Thursday, 19 June 2014

Decor that I love

I'm currently slightly obsessed with Pinterest - it's only a week until we move into our house now and so I'm constantly browsing for new furniture and room inspiration for when we get moved in.

These are some of my favourites that I've found so far...

The sofa and chair above are the styles that we have chosen for the living room (and already bought), with the sofa being a three seater version rather than a corner sofa. I love the colours, and so I'm planning the rest of the living room/dining area to match this. I especially love the swivel chair which rotates 360 degrees and is as big as the two seater sofa in this's very comfy as you could imagine!

As there is a radiator in the living room, I'd love a handmade radiator cover - shabby chic style - and luckily we have a relative that can make them, so we'll be getting together some ideas for this once we are moved in. I love the pretty designs such as those ones above.

A large mirror is a must, and I'd like a french-style design such as the two pictured above. I may have a look around some antique shops for one of these, and possibly paint it in a similar style to the top ornate design from Not on the High Street, which has a vintage hand distressed and antique finish, created by hand painting in white paint.

I love the above dining tables, and I think I'll be going for a dark wood table which will be in the living room. I'll be looking at getting four chairs with just a small sized table, and I love the dark wooden dining table above. Again, I'll have a look around antique stores for one of these, or possibly look into some reclaimed dining sets.

This arrangement of vases is a great way of making a simple but really pretty focal point, and would look great in the living room so I'll definitely be looking into creating something very similar to this. The below bedroom images show colour schemes that I love - duck egg and white/cream french style furniture, and red/white colours against dark wood. I already have duck egg bedding that will go in the guest bedroom, so now I just need the furniture! As you can tell from this post as well as my previous posts, I'm very excited to get moved in and start designing. Keep an eye out for my posts during July and August, as I'll hopefully have some rooms fully set up so that I can start blogging them.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Top tips for buying a house

As you may already know if you read my last post, I have recently exchanged contracts for a house, meaning that everything is now set in place. It has been a very stressful time, as we are both first time buyers and so we have been very new to the whole 'buying a house' thing, and for this reason I wanted to share my tips and advice to other first time buyers - all from what I have learned along the way.

So here are my 5 pieces of advice if you are about to buy a house, or if you are currently in the process.

1. Get an independent financial mortgage advisor.

This is really important and was the first thing we did. We didn't have to pay for ours either and he has helped us with every step along the way, from giving advice, to helping find solicitors, insurance, the best mortgage deal, etc. I would say it's really essential if you are a first time buyer, and it's important that they are completely independent so that they have access to the whole market and aren't biased in any way.

2. Make lists, lists and more lists.

When viewing properties, it is a good idea to print out the summaries before you go the the viewing and be prepared with a list of questions to ask the estate agent, or even the seller if they are there which is even better as you can ask questions that the estate agent wouldn't know. Although be prepared that they may just answer positively towards every question for a quick sale - you can usually judge if they are doing this. After you've had a viewing, make a list of positives and negatives - it makes it easier when you are comparing properties and you will also start to forget particular details so it's best to come up with the lists straight after your viewing. Remember to find out about flooding, crime rates, neighbours, etc. You may also want to visit the property at different times of the day to get an idea of the area.

3. Research your area and negotiate.

We found York to be very different to Lincolnshire, my hometown. Houses go fast, and there isn't much time for negotiation - we learned this after speaking to other people who were house hunting in York, and from speaking to estate agents. In terms of offers, they were going above the asking price and people were starting at the asking price. However, at my hometown I know others that have moved house several times, and they had informed me that they often start around £15,000 below the asking price, and never pay the full amount. In York we also found there isn't much time to think about putting in an offer as a lot of houses sell in a matter of days - whereas in other regions this isn't very common at all. It is therefore important to research your area which will help you a lot in terms of the negotiations. You don't want to pay too much, but at the same time you don't want to lose a property that you love against someone else. When putting in offers and negotiating against other people, always ask yourself 'Is this house worth this price?' and 'Would I be able to find a similar property for a lower price?' - this is important because if you are competitive, you may just be increasing your offer to win, rather than it being the right thing to do.

4. Avoid making plans until everything is certain.

One of the best things about being a first time buyer is that you don't have another property to sell, and therefore most often you have no set time that you need to move by. I have found that you really can't make any plans about move dates until you have exchanged contracts - this is very annoying, and it can take a long time from having your offer accepted to exchanging contracts, but it is essential that you avoid doing this because if you can't get exchanged before your planned move date (completion date), then it will cause huge problems. It is also best if you allow around 2 weeks minimum between exchange of contracts and completion, as this will allow you enough time to plan your move efficiently. Exchange of contracts can be delayed, especially if you are in a chain, and we experienced delays with ours so we were very thankful that we hadn't made any plans around the estimated date.

5. Keep calm and motivated.

Lastly, remember to keep calm and not stress too much! A first time buyer is in a great position - every seller wants a first time buyer! So it's really important to remember this - you have no other property to sell and therefore no chain, you can move in whenever the seller wants, and you may have a mortgage in principle too. It is important to remember this when negotiating the price.

I hope this advice helps, and good luck!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Where does the time go?!

So I just had the time to take a look at my blog this evening to realise that I hadn't written a post for almost two months now...where does the time go?!

This year feels like it is going by so quickly - I can't believe it's already June (my birthday soon!). It feels as though it should be February still, not long after Christmas, and for some reason time really does seem to go by faster and faster as you get older. It has also been a really busy few months for me and I feel as though I haven't really had a real break so far, with each day being really busy, hence why I haven't had the time to write a post.

Here's some of the things that have been going on over the last couple of months.

1. I am now a proud homeowner!

It's been a really challenging and stressful time, as myself and my boyfriend have been looking for a house since the end of last year. We've been looking in York as this is where we both work, ideally looking for somewhere in the centre, however, we came to realise that it is actually a big challenge to get a property in York, and also very expensive with it being the 3rd most expensive area to live in the UK. We found that the properties were just selling so quickly - quicker than we even realised was possible. We were viewing properties as soon as we saw them available on the market, and then as soon as we viewed them and gave ourselves time to come to a decision/put in an offer, they would have already sold. So it ended up just being a case of putting in an offer as soon as we saw a house that we liked, without even having the time to think about it or have a second viewing. I don't know whether it is just York that is like this (obviously I know that London is), or whether we were just interested in the most popular properties! We ended up putting in around three offers which were declined, and all went above the asking price. However, we finally had our offer accepted in March on a house that we love - a terraced house very close to the centre of York which we were really happy about - so it was all very exciting, although I knew that nothing would be final until we had exchange of contracts, of which only happened a few days ago. It was a very long process, with several complications including our surveyor down-valuing the house, meaning that we had to re-negotiate the price which was very challenging and stressful, as well as being part of a long chain and having to battle to break from the top of the chain, of which slowly and eventually happened after a lot of phone calls. But finally it has all worked out and I now feel stress-free about the whole situation. Although I still have plenty to organise, packing to do and lots of new furniture to buy - but that's the fun part!

We've already bought our sofa, chair and a bed, and we luckily have a lot of furniture being given to us. But there's still plenty left to buy. I'll be sure to update my blog with pictures of our rooms once they are all set up (so exciting!) - we are due to move in on the 27th so it's really not long now. Time to relax for a while...

I'll also be doing a post with some of my advice and tips if you are a first time buyer - whether you've only just decided that you would like to buy or whether you are in the middle of the process, it will hopefully be very helpful. I'm hoping to get this written in the next few days.

The House (image from

2. Promotion at work.

Along with the stress of buying a house I've also been very busy at work, but the hard work has paid off and I've been promoted from a Campaign Manager to an Operations Manager, managing a team of around 10 people and being responsible for the delivery of all campaigns - it's big step up and can be very challenging whilst working for a relatively new but vastly growing company. With the company being fairly new and vastly growing with continuous developments it is always very busy, but at the same time never boring. This is something that I would of never imagined myself doing after studying Fashion Design at University, however, I really enjoy digital marketing and I enjoy the management side, and it's also something that I feel I'm really good at. I'll also be doing a diploma in management shortly which will be something to add to my CV and hopefully I'll learn a lot from it. I do still want to use my degree in some way though, but I still need to think about that - I would love to do projects on the side of work from home such as making my own things, combining art and fashion, but I really struggle to find the time to think about it at the moment. One day I will make this happen!

3. A short break in Ibiza.

In the middle of all of these stressful situations that I have got myself in, I did take one break and flew to Ibiza at the beginning of May - I wouldn't exactly of called it relaxing though! Having never been to Ibiza I didn't really know what to expect, but I loved it and it was really hot weather too so I'd definitely go again. It was a great time to visit if you want to avoid the big crowds too, as it was a lot more of a relaxed environment. I'd recommend TULP and Ibiza Rocks bar along San Antonio bay if you do decide to go. We didn't go to any of the big clubs, but just went to bars which still ended up being very expensive! Here's a few pictures to show what we got up to.

Above images: view of the sunset from Cafe Mambo.

Above images: TULP - my favourite place that we went to, with sofas/hammocks just across from the beach.