On the move to pastures new

I am so happy! We have just bought a house!

We returned from holiday a few weeks ago having found a buyer for our house. And, to be honest, I did feel under a bit of pressure to find somewhere suitable to buy quite quickly, simply because I don’t like messing people around. I don’t know why – our buyers haven’t given us a time frame or conditions – but I supposed I felt like I didn’t want to feel like I was keeping them hanging on.

Anyway, we decided to view as many properties as we could that took our fancy, though they were mostly ones we had already discounted from the look of the pictures, the work involved, or simply had a weird floor plan.

The first house we viewed looked lovely from the outside but there were no inside pictures. Why, I asked? Well, the agent said, a clearing company has only just removed everything from the old lady’s house. But we were assured it was a ‘lovely house’ and ‘totally, worth viewing’. I’m not going to say much about that house, save that THERE WAS A TREE GROWING INSIDE. An ACTUAL tree (well vine, there were grapes). It came through a hole in the wall and covered the entire, large (and tall), conservatory. Branches as thick as my thigh with grapes hanging down. I had thought initially that perhaps the tree had grown in recent months due to the lady’s lack of mobility, but then quickly realised that that growth was not from a few months but was twenty years’ worth.


I found this little gem in Tesco’s earlier in the week. Its a quirky light bulb glass (straw gives it away I guess!), but I’m going to put fairy lights in it

Then we viewed a house way outside of our ideal ‘circle’ (which is actually more of a rectangle). It was in a village which I thought would be twee but just, wasn’t. The following weekend we viewed 4 houses in one day. A second which was also outside of our circle/rectangle area, but which had huge outbuildings, albeit it needed a tonne of work. That was followed by a lovely detached thatch, but it had a weird layout and the garden was literally 90 degrees; there was a kids’ blue slide on the lawn and honest to God the poor thing must have slid down it and straight into the dining room it was that steep.

Then we viewed what would later become our home.

A house that I had thought was out of our reach and had simply wanted to view it for comparison purposes. It was 10 times better than the pictures and I pretty much loved it instantly. Beautiful large kitchen, log burner and mantle, exposed beams, wooden staircase and and tall ceilings and windows. Me and Sam are taller than average, but didn’t have to duck anywhere. It felt like a home. A home for us, for our future children. To have cosy winters around the fireplace, walks in the countryside (I may have to invest in more wellies), and to be able to just be us. But it didn’t have a garage for Sam which was top of the (his) list. Nowhere for the mini or the lathe!

Then, afterwards, we viewed the last house. It was a large 5-bed new build with a garage. It ticked all of the boxes on paper, but that was pretty much where it stopped. Neither of us really knew what to say as we were walking around with the agent. We muttered a lot about the ‘amount of space’, the proximity to town but neither of us were feeling it. You just know, don’t you, when your other half is thinking the exact same thing as you.

We couldn’t really get the country house out of our heads. No, it didn’t have as much outside space for Sam and yes, the third room was smaller than we had hoped for, but it was a home. A home. That’s when I realised the others were just houses, not homes. I could picture us living as a family in the cutest house in the area. The following day we drove out there and explored the country lanes some more – first gear around some of the bends! – and fell in love with the place even more. No corner shop. One bus a day, or thereabouts. But it does have an amazing pub, bakery, cute little village hall and more walks than you can shake a stick at. Sam said ‘I don’t even care about the garage!’ and that’s when we knew could well be living there soon!


Anyway, we’ve agreed a price and now our sellers just need to find a home themselves. Fingers crossed we’ll be in by Christmas and can have the fire going and fairy lights strung over the mantle piece!!

I was sat in the car this week and thought, what do I want from this house? Is it a wish list? What could I do without?  And I just kept coming back to a feeling. A knowing feeling, but one I couldn’t really describe.

I am not someone who makes decisions with their heart. I’m very much ruled by my head and often it can be months if not years before I evaluate a past decision.

But, this time was different. I still had to think about certain things, such as getting a future child to nursery/school and making my commute.

This house has everything. A safe, beautiful place in the country where children can be children and I can bake bread to my hearts delight whilst sipping my usual Earl Grey.

From my amazing little teapot!


We got married last June and had hoped to be in a position to move house this year. We were pretty confident our little 2-bed house would sell quickly but were really concerned about not being able to find something suitable to buy.

We started looking around mid-December 2016 but it wasn’t until the end of April that a house finally came on the market that we thought was suitable. In fact, it ticked all of our boxes so after the first viewing we put our house on the market.

Since then we’ve been on a bit of a rollercoaster. I thought it would be easy: sell your home and find another to buy. Yeah right!

We had quite a bit of interest in our house but it took a few weeks for someone to make an offer. We didn’t accept it because it was slightly too low. In the meantime, we started second-guessing the house that we thought was so amazing. It was at the top end of our budget but there was something not quite right about it, and we just couldn’t put our finger on it. The house was large, right number of rooms, a garage for Sam, within walking distance of the station for me. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the house when I first saw it on my own without Sam, but came round to it on the second viewing and could see the potential.

Things moved slowly on; our house was still on the market and the sellers of this other house wouldn’t take it off the market for an agreed price – even though the sellers of the house they were buying from had taken their home off the market for them! It was so frustrating. So, as a result, we kept looking around in anticipation that they’d find a buyer before we could sell ours. They did, and to be honest, we accepted that. The house, we’d come to realise, was everything on paper – but it didn’t feel like a home. We didn’t have that ‘cosy’ feeling.

I’m someone who thinks with their head, not their heart.

But if this process has taught me anything its that you need to trust your intuition and to step outside the box.

Our next home will be a family home; a place where we will raise our children in a loving, safe environment. I’ve got visions of walking the children to school around the corner and then carrying on to the train station for work. To spending weekends filling the kitchen with the smells of baking, soup and roast dinners. Having fairy lights over a fire place at Christmas with mugs of hot chocolate, but with space enough for the kids to play and to store our things without feeling on top of each other. Being able to be surrounded by my books but for them not to be intruding into our lives and taking up valuable room. For light, space and air.

To be able to grow and prosper as a family.

And that, is the crux of the matter.

We’re country bumpkins. Even the townscape is too much for us never mind a city. But of the small towns we like around here there are few houses on the market. We’ve also had to consider schools; primary schools really but with good transport links to a secondary school. We don’t plan to move for at least 10 years, and longer if we can help it, so these are things we have to think about. Its looking though we will move to a town for the amenities; schools, extra-curricular clubs for the future children and transport links for us to carry on with our work. Living in the country is wonderful; the clean air, the woods and the wildlife, and being able to set out for a walk from your front door rather than driving to a particular location. I guess we just don’t need the fast bright life of the city. Our idea of an evening out is a trip to the cinema or a restaurant and being home by 10pm. But, just maybe, we now have to put that to one side and to focus on what would be best for us and a little one – and that means making life a bit easier by not having to travel for 30 minutes to get anywhere.

But what house is a whole other question. We are both attracted to period homes but few of these have garages and some not even off road parking. Off road parking is a must have, but Sam has had to decide whether he wants a garage (currently housing our mini) or a workshop space. We’ve also gone full circle and are back considering new-ish builds too as they offer more space for the money.

We’ve viewed a fair few houses now and everything is nearly there, but not quite. Houses that are on a busy road >have a bad layout >are too far for Sam to get to work > have inadequate local schools >needs so much improvement work it should be bulldozed. Etc.

We will remain hopeful though! We’ve sold our house now so we are in a good position to buy. Fingers crossed something will come up!

In the meantime, my Pinterest is bulging with decor ideas for our next home. I love wood, subway tiles and trailing greenery with hues of grey to break up the walls and soft furnishings to bring it all together. Here a few of my favourites:

A trip around North Devon: Clovelly

I realised its been a while since I last posted, but so much seems to have happened in that month I’m not sure where to begin.

I thought I’d start with a review of our jaunt down to the North Devon coast over the Easter weekend (I’m actually eating an Easter Egg whilst I write this as we have some left over!) We went with a couple of friends and decided to be based near Clovelly; none of us had been there before but after a quick google search and seeing so many pretty pictures of it we simply had to visit.

Clovelly is a small fishing village situated on private land. The main high street is pedestrianised, with good reason; Clovelly is incredibly steep and has narrow cobbled streets. The villagers use trolleys and crates on wheels to transport goods up and down the village. In years gone by, the villagers used the same crates to carry fish up from the harbour.

& it is so quaint!


Follow the cobbles down and you will make your way past a pub called the Up and Along Bar. It sounds quirky, but its not much to write home about – just a standard pub for a drink.

Carry on a bit further and you’ll reach the only cafe in Clovelly serving Devonshire cream tea. We sat out the back overlooking the bay and it was quite glorious; beautiful sunshine with an amazing view to boot. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The scones and jam were lovely too.

From here the road becomes steeper and more windy as you descend to the bay. If you are slightly infirm or if it was wet, I imagine the cobbles would be quite treacherous. Otherwise its certainly a talking point (and gasps of air on the way back up!)

This photo shows how steep the path becomes

But eventually you will come down to the bay. There is a very popular pub to the one side and stunning views out over the sea to the other. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The tide was out when we were there which made it even better; you could see the ropes and moorings and could almost feel how dangerous it would have been to be in a tiny fishing boat near all the rocks. As we were enjoying a pint a couple of canoes made their way in and were very careful on the approach.

I love the sea; blue, grey, calm or thunderous, in shorts or in a coat, there is nothing like looking out onto it.


If you head out across the beach after about half a mile you will reach a small waterfall trickling over the top of the cliff. Its worth a wander on a warm day though do be careful on the rocks! Most were large and would rock back and forth as you stood on them. I grazed my ankle on a good couple of occasions.

Although most of the houses are guesthouses or holiday homes, the villagers really pull together to make the village pretty. There were so many pot plants, colourfully-painted homes and trinkets outside that made me smile as we walked along.

My top tips for visiting Clovelly:

  1. You have to pay a fee (£7 each) to go into the village. This is paid in the gift shop where you park your car. However, if you approach on foot via a footpath to the east (on the right-hand side as you look down to the village), then you avoid the toll altogether! Your tickets are not checked once in the village, so if you don’t need to travel by car perhaps consider walking? However, I think some of the money raised does go toward village activities so if you are good person you may want to pay the fee.
  2. You only need half a day in Clovelly and that includes stopping for cream tea, fudge, and a drink or three. There are only 2 pubs and 1 cafe plus a handful of shops so there is not a lot to do. The village is picturesque and that it what is so attractive about it. I would definitely recommend the cream tea at the cafe half way down and a Devonshire pasty (not to be confused with a Cornish pasty or you’ll get a slap from a resident)
  3. If it is a sunny day take a picnic and eat on the beach; you will really make the most of the village and its scenery.
  4. Wear good footwear! Trainers or the like, but not flip flops as you probably will slip and fall.

Clovelly was beautiful and I’m glad we visited. We’ve been to many places in both Cornwall and Devon though I’ve realised one main difference between the neighbouring counties:

Cornwall is quaint. Most of the towns and villages are geared towards tourism and have their own prettiness and quirkiness about them. I get the feeling Devon is either ‘new’ to tourism or is going for the more rugged look. Whilst the landscape is stunning, most of the towns and villages, other than Clovelly, are quite simple and don’t have that twee, tourist-pulling attractiveness about them. I’m sure people from Devon will be up in arms about this comment, but it is only my opinion.

I will continue to visit Devon!