Tag Archives: house-hunting

cherries in KentOne of the highlights of our frequent house hunting trips (and one of the reasons I would love to move to the country) is the frequent make-shift signs that we pass along the way. Depending on the season, there’s firewood and kindling for sale, manure, fresh eggs, seedlings and fruit stands galore. We passed via Tunbridge Wells this weekend, and every lay-by boasted its own cherry stand.

cherries in Kent

Cherries are my all time favourite fruit and I like to eat them just as they are, although my mother-in-law made Jo Wheatley’s delicious Boozy Essex Frangipane Tart at the weekend. So if any of my cherries had made it through (they didn’t – it’s a miracle they lasted long enough for me to take a photo), I would have made that… yum.

cherries in Kent



Wake up with: £80

Go to bed with: £62.32

Boo hoo, it’s time to fly back to the UK. Mum drives us to the airport and we hug goodbye. Should I be worried that she cried when we arrived, but not when we left?

I hate airports. I hate the whole ridiculous security rigmarole. Why do I need to put all my liquids in a sealable plastic bag? Why does it need to be of set dimensions? Why do I have to pay £1 for said plastic bag? The constant in-out, in-out, shake it all about of bags, passports, tickets and liquids is tiresome in the extreme.

This time they confiscate the beautiful silver-plated fork I bought at the recyclerie in Bordeilles. Honestly, I know I’ve suffered from Ryanair-rage in the past (no, I don’t want a scratchcard, I want you to stop making these incessant sales pitches over the tannoy), but I can be trusted with an antique fork. Still, at least I still have the spoon.

I’m so exhausted by the time we get home that we collapse on the sofa and order an Indian takeaway. It’s naughty, but worth it.


Wake up with: £62.32

Go to bed with: £55.33

After a morning restoring order to our flat and chipping away at the laundry mountain, we travel to Leyton for a friend’s housewarming. It’s a miraculously dry day and we spend the day basking in the sunshine, drinking rose and admiring the beautiful house and garden. We get home late and drunk. And so to bed.


Wake up with: £55.33

Go to bed with: £13.12

After a week’s break, it’s time to prepare for the return to work—and this isn’t going to be any old week. This is a super scary deadline week and everyone in my team is either on holiday or paternity leave, so it falls on me to pick up the slack.

Time to stock up on food and cook my little socks off so I won’t be tempted to stray off budget when it’s late and I’m exhausted and hungry.

First though, I set off on a foraging mission to collect elderflowers. In truth I know exactly where to find them in N16—I spotted them last weekend when I was out compiling my Stoke Newington top 10— but I can’t possibly reveal the source: first, because a good forager keeps her cards close to her chest and, second, because I’m pretty sure you aren’t supposed to pick flowers in London parks. Ssshhh.

saag aloo deconstructed for summer Indian food recipe


Wake-up with: £13.12

Go to bed with: £11.77

I’m extremely glad of my packed lunch, leftover five spice broth and pork dumplings, come lunchtime. It’s a nightmare of a day, rescued by the fact that, on the way home, I spot a little pharmacy on Kingsland Road and finally manage to track down the elusive citric acid for my elderflower cordial. It’s a case of 11th time lucky.

We have our usual Monday supper club, only dinner is served considerably later than normal, and I make chicken curry and a summer version of saag aloo. The highlight is definitely the super birthday brownies bought round by Casetteboy. I wish I had made up the recipe for those babies.


Wake-up with: £11.77

Go to bed with: £11.77

A complete contrast of a day today. Somehow, I have managed to end up working in the luxury industry. That means that I spend a large part of any given weekday writing about watches that are worth more than my house, expensive face creams and ultra-plush hotels. Today, it’s the opening of the Bvlgari hotel in London and I’ve been invited for a tour and a lunch. It is beautiful, but methinks slightly outside LoveRichCashPoor’s price range.

When I get home, there is no food in the house and it is very late. I want to give up and get a take away. Thankfully the husband stays strong and manages to talk me down from my curry goat ledge. He is duly dispatched to the shop for supplies and I make a pasta sauce for us both.


Wake-up with: £11.77

Go to bed with: £11.77

The husband emails me at work: a house that made the shortlist back in November has reappeared on Rightmove, and it’s £15k cheaper too. Our last appointment was cancelled because the vendor’s boiler exploded, we saw dream house number one that day instead. I ring the agent and book an appointment for Saturday. Please property god, let this be the one.

I’m a football widow tonight—there’s some Euro 2012 thing on apparently—but I’m grateful for the chance to curl up on the sofa in my dressing gown with the remote control and a bowl of pasta. Bliss. I watch Grayson Perry’s All in the Best Possible Taste, which is fascinating, although a little too disturbingly accurate in places—my Le Creuset habit marks me out as a middle class creative, apparently (true).


Wake-up with: £11.77

Go to bed with: £4.18

Curls is coming to dinner so we can be football widows together – hurrah! I haven’t seen her for years (okay, a month) so we have plenty to catch up on. Unfortunately, the cupboards yield little joy. I decide to make a polenta and courgette bake, served with crusty bread and a green salad. Peasant food for a peasant budget. The wine is not at all budget; Curls has decided that we are grown up enough for ‘good wine’ and brings a beautiful crisp Sauvignon Blanc.

LoveRichCashPoor Diamond Jubilee

Jubilee chic: street parties and street food


Wake up with: £40

Go to bed with: £27

Tonight, the girls and I have arranged to meet at Street Feast, a pop-up foodie paradise in Sclater Street car park, just off Brick Lane. We browse the stalls, tongues hanging out and decide the only way to satisfy our appetites is to get a bit of everything. I get some tacos and quesadillas from Buen Provecho. It starts to rain, so we take our bounty to the glorious abode of Ms Jones and start an international tapas fest of our own: dim sum, pizza, chana masala burgers: reader, we eat it all and it is gooooood.


Wake up with: £27

Go to bed with: £16.29

The sun is shining and I have me some blogging to do: Stoke Newington is the subject of the day and so I take my camera for a walk around Church Street, picking up provisions for weekend as I go (oh, and it’s possible that I may have accidentally spent £6.50 on the most gorgeous teatowel I ever did see).


Wake up with: £16.29

Go to bed with: £15.79

It’s jubilee day and it is pouring down. As I walk into the kitchen to make us a cup of tea, I see our neighbours have been busy hanging bunting and generally making the street look adorable. Only two problems: it is pouring down with rain and they have chosen to pitch the sound system and karaoke tent directly outside our house. Mmmh do I sense payback for the husband’s dj-ing habit?

We brave the rain for a walk around the block: it’s amazing, at least it would be were it not for the inclement weather. Empty trestle tables sit forlornly in the rain, a sole union jack paper plate slowly melting in the downpour.

On Church Street, we catch the tail end (sorry, couldn’t avoid that) of the best-dressed dog competition and a magnificent jazz band livens the somewhat soggy atmosphere.

We return via our neighbour’s cake stall and settle in to watch the flotilla on the BBC.


Wake-up with: £15.79

Go to bed with: £9.82

It’s supper club night and I’ve been cooking up a storm all weekend in preparation for a grand jubilee feast. Hunter’s pie and apple crumble with salted caramel sauce. It’s a big hit with the guest stars that have assembled for this momentous occasion. Everyone is secretly glad that we only have to cut the crumble into four – I might have cried if I’d had to share my piece.


Wake up with: £9.82

Go to bed with: £0.82 + €50

LoveRichCashPoor is off to France to visit maman in the Dordogne. We rise at the crack of dawn and make our way to the airport, picking up emergency cheddar supplies and newspapers for the olds on the way.

We touch down at Limoges airport and I swear I can see mum waving at me from the fence – the sign of a good airport, methinks, is one where you can see your loved ones before you’ve even got off the plane. I wave manically, get some very strange looks from the husband and fellow passengers, who must think I’m waving at France itself.


Wake up with: £0.82 + €50

Go to bed with: £0.82 + €28.50

France is whirl of baguettes, aperitifs on the terrace, bright sunshine and beautiful houses. We drive into Bordeilles to visit the chateau.We just happen to pass a recyclerie on the way – a treasure trove of beautiful plates, glasses and curiosities. I want it all. I buy a pair of silver plated servers for €5, and reward the husband’s patience with a local beer.


Wake up with: £0.82 + €28.50

Go to bed with: £0.82 + €0.50

Another beautiful sunny day in la belle Dordogne: we’re so blase about the weather by now that we decide to explore the caves at Villars, which are simply magnificent. We end another perfect day at possibly my favourite place in the world: St Jean de Cole, where I gaze lovingly in the windows of the local immobilier and the husband valiantly ignores my not-so-subtle hints.

Mum Taxi Inc drops us in Brantome for an evening on the tiles (yep, still being dropped off by my mum at age 30, and?) and after I ply him with a couple of beers, the husband goes all gooey eyed, imagining an alternate life in France, where houses are beautiful and cheap, the sun always shines and there’s unlimited cheese. By the end of the night, he’s tearing around the town, picking up every estate agent’s brochure he can lay his hands on. Wife: 1, Husband: 0.

The only way to Essex: LoveRichCashPoor on the open road in a convertible

The only way to Essex: LoveRichCashPoor on the open road in a convertible


Wake up with: £80

Go to bed with: £74.53

It’s the husband’s birthday and we’ve both booked the day off work, so I pop off the the bakery to buy him a birthday bun for breakfast.

The husband announces that he’s spent his birthday money on car tax (more exciting than it sounds when said car is a convertible Mazda), so we fold the top down for a sun-drenched journey to Essex. Yes, LoveRichCashPoor’s hair does resemble a bird’s nest when she arrives. No, she does not notice until she has already spent several hours with friends, played with her (other) beautiful goddaughter and greeted the out-laws. But the husband’s one partially sunburnt arm—where he has been resting it on the window sill—is funnier.


Wake up with: £74.53

Go to bed with: £59.24

We drive back from Essex with a chocolate cake, two courgette plants, two tomato plants and a margarite cutting taken from our wedding centerpieces. Bless my mother-in-law. We stop by the supermarket to pick up essential supplies for lunch and treat ourselves to an afternoon nap before the big birthday do tonight.

It’s such a glorious day, that we decide to revert to Plan B and hold the festivities in our garden, instead of the pub. Friends pile round, pizza is eaten, much beer is drunk and we go to bed in the wee small hours, still chuckling.

The margarite cutting was taken from the centrepieces at our wedding

The margarite cutting was taken from the centrepieces at our wedding


Wake up with: £59.24

Go to bed with: £49.03

Hangover partially dispatched by a long lie-in and some eggs on toast, we set off to a friend’s house for lunch, stopping off to buy wine and flowers on the way. It’s a magnificent feast of butternut squash risotto, burritos and a choice of chocolate and passionfruit tarts (I have both, of course). We get home in the evening sated and happy and polish of a slice of chocolate cake for tea.


Wake up with: £49.03

Go to bed with: £5.05

There’s no food in the house, even the olive oil has run out and I have four people to cook for tonight so it’s time to succumb to a big shop: I buy the fresh ingredients for kisir and borek, spaghetti al ragu and a chorizo stew at the grocer and head to the supermarket for the dry goods and meat—mince is reduced: woo!

We’re down to our last loo roll and I still haven’t replaced the ironing water (we live in a hardwater area so this is a necessity; the limescale stains our clothes) but I hold off in case these two items push me over budget: the temptation to just use my card rather than undergo the humiliation of handing items back to the cashier would be too great.

On the plus side, I discover I have over £30 of loyalty points stored up. I decide to save them for a future emergency, or Christmas, whichever comes first. Although, if I was a betting girl, I wouldn’t put any money on those points lasting until Christmas.


Wake up with: £5.05

Go to bed with: £5.05

LoveRichCashPoor is a month old today! Thank you ever so much for reading everyone—please, please feel free to comment, update me on your own budgeting challenge or just stop by anytime. I’m still very much feeling my way with this blogging lark, all suggestions welcome.

How did I celebrate? Well I ate leftovers for lunch, worked late, cooked a ragu (does anyone actually want a recipe for ragu or do you all know how to cook it already?), hung out some laundry, watered the garden and watched the first three episodes of NBC’s Community. I know, I’m spoiling myself.

There is one very exciting development when I open my inbox to discover I am being featured on Rightmove! I am famous. Okay, I’m not even remotely famous, and a sum total of one person visits the blog as a result (probably my mum), but hey, it’s not every Tuesday that you get featured on the Rightmove blog! For a property-addict like me, it’s equivalent to a fashionista getting a mention in Vogue.


Wake up with: £5.05

Go to bed with: £5.05

It’s payday! Woo hoo! And that means I have officially survived my first month of budgeting. Truth be told May has been a be-atch of a month in budgeting terms with three best friends’ birthdays, one christening, one anniversary, the husband’s birthday, one goddaughter’s first birthday and an unexpected holiday—not that I’m complaining!

I log in to my bank account and discover my statement is unusually short: with just the one transaction each week, I can tot up how much has gone in and how much has gone out in a single glance.

It’s been a five-week month, so at £80 a week, I should have spent £400. In total I have spent £555.56. The overspend is a combination of Amsterdam and my husband’s birthday treat night. On the plus side, I’ve paid in my birthday money (£150) and finally put in a very backdated expenses claim at work. This means my savings account now holds a healthy £813.19. That’s three-quarters of a month whittled off my target.

But I’m not going to give myself a pat on the back yet, after all, I did go over budget and I won’t be able to rescue the situation with expenses and birthday money next month.


Wake up with: £5.05

Go to bed with: £0.41

Today is a day of yearning. It’s almost as if it’s finally sinking in that it will be a long old time before I can go on a shopping spree. I haven’t exactly got a history of profligacy, but it’d be nice to splash out once in a while.

Here are the things I’m lusting after this week:

  • Compost so I can pot out my new plants
  • Some beautiful platters, I fell in love with CookinginSensbrocante finds
  • A novel or two (I have officially run out of reading material)
  • Some verbena for my borders and plants to fill the gap left by the tetes-a-tetes from my hanging baskets
  • A blow torch (our friends used one to caramalise the top of their passionfruit tart—me likey)
  • A kitchen storage solution from Ella’s Kitchen Company

Instead I buy loo roll and some ironing water with the rest of this week’s money.

Hey ho, roll on June—and new budget week. Until next time… Thanks for reading.

The one that got away

The one that got away

As someone who has watched pretty much every episode of Location, Location, Location ever, I’m sure it would take Kirstie Allsopp precisely three seconds to lose patience with us. We have a long, specific wish list, we’re picky about location and we don’t have much money—so yes, we are a property finder’s nightmare.

What do we want: a period house in Sussex with a large garden that is not overlooked, three bedrooms and a large eat-in kitchen. Must have working fireplace. Preferably a renovation project. Am prepared to knock down plenty of walls.

What we don’t want: anything close to a busy road, anything modern, anything that is too ‘done’ – especially if it is not to my our taste.

The main problem is that we found all this and more, our offer was accepted, the valuation completed, and I spent hours picking paint colours and researching central heating systems—but the mortgage company wasn’t as keen on the renovation project as we were. The day before we were due to exchange and complete, it slapped a retention onto our mortgage offer pending completion of works—thereby rendering it impossible to proceed with the purchase. Humph.

So on to plan 4,623 part B. If we can’t buy the house we want without selling our flat, we would buy a tiny foothold in London first, then sell our flat and escape to the country. The first property is a non-starter. We are outbid almost instantly by an investor. Disappointing. The second property, bingo. Offer accepted, mortgage application in and approved in principle, survey done, solicitor prepped…. and the vendor pulls out. Humph.

On to plan 4,624. We’re now readying our flat for sale, and scanning Rightmove for any of the above. Oh and I’m occasionally getting sidetracked by how far our money would go in France. Watch this space.

© Sin Bozkurt 

Well hello there.

Having barely recovered from the trauma that was wedding planning, and fresh back from the most amazing honeymoon ever, I caught my new husband looking at porn. Property porn.

I’ll freely admit to being property obsessed (well, duh – I married my estate agent) but I would like to point out at this juncture that he started it!

For although I’ve nagged my poor, long-suffering husband for a country idyll of my own for nigh on five years, I had mentally shelved ‘the dream’ for the foreseeable future. Having said that, I jumped right back on that bandwagon with not so much as a backwards glance.

So 10 days into ‘official’ married life, we were heading down the A26. Again. The route was familiar to us; in the run up to our wedding, we’d spent many a fraught Saturday driving through the Sussex countryside in a mad organizational frenzy.

Needless to say, we did not find our dream home that day. But the nugget of an idea was sown. Boy, how my husband must regret that fateful Rightmove search now.

A year later, a hell of a lot of searching (both soul-searching and house hunting), a fair few ‘discussions’, a couple of tantrums (mine), one very helpful mortgage advisor and three failed property purchases later and we’re still looking.

Wish us luck!

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