Oh dear!

Ok, I’ve let it slide. BUT – I’m back 😀 and I will update it with everything that has happened and everything that is happening.

First off, how I got on with the list I wrote on my last post.

  • Find a self storage place and reserve a spot for next weekend

After much googling and price comparing and quoting, we went with Big Yellow. They had a 50% off the first 8 weeks, so were the cheapest and also one of the closest, meaning I didn’t have to go across town every time I needed to take something in – and I had to go multiple times, as I only have a fiat panda! We crossed our fingers that we wouldn’t need it beyond the 8 weeks and we didn’t (but more on that on following posts, ha!).

What you need to know: when looking for storage, you will most likely need to pay a deposit, insurance and buy a padlock on top of the quoted price. We paid one week’s deposit – not sure that varies according to your storage place, but I would check. I had a quick search for padlocks before going and found that most DIY stores sell similar quality items for similar prices to Big Yellow, so I saved myself a trip to the shops and bought their one. If you have one at home, great, no need to spend money on that! We got the deposit and a couple of days worth of storage refunded when we moved out.

  • Find a window/glass person to replace the smashed pane in the kitchen

Husband arranged that one. It was reasonably pricey and a bit messy but quick. It is great having a decent looking window again.

  • Try to fix my conservatory blinds

Now, this is a funny one. A couple of months ago, we went to a local blinds and curtains shop and asked if they could fix our roof blind. The cat had climbed on it and something had snapped, so it was bulging down – not sure how else to describe it, but it looked like a hammock hanging from the ceiling rather than flat? Anyway, we paid £30 for the privilege of a visit to see what they could do. On the arranged day, two youngsters came in, had a look and nope, can’t fix it. So I asked if they could quote me for a new one. They measured for it but we never got a quote, and husband – who had arranged the whole thing – never chased it up. We decided we were just going to remove it for when we had viewings etc. But not before I had a look myself. It took me 20 minutes and a tapestry needle to fix it myself and it’s now back up and working just fine.

  • Test sugar soap on the white walls to see if we can get away with not painting them

Sugar soap has been the biggest revelation of this whole thing. It’s amazing! Though trial and error I found that fabric dust sheets (or, I suppose, just normal floor cloths) are much better than plastic one – my sore bottom would agree, just don’t do it! – and that the ready made stuff is more practical than the concentrated one that you need to dilute in a bucket. All my walls looked brilliant after being washed and I saved loads of painting.

Top tip for smaller spaces: obviously, if you’re doing a big area, it will be better to have buckets. But for smaller walls, I would recommend a spray ready made bottle of sugar soap, a spray bottle of water to wash it off and two good quality sponges. I started off with normal (brand new!) kitchen ones and after one wall they were good for the bin. I ended up buying decorator’s foam ones from B&Q and they are a bit expensive compared to the kitchen ones but they are worth it.

Everything that needed doing was done, at the expense of not having much time to write by the end of the day – it was exhausting, but very much worth it. If you have a look on my Instagram, you will see a few bits and pieces from the bedrooms, lounge and garden. I was so pleased when I finished that I nearly changed my mind about moving… 😀

Schedule for the week – 21 to 27th May

It’s been a mostly unproductive couple of weeks, with my monthly cold being slightly worse than previously. Maybe I need to see a doctor about it – the fact that I am getting them very often rather than it’s taken a bit longer to shift this time. The weekend, however, was quite good considering I spent a ridiculous amount of time playing Zuma and watching Pointless.

I finally painted the inside of my front door, installed the landing light that arrived yesterday and started painting the family bathroom. I have done behind the towel heater radiator, which is the most painful bit, and just need to do the rest now – should still finish today as more than half of it is tiled. Husband is busy with the garden, which deserves a whole post on its own, but he is making great progress.

Now here the essential tasks schedule for this week:

  • Find a self storage place and reserve a spot for next weekend
  • Find a window/glass person to replace the smashed pane in the kitchen
  • Try to fix my conservatory blinds
  • Test sugar soap on the white walls to see if we can get away with not painting them

Now, I promise I am not being lazy, but I am a bit worried that if I start painting the stairs wall, it won’t look right. I am not terribly tall and I don’t think I could use a ladder on the stairs, since I don’t have the appropriate equipment. I could probably get away with a pole but then, the ceiling. So I am really hoping the sugar soap will do the job. It’s only a couple of walls anyway, so fingers crossed.

We also need to decide the destiny of our old microwave, which husband wanted to return to Panasonic when it stopped working after 18 months of use, but has been sitting in our kitchen floor for a bit longer than that.

Two weeks until we get the estate agents in. Starting to feel nervous (and very real).

I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want

This is a funny post to write, but I think it needs to be out there and it will help to guide us through the tortuous process of picking a new home. We have an imaginary wish list – we often talk about the must-haves and the thing that we don’t like -, but hasn’t been on ‘paper’ until now.

We have watched enough Location, location, location to know that we might have to compromise when the time comes, unless we win the lottery in the mean time. But if we could afford everything on the list, this is what the house would look like:

  • By the sea
  • At least three bedrooms, with more room for a playroom and two separate studies
  • A big kitchen or space to extend
  • A big garden
  • A utility room so I don’t have to look/stumble at my washing when drying inside 😀
  • Loads of light

Actually, when I look at it, written down like that, it doesn’t seem all that impossible. The tricky bit is the ‘by the sea’ – houses in our price bracket don’t come around often and don’t hang around for too long when they do. But we are happy to drive 10-15 minutes for the sea if everything else is right.

Now, the stuff we would like to avoid:

  • Beams – husband hates them and, whilst I don’t mind much, they generally come in cottagey types, with low ceiling which I very much dislike
  • Artex ceiling – I am generally not phased by challenge, but I really wouldn’t like to move into a house that needs ceiling plastering.

I can’t think what else has been discussed now, but there might be updated posts in the future about this!

(If this was a public blog I would be asking for your wish lists – so if you happen to stumble upon this, please, do share! 🙂 )

Dream house of the week

I have always like to have a regular theme going on on Fridays and I thought it would be fun to have a Dream Houses here. These will be houses we love but that, for whatever reason generally money, we can’t have.

I will soon write a post about our wishlist – possibly tomorrow! – but if you pay close attention to the houses I will post here, you could probably guess 🙂

The first one is this lovely, lovely house in Cardiff. I think this will be one of the rare cases where a house is actually within budget, but unfortunately someone was faster than us. To be honest, we don’t really want to live in Cardiff, as we are trying to run away from the commute, but this house made my heart beat a bit faster.

It has five bedrooms and high ceilings and lovely tiles and beautiful fireplaces. The only thing is was not keen on was the garden, but I could totally have lived with that. I wish the lucky buyers a wonderful life in their wonderful new house!

** The images on this post have been pinched from Zoopla, where I spend far too much time.

A situation misjudged

I have been watching the house market for about 3 years now – though it might be 4. So when we decided to up sticks, we made a decision based on the fact that houses where we live don’t tend to hand around for long, they seem to sell in about 10 days. Or rather seemed. Since the beginning of this year, houses seem to drag themselves. Some have been on the market for months now. I haven’t even had the estate agents in yet and I am already preparing myself to be on the market for years. In my slightly crazy head, daughter will go to university and we will still be on the market.

The thing is, the prices are not coming down. I don’t know what the justification is for the whole thing, I always read that if a house is not selling, the price is wrong – but maybe they are not in a hurry? It must be hard for people relocating within the same area, as prices around here are crazy and only seem to go up. We are lucky in that sense, as we are moving to Wales, we have more room for negotiation, I feel.

All that being said, one of the houses on the estate went up for sale last week and has already sold, so maybe it’s starting to pick up again? And since that one went, another one has gone as well, though this one had been on the market since January – both with the same estate agent, so maybe it’s a good sign. I am swinging between being really hopeful and really scared.

Looking back, maybe we should have sold last year, with all the decorating bits missing, but we can’t go back on the decisions we made based on previous years’ sales, so after reading and reading and researching and working like crazy, we have decided the house is going on the market right after the general election. It’s a daunting prospect, but we are hoping to be celebrating Christmas in our new house. Fingers crossed for us!