Sunday, 30 May 2010

We found a flat!

I am very excited that we found a flat! Matthew and I will be moving to Brixton at the end of June. It was easy to find a flat as I mentioned in my last post. I wanted to live near people we knew. We've got a very good friend, Becky, who lives right in the heart of Shoreditch and at first that's where I thought we were going to live. Until we looked at how much rents were. I would have loved to live there. Here's the thing. It's hard for me to sometimes make comparisons between flats and areas in London. 

At the moment I live in a beautiful spacious flat with a garden. The owner of the flat had done it up and was trying to sell it, found that he couldn't and then rented. Needless to say it was in perfect condition. I didn't realise how amazing it was until we started looking around. It's a two bedroom with large outdoor garden for 1500 pounds per month split between four people. It's pretty nice for what we've been paying. I don't mind the area. Although I will admit that I liked the area much better when Mary was living just up the road.

However. Matthew and I would like to live on our own as a married couple and I am desperate to have my own place the way I want it. Mary and her friend Sara, who I've met and is lovely, had taken a flat in Brixton so I thought we should check it out. 

What can I say about Brixton....for me as an American my perspective is a bit different. A lot of Londoners who have lived North of the river would say that they would never move South of the river. There's a bit of a territorial debate. Here's an excerpt from this article on moove2london.

North or South London

Which is the best part of London  – is it the area north or south of the River Thames? As soon as you move to London, you’ll notice how territorial people are about where they live. The debate on North vs South London is ongoing and never really results in a definitive answer. This doesn’t stop Londoners arguing it out anyway.

Since I've only lived in London for a few years I don't happen to feel strongly about the debate. I want to live in area of London that's fun and has stuff going. For some reason get a community vibe from Brixton and I would like to be live somewhere like that. I feel drawn to it, so we'll see how it pans out. 

Yes, there was a massive riot there in 1981. I know that's not been forgotten and also people tend to view the area as unsafe. The times I've been to Brixton I've never felt unsafe and people also said that Shepherds Bush was unsafe...generally people who don't live in London.

So, what's the flat like? Well it's a two bedroom flat! It's on the second floor (or 1st floor if you're not American) and you come in the door and to the left is a spacious living room and kitchen together. It's big, bright and open. There is also one small bedroom on that floor that has high ceilings and a window. You then go upstairs and the main bedroom and bathroom are there. I've never been a flat that had stairs before! We are going to use the small room as an office/sewing room. I bought a sewing machine from John Lewis a year ago and have never used it. I can't wait to get it out and start sewing. 

We live two minutes away from Mary and Sarah, across the road from an amazing pub called the Effra Town Hall, a few minutes away from the Ritzy cinema and it's just a five minutes walk to the tube. 

The only downside to the situation is that we have to be out of our flat on the 19th of June and we can't move in until the 24th. To be honest I am not looking forward to that at all. The landlord has an empty flat where we can move our stuff into, which is nice that we don't have to pay for storage. We'll have to find somewhere to stay for those few days as well. It will all work out, but there's all those niggly last minute things to take care of. 

I am looking forward to living in my own flat with Matthew! I think it will be an exciting new chapter of our London life together.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Finding a new flat

I promised myself that I wouldn't start out this blog post apologising that I haven't posted anything for a long time......but of course I still want to. I am actually a bit surprised that it's only been just over a month since my last post, I thought it would be longer!

So, what have I been up to? Well lots of new and exciting things. I've started a new job! I am now a social media strategist at a lovely agency called Wax. I started there on the 19th of April. It's been going very well and I am happy with my new role. I've also been wrapped up in location based social media apps and blogging about that over on Foursquaregames. The main thing that's been on my mind is the fact that Matthew and I are moving out of our flat.

Our lease is up on June 19th and we've decided that we are going to live on our own. At the moment we are sharing a two bedroom flat with another couple. They've been easy to live with, but I am just ready have our own place. I am tired of just living in my bedroom and having to do the washing up immediately after I am done eating :)

When I first moved in with Matthew he was living with his mate Wayland, that was in Chiswick. When we moved to the flat we're in now, Shepherds Bush, Wayland came with us. I didn't mind living with Wayland. I was still pretty new to London and it was nice to have him as a friend. He started his own business and needed to move to another part of England for a while, so we were left with the choice of either paying all the rent or getting in flatmates.

Of course at the time I was way too cheap to have ever done that. I still have a hard time getting my head around how expensive London rent is, but I am now ready to bite the bullet.

I tell you looking for a flat isn't a walk in the park. Matthew and I have been looking online. Most flats are rented through estate agencies or on Gumtree. Gumtree is what we use over here instead of Craigslist. The main problem is that the estate agencies like to advertise flats that either don't have to let or have been let already! 

What should happen is that if the flat is under offer to be let they should flag it as under offer and most websites will do that. I was on the phone to one estate agency because I was interested in a flat and they told me that it had been let. I then asked about some others that were on their site and they said that they weren't available. I was like, why do you still have them up? So you don't have any flats to rent, but you have them all still on the site? He answered that they keep them up until the people move in. Nice. They keep them up so it looks like they have all these flats. How lovely.

It's really a pain. You call these people and you're lucky if they ever get back to you. I can't wait until we just find a flat and can move in.

We've finally decided on an area, sorry Becky we aren't moving to the East End. Although I really wanted to, it's just too expensive at the moment. Matthew and I are trying to save as much money as we can, so although we could afford a more expensive flat closer in town we've decided to save a bit of cash and go......gasp! south of the river. 

We've been looking in Brixton. My friend Mary is living there and it's closer to where Matthew's sister lives. I like it over there and hopefully we can find a flat. Matthew and I spent the afternoon there yesterday and we liked it. I love the Ritzy theater and we found some good pubs. I really want to be somewhere new and have a decent sized flat.  So fingers crossed we find something good!
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