1 Year Housiversary

I can’t believe it has been a full year since we picked up the keys to our first home! It has been one of the best years of my life with us achieving as well as learning so much and I wouldn’t change a moment.

With it being a year I thought I would give a low down on things that have gone well, things that haven’t gone as well and everything in between;

 

Definitely the best thing about owning our own home is living together. Before we bought the house we lived in between both of our parents houses for 4 years which sometimes was like planning a military operation on where to sleep. By having our own space we have both grown up so much by having responsibilities and we are stronger as individuals as well as together a lot more now.

Our priorities have changed a lot over the year. Before we bought the house I was a bit obsessed with holidays and would always be looking for the next great deal. Since buying the house we haven’t had a holiday, and I’m now ok with that. Our house is where we spend majority of our time and so we have worked hard and spent our money on something that will benefit every single day of our lives. (Also we may have an amazing holiday booked for next year which you will find out about soon…)

Furniture/building/designing costs a lot! When we were saving I’ve always dreamt of being able to design my own home- big wooden table, open living, woodburner, lots of pictures on the walls etc etc. But when it actually comes to it, everything just costs so much. The other day I saw a cushion cover for £70! £70 whole pounds just for a cover! Obviously you can get cheaper furniture and furnishings and it is always worth shopping around. IKEA and Argos (they surprisingly have some good stuff!) have become our best friends

With our house not being a new build there has been a few things that have gone wrong ie a leak in the conservatory, washing machine breaking, boiler problems, leak in the kitchen, the list goes on. The main thing that I have learnt is to always have an emergency pot of money that can be used when problems arise. We have managed to find builders and plumbers that didn’t charge us the world which also helped but always double check their reviews where possible as you don’t want to be ripped off! Overall we have managed to fix most of the problems that have arisen which is a great way to end the year!

It has been stressful and disheartening at times but I honestly wouldn’t change any of it. We have learnt so much and are nearly at the stage of redesigning our kitchen and bedroom. We will probably start work on our bedroom first in the new year and then move onto the kitchen- I’m so excited!!

If you ever have any questions or need some advice about being a first time buyer then please don’t hesitate to ask- the more people I can help the better!

House Number 3 x

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Take a moment.. Save the World

We all see the headlines every single day about the environment and global warming and how the human race is literally pushing the world to it’s limit. Some people don’t believe it, some ignore it and some will do anything to change it.

From the horrendous snow earlier this year to the freak hot weather a few months later, I don’t think we can deny that something is going on with the environment. To be honest I have always been aware of it but it has only been the past year and a half where I have tried to reduce my own impact massively. There have been huge and small changes that I have made that all add up to help the environment- and I’m trying my hardest ever with the run up to Christmas…

 

I have recently started my Christmas shopping and released how much ‘stuff’ we don’t need. Shops are lined with thousands of items, most of it utter rubbish, all waiting for us to buy for someone just for that present never to be used. How many gift sets are currently in your cupboard that have never been opened? And then just think of all the processing that must go into each item- the paper to design, the manufacturing, the plastic it sits it and everything else in between too. Now I know Christmas is all about present giving and I don’t want to be a party pooper (I love Christmas!) but please just take a moment and be more mindful of what you are buying. Do they really need it? Will they ever use it? Am I wasting my money just to give them something?

For example, my boyfriend asked for some new boots for Christmas (which I don’t blame him due to the horrendous winters we’ve been having). But as I was tidying the house the other day I found some untouched boots in the original box that I bought him last Christmas!!

**Let’s skip the part of me asking why they had never been used when I had bought them for him**

So instead of buying more boots just to give him something new, he now has boots that are just fine. The point is, we are a generation of replacing things for the sake of it and throwing away perfectly good items. For a moment just think, do I actually need a new _____ or will I just be adding to the massive landfill problem due to the throwaway generation we are.

 

There are also a few other things that I have been more conscious of to help reduce my impact on the world. The first, and definitely the best thing I have ever done, is become a vegetarian. I have always leaned towards a vegetarian diet even when growing up as I only ate chicken rarely when I was younger anyway, but now I don’t eat any meat. About 2 years ago I started to watch documentaries and read about the impact the meat industry has on the environment as well as our health. Netflix has some great documentaries about the whole subject so check them out when you have chance! It’s been about 2 years when I fully became a vegetarian and honestly I haven’t looked back.

 

Another step I’ve introduce to reduce my negative impact on the environment is using less plastic. Easy changes like buying a reuseable coffee cup instead of your coffee shop providing you with a cup every time or taking a ‘bag for life’ when doing your big food shop instead of buying plastic supermarket bags all add up and make a huge impact!

 

I know with the world that we live in it’s hard to eliminate our carbon footprint altogether, but if you could just take a moment and think of how you can help and the changes you can make- we could all actually save the world- and we’re not even superheros!

 

House Number 3 x

 

Christmas Planning (already)

I know what you’re thinking.. it’s only just been Halloween (and not even Thanksgiving yet if you’re in America) but yes, my Christmas planning is well under way in the middle of November! (I actually casually started late October to be precise but we’ll not mention that)

I have always been the unorganised one when it comes to Christmas- last minute present buying, forgetting someone, you name it I have probably done it. However, I have decided that this is the year to change all of that!

With this being our first ‘proper’ Christmas in our house (we had the house last year but hadn’t fully moved in) it’s only right to start as you mean to go on and so below is how I’m planning on doing Christmas right for the first time and how you can too!

  • Start a spreadsheet- I used to chuckle when I heard that people create spreadsheets for Christmas, but honestly it’s my best friend at the moment! I’ve created one for budgeting (it may be Christmas but I never like to spend over my means) where I’ve wrote everyones name and filled in presents I have bought them, including how much it cost. This is SO useful so I don’t forget what I have already bought and know exactly what I have spent.
  • I am researching a lot online right now so I can plan what to buy and where is the best place to buy it from. I have a young niece and nephew and so looking for clothes and toys for them can be quite daunting. Therefore instead of wandering aimlessly around shopping centres (and buying things I don’t need) I have been searching online so I know exactly what to aim for when I do go to the shops
  • Buy cards/wrapping paper now!! We’ve all been there when it’s two weeks before Christmas and you need to get every family member a card (even you’re twice removed cousin on your dad’s side you have never spoken to) but it seems everyone else in the country is in the same boat as there’s queues out of the door! Therefore buy your cards now to avoid the hour long queues and endless fights!
  • Talk about what you’re doing Christmas day. With so many family members to see, Christmas is all about compromise and understanding. We have planned exactly what we are doing on Christmas day, and our families are aware as well. This saves stress on the lead up to Christmas for everyone involved. It is also a positive so that people can plan exactly what food they need to buy and don’t overspend!

Christmas is truly the most magical time of the year so the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the build up! Be present with those around you and enjoy the precious time you all spend together. If everything else goes wrong then just eat lots of food!

House Number 3 x

Work Work Work…

“Enjoy your childhood, you won’t ever get it back” was stated unbelievable amounts when I was younger. Obviously back then, I was oblivious to the adult world, and only saw the good- deciding my own bedtime, driving and doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. Therefore, on more than one occasion I wished more than anything to be a grown up. Little did I know about the ‘harder’ side of being an adult- working, no summers off and a whole lot of responsibilities…

I started work when I was 16. I was still in college and just worked weekends. It was in a well known bakery shop in the UK and so majority of the time I was up at 4 on a Saturday and Sunday. There were big forfeits that I had to make, such as not going to parties due to the early starts. This was obviously a wake up call to the adult working world, but I am so glad I did it. I have had three jobs since and I must admit this was the hardest and taught me so much. It was the first time I had dealt with customers, money, work colleagues and managers and set me up for where I am now!

I remember at the time I would save all my money and only spend it on birthdays/Christmas for other people. It was a massive achievement for me to be able to buy my own presents for my family and friends and it gave me great pride to use my hard earned money on them.

I then moved on to an apprenticeship working in an office. This was obviously a totally different environment and again taught me a lot. This environment was a lot more ‘professional’ and I had to work and deal with a lot more people than the previous job. At the time I was extremely shy and an anxious person so to have my own department to run it was a big stepping stone, personally and career wise. I enjoyed the job and the people so much but I was on apprentice wage and there was no scope for me so I had to move on. This point is when me and my boyfriend started to properly save for a house.

The next job was only for 6 months. I absolutely hated it and the confident person I had become in my previous job literally vanished with 2 months of being there. It was basically a call centre but for health claims. It was horrendous- targets to meet and adhere to, customers shouting at you because you couldn’t let them have certain health care etc etc. I suffered so much mentally here and so got out as quickly as possible, I did manage to save quite a bit though within the six months towards the house

That then moves us onto my current job. It’s working within an office as a Customer Care Representative. It’s totally not what I thought I’d end up doing but I love it so much! It’s a small family run business which I love and all my work colleagues are so lovely to work with. I have developed so much since working there and honestly never been happier. I was only 3 months into the job when we applied for our first mortgage, but I knew I was going to be staying there for a while so had all the confidence of job security for repayments.

Who knows what will happen in the future, but for now I am very happy. My job allows me to develop my skills and knowledge as well as give me a loving home to go back to.

You spend a lot of your time at work and so if you aren’t happy it’ll have such an impact on your life. Do something that makes you happy, even if it means taking a leap

House Number 3 x

Self Care

Sometimes life makes it hard to put yourself first, we’ve all always got somewhere to be or something to do and no plans to just relax. Since moving into our house, this feeling has been very much heightened – there’s always washing that needs sorting, or pots that need washing or even food that needs buying. Along with both of us working full time it can sometimes become very intense.

That is why we have focused a lot recently on giving ourselves time out from house stuff, both with each other as well as away from each other. We both had rough times with mental health growing up and so we would never want to push ourselves to that again, just from simply not taking care of the most important things- ourselves.

And so some self care tips that I have found to really help me recharge and appreciate what I’ve got;

– Find a hobby. Whatever it may be. For me it’s writing (hence starting this blog), reading, photography and generally being creative. My other half loves playing video games or watching YouTube and so these are things that we let each other enjoy away from each other

– Exercise. We recently joined a gym together and go 3 times a week with each other. Exercise really helps lift your mood and when you start seeing results (even the smallest) you understand the importance of self care.

– Socialise. A lot of our money is spent on our house, yet we make sure we still have enough to go out and enjoy the company of others. Being surrounded by friends and family is so important and good for the soul. It doesn’t always need to be expensive… long gone are the days of going out every night and wasting money

– Be organised. By being organised and getting jobs done it will make you feel a lot better instead of letting jobs pile up making you stressed. Communicate with each other about jobs that you like/don’t mind doing and ones that you don’t like so you can work together

Owning a house is always going to be stressful, but taking steps to put yourself first at times is what will make the whole experience much more enjoyable

House Number 3 x