The hunt is on…and quick!
We’ve started house hunting! How scary but fun! It’s only ‘quick’ because that’s how we make decisions 🙂 We know what we want, we know what the deal breakers are and we know what we can compromise on. I bet we make an offer/have a house in under 2 weeks. Last weekend we got a mortgage promise, so we set! We’re looking in the Tonbridge area, less than 1 mile from the main line station so we can walk there in the morning. This map shows where we’re looking, Tonbridge; Weald, the village where we’re staying with Jono’s parents now; and then where our offices are in London.
Our main requirements for a home are:
- Walking distance to a main line station.
- 2 bedrooms
- Some kind of outdoor space. We want it for ourselves, but also Zoey is so used to being outside and LOVING it, that it would be a shame to have to keep her in now.
- Some storage, but we know that’s hard to come by.
- We chose Tonbridge because its close to family in nearby towns Weald, Leigh, and Hildenborough.
- It’s close to London (40 min by train or little over an hour by car).
- Close to larger towns with more shops, restaurants etc like Maidstone, Royal Tunbridge Wells and the larger mall, Blue Water.
- Still has countryside to bike/hike/run in and its beautiful!
We have seen 3 places, will see one on wednesday after work, then have about 6 lined up for next saturday. I have to admit, the one we saw this past saturday morning is a HUGE contender. We’re pretty excited about it. It checks all those boxes and is REALLY reasonably priced, so much so that we could re model the kitchen in the next year and get something really nice.
It takes about 40 min on the national rail train into the center of London. We get the 7:03am train which means leaving the house at 6:45! Then its the train to Charing Cross and then I can either take the bike share/boris bike the 1.3 miles to work, walk, or take the tube for 5 stops. Walking takes the same amount of time as the tube and I haven’t been using it since the weather has been really nice. I’m sure that will change when its raining, winter, and nasty. Right now I alternate between biking and walking. The bike share bikes are exactly like the ones in DC and NYC and people here call them ‘Boris Bikes’ since it was London Mayor, Boris Johnson who brought them into the city. Jono bikes too from the station and I’m sure he’ll last in the bad or colder weather longer than I will. We both want to be at work 30 min before we need to be, since that seems to be the trend in offices. That means he has to be at work at 8 and I at 830. VERY different than in the US. I could get up at 815 and still be in on time.
There are some fun neighborhoods to walk through from my work through Fitzrovia and I kind of love it. There are a million fun restaurants little shops and awesome lunch cafes. There is this one extremely English tea shop. You know how in DC or NYC you might see a super trendy hipster coffee shop? Imagine it for tea. Loose leaf only, 25 different kinds, and adorable tea cakes. It’s called Yumchaa and it looks like nothing from the outside but its huge inside with a huge frosted greenhouse roof in the middle, which makes the whole place feel like the secret garden. Amazing. Don’t worry, we have a hipster coffee shop: Tap Coffee. The Tottenham Court Road location is 2 block across the street from my office. Its so hipster I didnt know the name until I googled it. It just says the address outside each one. They do delicious coffee but also great sandwiches, treats, salads and more. Then I go through a bit of Soho to get to Charing Cross station right next to Trafalgar Square and the train goes over the Thames with views of Parliament. It’s pretty sweet. Jono and I have been doing date night once a week in the city to try a new restaurant each week. SUCH fun.
Speaking of ‘such fun’ – I don’t know why I thought the mother in Miranda made up the phrase. Obviously a good joke comes from truth, but I love. Please watch that show if you haven’t yet. It’s on in the US – try the WETA UK channel in DC, some public tv channel will run it. It’s hilarious. Anyway, we were on the commuter train coming home last week and these three ladies who lunch in their 60’s were such a hoot to listen to. They used these phrases constantly and in only a well-dressed, doesn’t-read-the-times, lunch-hosting lady can make sound simply delicious: fabulous, hysterical, lovely, absolutely, such fun, great fun, sweet, lunch (yes, lunch) and why didn’t she bring the nanny?
Work is going well for both of us. We’re super tired at the end of the day, but its because 1) commuting takes much longer and we’re just learning so much at these new jobs. This will be my 4th week and jono’s 6th. I already have my first assigned trip – Barcelona in the first week of November to attend the biggest conference I’ll work on next year. 250 attendees – ha. Smaller than anything I worked on at CEA. I work mon-thurs then Jono is coming out thursday night and we’re staying until sunday. I’ve never been to Spain and he’s never been to Barcelona, so we’re looking forward to that. For me, work is getting easier, learning the ropes, their systems and getting used to the super open plan where my desk is connected to my bosses, lol. I’m managing 2 employees and its already a challenge. I’m excited for the challenge though and am really enjoying learning about this part of working. Jono is loving his job and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Side note: when we come home from work everyday, zoey comes out of the house bounding across the green to meet us and walk us into the house. Purring, meowing and unbearably cute.
We’ve had SUCH fun this weekend – from house hunting to #MaRawedding to running the Weald 10k and going to the Penshurst craft fair – it’s been a busy time! Here are some fun pictures:
Our friends Rachelle and Max got married on saturday. It was a beautiful, musical, upbeat ceremony with a humorous priest and lots of happy tears. For the dessert at the reception, they asked guests to submit a cake into their ‘Great Wedding Bake Off’ – in similarity with the Great British Bake Off. it was Such Fun.
I made a 3 tier Guiness and chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. Transporting it was hilarious, but I made it!
It wasn’t as pretty as the others, but I was pleased with how it tasted.
Here are some other wedding pics:
Then sunday morning we ran the Weald 10K. It was a gorgeous day for it! It was a hilly course, but it was super friendly and it’s nice to see neighbors and all the activity just right on the green in front of the house. It’s a real community.
Sunday afternoon we spent at the Penshurst Craft fair and it was lovely. Lots of hand-made goods, delicious food and cool artistic things like people demonstrating how they make iron works, glass blowing, and others. I bought this gorgeous knit shawl:
I of course couldn’t get out of there with out some pottery or jewellery! Gorgeous sycamore leaf/seed. Very full, productive and fun weekend. Especially with this amazing fall weather, you wouldn’t believe it DC. 60s MAYBE high 70s everyday. Be jealous.
In England We Say
Meaning to put lipstick on a pig, or quickly decorate to make it look a little nicer.
We won’t have to tart up the house we saw saturday much, it’s already really nice!