29 Jul 2019

A (Re)Introduction

A (Re)Introduction

I suppose I should have probably written one of these posts back when I started blogging which was, ooo four years ago? Better late than never eh? With a new house, a new area, a blog re-fresh and that all-round 'new start' feeling, it also felt fitting to (re)introduce myself properly. 

So, yes, hello, I'm Kate. Glad you've stumbled across this corner of the internet - did you bring snacks? I'm 27, a food obsessive with a love for being behind a camera, watching crime dramas and sticking my nose in a book. I’m always on the lookout for the next travel adventure, cheeseboard and photo opportunity.

I started this blog in 2015 just as I was starting to find my feet again after leaving university and having zero clue as to what to do next. I was trying to get back to my creative side and so decided to teach myself to be a better cook whilst blogging about it. This slice of the internet has evolved a lot since then but I’m still here, documenting my life and figuring out my thoughts and ideas in my little online scrapbook. I have always been a writer at heart and telling stories is my thing – this blog is the stories from my life. 

I am also incapable of writing anything that brief so if you want to know more, do read on. 

Where 

I was born in Sheffield but have lived down south since I was 9. Don’t ask me if I’m a northerner or southerner because it’s confusing. I spent my later childhood and teenage years in Bedfordshire, went to university in Bath and have spent the last 3 years in St Albans, a small city in the home counties with cobbled streets and an enormous cathedral. We rented a flat with a spiral staircase and spent rather a lot of time in the local pubs (of which there were many). We moved there a year into our relationship and left just after getting married; it’s got a special place in my heart.  

Very recently, we decided to buy a house and have relocated to Ely in Cambridgeshire pretty much on the basis of sticking a pin in a map and saying ‘that place looks cute’. It’s an even smaller city but still with cobbled streets and an enormous cathedral. Are ya sensing a theme? We’ve swapped our tiny flat for a four-bed house and our monthly rent for a 20+ year mortgage. I’m hoping this new city and house is where we will settle and, overtime, will become home. We do need to knock down a wall or two first though… 

G is for Gary 

You may find a lot of blog posts mentioning a ‘G’. G is for Gary, who is the fella I married in June 2019. I started this blog very early on in our relationship and was deliberately being a bit vague about this new guy in my life – but given he’s now married me, I think it’s safe to say he’s sticking around. Being a married homeowner at 27 still takes me by surprise but sometimes you fall for the data analyst in the office and that’s the way it goes – I wouldn’t have it any other way, even when he is talking about spreadsheets. Gary is of the practical, sporty, numbery variety whereas I’m more of the sentimental, sit-on-the-sofa, wordy type; and yet we work really well. Probably because we both love pubs so much. 

Travel 

Whilst I am a bit of a home bird, I get itchy feet if I stay there too long. You could say I ‘suffer’ from wanderlust and I always want to see more. But then again, who doesn’t these days? My favourite places include New York City, the Nordic countries & Scotland. I recently went to Yosemite National Park which totally blew my mind and I will always, always have a soft spot for Greek islands. 

Work 

I work for a London-based company as a Project Manager which involves, well, project managing. Project managing medical stuff. I like my job but what really makes my heart happy is writing. I have a degree in Creative Writing and I’ll try my hand at anything, although have long since learned I should probably stay clear of poetry. I’m always writing a novel but scripts and short stories are also frequent haunts. One day, I’ll get my act together and share some of these here. One day. 

Anything else? 

I’d quite happily live off pizza and pasta. I adore cats but am allergic to them which is a horribly cruel twist of fate. Gary says I buy too many bags and shoes – dunno what he means. I am incapable of operating without a list. Sunsets make me weak at the knees. I’m an optimist unless I’m feeling anxious in which case the world is ending. I get edgy if the temperatures go above 25c. I like colourful things. The best travel souvenirs are always the photos. I love a good boxset. My drink order is either a sauvignon blanc or a Malibu & coke – make of that what you will. I have a compulsive need to document memories. My favourite season is Autumn. I really don’t understand why people would put raisins in cookies. 

14 Jul 2019

Moving On: We Have Bought A House & We're Moving To Ely

We Have Bought A House & We're Moving To Ely


We are now homeowners… 

That title does a pretty good round up of what I am about to say in much more detail. But, hey, if you like the detail then please do delve in.

So yes, as I briefly mentioned here and here – we have been going through the process of buying a house since April. I haven’t talked about it on the blog much because you hear so many stories of these things going wrong and falling through that I’ve just been trying to allow it to tick along in the background and not think about it too much (I did have a wedding to distract me tbf).

But actually, things have gone pretty smoothly and we completed on Friday! Yesterday, we went to pick up the keys and we will officially move in next Friday. The house has been unoccupied for six months so had somewhat of a funky smell about it, the garden has become an actual meadow and there is no running water although we are not entirely sure why. But it’s ours. 

We decided last year that we would buy a house in 2019, after the wedding, and have been considering where we would buy a house for a good couple of years before that. As to why we seemingly have picked a place out of thin air – I wrote in more detail over here why Gary and I are a little ‘rootless’ in terms of places to ‘settle down’. But to clarify the obvious, no matter how much we love St Albans, we have always known we cannot stay here if we ever wanted to own our home. St Albans is sob-into-your-bank-account expensive and we can’t even afford a one-bed flat here. You’re looking at £800k for a terrace house for crying out loud (when did I become the person bitching about house prices, when?!). It sucks but there isn’t much point labouring on it.

We considered a lot of places, originally just widening the circle around St Albans and looking at other areas of Hertfordshire. We did a lot of day trips. We also considered areas of the midlands and Kent (where Gary is from) but nothing ever felt quite right and I’d resigned myself to rent forever and staying in St Albans… which is hardly the worst fate in the world.

Gary took to browsing google maps a lot and sometimes we’d just click on places at random and be like ‘what do you reckon XXX is like?’ These places would then be ruled out either due to the length of the commute or by other people’s reactions (people do not speak highly of Peterborough FYI), but mostly due to house prices. The further north you went, the lower the house price but the higher the commuting costs. It was hard to find the sweet spot.

And then one day, Gary casually asked me ‘have you ever heard of Ely?’

I didn’t even look up from my laptop. ‘Where?’

‘It’s a town – city maybe – just north of Cambridge.’

My ears pricked up. ‘Cambridge you say?’

‘There’s a big cathedral, old-looking houses and, well, it’s affordable. Just.’

Boom. I was interested. We took a day trip. We took another. And another. We spoke to people from the area, who knew the area. No one looked at us like we were idiots. I took my mum. She loved. I took my mum again. She decided she was moving there. Ely is pretty, with cobbled streets, a gorgeous gothic cathedral and canal boats bobbing on the river. But there’s also practical housing estates, a station and four different supermarkets. We seemed to have found the sweet spot, entirely by accident.

(Of course, nothing ticks all the boxes and both our commutes are shite. But just on the reasonable side of do-able when you can work from home half the time, and Cambridge presents other job opportunities for the future.)

We went to stay for a few days just to get a sense of what the commute was like and allowed Ely to settle in our minds for a few months. And then around March time we got itchy feet so, after some discussion, we decided there was no harm in starting viewings, just to get an idea of what we like and don’t like house-wise. But we wouldn’t actually start making offers until after the wedding.

Aaaannnd we put an offer in on the first one we viewed. If you have ever been house hunting, I’m sure you know that everyone will tell you to view a fair few houses and not put on offer in on the first one you see… advice we clearly ignored. We viewed a grand total of 2 houses and the second one was in a very half-hearted manner. The thing is, sometimes you do just have to trust your instinct. Particularly when the house is the only one you have seen on rightmove that is close to town, has four bedrooms and is within budget. Gotta do what you gotta do.

Which is why we have ended up getting married, taking a 3-week honeymoon and moving house all within 6 weeks. And honestly, we only had that much time because we had to stand firm on a completion date – as the house was already empty, the vendors wanted to complete a week after we landed back in the UK. Which was fair enough but near-on impossible for us even before you consider the jetlag.

We are swapping a tiny flat for a four-bed house, monthly rent for a 20+ year mortgage, a city centre for the suburbs and lazy Sundays for DIY projects (we’re planning on knocking down a wall… what could possibly go wrong?). I will miss St Albans, truly, but I’m really rather excited to get settled. I want this new house and new town to become our home, to know we have years of time ahead of us in this place. I’m excited to have Cambridge on our doorstep, to be able to get to the coast within an hour and have all these new lovely-looking parts of the country to explore. And I’m excited for Ely; for this little city (one of the smallest in the country) to provide us with new people, a new local pub (v important) and a new chapter.




Photo by Robert Gramner on Unsplash

7 Jul 2019

A Photo A Day | 16 - 31 May 2019

A Photo A Day, 16 - 31 May 2019
16 May 2019
Location: London
Warm enough for lunch breaks outside again ☀️

A Photo A Day, 16 - 31 May 2019
17 May 2019
Location: Home, St Albans
Not sure what I’m gonna do when I’ve been lazy with the photo for the day and I can no longer look out the window and see this...

A Photo A Day, 16 - 31 May 2019
18 May 2019
Location: St Albans
Biggest loves of my life πŸ’…πŸΌ  

A Photo A Day, 16 - 31 May 2019
19 May 2019
Location: St Albans
Went on a photography course, learned fun things about shutter speed πŸ˜πŸ“Έ

A Photo A Day, 16 - 31 May 2019
20 May 2019
Location: Home, St Albans
When the sun catches your mirror at just the right angle and you realise, yes okay, the whole planning-a-wedding-buying-a-house shenanigans maaaay have caused dusting to fall by the wayside... πŸ™„

A Photo A Day, 16 - 31 May 2019
21 May 2019
Location: St Albans
Always nice sights to come home to 😍

A Photo A Day, 16 - 31 May 2019
22 May 2019
Location: Home, St Albans
Blue skies taunting me as I attempt to tackle the inbox πŸ“¨

A Photo A Day, 16 - 31 May 2019
23 May 2019
Location: Home, St Albans
Oh stop it you flirt 😍 
A Photo A Day, 16 - 31 May 2019
24 May 2019
Location: Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, St Albans
Gary: gym or pub? Me: stop asking stupid questions Gary...


A Photo A Day, 16 - 31 May 2019
25 May 2019
Location: St Albans
A day of hefty wedding admin because apparently we’re getting married in a week 🀷🏻‍♀️πŸ‘°πŸ»πŸ’πŸ₯‚ 



A Photo A Day, 16 - 31 May 2019
26 May 2019
Location: Home, St Albans
Sunday morning shopping for honeymoon bits, Sunday afternoon film, Sunday evening wine. What a blissful day 🍷

A Photo A Day, 16 - 31 May 2019
27 May 2019
Location: Home, St Albans
Someone point me in the direction of the petition for 3 day weekends every week...

A Photo A Day, 16 - 31 May 2019
28 May 2019
Location: St Albans
Has no relevance to this photo but... Gavin & Stacey is coming back. There is nothing else more important to discuss today 😱😍

A Photo A Day, 16 - 31 May 2019
29 May 2019
Location: St Albans
 Last time I’ll be in a rainy gym car park for a while and that is a-okay with me!

A Photo A Day, 16 - 31 May 2019
30 May 2019
Location: London
Last day at work for 24 days and about to spend a weekend with, like, everyone I know. What a blady joyπŸ’ƒπŸ»πŸŽ‰πŸ‘°πŸ»πŸ₯‚ 

A Photo A Day, 16 - 31 May 2019
31 May 2019
Location: St Albans
Time to get married me thinks πŸ₯‚


4 Jul 2019

Moving Home with Limited Time, Plenty of Denial & Nowhere to Park a Removal Van

Moving home saga

Gary and I keep asking each other if we’ve phoned the council. Neither of us want to phone the council you see so instead of one of us just phoning the freakin’ council, we’re just asking the other if they have phoned the council.

It’s like, the shittest form of procrastination ever.

Anyway, needless to say, neither of us have phoned the council. We have both emailed them though. You’re either a phoner or an emailer and I think it’s fairly obvious which category Gary and I fall into.

In case you’re not aware, we live in a rented flat in the heart of St Albans and when I say heart, I mean heart. Very well protected, difficult-to-get-to-heart. You cannot drive to our flat – it is literally impossible. Our flat is basically in the cathedral grounds which is why I am always uploading cathedral pictures to the ‘gram when I have no ideas for my photo-of-the-day because we can look out the window and ooooo big church. Getting to our flat on foot is possible – there are many ways to do that – but if you’ve never been before, you basically need me to direct you over the phone because it is well hidden. Which is why I spend approx. half my life shouting DO YOU SEE THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE to delivery drivers who refuse to read the delivery instructions I have so carefully provided. Future tenants: for gawd sake, use CollectPlus at all opportunities.

ANYWAY. When we moved into the flat, we were able to remove a bollard in the cathedral grounds and extremely carefully drive our removal van up the usually-on-foot-only pathway into the little square our flat overlooks, unload all our stuff, and then carefully drive back out and replace the bollard that usually prevents anyone driving up.

We assumed we would be able to do the same when we move out this month. It is literally the only way to get a removal van within half a mile of our flat.

HA HA.

We are no longer allowed to do this. Something to do with the very old, very uneven flagstones that are struggling to bear the weight of all the people passing through the cathedral grounds, let alone that of a removal van. I mean, tbf, I do moan about the game of Russian roulette one has to play when walking over those flagstones in the rain. Will you step on the wrong one and have your feet and shins soaked as the mini dirty-rainwater tidal wave seemingly bounds up out of the ground or will your jeans make it home without muddy splash marks?

So the question is – how the fuck are we going to move out? Hence trying to contact the council and see if they will make an exception to the whole bringing-a-van-up rule because we can’t help noticing there wasn’t a problem when they were hauling in an inflatable Santa for the Christmas market or when the new brewery opposite was hauling in their craft beers. But the council aren’t responding to our emails and neither of us wants to phone the council switchboard and explain the situation 254 times whilst someone tries to find the right department. Let's just say we haven't had great experiences with the council in the past - there was a whole 'saga' last year over some floodlights being left on overnight to shine right into our bedroom... let's not get into it.

In the meantime, we have 14 days until we move out, no furniture whatsoever for our new house, are still in possession of a lot of furniture in the flat that we no longer want and haven’t even started packing. Plus there’s work on the new house that needs arranging, about 897987 people I need to inform of our address change (including the optician, bank & wedding photographer) and I think I’m supposed to be going to work amongst all of this. How am I dealing with this situation? Denial mostly. Hence why I’m writing this when I really should be clearing out the bathroom.

Remember when I thought it would be ‘fun’ to get married, go on honeymoon and move house within 6 weeks? Uh huh.



Photo by Leone Venter on Unsplash