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!

 

 

Advertisements

Christmas

 

Christmas

I can’t believe it’s nearly Christmas already! I feel like I’ve blinked and suddenly found myself on the 22nd of December.

It’s been a busy month to say the least. There’s been two Christmas party, trips to the Manchester Christmas Markets, meals out, family get togethers, and even a pantomime last night!

I broke up from work on Wednesday afternoon, and since then, it’s been lovely to finally take the time to do the things I like doing (mainly eating, reading and catching up on lots of box sets). I think that when you work full time, some of the things that you do for yourself, slip to the wayside in place of hard work and the general ins and outs of day-to-day life.

It’s also been great to spend time with both my family and Rich’s the past few days. With them both living quite a way from us, it makes the time that we do get to spend with them, even more special.

This Christmas is going to be a strange one for me. I’ve lost both my lovely gran and grandad this year, and it’s something that’s really been on my mind, especially with the festive season coming up. I keep thinking about how in the past, Christmasses were spent with them and even about silly things, like the fact that I obviously haven’t received a Christmas card from them or that I haven’t bought them any presents. It’s made me realise that even though Christmas is a time for spending with your family, for a lot of people, it’s also a time that makes them sad to think about the family they once had or who they can’t spend time with over the festive period anymore.

It’s also made me more aware of the people who don’t have friends or family to spend Christmas with, or even a house to spend Christmas in. Too many times in the last few weeks, I’ve seen homeless people spending the festive build up on the streets of Manchester, cold, lonely and struggling to make ends meet. It makes me realise how lucky I am to have my friends and the family that I have left.

For me, this year is all about making new traditions. I’m going to be spending Christmas day cooking dinner for me, Rich, his parents and my mum, brother and sister. A bit daunting when I’ve never even cooked a Sunday dinner – wish me luck! It’s going to be different but hopefully a good different. It’ll take my mind off the hard things that have happened this year, and will make me look forward to the new, good things that will hopefully happen in the new year.

How’re you spending your Christmas? Merry Christmas to all of you, and a Happy New Year – as always, thank you for taking the time to read what I’ve got to say.

Beth x

A city love affair

c27acda0fd52ebf8de6c370a64999bd0

As many of you  know, I used to live in Chester. Chester is a beautiful city in the North West, and it’s the first place I lived entirely on my own without my family or any of the people that I grew up with all of my life. I lived in a tiny room in a old fashioned block of flats, and my friends lived directly across the road. Things like not being able to drive weren’t an issue as shops were a ten minute walk away, and as I lived on campus, it was literally a two minute walk to lectures. For that year, my friends became like a family to me. I think that because of that, Chester always feels like home to me in a way that I’m not always convinced Manchester does.

Although I class myself as living in Manchester, where I actually live is Sale, a small town in the suburbs which is technically in Cheshire. Where I live is very leafy and green, and it does feel more like home to me now than it did a year ago. It helps that Rich is here and that my family aren’t too far away, and I do feel as if I’m putting down more roots now that I have a part time job in the city. But then the other day, I caught the train down to Chester for a night out with some of my friends who live there. And I got that feeling as I were going home, as if I still lived there.

Although I’ve accepted that Manchester is my current home, and I’m happy with living there, I guess a part of me will always love Chester. It has beautiful sunsets, it’s where I met my boyfriend, and it’s somewhere that for a short while really made me happy. What I’ve got to remember is that life goes on, and that Manchester is somewhere that opens up a wealth of opportunities in a way that Chester didn’t. I have a lovely flat with Rich, I get to live the cosmopolitan city lifestyle, and I’m closer to my family and hometown.

I think I need to remember that whenever I do travel down to Chester for uni, which I currently do three times a week, although Chester is no longer my home, it’s still there for me when I want it. It was a stepping stone into my current life, and in the same way that my memories are always within reach, so is my favourite city.

Do any of you feel like this about a city? Let me know.

Beth xx

Destination: Manchester

man

Growing up only about forty minutes outside of Manchester, I feel that I know it pretty well. Now I live on the outskirts, I feel like I’m getting to know it even better. After having a love-hate relationship with the city for quite some time, I’m finally starting to just love it, and it’s starting to feel more like home.

What I love the most about Manchester is how close everything is. I can leave my flat, hop on a tram, and within twenty minutes be weaving my way through the crowds of people in the middle of Piccadilly gardens. I can walk around the corner and find a lovely little coffee shop, and I can walk down the road at sunset and find the canal, perfect for an evening stroll. I love Serendipitea in Sale which does an amazing cooked breakfast, and also Blue Daisy Cafe in the Northern Quarter of the city centre.

Manchester prides itself on being the capital of the north, a city of culture and of rich industrial history, and this is evident around every corner as you see the old and the new mixed together. Perhaps my favourite building is City library, which looks like something from another time, and looks quirky and unique in contrast to the nearby Manchester Central and passing trams. You can spend an afternoon here soaking up the history, or having some quiet time with a good book. The MOSI museum is good, and always extremely busy, but I prefer Manchester Art Gallery, which contains an abundance of beautiful paintings which tell a history; it’s perfect for any couples out there wanting more of a cultured afternoon.

In Manchester, you’re also never too far away from the countryside with the Peak district and the Cheshire plain almost on your doorstep. I love Lyme Park with it’s romantic setting and it being the backdrop of my favourite version of Pride and Prejudice. Dunham Massey, near Altrincham, is also lovely for taking a stroll in when the sun’s shining on a cold and crisp day. If you like long walks with dramatic backdrops then Dovestone Reservoir is ideal, and you can walk all around the outside in around two hours. I’d recommend taking a bit of a picnic if it’s a nice day.

In terms of shopping, I’ve found you’re spoiled for choice, as is evident from my now overflowing wardrobes. The Trafford Centre’s worth a trip to, particularly if it’s a rainy day, and if you’re wanting an array of choice for food after all that shopping; I’d recommend Coast to Coast, which I visited a few weeks ago for the first time. I also like shopping in the centre of Manchester, not just in the Arndale, but also in the surrounding streets. Of course the giant Primark is a must, but be warned that you will be in there for a long time- enter at your own risk! But if you like vintage shops, and second hand book shops and charity shops galore, explore the backstreets of Manchester. Check out Ancoats and the Northern Quarter. Altrincham, which is close to where I live, is great if you’re a fan of charity shop shopping like myself, and I’ve found a tonne of good finds by spending a Saturday morning on the lookout. There’s also a fab tearoom in the old post rooms which is a must for afternoon tea.

As for nightlife, again you’re spoiled for choice. Being the type of person who prefers meals and cocktails, I’m a big fan of Deansgate Locks. It’s also right next to the tram station which means I can get home quickly, ideal after a few too many. Lola Lo’s, with it’s coconut theme aroma, and Revolution, cheap with your student card, are the best bet. If you want a night of dancing then Revolucion de Cuba is pretty good.

Where are your favourite places in Manchester?