Why I Won’t Write About Saving for A House

Its now been almost 8 months since Matthew and I got the keys to our first home, and truthfully I thought I would have written a lot more about the process by now, but between everything else going on in my life and my minor falling out with blogging last year, I just haven’t got round to it.

I have, however, been thinking a lot about the sort of posts that I wanted to write about this, and while at first I thought a ‘Tips on Saving for Your First House’ post would be a great idea, the more I thought about it, the more annoyed I was getting with the concept of that post. Here me out.

Its no secret that our generation, ‘millennials’, are renting for longer, if not indefinitely, and the percentage of homeowners under 30 has dropped more than significantly in the last 10-20 years. I count myself as a minority for becoming a homeowner at the age of 23 and I’m very aware that while I could write about how Matthew and I saved up for our house, there are a whole tonne of circumstantial reasons why this wouldn’t be relevant to a lot of other people.

House prices differ MASSIVELY throughout the country

As a born and bred southerner, I have lived my whole life with a notion of what I thought was the price of a house was based on what house prices were like around where I lived. I started saving as young as I could because I knew that I wanted to buy my own place at some point in my life, and I knew that wasn’t going to be cheap.

But Matthew is a northern boy, and when we did start looking at houses seriously, we knew it would be up north. I was left dumbfounded when I discovered that we could buy a detached house for less than what a 1 or 2 bedroom flat would cost in Bournemouth. Suddenly, the deposit money I had been saving all these years was more than enough for a house, despite being nowhere need what it would need to be in my hometown. The fact is, most people aren’t prepared to move across the country just to own a home, and we were lucky (if that is even the word) to be relocating for Matthew’s job, because the chances of us being able to buy somewhere down south without significant help were slim.

Not everyone can make the ‘sacrifices’ we were able to

I never moved out of my parents’, and Matthew moved in with us 9 months before we bought our house. We both worked at the same place, so it was pretty easy for us to share my car. It would be pretty easy for me to write a post saying that to help save for a house you should move in with your parents, share/sell a car etc, but I know that those options aren’t always an option for everyone.

We all have different histories

I started working at 16, and I didn’t go to university after sixth form, so I had the luxury of no student loans. I always knew that I wanted to buy a place, so I started saving super early, even before Matthew was in the picture, AND Matthew and I were able to buy together, when not everyone can split a mortgage.

We also have totally different histories to previous generations. My parents were married by my age, not fighting for jobs in overcrowded industries like so many people are today AND the housing market was a totally different place to how it is today. We just can’t compare ourselves.

Home-buying incentives and schemes

Because we bought a new-build, we were eligible for the government Help To Buy loan for up to 20% of the value of our house which is interest free for the first 5 years. If you’re not buying a new-build, you can’t apply for this, and to be honest, without this we wouldn’t have been able to afford the house we fell in love with. There are also other options, like shared ownership and Help to Buy ISAs, but again, these aren’t always options for everyone.

Now none of this is to say that people under the age of 30 can’t save enough to buy houses, I mean we’re living proof that it is possible, but I’m just a little fed up of all these clickbait articles saying that its because we love avocados (which we don’t all love just FYI) or some other ridiculously false reason, when in fact its because we’re stuck at the bottom rung of the property ladder with baby boomers stomping on our hands and so many real factors are actually affecting our generation.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so drop me a comment!

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My 2019 Resolutions and Goals

The clock struck midnight, and just like that all the pumpkins in the world turned into carriages as we all become shiny new versions of ourselves in some weird reverse Cinderella story.

Ok, so that sounds a little weird, but honestly I do love a new year. It always brings so much hope and excitement for a bright new future, a new page to our life stories. And while the world is often divided between those who make resolutions and those who make fun of those who make resolutions, I am firmly the former. Even if they don’t stick for the whole of the year, the intentions are always good and I always love believing that I can do it.

So here they are, a bunch of things I hope to achieve in the coming 365 days, and even if they don’t, I’m gonna have a blast trying to make them happen:

Personal Resolutions

  • Choose happiness always – In the last few weeks I’ve been working on my happiness, and I think I’m going to get the hang of it this year, so stay tuned
  • Get my body confidence back – as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I left my body confidence back in 2017 which made 2018 a little bit sucky. I’m not about sucky in 2019, so I’m just gonna skip past the last year and work on getting it back.
  • Wake up earlier – I had this one last year as well, and it worked for the most part, but with the addition of a puppy to our household, mornings have become slightly more about cuddles in bed with Finn..
  • Enjoy cooking and baking again – I’ve always loved making food, but recently its become more of a necessary chore than something I’ve enjoyed doing, so I’m gonna get back on Pinterest and find some amazing food I’m excited to make again
  • Watch more movies and read more books – y’know, all the ones I keep saying I’ll watch/read and then never get round to or end up going back to ones I’ve seen/read before..

Fitness Goals

  • Complete the marathon – its the only one that I’ll be doing in my lifetime (I can already say that with some certainty) and by the end of next week it will be done, and then I can focus on the rest of my goals..
  • Get my 5K back below 30 minutes consistently – its been a little while since I’ve run a 5K in under 30 minutes as I’ve been fighting injuries and working towards other things, but once the marathon is done and dusted my focus will be back on shorter distances!
  • Reach 50 ParkRuns – considering I’ve been taking part in ParkRun for several years now, you’d think I would have hit this already, but I’m going into 2019 with a solid 30 runs under my belt, so let’s do this!
  • Set a new half marathon PB – nope, I’m not going to set myself a definitive target for this one, I just want to beat my current PB and even if that’s only by 10 seconds then its still a win for me.

Business Goals

  • Keep pushing my limits – this time last year I wrote in my 2018 resolutions that I wanted to learn to sew more things. Well, I did, and that’s exactly what turned my little side business into my full-time job, so let’s keep pushing.
  • Keep loving what I’m doing – being a full-time small business boss makes me so happy and I just can’t believe I get to do what I love every day, so I want to keep it that way!

Blog Goals

  • Make 2019 my best blogging year yet – last year I let my blog slip, and that was ok for my life at the time. I’m going to try and stay away from specific blog hope and targets, because I know that so many things can get in the way, but I just want to feel better about my blog and make it the fun outlet that I’ve always loved so much.
  • Reach 8K on Instagram – for 2018, I set myself the seemingly modest target of reaching 2500 from 1900, but with the algorithm as it is, that could have been impossible. I did, however, smash that, and I finished up 2018 just over 5000. This year, I’ve got my sights set a little higher but we’ll see how it goes..
  • More travel writing – Matthew wants to visit a new city every month in 2019, and I want to do more travel writing, so it was a match made in heaven, right?

Wow, when I sat down to write this I thought I’d only do a few for this year yet here we are 700 words later! I guess all I can say to that is that, cliche as it sounds, I’m so ready to make this year the best one ever. All the ingredients are there, I’ve just got to make something with them, and that’s exactly what I plan to do.

Happy 2019 everybody!

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2018: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

It would seem that this end of December break from blogging has become somewhat of a regular occurrence, but honestly it does me a whole lot of good, and here I am, back and ready to take 2019 blogging by the metaphorical horns.

I’ve probably said this a hundred times this year, but 2018 has been a total whirlwind. Its been full of major highs and also some pretty sucky lows, and while I’m not normally one for looking back at the end of the year, there’s a lot to be said about the past 364 days.

The Good

Well, its been a year of BIG things. Matthew finally finished his pilot training and started flying, we bought a frickin’ HOUSE and we got the most beautiful puppy in the world. We visited San Francisco and spent a week living it up in the beautiful Aulani Resort in Hawaii, as well as becoming Disneyland Paris annual pass holders.

This year I also took the leap into self-employment, turning my small business into a full-time job which has been an absolute dream come true, I’ve managed to grow my Instagram more than I imagined would be possible and I’ve spent some of the best times with my closest friends.

The Bad

As I’ve mentioned several times throughout the year, blogging has taken a major back seat for the majority of 2018. I started of the year stronger than I ever have before, but life and many other things got in the way and although it wasn’t easy for me to admit, it was easier for me to let blogging go a little while I focused on the new things that had become more important.

There’s also been a whole lotta change that will take me a little bit of time to adjust to. I’ve moved so far away from my hometown and my family, and that’s still something that I need to work on getting used to, and there has been so much going on that we’ve hardly had time to stop and breathe, so there’s been a lot of feeling constantly overwhelmed.

The Ugly

2018 has also had some pretty sucky times. I’ve struggled a lot with body image, which after such a positive 2017 felt even harder than it could have. I haven’t always talked about it as much as I could have done, but its done a real number on my mental health, and breaking my ankle back in April only made things worse. Honestly, I’m fed up of feeling the way that I do, and I’m determined that 2019 will be the end of it.

I’ve also spent far too much time in 2018 comparing myself to others, so much so that I let an incredible achievement – being nominated for the 2018 UK Blog Awards – go practically unnoticed because I was so sure that compared to the other nominees, I stood so little a chance that I didn’t even think I should ask for people to vote for me.

The Future

I’ve decided that 2019 will be the good, the better and the best; no bad, no ugly, just happiness. I already know that its going to be so full of magic and love and friendship, so I just have to keep filling it with only good things and positive energy. Tomorrow I’m going to be sharing my New Years Resolutions and goals and these are just going to be the stepping stones that make 2019 the best year yet.

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Pup Life – A Month with Finn

Its now been a whole month since we brought Finn home and our lives were turned a little upside down. Having a puppy in our lives has brought SO much joy, but its also a lot of responsibility and a total lifestyle change.

Because I work from home, I spend pretty much all day every day with this little fuzzball, and we’ve got ourselves a pretty good rhythm, and as he gets older and more used to life by the day, we’re starting to see some improvements in his typical puppy behaviour.

Sleeping

Finn was already sleeping through the night pretty well when we got him, so the only big change for him really was sleeping alone, as he still had a brother and both of his parents with him at the breeder’s. We tried to start him off with tough love, giving him a Pluto soft toy and making him sleep in the utility room by himself, but this was all a little too much too soon, and that night did not go exactly to plan.. We decided that as he would ultimately be sleeping in our bedroom with us anyway, that we would move him upstairs for his second night, and this resulted in his bed being right next to my side of the bed, and I spent the first week sleeping with one arm dangling off the side of the bed so that he knew I was there! He does now, however, sleep in his bed on the other side of the room from us with no problems, and he’s gone from waking up at 6/6.30am to sleeping until at least 7am – yippee!

House training

Despite having no issues with using puppy pads before he came home with us, once in the house, he completely disregarded the ones we put down and did his business wherever he was caught short, although he would also take himself to the back door when he needed to go BUTTT in the last week he has become amazing, and has only had accidents when we didn’t get to the back door to let him out quick enough – he sneaks off there sometimes while I’m working!

Eating

No surprises here, Finn is a dachshund who loves his food! He’s on Tails.com food, and has advanced from needing 3 small meals a day to 2 bigger meals. He loves treats, especially denta-stick type chews, and although at least 90% of the time he’s strictly on dog treats, he does enjoy a little bit of sausage as an extra special treat.

Life at home

Honestly, he naps A LOT. Most of the day when I’m working, he’s either curled up asleep under my desk or playing with his toys in my office, most of which have been thoroughly chewed now.. He has what I call ‘psycho hour’, normally between 5-6pm where he runs around like crazy for no reason, which can drive me a bit mad when I’m trying to finish up my work for the day, but is mainly just funny to watch. He spends his evenings curled up with us on the sofa, and then I normally go up to bed and he stays downstairs with Matthew until he comes up. He’s even got pretty good at when Matthew comes in from work in the early hours of the morning.

Out and about

Because of his vaccinations, we couldn’t walk Finn for the first 10 days he was with us, but now he’s getting the hang of it. Most days its just a trip to the post office and back while I’m posting orders, but last weekend during our visit to Bournemouth he spent some time at the park and at the beach and he sat nicely in two different dog friendly cafes while we had breakfast!

He is super friendly and gets so excited meeting people, but he’s still getting the hang of meeting other dogs. He barks a lot when he sees other dogs from a distance, or hears dogs barking, but up close he does calm down – he just needs to get a bit more social!

I just can’t believe how lucky we are to have such a beautiful puppy, and I now can’t imagine life without him.

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Rebuilding

You ever see those funny triangle diagrams floating around on the Internet, where each side is labelled with something we aspire for in life, like ‘good job’ or ‘social life’ or something similarly cliche, and then it’s captioned something like ‘you can only have two, what do you choose’?

These viral posts tend to have their comment sections full of people saying how much they relate to the ideas suggested by it, that we can’t ever seem to really have it all, but I never subscribed to that belief myself.

I always thought that I could have it all. I was *that* person who prided herself on working full time AND maintaining a blog AND being able to go to the gym every morning and while I’ve never really had much of a social life, that was mainly down to the fact that I never lived near to any of my friends, but I still found the time to go and see them and we still talked every day, but I also lived with my boyfriend and I saw my family every weekend.

Reading that, you’d think that I did have it all; it sure as hell sounds like it. But behind all that, there are some shortcomings: I still lived with my parents (not that I ever really minded that), and I worked in a job that didn’t truly make me happy, and that wasn’t a career for me.

Fast forward to today. I now own a home with said boyfriend, we have a puppy and I am living my self-employed dream. The social life aspect hasn’t really changed, although I am a little bit closer to some friends now so I do get to see them more often. This is all wonderful, and I am truly happy for all of this, but some of the walls of that triangle (or more like a hexagon) are crumbling. It would only take you a few minutes of scrolling back through my blog to see that I’ve gone from posting 5-6 times a week to going over 3 weeks without writing anything. I now live 250 miles away from the family that I adore, and as for going to the gym every morning, I can’t actually remember the last time I got in a workout.

I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining, because my life is incredible in so many ways, but each one of these things is an aspect of who I am, and I feel like by losing these things I am losing sight of who I am, and I’m now becoming one of those people retweeting that triangle diagrams saying ‘I feel attacked’. I don’t want to believe that these silly little sketches are true, I want to go back to feeling that little bit smug thinking that really I do have it all.

My life has changed a lot in the past 6 months, and I guess if anything I was naive to think that it would all be easy, because nothing about it has been, but what’s the fun in things being easy, right? There’s no shame in being vulnerable, but I’m ready to start rebuilding these aspects of my life, and rediscovering the person that I used to, and want to be.

She’s in here somewhere, just under a nice little layer of comfort podge, y’know, from avoiding going to the gym for too long, but she’ll be back, just you wait.

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The Happiest Wrapping on Earth*

Honestly, November has FLOWN by. Its now officially less than a month until Christmas, and I’m feeling super unprepared, but one thing I have got under my belt now, courtesy of the wonderful CoconuTacha, is some incredible Disney inspired wrapping paper, so at least when I do get my Christmas shopping done, the paper is all wrapped up, if you pardon the pun..

Tacha is an incredibly talented UK based graphic designer, and I love the unique style of each of the park icons featured on this wrapping paper. In each set you get 3 A2 size sheets of wrapping paper, plus 4 gift tags, so you’re completely covered for all your wrapping needs.

The paper is a really high quality – way nicer than your regular supermarket roll! – with a glossy finish, and its so beautiful that this is the kind of paper that you’ll want to unwrap carefully so you can keep it again! Also a great secondary use would be as a photo backdrop for blog photos – I may just keep a sheet for myself for this very reason!

And if you’re on the hunt for a cute little stocking filler, Secret Santa gift or just something to treat yourself with, Tacha also has this limited edition ‘Magic Castle’ enamel pin available on her store. Its so pretty and so different from any other castle pins I’ve seen and the colours are stunning together, and for £5 its a steal!

Cute wrapping idea: attach a pin to the gift tag of your present!

There’s currently 10% off both the wrapping paper and pin until the end of today so if you like what you see, head on over to Etsy now, and even if you’ve got your wrapping paper sorted, you should definitely check out Tacha’s designs on both her Etsy store where you’ll find an amazing selection of stationery, planner stickers, art prints and more, and also on Redbubble where you can get her designs on everything from t-shirts to phone cases.

Are you Christmas ready yet?

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*The items featured in this blog post were sent to me, but all views are my own.

Meet the Puppy

I know things have been a little quiet on here lately, but they’re about to get a whole lot louder as Matthew and I adopted our first puppy on Monday! Everybody, meet Finn..

Finn is a miniature long-haired dachshund puppy, he’s 15 weeks old today and we are already so in love with him.

Truthfully, this all happened rather suddenly. Matthew and I have talked about getting a puppy since we first got together, but of course we always knew that it wouldn’t be possible until we got our own place, and then when we first moved into our house there were still a lot of reasons that we didn’t get one straight away. Finally, we settled on waiting until after we came back from our holiday in January, but last weekend I decided to torture myself by looking at puppies online, and that was when we found Finn.

I grew up with two dachshunds, both miniature long-haired, so part of me always wanted another sausage, and it didn’t take much to convince Matthew of the same! Most of the dachshund puppies for sale whenever I’ve looked have been short-haired or wirey, so as soon as I saw a listing for long-haired pups I had to show him, and I in no way was expecting him to respond with ‘ok, I think we’re ready’! So we went to meet him the following day, and were back the next day to pick him up! He was one of a little of five, with just him and one other brother left, and to make things even more perfect, his mum’s name was actually Lottie! I mean, that’s just meant to be, right?

Its safe to say that the last 5 days have been a total learning experience. I suddenly feel like a first time parent, and flit from relaxed and calm to super worried and googling every problem in a split second, but I have to keep reminding myself that I won’t have it all down instantly. We’ve already got toilet training almost down, and sometimes sleep through the night, and most of the time he’s a perfect little angel who loves naps, cuddles, and running/bouncing around the garden. As of Monday he’ll be able to go out for walks, so that’ll be the next big step for him.

Expect to see a lot more puppy content, and for more frequent Finn photos, be sure to follow my Instagram, linked below!

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