Virtually Moving

I felt like it was time for an update in my digital life – I have therefore been pulling out my hair the past few days, setting up a new blog, which is more me and less WordPress 🙂 It’s been great fun, and it’s now functioning (although still some adjustments to be made, so please bear with me).

In the future you will be able to find me over on idajensen.me – Hope to see you over there!

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Fluorescent Heaven

God’s Own Junkyard is a place like no other, and probably one of my favourite spots in Walthamstow. If you’re ever visiting London, it’s worth the trip to the end of the Victoria Line (possibly combined with a visit to the Gin palace Mothers Ruin, or resident beer makers Wildcard Brewery, which are the nearest neighbours – Not the worst day out if you ask me!)

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All images are taken and owned by me – please do not use without permission.  

 

TGIF!

This blog has recently undergone a bit of an identity crisis, and I do apologise for the confusion.

It’ve been finding it a little hard to make this page feel like home – very similar in many ways, to my real life at the moment, which has been all about moving, and not being able to find anything, anywhere. The previous layout didn’t feel quite right, and there were too many things that I couldn’t do. So here we are, a brand new look. There’s nothing groundbreaking in it, but hopefully it will now be easier for you guys to find your way around the site – and for me! Nice and simple was the goal, and I hope I have found the right theme for that now.

Anyway, how awesome is it that it is now finally Friday? It’s been a bloody busy week in my life, but things are finally coming together. We even have broadband in our new place now, which, let’s face it, puts the cherry on top and completes the home. However sad that might be.

Joel and I are spending our Friday night in a not very fashionable way though, doing a final clean of our old flat, which we hand back to its rightful owner tomorrow. We were rather sad when we were first told that we had to move, but at this point in time, I really can’t wait to just hand those keys over and be done with it. Before the cleaning commences, I do think we’ll treat ourselves to the best burger Walthamstow has to offer (because, we need some fuel for all that cleaning obviously – a rather good reason if you ask me.)

The rest of the weekends we’ll be sorting out the final bits in our new flat, and getting in some proper relaxation. But, there’ll be space for a trip to the gym too.

Have a lovely weekend all!

Ida x

 

Growing things

It’s been a rather busy weekend, full of hard work. When we haven’t been moving stuff, we have been cleaning. Or unpacking. Or looking for lost stuff in the countless boxes and bags. But the worst part of this entire move is over, and I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. A few more days (or a weekend) and our new flat might actually look like a proper home.

So I’ve already started thinking about making it feel like home, and at the top of my list is getting more plants, and definitely trying to grow stuff – I’ll definitely give chillies a go (I hear they are easy!) and peppers, but I’m also thinking it would be quite fun to give an avocado plant a try. The internet is telling me that this is a very lengthy process (about 10-12 months before you actually have a three) but I might give it a go nonetheless. It’ll probably be a tree by the time we have to move again! (I really hope that won’t be the case.)

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Image via Pinterest

The flat hunt is over

I’m very happy to report that our flat hunt has come to an end, and we have found a new lovely flat in the heart of Walthamstow Village. It even has a little back garden with lots of green grass, which I’m sure we will value highly when spring finally decides to arrive (When will that be exactly?)

So the packing has commenced, in a big way. I have made the mistake of packing all my clothes away, so have been forced to wear the same 10 items for about a week now.

The best part of moving to a new place, is that it’s a fresh start. I love getting creative with the decorating, and I can’t wait to make the new place feel like home. This in between face isn’t much fun, but there’s a bright light at the end of the tunnel. And, a proper nice bath which I can’t wait to drop a bath bomb from Lush into, and soak for while (I’m imagining candles, face masks, glass of wine, good book and Netflix – In reality, I’ll probably be bored after 5 minutes.)

So my life is full or organisation at the moment. I’m pretty good at making things happen, but I don’t particularly like it. On the other hand, I don’t like trusting others with the tasks either, so I’m running around my own little hamster wheel of death. Thankfully it’s all over soon, so I can let my brain think some more creative thoughts, rather than just numbers, dates and endless phone calls.

Our old flat has served us well. The one thing I will miss the most is the amazing view over London, and the feeling of being above the hectic city. But, as annoying as moving is, I am so looking forward to it.

 

Tips for finding a flat in London

I’ve done this a few times, and feel like I have learned a lot. And, I’m currently going through all the steps below myself, as out landlady have decided to sell the flat we’re currently renting. I’m not gonna lie – It sucks, but that’s the nature of renting in London. Finding a flat in London is by no means easy – possibly one of the most difficult things ever – but not impossible. Here’s a few tips to help you on the way:

  • Get in first. Easier said than done! I’d recommend signing up with your local Estate Agents, and make a really good impression on them. Make sure they remember you, and that you don’t set your requirements too high – Better to be offered flats that you can turn down, than not being offered any at all. I have been put first in the queue for a property before, thanks to an Estate Agent.
  • Check out lettings pages on Facebook. A lot of areas will have a local Facebook group for private landlords. Have a scout, or proactively create a post with what you are searching for. Be professional but friendly – Include a friendly photo of yourself, alongside a short bio. Focus on how reliable you are, and what a nice person you are.
  • Use your network. Spread the word, that you are in the market for a new place to rent. A lot of people in London make a living of buy-to-rent (I won’t mention how I feel about that) and some of your friends or work colleagues might know one of them.
  • Be realistic about prices. London is tricky when it comes to renting prices, and by tricky, I mean bloody expensive. If you are moving to an area you don’t know, do some research of what to expect (rightmove.co.uk is a good place to start.)
  • If an estate agent contacts you with a flat that you think you might be interested in, drop whatever you are doing and go view it immediately. If it’s a nice flat, chances are that the first person to view it, will take it. Be prepared to put down a holding deposit there and then.
  • …But make sure you have a proper look around the flat. Check out the walls, the windows, and the security. Damp is very widespread in London, and it’s not nice living in a flat that is damp. Trust your nose and intuition.
  • Make sure you read the contract through a few times. Estate Agents can get things wrong, and remember, their job is to get the flat rented out no matter what. They are working for the landlord.
  • Get a feeling of what the building is like. I have lived in a place where the actual building was so bad that I barely got any sleep for 8 months due to noisy neighbours. It’s hard to fully investigate this during a viewing, but no harm in asking if the Estate Agent know who lives in the surrounding flats and houses.
  • And the most important one – Your common sense. Definitely listen to it. If it sounds too good to be true it definitely is. And remember, Estate Agents will say almost anything to earn their fee – double check everything, and don’t feel bad for doing so. And never, ever, pay anyone any money before seeing the flat.

Also, check out some of the most depressing letting adds in London here, and see if you can figure out whether to laugh or cry – at this point in time, I’m not quite sure myself.

Happy hunting!

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One of those days

It’s been one of those days where you feel like screaming into a pillow, and just take one long nap, so you don’t have to deal with anything.

The email I have feared since last summer, when our landlady put us on a so-called ‘rolling contract’ have come. We have to move (insert huge sigh).

I am soooo tired of moving. I have lived in London for a total of almost 9 years, and I have lived a total of 8 different places. 8! That’s a move almost every year. The last 3 of those, have been in Walthamstow. And the number of those houses which had no nasty surprises, is about one. I could say a lot of things about the London rental market and the prices, but I’m afraid that if I start, I’ll never stop. And I am trying really hard not to be super-negative about it, and instead see the positive sides to this (ha!)

Another aspect of this is that I despise Estate Agents, and the whole world around them. Rental fees, administration fees, references, etc. etc. They might be nice people, but they have pretty shitty jobs.

So now what? We have really settled down in our current area. I have an easy commute to work, as does Joel (who can walk). Our gym is just around the corner. Joel’s music partner is 10 minutes away. I have already had a peek at the rental market in our area, and surprise, surprise, the prices have gone up since we were last looking a year and a half ago. And also, I really like our current flat. It’s been a great home for us the past 1,5 years, and it’ll be sad leaving it behind for something not as good.

But nostalgia won’t get us anywhere. Time to look at this as an opportunity to shake things up, and think about our options. I just need a week (and a glass of wine or two) to get over the chock first.

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Hello December!

It’s official. It’s Christmas. Get ready for ‘Last Christmas’ on repeat, an overload of nuts, dates and mint/gingerbread flavoured everything, and a general feeling of slight stress, if everything we do isn’t ‘christmassy’.

I love christmas, I really do – But I’m not very good at it. I’m good at the eating and drinking part (who isn’t?), but not so much at the preparation part. When I read other peoples’ blogs, everyone seems to have the entire house decorated on the spot at midnight on December 1st, ready and prepped for lots of christmassy photo shoots of artisan advent presents, home-made elfs, and a constant pot of hot mulled wine at the ready.

Most of the Christmas decorations I own, have been given to me by more christmassy relatives. I’m also quite lucky, as one Dane will normally send over a calendar candle in time for December first (I’m pretty sure this is a Danish tradition, adding to the christmassy stress if you get behind on burning it down, a little bit each day).

Luckily, England is much more about the going-out than the staying-in, compared to Denmark. Denmark is all about ‘hygge‘, preferably in a perfectly decorated Christmassy home. In London, you can rely on other people (mostly pubs or bars) to provide the flawless decoration, which is pretty convenient for someone like me. One thing I don’t get about English christmas though, is how acceptable a plastic tree is. I can’t imagine anything less Christmassy than a plastic Christmas tree, that you pick up from Argos at a discount. And get a ready made bundle of decorations in a ‘theme’ colour while you’re at it. I would rather have no tree at all.

Having said all that, I is more about the feeling than the setting. And I must say, that nothing beats Londoners, or the English in general, at getting together and celebrating.

I do think Christmas will sneak in to our little home sooner or later though. As will a real Christmas tree. And when I sit on the Ryanair plane in a few weeks time, ready to take off to Denmark, I’m sure I’ll be very excited. Excited to see the family, the dog, and the christmas tree with all questionable home-made decorations, that I spent my childhood producing.

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Ice skating and mulled wine at Somerset House

Well, if I wasn’t feeling Christmassy before, I certainly am now!

Last night Kat and I swirled un-gracefully around the Somerset House ice-rink for an hour. At first, we played it safe (very safe!) going rather slow around the edge, always within reach of the handrail. But we quickly became braver and ventured further out on the ice, and actually became pretty good at it! No one fell (Although it was pretty damn close a few times). It wasn’t pretty, but it was definitely fun!

When we got off the ice after an hour of skating, we somehow forgot how to use our legs the normal way, but we did manage to walk to the bar next to the ice rink to get a much needed mulled wine.

Somerset House sure is the perfect setting for ice skating. Surrounded by beautiful lit-up buildings on all sides, a huge Christmas tree and happy people, it did loads for my festive mood.

After ice skating we walked across the bridge to check out the Rekorderlig cider lodge at The Southbank Centre on the other side of the Thames and the Winter Market. It was nice, but not many stalls were open when we got there, and it was a little empty. If you plan on going, definitely go before 9pm and perhaps wait till we get a little closer to Christmas.

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The struggle is real

Today has been rainy, grey and felt like summer has definitively gone away and made way for autumn. On top of that, the normally lovely (compared to the central line) Victoria Line is half closed, and has been for the past two weeks.

Which is why I today found myself running up and down a train platform at Liverpool Street with a bunch of other people, desperately trying to find a 5 cm gap to squeeze my body into, just to avoid having to wait another 15 (!) minutes for the next train. It didn’t happen. The ‘don’t you dare try!’ looks from all the already incredibly squeezed people on the train, desperately trying to stay on the ledge of the train hoping the doors would miraculously close around them, discouraged me.

It really is every man (or woman) for themselves on the London train network at rush hour. Just like 10 minutes earlier, arriving at Liverpool Street on the Central Line, and a very capable man snapped up a seat right in front of an elderly man, clearly struggling to stand. I noticed a seat and rather loudly said ‘there’s a seat for you here’ to the elderly man, hoping the other capable man would feel a little bad about his actions. I’m sure he didn’t! But because if this, I almost didn’t get off the train as people starting floating on with panic in their eyes. I don’t have much love for the London transport system these days, as you can probably hear. It does make me appreciate the rather dreamy commute, for London standards anyway, that I have normally.