Friday, 3 January 2020

5 things I learnt from buying my first home

Being in a position to buy your first home is both incredibly exciting and nerve-wracking. I've been lucky enough to have loads of people around me that have either been through it themselves recently or work in the industry and have the knowledge to advise and help in most situations! 
So, although my experience was maybe 'easier' than most, i've compiled a little list of some of the things I learnt from buying my first home.

1. Don't get disheartened

Throughout the process of buying my flat, I experience my share of disappointment and upset. I'd gone through the process of putting an offer in, getting it accepted... as far as I was concerned everything was going swimmingly. Then I got told that it failed the mortgage valuation and I wasn't going to be able to get a loan on the property because of 'severe structural movement'!
I was back to searching for another flat, I quickly found another one that I fell in love with, just to have an offer declined and it taken off the market.
Finally, despite all that, i've ended up with a flat I love - i've always been a believer in "everything happens for a reason" and I think in this case that's definitely true.

So my take away: Don't get disheartened when things don't go your way straight away, something better will always come along. I truly believe that.

2. Find someone you trust that you can ask loads of questions!

I was in a very privileged position when going through this process, particularly during the mortgage side of things. My best friend is a *fantastic* mortgage broker and so I was able to go through her for everything, ask loads of questions and not feel stupid for doing so. Even questions that didn't relate to the mortgage obviously being in that line of work she had more knowledge about the process in general than I did and was able to offer solutions or at least point me in the direction of someone that might know the answer! I definitely think my experience would have been very different had I not had her to lean on.

3. Speak to a mortgage advisor before you start looking

This probably isn't something everyone would recommend but personally i'd say this is a big one!

I was so naïve when I first starting looking, i'd used one of the online calculators to find out how much I would be able to borrow and took that as gospel. Obviously, those online calculators can give you a ball-park figure but they don't take into account all your committed outgoings and finances etc. For me, it meant that I found myself looking at properties completely out of my budget and setting my expectations way too high!

I'd definitely recommend having the conversation before you get carried away on RightMove like I did.

4. Gather inspiration!

This one may be a little trivial but it's probably the most exciting part of the whole experience! Well, at least for me it was. One of the things that i've always been most exciting for when it comes to moving out was being able to decorate and kit out my own place any which way I wanted. But, I think the most important thing is to not get blind-sighted by what you think you want! I went into the process open minded but with a vague idea of what I thought I wanted each room to look like... grey!

However, by trolling through instagram and Pinterest (for hours and hours), i've ended up with a teal sofa and pink curtains! You never know what will work in the space or tickle your fancy until you've spent the time looking at all your options.

5. Be patient

I guess this one is kind of similar to number one but my god it's a big one! I can honestly say that the process of finding the perfect flat right through to actually moving in is one loooooong process. (I've been told it's even longer for flats because of the leases / management companies etc)

And, the worst part of the whole thing is when the solicitors are doing their bit and you hear nothing for weeks.. it honestly feels like nothings happening and there's no progression and then all of a sudden you're completing and moving in. It's a crazy journey and unfortunately one you just have to sit and ride out, it'll be worth it in the end!

Please note: All of the above information is based on my experience of buying a flat in the UK.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Spinal fusion update - 2 years on

It's crazy to think it's been over 2 years since I went under the knife to have my spine straightened and re-aligned. I'm fused from T11 to L3 with 8 screws and 2 titanium rods and I feel great!

I've been blessed with a relatively straight-forward recovery since my surgery and thankfully don't struggle much with pain. Don't get me wrong, it's not been plain sailing but when I read about the pain others have to deal with, I count myself as one of the lucky ones.

Occasionally I get an 'aching' pain down my left leg, it's always been my left leg that's taken the brunt of my weight and thus is the one that struggles with the pressure. Back in 2015 (maybe) I had a nerve-blocker epidural to help block the pain I was experiencing in my leg which worked perfectly for a few years but it's recently been making a reappearance!

Other than that, I get the odd twinge in my lower back but that's to be expected and watch what i'm doing at the gym rather than thinking that i'm invisible and a little niggle will just go away.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Raspberry & Chocolate cookies | Recipes

One of my best friends has recently moved out in to her first home and whilst I was over there visiting recently we decided to bake together using her ‘Bake-off oven'! We chose a recipe from Janes Patisserie (of course), her White Chocolate and Raspberry cookies. 

Initially we were going to attempt to use frozen raspberries because that’s what she had in the house but we decided that the 5 minute walk to Sainsbury’s was worth it, to avoid ending up with a soggy cookie. We also added less chocolate chips and less of the freeze dried raspberries because we didn’t want to buy any more! ha!