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It feels like quite a long time ago since I began saving for a house. Well it was only at the beginning of last year that I started to be more conscious about saving money towards buying a house so in the grand scheme of things it's not that long at all.

The other week, D (my boyfriend) and I went to get some advice from a mortgage advisor so that we could get a better understanding of the house buying process and a soft assessment of what we can afford to buy. It went better than we expected. We now know what we can afford to buy, a rough idea of what the monthly mortgage cost will be and that we are in a good position to start looking for a house to buy (yay!). It all started to feel a little more real after that meeting and very grown up.

We decided to go for a drive around a few towns and villages to get a feel for them and see if we like the areas. We will both be moving away from where we are currently live so we are starting from scratch. Our mission is to find a place that is affordable, commutable to work/good job prospects and is an all round nice place to live. After we stopped in one of the places on our list we began to really love it. It has everything we were looking for and it just felt right. Now we are playing the house waiting game.

Now that we are financially ready to buy a house I thought I would share a few things that have helped me save money. I did this while enjoying my life, I went on holiday, bought new clothes and had great experiences. In my opinion, there was no point sitting at home unhappy just so I could buy a house a little sooner. It also gave me some insight into being a homeowner. I now have a better understanding of how I can still do amazing things, treating myself every now and then while paying the mortgage and bills.  Of course, I still did what I could do to save a few extra pennies along the way. So if you are about to start saving for a house or currently saving I hope this gives you some ideas.

Eight things to do when saving for a house


Do your research
You don't have to dive into pages and pages of websites with advice about buying a home but it helps to understand what costs are involved when buying a house. There is the house deposit, legal fees, surveyors fees and a lot more other little things. It is also good to have an idea of where you would like to buy, you can have a look at Rightmove and see what the average house prices are for a particular area. That way you know how much you need to save.

Write down your goals
Once you know how much you will need to save, you can then set yourself some goals. It could be anything from how much you want to save each month, when you want to start the house buying process or maybe you need to get a new job to help you save more money. Whatever you need to do to help you save as much as you can, set a goal and work towards it.

Open a savings account
One of the easiest ways for most of us to save money is by opening a savings account or ISA. I opened a Help to Buy ISA, it does limit you to saving £200 a month but the bonus at the end is beneficial. I keep the rest of my savings in my current account but if you feel like you would struggle not to touch it then open up a separate account, set up a direct debit and hide the bank card.

Set yourself a monthly budget
I don't have a strict monthly budget but each month I try to make sure I have money leftover. One day I wrote down my monthly committed spend, this includes the ISA savings, rent, bills, petrol and food shop. The rest is then for extra savings and my allowance that I can spend on myself. Sometimes I have to assess what I'm doing that month, for example I'm going on a hen party and it's my Mum's birthday this month so I will be spending more than usual. I can then think about where I can save some money elsewhere. Making a budget or at least being aware of what you're spending each month can be really useful.

Be more mindful when spending
Before I started saving for a house I tried to be careful when spending money but I also had those 'treat yo self' moments. Now I try to think a little more when I'm out shopping and stick to what I need or really want. It takes some self control but it's a good habit to get into. You also realise how easily you can live without things.

Do things that are free
You don't have to spend £100 on a Friday night to have a good time and to be honest if I spent £100 on one night it better be pretty amazing. It may sound boring but having nights in every now and then isn't all that bad. Invite friends over for a film night or cook your favourite meal. Instead of going to the gym, use YouTube videos. Take out books in the library or borrow from friends instead of buying new books. I love going out for long walks with D and getting a coffee. It's simple but it means I can still go out and have a little joy in my everyday life. Think a little smarter and find free alternatives.

Remember it takes time
I think one of the hardest things about saving money is that it takes time. It is not something you can do quickly. Even when it feels like it will be forever until you can buy your dream home, remember that each month that goes by you are a step closer to your goal.

Think about the home that is waiting for you
I can't stop thinking about the home I will one day be living in. I don't even know what it will look like yet but I can already picture it. I pin interior inspiration all the time. I think about the cosy evenings and lazy Sunday's in a place of my own. Focus on what your saving for.

What are your tips for saving money?

Saving for a house while enjoying life

17.9.17


It feels like quite a long time ago since I began saving for a house. Well it was only at the beginning of last year that I started to be more conscious about saving money towards buying a house so in the grand scheme of things it's not that long at all.

The other week, D (my boyfriend) and I went to get some advice from a mortgage advisor so that we could get a better understanding of the house buying process and a soft assessment of what we can afford to buy. It went better than we expected. We now know what we can afford to buy, a rough idea of what the monthly mortgage cost will be and that we are in a good position to start looking for a house to buy (yay!). It all started to feel a little more real after that meeting and very grown up.

We decided to go for a drive around a few towns and villages to get a feel for them and see if we like the areas. We will both be moving away from where we are currently live so we are starting from scratch. Our mission is to find a place that is affordable, commutable to work/good job prospects and is an all round nice place to live. After we stopped in one of the places on our list we began to really love it. It has everything we were looking for and it just felt right. Now we are playing the house waiting game.

Now that we are financially ready to buy a house I thought I would share a few things that have helped me save money. I did this while enjoying my life, I went on holiday, bought new clothes and had great experiences. In my opinion, there was no point sitting at home unhappy just so I could buy a house a little sooner. It also gave me some insight into being a homeowner. I now have a better understanding of how I can still do amazing things, treating myself every now and then while paying the mortgage and bills.  Of course, I still did what I could do to save a few extra pennies along the way. So if you are about to start saving for a house or currently saving I hope this gives you some ideas.

Eight things to do when saving for a house


Do your research
You don't have to dive into pages and pages of websites with advice about buying a home but it helps to understand what costs are involved when buying a house. There is the house deposit, legal fees, surveyors fees and a lot more other little things. It is also good to have an idea of where you would like to buy, you can have a look at Rightmove and see what the average house prices are for a particular area. That way you know how much you need to save.

Write down your goals
Once you know how much you will need to save, you can then set yourself some goals. It could be anything from how much you want to save each month, when you want to start the house buying process or maybe you need to get a new job to help you save more money. Whatever you need to do to help you save as much as you can, set a goal and work towards it.

Open a savings account
One of the easiest ways for most of us to save money is by opening a savings account or ISA. I opened a Help to Buy ISA, it does limit you to saving £200 a month but the bonus at the end is beneficial. I keep the rest of my savings in my current account but if you feel like you would struggle not to touch it then open up a separate account, set up a direct debit and hide the bank card.

Set yourself a monthly budget
I don't have a strict monthly budget but each month I try to make sure I have money leftover. One day I wrote down my monthly committed spend, this includes the ISA savings, rent, bills, petrol and food shop. The rest is then for extra savings and my allowance that I can spend on myself. Sometimes I have to assess what I'm doing that month, for example I'm going on a hen party and it's my Mum's birthday this month so I will be spending more than usual. I can then think about where I can save some money elsewhere. Making a budget or at least being aware of what you're spending each month can be really useful.

Be more mindful when spending
Before I started saving for a house I tried to be careful when spending money but I also had those 'treat yo self' moments. Now I try to think a little more when I'm out shopping and stick to what I need or really want. It takes some self control but it's a good habit to get into. You also realise how easily you can live without things.

Do things that are free
You don't have to spend £100 on a Friday night to have a good time and to be honest if I spent £100 on one night it better be pretty amazing. It may sound boring but having nights in every now and then isn't all that bad. Invite friends over for a film night or cook your favourite meal. Instead of going to the gym, use YouTube videos. Take out books in the library or borrow from friends instead of buying new books. I love going out for long walks with D and getting a coffee. It's simple but it means I can still go out and have a little joy in my everyday life. Think a little smarter and find free alternatives.

Remember it takes time
I think one of the hardest things about saving money is that it takes time. It is not something you can do quickly. Even when it feels like it will be forever until you can buy your dream home, remember that each month that goes by you are a step closer to your goal.

Think about the home that is waiting for you
I can't stop thinking about the home I will one day be living in. I don't even know what it will look like yet but I can already picture it. I pin interior inspiration all the time. I think about the cosy evenings and lazy Sunday's in a place of my own. Focus on what your saving for.

What are your tips for saving money?


It's almost time to say goodbye to Summer for another year. A part of me is hoping that we will get an Indian Summer so we can enjoy a few more days of hot sunshine before the darker days arrive. This Summer went slow and fast. The good days went so quick but looking back it feels like it has been a long season.

Most weekends have been full of adventures. I could relive them all again and again. Summer treated me well. Here are a few happy moments from this season.

A few Summer moments


Coffee dates with my love, my sister and my friends
There is rarely a week that goes by when I'm not in a coffee shop hanging out with my favourite people. It's where I feel most at home. I've mostly been drinking almond lattes and the odd brownie every now and then.

My first collaboration with a brand
Getting the chance to work on a campaign with a brand that has good values and quality products was a great way to start the summer. I loved how it sparked my creativity and allowed me to do something a little different. I'm lucky to have a wonderful boyfriend who helped me out.

Little picnics
On the warmest summer days I headed outside and had spontaneous little picnics. It's my favourite type of food to eat in summer. I'm going to miss sitting in the sun on the dry grass this Winter.

Citadel Festival
One of the best things about summer is the music festivals. Being outside, watching my favourite bands with a drink is the greatest way to spend the day. At Citadel I saw the beautiful Laura Marling, Michael Kiwanuka, Bonobo, Foals and few more new discoveries.

York
I went back to one of the most wonderful cities in England this Summer. Wandered through the streets of York all day, finding new little shops and cafes along the way. I'm already itching to go back again.

Long walks in the park
Sometimes a walk around a lake can be exactly what I need at the end of a long week at work. Breathing in the fresh air and looking out at lovely views. Sometimes I wish I could take the Summer off to have peaceful days like this every day.

What have been your favourite moments this Summer?

Scenes From Summer

27.8.17


It's almost time to say goodbye to Summer for another year. A part of me is hoping that we will get an Indian Summer so we can enjoy a few more days of hot sunshine before the darker days arrive. This Summer went slow and fast. The good days went so quick but looking back it feels like it has been a long season.

Most weekends have been full of adventures. I could relive them all again and again. Summer treated me well. Here are a few happy moments from this season.

A few Summer moments


Coffee dates with my love, my sister and my friends
There is rarely a week that goes by when I'm not in a coffee shop hanging out with my favourite people. It's where I feel most at home. I've mostly been drinking almond lattes and the odd brownie every now and then.

My first collaboration with a brand
Getting the chance to work on a campaign with a brand that has good values and quality products was a great way to start the summer. I loved how it sparked my creativity and allowed me to do something a little different. I'm lucky to have a wonderful boyfriend who helped me out.

Little picnics
On the warmest summer days I headed outside and had spontaneous little picnics. It's my favourite type of food to eat in summer. I'm going to miss sitting in the sun on the dry grass this Winter.

Citadel Festival
One of the best things about summer is the music festivals. Being outside, watching my favourite bands with a drink is the greatest way to spend the day. At Citadel I saw the beautiful Laura Marling, Michael Kiwanuka, Bonobo, Foals and few more new discoveries.

York
I went back to one of the most wonderful cities in England this Summer. Wandered through the streets of York all day, finding new little shops and cafes along the way. I'm already itching to go back again.

Long walks in the park
Sometimes a walk around a lake can be exactly what I need at the end of a long week at work. Breathing in the fresh air and looking out at lovely views. Sometimes I wish I could take the Summer off to have peaceful days like this every day.

What have been your favourite moments this Summer?


Last year was my first time ever visiting York. It was a surprise trip that my love planned for Valentine's day and I'm so happy he took me to such a beautiful city. As soon as we left I knew I wanted to go back and explore some more. Our birthdays are a few days apart in July and we wanted to do something nice during our birthday weekend so we decided to go back to York for the day.

We got in the car that morning and had a little road trip up to North Yorkshire. Over the last year and a half I have started falling in love with Yorkshire, there is still so much more I need to see but it is becoming one of my favourite places in England. The countryside and the little pockets of pretty towns are so beautiful.

Once we arrived we began to walk towards the centre, through the Shambles Market and down the alleyways onto the Shambles and then found ourselves at York Minster. It seemed like we always managed to make our way there unintentionally. We walked around the Museum Gardens, there were so many squirrels fearlessly going up to people who were giving them food, I've never seen anything like it. We tried to let ourselves get a little lost and it always led to somewhere lovely, you always find the best places when you're not looking for it. We sat for a moment by the River Ouse looking out at the rowers and the art fair along the river. By this point I was ready for some coffee.

When I knew we were going to York I scoped out a few places on Instagram to visit while we were there, I found Brew and Brownie and it sounded perfect. You can't go wrong with coffee and brownies. We shared a sandwich and a salted caramel brownie, I think it was one of the best brownies I've ever had, it was so delicious. Everything looked amazing, I wish I could have eaten it all.

After we went into a few of our favourite shops and also found some new ones. We soon ended up in Fossgate, a lovely area of York full of independent shops and cafes with bunting connecting them all together. We browsed the book store and found Ambiente, a tapas restaurant where we had dinner that night, the food was so good and wholesome.

As York started to get a little quiet, we had a last walk through the streets and sat in Dean's Park for a while, people watching and soaking up the sunshine. I loved looking at the beautiful houses, dreaming of one day owning a home just like them and maybe even living in York one day. There is so much character, lots of little cafes and friendly people everywhere you go. I have truly fallen in love with York all over again.

What city have you fallen in love with?

Wandering Around York

13.8.17


Last year was my first time ever visiting York. It was a surprise trip that my love planned for Valentine's day and I'm so happy he took me to such a beautiful city. As soon as we left I knew I wanted to go back and explore some more. Our birthdays are a few days apart in July and we wanted to do something nice during our birthday weekend so we decided to go back to York for the day.

We got in the car that morning and had a little road trip up to North Yorkshire. Over the last year and a half I have started falling in love with Yorkshire, there is still so much more I need to see but it is becoming one of my favourite places in England. The countryside and the little pockets of pretty towns are so beautiful.

Once we arrived we began to walk towards the centre, through the Shambles Market and down the alleyways onto the Shambles and then found ourselves at York Minster. It seemed like we always managed to make our way there unintentionally. We walked around the Museum Gardens, there were so many squirrels fearlessly going up to people who were giving them food, I've never seen anything like it. We tried to let ourselves get a little lost and it always led to somewhere lovely, you always find the best places when you're not looking for it. We sat for a moment by the River Ouse looking out at the rowers and the art fair along the river. By this point I was ready for some coffee.

When I knew we were going to York I scoped out a few places on Instagram to visit while we were there, I found Brew and Brownie and it sounded perfect. You can't go wrong with coffee and brownies. We shared a sandwich and a salted caramel brownie, I think it was one of the best brownies I've ever had, it was so delicious. Everything looked amazing, I wish I could have eaten it all.

After we went into a few of our favourite shops and also found some new ones. We soon ended up in Fossgate, a lovely area of York full of independent shops and cafes with bunting connecting them all together. We browsed the book store and found Ambiente, a tapas restaurant where we had dinner that night, the food was so good and wholesome.

As York started to get a little quiet, we had a last walk through the streets and sat in Dean's Park for a while, people watching and soaking up the sunshine. I loved looking at the beautiful houses, dreaming of one day owning a home just like them and maybe even living in York one day. There is so much character, lots of little cafes and friendly people everywhere you go. I have truly fallen in love with York all over again.

What city have you fallen in love with?



At the beginning of July I went to Barcelona for the long weekend with my sister. We wanted a summer holiday away for a few days but we were unsure where to go. Maybe Greece, the Canary Islands or somewhere completely random. Barcelona had been a place in the back of our minds for a while so after a few days of going back and forth on ideas we settled with Barcelona. And it was the perfect choice for what we wanted.

As much as we love to lounge by the pool and on the beach we also love to explore and do things. In Barcelona we found the right balance. We had slow mornings drinking coffee, explored the city during the day and had a little siesta in the late afternoon before going out to eat in the evenings. 3 nights was just enough to do a little bit of everything while having some down time.

Here's a little guide of where we went..

The Streets of Barcelona


After we arrived we took some time to freshen up and then we began to wander around the streets near our hotel. We stayed in the El Born neighbourhood, a short walk to the Gothic Quarter and the beach. It was chilled in the day and lively at night. Just like the rest of the city.

We headed towards the Gothic Quarter. Half looking at Google maps and half winging it so we could get a little lost in the city. All of a sudden we were walking down little alleyways past boutiques and coffee shops. I couldn't stop looking up at the buildings. You could make a turn and find quiet streets and then make another turn where it is bustling full of people. 

Later we stopped for some ice cream while we made our way towards the landmarks on our list like the cathedral, Las Ramblas, Casa Batlló and the Sagrada Familia. Barcelona is a great place to explore on foot. You can take your time to look around and stop for a little while. There are plenty of tour buses that take you everywhere but if you have the time I'd recommend walking to most places. 

Tip: download an area of Google maps before you leave so you can use it offline


Beautiful Botanicals & Green Gardens


Around every corner and on every balcony there is so much greenery. A true urban jungle. If plants were travel friendly I think we would have picked up a few to take home. There are so many parks to visit in Barcelona. On our second day we made a trip to Parc Güell, I'm still not sure exactly how to pronounce it but it's one of Gaudí's many works of art in the city. 

We walked around the park, into the small caves and looked out at the incredible view of the city where you can see the biggest landmarks and the ocean. It's one of my favourite places that we visited while we were there. 

On our last day before heading back home we had a walk through Ciutadella Park. It's probably the equivalent of Regents Park or Hyde Park in London. You can visit the zoo or just lay down in the sun.   It was such a peaceful place away from the busy parts of the city.  





Five places to go for good food


The food in Barcelona is pretty amazing, I was looking forward to tapas and ice cream but I didn't expect it to be so delicious. If you're a vegetarian/pescatarian like me there are so many great options. I'd even love to go back now just for a frothy cappuccino.  

Amorino // sweet
One of the prettiest and decadent ice creams I've ever had topped with a raspberry macaron. I had to have pistachio and coconut, two of my favourite flavours.

La Luna // lunch & dinner
If you're looking for good value tapas go to La Luna, it's hidden down an alleyway but once you find it you are in brought into a cosy room and a menu with traditional Spanish tapas dishes and some with a modern twist like mini burgers. And a glass of wine is only €3!

Vegetalia // lunch & dinner
A great place to go for vegetarian and vegan food with a mixture of foods inspired from around the world like a thai curry, quesadilla, paella and so many other fresh and wholesome dishes. Their breakfast and dessert menu also looked incredible.

LuLu // breakfast
This little cafe was right next to our hotel in the El Born district, they had all the best breakfast foods like smoothie bowls, chia pudding, granola, egg and avocado. With plant based milk for your coffee, matcha latte and a long list of smoothies.

Brunch and Cake By The Sea // breakfast
Without a doubt the most beautifully presented brunch I've ever had, with lots of fruit juices to choose from, it's also another great place for vegetarians and vegans with plenty of plant based options. I had avocado on toast with granola and fruit, the best of sweet and savoury.


gelato | Amorino
chia pudding & matcha latte |  LuLu
avocado toast & granola | Brunch and Cake By The Sea


There is so much to see and experience in Barcelona. If you have ever wanted to go, just go! No matter what you want from a break away, there is something for everyone in this beautiful city. Enjoy the sun, the food and the culture.

What city break are you going on next?


A Long Weekend in Barcelona

1.8.17



At the beginning of July I went to Barcelona for the long weekend with my sister. We wanted a summer holiday away for a few days but we were unsure where to go. Maybe Greece, the Canary Islands or somewhere completely random. Barcelona had been a place in the back of our minds for a while so after a few days of going back and forth on ideas we settled with Barcelona. And it was the perfect choice for what we wanted.

As much as we love to lounge by the pool and on the beach we also love to explore and do things. In Barcelona we found the right balance. We had slow mornings drinking coffee, explored the city during the day and had a little siesta in the late afternoon before going out to eat in the evenings. 3 nights was just enough to do a little bit of everything while having some down time.

Here's a little guide of where we went..

The Streets of Barcelona


After we arrived we took some time to freshen up and then we began to wander around the streets near our hotel. We stayed in the El Born neighbourhood, a short walk to the Gothic Quarter and the beach. It was chilled in the day and lively at night. Just like the rest of the city.

We headed towards the Gothic Quarter. Half looking at Google maps and half winging it so we could get a little lost in the city. All of a sudden we were walking down little alleyways past boutiques and coffee shops. I couldn't stop looking up at the buildings. You could make a turn and find quiet streets and then make another turn where it is bustling full of people. 

Later we stopped for some ice cream while we made our way towards the landmarks on our list like the cathedral, Las Ramblas, Casa Batlló and the Sagrada Familia. Barcelona is a great place to explore on foot. You can take your time to look around and stop for a little while. There are plenty of tour buses that take you everywhere but if you have the time I'd recommend walking to most places. 

Tip: download an area of Google maps before you leave so you can use it offline


Beautiful Botanicals & Green Gardens


Around every corner and on every balcony there is so much greenery. A true urban jungle. If plants were travel friendly I think we would have picked up a few to take home. There are so many parks to visit in Barcelona. On our second day we made a trip to Parc Güell, I'm still not sure exactly how to pronounce it but it's one of Gaudí's many works of art in the city. 

We walked around the park, into the small caves and looked out at the incredible view of the city where you can see the biggest landmarks and the ocean. It's one of my favourite places that we visited while we were there. 

On our last day before heading back home we had a walk through Ciutadella Park. It's probably the equivalent of Regents Park or Hyde Park in London. You can visit the zoo or just lay down in the sun.   It was such a peaceful place away from the busy parts of the city.  





Five places to go for good food


The food in Barcelona is pretty amazing, I was looking forward to tapas and ice cream but I didn't expect it to be so delicious. If you're a vegetarian/pescatarian like me there are so many great options. I'd even love to go back now just for a frothy cappuccino.  

Amorino // sweet
One of the prettiest and decadent ice creams I've ever had topped with a raspberry macaron. I had to have pistachio and coconut, two of my favourite flavours.

La Luna // lunch & dinner
If you're looking for good value tapas go to La Luna, it's hidden down an alleyway but once you find it you are in brought into a cosy room and a menu with traditional Spanish tapas dishes and some with a modern twist like mini burgers. And a glass of wine is only €3!

Vegetalia // lunch & dinner
A great place to go for vegetarian and vegan food with a mixture of foods inspired from around the world like a thai curry, quesadilla, paella and so many other fresh and wholesome dishes. Their breakfast and dessert menu also looked incredible.

LuLu // breakfast
This little cafe was right next to our hotel in the El Born district, they had all the best breakfast foods like smoothie bowls, chia pudding, granola, egg and avocado. With plant based milk for your coffee, matcha latte and a long list of smoothies.

Brunch and Cake By The Sea // breakfast
Without a doubt the most beautifully presented brunch I've ever had, with lots of fruit juices to choose from, it's also another great place for vegetarians and vegans with plenty of plant based options. I had avocado on toast with granola and fruit, the best of sweet and savoury.


gelato | Amorino
chia pudding & matcha latte |  LuLu
avocado toast & granola | Brunch and Cake By The Sea


There is so much to see and experience in Barcelona. If you have ever wanted to go, just go! No matter what you want from a break away, there is something for everyone in this beautiful city. Enjoy the sun, the food and the culture.

What city break are you going on next?


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