Danny and I visited the Big Smoke, the UK’s capital city, to look at flats and houses to get an idea of what we were looking for when we knew we were moving to London. We only gave ourselves one day, the space of 7 hours, to view as many potential homes as possible! After much googling, looking on property websites, speaking to estate agents on the phone… we had 9 properties to view!
Rightmove is probably our favourite property finder website and was really easy to use. We based most of our searches around tube stations so we didn’t get properties that were in an awkward spot or out of the way. Zoopla was a useful website for a rough idea of bills and monthly cost as they have a fancy pie chat at the bottom of the property pages. We also used findproperly.com as it showed properties based on your commute. As Danny will be working in central London, and I in Canary Wharf, it was really used to understand the journey and commute length and test out different areas. 😊
Once we had spent a lot of time surfing through these websites, we decided that we wanted to live in East London, in the direction of Canary Wharf. Even though it’s still an “up and coming” area, it still has a lot to offer and the journey into the “hustle and bustle” centre is only half an hour (depending on your destination of course!). I started looking directly for estate agents in our chosen area and looking at the properties on their websites. This was a really useful thing to do because some estate agents aren’t registered on Rightmove, etc, and sometimes you just notice properties you may not have even glanced at originally! One lesson I learned during the (rather short) process was that important (as ever) to be honest with each other but also don’t fear to say no to something that is close to what you want. There’s always a plan B if you don’t find somewhere by the time you need to or, maybe the right one is just on the next property search webpage. After spending many hours and days searching, at the end of July we contacted the estate agent who made the best impression on us when we looked at properties in the spring prior to heading to Canada.
Whether serendipity had a role in what came next, I have no idea, however, it turned out that Joe had a flat being put on the market the very next day. The description essentially ticked every requirement we had and if we wanted it, we would have to act fast.
And boy, we did. The estate agent went to the property and rang me using Facetime to show me around the flat through the phone. I liked it, it felt good. I was pacing up and down my parents’ kitchen/living room with a tape measure creating the space and envisioning it as if I were in the flat itself. We filled in preliminary documents to hold the property the minute Danny saw it the next morning if he also felt the same as I did. He rang me from the flat again and with that… we were signing papers. The turnaround time between saying ‘yes’ and receiving all the paperwork, pulling together the deposit, the references etc. is bonkers. I knew it would be fast but wow, it was go go go!
It didn’t feel real until I saw the building come into view at 9:12 on a blue sky London morning. Before that, I definitely paced out the flat’s dimensions in my parents’ living room at least three more times (sorry to interrupt your rugby, Dad). It was hard to believe!
After a summer interlude, after a long journey back to the UK yet a good nights sleep, the large white van we hired for the move was on Danny’s parents’ house driveway waiting to be filled.
31st August 2017; One Day before Moving Day.
In the morning we went up the M6 towards Stoke to pick up my belongings from my grandparents’ house. We then returned to Walsall for lunch with a van a third filled. Next stop, IKEA.
It was one of those moments where the universe was giving us a test or take our adventure on a detour. Danny’s parents’ house is exactly 10 minutes away from the IKEA north of Birmingham. In this minuscule amount of time sat in the car driving towards IKEA, the grey clouds unleashed torrential rain. Other than thinking about the torrential rain and worrying about the very real commitment of co-buying a wardrobe (it is actually very nerve racking!), we arrived at the entrance to IKEA to find it was closed! At 1:30pm in the afternoon! What!?
Danny called the store to then report to his Dad and myself that a toilet was overflowing so the store was to be closed for the rest of the day. For me, this was a sign – “A wardrobe isn’t meant to be”. It’s amazing how anxiety can affect our thoughts. How was a wardrobe such a big commitment when we’ve signed a two-year lease? Forget the furniture… I’ve agreed to live alone with a boy….!! How ‘adult’ have I now become!?
As we had only given ourselves one day to collect all the things we have and find the key bits we needed, Danny’s Dad kindly drove us to Coventry – to the next nearest IKEA store. Three hours later (or close enough) we emerged with a trolley each… and rather exhausted! Thank you to Bav (Danny’s dad) for all your help with our move!!
1st September 2017; Moving Day
One full van. One driver. Two Passengers.
7am, an open road and the unknown ahead.
We made it. It took three days to unpack completely and the building of the IKEA furniture was a fun yet a slightly maddening challenge.
We had a little get together in October, and have managed to fit more than a couple of people around our dining table since. I love hosting so we’re very lucky to have space that is versatile enough to have space for more than one or two people too!
Almost nine months later, it has transformed a little with further additions and being fortunate enough to make this house a home. Even though I subconsciously feel that living somewhere for more than 9 months is daunting, due to moving so many times over the past five years of my life, I am so blessed to share this home with Danny, friends and even family when they choose to visit.