I don't think he's used the mop or the glass cleaner since we moved in, so we're even, right?

3. Ikea is terrifying.

A novel afternoon out when you're browsing kitsch glassware and pretty duvet sets, but when you're faced with the daunting task of furnishing an entire flat, the activity loses its shine a wee bit. By the amount of arguing couples I (uncomfortably) walked by in the aisles, it must also account for a significant percentage of divorces. 

4. The TV licensing people are like a dog with a bone

While I can't seem to contact Glasgow City Council for love nor money, the TV licensing people had sent us a letter before we had even moved in and have now - despite not a single moment of live television being watched in the past three weeks - have sent us a threatening red letter to say 'officers have been authorised to visit the property'. Despite the implied threat, I'm a marketing officer and I know I'm about as likely to arrest someone on their doorstep as this crew.

5. Living without furniture is a rite-of-passage 

We still don't have a sofa (although it has now been ordered and I am embarrassingly excited about it), which meant we spent our first evening in our own flat drinking a bottle of champagne while sitting on the living room carpet. I had to use a shelf from one of our dismantled bookcases as a coffee table when my parents came over for tea. From the amount of friends who have wistfully sighed 'Oh, but that's all part of the experience!' I can only assume I will one day look back on the 'owning no furniture yet' stage fondly - if only because it means I never have to face Ikea on a weekend again.

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