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

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

The City

512a76d5940638d1b113668ba2322255

It inhales the early morning air, fresh, tangent with diesel, with petrol, with a sort of smog that fills your lungs. It’s a concrete jungle inhaling the smell of panic and thriving on the worry that seems to infect the rush hour crowd like a plague. It towers,  it’s waiting to conquer the urban wastelands on the outskirts that have not yet admitted that there’s no escaping the giant beating heart that is engulfing the core. At times it is deceitful, it offers an adrenaline rush to the susceptible, a feeling that at first is warm and inviting, that makes it seem like it is humming, buzzing with excitement. It poses as a metropolis of life, and you can become tricked by this mirage. It’s only as the clock ticks on, when darkness cloaks the skyline, that the cracks of society can be seen. There’s a sense of desolation in the midst of the morning before the city awakes and the cycle repeats itself.

Cocktails at Albert Docks, Liverpool

On Wednesday, I went on a day trip to Liverpool to catch up with my girls after not seeing them for over a month. We all live in different cities at the moment which makes meeting up really difficult, but when we do meet up we always have a great time and it’s like we’ve never been apart! As one of my friends lives in Liverpool, we decided it would be a good idea to go there. From Manchester it takes around an hour to get there, so I got on a train and off I went.

13589077_988503511267612_1662706771_o.jpg

From the above picture, it honestly looks like the weather was terrible, but it was actually pretty warm, perfect for wandering about the docks.

13625261_988503014600995_755753199_n

Whenever we meet up, we seem to have a thing about going to Revolution. We tend to go for a catch up over cocktails and food, and this time we decided to get a sharing cocktail which came in this lovely kettle… I was really tempted to keep it as it’d look great in my kitchen! But alas, it had to be returned. This one was a sort of fruity mixture with vodka, apple spritzer, and fresh strawberries, I can’t remember exactly what it was called but it was delicious.

13643818_988503444600952_1336018522_n

In terms of food, I had a burger (I always seem to have a burger when I’m out, I think I need to start being more adventurous!) and a chocolate brownie for dessert, along with a cocktail off their summer menu called ‘Life’s a Peach’.

Overall, it was a really great day, and I can’t wait for our next catch up sometime soon. The picture below isn’t the best of us all, but seeing as it was the only one we managed to get altogether, I thought I’d include it anyway!

13644247_988510827933547_1041130607_n

 

Coldplay ‘A Head Full of Dreams’ Tour

There’s huge controversy over the band Coldplay, and I just don’t understand why. They managed to fill the Etihad stadium in Manchester twice over this weekend and it has a capacity of 60,000 people.

13339469_968506506600646_3622281248013938703_n

On Sunday night I was lucky enough to go and see them on their second night of the Head Full of Dreams tour and it was magical. I’ve seen a lot of bands live over the last few years but these were without a doubt the best. They started off the show with the first song off their album, A Head Full of Dreams, and it was perfect to get the crowd going. The song ended with this multicoloured confetti which looked amazing.

13335882_968506619933968_1203049402285720734_n

Throughout the entire show there were fireworks, confetti, smoke and lighting effects. As we’d gone into the stadium, we’d all be given a wristband which automatically lit up throughout the show in a variation of colours. We were also each given a little ‘LOVE’ badge which I thought was so lovely as a little memento to take home. The picture below was taken during ‘Fix You’, and it looked beautiful.

13343030_10206501765919907_8125626756668204816_n

Chris Martin is such an energetic performer, and it was so great to see a singer play such an array of instruments as well as entertaining the crowd and, of course, singing.

13319752_10206501763919857_611902732888957011_n

One of my favourite parts of the show was during ‘Adventures of a Lifetime’ as giant beach balls were thrown into the crowd, the lights flashed in technicolour, and everyone sang along.

13407139_968506766600620_728174650898035065_n

What I loved the most about this concert was the fact that it was so clear that every song had been tailored to be sang live. For example, ‘Hymn for the Weekend’ got everyone dancing on their feet, whilst slow songs such as ‘Everglow’ and ‘The Scientist’ made the audience emotional as we swayed along.  Everyone seemed to know the words to every single song and you could see the amazement on the band’s faces that they’d managed to reach out to so many people. I think this is the only concert I’ve been to where there’s been people of all different ages. There were children, teenagers, young couples, families, adults, and I think that just shows how Coldplay has such a diverse audience. I know there are rumours that this is there last tour but fingers crossed this isn’t true as I’d go to see them again in a heartbeat.

13344610_968506689933961_2052227004295783123_n
13346597_10206501764399869_3184031245730652622_n

13335882_10206501771880056_1949076060159973165_n

 

 

Bank Holiday Weekend

13336276_964772460307384_232567873_n

This bank holiday weekend was everything that it should have been. For once, the weather stayed lovely and warm the entire time, I got to spend it with my favourite people in the world, and a lot of tasty food and drink was consumed. All in all, very successful.

On Saturday I spent the morning doing the usual household chores/shopping, and then in the afternoon made a new discovery in my local area. For ages, we hadn’t realised that there was any where near to us that was ideal for a bit of a walk that we didn’t have to drive too far to, until I did a bit of a trip adviser search of where I live, and found Sale Water Park.

13313768_964772466974050_187941987_o

I was surprised by where it was, as it’s just off the motorway, yet from looking at the above picture, you wouldn’t think so!

13340467_964772490307381_1772751165_o

It’s close to the River Mersey too, and it was lovely to stroll along in the warm weather.

On Saturday evening I went to the cinema with Rich to see the new Xmen movie. I wasn’t looking forward to it as romantic comedies are more up my street, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I really liked it in the end! Maybe I’ll have to go watch the rest of them…

13342034_964772430307387_1306827726_n

On Sunday, we decided to go for a drive to Buxton. We’d heard it was a lovely place to visit, and we fancied a drive to somewhere new. Buxton’s in the middle of the Peak district, and on a sunny day you get some gorgeous views as you drive through the hills.

13335409_964772400307390_1295642696_n

When we got to Buxton, we went for a wander up the high street, and I topped up my book collection with two new Sophie Kinsella purchases. She’s my favourite author, and I find her books are perfect for reading on a summer’s day. After finding it a bit too warm to be walking around shops all afternoon, we went to get a coffee (iced of course!) and went to sunbathe in the Pavillion gardens.

On Monday, we went over to my mum’s house for a afternoon of burgers whilst sitting in the garden, which was the perfect way to round off the weekend.

13330293_964772296974067_1443715471_n

How was your weekend? Did you make the most of three days in the sunshine? 🙂

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?