Wednesday, 31 May 2017

5 More Things That Have Happened Since Buying a Flat

I've already posted about the drama in the last SEVEN MONTHS in between making an offer and actually completing on the flat. (If you've missed it, this includes a lot of drama about service charges and plants. It was literally held up for three months because of a plant. A PLANT.)

I kinda hoped that my run of bad luck would have ended by the time I actually completed on the flat, but hey ho, here's more 5 more things that have happened since I bought the flat!

001. I broke the toilet. On my very first day. No, not like that. I returned with many cleaning supplies and other essentials from PoundLand, and set about giving the bathrooms a good clean. I opened the tank to put one of those dissolving tablets into it to give the insides a good clean, and somehow in doing so snapped what I now know to be called a flush valve. It was one of those things that was obviously already broken but had been quite happily contained, but it did result in me sitting on the floor wailing about the fact that I hated being a homeowner. After twenty minutes of hearing the toilet endlessly flush I knew far more about the anatomy of a toilet than I ever thought I would, and now the part has arrived and as such tomorrow morning will be spent trying to fix it. Isn't this delightful?

002. I learned that an Independent Gas Transporter is a thing. I thought I was being really organised and great, doing all my meter readings and setting myself up with my new utilities. I'm a bit ridiculous when it comes to choosing things like this, and I sit there and really plot out the finer details of every company to do a proper comparison. I finally chose this green energy company, signed up all happily - and then got an email the next day saying that they couldn't take me, as we have an IGT. A what now?! A little bit of research told me that we'd probably end up paying much more than we otherwise would because of this, but actually in my experience this wasn't the case. Off I went with another comparison, and if you end up finding out that you've got an IGT don't worry too much - my second favourite company quite happily took us, and they're not charging us any extra either.

003. We survived a trip to Ikea! Although I feel like 'trip' is the wrong word. A day. We survived a day to Ikea. In case you couldn't tell from the above progress picture, the significant majority of things that we have bought are Ikea purchases. And we still plan on returning, because their plants are awesome but we're not actually at the flat enough to look after them right now. Luckily we went with a fairly good knowledge of what we wanted already, and we only had one heartbreak when on taking a look at something deciding it was maybe a bit too big afterall (But now what goes into that place on the kitchen wall?!?). We survived the confusing trek around the warehouse (guys if you're planning on going to Ikea, use their website! It tells you EXACTLY where everything you want to buy is if you put it on your wishlist) and survived navigating around the warehouse with three trolleys overflowing to the side and a chair sitting right on top of one of them that didn't quite fit usefully anywhere we put it. We even survived the hire car back to the flat and the hours of carrying heavy boxes in and forcing them into the lift.

004. I discovered that not every furniture delivery company is quite as good as Ikea. There is still random furniture left incomplete, as we're waiting on a big overbed unit to come from Very. The main bedroom is an awkward shape, and to fit everything in we're basically going to have to build the overbed unit first and then build everything else (obviously the bed, but some other bits and bobs) essentially inside of it. However, Very have so far decided not to send the unit, and as such we can't do very much with an entire half of the flat. It seems to be weirdly lost in transit between them and the courier, both who are telling us entirely different things. Unfortunately, Very's customer service has also been terrible, with advisors who don't seem to know much about the situation or whether I'm getting a refund and who tell me that the managers "don't take phone calls," when I've asked to be transferred to one or to a department that might know. I wouldn't mind so much, but it's a lot of money and they're a very big company, they can definitely do better than this. In the meantime, we can't actually move into the flat properly until it's there.

005. I've learned a lot about DIY. I thought I knew about DIY before, but it turns out that when you actually own the place and are much more cautious about doing anything that might damage it, you really really don't. I've got a bathroom to repaint and retile, and lots of shelves to put up. Despite this, it's actually the shelves, and the pictures, and everything else that I'm most afraid of doing.

So that's a little flat update for you! If you want to see the 'before' photos, have a click here. I post update videos on my instastories ( and once the rest of the flat is ready (Very, I'm very strongly looking in your direction) there will be some 'after' updates! Apologies for the slowness lately, if you're following me on instagram you'll probably notice I've been in Copenhagen. More on that to follow!

Saturday, 20 May 2017

My New Flat! A look at what will become the "Before..." gallery!

Guys, it has taken seven months. SEVEN MONTHS. And that's not even including all the years it took me to actually find a flat that I wanted to buy - or more realistically, could actually afford to buy. Seven months after looking at this property and placing an offer on the same day, it has finally become mine.

Thanks, bank, for taking three months to make a decision about a plant. And then changing your mind anyway. That was awesome of you.

The property is incredibly empty at the moment, which is very odd for me. I've lived in London for quite a long time now, and every flat I've ever rented has come fully furnished. Usually tastefully, sometimes less so. I've never had to think about things like buying a fridge, because the one that the flat has come with has always been just fine. I've contemplated buying things like new sofas but always figured there's no point. So now all I want to do is buy beautiful little additions and a shelf purely to put cacti on, but I can't, because it turns out there's all these really rather dull purchases that I need to buy first. Darn.

But anyway, I thought I would show you the first set of pictures I took today on my first trip to the flat since owning it. I'll tell you a couple of the ideas I have for what I'm going to do with it, and you can tell me your far better ideas that I can then steal!

Bit of background information first, I suppose? This is a two bed two bathroom flat, somewhere in East London. It's a second floor flat and it backs out onto a park. Pretty much all of the furniture will be flat packed, because conveniently I have two weeks of annual leave right now anyway (although I will be away for about a week of it) and so I have plenty of time to try to build furniture and repaint some of the surfaces. And ultimately it doesn't matter if I don't, as I am paying rent in my current place til the end of June anyway so I'm going to take advantage and do an extremely slow move over.

By the way, I've made the first purchase already. And what was it? Toilet roll. Yep. And bin bags. How depressing. But I figured if I was going to be hanging out over here to build furniture (it's about an hour away from my current flat) I should probably have these items. My first non toilet related purchase? A fridge! Well done me.

Anyway, let's show you some pictures!

First up, we've got the lounge and kitchen combo. LEAVE ME ALONE guys, it's London, how big did you expect it all to be?!

Actually though, I'm quite happy with the size of the lounge. As you can see, it's got a balcony at the end there and you can see the park. It's nice and bright as the balcony above is actually quite high up so there's still plenty of light getting in.

The theme for the lounge area is going to be blue and yellow. The one item that is definitely going in is my ginormous grey Ikea rug as I have been lugging this thing around for ages, but it's also the comfiest rug ever so I really don't mind it taking up so much space. I've picked out a big blue sofa to go in here - I really wanted a smaller sofa and an armchair but there weren't that many nice sets and those that were around were really expensive, so this is what I'm going to have to go with! There's going to be some kind of big display unit behind it, but I haven't worked out exactly where yet. Originally I thought it would run in line with the radiator, but now I'm thinking I'll actually put it to the side in between the radiator and the wall instead as that gives a little bit more space. Opposite the sofa I'll have my TV and unit, and I've found some pretty floor lights that are going to go either side. Plus an absolute majestic beast of a plant! I haven't quite worked out the table situation yet. I'm thinking maybe just a side table rather than a full coffee table. Thinking on this still.

I'm thinking of making that wall behind the door a bit of a statement wall and getting some ridiculous wallpaper pattern just for there. Not sure yet though. I have a few ideas for here but I suppose it's not really the priority yet!

 I'm just going to show you this in place of a balcony picture as it's quite an awkward size to get a good picture of otherwise. I've already got this chair which is really comfy, and I'm not entirely sure what else to do. Obviously some plant life will be living out here, and I think I'll probably get a little table. I'm also thinking of maybe getting a cute little lantern style solar lamp to sit on top of the table.

 This is the kitchen! Ignore my clutter. It actually does look much better in real life, and obviously when it's got some actual life in it it'll be much improved. The colouring looks really awful in this picture and it's actually not that bad at all. Obviously where my bags are currently sitting there will shortly be a fridge, and past that I've got a few ideas. The theme for the kitchen area will be red and black, so a red kettle etc will shortly be lining the surfaces. If you see that big empty space of wall to the right, I'm planning on putting a big shelf up there but I'm not sure what to do with it yet. I'm going to wait and fill the cupboards first, as that shelf could even be something useful like for plates or saucepans, or instead just for decorative pieces like some fancy jars. The wall then curves around to a much smaller wall, and I'm planning on putting several small shelves on that which will include things like herbs and spices.

You can't really see the other wall, but I've decided against putting a dining room table in there. However, I will be putting in a breakfast bar and some bar stalls!

 Hallway! It's awkward to see in this picture but basically the layout is as follows. When you first enter the flat (the door sort of in the middle in this picture) there's a bit of space in front where I'm going to put a shoe rack, some hooks, and a letter collector. To the right of that is a big boiler and storage room, which is where dull things like washing machines and bed sheets will be going. In front of that is the bigger bathroom. Round the corner from that is a storage closet which is actually a lot bigger than you'd expect it to be - this will contain some cleaning supplies like a hoover and a mop, and then I'm honestly not sure what's going to be going in the top section as there's actually quite a lot of space in there I can work with. The next room (where the photo is taken from) is the lounge/kitchen. As you can see there's quite a bit of space right there and I'm thinking of putting a little storage unit there or else just a big plant. To the right of this door is the second bedroom, and then the door that you can just see open to the right is the main bedroom.

 This is the main bedroom. Well, half of it. This room is insanely awkward to take a picture of as it's a big L shape. Where the bed shaped carpet change already is is where the bed will obviously go - and aside from that, there's lots of options. I'm thinking of getting one of those storage units that wraps completely around and over your bed, but I have actually always disliked those units so I'm not sure why this seems like a good idea! I'm also thinking of getting another chest of drawers directly opposite the bed and putting another TV on top of that.

 The door you see to the left is the door back to the main hallway. The one to the right takes you to the ensuite, and directly in front is the built in wardrobe, which is actually a much bigger size than you'd expect.

This is the ensuite. I'm actually pretty happy with the colouring in this one. It has a couple of shelves in it already that you can't see that clearly, and I'm thinking of putting in another longer shelf on the wall on the right to keep a few decorative objects on. This room is going to have a fairly natural theme to it. I want lots of browns, some baskets for storage, some cacti (fake!), that sort of thing.

 This is the smaller bedroom. There's not much to tell you about this room yet, because I don't entirely know its purpose. It will sort of depend on how much stuff is left over after the other rooms have been finished! If it needs to be, it can become a hobby room or a study sort of thing. Alternatively, a guest room.

This is the other bathroom. I mostly like this bathroom and I'm really excited to have a bath again - but I hate the yellow that is painted around the edges! This is going to become a dark blue colour instead. I'm also going to put a shelf or two up to the left of the toilet, and this room is going to get a bit of a nautical theme with lots of blues and some shells and maybe a picture and a starfish or two! It looks a bit clinical in here at the moment but that's probably also because there's literally nothing in it! Once the yellow has been replaced and it's got a few items in here I think it'll be looking much better.

There we go! Hopefully I'll be able to update you in a few weeks with some progress - any ideas?

Monday, 8 May 2017

A Visit to The National Pet Show at the ExCel

Yesterday we took a trip to see the National Pet Show at the ExCel. Despite living within walking distance of the centre, I have never actually been to see an actual exhibition there outside of events such as the Paralympics. We have also recently been talking about pets - and our inability to own them, what with living in flats - and as such when I was offered tickets to the show I was very happy to accept!


Friday, 5 May 2017

May's Fashion Favourites

As always, Quiz's new range includes a lot of beautiful yet inexpensive formal dresses - but what I was really drawn to this month were these three much more holiday-style looks. In particular I'm drawn to the one in the middle - I have really mixed opinions when it comes to playsuits as I think they're so rarely done right - but I think this one is very cute and looks really flattering.

I am a big fan of how bright and vibrant these patterns and colours are. The first dress is something I could definitely see myself wearing on holiday or on a cruise - but also something I think I could pair up with some more toned down leggings and shoes and get away with here in London. I think these three are probably the more 'mature' three items I've picked out this month - yet also probably the most fun when it comes to patterns and design!

JANE NORMAN: Multicolour Tropical Print Bodycon Dress £21.75
JANE NORMAN: Khaki Lace Up Bardot Top £14.40
JANE NORMAN: Blue Stripe Bardot Jumper £21.75

Of this Jane Norman selection, I think my favourite is the top in the middle. It's got a very simple look to it - but when you see it on the model, I think it looks perfect. It's simple, but very flattering and looks great. I don't really own any tops like this anymore and as I already seem to now own an excessive amount of grey, I think this may be one of my choices soon.

NEW LOOK Yellow Suedette Cross Strap Cork Block Heeled Sandals £22.99
APRICOT White Coral & Blue Inky Hummingbird Print T-Shirt £18
OASIS Stripe Kissing Flamingo Tee £30
OASIS Tropical Botanical Shirt £38

The only reason I'm not immediately going out and buying the shoes is because I feel I basically already own these but in flat version. The more I think about it the more I think they're actually from Primark about two years ago, but I swear they're in this exact shade of both yellow and the cork base. As such, there's no real point in me buying a higher pair of what I already own - but if I didn't, I'd definitely be going for these! Of this selection, the flamingo top is the one I think I'll most likely end up buying. It's cute and Oasis have quite a few flamingo based tops at the moment that I think all need trying on to decide which one I actually need!

Which are your favourites?


Monday, 1 May 2017

Rosefield Watches; The Tribeca Collection

As you probably know if you've been looking through my wishlists lately, a watch has been something that I have very much needed. I felt very guilty about looking for one because I already had a quite expensive smart watch that I basically never used because I didn't like how bulky it felt on my wrist, but as I'm not allowed to use my phone at work it was basically essential that I got hold of something that I would happily wear.

I had two main criteria when looking for a watch to buy. The first was obvious - I wanted one that looked pretty. It had to be in a colour that I liked, and be versatile. The second was a little more strict - I wanted one that was small. I have thin wrists, and so it was important that I found a watch that was equally small and didn't look silly and bulky on me or annoy me by falling up and down my arm because of the strap length.

Bring on Rosefield watches, and their Tribeca collection. I'll be honest, Rosefield isn't a brand I'd heard of before - but then I'd never really had any reason to go watch shopping before either so this wasn't too much of a surprise. The Tribeca collection combines some favourites from three of their watch ranges - but in a smaller size, for thinner wrists.

 I picked the blush/white combination, featuring pink straps and rose gold highlights. I was a little worried about how the colour of this watch would actually be in real life as through images the pink looked like it could be very bright. However, there was no need to worry - the pink shade is pretty but subtle and blends in with clothes a lot better than I thought it would. Equally, the rose gold blends in nicely with the rest of the watch and complements it perfectly.

 The watch face itself is simple but very pretty. I think it looks clean and elegant, it's easy to look at, and again matches the whole design very nicely. It is a smaller watch, but it's easy to read and the whole face has a very polished look to it.

 And now - the size. This watch has a 33mm case and looked absolutely tiny when I first pulled it out of the box. In fact, I briefly worried that I'd gone too far in the opposite direction and that it would look abnormally small when I put it on! However, the size is actually perfect for me. The size is flattering and looks exactly the right size for my wrists. The watch itself is very thin and as such it's very light and doesn't feel annoying to wear, nor does it get in the way.

Overall, I'm very happy with this watch. It's very pretty, looks fashionable and matches well with whatever I try to pair it with. It's a great size and not too heavy, and I actually enjoy wearing it. I'm very happy with the quality of it, and I would happily purchase more watches from the Tribeca range.

This colour combination is £79 and is sold exclusively from John Lewis, here. If pink isn't quite your thing, it's also available in a blue/grey shade here and in black, here.
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