Wednesday, 16 July 2014


Moving flats is hard (albeit probably not as hard as moving houses) and part of the reason for that is the temptation to underestimate it- oh I'm only moving flat how hard can it be.

I have just moved from East to West London. I moved in one weekend and I moved by tube (London Underground). 

My boyfriend helped me out and between us we did 4 trips on the underground. In the first I actually forgot the keys to the new flat and ended up sat on a tube platform for an hour while my man went to fetch them! 

My tips:

Pack in advance so you have a good idea of how many things you own - and be ruthless about throwing things away or donating them

Rope in your friends- one more person would have made it all much easier

Be aware of when you need to rest and do so- you won't make much progress if you start snapping at each other

Pizza is a great dinner solution- clich├ęd but true

Don't overload suitcases and boxes- if you can't carry it up a set of stairs you need to repack! - especially important if moving by public transport

And - most importantly - enjoy your new flat!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Sustaining a long distance relationship

Sustaining a long distance relationship is something I thought I would never be able to do for a really long time. However the boy and I have been dating for just over a year now with nine months of that long distance (Newcastle-Cambridge, Cambridge-Leeds, Cambridge-London). When this first started I actually said to him that I wasn't sure I could handle long distance and the only reason I was willing to try it was because it was with him. The secret to our success- GiffGaff. Well GiffGaff can't take all the credit, we do like each other a lot, but part of the reason we are still together and as close as we are is because we both have GiffGaff and therefore our calls to each other are free. Hence we speak at least once a day, often twice. Many networks have free intra-network calls, GiffGaff just has particularly cheap pay as you go options (although the signal does just go down suddenly every so often).

If you're about to go down the route of a long distance relationship get on a network with free calls and call them when you want to talk to them. Personally I like to make calls as I walk hence why I call people rather than skyping them, but if you love Skype use it (I always end up staring at myself and then feel vaguely guilty). 

I'm sure when we move in together (August!) I'll be sharing hints and tips for how not to spend all your time together but at the moment the time we have together is quite precious and our daily calls brighten my day.

Renting a different flat

I currently live in rented accommodation in a shared flat (with housemates I didn't know before I moved in- not ideal). I had to move to London in a hurry to start work and didn't really vet the house/ landlord enough before moving in- and as it turns out he's not great. I've been here for coming up to 6 months now and the reason I am moving is because my man is moving to London to start his job and we've decided to move in together. We've been dating for just over a year- the majority of which has been conducted via long distance. I currently live in East London and his job is in South West London so it was pretty logical for us to move in together in West London (we would only end up splitting our time between two flats otherwise).

Because I found my current flat through a friend who was already living in the building I knew nothing about finding somewhere to rent in London until 3 weeks ago. The tool we used- 'Rightmove' and 'Zoopla' although my personal preference is Rightmove. We went to a total of 2 viewings before finding a flat we really liked- we put down a deposit and started the security checks until it transpired that the landlord was unsure about us (as we are young) and wanted 6 months rent in advance with 3 months worth to be paid before the contracts were signed. At this point the estate agent handling us said don't go any further he's being ridiculous. We made the decision to pull out (retaining our full holding deposit because it was the landlord kicking up a fuss).

The day that this happened was hard. I was at work and handling phone conversations in gaps (luckily my employer was very understanding). The estate agent asked if we wanted to see a different flat that evening that had just come up - her colleague was taking the pictures of it that evening. I went and it was great- new, clean, reasonably sized for a one bedroom, and in our price range. We are currently going through the reference checks for this flat and hoping to move in next weekend.

Things I have learnt:

  • Do not assume the deal is done until you have a contract signed and a moving in date
  • Get your reference information all lined up before you might want to take something (previous landlord reference, employer letter, character reference)
  • If you are moving to start your job make sure your bank statements for the previous 3 months are clean and do not go overdrawn if possible (you will need these to prove financial stability)
  • Flat hunting is rather like job hunting- you have to get involved to even stand a chance of getting anywhere but until you have an offer/contract sitting in front of you waiting for your signature there's no guarantee
  • Make friends with your estate agent- they have first access to all the new properties in the area you want after all
I will do another post in a few days about ways to make the actual search easier- if all goes to plan myself and the boy only actually had to look at 3 properties to find 2 we could happily have lived in.

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