Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Pumpkin 2013

In the UK, Halloween is not such a big deal as it is in the US and I can only remember a couple of occasions where I went to a party as a child, and I was never, ever allowed to trick or treat (my parents thought it was begging).

Obviously at university you tend to do more this was really when we started getting inventive with dressing up, but I never did pumpkins. And then a couple of years ago, I felt the urge. To carve pumpkins.

2011:


2012:


And then this year, and the biggest challenge ever:


I'm tired now. Next year? Scary face.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

One Year In - Bathroom

In celebration of my one year anniversary, I quickly ran around the house in about two minutes flat and took photos of each room to share and show the difference from when I bought the house. First stop: bathroom.

This is one of the rooms that has changed the most. New loo (that's British for toilet, in case you were unsure), new sink, new taps (faucets for many of you), new shower, new floor, paint etc. I did post a while back about how progress was, um, progressing, but now it's more or less complete.

Here's the before:



Not pretty. I took these photos the day after the house became mine, so the next photos are exactly a year on.



I am so very happy with it! And it was pretty cost effective too. The toilet and sink were off Ebay (brand new fyi) for £75 total, the floor was about £30, the tiles/grouting no more than £50, the glass shower door was a spare one my parents had, as were one set of taps. Towel rails were all left from the previous owners,  and the new shower was the biggest expense at around £150. Vati gave me the new mirror as a gift because he is lovely and I am a wonderful daughter. Or something like that.

Pretty much the only thing left to do is to hang some art. At the moment I am leaning towards pictures of my favourite marine animals (narwhal, manatee and the like) but am thinking of making these myself rather than buying. Because of course I have all that spare time I can spend wisely through crafting.

Rest of the house coming soon!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

365

I can't quite believe it, but it has been a whole year since I completed on my house, picked up the keys and became a home owner!!

Although I've only been living in this house for six months, this has been one of the best adventures. I feel like I've grown up so much in that time. And of course I'm very proud of what I accomplished (with a lot of help from my Vati).

I spent about four years saving for the deposit. Then the buying process took almost FIVE MONTHS, but then it was allllllll mine! I have spent roughly 5k on decorating, appliances and furniture.

In celebration, I will take some photos to show progress later on when the house is tidy, but today I'm going to talk about why I chose this house and what I wanted.

It was actually only the fourth house I looked at in person... I was finding it hard to take my house hunt 'seriously' until around the time I ended up buying this house, mostly because of finances. Whilst I could have done it, it would have been tight. I'm so glad I was able to wait that little bit longer and save that little bit more money to make the monthly bills easier. Also, the almost-five-month long process allowed me to save even more money, which meant I was able to redo the kitchen.

I had a few criteria to meet when I was looking at a house.

1. Parking - I really really wanted off road parking, or if not, then a quiet street to park on. In the UK, the majority of houses in my price range are terraced with no drive, so you have to parallel park on the road. My friend lives down such a road and they have to often park streets away to find a space. As I would be living on my own and the areas I could afford weren't too great, I really wanted to be able to leave my house and go straight to my car. Plus it helps with car insurance costs, and my parallel parking isn't the best (it's not the worst either, fyi).

2. Two bedrooms - I wanted people to be able to come and stay, and to have room to have a little office area.

3. Room to have a dining table - it seems to me that many kitchens in this country are tiny. And then the living area is taken up by other furniture. So where do you eat?

4. Easy commute to work - self explanatory.

5. A garden - somewhere to have a table, plants, a BBQ, and obviously, a bird table.

That was pretty much it. I like to think I'm not too fussy. All of the houses I looked at more or less met all these criteria, so at least I could do it all within my price limit and I wasn't totally deluded. Strange thing is, when I walked into this house for the first time, I didn't love it. But I knew I wasn't really going to get anything better in my price range. I'm not overly keen on modern houses (I prefer a bit of character), but I was realistic and knew that this house wouldn't stay on the market long. It needed a bit of work, but I knew I could make it work for me and put my stamp on it. My house has a drive at the side, and even has a garage. It has a good size garden (it's actually bigger than both of my neighbours'), and a spare room capable of fitting a double bed. I suppose one of the plus points of having a newer build house is that hopefully there wouldn't be too much wrong with it that would be costly and time consuming and too difficult for me to cope with on my own. It was also chain free - they wanted a quick sale. I guess it was head over heart... I weighed up all the options and it just seemed like a smart choice.

Now I'm living here think I do love it. Obviously there are things I would change, but you can't expect a first house to be perfect. More than anything, I am happy and proud and content. So all is good.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

A Couple of Updates

I am still alive, and things are much better than in the last post I wrote. :-)

No big updates in the life department, so today I'm going to share a couple of little updates in the organisation department that have made me smile a little.

One of my August Goals was to sort out my make-up drawer. Don't you just jokingly loathe those people who don't need to wear make-up and who flaunt it all over the internet? Well I am not one of those. I have crap skin and I need to wear make-up to survive. Whenever I don't wear make-up (for example, walking the dog) I am bound to meet an attractive man or someone I haven't seen in years and then I am embarrassed. So I ordered these drawer organisers from Lakeland at the same time as I ordered my cutlery tray, and they work wonderfully. I threw a few items of make-up away (out of date/not used in years), but even so I had to spread from one drawer to two. Not a massive issue as the other drawer was empty anyway. So I went from this:



To this:


I put everything I might use on a daily basis in the top drawer, within easy reach for those horrific early mornings, and everything else in the second drawer. I can't work out how to rotate these photos and they are only off my phone, so apologies for that.

Then I tackled the cupboard under the kitchen sink. From this:


To this:


So much more pleasing to the eye. I just wish I had another little basket for the few items I couldn't fit in the other two. At a couple of quid each, they are well worth it!

Any organisation successes from anyone else?