Buying your first home – Top tips you need to know

Owning a home is a millennials dream. And whilst it’s easy to laugh, it has become almost impossible for many of us to take that first crucial step onto the property ladder. With property prices on the rise, and the demand for higher deposits do too, it’s no surprise it seems a pipe dream for many.

And yet whilst I type this, I’m sitting at my dining table in my mortgaged 2 bed apartment I bought nearing 4 years ago.

No I’m not an enigma, and yes it is absolutely possible to own your own. It takes hard graft of saving and some discipline when it comes to spending. I and my partner didn’t rent beforehand so luckily we didn’t have high rents to pay whilst trying to save for a deposit. But, enough about how I got here, I’m here to help you now you are ready to buy.

So where do you start? Do you really know much about mortgages, interest rates and solicitors? Here’s my top tips when you’re embarking on your first steps on the ladder.

Read : Furnishing and Decorating your new home

Shop for your mortgage

Don’t just settle for what seems like a good deal. Shop around as much as you would for anything else. If leaning on a fixed-rate mortgage, you will be tied to this for atleast 2 years, so you want to make sure you get the best deal possible. As a first time buyer, there will be lost of different incentives and rates avaliable. Take your time and seek advice if needed. 

Seek advice if needed – don’t do it alone

I just touched on this, but seek advice and do not be scared to ask plenty of questions. You are not expected to know what everything means, so google, ask and make sure you know what you are signing up to, before making the final decision. There are plenty of people around that can help and advise you from mortgages, surveys and estate agent jargon. 

Save for worst case

Might seem a little silly, but save save save. There may be hidden costs, as well as those planned, but more expensive than expected. Remember, surveys cost, and can flag up things you may need to address sharpish.

Try and not splurge on the pointless things

It’s all so exciting when you have a new home awaiting for the contracts to be signed and keys released. But hold yourself back from purchasing the pointless and quiet frankly, stupid things, it won’t help you when you have bills to pay and no money.

Wait for most furnshings 

A little bit of the above, but ultimately, wait for some of your furniture before you purchase. Again, it may be a little difficult, but you’ll thank yourself in the long run. We purchased many things because we could, and regretted it within months. You won’t know what you will need, or how any room will be arranged till you have lived in it. Hold back and make decisions when you know what will work best.

There is plenty of advice to give when it comes to making your first purchase, and most you will take on board. Although sometimes you will think you know better, like we did!

Just try and be sensible and don’t be scared to ask lots and lots of questions when in doubt. This is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make – you really have to be sure you are making the right decisions.

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Curtains & Nets Interior Style : A real layered look

Let’s be honest – how a window is dressed isn’t something we all look at when visiting a show home, or have a cuppa at our friends. But often enough, we do notice when something isn’t right – like using bedsheets to block out the morning sun – yes I’ve seen people do that!

Dressing a window is pretty vital stuff. Using the right product and one that compliments the space it’s within is crucial when wanting to create space but ultimately shield your space from sun when watching a movie, or letting in daylight when arising from sleep.

Much of the problem when looking to dress your window is knowing what to use to decorate and compliment the window.
What will look great in your space? What will look create as a decoration but be purposeful to?

The Ideal Space for Curtain and Net layering

There is such a place that is ideal for Curtains and netting to work together – a open one. When looking to incorporate this softening trend, you really need to evaluate the space you will be incorporating it into. Using this trend on a window that isn’t open, and often covered by furniture is a real no no.

The ideal window is a large, centerpiece one. It doesn’t have to be a floor to ceiling affair, just one that is free from cluttered pieces. This trend is suited for a window you are looking to dress with floor length fabric.

Tip : If you are dying to use curtains and nets in a window that often has furniture placed in front, consider pulling it forward to enable floor dropping length to hang naturally.

It doesn’t have to be on a window

With this gorgeous trend, it doesn’t have to be on a window. Much rather it could work perfectly stretched across large doors and openings to create a sense of privacy. Using curtain and netting layering across conservatory doors, bi-folding openings and large expanses of windows in a extension is a great softening agent to what could seem very stark and naked.

Using soft fabric can transform a expansive, cold space into a warm and cosy area in any home.

Read : Gorgeous, Dark Kitchens : How to embrace the new trend
Read : How to make any room feel bigger

You could go over sized

There are no ‘rules’ when it comes to using curtains and nets together, so be sure to experiment too. If you have a space that has odd shaped windows or relatively small openings, using over sized and fairly large stretches of curtains and nets together could be the illusion artist you have been looking for.

This technique can often be found in hotel rooms and alludes the windows its hiding is much larger than it really is. It’s a great softener in a bedroom and can create a gorgeous, calm and cosy feeling perfect for some shut eye.

A modern twist on the dated net

Nets are a pretty dated ideal. They can look fairly old mannered and many steer clear as they can instantly age or detract from a beautifully modern window. However, the layering of both curtains and nets together is a great way to add privacy during the day, as well as texture into a bland space.

I love this layered trend, and if done well, it can become a real feature in any space. Whether you use it in your bedroom to create a warming, soft place to sleep. Or in your lounge to create grandeur and texture. Layered nets and curtains are certainly a interior style to consider in your space.

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New Home Interiors : What to spend and what to save on

First and foremost – congratulations. You have clearly stumbled across this post because you have, or at least are about to, buy a new home. Yayyy. Now the fun begins of course.

You may find that you have no idea where to begin, or you are in fact starting a fresh in your next home, so want to know what to spend and what to save on? Well, you’ve certainly come to the right place. With so much to consider when it comes to a new abode, it can feel like you have a lot of expense upcoming that you can’t avoid.

Especially if you’re like me and go into every home section of every store and wish you had everything within it. It’s not unusual for me to purchase something for the home at least once a week – oops.

But there is some hope when it comes to purchasing and being ready for your new / next home – you really don’t have to splurge on everything, especially not right away.

Grab your pen and pad, you’ve got some notes to make.

Read : Curtains and Nets Interior Style

Lighting – Splurge

I cannot explain how important good lighting is in any home. Whether you install under counter lighting, or up the pendant lighting in every home, it so important to make sure every room is carefully considered in the light department. This is certainly an area worth splurging on, yet it can be delayed. Living in your new home for a little while to establish natural light and how you use the space can save you on spending in areas not needed.

Under counter lighting, cosy lamps, low-level hanging shades, and chandeliers with ornate beading. Don’t underestimate how a stunning shade or light can transform your home.

Bedding – Save your pennies

I may seem like a hypocrite as I currently sleep in Egyptian cotton sheets, but buying rather expensive bedding really isn’t necessary when it comes to a new home. Many of our good ‘old supermarkets have a lovely home section featuring gorgeous bedspreads, covers, and cushions. Be sure to check there before you splurge on home stores for their over-expensive similar designs.

If you do want to sleep in Egyptian cotton – its worth waiting and spending your money on other areas first.

Appliances – Splurge 

This is a area you really can’t compromise on. Spending decent money on your appliances – whether it be washing machine, dishwasher or fridge freezer will be money well spent in the long run. Choosing reputable, reliable brands may cost more, but can last longer and save you on new parts and replacing the product earlier than expected. These are items that will be under excessive use – its well worth spending the money on them.

Furniture – Save the pennies and look to up cycle

By no means am I saying to buy cheap and tacky, never going to last a month furniture. But there are ways to furnish your home, without spending the earth. If you like the shabby chic look, be sure to explore up cycling and re-using old furniture from charity shops or even your parents loft.

Check out antique stores for gorgeous, retro and classic pieces, which will add character and charm to your home. If you like all things modern, make sure you head to firm fav Ikea. Explore, purchase and eat meatballs. Their quality can’t be beaten, and whilst you regret your purchases when building one of twenty items, you love it because ahh you have your clean line, pinterest worthy home for an amazing price.

Mattress – Splurge all day everyday!

One place you will notice scrimping back the spends will be your mattress. We spend a huge amount of our life in bed, so it’s only right you spend good money on being comfortable and supported whilst sleeping. You can purchase mattress’ on finance too, so there’s no reason to have a shoddy, low quality mattress.

Save – Storage 

You can get some bloody good storage out there for next to nothing you know. So when you need that plastic box for bits and bobs that take a whole draw, make sure you hit Poundland. Plastic is plastic after all. The organisation feels so much better when its cost you next to nothing!

There are lots of things to consider when it comes to saving and splurging on home buys. My best piece of advice is consider the wear and tear to the product, and the impact on your home it will have. There are lots of bargains to be found across the web and on the highstreet, so I always recommend shopping around when possible.

What do you splurge and what do you save on when it comes to your home? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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How to use Mirrors well, in your home!

*This post contains affiliate links

Interior designers love to use mirrors in the homes that they design, and there really is no wonder why that is. Mirrors can be a really useful design tool when used in the right way. They can help you to add more natural light to a room, and they can also make rooms feel a lot larger. That is, of course, as long as you use your mirrors in the correct way.

Don’t worry if you have never played around with mirrors in your interior design before. Here are a few different ways you can use them for maximum effect in your own home.

Use Big Mirrors In Small Room

You might be worried about using big mirrors in small rooms. It makes sense that some people would worry about using mirrors that are too big in this way, as it is widely recommended that large furniture items shouldn’t be used in small rooms. However, that isn’t the case with mirrors. In fact, it’s highly advisable to use them in small rooms as they can help the room feel a lot larger than what it is.

Go For Fog-Free Mirrors In Bathrooms

Even though a mirror is an absolute must in every bathroom, there is the problem of them steaming up when someone is in the shower or the bath. Do you often suffer with this problem? If so, then you might just want to swap your current mirror for one that has a fog-free feature. If you check out Drench’s bathroom mirrors, you might be able to find one. Once it has been installed, you will never have to worry about wiping away the steam ever again and your image in the mirror will always be clear and visible!

Don’t Place Mirrors On Any Ceilings

Are you tempted to put a mirror on one of your ceilings? If so, you might want to stop and think about what you are about to do! If you do add a mirror to a ceiling, it will look like you have sent the room’s interior design back to the 1970s. And I’m sure that that is something that you never want to do. So, don’t ever put any mirrors or reflective materials onto your ceilings.

Mirrors Help Narrow Hallways

If the hallway in your home is very narrow, it could be worth adding a mirror onto one of its walls. This should help open it up so that it feels a lot wider. Plus, it should help more light reflect around the hallway, which will help brighten it up by quite a bit.

Create A Stylish Focal Point Out Of A Mirror

If you want to create a focal point in one of your rooms, you could always put a mirror in the center of it. This will look especially good in your living room. You could add three or four mirrors on one wall to attract everyone’s attention to it.

Mirrors will look good no matter how you use them in your own home!

Moving home – The real cost!


I’m not sure how many times, in the short 2 years me and my fiancée have been in our apartment, we have talked about moving home. Out of our 2 bed apartment and into a full blown house. And you know what, if we had a pound for every bloody time, we could have bought that house outright!

But one thing that holds me back from up sizing is the additional cost that not only moving brings, but owning a bigger home.
It’s sooo easy to get carried away when thinking of moving on or out from where you are.  But there are some of the things you must consider before making the leap. Sorry to be all mum, daisy damnper or literally piss on your fire, but honestly its worth considering before you set your heart on moving on or up the property ladder.

Bigger home means bigger bills |

And that means in every aspect. The more property you own, the more rooms and space you have to heat and power. Consider the rise in electricity, water and gas bills you will incur from having a larger property. Bear in mind the additional costs to other bills including house and content insurance, car insurance and of course your mortgage bills. If you are moving to a property with a bigger garden and / or driveway, also consider the additional costs for upkeep and general property maintenance.

Council tax is another key aspect to consider when moving to a bigger home. Be sure to check the council tax bands of any property you are viewing or considering. There is nothing worse than seeing a property, that in reality you cannot afford.

Alterations |

Consider the alterations you could be making to a property to make it work for you. Whether it’s general redecoration throughout, or the cost of a new kitchen / bathroom, there are additional costs to be had when purchasing a new home.

When viewing a potential property, or browsing the web for your next home, consider how much it will cost you to get it to the standard you are looking for, on top of the market price. Remember also, adding a new kitchen / bathroom isn’t always money well spent and will not always dramatically increase the market value. Major changes like layout and additional living spaces within a property will always add value. Kitchens and bathrooms are not always to the next buyers taste, and will be easily replaced, even if its brand new!

Read : 5 Tips for redesigning your bedroom.  

Fees |

The dreaded fees that come with moving is enough to put anyone off, as well as make it completely unaffordable for many. There are 6 lots of fees you really need to consider when thinking of moving home.

These are :

Solicitors fee’s to sell your current property, and buy a new one.

Agents fee’s to sell your current property.

Stamp duty for the purchase of your new home.

Survey costs to have your new property looked at for structural problems including damp and subsidence. The cost can all depend on the survey you choose, but is always worth spending that bit more to have a full MOT on your potentially new home. You do not want any unwanted problems further down the line, that could have been flagged before you purchased the property.

Removal costs to move all your belongings from one property to the other.

And finally, mortgage fees that may come with finding and securing a new mortgage. Be aware, not all mortgages have fees, but many do and is worth considering when working out the cost of moving.

New furniture |

Of course, with a new new and bigger property comes new furniture. Even if you’re not moving to a bigger place, many of us will want a fresh start with some of our maybe outdated and tatty old pieces. It’s always best to budget in any new furniture you may need for added rooms or redecoration. You can always consider interest free credit, but it’s always nice to think its paid off from the beginning.

Read : Home Refresh wishlist. 

Job Security |

This is something you should be considering when moving home for sure. You may have number crunched, and the reality is you can afford a new bigger, or better place. Right now you are in a full time position and have a rather hefty sum left at the end of the month, even after all current bills are paid. Hooray!

But, what happens if that full time position goes part time, say because you start a family? This is the number one thing to consider if you are currently living as two but will be a family in the coming years. Whilst salaries and in fact jobs can change, an additional member to the household, and a drop in income and hours can massively effect your affordability on that new property. With a newborn baby, the last thing you need is the added pressure and strain for a larger mortgage bill.

Consider what you and your partner are planning in the coming years, and if salaries and jobs were to remain the same, whether they would stretch to accommodate lesser hours but bigger bills.

Emotional Strain |

This isn’t a cost per say but something you have to account for when moving home. It is said moving is one of the most stressful things we will put ourselves through, and so should not be taken lightly. Is now the right time emotionally to move property? Will it apply added emotional strain for no real gain. Are you just being picky or wanting to move because you are bored? Remember sticking where you are for a couple years more can add value to your current property, and in turn result in being able to afford that place you desire.

Moving home isn’t something that should be taken lightly. And if it’s your first move after buying your first place, it can be rather daunting and stressful to even think about. Talk to family members, mortgage advisor and financial advisor for any further information in regard to moving and whether it’s a viable option for you.

Take your time with the process and do not rush into anything you are not 100% sure on. Purchasing a property is the biggest single investment you will make and you do not want to make a bad decision. There are plenty of options for young people and worth getting further information about including help to buy initiatives!

Remember, the only people that can make the right decision is yourselves, but do it for all of the right reasons!

Are you considering a move? 

Have you recently made your 2nd or maybe your 3rd move and have advice? 

Be sure to share your experiences in the comment section below! 

Charlotte x

Kitchen Pretties

Kitchen. It’s the most important, and at times the most stressful part of the house.

I love my kitchen.

It’s my little abode where I can get angry, sad, passionate, happy, stressed. It’s a little weird, but I find cooking one of the few things I can apply myself and get something viable out of my efforts. Whether its a pie, a bowl of pasta, or a hearty burger. I get something. Much like writing.

I’ll stop with being all deep and philosophical here. But I will say, what makes a kitchen is what you put into it, and that includes all the pretty little things like a toaster, mug tree, slow cooker, mixer or kettle.

Bon Appetit

I’m always searching for the latest Kitchen must haves to make my sanctuary that little bit sweeter.

Since we’ve been looking at tiling, because did you know that’s not something developers call standard, I have been awing at some of these gorgeous accessories.

As you can see, anything that incorporates wood to match our butcher block surfaces is a instant winner for me!

What’s your favourite kitchen utensil / accessories? 

As always, comment below. I love reading your thoughts. 

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