Sunday, 20 August 2017

How to sell a house in the UK

How to sell a house in the UK

The time has gone so quickly, I can’t believe how much we have done and how knackered we are.
We invited the estate agent around to give advice on the house as we were planning on a new bathroom and possibly a new kitchen.
But after having a big discussion and a look around the house, the agent recommended that we did very little other than clean and decorate. This left us in a bit of a quandary as we had planned to remove the carpets to expose the original wooden floorboards. Again the agent said that these were not really necessary for a sale as there was a ceiling limit on the price of houses in this area.
As the agent left we sat and discussed his advice. We are so glad we asked him to call around, this is the biggest piece of advice we can give if you are selling in the UK, get a reliable estate agent to come and appraise your property, ours lived in the area, knew the area and sold plenty of houses in the area.
His advice was invaluable, but we did not go along with leave the carpets as he was not aware of Johns abilities or our dedication to getting a job completed, the agent thought it would take far too long and cost too much, it was neither.

But as long as your agent knows your area he will be able to  advice you what is necessary and as such may save you a lot of time and money.
The whole house was cleaned and decorated; we used a magnolia colour that is neutral, warm and clean. We left feature walls in the living room and the dining room which were just a slightly darker colour, these walls had been decorated and were much darker or patterned, this was to much.
dining room before

dining room after

dining room different angle

living room that had been used as a dining room

living room, redecorated and new fire surround installed

living room from different angle
The bedrooms we left as the wallpaper was still in good condition and it would have taken far longer to strip and redecorate. 
bedroom before

bedroom after, cleared and decorated

small bedroom 
The biggest changes were in the bathroom and the kitchen, again these rooms were just cleaned and decorated. John did some extra boxing in to cover pipes etc. But after just a couple of weeks the house looks so different.
bathroom before, with a personal choice colour

bathroom neutralised with a clean colour

kitchen before, 

kitchen after with neutral colour and some simple boxing in covering the boiler
It is amazing how much difference a good clean and redecoration can make, you really do not need to spend a fortune getting a house ready for the market. ensuring that the property is neutral and inviting is far more important. Remember that just because you like a particular colour (I love lime green!) not everybody else will and some people can not see past the furniture and decor.

Top tips
  • Always get an agent to appraise your house that knows your area.
  • Follow most of the advice that your agent gives you, they know how much your house will sell for, but you will know how much work you can complete
  • Do not spend too much on the house; you may not get it back.
  • Putting a new kitchen in, may not be the best use of your money, as the new owners may not necessarily like your choice.
  • Try to keep every as neutral as possible, you are selling a house for somebody else to live in, you are not selling your personality

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Renovation project - Gardening in Cheshire

Renovation project - Gardening in Cheshire
OK so I am not the world’s best gardener but hell, how long does it take to make a little garden look pretty, well not even pretty, just tidy
The first thing is to try to get some of the ivy under control, I have some snips, ranging from hand too tree size. And after a whole day it does not look a great deal different but I have completely filled two big wheelie bins and have a pile for another one.
The ivy takes a couple of days to get to a point where it looks OK, I have also met some more of the neighbours from behind the house who are very happy with my efforts, so it must look a lot better than it did.
Next we need to clear the garden, the swing set and trampoline are moving a couple of houses along so rather than take the items to pieces they are lifted over the fences, with 5 men it does not take long, but for anybody living behind it must have been a strange sight and listening to them was hilarious.
It really was one of those comedy moments that you could not imagine.
But the back garden is now cleared, we still have the lawn mower and strimmer in the shed, and john cuts the grass.
I set about the front garden and the passage at the side. I think I fill about 10 wheelie bins in total with just gardening rubbish and a least 2 car full’s of normal rubbish go to the tip.
But it is getting there; a big tip for when you are clearing around flag stones is to slice along them with a knife. This removes all the weeds in a clean line without hurting your fingers trying to pull them out, this is a useful tip for clearing weeds from anything hard,
But a week later we have a garden, the front has bark covering and a couple of potted plants, the passageway is clear and the bins stacked neatly and the back garden is big enough to have a table and chairs and a lawn.

I had forgotten how big the garden was and although the front garden now looks very empty it does look clean and tidy, this is not our home, we do not need to personalise it, it just has to look good and now I think it does.
Here are the before and after photos

Sunday, 6 August 2017

How to keep the cost of renovating your bathroom down

How to keep the cost of renovating your bathroom down

Image result for refurbishing a bathroom

The cost of renovating your bathroom doesn't always have to be high. You can carry out various processes to save yourself time and money. 

A bathroom should be a platform via which you stamp your creative mark at the home. Don't forget that bathrooms should be renovated over time as they are prone to wear.

How much do you need to change? 

The less you desire to change, the cheaper the process will be. Don't mind your small budget; modify the appearance of your bathroom by only painting the walls, sticking up new towel rails and shelving and replacing tap handles. Avoid re-tiling as it might be quite expensive for most bathrooms. Instead, put overlay directly over the tiles to reduce the demolition work needed.

Why you shouldn't move your plumbing fixtures.

New plumbing can cost you a lot. This doesn't mean that keeping your cost low is impossible. Ensure you reuse the existing waste points and water supply areas for your bathtub, shower, and floor waste.

Get your hands dirty

If you are able and willing, doing most of the renovation part you save on labour costs. This doesn't imply that you can't hire an expert for the whole process; you can engage a professional when it comes to complex phases such as demolition

Shopping around for materials reduces your cost of renovation

Do you have the inclination and time?

Shop around and buy materials, fixtures and fittings yourself. Before you start shopping, know exactly what is needed. For instance, floor tiles differ from wall tiles. Also, bathroom wall paints should be resistant to moisture. When buying a tub, go for one that has wastes at certain ends to lower your installation cost. Ensure you have all the required materials with you before renovation starts to avoid unnecessary delays along the way. If you would like to know some rough estimates on the cost of renovating your bathroom

Disclamer: This is a featured post

Friday, 4 August 2017

Renovation project - Home is where the heart is

Renovation project - Home is where the heart is
Well we are back in the UK and it’s time to get the house ready, there is so much cleaning and clearing to do.
I look at the gardens that are so overgrown, we appreciate that not everybody enjoys gardening,and that the tenants started to move out some weeks ago, so have not been able to do anything to it recently but as I look at the front garden, I remember my little cherry blossom tree, as I look at the big tree in the garden. We have to make the decision, when it was my home; I had a planted garden, with all sorts of flowers and plants. But we will be selling and we will be leaving the property empty, so we have no choice but to dig everything up and make it look nice, but so that it does not require any looking after.

The back garden is the same, there is so much ivy and a swing set and trampoline (which my granddaughter absolutely loves, but is not good for a sale) we have to work out what we are going to do with them. They are like new; the old tenants do not want them. We really don’t want to throw them away but we don’t have time to advertise them.
We have a chat with one of the neighbours who knows somebody who would appreciate them. As it turns out it is a neighbour from further up the road, this is a guy I remember, he had just met his wife when I left, so I congratulate them on the birth of their child (well three of them and 8 years late!)
This is something that really takes us by surprise, the house is on a main road, yet the neighbours are so friendly and nice. We chat to so many and as the rubbish collection is still weekly we can use the wheelie bins of many different neighbours this cuts down on our trips to the tip.
It is strange as I remember this being a nice place to live, but I had forgotten trust how lovely my neighbours were and how lovely the owners of the little corner shop were.
I actually have a pang of homesickness for this house, then I remember the job I had when living here and the long hours and the traffic and I fall back in love with my little French village.
We have more than a week’s work here to get the house ready for the market, but this means I get to see much more of my granddaughter, and have her for overnight stays. This is the best part of this trip, though on her first visit she breaks my heart. She tells me how much she loves this house, so I ask her why and she replies “because it means you aren’t so far away”.
I can continue to write now I have dried my tears, we talk about what our new house will be like and the new swimming pool like we had in Spain and she is much happier.
So here are a few photos of the house as it is, we will show you the after photos soon. But for now, it is make a plan of action to transform the property for as little money as possible. So do we replace the bathroom and the kitchen or do we just redecorate. 

Decisions decisions

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Moving Day Checklist

Moving Day Checklist
picture courtesy of
The big day has come, moving day. You just completed purchasing a home and are ready to move in. There is so much that goes into moving that it is impossible for first-time movers to know what to do. Here are a couple of tips and a basic moving checklist to keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

Basic Checklist Before Moving Out
         Talk with your Moving Company – Be sure you select a moving company near me that can arrive on time for the move. Make sure all your stuff is ready. Most moving companies offer a free estimate and a free walk through of the house to give you an accurate quote and so they can prepare their employees. There is a big difference between moving from an apartment into a house, then moving from a house to an apartment. You many also want to talk to your moving company about storage as well.
          Have A Steady Job – This is a necessity. If you do not have any type of job security, you are not going to be able to maintain your apartment and will be evicted. Most apartments will require a deposit and proof of income to prove that you can afford your new living situation. You just purchased a house, the last thing you want to do is to loose it. Many people are defaulting on their loans and loosing their homes because of this.
           Have A Backup – In case something happens and you lose your job or your hours get cut, do you have someplace you can go if you lose your apartment or must terminate your lease? Be sure you have savings before you move out. Again most housing companies will need prof of how much you make or sometimes a bank statement.
           Boxes & Tape – Boxes & tape are two items many people forget about, also how expensive they can get. Be sure you check out your local grocery store or retail store and see if they have any boxes products came in. Be sure you do not purchase cheap tape. They last thing you want is all of your items falling out on moving day.
          Moving day Prep – Be sure you are ready for your moving company. This means most items are boxed up, labeled and pushed to the side and organized. Having a smooth move will help make sure everything runs smoothly. Labeling boxes will help movers place boxes in the correct room so you don’t have to. Making sure boxes are pushed to one corner of the room will also help movers move in and out of the home effortlessly.

Moving Tips

A storage unit my be needed for the first time if necessary. You can put all of your important items in the unit so whenever you need them, you know exactly where they are. You might not have a lot of stuff to move, but you would be amazed at how difficult it can be to get bigger items up flights of stairs and around tight corners. If you damage the building, you’re going to be paying for it.

Hiring a company like Attention to Detail Moving, can eliminate this worry and potentially expensive type of mistake. Attention to Detail Moving offers everything from apartment moves to cross country moves. They even offer full service packing of your goods, in case you needed help. Be sure to call Attention to Detail Moving for a free moving quote before you start signing rental paper work.

Disclaimer: this is a featured post

Monday, 31 July 2017

Renovation project - Going back to the UK

Renovation project - Going back to the UK

This is a very difficult post to write and I have been putting it off. We are heading back to the UK. Our tenants have moved out and we need to go back and redecorate and complete some jobs on the house.
The reason it is so difficult is that I have only been in the house a couple of times over the last few years and there are so many emotions that I am feeling. This was the last home I lived in with my daughter; I waved her off from this house when she left home. I had some amazing times living here and some very difficult times.
Yet I have not been there so do not even really know what it fully looks like now. We had never intended to sell this property but the money is now more useful than the house.
We have the excitement of knowing that we will be able to buy more in Portugal which will now be our forever home, so life will be a lot easier there. It is still a strange feeling knowing we are going to be living in it for the next week or so and my emotions are a roller coaster.
Our tenants have found a more suitable property for them now that their family is growing and have moved out, we have agreed that they can come and collect the rest of the garden toys and clear the rubbish from the garden this weekend.
The last thing we wanted to do was make the moving difficult for them and as it will be a week or so before we go on the market w are in no big rush.
But for now it is time to make plans to move everything from the house, because at the end of the day it is just that, a house, the ties we have to the UK are far more important, they are family and those ties will be there forever, bricks and mortar really do not matter.
So everybody wish us luck,
Top tip

A little word of warning to anybody that does have a house rented in another country, keep an eye on the rental prices. We have just found out that it was worth a lot more. We had not bothered as the tenants had been so good, but it is worth keeping an eye on

Friday, 28 July 2017

Renovation project - Locquirec

Renovation project - Locquirec
We are going to spend the night in Locquirec, this is not some where we have been before but it is only approx 40 mins from Huelgoat and if you are coming from the ferry at Roscoff it is only 49 kilometres
We are spending the night at Grand Hotel Des Bains, this is an amazing old country house style hotel situated right by the beach.
Grand Hotel des Bains. Locquirec. Brittany. France
The grounds are well maintained lawns with a welcome row of trees along the edge by the beach. This is the perfect place to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet, even more enjoyable when sipping a glass of wine from the bar and enjoying a plate of bread and cheese.
Grand Hotel des Bains. Locquirec. Brittany. France

Grand Hotel des Bains. Locquirec. Brittany. France

Grand Hotel des Bains. Locquirec. Brittany. France

Grand Hotel des Bains. Locquirec. Brittany. France

Grand Hotel des Bains. Locquirec. Brittany. France
If you are arriving by car, there is a car park in the grounds, you need to stop and open the gate and then drive just to your right. We did not find this at first and ended up in the one way system in the town.
Grand Hotel des Bains. Locquirec. Brittany. France
The hotel itself is splendid old style but with all modern conveniences including a pool and spa.
The breakfast was plentiful, with a great selection of breads, pastries and fruit with juices and table served tea and coffee.
We did not eat at the hotel restaurant but we did use the bar and the staff could not be more helpful with both English and French speaking staff.
The town of Locquirec is not big and we managed a walk around the town with a return walk round the coast.
Locquirec. Brittany. France

Locquirec. Brittany. France
There is a small harbour that has a good selection of restaurants, including a tapas, but that restaurant deserves a blog post all of its own, we really do think it was the best tapas we have eaten outside of Spain.
Locquirec. Brittany. France

Locquirec. Brittany. France
The beach by the hotel is made of pebbles so great fun for the kids, further round there are sandy beaches. But throughout the sea is crystal clear.

Locquirec is a small beautiful place to visit either as a couple or as a family.
Locquirec. Brittany. France

Locquirec. Brittany. France

Locquirec. Brittany. France

Locquirec. Brittany. France

Locquirec. Brittany. France

Locquirec. Brittany. France

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

6 Small Bathroom Design Ideas

6 Small Bathroom Design Ideas

 Giving a small bathroom an inviting atmosphere is no easy task. It’s not like a large bathroom in which you can just place cabinets and decorative materials all over the place. With small bathroom design, you have a limited amount of space in which you can work. However, it’s not impossible to design a small bathroom. Here are 6 small bathroom ideas.

1. Do away with edges
Square designs have had their time, but that time is coming to an end. More and more, people are starting to cut off all edges and go circular. Round sinks, mirrors, and other bathroom necessities take up less space, leaving room for you to place other important appliances and items.

2. Freestanding tubs
A great way to free up space and give your bathroom an attractive, modern look is by getting a Clawfoot tub. Freestanding bathtubs, specifically those adorned with clawfoot stabilizers, have become increasingly more popular. Not only do they look gorgeous, they also provide you with plenty more space to place and store necessary bathroom items.

3. Tall, Skinny Furniture
While cabinets and vanities are not an absolute necessity in a bathroom, they can be useful. In order to save space in your small bathroom, you should look for furniture that is tall and skinny. By storing your items vertically, you will save floor space, leaving more room for other necessary bathroom items.

4. Elevated Vanities
Another one of many small bathroom ideas is to elevate your bathroom vanities and cabinets. Mounting a vanity to the wall under your sink will give you space under the vanity in which you can place items such as trash cans, baskets, and otherwise. Not to mention, an elevated vanity will give your bathroom a certain appeal that it can’t get from a standing vanity.

5. Ambient Lighting
Sometimes the only thing you need to enhance your small bathroom is to make it feel big. This can be accomplished with the use of ambient lighting. Though direct light is still important for everyday bathroom tasks, an ambient light below your cabinets, behind your mirrors, or above your shelves can serve to provide your bathroom with atmosphere and style.

6. Shrink Your Fixtures

Another way to make your small bathroom feel big is by installing smaller fixtures. Using a miniature, wall-mounted sink, or a compact vanity can help to make your small bathroom appear huge. Anything that you can do to free up floor space will be helpful in making your bathroom appear bigger.

Disclaimer: featured post

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Renovation project - Summer friends, magical eggs and beautiful bathrooms

renovation project - Summer friends, magical eggs and beautiful bathrooms
The weather has been absolutely glorious this summer so far, I have enjoyed my evening walks around the lake, 
Huelgoat Lake, Brittany France

Huelgoat Lake, Brittany France
Sitting out on the patio with my evening glass of wine and visiting friends. But best of all is when friends come to Huelgoat. We have been taken out so many times and yes my waist is now stretching.
Friends in Huelgoat. Brittany. France
I think without doubt our favourite restaurant in Huelgoat is Le Crepuscule if you are ever in the area, you must pay a visit.
Le Crepuscule. Huegoat. Brittany. France

Le Crepuscule. Huegoat. Brittany. France

Le Crepuscule. Huegoat. Brittany. France
We are all sat there one evening as I go to get my phone from my bag and realise I have four chicken eggs in there.
Free range eggs. Huelgoat. Brittany. France
Now chicken eggs are not normal for me to have in my bag, so even I am surprised. Then I remember I had popped to Suzy’s earlier and she had no egg boxes available and because she only had a few eggs spare , we just popped them in  my bag and there they have stayed until evening, being banged around and dropped on the floor, these are surely magical eggs.
They are also hidden eggs, last year the chickens were laying so many that they had trouble giving them away, this year not so, well maybe they are laying but they are hiding where. These really are free range chickens. So they have as much space as they could possibly want, including woods to roam. So maybe there are dozens of eggs out there that have just not been found?
They are the most camera shy chickens as well, they had a number of hiding places once I got my camera out.
Free range eggs. Huelgoat. Brittany. France
Our friends from the UK are coming to visit tonight, they are not staying with us they are staying at Locquirec. But have decided to spend a night with us. We have the best night, I’m wondering how many times I can say that about one summer and in the morning I leave them to sleep.
They stayed in the little house, so it was like a holiday, the kids stayed with us in the main house and they got to enjoy the beautiful vaulted bedroom and the new little bathroom. They are actually the first to stay in that room now it is completely finished and they were really impressed.
Huelgoat. Brittany. France
The bathroom was a hit. Bathrooms are in my opinion one of the most important rooms in a renovation, it is the room that has to be completed first, the room that is probably most used and a room for relaxing as well as everyday normal use and luckily, bathrooms are John’s specialty.
But as I leave my friends relaxing I get to spend some time with the kids making juices. I am so looking forward to having our own fruit trees and being able to make fresh juice each morning.
My head is everywhere at the moment, I am loving life here in Huelgoat, I am looking forward to going back to the UK again and I can’t wait to start our new life in Portugal, with unlimited sunshine and fresh fruit.

So I am super excited about spending the night in our friend’s hotel tonight and actually get to stay in our beautiful area like real tourists!  I so need the little break, especially from my own head!.