I wanted to get my fiancé Sean a thoughtful and meaningful gift this Christmas. Something that signified the new beginnings that a new year embodies. 2017 has been an interesting and difficult year for both Sean and I. It’s been a year of health scares, changes, and the unknown.
We moved from Oxfordshire to Gloucestershire at the very end of 2016 for a complete change in lifestyle. I was working in administration and he was a builder and electrician. Both of us wanted a change, a chance to try something different, and a fresh start. It was a case of ‘now or never’ so we took the plunge, sold the flat and bought a house in a beautiful village. We started to follow our dreams. I was going to give full-time blogging a go, he was going to try making a living as an artist, and to pay the bills we were going to sell on eBay full-time. We were going to revamp the new house and its garden, spend more time outdoors now we lived in a Forest, and have a simpler life with more time to do the things we wanted.
We had great plans and were really looking forward to me leaving my job at the end of February 2017 so we could go full steam ahead with our new jobs and lifestyle. As always, the best laid plans don’t always turn out the way they should. Less than a week before the last day at my job, Sean became ill with what we thought was a migraine. He spent two weeks in hospital with what they initially suspected was encephalitis, but was actually a stroke. Not a mini stroke (or TIA), but a full-blown stroke. As he was only 39 at the time, you can imagine this was a huge shock for everyone.
We’ve been very lucky. Sean’s lasting damage from the stroke is minimal with only some memory issues. We still don’t know why it happened as they could find nothing physically wrong with him. We now presume it was a mix of stress and poor diet, brought on by the house move and him worrying about my 5-hour round commute each day.
While he was in hospital and for several weeks afterwards we were a little bit lost. Our dream suddenly became a bit of a nightmare, and we struggled to get things off the ground. I was barely blogging, and our eBay business consumed our life. Renovating the house and garden went on the back burner, due to finances and lack of time. We have slogged our way through it, it has been harder than we ever thought, but we remained positive (most of the time) and kept going. We now feel in a stronger position than ever, and are excited for 2018 and all its possibilities.
The gift I have for Sean this year is a little bit symbolic of our changed lifestyle. I love ordering online gifts, and I got him some grow your own kits from notonthehighstreet.com.
For me they represent the new start that we have, and the new chances that will arise again in 2018. Growing things from seed is such a satisfying venture, and it symbolises our business and our new lifestyle. We also didn’t have the chance we wanted to work in our new garden and transform it into the thing of beauty we had in mind! This will give us a little helping hand.
I got the tea and coffee growing kits (he loves his tea and coffee), a grow your own red wine kit (this one is for me really!) and jalapeno chillies. I also got some alpine strawberries, and a grow your own Christmas tree which I thought was really cute.
Each kit has its own biodegradable plant pots, coir wafers, plant marks and a wooden pencil. Plus of course the seeds that you need. They make growing from seed really easy.
One of our goals for our move was to live a healthier, more sustainable and frugal life. With Sean’s health issues this year, it’s become more important than ever that we do this.
He means the world to me and I know he will find these gifts touching. We’re both really excited about 2018 and what we can make happen. And I’m really excited about having a mini Christmas tree to decorate this time next year too!
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