I've learned a lesson.

We haven't done any packing today. The only update I have on the relocation is that We are handing our four week notice to the landlords mid December. Instead we cuddled up on the sofa under a faux fur blanket and watched some films. We watched both Wayne's World films, Heather's and Paranormal Activity.

I won't give the plot away but it's the most boring overrated film of all time. "It terrified America." is what the advert states. What? Terrified them with crapness? There's a camera in the theatre in the ad and it shows some cinema goer jumping ten feet in the air with fright. I think this person has the most extreme nervous disposition I have ever come across. Save your money, even Twilight is better than that pile of crud and Twilight is terrible.

I heavily disliked the couple in PA. The guy, "Micah" I thought was a complete tool throughout the film and it was his toolness that ended both their lives. I consider this not to be a spoiler because the film tells you they died before the whole thing starts anyway. It's the lamest film ever.

While we were watching it, I did get an idea that I'd like to buy a video recorder to make cute home movies for us to watch we are old. I want something more than photos. If we decide to have children I'd like more than photo's to show them how cool we were in our youth.

I'm always trying to take photos of Phil but he hates having his photo taken and he's not very photogenic.

Not true.

Phil is very photogenic he just exudes awkwardness because he hates smiling and that is what makes him look like a mong on camera. Now when I snap him naturally smiling he is devastatingly handsome. His forced smiles are crap. He looks like Chandler.

Everyone makes him smile on camera and every photo I've seen of him smiling, I can see him s*****ing himself as though he's looking like he already ruined the photo. After months of telling him that I could make him look good on camera, he finally agreed to do a little shoot for me.

"I don't know why you're bothering Claire, NO ONE has ever taken a good picture of me."

"Don't smile, be yourself, and you'll see I can make you look good." I replied.

So he didn't smile he was himself and when I showed him the photos he was shocked.

"Wow I do look good!"

*I told you.*

In fact he looked so good I had a few messages on another website
"Is that your husband? He is SO hot!"

Mmmhmmm that is why I married him.

He's more comfortable with having his picture taken now he's seen he can look good in a photo and he does sometimes complain but I remind him that when he's seventy and we get the family album out he'll thank me for documenting our lives with beautiful photos and he'll see that he was a very handsome man.

Most photographer's I have come across in my life always try and get people smiling in photos and I've learned a lesson from this. Smiling doesn't always bring out the best in people. forced smiling can ruin a photo as I learned in my own wedding photos.

My wedding photos are horrible and it makes me so sad and we don't ever get them out for people because they are so staged and we don't look in love at all. The few people that have seen them say they are nice but it's not what other people think it's what you think that counts. We had to smile like ****s in every one and as Phil tenses up he looks like he doesn't want to be there. Every time we tried to give a slight smile the 'tog was like

"No, bigger smiles! It's your wedding day!"

Happiness in photos doesn't mean you have to smile. I would have loved at least one photo that showed how in love we were/are. But our faces ached so much we look like we met that afternoon and are regretting it already.

A while ago I came across this photo [I will delete it if they ask me to]:

It was taken with just a powershot by a guest. It's the most beautiful wedding photo I've ever seen, I'm seething with jealously that non of my photos were as candid as this showing a just married couple so in love.

Instead we got photos like this:

Do you feel dizzy? I did when I got a photo with this effect this back.

Sometimes we say we're going to redo our photo's but... It's not the same unless it's your actual wedding day. We might buy some smart casual outfits and find a deserted beach in Devon and get snap happy. But it's not the wedding photos that tell the tale of a solid marriage. I'd know I'd do a beautiful job.

So I always try and get people to pose how they feel comfortable in. If they think they look best scowling so be it! They feel more comfortable and I get glowing reviews.


Most people my age treat me like a leper.

We did some packing yesterday and we tidied our bedroom. I hate that bedroom it's a breeding ground for mould, the amount of clothes that I've had to throw because they've grown mould overnight is astounding. Even when I hang fresh clothes up a week or so later they are wet and smell. I will not miss this flat when we leave. The flat's had mould since before we moved in but we had to overlook it because it's in a really nice area and we did not want to end up in a ghetto. Mouldy bedroom flat or live in a crack addict area? Mouldy bedroom flat wins. The only thing I like about our flat is that it's like a bungalow, we have a front and back door our own front yard and back garden.

Phil decided that one of the boxes would be for all the 14 games consoles we own *groan*. I put a load of clothes into bin bag liners... I don't know if I want to keep any of them. I've recently developed an interest in clothes, I hate using the term fashion. Most things in fashion aren't fashionable at all to me and as such these fashionable items can normally be seen on trailer trash.

I normally dress grungy and dirty and always in jeans. This is a far cry from my late teens when I had the body to dress in tiny things. But I put on a lot of weight then lost a lot of weight, and I feel more confident in myself. Now I'm entering my mid twenties I want to dress in skirts and I'm often found drooling over tights and stockings, vintage items and one of a kind things. I don't like seeing the stuff I wear on other people. It's embarrassing.

Phil's taking me on a date next week. We're going for Tapas in Bolton. I've never been for tapas before. I'm quite excited. I love being taken out to dinner, more so because Phil always looks so handsome. I've decided I'm going to wear a black sweater, my black skirt with green embroidery, some black woollen tights and my green pashmina to make it look less like I'm going to a funeral. I shall post photos.

We were talking last night about living in Devon and all the new people we might meet. The thing is, I seem to attract the wrong type of friends. The majority of friends I've had since I met Phil have all been really bitter nasty people who for some reason were desperate to see me fail and wanted Phil and I to break up. So I'm slightly worried that when we move I'll attract the same no good friends. Phil says that I should just relax because he's going to make sure I don't attract the no good types.

The last "friend" I had, well she was a very nasty rude person. She's a major Christian but the hate and rudeness she shows wasn't very Christian like at all. I will say no more about her identity but lets call her "Helen". We used to go for meals out and the way she treated waiters quite frankly embarrassed me. Phil took a heavy dislike to her from the moment he met her and told me that she'd end up screwing me over. Which she did. But because I'd known her such a long time I dismissed his warning.

I planned a trip with her as a farewell to her and the North West of England before I moved and she cancelled on me saying that her sister was going to take her on the same trip so she didn't want to go with me but instead suggested I should go with my husband. I was fuming. She thought that I was trying to come between her and her sister [?!], ignoring that I had told her I was angry because it was a trip for her and I to take not Phil and I, she completely dismissed the significance of the trip and showed how much I meant to her as a friend.

Anyway, she ended up ending our friendship through an email. It was the most nastiest email I'd ever read. She accused me of being a very very bitter person towards her and she gave me advice on how to make my life "better". Needless to say I didn't respond because she wasn't describing me, she was describing herself. Phil was in tears with laughter at the email he thought she was a brat anyway "Claire, she's a deluded b**** and she did you a favour by ending the friendship, you don't need self absorbed t**** like that".

Another reason why I didn't respond because I was happy she'd ended our friendship. You see, she has this friend called, "Emelia". Now "Helen" would always tell me the nasty things "Emelia" would say about me even though I hadn't seem "Emelia" since high school nor cared about the hatred she spewed towards me, it's been seven years love, MOVE ON! In turn, "Helen" would say the most horrific things about "Emelia". She'd would degrade "Emelia's" relationship and work and call her a sad waste of space. And I used to think "if this is what she's telling me about "Emelia" then what could she be possibly saying about me to "Emelia"?

"Helen" constantly talked about how sad people were from high school because they all still date the same people they did in Year 11 and "Helen" felt they need to "stop living in the past". It was then that I realised that it was "Helen" who was living in the past. A past I hadn't given thought to in seven years and eventually I was getting bored of her high school snipes. She sounded like a broken record. Phil was right she did do me a favour.

Phil is a very good judge of character as is my German Shepherd, Shadow. Shadow is by no means aggressive but to "Helen" well, he'd constantly growl at her and we'd always have to crate him. It worried us because he's such a sociable dog and loves everyone that comes round. She's known him since he was a tiny pup and out of all the people he's known since we got him she's the only one I thought he could probably bite. We worked on it whenever she came round and eventually he was able to tolerate her being in the house but that's as far as it went. Everyone else he adores and cries when they have to go home.

I now wonder whether Shadow was warning me that she was no good. I know it sounds completely sad and "Lassie" like. But honestly it's not uncommon for German Shepherds to want to protect their owners from people like that. I'm sick of choosing neurotic, depressed, self absorbed people as friends. But like a relationship you think they're awesome people until they show their true colours too late in and you hope it doesn't happen again and they flip out or blank you again and blame you for all their problems, by putting you down. Yet you know you haven't done anything to provoke it.

I think there's an element of jealousy towards me. I have this wonderful, amazing, funny, talented husband and I'm about to embark on a new life and I really think people want to make it as difficult a transition as possible for me. But in actual fact they are making it very easy for me. You see, I used to question whether I was doing the right thing by leaving all the people I cared about behind. By them choosing to leave my life it's made farewells a whole lot easier.

If there's one thing I learned about these friendships is that I can't constantly try and make people feel better about themselves. That is something that they have to do on their own. I cannot stand there and tell you things you want to hear only for you to fall out with me because I disagreed with you. I tried to make one friend feel better by saying that her dog, which she had just gotten rid of for stealing a carcass [which was meant for the bin] from the kitchen, would probably not miss her because it was possibly having too much fun rolling around on a 77 acre farm. I was honestly trying to make her feel less guilty than she did only for her to say
"how dare you try and put me down. I would NEVER say anything like that to you!"
I did explain that I was only trying to make her feel better. She deleted me from facebook, expecting me to come begging for forgiveness like she does with all her other idiotic friends, who she lets walk all over her. We haven't spoken since. It's sad because I know I was her only true friend.

True friendship is rough and smooth you argue, you make up. Once a person flips out and tells me they no longer want to be my friend I just don't bother to try and fix these friendships and I exit their lives completely. Why should I go running with my tail between my legs begging for their friendship? It's better to let them go. Phil has decided that any friend I make down in Devon, he is going to vet them along with Shadows help. If Shadow dislikes them and Phil confirms that they are bad eggs. They are gone. It's harsh but I'm too old for ridiculous fall outs. People's insecurities are not my problem to deal with, nor am I to blame for them.

So RIGHT now I don't have any friends that I see. The friendships that are worth it [people from uni and Rob from college], I never see because we all live too far away but we are in constant contact.

I think the reason why I'm finding it so difficult to find friends is because my peers don't easily relate to me. I'm 23, I've been married for two blissful years without children. Most people my age treat me like a leper because they can't comprehend why I would want to be married when I don't have children. I've been told that I shouldn't be married and that I should be enjoying my youth "sowing my wild oats". But I am enjoying my youth, I just enjoy it with my husband. I'd rather be friendless than without my husband. That's not to say I need a man to complete me I'm just very very close to him.

People my age are all about the clubs. I don't enjoy going to clubs I think clubs are for single people and I don't like people shouting in my ear. I don't like the music of today, I only know who Rhianna and Chris Brown is because they're like Ike and Tina. I'd much prefer going out to a pub without speakers blaring today's crappiest hits a foot away from me. Also we never go out because every penny we have goes towards our moving fund.

Equally, I'm too immature to have mature friends. I still watch Disney Cinemagic, trashy MTV shows and I love high school musical and I'm an avid Hello Kitty collector. I'm mature in the sense that I take my marriage vows seriously as well as face up to my responsibilities as an independent girl. But, at the same time I want to kick back and savour my youth. Basically I'm not grown up enough for my 23 year old body.

There's nothing wrong with me per se I'm loud, confident and have a killer sense of humour I think that when I hit 26 or 27 and there's more married people my age, I'll have a mass of friends like I did before I married. It's just a shame that there's so much contempt for young married women. It's not just me, I have a married online friend [she's 21] and she feels ostracised from society too.

And that will be the only vent I will do on this blog. I feel really good about writing it. On the other hand if any of these people happen to come across this post, don't take it to heart [although you probably will] and I honestly hope that life treats you as kindly as it has treated me.

And now for something completely different...
A bit about how I met Phil. I was 19 he was 22. He was meeting some friends of mine for drinks. They'd shown me his Myspace photo's, I have a massive thing for men with long hair and blue eyes, I decided it might be best if I tagged along.

I messaged him on Myspace that day coolly introducing myself as though I was welcoming him into our circle of friends. We started talking. I wasn't sure if I'd get the chance to talk to him alone at the pub and I didn't regular access to the Internet so I pretended that we were all terrible time keepers and asked whether he had anyone's number in case we were late or plans changed. He hadn't so I gave him mine. Smooth. He didn't realise that was just a ploy to get his number. As soon as I saw him walk in to the pub I knew I was going to marry him. Six weeks later he proposed. Nearly two years later we got married.

Phil is originally from Devon as I may have said and as such says "can't" instead of ****, which I find hilarious. He's always wanted to move back to Devon he's just never settled in Manchester. He supported me financially through university and I suggested that as a small token of my gratitude for doing that we should buy our flat, do it up and move to Devon. We aimed to do this before he was thirty.

Last year, I unexpectedly came into a large sum of money. I didn't know what to do with it and I always feel guilty about frittering away large sums of money. I wanted to use it and have the best Christmas ever. But Phil felt awkward about me spending money intended for me on him. So he declined and said that I should spend it on whatever I wanted, how I wanted. I was thinking about using it to do our flat up but again, it'd be money wasted as we'd only sell it anyway.

So one day we met up for lunch in town. It suddenly came to me! We should use the money to move to Devon after I graduated. I think he again tried to decline but there was no stopping me. We were both MISERABLE in our dingy flat. We now had enough money to relocate, provide a few months rent AND have enough to live on while we searched for work. Things were starting to look up for the Burtons and here we are today. Phil is packing up his consoles as we speak *groan* At least it's a start and this move really is starting to happen.


Want to give your marriage a real test?

So the night before last I wrote a huge blog about how we decided that we had decided on an area in Devon to relocate to and that place was Okehampton. I decided not to post and leave it for the next day because it was quite late and I wanted to proof read it. I'm glad I didn't.

Okehampton is a beautiful place and we were so excited because it's practically on the door step of Dartmoor National Park and is pretty much slap bang in the middle of no where. Where we live now, our back garden opens directly on to a tree reserve and we wanted to move somewhere similar, because we'd like great dog walking trails. Okehampton seemed perfect.

So we were doing some research about employment in the area and it turns out that Okehampton's Job Centre was recently closed and that people have to commute to Exeter's Job Centre some twenty miles away. The thing is we have no car and we can hardly afford to fritter money commuting on two bus rides there.

Phil was all like "Don't worry, don't worry. Remember I can work two jobs if I have to." But I don't want him to work two jobs. So we decided that without no car and Okehampton being such a way off from any major town Okehampton may not be the best way to start our new life in Devon.

Suddenly all hell erupted. I'm not really sure what happened. But I remember shouting at at him something rotten about how I'm sick of waiting for him to announce when he's going to get off the Xbox and actually start researching areas for us to live. I'm sick of him not doing any research into any area. We haven't had an argument this bad in nearly a year, we've been married for two years and still in the honeymoon period.

He shouted back that his way was better in the sense that he's going to literally google some places that accept Housing Benefit [We figured that renting somewhere that would accept Housing Benefit would mean that if we struggled to find work or if a recession hit again, we wouldn't be faced with homelessness]. As soon as he found a place that accepts HB that's where we'd move to.

Basically I can't even begin to express my frustration and depression of being here. Not to mention his formula of going about this. I really think that we should research areas. I'm so stressed because we were supposed to move in September then October but Phil decided he didn't want to move until the stress of Christmas is over.

So understandably I'm a bit of an emotional mess. I'm desperate to work like you wouldn't believe and I haven't been able to because no one wants to hire someone who's only going to be in the area 8 weeks as I have been told by the hundreds of applications I've sent out.
Arrrrrghhhhhh! *bashes head against keyboard.*

I ended up telling him that I am pulling out of this move because he's dragging his feet and that to be honest, I felt we were never going to move. I feel like we're both runners and we have a fear of finishing line tape and we stand there acting all willy nilly because neither of us can face our fear of crossing it. I'm sick of being unemployed [I graduated four months ago] and I just want to earn money.

He stormed off to bed then came back to try and discuss it, I said repeatedly that we should just move somewhere locally for a while because I'm just sick of it all. So we blanked each other until the next afternoon. I really hate fighting with him. We both apologised and he promised me that we will move in January maybe not at the start but certainly, by January 31st we will be in our new home.

So everythings back on, we're best friends again and we're going to try and find a place closer to Exeter. He still doesn't know which town we'll be moving to *Arrrrgh!* we did look at Paignton but we can't afford a grand a month in rent.

If you want to really test your marriage move your wife three hundred miles to your home county it really will be one of the hardest strains on even the best of marriages.

Incase you're wondering why my brackets are [ like this], it's because they don't work on one
of the laptops I use.


Sane to be calm? Or rose tinted glasses?

Is there such a thing as "Pre move jitters"? Like wedding jitters but with moving?

It's 3:30am on a Sunday morning and I'm sat up in bed genuinely terrified that this move isn't going to work out. We are no closer to getting a place than we were in my last blog post.

Sometimes I wonder whether we are doing the right thing. Phil keeps saying that we will be fine and that he could easily get a job in one month to support us while I look for work but A) That's some insane shit to be putting him through while I try and sell a few crappy prints at art shows or to art shops and B) Is he insane to be this calm, or is he wearing rose tinted glasses?

I don't want him to work two jobs. That's really cruel but he said he'll do what he has to. This isn't to say I'll be kicking back, I'll be out trying to find anything I can. I do really want to work in the Voluntary Sector, but it's extremely hard to get your foot through the door so I was thinking of working with a temping agency.

Honestly, like I may have said before I feel like we're moving to Australia or some crazy cool place like that. I've only been south of Birmingham three times in my whole life. The first time, I was maybe three or four and we stayed on this family farm that had "The World's Most Friendliest Sheep" No joke. That was their claim. It attacked me. The second time was I was thirteen and I went on some lameo stupid school holiday to Paris and we needed to go down south to get to Dover. The third time was a couple of years ago. Exmouth we went. I freaking loved it.

But yes, I'm terrified because Phil still hasn't decided where we are living.

I may go and drink green tea and end this blog before my laptop dies. I. AM. SCARED.


In January 2010 we are taking the next step in life by relocating to the beautiful county of Devon. We have been waiting for this day for what seems like a lifetime. Everything has come into place, I graduated this summer with a not too shabby 2:2 in Social Policy and will be looking to start a career in the Voluntary Sector and my husband aspires to teach the guitar full time... It's not going to be easy. We haven't even chosen where we want to live! All we know is that we want to end up in Exmouth eventually...

We have a month to find a place so we can give our four week's notice to our current landlord and find a landlord in Devon, who will hopefully allow our two cats and German Shepherd to live with us.

Here's hoping it all goes to plan *gulp*!