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Showing posts with label owl guy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label owl guy. Show all posts

Monday, 17 November 2014

Owl Guy: Buying a flat!

Renovation ideas London

As Candy has previously mentioned we are currently at one of those big life landmarks, becoming homeowners. But before we get into all the fun posts about interior decorating I am going to talk about the joy of actually trying to buy a house, or at least our experience. Now a quick disclaimer, this is by no means a generalisation, merely how it went down for us.

We started looking for places about a year ago, it was pretty disheartening initially since we had wanted to try and find something near our flat in South London. However, we quickly realised that London house prices being what they are we had no hope of finding something nice. We started looking at other areas and while much of London is painfully expensive there are lots of nice areas that are much more reasonable. After putting in a few offers on various places and getting outbid we put in an offer on a little place by London City Airport, we really liked it, super cute and a really interesting location (great for Candy’s love of aeroplanes). After quite a nailbiting wait the bank approved our mortgage application and we thought everything was going to work out. Alas upon the bank valuing the property they decided it wasn’t worth as much as we had offered and so they wouldn’t give us as much money as we needed which meant that we couldn’t go ahead with the purchase. We were pretty devastated at the time and did a lot of “grieving”, but in hindsight it seems to have worked out for the best.

After that, getting back into the house hunting game was pretty hard. It is hard to psych yourself up about something after a disappointment like that, but we did and after a few weeks break we started looking again. Around the end of March I went to a viewing in a Victorian terrace conversion flat, it was in pretty bad condition, woodchip wallpaper and artex everywhere and the kitchen ceiling was falling down, but it felt like with a bit (or it turns out, A LOT) of work it could be really nice. I got Candy to come and take a look and she totally agreed (yay!). Anyway, then began negotiations… Now I won’t get into too much detail here but the lease on the flat was short (which in the business means less than 80 years apparently…) and so we agreed that we would buy the flat only if they extended the lease first (because otherwise the bank wouldn’t give us a mortgage… notice a recurring theme). The seller agreed and so we were all set, we got the mortgage approved and were expecting to complete by the end of June, but wait! The lease! It turns out extending a lease is a painfully frustrating legal process... Coupled with all the lawyers going on summer holidays, we didn’t actually get the lease sorted until the end of October! So finally, about 5 months of constant emails and phonecalls we had bought a house!

So now we are in the process of renovating it so we can move in, I won’t give away any of the interior decor, since that will be in other posts, but I will say that watching the transformation is incredible. So watch this space, we are hoping to move in by Christmas and it will be the best present after what has been a completely exhausting year!

"Owl Guy" is a (nearly) monthly series written by my husband Dan, in which he chats about what we've been up to recently!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Owl Guy: Moving home

elephant and castle

As Candy has recently mentioned we are leaving South London, however our new flat isn’t ready yet so we are bridging the gap by staying with my parents’ for a few months. We’ve spent the last few days moving all of our stuff. As most of you probably know packing up your whole life is a strange experience, on the one hand it is really stressful but there are all the little moments when you find some nostalgic trinket that hasn’t been seen in years. Candy and I have spent lots of time sitting on the floor amidst the mountains of boxes reminiscing about the things we are packing and the fun times we have had in the flat. We have had some great times in our flat and in this part of London, but after 3 years it is time for a change and we are excited to be moving.

We have been living in our flat just the 2 of us for the last 3 years and to be moving back in with my parents is strange. We have spent the last few days trying to fit into our new roles, it is obviously pretty different from when we used to stay here during university holidays. Although it was strange at first it seems to be going really well. There are some other definite advantages to living back at home, at least for a little while. One of the big ones is that we get access to a much larger kitchen! The kitchen in our flat was nice but pretty small but here we will have space to make some slightly more fancy stuff, some of which will probably make it into the blog. Another advantage is that since we are outside of London now I can use my car and so lots of little trips are on the cards!

On the other hand, the internet in this part of the countryside definitely leaves something to be desired! And the commute to London each day for work is going to be hefty. Plus, we will have to work hard to get used to all of this change, and living with other people again.

Couple happies
kissing couples

We are looking forward to the next couple of months and getting our new flat ready, which will be a great adventure! However there is still a part of me that will always miss our little flat in Walworth, it will always be the first flat we had for just the two of us and that makes it special.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Owl Guy: City breaks for couples

Romantic holiday New York

Hi, It’s Dan again! This time I am going to talk about holidays. You might have seen a few of Candy’s posts about holidays we have been on, and if so you might have noticed that we tend to go on a particular kind of holiday most of the time. Yup, city breaks! Now I do love to soak up the rays on the beach, but given our busy lives and thus limited time we want to pack as much “doing stuff” into our holidays which means that we inevitably end up going on city breaks.

Seoul Night Lights
Couple in Norway
Oslo Tram Guide tourism
Western Couple in Korea
Parasol or Umbrella Seoul
Shibuya Guide Starbucks

Going to a new city as a couple is great, you get to share all of the new exciting things with someone but there aren’t so many people on the holiday that you all want to do different things. (For group holidays I would totally recommend skiing!) Going to a new city is such a great way to immerse yourself in a new culture, there are always so much to explore! Our favourite way of exploring a city is walking, most cities, when you get down to it aren’t really that big, even London or New York! and walking lets you get a real feel for the atmosphere and take in some of the more obvious sights (how better to look at Korean palaces, downtown New York or the Tokyo tower?). If you do have a long way to go public transport is also great, not only is it usually pretty cheap but you get to feel like a local, just for a few moments! Obviously all that walking has to end somewhere, we usually try to fit in a few local museums and galleries, a good bit of shopping and of course, most importantly lots of restaurants! I mean I’m pretty sure it is a saying that “The best way to get to know somewhere is by its food!” Speaking of museums, everywhere has some totally unique ones and it is great fun to explore them. Oslo has the Fram museum (it has a giant boat in it!) which Candy blogged about, Tokyo has a museum for basically anything you can think of and Venice has a fascinating little museum about the local Jewish population!

Venice sunset scene
Budapest twilight

If you have a little bit of extra time it can be really fun to make a little day trip or two out into the countryside (or another city, whatever floats your boat). We did this during our honeymoon in Tokyo, we made 2 day trips, getting the shinkansen (bullet train) out first to the Tokogawa shrine and then to Aokigahara forest where we got caught in a thunderstorm in a the forest on a mountain and thought we would never make it home!
Finally, one of my favourite things about going on city breaks as a couple is that you get to experience all of these awesome things with someone that you love and spend some time together totally away from all the stresses and anxieties of life! So what kind of holidays do you guys like, and do you usually go with family, as a couple, with friends or as a solo adventurer?

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Owl Guy: A new guest post segment by Dan!

Hello, I’m Dan, Candy’s husband and I am going to be doing occasional guest posts on here to give you a slightly different insight into some of the stuff we get up to. For my first post I am going to talk about reading.

couple reading in bed

I really love reading, and I used to read quite a lot. However, as a working adult it is pretty hard to find time to do all of the things you want to do and reading was one of the first ones of these that fell away, quickly condemned to the “not enough time” pile. Fortunately this story has a happy ending. Both Candy and I were sad that we couldn’t seem to find the time to read until we came upon a great solution. In our respective childhoods we used to read a lot in bed, before going to sleep. This stopped for both of us initially due to working late during university and subsequently because browsing the web on our smartphones in bed was just so easy. We made a couple of resolutions to have a little reading slot before bed, but the instant gratification from browsing the internet usually ruined these resolutions pretty quickly. Finally however we came upon a great solution, we could read out loud to each other. This solved the problem of distractions as well being a really fun “couple activity”.

Wise Children in bed

Initially we tried alternating who read each night but it felt a bit disjointed so now we alternate by book, the person whose turn it is to read gets to choose the book. Currently Candy is reading one of her favourite books to me, Wise Children by Angela Carter. I’ve been really enjoying it, Angela Carter’s descriptive flair is mesmerising and her characters feel so alive, helped, of course by Candy’s narration. Once we’ve finished that one, I’m going to read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides out loud to her, which neither of us have read but it looks really good.

This is Dan’s first guest post on my blog, so please show him a bit of love in the comments. Not too much love though - I’ll be watching you.