Tag: money

Home owner at 21 : Getting a mortgage and buying our first home

how i bought a house

Part Two

If you haven’t read Part One Click here

(Images at the end for mobile version)

I was sat in my parents conservatory scrolling through rightmove, zoopla and every estate agent site I could find, realising everything on here is still too far out of our budget. This should’ve been the first red flag to say, ‘just be patient and don’t try to rush things,’ but I ignored every single sign that told me that. I’m not a patient person.

We had booked to view multiple houses, some were lovely but the road they were on wasn’t great and I didn’t know how comfortable i’d feel walking around alone at night, others were just giant sink holes portraying our spirits at the realisation of what we could afford. Sometimes the estate agent didn’t even turn up to show us around and other times we were welcomed in by the home owner themselves and had to listen to them waffle on in every room about all the sentimental things that had occurred in each space. Some were three bed and some were two bed, some had a new fitted kitchen and appliances, some were just utter shite and some looked like it belonged to their grandma only a week ago before she’d passed away leaving her entire life inside the house.

We had been to many but realistically none of which we could afford, as first time buyers we were going to set up a help to buy ISA. This means that whatever you save, the government will give you 25% of that amount towards the purchase of your house, however the maximum you can receive is only £3,000 and one thing they don’t make clear is that this cannot be used for the deposit, the solicitors or any type of fees related to the purchase before the exchanging of contracts! So basically its like a little bonus AFTER you’ve managed to buy your house (.gov).

Another option to look into is the Help to Buy Scheme, these are for new builds predominantly. This is where you can pay only 5% deposit, have a 75% mortgage and the remaining 20% will be an equity loan. This is ideal if you have the funds and the monthly income to be able to have a mortgage (and prove it profusely) but haven’t got the spare cash for a large deposit. Bear in mind, the 20% is a LOAN and will have to be paid back, however you do not have to pay it back within the first 5 years. This is probably the best option, but, and this is a big but, you need to have an absolutely impeccable credit score to be able to secure a 75% mortgage.

It sounds so simple, and you probably think, oh well that’s fine because ive never had a credit card, ive not been behind on any bills, I’ll be fine. No. This is false, that credit score needs to be watched and looked after more than your own child. I have never had any credit cards or been in debt, this is a point down to getting a mortgage because if ive never had to pay anything back that ive borrowed how can I prove I can pay back hundreds of thousands of pounds for a mortgage?

Secondly, they go back five years when assessing you for a mortgage, this means any kind of slip up in payments at all in the last five years is under scrutiny. I am talking payments for pretty much ANYTHING. If you are buying with others, all of theirs will be scrutinised also and one tiny slip up could cost you being accepted for a mortgage. If you have a low income, chances are you aren’t going to be accepted for a substantial mortgage because you need to be able to prove you can pay back the monthly costs and still live a comfortable life, you need to prove this for a minimum of 3 months. If you are a currently a student, the likelihood is you wont get a mortgage, they don’t take into account your student loan payments but they assess any income unrelated to student finance (so a student loan is not classed as your income). When assessing how much you can pay back monthly, it is essential you can prove you can pay back what they assess your mortgage to be, plus interest, plus what the government see fit as a substantial living cost for your age/status/job for a minimum of at least 3 months. You will also have to prove you have had the substantial amount for the deposit in your account for this time also. If you work for an employer, proving your earnings requires a minimum of 3 months, however if you are self employed, you need to prove your earnings for a minimum of 3 years (this posed a problem for me), if you work for an agency things can differ from different banks/building societies/mortgage lenders/etc, but the likelihood – like being a student – is you won’t be accepted for a mortgage.

When March came I’d come across a house I knew we could afford, it was a lovely house with an absolutely huge garden. It was within the outskirts of the area we wanted to move to, not too far from either of our parents and was a price that was exceptional for Birmingham prices. We had decided we would probably have to look at a two bed as it was all we could afford but the bedroom sizes were large and there was no obvious faults with the house. I went with my mom to view the house and despite being distracted by the bright fuchsia lipstick the estate agent was wearing, I was in awe of finally being out of the conservatory and on the way to owning this house. Id already moved in in my head and pictured the entire Ikea catalogue inside the rooms. The lady had informed us that the house had fallen through at the last minute, only a week before contracts were being exchanged (that is the final part of buying a house) so she was extremely keen to sell and would most likely accept less than the asking price. She had also completely refitted and refurbished the attic and fireplace/chimney to fit safety regulations and there was a new heating system fitted, so that night we made an offer of £135,000 (asking price was 140k) and she accepted. I popped the pink prosecco and we celebrated in the garden, thinking this was it.

All we had to do now was secure the mortgage. We had just under the 10% deposit (the standard required deposit, but would have the full amount before the contracts exchanged as the process can take months, so that’s a few more months to put more money aside) what more could go wrong?

But as we frantically applied to bank after bank, different loaners and mortgage lenders we were just being consistently rejected due to the fact we had a ‘low credit score’ and the fact that I was currently a student meant I was viewed as a “dependant” (Meaning they viewed me as a non income earner and took this out of johns monthly payments to ‘sustain’ me as if I was his child). Because I am self employed (I work on social media and blogging) this meant that to not be seen as a ‘dependant’ and as a contributor to the mortgage I had to have been earning a high wage in self-employment for over three years, and provide bank statements going back the whole three years to prove this, which of course I did not have, so there I was now a liability.

We were in desperate need of talking to someone who actually understood all of this and why exactly we were being rejected. We’d never missed a council tax bill, never missed a rent payment, had the 10% required deposit, it was literally beyond me why we couldn’t get this mortgage. It felt like the whole banking system was just like ‘nah, don’t fancy giving you a mortgage tbh’, for no apparent reason. Also, just to have this conversation to fully understand what the situation was and what exactly was going on, was going to cost us hundreds of pounds. One thing for sure is I was studying in the wrong field, I should’ve become a mortgage advisor or a solicitor where i can literally charge hundreds of pounds just to simply answer a one sentence question.

Luckily for us, John had a friend who was infact a mortgage advisor (its not what you know folks, its who you know, if ive learnt anything in life its to go out and search for friends in useful jobs like they are cattle! [im joking…kind of..] although not all is helpful because, GAVIN IM STILL WAITING FOR MY INCREDIBLE INSURANCE DEAL HERE! Id have thought id hit the jackpot being friends with an insurance broker…)

Anyway, we went to see johns friend all hopeful he could finally sort this out for us. He was amazing really, he explained exactly what all the technical mumbojumbo meant, what it was all the mortgage lenders were looking at/for and explained the whole process to us like the retards we are. He set us up a credit score account so we could see a full credit report (usually these cost a couple hundred pounds to obtain) but despite his good cup of tea making and cute dogs, the results were still a negative. We went through the credit reports and he showed us exactly what it was that was costing us our mortgage.

Now, let me take you back to what seemed like a great night a year prior, It was my 20th birthday, id met my friends up town and we had got inexplicably drunk, ending up in snobs to dance on the sticky floor and wait for hours to take a piss, after breaking the seal. God knows what the night entailed cause I was so pissed I cant remember half of it, but I know it resulted in having a pump truck on our front garden and many hungover lodgers to indulge in a greasy breakfast the next morning. At some point throughout the night however, john had gone missing (this isn’t alarming, when everyone’s drunk we don’t really pay attention to what’s going on and mixed with the fact john likes to have a wonder when he’s drunk, we often lose him for half an hr or so). So, john had done his usual wonder off on a drunken adventure whilst we were digging into a dirty kebab and being sick over the pavement. The next morning, we were all worse for wear and john came in and explained how somehow his jeans had ripped completely across the crotch, so somewhere along his little escapade he’d managed to entirely rip through his jeans and stumble back home in his boxers. Few eyebrows raised here but the more pressing point was he had a really shit flip up phone (he hadn’t entered the 21st century until he met me, I can safely say) that was something stupid like £5 a month on contract that had gone missing, it had fallen from the pocket in the jeans which had ripped off (seriously john what the fuck happened in that missing half an hr). This was a completely innocent act and we were more upset that it had nice photos on the phone than the phone itself, but now, flashforward a year and a half later we realised that that stupid nokia was the reason we could not get a mortgage.

Staring at us, on the credit report was three red flags of £5 for that ridiculous flip phone. When he lost the phone, he simply got a new one, it wasn’t worth anything but little did we know that in the crossover between registering a new contract (he’d used a pay as you go untill he actually got a brand new 21st century smartphone) we had missed a couple bill payments for that phone. 5 fucking pound. This meant the credit score was too low. This, added to the other strains on why we couldn’t get a mortgage meant we were being rejected for a 10% deposit, 90% mortgage. The only way to be able to get a mortgage on the house we had put an offer for, was by submitting a 15% deposit and receiving an 85% mortgage with high interest rates. Because we’d made the offer of £135,000 , 10% was £13,500, we now needed 15% which would have been an extra £6,750 to make the £20,250. We didn’t have just an extra £7k lying around (rounded up £6750) and therefore had to pull out of buying the house.

The following few days I spent crying and feeling low thinking how we would be stuck in my mom’s conservatory for another 6 months until we could save up enough to buy a house with 15% deposit. But life goes on, I had my surgery booked in for the summer and being at my moms meant they could look after me, the dates passed by that our two little ones would’ve been arriving into the world and we put it behind us and celebrated with drinks instead of moping about in the sauna attached to mom’s house.

We continued to save a minimum of a thousand pounds a month for the following few months and I was becoming increasingly desperate to find somewhere before the summer ended. I began searching along the Birmingham trainline instead of inside the city itself, scouting the outskirts of the West Midlands. I noticed a railway symbol on the map with a purple ‘Z’ right next to it, so I zoomed in to find a house for sale right next to the train station. After a few clicks I found that the train from the station goes directly to Birmingham centre (where john worked) and so I considered the possibility of maybe living a bit further out.

I was a little irrational at the time and hastily booked a viewing, seeing only the cheap price and the fact It was next to a train station going to bham and then had to explain to john that the house was infact over 20 miles away. But we were optimistic and we both decided what would the harm be in going to look at the house?

John booked the afternoon off work and we caught the train, marvelling at the fact we got offered a cup of tea on this train and pointed out the countryside views that were so different to the cityscape of Aston we usually passed on the train home. When we got off the train the house was less than 5 minutes walk from the station, we looked outside at it and thought, okay not really what we wanted but it looks spacious. We then noticed the neighbours. The house was next door to God. We had a few laughs both being atheists, at the irony of living next to a functioning church, but I noticed they sold cream teas in the church café so I was sold. At least God wouldn’t be the nightmare neighbour from hell. We were a bit early for our viewing so we took a walk around the harbouring streets, nosing at the nearby shops and all the real ale pubs offering beers straight out of the keg, made in the brewery that stood less than a mile from the house.

We returned to view the house with an estate agent and there’s not much I can say to be honest, from the minute we walked through the front door, it didn’t disappoint. Yes it wasn’t decorated to our taste, and yes there was work that needed to be done, but it was literally three times the size of the houses we could afford in Birmingham. It was three bedrooms with a bathroom the size of a double bedroom, a large garden and a fairly modern kitchen with an attaching lean to for a utility. We left feeling we had a huge decision to make, walked back up to the town centre (which was 5 minutes away) and had a drink in a local cocktail bar. The price of the house was the lowest we’d found, the size was bigger than some of the £200k houses we’d looked at in Birmingham and most importantly, we could just about afford 15% deposit on this house. However, it was in a town we had never been to before, 20 miles from home.

But to skip to the point, after visiting the town a few times, doing research on the area, meeting the homeowner and crying stressed tears, we made an offer. And the home owner accepted.

Now again, in my head I thought great, we hand over the money, exchange the contracts and collect the keys, done. Nope.

The process took four months. FOUR MONTHS.

There were searches and surveys done for things I didn’t even understand or realise they needed to do, it goes through one solicitor to another and the time it took was just ridiculous. Who’d have thought a coal mining search needed to be done on the property? The searches (which may be more or less depending on your property) were; Local Authority, Water and Drainage, Environmental, Commons Registration, Coal Mining, Land Charges, Index Map Search, Disadvantaged Areas, Chancel Repair and Indemnity Insurance. Like Wtf?? I hope john understood what all these were because I just smiled and nodded and hoped I wasn’t being ripped off. Check Fridays move for the definition of these conveyancing searches. Then there are surveys, which included; A basic valuation, a house buyers report and inspection and a full structural survey (again surveys may vary). Check Fidler for further definitions on surveys.

Did I mention each one of these costs hundreds? Well, yepp. After all the stress of saving up the deposit, securing the house and the stress of coming to every result of the searches and surveys, not knowing if today would be the day we are told we couldn’t buy the house because of various issues (after we had paid hundreds for the tests to be done) we were handed a huge bill. I’m not going to lie, we knew it was coming, but we weren’t prepared for the entire cost of the whole process. The whole process requires (can be more or less depending on the expertise and services you required) the (15%) deposit (most commonly 10%), estate agent fees if the house you are purchasing is listed with an estate agent, solicitor fees, mortgage advisor fees, search fees, survey fees, stamp duty (depends on your circumstance and the price of the property you are purchasing), land registry, VAT (if you are required to pay stamp duty) and the bills required for general home owning for the month you are moving in. (I.e, set up the water, electricity, etc, bills ready to move in).

This is where we set up a direct debit loan to a family member, because without them we could not cover the expense of the solicitors, estate agent fees, surveys and searches and the basic fee’s as well as paying 15% deposit on a house. So we can only thank them for being able to give us that extra cash when we needed it. We pay that back monthly with no interest and do not miss a payment.

I’m not going to share the exact cost of the purchase but I did say I would be honest and transparent and I know a few of you have actually asked for figures on my Instagram. So the total cost of purchasing our first home, with all fees included was in the ball park of £25k.

In August 2017, I was 21 and 7 weeks post op, we collected the keys to our home, camped on the floor because we had no furniture and had a picnic. Since then, very slowly, we have been doing up the house and making it into our home and I love it.

We were able to buy a bed after a month of sleeping on an airbed and being propelled into the air everytime john moved, and then in December we finally bought a sofa, now we are preparing to decorate our daughters room as we welcome her into the world, celebrating a whole year of owning our own property. Progress is slow, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.

If you want to get onto the property ladder, it is possible, with perseverance and a lot of strawberry daquiris you will get there. Saving money takes dedication but if I can do it (and still stuff my face with unnecessary take-aways) then you can. I understand I am very fortunate to have a partner to support me, as well as an incredible family who I’m lucky to have help me out when I need it and I understand not everyone will have that support network, but you can do it, it just takes time. Me and john are completely financially independent, and I am so so grateful for that, after purchasing the house we literally had to start saving from nothing again, and it is possible to live, play and save at the same time.

I apologise for the length of this post but I wanted to make sure I covered the majority of questions people asked me in regards to purchasing a home.

If you have any other questions relating to buying a house feel free to message me on Instagram.

Thanks for reading

xxx

(Hover on the image to read the caption)

 

Processed with VSCO with  preset

 

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My SHEIN Spring Wishlist

shein feature

[Click on image to shop this look]

 

Seen as the feedback from my mothers day guide was all positive and the majority of you liked my gift guide i’ve decided to every so often share my fashion wish lists for the upcoming seasons.

The first one i’m doing is a major bargain spring collection.

At first i was very dubious about American fashion sites, wondering whether it was all a con and the quality of the clothes wasn’t as good, if there was a reason everything was so cheap, etc. But i took the plunge and bought a couple of items from SHEIN with low expectations, however they were great, they were just as good quality as Topshop and other high street fashion outlets. Now every time im online shopping i ALWAYS visit SHEIN, purely because it is literally an absolute bargain for some really cute finds.

The only issue, being a really weirdly shaped girl (as with any online shopping) is the sizes, i recommend using the size guides as they can vary drastically from other online shops. I’ve found that T-Shirts fit perfectly for me in the one size category, i like to have them a little baggy, otherwise a S/M fits me perfectly.

In bottoms i always go for the smalls as they can come quite big and i have sparrow legs, i like jeans and leggings to be skinny fit. Obviously this is far more difficult now i’m pregnant and have the waist of a baboon but the legs of a twig!

Always double check the size guide, but refunds and returns are widely accepted if you change your mind or they don’t fit!

Click on the title of each item to buy!

All items are converted to GBP from USD

(Please note, this post contains affiliate links.)

 

My SHEIN Spring Wishlist:

 

spring dress yellow

 

Ditsy Print Open Back Wrap Hem Cami Dress

£14.41

 

 

sunflower dress

 

 

Sunflower Print Random Single Breasted Cut Out Dress

£10.81

 

love tee

 

 

 

Letter Print Dolphin Hem Tee

£5.76

stripe tee

 

 

 

Contrast Striped Tee

£6.49

 

 

wild tee

 

SHEIN Letter Print Crop T-shirt

£5.76

 

 

 

stripe p.e skirt

 

Striped Tape Side Skirt

£7.21

 

 

jeans light blue

 

 

 

Extreme Distressed Roll Hem Jeans

£12.97

 

 

 

blue tie jumper

SHEIN Contrast Panel Sleeve Lace Up Hoodie

£12.25

 

 

 

floral blouse

 

 

Floral Print Bell Sleeve Top

£7.93

 

 

 

lace flower jumper

 

Lace Panel Beaded Sweatshirt

£12.25

 

 

 

tie neck blouse

 

 

SHEIN Tie Neck Ruffle Trim Floral Top

£9.37

 

 

 

just peach

 

 

SHEIN Fruit Print Lettuce Edge Tee And Shorts PJ Set

£10.09

 

 

6 sweater

 

 

Contrast Sleeve Varsity Print Sweatshirt

£11.53

 

 

 

grey and white dress

 

Abstract Print Cami Dress

£9.37

 

 

 

pink pinafore

 

 

Pocket Front Pinafore Dress

£8.65

 

 

usa jumper

 

USA Flag Print Crop Raglan Pullover

£10.09

 

 

spotty dress

 

 

Polka Dot Wrap Self Tie Waist Frill Cami Dress

£12.25

 

 

 

floral jumper

SHEIN Flower Embroidered Dip Hem Jumper

£18.74

 

 

flower shoes

 

 

Calico Embroidered Lace Up Sneakers

£25.22

 

 

knit pink

SHEIN Crisscross Back Eyelet Detail Jumper

£18.02

 

 

 

grey coat

 

 

Grey Lapel Long Sleeve Loose Sweater Coat

£20.18

 

 

 

pink knit

Knotted Detail Jersey Jumper

£14.41

 

 

1980 tee

 

 

 

SHEIN Letter And Number Print Ringer Tee

£7.93

 

pink boot

 

Lace Up Back Block Heeled Ankle Boots

£25.22

 

best buds tee

 

 

 

SHEIN Letter And Flower Print Tee

£6.49

 

leopard sunnies

 

Leopard Frame Flat Lens Sunglasses

£4.32

 

 

tie knee high boots

 

Lace Up Over The Knee Boots

£26.66

 

 

choker tee

 

 

SHEIN Choker Neck Solid Tee

£6.49

 

 

 

black sliders

 

 

Faux Fur Overlay Flat Slippers

£11.53

 

 

nap queen jumper

 

Letter Print Sweatshirt

£9.22

 

 

femme bag

 

 

Wrap Scarf Satchel Bag With Pom

£11.53

 

 

silk pj

 

Contrast Binding Satin Pyjama Set With Eye Mask

£11.53

 

 

 

 

For more spring bargains Click the banner below:

spring sale

 

 

 

[Individual images owned by SHEIN | Featured image owned by Dawson.xo | Subject to Copyright]

The problem with Big Bloggers

I always find starting a blog post is the hardest part of actually keeping up a blog, finding a theme, setting up your social links and adding pictures is the fun bit. But actually sitting down and thinking of something to say is a completely different thing.2018-03-19 10.38.19 1

I have quite a few people who say to me they’d love to start a blog but they just don’t know what to blog about, truth is, neither do i.

Blogging is half about having a passion and talent for writing and half about building up the confidence to actually share yourself online. You could write a fantastic blog piece about ‘All the reasons kale is good for you’ or ‘How to become a ‘girl boss’ in ten days,’ the typical kind of blog post you’re likely to see get thousands of hits but is it personal? Unless that person is a kale farmer or really is making thousands in a few days, then no it isn’t.

So should you make a blog that’s personal and bare all to the world or should you stick to the generic ‘popular’ posts? I realise I am being very hypocritical here because I, like many others, find myself slipping into the cliché stereotypical blogging category a lot of the time (and probably with this post). But blogging should be a passion, it should be something you are proud of and can happily say ‘I wrote this’ or ‘I made this’ ‘I took this photo’ and people to look at it and know that that is truly you.1521202204118

Trouble is, in the past few months blogging has become a phenomenally large, saturated, hobby,  with hundreds of thousands of people competing for a space on the popular page. Because of this competitiveness the lesser known blogs are pushed under the carpet and just like everything else in society, the blogger behind the page begins to try to conform just to get noticed.

Do we not teach people to be themselves and be honest no matter what other people think? Do we not teach people that looks don’t matter? That we should be individuals?

So why is their post not good enough to get the attention?

Whether you are working on an old school hot pink flip Motorola (always wanted that phone) or a brand new Olympic pen. Or if you walk around with a rucksack of different lenses and a camera that weighs more than your entire body, every single individual puts time and effort into the content they create.

It’s not a secret that I know nothing about photography, but the photos I take I try just as hard to make them look aesthetically pleasing as a professional would do. Sometimes I am lucky enough to get to pick the brains of Hayley and learn a bit more about taking high quality images but a lot of the time my content is mediocre.

It’s also no secret that I have the academic level of a goldfish and sometimes can’t seem to even get my words in the right order before a large cup of tea in the morning, but when I sit and write a post I put myself into it, grammatical errors and all.

IMG_20180317_095610_343The problem is however, in the last few months I put all this effort in and I don’t get anything out of it. Instead I see more and more beautifully taken photos by hired photographers in luxurious backgrounds surrounded by the biggest fruit spread dominating the popular page leading to a blog post on……. ‘How to gain 100k followers by just being you.’ But you read the post, you see the photo and it is completely hypocritical. You’re telling people to hire a photographer, is that being you? You’re saying to travel to these locations [Insert some amazingly expensive holiday you wouldn’t be able to afford to go on even if you sold your soul], is that being you? You’re saying photoshop yourself to show your curves and attract attention, is that being you? You’re advising to remove any necessities that everyone has in everyday life out of the image and only have high end, pretty looking objects in view, is that you? And most of all, is the entire blog post YOU? Because im sure we haven’t slipped into some Charlie brooker fantasy where everyone lives their life in a conformed list of instructions just yet.

It is disheartening when you put your real self out there and yet someone with 500k followers talking some utter shit about something they aren’t passionate about blocks out all your content altogether. Because that’s exactly what happens.

If your image doesn’t get a certain rate of engagement within the first 2 minutes, Instagram then blocks your photo from being discovered by people who haven’t engaged with you either; ever, or within the last 24 hours. That means around 60% of even your1521455157978 followers probably don’t see your posts, let alone finding any new followers. And if like me, you are shadowbanned (Instagram claim this is a glitch on their software) then no hashtags ever work on your photos and no exposure outside of your engaging followers is given. At all.

So ‘what’s the point in doing it?’ People say to me. I’ve heard so many people say ‘ I used to blog but I stopped because no one was reading my posts’ and honestly, I feel ya.

Sometimes I sit here trying to think of witty posts or come up with an idea that covers a topic that’s really popular at the minute in order to gain traffic to my blog or my Instagram, but then I read back and think, this isn’t me, this isn’t personal.

I want to look back in a few years and laugh like, ‘oh remember when we first got luna and she shat on my laptop because I took my favourite bra that she was chewing off her’ or cry because I remember the pain of losing my two babies. I want to look back and go ‘aww look how small they are here, remember when she just started sitting up?’ or ‘Gosh look at me complaining about being tired here when im legit dying of tiredness right now, I didn’t have a clue back then.’ I want to look back and remember my writing fondly, I don’t want to look back and read ‘5 self help books that cured me of depression’ because truth is in the future no one is going to care, I’m the only one who is going to care and im going to regret getting a few thousand views on that verses a funny update that reminds me of a great time or a feeling.

IMG_20180319_212906_025I’m not dissing ‘big’ bloggers, they work hard and they are great at it, they deserve the exposure they get but what i’m trying to say is don’t change yourself or your blog to conform with them just because they are popular.

You wanna write a blog on how your dog’s poo progresses through life? You do it. You want to write a diary entry documenting your mental illness in the most personal way possible? You do it. You want to share you latest tinder date in every gory detail? You do it. You write about what you want to write about, write what you enjoy and what you know that ten years into the future you can look back on and say ‘I’m so glad I wrote that, Id completely forgotten about it!’ Don’t write for someone else.

If your blog isn’t getting great views, that’s okay, it doesn’t mean its shit. It doesn’t mean you should change and fit in to ‘what’s popular.’ So please, please, please, if you want to blog but are scared no one will read it, just do it! Do it for yourself. If you already have a blog and are unmotivated by it and low about it, please keep going because you started it for a reason.  Remember the reason why you considered blogging in the first place? Was it to ‘get rich quick?’ probably not. It was to express yourself, share yourself and have a little place on the internet that’s all yours. It doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks of it.

YOU DO YOU.

 

xoxo

You-do-you[I do not own this image]

 

As a way for bloggers to gain exposure I have recently started up my ‘Introducing…’ series, so if you are interested in being a guest post on my blog in order to reach a further/different audience please check out my page and show your interest or let know on Instagram.

Thank you to everyone who has already applied to be a part of the series, you guys are what makes it worthwhile!

Introducing Brief

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

For something a little bit different, to try to branch out on more of the ‘Lifestyle’ theme i decided to share with you my ultimate mothers day gift guide. I.e. A list of things i really want for myself with the occasional thing thrown in that my mom might like…

(John you better be looking at this i ain’t making it anymore obvious for you)

It’ll (Kind of) be my first ever mothers day so here’s a guide for all of you if you’re like my sister, who probably still hasn’t realised mothers day is actually this Sunday and you need to rush to get a gift!

Enjoy!

GIFTS

 

mothersday 2

1. Mum, never forget how much you are loved. Jug | £9 | Sainsburys
2. Indigo Floral Velvet Cushion | £24.99 | TK Maxx
3. Oh Yeah! Cream Donut Sweatshirt | £16.99 | TK Maxx
4. Personalised Bear Family Print |£28 | The Drifting Bear Co.
5. Personalised Enamel Planter | £12 | Sophia Victoria Joy
6. Large Scented Candle | £17.99 | H&M
7. Ribbed Eyelet Swimsuit | £29| Topshop
8. Blue Rug and Llama Mug | £5.99 | New Look
9. Multi Coloured Mango Slogan Water Bottle | £5.99 | New Look
10. Listography: One List a Day: A Three-Year Journal | £14.99 | Waterstones
11. BOD Exclusive 20 min Mermaid Bath Prep – With Pink Shimmer | £11.99 | Asos
12. Textured Box |£8.99 | H&M
13. Michael Kors Sexy Ruby 50ml Fragrance Set | £40.78 | Boots
14. Two Tone Striped Tee | £7.40 | SHEIN
15. Vans Old Skool Women’s | £60 | JD Sport
16. White Plant Embroidery T-shirt | £5.99 | SHEIN
17. Gold Metal Edged Glass Star Ornament | £18 | Dunelm
18. Rose Gold Flower Ring With Swarovski® Crystals | £15 | Accessorize

 

FASHION

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mothersday

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HOME

mothersday 51. Hand-painted stoneware plate | £6.99 | H&M
2. Harlequin Savannah Cushion, Lemon | £55 | John Lewis
3. Disney Bambi Photo Clip | £1.50 | Primark
4. Shell Pink Pig Mug | £5.99 | New Look
5. Umbra – Steel wire brass plated ‘Hello’ ornament | £17.50 | Debenhams
6. Metal salad servers | £9.99 | H&M
7. Glass Candle Holder | £8 | Primark
8. Home Collection – Gold cosmopolitan globe | £26 | Debenhams
9. Prosecco Print | £4 | Slay My Print
10. Salvage effect metal Lantern | £42 | Next
11. Scandi Pom Pom Throw, Grey | £65 | John Lewis
12. Stoneware Cookie Jar | £17.99 | H&M
13. Boja Set of Four Gold Foil Champagne Flutes | £32 | Oliver Bonas
14. Copper Coloured Metal Shelf | £180 | All Things Chloe Jane
15. Peachy Clean Bath Matt | $39 | Urban Outfitters
16. Set of two Contemporary Canvases |£15 | Next
17. Luxe Bar Table |£295 | Oliver Bonas
18. Liv 3” Footed Planter | $12| Urban Outfitters
19. Dirraw Washed Medallion White/Blue Rug | £54.55 | Rosalind Wheeler
20. Ziggy 49cm Tripod Table Lamp | £44.99 | The Lighting & Interiors Group

 

 

*I realise i didn’t link the websites and to be honest i’m not going back to find each individual thing to link them now cause its 5pm and i want food, you’ll have to search for it yourselves.

xoxo

 

 

 

What I Actually Do – Day in the life of a Crohnie

Last week when I was having my 10am trip to the sick bowl, I was watching an interview, or rather a ‘debate’ on This Morning involving two women. One woman was a full time stay at home mom and the other a 9 – 5 working mother, and as much as I applaud the efforts of the working mom she caused a lot of uproar with branding the other as ‘lazy’ and questioning what exactly stay at home mom’s do.
This is a close debate to me because very often some ignorant person slides into my dm’s to ask me exactly ‘what I do?’ and yes I am a self proclaimed lazy arse, but I also work hard and do not do “nothing.” After talking to a lot of other Crohn’s sufferers I find myself telling them to not feel guilty about doing nothing or achieving nothing more than a 6 hour nap on a day they aren’t feeling great and yet I feel myself having to justify what exactly I do still.


So first off I’m going to state that I don’t feel I have to justify myself but there are a lot of you who are non-maliciously, genuinely interested in what a week is like for myself as a Crohn’s sufferer, work from home, M.E diagnosed, pregnant, student.
Already, my illnesses are a type of job, they are something I live with everyday and they can determine the path I go down in my life. A year and a half ago I gave up work to focus on my health and have not returned to a career since, and I do not regret that, nor do I feel like I am lazy or a ‘doll scrounger’ because of my choice to focus on being mentally and physically well over the 9-5 grind. I work hard to do normal tasks some days, sometimes getting dressed is an exhausting task or even a walk with Luna (despite the fact she’s pop-eye on a leash) can tire me out for the entire day and with the build up of my exhaustion comes a flare up, with a flare up comes a debilitating change in life, days in hospital and watching loved ones suffer the thought of what will happen to me this time. So when I say I do not work full time or have a ‘proper career’ I am not ashamed or feel guilty for being a stay at home person and any other chronic illness sufferer should not feel guilty that they too cannot work or cannot pay into the state like many other people in society can and do.
With that said this is what an AVERAGE day (there are obviously days I lie around in a vegetative state with one arm round my sick bowl and the other in a pic n mix tub watching Netflix) looks like for me.0001
I wake up when my natural body clock wakes me up, because if I don’t, boy do I know about it. On the days I have to set an alarm I fight a battle of morning sickness and body fatigue as my digestive system hasn’t clocked in yet, my body has awoken before my functions have and so they work at dysfunctional time differences. So majority of the time I let myself wake up naturally to avoid any premature trips to the toilet and alleviate the chances of a midday nap. I go down to luna, who has already attempted her prison breaks and escapology routines in which she somehow manages to escape her cage even with cable ties and a padlock on (I don’t even know how she does it but I can earn big bucks from her skills, Houdini is shaking in his grave). Feed her some goop whilst trying not to gag and then have a cup of tea, or on a bad sickness day, a cup of boiled water (wild, I know) and then run to the toilet and sick it all back up again…
“Welcome to the second trimester” they said… “Morning sickness will be going now” they said…
Well my stomach and my toilet disagree. So once ive gotten my vomiting out the way I go get dressed, which I think is the actual hardest part of the day. It’s the part where you mentally make the decision that your day is beginning and you mean business, despite feeling like its time to go back to bed already.
0003If it’s a work from home kinda day, then ill be lucky to be arsed to do my makeup cause that is commitment usually only saved for leaving the house. Joggers on, messy bun (that looks more like a sparse turd on my head because my hair is too thin to do a proper messy bun) and eyebrow-less. Our post lady (despite being half blind and unable to tell what number our house actually is) delivers my ‘blogger mail’ (again this is NOT something that happens EVERYDAY) with the same astonished expression that Michael Jackson really hasn’t died and is living at number 11 in her home town when I greet her. I spend a couple hours doing the house work and talking to the dog like a mad woman who has had no human contact in years whilst debuting my new album at top volume and a well-choreographed cordless vacuum dance to accompany it. Then by lunch time I have finished boring mundane chores and sit down to go through my emails. I argue with a few collaborators about how I deserve to be paid for advertising their brand or products and write up briefs or ‘pitches’ to them with my set fee in the hope they accept and delete all the spam about how I need a penis enlargement for my non-existent dick. Then if I have Instagram or blogging jobs to do I try to do them whilst its still light outside, setting up the brands product in some shitty layout and blab on about what I think of them in painstakingly unnecessary detail that the company are happy with. Although this proves to be a lot harder than anticipated because there are only so many flat lays or backgrounds I can use for variety within the four walls of my house (and yknow, eyebrows off means I ain’t leaving the house unless for emergencies).
If I don’t have any blogging or insta jobs to complete then I log onto my student account and do some of my uni work, or rather, I pretend im doing uni work but actually got side tracked by the latest serial killer documentary that I have on in the background and then come deadline day I cry into my laptop until ive finished and then repeat the whole cycle again come next assignment. The great thing about Open uni is its so flexible, if im having an ‘ill’ day, where I don’t get anything done, I’m not reprimanded or lectured, instead offered extra support should I want it. You get out exactly what you put in, and there’s no in-between. If I only do an hour a week of uni then I’m not in trouble for missing online lectures or activities, I just notice a decrease on my own ability come the next marked assignment. You are given your assignment due dates for the whole year when you start so there isn’t really any excuse as to why I could miss my August 2018 deadline because I knew it was coming from October 2017. Still, im a pro at leaving it to the last minute.
When I’ve finished work there is usually only an hour or so before john gets back from 0004work so I usually just chill, watch some shitty American tv show and sleep because by now im exhausted. Im exhausted every hour of the day thanks to Crohn’s but when my tasks are done that’s when I reward myself with a nap (it’s the best part of everyday). When john gets home and ive awoken like someone having a nightmare in a horror film, wondering what year it is and where ive been for the last decade, we take luna out for a run. She has developed a keen talent of finding any way possible to get into the River Trent and swims around for a little bit providing the current isn’t strong. If the current is strong, I turn into a crazed mother running after her screaming like she’s the kittens in the ‘Aristocats’ about to be swept away but she never is because y’know, shes a dog, shes a good swimmer. When ive finished having heart palpitations and accusing john of not caring or getting in the river after her, we head home and argue about what we want for tea. The system is fairly simple, ‘Did we have pasta yesterday?’ ‘No?’ ‘Pasta it is’. If the answer is yes its, ‘Okay think of something today and we’ll have pasta tomorrow’. I cook tea and we watch some shit tv before retiring like an old age pensioner to bed at like 10pm where I kid myself into thinking im going to finish my book tonight but instead end up falling asleep to family guy.
Like I said previously, days differ, sometimes I meet up with friends for a drink, sometimes I have to go to venues for various things, sometimes I am at doctors or hospital appointments or tests, some days I check up on the Etsy shop (full feature coming soon) and some days I do absolutely nothing.
So yeah, I do do ‘nothing’ but I don’t do ‘nothing’ at the same time and I’m not ashamed to not have a full time proper job. Of course on a bad day I think badly of myself, chastise myself for not being stronger or having the motivation to push through and get a 9-5 job and feel guilty that some people don’t have the choice but to work. But everybody has their own guilt battles, mom guilt, breaking a diet guilt, work guilt, not going to the gym guilt, spending money on irrelevant things guilt. It’s a natural part of mental health to feel guilty for things we have or do that we know others may not be as fortunate, but it doesn’t mean we are in the wrong. If you have a chronic illness and cannot work, if you are mentally effected by work or if ‘work’ is deteriorating your own health, there is no shame and nothing wrong with taking the back step. It doesn’t make you ‘lazy’ or a ‘doll scrounger’ or a ‘freeloader.’
In July I will be adding to my list of jobs, I will be a full time stay-at-home mom, and I have no shame in being just that. My life aspiration was to be a mother. So I am proud to be able to achieve that and focus all my energy into being the best full time mom.

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*As you may have noticed some of the photography is 100% better than any of my own, including the main header photo. These photos were taken and are owned by HND Photography student, Hayley Leaver. Click on any of her photos (Watermarked) to check out more of her work and show support. More of her images will be featured in upcoming posts.

xx

 

To check out my previous post Click here

My Instagram

Hayleys Instagram

 

The Bell “Apparently”

So back when I became the boring adult age of 22, where no birthday is ever worth the rave until you reach 30 (which is a terrifying concept), me and john spent a few nights in Ticehurst at The Bell ‘Apparently’.

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We booked two nights in their lodge called ‘between the lines,’ each lodge is completely unique and has a different themed design. Between the lines was centred around literature and classics, the country life of sitting by a log fire playing old board games, (John is going to kill me for not being able to name an old fashioned game he played back in the dark ages when he was a child) and reading a romantic novel. The theme is evident throughout along with a cosy romantic vibe, the place was just immaculately beautiful and I can’t wait to book another trip. If you want to book a night or two at The Bell click here, you can book a room in the main hotel or a private lodge, like the one we stayed in.

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On the first day, after 4 hours of praying that kitty (or Jon snow as I like to call it to piss john off) – the car by the way – don’t ask – didn’t break down (very ironic, but that’s for a different day) we spent the time drinking in their bar and retiring to chill out in the lodge. We started up the log fire and john nipped to the shop to get a bottle of whiskey whilst I ran a bath. Anyone who knows us will know that baths are like the number one on our list of luxuries and one of the reasons we ended up together (besides Craig David – again, don’t ask) and seen as john left his copper, roll top, mother-of-all-luxurious bathtubs in the world behind in Kings Heath this was the best bath experience and we were making the fucking most of it. Like parents who have escaped the children for a night, we enjoyed not having Luna cry every time we kiss, or wipe her dirty arse across the carpet, or sit on our heads whilst trying to watch a movie. I lay in the bath and john sat on the balcony beside it, smoking a cigar (Mostly johns part, sorry mom), drinking whiskey and chatting beside the log fire. (As well as fighting over who’s music to listen to as the lodge had built in speakers all around.) It was perfect.

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When it started to get too chilly we ordered a Chinese to the lodge. I made john do the shame walk into the restaurant to ask for plates and cutlery and turns out beside the fact Ticehurst is the most aesthetically pleasing and beautiful, tiny country village, they also do the BEST chicken in black bean sauce dish I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting, (and in 22 years ive had a lot). BUT they didn’t do yuk sung so y’know, point down to the beautiful village we wanted to move to. The village was so ‘British,’ the kind of country village that is portrayed to the rest of the world as what England is actually like, amazing architecture, 70’s cars, farmers delivering eggs fresh in the morning, fish mongers weighing out their fresh fish and a butcher on every corner. Instead of the pouring rain, vomit clogged drains and left over Chicken Balti on the pavement with bottles of bud and empty plastic packets of cocaine that is Birmingham.

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On the second day we took a trip to Hastings, where we took a basket of smoked cheese biscuits and selection of pates intending to eat it on the beach like a 1950’s couple, but instead we found a true crime museum and spent hours sitting in an electric chair, marvelling at preserved evidence from big crime scenes and learning how to make weapons out of plastic spoons. So again another perfect day. (More on Hastings another time).

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That night we ate at The Bells Restaurant and it was like a Michelin star, they really pay attention to detail and the décor of the place is just incredible. Morning, Afternoon and evening they have a centrepiece filled with suitable foods. In the morning is a spread of continental goods, pastries, cereals, fruit, and in the evening is a huge meat joint ready to be carved surrounded with various tapas. The menu’s they offer are ever-changing with the seasons and in pure autumnal country fashion we shared guinea fowl, mushroom arrancini, beetroot soup, braised leg and butter poached breast. It was completely different to what I would usually pick, I’m more of a frutti de mare kinda gal but it was divine and I will definitely be ordering it again. As for breakfast, i’m sure judging by my Instagram it was obvious I was going to have the eggs benedict or royale (I can’t remember which is which – the one with the smoked salmon) as that is my go to brekkie and john being john went with the biggest breakfast he could find…every morning.

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The hotel and lodges themselves are honestly phenomenal and well worth the money, the attention to detail is incredible, every document, tour guide, wine list and lodge guide was addressed personally to me, every day they served homemade cookies in bell jars and loose leaf tea of every single variation possible. The quirkiness of the lodge was so intricate I don’t think we even uncovered all of its magic and I cant wait to book again and try a different lodge out as every one has its own secret. Between the lines had a headboard made from novels and hand drawn images from notebooks. It also had a mezzanine floor with chaise lounges and crates full of records. The artwork throughout the hotel is all one off individual pieces with a story behind them and all the rooms boast their own poetry fitting with the ‘storytelling’ theme they have created. It was like the whole of Alice in Wonderland was compressed into a building.

I can’t really say anymore because i’d be here all day waffling on about how amazing this place is. So with The Bell’s motto “I will always love you, my friend” I bid you farewell.

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