Thursday, 15 February 2018


Buying a house for the first time can be a very daunting experience but if you go into it feeling clued up and aware of what's actually going to happen then you shouldn't feel so overwhelmed by the whole thing. I did it on my own (I had support from my family in terms of them just being there but I was the only person signing on the dotted line so-to-speak) and I am so proud of myself now, I'd definitely put it down as one of my biggest achievements in life. I'm going to focus this post more on the paper work side of buying a house rather than the fact that it's a new build because that'll be a whole different post.

Luckily I actually kept a timeline of dates so I knew exactly what happened and when. From the date of receiving a mortgage in principle to legal completion it took just over 3 months. This can differ quite wildly even with new builds depending on your site and build stage so the dates I give obviously don't provide a hard and fast rule but they do give an idea of the process...

10th September - Mortgage in Principle

After viewing one of the houses similar to the one I was interested in, I went into the sales office and used Persimmon's recommended financial advisors from Safeguard Financial Services who assisted in getting me an agreement in principle (also known as mortgage in principle). An AIP is basically where a lender will tell you that they are prepared to lend you money. They ask you a few questions relating to your incomings and outgoings and they assess whether you can realistically afford to buy the house you're interested in. Luckily I was given an Agreement in Principle there and then; sometimes it can take 30 minutes or so for a decision. This doesn't mean you've got a mortgage, it means in theory based on your income they would be willing to lend x-amount.

An agreement in principle is usually valid for 90 days but this can vary.

16th September - Plot Reservation

So I knew that they would lend me the money I needed 'in principle' but I gave myself a few days just to mull it over in my head so I wasn't making any rash decisions - this was buying a house after all!! After weighing up the pros and cons and making sure in my own head that I could afford it, I decided to reserve the plot with Persimmon. This was £100 and was refundable if the mortgage offer fell through. 

17th September - Finishing Touches

With new build houses, depending on the build stage you can choose extras and upgrades (believe me pretty much everything costs extra in a new build... but more on that in another post) and because mine was approaching the cut off point for ordering finishing touches I decided to get on with it and I paid for a kitchen upgrade to full choice of cupboard door colours and designs, stainless steel hob and an extra TV aerial port upstairs in what would be my bedroom.

18th September - Instructed Solicitors

The next step is to instruct your solicitor to do the conveyancing on your behalf. What you can usually do is get a rough quote before you choose who you go with and bare in mind that it will probably cost a little more if you're doing Help to Buy due to the extra paper work. 

19th September - Mortgage Application Submitted & Valuation Fee Paid

For me, this is where Safeguard Financial Services really were very helpful for me as they were a really good helping hand in getting all this done properly. They went through all the questions with me on the phone and although there's a LOT to answer they're really good at making you feel at ease with everything. So my mortgage application was submitted and as part of getting a mortgage you need to have the property valued by the lender so that they know that they're lending on a house that's worth the money you're paying. This cost £315 and was payable immediately. 

21st September - Mortgage agreed subject to valuation

I think those two days were some of the longest I've ever experienced; waiting for a mortgage offer is torture because I personally thought of a million different stupid reasons as to why they wouldn't lend to me. They were all unfounded worries because I'd passed the credit check stage of it and just had to wait to make sure the house was worth what they were selling it for. 

25th September - Help to Buy application submitted

In my opinion this was fairly straightforward - most of it was filled out by Safeguard but I just had to check it over and make some minor changes to the property information form - small mistakes can be a pain in the neck which I soon discovered.

26th September - Help to Buy approved

Wahoo, that was quick....

28th September - Valuation done

29th September - Mortgage Offer Received

This is some of the most marvellous news when buying a house, especially for the first time because it means that everything should be able to get moving. Mortgage offers usually last 6 months though so it's important to make sure you complete in time otherwise you could end up having to re-apply which can be stressful.

4th October - Help to Buy sent back

So I got an email from Yorkshire Housing to tell me that they had in fact been handling my Help to Buy case in error, they approved it but realised that my Local Authority wasn't in their area. Durrr. So anyway it was re-done and re-sent to East Midlands Help to Buy. Just something that I didn't really need or want to happen because it involved a lot of paper work.

10th October - Help to Buy re-approved and Authority to Proceed re-issued.

This basically meant that again they had agreed to let me use the help to buy scheme.

9th November - Exchanged contracts

It was all quiet on the western front for a month and I was getting a bit anxious about the fact that nothing seemed to be happening and Persimmon like to keep to deadlines and timescales. I spent much of the month chasing my solicitor and pushing for an exchange. Basically exchange of contracts is the point where backing out would become very expensive - usually the majority of the deposit for your house will be transferred over (at least to solicitors who will then pass it to the bank) and you sign a legally binding contract to buy the house.

1st December - Notice to complete received

Once the building work is finished, Persimmon will give a 2 week notice to legally complete on the house which is when your solicitor should be putting all hands on deck to get everything in place ready for a specific date. 

15th December - Legal Completion

This part was probably the smoothest and most stress-free part of the whole buying process. I knew completion was the 15th, I had a home demo the day before where the site manager showed me round my newly built house and then on the day of completion I got a phone call from my solicitor to say we had completed and that the house was now legally mine! I then gave my Persimmon sales office a ring to see if she had had notification from their solicitors and she had so I could go and collect the keys whenever I wanted. That day was very, very surreal but the most amazing feeling!

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Wednesday, 14 February 2018


Among all the other stuff that happened in my life during 2017 one of the biggest things to happen was I bought my first house. All on my own, mortgage and everything, proper adult stuff. I had lived away from home for 8 years with my ex-husband and I moved back to my mum's in the interim but I was so desperate for my own space. In all honesty all I've ever wanted was my own property because it was something I never had because my name was never on any mortgage etc. even when I was married.

I started looking for property pretty much as soon as I moved back to my mum's because I knew that was the ultimate next step in my life. I already had a deposit ready and I had used various mortgage tools online to estimate the kind of price I'd be able to pay. I looked at lots of 2 bedroomed properties online which were around the price I could afford but I couldn't help thinking that there was always something that I hated about the houses and I knew I wouldn't have a great deal of money for renovations etc.

I decided that given the sales incentives and government help from Help to Buy that a new build was probably the best option and I decided on a 2 bedroomed 'Morden' home from Persimmon...

Mine is the one on the very end, this picture was obviously taken during the building process because I used to house stalk on a weekly basis to see how far on it was. Over the coming weeks I will be publishing a series of posts about the house buying process because I felt soo in the dark when I was buying especially because I was buying on my own so I'd love to be able to answer some of your questions or at least give you a little bit of an idea of what it's like getting on to the property ladder!

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Monday, 22 January 2018


I'll be honest, I don't even really know where to start with this blog post.

I'm trying to find a word to describe 2017 as a year for me; 'eventful' would be one word to use I suppose. For these reasons, I've kept myself to myself where social media is concerned for quite a while now which has probably been a very good thing over the last past year because so much has happened in my life that frankly belongs as far away from social media as humanly possible.

I actually wrote a little bit about my 'quarter life crisis' about 2 and a half years ago (June 2015) and it did kind of touch on some of the issues. Basically I felt like I was failing at life; I didn't feel in control and although I took some steps to regain control such as getting a new job but there was still the age old issue of not having enough time to myself. My life was consumed by work and I had very little time to do anything for myself. I became a shadow of my former self and although I had done so much to try and change that (I lost weight and I got a new job) I still wasn't happy.

I'm not going to go into any detail really about it because I'm not the only party involved obviously, but part of my path to becoming the person I recognised again was to change my life completely. And that life change involved a divorce. I don't think I'll ever really want to discuss that publicly because I am not the only party involved and the reasons why are neither here nor there, the bottom line is I wasn't happy and I took steps to do something about it.

So 2017 was a year of massive change, I spent 8 months living back at my mum's and then found and bought my own first house. Which I shall talk about in a little more detail in another blog post. Believe me, 2017 has tested me in so many ways but it has shown me that I am incredibly strong and I am able to face reality and deal with the consequences of my decisions. For the past 9 months I've felt more like myself than I have during my whole adult life and I can honestly say that I am exactly where I need to be right now. I'm still a working progress in some ways but I am well on my way to becoming my best self, as cliché as that sounds.

The purpose of this blog post is to let you know that if you're sitting there unhappy with your life you absolutely can change it. I never thought I could say the words that would ultimately lead to the end of my marriage but I can tell you now that all it takes is 20 seconds of insane courage...

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Sunday, 10 December 2017


A few weeks ago I was kindly invited to the Viking Arty Party which was an early Christmas shindig organised by the lovely people at Viking Direct so I thought I'd take the opportunity to show a few snaps of what we got up to and also share my top picks from their website.

The event was held in Leeds which had us northern bloggers doing a little happy dance because even now, events held up north still aren't common. We all met up in the upstairs room at Lambert's Yard for mulled wine and a little natter before the festivities got underway. I was firstly absolutely made up because I finally got to meet Kellie (Big Fashionista), who I have 'known' in a virtual sense since I first started blogging in 2011 and I was equally as thrilled to learn that we'd be doing some calligraphy lessons! My creative skills aren't exactly my strong point so I was a little nervous that I was going to make an absolute hash of the workshops but I was surprised how easy things were once the instructions were kindly broken down for those non-crafty folk out there like me! I managed to make some mini Christmas crackers with some help from Tea & Crafting and I got some really handy calligraphy tips from Joyce from Artsy Nibs. It was a really lovely afternoon also complete with some amazing turkey and stuffing sandwiches (obvious essential for any Christmas party!)

So without further ado, here are my top picks for treating the crafty one in your life:

Marble grey card (50 pk) £14.99
Metallic gold paper (20 pk) £0.69
Metallic markers £2.19

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