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Hello! My name is Helen. Thank you for looking at my page!
*** Pandemic update ***
Please be aware that there are travel restrictions from most parts of the world to the UK in force right now. Please check the latest government rules to find out whether you would need to quarantine on arrival if visiting the UK. If you are coming from a red list country, this is likely to be expensive as you would need to quarantine in government-approved hotels.
My home is unfortunately not suitable for quarantine, as there are 4 of us living here and some of us are going out to work and not able to work from home, so we have to be mindful of the risk.
However, if you are already in the UK, travelling from a green list country, or have planned another way to quarantine before coming to stay, then I may be able to welcome you this summer, and I would be grateful for the help.
Please check my calendar for availability and contact me if you are interested.
I am fully vaccinated now, but the younger people in my house have only had their first injections, they will all be fully vaccinated in a couple of months I hope.
I am looking for some help in the house, with household chores, cleaning and cooking and shopping, some help in the garden, weeding, hedge trimming and lawn mowing, and helping to care for my two cats, including cleaning out litter trays and also depending on when you come we may have foster kittens to look after as well.
The house is an old English townhouse with 6 bedrooms, 3 of them have medium to long term guests, one I keep for guests or friends and family, and a large room with 2 single beds for work away guests, so there are usually about 6 people living here.
In the house, we have Andy and Steve from Birmingham, Vicky is from Somerset and me. We all get on pretty well and sometimes eat dinner together and share the cooking. Otherwise, it's a quiet, pretty relaxed and friendly household.
Because we have to get up early for work, we like to have the house quiet after 10 pm. There are bedrooms above the kitchen, so please be aware of the noise you're making if you are cooking late at night.
When it's a full house, we usually organise it so that a different person cooks dinner each night and anyone can join in or eat leftovers later, and at least one night, we have a DIY night where everyone is doing their own thing. We usually cook things properly from scratch; I prefer not to use pre-prepared food too much. We eat a mixture of traditional British food like stews and roast dinners, and also we like chilli and curries and Turkish food and other recipes from around the world. Workaway is great for sharing new recipes. We are not vegetarians, although when we have hosted vegetarians, it has been fun to try and create a vegetarian version of things. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you may need to do most of your own cooking, and we'll sort out a shopping plan together. Breakfast and lunch we all usually organise for ourselves, and you are free to cook what you want from what we have bought for the week, make sandwiches or salad etc. We'll sort out a weekly shopping list between us and try and budget sensibly.
I work as a freelance IT consultant, and at the moment, I am lucky to be working from home. I am a fairly quiet person, but I enjoy getting to know people one on one. I enjoy reading and cooking and good conversations, but I'm not a big one for going out to parties. I enjoy concerts (classical and others), films and theatre. You are welcome to enjoy the nightlife in Birmingham, but I probably won't come along :)
We have 2 cats who also live here. They are only allowed outside during the day, they are called Pepper and Fudge, and they are very curious, playful and friendly when they get to know you. There is a wooded area at the back of our garden where the railway line runs through, and you can often hear birdsong and owls calling at night even though we are in a city suburb.
I do not allow smoking in the house because the smell gets in the carpets and curtains, but two smokers live here, and they smoke in the garden.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
You will easily be able to explore the city, where there is plenty going on. If you like theatre or concerts especially. Outside Birmingham, there are nearby sights too, such as Stratford on Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace, or Warwick castle, or maybe you want to explore the Cotswolds and see some old villages. You can also get to Malvern, and Worcester easily by train, and these are old English market towns, Malvern has lovely hills nearby for hiking.
Let me know if there is anything you are specifically interested in doing and I will help you to organise it or go along with you maybe if I have time. Also, there are a number of farmers markets to explore, many of which you can get to by bus or train within a few minutes walk from my home.
Help in the House
If you are happy to help in the house with cooking, cleaning, ironing, and gardening, that would be wonderful.
Also, if you are good at organising things like sheds, laundry cupboard, tool store and things like that so that we can find things easily when we need them, the under-stairs store cupboard is a work in progress - we need to put up hooks and clips, and work out the best way to store things, which might involve building shelves/cabinet type things to fit the space. We have some good charity furniture shops locally so we may get some old furniture that we could adapt.
Looking after cats
I have 2 young cats who love to be around people and play as well as being fed. They are only allowed outside during the daytime, so that means cleaning litter trays.
If you are thinking of coming from March or later in the year and are interested in gardening, including a vegetable garden, please let me know.
The help will be hands-on, digging, planting, weeding, getting hedges under control, and maybe harvesting some vegetables. You need to know a little about gardening, plant shrubs and other things, and use a lawnmower and hedge trimmers, etc. I'm looking for people who can work fairly independently and enjoy the tasks.
Some research projects such as finding ways to improve internet access.
We have started a Workaway recipe book, so if you have some family favourite recipes that you would like to include, please bring them along :)
This host offers a language exchange
This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
You can contact them directly for more information.
I live in an old Edwardian house in a residential and culturally mixed suburb of Birmingham. The house was built in 1914 and is large, on 3 floors with high ceilings. I have spare rooms available for guests, so depending on when you come, there may be other helpers to hang out with, or if you are 2 friends travelling together, let me know I may be able to accommodate you.
You would either have your own room or be in a twin room with one other worker. If you are a group of friends, we can arrange the Workaway room for 3 people.
There is a bathroom shared between 3 bedrooms with a bath and a shower. The house is 4 minutes walk to the train station, from where you can get a train to either Birmingham City Centre within 6 minutes or Solihull within 6 minutes.
I don't allow smoking in the house, although 2 smokers live here and smoke in the garden.
We sometimes cook together as a house, and sometimes people do their own thing. We will discuss with you and decide how best to organise it when we know your plans, but we prefer to share the cooking sometimes as it makes a better household atmosphere.
Food and accommodation in exchange for 5 hours work a day with 2 days off per week.
One of the helping days may be on the weekend sometimes to spend more time with you during the day, as I'm also working. You will need to be fairly independent, though, as you may be doing tasks alone much of the time, depending on when you come.
I will provide food. However, you will need to be able to cook for yourself some of the time. I enjoy trying food from different countries and would love it if you like to cook your favourite recipes.
We will usually eat together in the evening most of the time, and ideally share the cooking between us.
Food will be available to help yourself for breakfast and lunch during the week, and you will be considered one of the family.
Please let me know when applying if you have any strong food preferences, things you particularly like, or things you don't like. We will cook simple healthy food most of the time.
I normally enjoy cooking healthy meals, sometimes British traditional food, and experimenting with recipes from around the world, and buying seasonal produce - I would eventually like to start growing some of my own vegetables, but not there yet as the garden is a work in progress :) We can adapt the menu for vegetarians, and I have hosted vegans once as well, which required a little more creativity and planning and help from the work-away people. Still, it was quite interesting, and we created some delicious meals.
If you let me know before you arrive about any food intolerances, strong preferences or dislikes, I can plan for your visit.
We have 2 young and playful house cats who live here too. Fudge will want to adopt you immediately, play with you, talk to you and help you with whatever you are doing. Pepper will probably take a bit longer to get to know you, but he is very affectionate when he decides to trust someone.
If you are interested, please message me, and we can discuss further.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
If you're freelancing remote working, and also have time to be a workaway for 20 hours a week you are very welcome - please review the rest of my profile so you know what to expect. At the moment the best place to use for wifi is downstairs in the dining room or kitchen, however if your laptop has an ethernet connection there is a network throughout the house that you can plug into for fast internet.
5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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