How to Move House and Not Fall Out

10 Feb 2014

Moving house is one of the most stressful things you endure in life. Yes we’ve recently bought a house, but we used a government scheme to help first-time buyers to take a bit of the bewilderment out of appointing solicitors and doing whatever research we would have needed to do to find a mortgage. Basically the government helps you with the deposit, you buy the house direct from the developer, they appoint solicitors etc., and there are only four or five mortgages available to you. So the part that has actually caused me the most anxiety is not the waiting around for solicitors or about getting the money together, rather it’s the packing and unpacking. So here are my top tips for moving house.

We've moved from this...

We’ve moved from this…

1. Pack cupboards and drawers first. There’s nothing more depressing than sitting in an empty house for weeks on end while you’re finishing the packing, or waiting for those infernal contracts to be exchanged. Start with the things you don’t normally see anyway. We started with our spare room, then the wardrobes leaving the essentials, then the kitchen and bathroom cupboards, leaving our big bookcase where we display most of our little artisan bits, so that it still felt like home right to the last minute.

2. Pack according to room. If all your bills and passports and work documents live in the study then pack it for there, if some of the more important bits are in the living room then pack them for the living room. Don’t just label the box ‘paperwork’ and expect things not to get lost.

3. Be ruthless with what you need to sell. What you have in this house probably will be redundant eventually in the next. Take the sofa obviously, and the bed, but you don’t really need a free-standing bathroom cabinet if the house already has shelves in there, at least for the moment while you’re deciding how to decorate.

4. Tidy the room you will be living in first. Again, there’s nothing more depressing than sitting around boxes waiting to be unpacked. Our first job was unpack the DVDs, then put the lamps in and the bookcase, then sort the kitchen out. Everything else went into the spare room, waiting for payday so that we can buy the furniture we need to make a study room.

5. Budget for take-aways and eating out and thanking the people that helped you move. Especially if you’re moving from rented to bought you’re likely to have an overlap where you’re not really living at either place. So a budget for not really eating properly is essential, for about three weeks this year we were living on take-aways, sandwiches from convenience stores, McDonalds and eating out. And of course, the best way to thank the people that helped you – a nice lunch at a nearby restaurant.

6. Try to enjoy it. Don’t fall out at Ikea, don’t get annoyed about paint colours, just remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and in a couple of months your house will be that lovely little nest you want to make it.


… to this amazing view!


Prayer for the Third Quarter

02 February 2014

Dear God, You and I have our issues, I know that in most other circumstances I would swear point-blank that you don’t exist. You’ve dealt me some pretty rough cards in life, but here I am talking to you again. It’s nothing life-threatening, nothing to do with health or finance or anything serious like that. It’s sport.

Please, please, give Peyton Manning and the Broncos the biggest come-back in Super Bowl history. Please, when I wake up, please let the Broncos have won. Thank you, Katherine

Less than 15 seconds in and the Broncos mess it up. Some dickhead threw the ball before they were ready and the Seahawks get the Safety*. And it set the tone for the whole game. The final score I found out this morning was 43-8, we got some points at least. The Seahawks are dirty though, they are young and bold and confident. But the amount of punching and shouting and… they’re just nasty.

We're ready!

We’re ready!

* Something to do with the defence catching the ball in the endzone.

A Very Vague Bucket List

31st January

January is an interesting month, it makes you think about what you’ve done in the past year, and what you want to do in the next. I’m going to be 31 this year, and I’ll be getting married when I’m 32. My Mom was something like 20 when she got married, and I know that times change – more university years, more careers, general attitudes to sexual freedom have changed so much – but I feel old doing this at this age.

Big stress, drowning in detail, or kick up the back-side

Big stress, drowning in detail, or kick up the back-side

I bought a wedding magazine today, by accident. Haven’t opened it yet. The Mexican one was a mistake as well, waiting in the queue at the supermarket just flicking through, and before you know it it’s in the trolley! We’ve got potentially five weddings this year as a guest, all over the world (well, UK and USA). Everyone is more or less our age so it’s kind of the right time to do it. But I’m very, very aware of age creeping up. And if I didn’t want children I’d probably be OK with it. So right, this morning I was thinking about a Bucket List, or a Life Plan but I don’t even know what I’d put on it. I’ve bought a house and met the man I want to spend the rest of my life with, so then we get into the details. So here are some short, medium and long-term goals.


  • Get settled in the house we have bought
  • Concentrate on getting recognised at work
  • Enjoy New York
  • Start getting my weight back on track
  • Training for this 10K run in March 2014


  • Getting healthy and slim for my wedding
  • Plan a beautiful Anglo-Mexican wedding
  • Decorate the house we have bought, in that truly international style that shows our travels and our roots
  • Re-vamp my work wardrobe
  • Visit my friend in Australia


  • Visit Moscow (my travel dream since I was very young)
  • Save for a future, not just a holiday
  • Stay healthy for a long life together with my Danielote
  • Stay happy

Glace – Artisan Ice Cream in the Ciudad


Escondido en las callecitas de La Roma, se encuentra un heladería preciosa – Glace – que venden sabores raros pero deliciosos. Como los días de invierno mexicano son tan diferentes de los de Inglaterra, normalmente tomamos un “helado diario” en las placitas de Coyoacán, Querétaro, y claro en la Ciudad.

Glace in Mexico City

Glace in Mexico City

Nos fue recomendado por el padre de Daniel, y después de un par de horas en explorar los Parques de España y de México, encontramos Glace para probar un heladito diferente de lo normal de vainilla o guayaba. Situada al fondo de un calle casi anónima, nunca lo verías si no supiera. La tienda de madera y la dama muy amable dan la impresión de una operación muy artesanal y llena de pasión por el sabor. La dama nos permitió probar casi cada sabor, de miel con lavanda hasta el té verde. Si estoy honesta, no me recuerdo el sabor que tomé, creo algo de canela. Una delicia inesperada en las calles de La Roma y La Condesa.

No me recuerdo los precios, ni la dirección, pero el blog Sin Mantel me ayuda : Ensenada 8, $30 el sencillo y $50 el doble, @glacehelado.


Hidden away in the beautiful backstreets of La Roma is Glace, a beautiful little ice-cream shop selling unusual but mouth-watering flavours. As Winter days in Mexico are so different to those we have in the UK, we usually enjoy a “daily ice-cream” in the little plazas and squares of Coyoacán, Querétaro, and of course in Mexico City.

It was recommended to us by Daniel’s dad, and after a few hours exploring Parque de España and Parque de México, we found Glace for an ice-cream, out of the ordinary flavours of vanilla and guayaba. Located at the end of an almost anonymous road, you’d never see it unless you knew it was there. A wooden shop front and very friendly assistant gives the impression of a very rustic operation with a passion for flavour. The girl let us try nearly every flavour from lavender honey to green tea. Honestly though I can’t remember what flavour I had, cinnamon I think. A lovely little unexpected delight in the streets of La Roma and La Condesa.

I don’t remember the prices or the address, but the Sin Mantel blog helps me out here : Ensenada 8, £1.30 for a single, £2.20 for  a double, @glacehelado.

Random Moments of Delight

Service Disruption

The Hyatt Hotel, The Cube, The BT Tower, St Martin´s in the Bullring, The Bullring, St Andrews Football Ground, Jury’s Inn Hotel, The Council House, Broadway Plaza, The Middleway, The University of Birmingham Clock Tower, Selly Oak Hospital. Just a few things I can now see from the window of my new house! Ok – flat.

Not my view, but not far off!

Not my view, but not far off!

I’m not on strike, we’re still waiting for the internet to be connected! There’s something wrong with the phone line, I guess because it’s a brand new flat. The posts I will put here were written during my lunch hours at work and in my little book, made ready for posting as soon as the internet came back on – so it’s not really in any order but I’ll try to write on the dates the posts were intended for.