Buying our first flat

First Home

So a few months ago I wrote about how I was buying my first house… and that was the plan until, near the end of the process, we found out that the house had suffered from subsidence and was going to cost an absolute fortune to fix! This led to us having a rethink about what we wanted and where we wanted to live. The house we almost bought was in an area not too far from us, but the downside was that there wasn’t a tram… something that, as city dwellers, we find very useful. Instead, there was a train, which was more expensive and in hindsight, not the most practical way of us getting to work, due to the proximity of the train stations to where our offices are.

After Christmas, we spent a good month thinking about different areas. One of the main areas we focused on was Prestwich, an upcoming village area just outside of Manchester city centre. We looked around a couple of houses and even put in an offer on a house, but nothing came of it. We got outbid, and houses were flying off the market before we could even view them.

Things were getting a bit frustrating and we were both becoming conscious of the fact that the house we wanted, in the area we wanted, we couldn’t afford. That’s when we talked about the idea of buying a flat.

Admittedly, I was a bit sceptical about it. Not because I didn’t like living in a flat, but because one of the main reasons we wanted a house, was because we didn’t have any outside space and really missed having a garden. On sunny days, being cooped up with no one to go and relax in the sun, wasn’t ideal.

Nonetheless, we decided to open up our search to flats. It had got to the point where I was looking at any area within South Manchester (we currently live in Sale and have been really happy here). One weekend, after just making a viewing on a terrace house I wasn’t convinced about and neither was Rich, we made a viewing on a flat in Altrincham.

We hadn’t looked at much in Altrincham before, as we thought it would be way out of our price range. I’d been searching by price mainly, and had discounted everything that was above our budget…. which unfortunately seemed to be most things. However, as luck would have it, I found a lovely looking flat with a view over one of the nicest parks in Altrincham. It was just about in our price range, AND, it had a balcony. The only downside was that it needed a bit of modernising.

As we pulled up to the property, I wasn’t sure what to think and was keeping an open mind. When we actually went inside the property, I wasn’t so sure. The living room was huge and open plan and the view outside was stunning, especially as it was a sunny day. The kitchen was twice the size of the one in our rented flat, too, which had been one of my requirements, as we’re constantly tripping over each over in our tiny kitchen. The only problem was that I wasn’t too sure about the bedrooms – in my opinion, they were a little bit too small. That’s why, when we came out of the viewing, I turned to Rich and told him no. I said I liked the flat but I wasn’t 100% sure. Rich was a bit surprised as he loved the flat, and thought I had too.

We went back home and I asked Rich to measure the rooms in our current flat, as the bedrooms feel like a nice size and there’s plenty of wardrobe space for all of my clothes. Once he’d measured them, it turned out that, actually, the rooms were a similar size to the ones in the flat we’d viewed. That’s when we decided to make an offer, as if the size of our flat now works for us, why wouldn’t this one? And it was rare to find something within our price range, which had outside space, and in a nice area.

We decided to put in a lower offer, as a bit of a starting point, and because we didn’t want to stretch ourselves too much. We’d learned by now that bidding wars were commonplace around Manchester and that properties often went for way over the asking price! So we put an offer in and left it at that. I went off to Chester for the night as I was meeting up with some of my friends for a girly weekend.

The next day, me and Rich were booked into a cocktail masterclass at Cloud 23 in Manchester (totally amazing, will be posting a review soon on this!). As we were sipping on delicious cocktails, looking out over the Manchester skyline (because the views at Cloud 23 are absolutely stunning), we got a phone call from the estate agent. The seller had rejected our offer because it was too low, BUT, had agreed to meet us between our offer and the asking price. We couldn’t believe our luck, as we’d never expected to have got such a beautiful flat.

Two months down the line and we’re still not in the flat, but we’re hoping, fingers crossed, that we’ll be moving in in the next few weeks. Personally, I can’t wait, and I’m so glad that I didn’t let the clutter of the bedrooms ruin what will be a perfect first home for us!

For now, I’m having fun picking out colour schemes, ordering furniture and dreaming of decorating… More to come on our flat adventure soon!

 

 

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Anglesey- A beautiful Welsh gem

 

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Last weekend I went to Anglesey, which is an island in the North of Wales. I went for three days, and it was lovely. I always had it in my head that Anglesey was a much smaller place than it actually is. I don’t think a lot of people realise that it’s kinda big. Rich’s family own a cottage in Treaddur Bay, right near the beach, and it’s so beautiful. The above picture is a sunset taken on the beach there. We drove down from Manchester on Thursday night after work. We were expecting it to take around two and a half hours, but it actually only took about one and a half, which was pretty good going.

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On our first day, we went up to Chemlyn bay which is on the north of the island. It’s absolutely breathtaking. There’s pebbled beaches, blue sea, and it feels like there’s nothing for miles around. We spent hours just wandering on the beach, taking pictures of the views, and just enjoying being somewhere so relaxing.

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On the second day, we went to Beaumaris, which on the east of the island, right near the Menai bridge. It was such a lovely little town. We spent a few hours going round the little independent shops. Rich bought me a gorgeous handbag for Christmas (I know it’s a while off but you can never start too early), and we also visited lots of galleries, a Chilli shop, and shops full of trinkets. After a few hours of shopping, we went to an amazing fish and chip shop and had a walk down the pier, and walked along the sea front which had views of the Snowdonia national park.

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On the last day we were there, we went to Newborough which is on the south of the island. If you’ve ever been to Formby Beach in Merseyside, it’s quite similar to that. There’s a massive pine forest which borders the beach, and there’s also an island called Llanddwyn Island which is stunning. It has a little lighthouse, a ruined church and lots of little coves. I wish it had been slightly sunnier on the day we went as it would have been perfect for a picnic. It’s quite a walk so you need to take your walking shoes, but it’s definitely worth it.

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It was a fabulous weekend, and I can’t wait to visit again. If you need somewhere relaxing to charge your batteries, then definitely check out Anglesey, as it’s full of hidden gems! How many of you have been to Anglesey before?

 

Where have I been?

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This summer is turning out to be a particularly busy one… and I’m loving it. I really feel as if I’m fulfilled, as if I’m getting something out of my life. I’m happy, I’m making the most of things, and yet I don’t stressed, I just feel excited for the future.

I’ve recently taken on a role as News Writer for Kettle magazine, which is an online magazine that promotes student journalism. I’ve been writing for them for the last year, tending to sway towards writing lifestyle pieces, but when an opportunity to write for their news team came up, I put myself forward, as I thought it would be a great opportunity to step away from the norm and to try something new. It’s actually really refreshing to write something different!

In terms of my personal life, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family and Rich’s family. I’ve been catching up with my parents and my siblings, spending time exploring bits of Manchester and just generally having down time. I’ve also spent a few lovely days with friends, eating delicious foods and doing bits of holiday shopping.

Me and Rich have spent the last couple of weekends down in Birmingham which is where Rich’s parents live, and it’s been great to chill out and relax in the garden on sunny days. Not last weekend, but the weekend before, we went to see Mamma Mia the musical, which was absolutely brilliant. I’m not sure it was exactly Rich’s thing, but I loved it. Last night we went on a pub crawl and then clubbing in Birmingham with friends which was fun, though I feel like a bit of a grandma as I was craving my bed pretty early into the night!

In terms of my blog, I’m definitely going to have some new pieces up in the next two weeks. I’m off to Anglesey on Thursday night through till Sunday for some R and R, so I promise to document the trip and to hopefully take some pictures of the gorgeous scenery. For now, you can click here and check out my latest blog post which is a piece of prose poetry that I’ve been working on.

I hope that you’re all having a lovely summer, whatever it is that you’re doing. Let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments below 🙂

Love from Beth x

 

Any job is a real job: Social Media Servicing Advisor

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As many of you know, I recently decided I wanted to start a bit of a blogging series with the phrase ‘Any job is a real job’ in mind. I wanted to raise awareness of the different industries out there, and I asked for all of my readers help. I feel really lucky that some of you responded.If you missed my previous articles about this, then click here.

 First up is Cameron, from over at Cameron D Hamilton. He writes a great blog with an emphasis on poetry and self reflection, and I really love his work, so I was very pleased when he contacted me to tell me about his job as a Senior Social Media Servicing Advisor:

So, let’s begin with a few basic facts.  My name is Cameron, I’m 29 and I work in corporate Social Media for a major UK bank.  I’ve been in my current position for over a year.

Explain your job role (title, daily duties etc)

At this time I hold the title of Senior Social Media Servicing Advisor.  The job itself consists of moderating several social media and website channels for the bank.  My department moderates four Twitter handles, two Facebook accounts, the website ‘live webchat’ service and two customer enquiry email services.  I came into the department to handle Social Media so I tend to focus my attention on the Twitter and Facebook content.  It’s more a preference for me, it actually works out well with our team dynamic as some of my colleagues prefer the more formal nature of the email channels.

On a normal day I’ll spend my time responding to enquiries received and also post attention grabbing content, over the Twitter channel specifically, in order to grow the brand and attract attention.  As a team we’re also tasked with monitoring public relations through Social Media, logging and reporting positive and negative reports of the bank.  As a department we have little power to effect change the way the bank presents itself, essentially we’re information gathering.  It can get a bit frustrating when the same criticisms come up and nothing is done but I’m sure there must be a good reason, or at least I hope.  The vast majority of the time is spent moderating the channels making sure that all messages received are responded to, make sure we can avoid potential PR issues and make sure customers are protected.

(A funny story on making sure our customers as kept safe over social media.  I once had to deal with a customer of the bank who was a financial dominatrix and was posting her bank details over Twitter in order to get tributes from her admirers.  Her profile was certainly NSFW.  I got in touch with our information security team and they got a Fraud officer to get in touch.  We got told she was warned the following day but clearly didn’t listen as a few weeks later she done the exact same thing.  You can’t help everyone!)

More than any other department we liaise with several different areas of the business on a daily basis, sometimes it can be simply feeding back praise, looking for more in depth info or a certain subject (mortgages, urgh) or getting complaints handled.  This is quite common as you can imagine, everyone love to moan over Twitter and we try to help.  Often it’s really easy people are being lazy wont visit the bank or call in, ‘help us to help you’ doesn’t enter into their minds.  Sometimes it take a little more to handle but it’s our job monitoring Social Media to make sure that voice gets heard and helped.

As a senior advisor I also research and create reports for the leadership team of the bank.  The most frequent is a weekly feedback presentation that is made for the weekly leadership meeting.  Takes about three to four hours and I usually do it if I’m working on a Sunday, it’s monotonous but I quite like it.

Also due to the main office site being a contact centre the team has been lumbered with some irritating telephone lines.  These are low call volume, maybe four calls over a shift max.  In addition to this in order to keep product knowledge fresh there are weeks where I will take general customer service phone calls or work the Internet Banking Helpdesk while another member of the team assumes moderation duties on Social Media.  It’s you’re standard shift rotation deal.

How  did you got into your job? (e.g qualifications, experience etc)

I’m a Media graduate, I spent five years studying through various college courses and university.  I went from wanting to work in film production, with an eye to direct, but found that I enjoyed writing more.  I put a lot of that down to my social anxiety, being able to create a barrier means I can work more effectively.  Its why I like working in Social Media.

The academics didn’t get me exactly where I wanted to go and I drifted through mostly Customer Service positions while trying to write.  Before I took my current position I was working as a general Customer Service Rep in the same bank at the same centre.  Due to my qualifications, my vast experience from working in the bank for so long and my eccentric passion the job was mine.

At the time I applied I was leaving the company, I had reached my glass ceiling and had been applying for writing and Social Media vacancies so when one came up from my current employer it just made sense.  The company thought so too.

What do you like about your job?

I like the ability to write and be creative.  That’s what sold me on the job, to try and engage with customers differently than I had been over phone calls.

Using my experiences as a writer to give some personality to the Social Media accounts, show we care, we want to help but that we’re real.

I really like the people in my team, it’s a great group of personalities and you need that in Social Media.  Of course I win the award for most eccentric but I set a very high bar.

Honestly it’s an easy job.  With the knowledge I gained working telephone customer service the job of moderating is ridiculously easy.  That lack of stress makes my life a lot easier with all the other stresses I have

The Social Media team itself is very young, its only in its second year.  I love being able to shape the voice and make a mark on the landscape.  Not to denigrate my colleagues but you can tell the difference in language and passion when I’ve sent a message compared to someone else.  It’s a great feeling to see that your voice is the one that people like.

What do you hate about your job?

The pay (hahahaha!!!) Serious though, its horrific.

The politics of the office are very annoying, as a contact centre the focus is on phone calls so my team gets treated horribly as if it’s our fault that calls are queuing because we’re not on the phone.  My employer doesn’t know how to handle digital operations and doesn’t understand the job we do.  This means arguments with management figures trying to assert authority when they have none and acting like children when they don’t get their way.

I don’t drive so the commute is pretty bad at times.  I take three buses and as much as it gives me time to listen to my favourite podcasts it does give me a little less free time.

Due to working in the banking industry, it’s a secure paperless environment which is murder or a writer who likes to have a note pad if they’re inspired by something…or maybe just wants to colour in on a slow day.

To be honest the job is great.  It’s the office I hate.  If I could do the same job somewhere else I’d be a lot happier.  I think if there’s any lesson I could impart it’s don’t give up on something you want to do because the people you work for are idiots.

Where do you want to be in five years time?

There’s two answers to this.

Answer one is writing professionally, taking what I do on WordPress and making money off my words.  I want to write like a lot of people here so If I can I’d like to get published and make my living from literature

Answer two is Social Media Project Management.  I’m not keen on actually managing staff, its just not interesting, I want to create and run projects.  Move out of the moderation and more into  the marketing the brand growth.  I do a little of this right now but I really want to advance into building content to get people talking and make the best use of Social Media.  It won’t be with my current employer, I have way too many issues with them and their ineptitude in the digital world.  I find this hard to answer because I’ve never been one for planning ahead.  Probably why I’m so far behind.

I want to say a big thank you to Cameron for this, as I found it really interesting. I’m looking to go into a similar career myself, so it was great to get an in depth view of what to expect. Does anyone else work in this industry? What do you think? Or do any of you want to go into this industry too?

 

Any job is a ‘real’ job

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One thing I hate more than anything is when people don’t refer to jobs in the retail and hospitality sector as ‘real jobs’. As I’ve said in my last few posts, I’ve recently started working part time at a clothing store. Since I’ve started working there, I’ve had quite a few people telling me that it’s not a ‘proper’ job. Now I understand that when they say that, they’re not intentionally being offensive. Maybe it’s because it’s not full time, or because it’s not a job that I’ve attained through my degree. But in my opinion, it IS offensive. Some of the people I work with are in their forties, their fifties, and to them their job is their ‘real’ job. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

A lot of the people who’ve said that my job is not a ‘proper’ job are people my own age. What they don’t seem to remember is that for their parents’ generation, getting a degree was not the norm. A lot of their parents work at places such as a clothing store, and they don’t get told that they don’t have ‘real’ jobs. So why do I? Even now, not everybody goes to university. I know lots of people who’ve gone through apprenticeship schemes, or have gone into a practical vocation, and sometimes I envy them. They’re the people with their own money, they’re buying their own houses, and they own their own car. Meanwhile, yes I’ve been studying at university, but I don’t have any of those things.

I guess the point that I’m trying to make is that any job is a ‘proper’ job. When I do have my degree, I probably will still be working at somewhere like a clothing store. The job market today is fierce, and I’m just grateful to have any job at all. Although I know personally that this job is not something I want to do for the rest of my life, I’m grateful for the income that it’s bringing to me, and that it’s enhancing my knowledge of what it is like in the working world. So try to keep in mind that any job is a job. And I’d rather be working hard then being the type of student who has to rely on their parent’s money. But that’s just my opinion. What’s yours?

The struggles of learning to drive

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Today I wanted to write about something that’s really getting me down at the moment- learning to drive. I’m 19, and I still can’t do it. A lot of you may be thinking that’s still quite young, and that there’s no need to rush, but the thing is, I’ve been learning to drive since last September and still seem to be getting nowhere with it.

Before I started to learn, I was so excited about it. I’d managed to save up enough money after working long shifts at fast food restaurants and retail stores, and  I was determined that I was going to pass as soon as possible. I signed up with a driving instructor, paid for a block of ten lessons, and thought yay, this is it. I’m going to be driving soon.

The problem was, driving was not as easy as I thought it was going to be. I struggled with everything. It took me about fifteen lessons before I even got on the main road, I struggled with gear changes, roundabouts, EVERYTHING. I lended up having about thirty lessons, which brought me up until the end of April, before I decided it was time to make a change. I felt like my old driving instructor had been ripping me off. He spent hours making me drive around the same loop, not teaching me any manoeuvres and upping the price of my lessons. After discussing it with my family and my boyfriend, I found a new instructor.

Things are going slightly better. The problem is, it’s like learning to drive again from scratch. And I’m still struggling. All I want is to have a car so I can hop in whenever I like and just nip somewhere instead of having to walk miles or having to use public transport.Living in Manchester, it’s really easy to use a tram, but it would be so lovely to be able to visit my family and friends who don’t live here whenever I like.

For now, I’m going to keep persevering. It has crossed my mind to try taking a five day intensive course, or just to give up and start to learn automatic, but I feel like all this effort and money would have been a waste otherwise. I guess one day I’ll eventually pass and look back and be grateful that I did carry on, but for now it’s hard to not get upset that I don’t seem to be making much progress.

Is anyone else going through anything similar/ has been through something similar?

Liebster Award

The other day I woke up to find that I’d been nominated by the lovely https://hamiltonfox.wordpress.com/ for the Liebster Award. Thank you very much! I’m so grateful that you’ve been enjoying my writing and I feel so lucky to have been nominated as when I started this blog, I had no idea that people would actually enjoy what I’d been writing. For me it started off as just a space to share my thoughts and so I’m really grateful that I’ve been recognised like this, and it means a lot.

I think the Liebster Award is such a great idea. It gives a chance for new writers like myself to get more involved in the blogging community, and to get a little boost when they need it the most. It’s given me the initiative to want to grow my blog even more by writing a more diverse range of posts and to keep posting more of what I have been posting.

There are, however, a few rules in accepting this nomination:

So here are the eleven questions that I’ve been asked to answer and the eleven facts about me 🙂

  1. What inspired you to start blogging? I started blogging simply because I love writing. I’ve tried to start a blog before but never really got very into it, but this time I’ve really loved it, I’ve had a tonne of ideas for blog posts, and I can’t wait to keep growing it further.
  2. What’s your idea of a perfect first date? Maybe something completely cheesy like a picnic. To be honest, any opportunity to get to know the other person, to relax, and to eat some nice food.
  3. If you could live anywhere where would it be? I would live near the sea. I currently live in the city so it would be a nice change to be near the water. I feel like it would encourage me to spend more time outdoors .
  4. Nightowl or Day hawk? Definitely day hawk. I’m so sad, I find myself in bed at half eleven every night and up pretty early, even on weekends.
  5. When you were younger what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a teacher.
  6. Do you prefer long or short hair? Definitely long on myself, I remember one time I cut my hair up to my shoulders and hated it. It’s quite long now, and I have a bit of a fear of hairdressers just in case they cut it all off again! On my love interest… well my boyfriend has short hair, so probably short, though I’m not really too fussed to be honest.
  7. What’s your favourite Summer Holiday memory? My favourite summer holiday memory has to be in Italy when I went on a gondola ride in Venice. It’s something that was always on my bucket list and I’m so glad I finally got round to doing it.
  8. What’s the movie you’ve watched the most? Love Actually. I know it’s a Christmas film but I’m happy to watch it at any time of year.
  9. What’s your guilty pleasure food? Cake, lots and lots of it. My favourites are coffee cake and walnut cake.
  10. Jedi or Sith? Jedi of course!
  11. What is your biggest pet peeve? Know it alls.

Well I hope you all enjoyed reading that! Now it’s time to share my nominations 🙂 you guys really deserve this, and I hope that those of you who are reading this take a look at these wonderful blogs.

zofiaellie

reevablog

thecrazychicrasmi

lifein-glitter

Teenblogs

I hope you guys accept this nomination! My eleven questions are:

  1. If you could hop on a plane right now, where would you go?
  2. Favourite food and why
  3. The worst book you’ve ever read
  4. Best thing to watch on Netflix
  5. How old were you when you had your first kiss?
  6. Who’s your role model?
  7. What is it that you love the most about blogging?
  8. If you could be any Harry Potter character, which would you be?
  9. What’s your favourite flavour of icecream?
  10. Where are you originally from?
  11. Sunset or sunrise?

Thank you so much everyone for reading this!

Lots of love,

Beth x