Furnishing on a (very) low budget

Last week I said I would write a post about furnishing a flat on a budget and I though I would put that out for you now!

When Greg and I got this flat in July, most of our savings was used on the deposit and we had little left over for furnishing.
We got the place unfurnished and therefore needed basic furniture such as a sofa and a bed in order to move in.DSCF1074

We still have a lot of furniture to buy to make it a cozy home, but by now we have the basics in place that we need to live here.

Here is my tips for you if you are furnishing your flat on a low budget.

Some of the stuff we got we bought new, and some stuff we got used.

The bed:

With our bed we decided that we would prefer a new bed over a used one. This was mostly because we did not want to risk getting bedbugs, especially where we sleep. Also I felt that I would be more comfortable with a bed I know no one has used before, after all it is where we sleep every night and I wanted to know that I would feel comfortable.
Most beds that you can buy at department stores end up getting quite expensive, especially with delivery. We searched for online stores and found our bed at Sofaworld for £120. For that we got a new double bed delivered to our house the same day we ordered it. It is a comfortable bed with two drawers in it, and although it is not a luxury bed at all it is a bed we can sleep well in.
DSCF1059Our bed was only furniture we got (except for the TV) that we spent more that £100 on, but for a bed £100 is really not very much especially considering it is new.

Buying Second Hand:

If you are looking for second hand furniture, there is a lot to find online. We found Gumtree to be a very good page to get second hand stuff and we got both our sofa and our closet from there. In addition to Gumtree, there are plenty of facebook pages where people sell their furniture. There might even be a group for the area you live in, so I would recommend searching for not only your city, but also your area.

We got our sofa from Gumtree for £35 with free delivery, and we bought a canvas wardrobe for £5 also on Gumtree.DSCF1225DSCF1226DSCF1062

Both the sofa and the wardrobe we will probably look to replace when we can, but it was a great solution to get the basics so we could live here and it works perfectly for now.

Two things to keep in mind:

1. Staying safe whilst paying for your purchase
One important thing though to keep in mind when buying through Gumtree or any online page where people can post privately is to make sure you pay when you receive the purchase, as you cannot be sure who you are buying from over the internet. Some of the ads can be a scam, even if they look legit.

2. Can you pick it up?
Another thing to consider when using these pages is if you have a vehicle to pick the furniture up. We saw so many amazing deals that we could not get, simply because we dont have a car. Neither Greg or I have a car and as we live in London were everyone uses public transport we have no one that can help us pick the furniture up. Some things are small enough that it can be brought on the tube or fit in an uber, but for larger furniture this can create a problem.
Our solution to this was to look for ads that said free delivery, or that delivers for a small extra price.

Buying from Department Stores:

I have got two places that I have gone to for cheap new furniture and that is IKEA and Poundstretcher.

Ikea is such a great store with heaps of affordable and good furniture. Not to mention it is a very fun store to go shopping in with its showroom displays and their restaurant that serves delicious foods!

From IKEA I got our little coffee table for £5, which was way cheaper than anything I could find online.DSCF1216
The table is tiny, and after a while we will probably want a better one, but for £5 it is a great deal!

We also got our dining table and chairs from IKEA. We was originally not supposed to get a dining table for a while, because we felt it was not a necessity as we could eat on the sofa and dining tables are quite expensive. However I really dislike having all our meals on the sofa and I got a bit creative so we could have a table to eat at.
At IKEA I found a white desk for £15 and folding chairs for £5 each so I bought that to use as a dining table. And when putting a tablecloth over it, it does not look half bad!DSCF1154DSCF1048
And for the time being it operates as a desk when it is not being used for a dining table.

IKEA is also great for buying what you need for the kitchen, they have super cheap quality dining wear and kitchen utensils!

Poundstretcher is another great store that have great furniture for very little.

As we do not have to much space to put our stuff yet I went out and got some cheap plastic drawers and containers from there!

I got some plastic drawers, a clothes rack and some extra boxes. I got the plastic drawers for £12, the rack for £7 and I got a hanging mirror for £6! Bargain! DSCF1068DSCF1060DSCF1005

Of course over time we want some proper furniture and not having to resort to plastic drawers and canvas wardrobes, but this really is a great way to buy furniture if you find yourself in a need to get a place furnished to live in, but dont have the money to get it all done in one go!

We still have heaps to do here, it still has a bit of an empty feel to it, as you can see in the pictures, but it will come with time. For now we can relax with what we have, and slowly fill in what is missing, knowing we have the essentials in place.

I hope this post gave some inspiration of how to get furniture way under budget, and even if you do not have a whole place to fill from scratch with minimum of spending money, there are little tricks you can do to get your basics without paying too much.

Now I am of to work, before going to meet my mum at the station later!
Wishing you all a very good day!

– Camilla

 

 

 

 

Lonely Flat, Lonely heart

Today was the first day in a long time that I came home to an empty flat. And it is my first night sleeping in this flat alone.

Greg and his best friend James has packed their bags and on their way to Florida for a ten days vacation. I am so envious of their trip, and I know they will have an amazing time. I am really happy for Greg that he gets this experience with his best friend, after he has been working so hard ever since he arrived in London in January he truly deserves it.

Although I must admit I am sad to be without him for that long, and last night I felt anxious thinking of being here alone. I am getting so used to having him here every night and seeing him every day that I think I am experiencing some separation anxiety.
Last night I got that same feeling I had when we were doing long distance and it was the night before one of us would fly back to our home country. Of course this is very different, back then we would face two or three months apart and now we are only having ten days apart but I still got that same anxious feeling in my stomach as I did back then.

The whole day at work today I just kept thinking of the empty flat I would come home to, knowing Greg and James is so far away. It nearly killed my motivation for the day just thinking about it and it felt so weird and empty coming through the door after work having no one to greet me and knowing no one is coming home later in the evening either.
Especially after having James here for two weeks, I am so used to having people around and having company in the evening. Going from having days being three people at home to being alone is such a strange feeling.
Since I came home I have just been moping around the flat not really knowing what to do with myself.
I am normally someone who enjoy spending time on my own and I enjoy my own company. I think this is one of the first times that I know I have some time to myself and I am not feeling really happy about that! It is so strange how we can change like that, to me it is a whole new feeling and very unlike myself. I am not sure if it is age or just missing Greg that makes me feel so lonely sitting here alone. It is odd to think about how dependent one can get on another person!  DSCF1183

However I do think it is good to have some days apart, even though I am not liking it as it happens. I think it is good to be able to truly miss one another and feel lonely being apart.
Often when we get used to having someone around we get so comfortable that we forget to stop and think how lucky we are, and often can take those that matter the most for granted.
it is nice once in a while to realize the importance of the person we love and just how much we love them. Not to mention that I think this is so good for Greg to get to see what he wants to see and have some time with his friends from New Zealand that he hardly every get to see.
I know I am moping about being alone, but deep down I am so happy for them.

I realize I am getting a bit sentimental here thinking of Greg somewhere over the Atlantic, but it truly is reminding me of how much I love him and how much I love seeing him everyday.

Fortunately I wont be alone for very long, because my mum is coming on Wednesday to London and staying with me until Monday. It will be really nice to have some mother and daughter time together, see some of London and have some good old Norwegian food again. We haven’t seen each other since February so I am quite excited to see her! Not to mention it will make time go a lot faster until Greg comes back home!

Now it is time for this lonely soul to get to bed in order to survive a full on day tomorrow.

I hope you all are well and get a good night sleep.

Sweet dreams, Camilla

 

 

 

Things to do in London: Hyde Park and Kenisngton Garden

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Today has been such a great day and a perfect end to the week!

Because Greg and James are leaving for America for 10 days tomorrow, we wanted to get the most out of the day today and spend as much time together as possible.

We took advantage of the great weather and had all day in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

These places are so beautiful, like a little oasis in the middle of London.
Kensington Palace is where Diana used to live while she was alive and where the royal family occasionally stay.
There are so many memorial monuments in this park, celebrating royalties from hundreds of years ago, as this was a very historical garden for the royal family.

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We went to see all the memorials, the gardens, the park and the palace.

It was so nice to just look at the pretty scenery, have some laughs and just enjoy each others company.
And we got to take so many nice pictures!

Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park is located near Kensington in West London. The best way of getting there I think would be the route that we took today, witch is to take the underground to South Kensington station and walk from there. But of course it depends a little of where in London you are coming from. I would absolutely recommend to make the trip there though, it is a location that must be seen, you would not regret it!

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In the spirit of having just visited this beautiful garden, when we came home I baked an apple cake and we watched the old classic “The Secret Garden”.

It was the best day I have had for such a long time, the only bad thing with it was that it made me feel super sad and dreading Greg being away for 10 whole days!
I am really dreading going to work in the morning, knowing I will be coming home to an empty house and Greg being somewhere over the Atlantic.

Now I am casually sitting on my computer with a big moan, as Greg is packing.

Although I am so happy for Greg and James that they get to go on a fun boys trip, I am also so sad to be alone without them here at home.

Talk to you tomorrow,

– Camilla

Time Pressure and Management

This month I am working normal office hours 9 – 5 something I am not used to.
Being a carer I normally work 12 hours shift, something that means that I work only 3 or 4 days a week when I am full time.

Although I dont get time for anything else than waking up and going to sleep in between those long shift, when my work week is over I have 3 or 4 days completely of.
Now that I am in five days a week I am suddenly feeling this time pressure every Londoner talks about.
20160317_080009I though that being used to 12 hours shifts, going to 8 hours a day would leave me with so much extra time every day. But even though my days are relatively short, with travel time I end up not getting much time to do much when I come home.

Lately I have been trying to get a run done in the morning before I get ready for work, although it means my alarm goes of at 5 am. It is great getting an early start, however that does leave me tired throughout the day unless I get to bed at 9 or 10 at night.

Living in London travel can easily at times take more than two hours in rush time, meaning that at times we get home at 7 or even 8 leaving us with two hours to make dinner and have some quality time before heading to bed.
Of course two hours is not bad, we have time for dinner, conversation and what else we need to do.
But like everyone else we have so many extra things that needs to be done, such as housework, fixing whatever we need to do online and general chores that I can tell at least on this end is suffering.

I defiantly feel the need to manage my time better, the last few weeks working office hours it has become clear that that is really not my strength. Surely when families with full days of work and children in the house can manage it well, I should be able to too!

Doing my workout in the morning has been the first step, now I just have to work out how to manage the rest of my day! Anyone having any tips for this is very appreciated, lets just say that.

Dont get me wrong, I am loving this new challenge at work, learning to do some administrative task. Having been a carer since I was 18 both full time and next to uni this is brand new to me and I love the challenge and learning to do that as well. It is the first time I am heading to work in office clothes rather than my carer uniform, it feels strange as well as fun. Learning how to do new things is always exiting!

I find is so funny how one always thinks that everyone else’s days seems much easier to manage until we get our days changed to what they have and then start to see that there are challenges with that too.

When I worked 12 hours a day, I was always so jealous seeing people on the commute heading of to their days that would end well before mine. Always thinking how much they would get done in a day.
I am sure in October when I am back to working 12 hours I will quickly go back to thinking that same thing, but for now am defiantly starting to understand the challenges of time pressure that most people experience. Especially in big cities where the travel time can be half a working day!
DSCF1152S0021126S0031129DSCF1154Today after coming home I have been making dinner for myself, Greg and James, before catching up on my blogging and that has been it for today. Now I am headed of to bed before an exiting and busy day tomorrow.

I hope you have all had a lovely day, and that you managed to manage your time better than me!

Good night!

– Camilla

A Cosy Night In

Good morning my lovely readers!

The weekend is over here in The UK and another week of work begins. I hope everyone has had a great weekend and got some free time to relax and have fun.

After I blogged yesterday Greg and James came home from their day out and they had brought both dinner and snacks for the evening. By the time I had postet my post they had already set it all up and it was so nice to be able to just sit down and eat. I am getting spoiled here as we have company!

For dinner we had platters of different foods, like sausage rolls, different meats, bread and crackers. It was so yummy, and to top it off we had Pringles, biscuits and a few glasses of wine for dessert – the perfect night in.

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I love those evenings when there is good company, good food and something entertaining to watch on the TV or the computer.

After browsing through the channels for something to watch, we landed on the movie “Bicentennial Man” with Robin Williams. I love movies with Robin Williams in them, every since I first saw “Mrs. Doubtfire” as a kid and this movie was no exception. It is just something about the characters he plays and the expressions he make that I really like.

All in all it was a very good end to a weekend I would have wished was a little longer.

Now that Monday morning is here I am finishing my coffee before I rush of to work.

I wish you all a good start to the week!

– Camilla

 

 

 

We finally have a London flat!!

Good Afternoon! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Sunday in this great weather we are having in London today!

I know I have been away from the blog for some time now, and in the mean time a lot has happened here, which is part of the reason for my absence as we have been without internet for some time now, but now we are finally back online!

The biggest change that has happened on our end is that we finally after 6 months living together have our own place!

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I am so happy and content, our place is the place I wrote about back in July that I was really hoping we would get, and we were so lucky to get it! I was beyond relieved, I thought we would go through a nightmare process to get a place of our own, since renting in London can be quite a difficult process. More than that I was so happy because I was prepared that we might have to rent a place that we did not really want to live in, in lack of being able to get a place we loved but we were so lucky and on our first try we found a place that we fell in love with!

So we are now official residents of Lewisham in South London. We love the area, it is a lot quieter than where we lived before and although travelling to work takes slightly longer it is so worth. It is great for us because it is still quite close to the city, yet it feels like it is outside the city once we get of the train.

I cannot express how nice it felt getting in this place, after having rented a tiny room in a house for 6 months it felt like a dream to have a whole flat to our selves. The first two weeks I felt almost anxious here, like I could not believe that our flat search had such a happy ending and I just waited for something to come and take it away. Now I have finally settled down and alowed myself to be happy here and feel at home.

We have most of the essentials here more of less in place now. We have getting furniture from Ikea, Gumtree and more, as we moved here on a budget and did not have much savings to spend on furniture. We still have somethings left to buy and hopefully eventually we can replace whatever we are not that happy with now, but for now what we have got is more than enough. Later in the week I will make a post about buying cheap furniture and what we have learned from the experience.

Here is the first pictures from our new place! Welcome!

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Greg’s best friend James is visiting us here at the moment from New Zealand and it is so nice to have an extra bedroom where he can stay.I must say I feel so grateful and uplifted and all I want to do now is to give something back. Like I said before, after those 6 months in limbo I am truly appreciating this!

Now Greg and James just came home from Greenwich park, so I will spend some time with them now for dinner and a movie.

I hope everyone is having a great day! And if anyone has any ideas or tips about having just moved into a flat, please feel free to write to us!

– Camilla

 

 

London night with dinner and a show – 26th birthday!

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Good morning!

Sorry for my absence on the blog but we have been so busy over here and without internet for  few weeks. I will fill you in on our changes here later today!

On Monday I got another year older and turned 26 years older! I cannot believe that I am now closer to 30 than 20! Turning 25 felt fine, but reaching 26, knowing that next year I will be 27 years old felt unreal. I am so old now, but yet to feel like an adult. However I am 26 years old now and such a grown up!

The day was spent with Greg who stayed home with me and made an amazing breakfast for me and took me to dinner and a West-end show in the evening.

We went to see the play Book of Mormon in Piccadilly Circus, a hilarious musical written and directed by the creators of South Park. If any of my readers is ever on holiday on London or live here, I would strongly recommend going to see this play! Before the show we went to Ping Pong Chinese restaurant for dinner and cocktails!

Here is some pictures from the day:

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Learning to eat with chop sticks
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Nailed it!
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Finally an adult = getting breezy before our show haha

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Now my 26 year old self is on my way to work, talk to you all tonight!

– Camilla