Autumn is Coming

For some of us it seems to have arrived.  I've just had two weeks blissful summer holiday in England and it appears our timing was perfect. We've fast forwarded through the balmy late summer days and the wind is blowing and the rain is coming. Rather than feeling depressed by this, I'm excited because it means lots of our members start cranking up their house hunting.  Everyone knows it takes a while to choose an area, find a house, sell a house and get moved, so many people choose September as a great moment to gear up for a move, potentially mid academic year in January or to allow themselves more time to move ready for the next school year. For Life After London that means more questions on the forum and more opportunities to help people who are reading our articles and that's exciting and positive.   A few tips to think about for you own move if now is your big push.   1.  Narrow down your search - I don't mean you need to name roads and villages, but try and locate a few areas that might be of interest. If you're struggling with this first step download our FREE guide on choosing an area and email me so we can look at the issues and see if we can help make some choices.  You'll find a great website linked on our site which offers an easy way of working out train commuting distances.  If schools are on your radar then you'll also really need to look at this link which shows the Ofstead reports of...
Flowers to my door

Flowers to my door

I don’t know about you but flowers really do cheer me up.  I look on with envy at my friends who have gardens where they can always be picking something and ensure a little vase of a delicious smelling rose or pretty posy.   I am also a bid jealous of friends who bother to buy themselves flowers every week. I want to be one of those people who have fresh flowers in my house but I have two problems I don’t have time to go to a florist I don’t like buying supermarket flowers Imagine my delight therefore on Friday when a beautifully simple box stuffed full of peonies arrived on my doorstep courtesy of Freddie's Flowers.  It’s a new business which means once a fortnight I’ll receive a bunch of freshly cut carefully selected flowers - right to my door! All I had to do was pop them in water and suddenly the house looks cheery and I look like and feel like a grown up. The peonies were all tightly closed but within 24 hours the first opened and now, well they are spectacular and I’m absolutely thrilled. Freddie’s Flowers are new kids on the block and I predict that as soon as they launch publicly in September they are going to be much in demand.  For now, if you too would like fresh flowers delivered to your house you’re in luck - they are open (for London only at this stage I’m afraid!). It costs £20 a delivery - you can’t do a one off delivery but the joy is you can cancel at any point.  I’m not...

Plans for after your move

It's absolutely without question totally exhausting moving house and add a move to a new area into that and suddenly you realise it's a big deal. I thought you might find it handy to read our tips, things you might not have considered or a reminder of things you know only too well. 1.  It takes time. Some say it takes between 2-3 years to really make deep friendships.  Don't be daunted though, as it's perfectly possible to have friends before that time but just don't expect to instantly settle in.  Focus on the positives. 2.  Some people find the first year really easy but the second year harder when the novelty wears off.  For others the first year is really tough but by the second year things feel a little easier - just be prepared. 3.  Being open to ideas is really important.  Although you might not instantly see a friendship developing with some people you just never know where 'relationships' lead so it's important to keep your options open.  Saying yes to random invitations is a great start. 4.  In every area there are cliques, be it at playgroup or school or just in a local pub.  To the best of your ability try to accept invitations from lots of different people or you could find yourself part of one of the cliques accidentally. 5.  Wanting to see your old friends is totally natural but be careful.  Filling your weekends with 'London friends' means you can't accept any last minute invitations from new local friends.  You'll only get a couple of chances if you turn them down as they...

After exchange – what next?

It's pretty exhausting getting to this point I know and in your heart you've been holding back.  Yes, you might have told a few people but it's hard to actually imagine you're going, but now it's real.  This can be a sense of huge celebration for some, for others it's a daunting time of reality kicking in, but don't worry it's quite normal to feel a bit overwhelmed by it all. A few things to think about - 1.  Book your removal company as soon as you can.  If you can avoid a Friday move so much the better.  If you need help choosing a removal company check out this article.  Organise council parking if you need it for the removal company. 2.  Draw up a list of the key people you need to tell about your move - the following are some of the people/businesses.  You can do some of the changes prior to the move. Bank, Standing Orders, Direct Debits, Credit Cards Loyalty cards, Mail order /online shopping, Store Cards Subscriptions to magazines Energy suppliers Landline and broadband Mobile phone Council tax Inland Revenue and National Insurance Pension TV licensing Electoral Register Doctor/dentist Private medical insurers Home insurers and Pet/Critical Life/Car Insurance Driving licence and Car Breakdown Services 3.  Do a redirection via the post office but also print out a few sheets of labels with your new address so the new owners can forward anything that gets missed or arrives after the redirection. 4.  Research energy suppliers as well as TV/Broadband suppliers.  The best time to change is when you move.  Lots of people rate Utility Warehouse...

Reading between the lines

House hunting can mean hours of searching the property websites but after a while of viewing houses that appear nothing like you expect you need to be clever and read between the lines of the advertisements.  I enjoyed this article written by Stacks about what to look out for when you're searching the internet   Images: -          Start with what’s missing! No internals means that the property may need substantial updating -          If all the lights are on, the property is probably challenged in the natural light department. -          Assume the photographer has used a wide angled lens. Check different angles of the same room for a more realistic view. -          Look at the way the external images have been cropped. If the cropping is close on one or both sides, there’s probably something there they’d rather you didn’t see. And if the front elevation shows little frontage, it’s probably right on the road. Google Earth and Google Streetview are your essential next stops to confirm the reality. -          Don’t discount ugly property – if an unattractive property meets all your requirements apart from beauty, give it a chance and go and have a look. Of all the things to compromise on, it’s one of the least important. There’s a strong chance that that you’ll be pleasantly surprised, and even if not, there are many ways of improving the appearance of the exterior.   Description: -          Beware association with a prized location – the words ‘near’ or ‘close to’ are often used to raise the game of a property that isn’t necessarily very well located. Always go to the map to establish exactly where a property is...

A Real Story of Leaving London for Bedford

  With thanks to Judit who runs the website Monster Yarns for her input on moving house.  Judit moved to Bedford and learnt from her experience - she has been kind enough to share her tips here. As city dwellers, born and bred, my husband and I considered moving to the country a number of times during our married life. You know, vaguely dipping in-and-out of estate agents’ windows whilst gently salivating over pretty rural property. In reality we were very comfortable with our short commutes to work, friends and family dotted around the city and of course, an address book filled with the essentials of life – a reliable plumber, builder, decorator, carpenter, paediatrician etc. We agreed, if we needed to move for our sons’ schooling, we would. So when the time came, the decision was fast. We were moving to Bedford. The reality of irretrievably uprooting four people’s lives was not simple. This is what I learnt from the experience.   Be clear in your own mind what it is you want – rural idyll, town life or a mixture. As we were moving for school and I was going to have to commute, that decision was very easy for us. In case you’re wavering, ask yourself the question – do you want to get in your car each time you’ve run out of milk/bread/baby formula? If the answer is an overwhelming NO, then stick to a town location or at least a nice village with a local shop. Talk to absolutely everyone about different areas/streets to live in. After all, the three things you should consider...