Over the years we have moved a lot.
I met my husband in 2004. Our first flat was a one-bed flat behind the Chelsea town hall at King's Court South. The location was fabulous. We walked everywhere, caught our bus outside Habitat, our train from Sloane Square, would meet at Peter Jones after work and would have burgers at Henry J Bean's garden in the summer (well, Henry J's is now the Ivy Garden Chelsea and you cannot set a foot in unless your blood runs blue or you have the patience to book two months in advance. Nah...).
If we took the stairs down, we could pick into the garden of Henry JB, and decide if there was enough of a crowd to head there or not. There used to be a Heal's just across the street, we'd walk to the Chelsea Gardener (best place for Christmas decorations and more burgers) and the endless bars on Fulham Road beckoned us to visit.
The flat was tiny and its kitchen was as big as your average guest WC. Yet it had everything a young professional couple needed.
I have no photos of mine of that place, but thanks to Zoopla, here's the ACTUAL flat we lived in, at no35. Husband, take a trip down memory lane. The tiny fridge barely fitted the cheese we brought back from our first ever trip (Amsterdam obviously).
Yes, I met my future father in law in the living room of this tiny flat for the first time ever. I was so stressed about it, I got a massive tummy ache and could not join him for lunch. What a first impression I must have made.
A year later we decided we needed an extra room for family who wanted to visit and a bigger bedroom for us, so we moved to Imperial Wharf. Well, Imperial Wharf was not exactly planned. We were about to get a much cheaper 2-bed at St George's Wharf but the estate agent decided to take our deposit, then come back to say that the landlord had decided the price was not right for him and wanted a different rent. We had already given our notice for the above so they expected us to say yes. We said no, got our security back and within two days we were moving into a new built riverside flat in an area we still knew and loved.
Now, these photos are from the flat we lived in (28 Aspect Court) but from 2015 from Zoopla again, yet, I swear to you, the furniture is STILL the same (10 years on) even down to the art on the wall, the carpet in the living room and the vases and bedside table lamps in the master bedroom. Nothing has changed, proving that when you're renting at £2k plus you freaking respect every single inch of the space and furniture because you want all of that deposit back at the end of your tenancy.
Those were the days, before the baby came, when we still went out. A LOT. I had so much free time, I was registered at that Virgin gym on Fulham Road. Not that I went often (because, I think that pre-baby, I also looked fab. But that is another story for another blog and maybe another audience altogether. I digress).
Then it was decided that we should not pay someone's else mortgage and we should get a mortgage of our own. We looked around, it was 2005 at the time and all 2-bed flats around Fulham where at the £350k mark. We decided against buying and instead got engaged and moved to Greenwich for a year to save money for the deposit. At Greenwich we found another new built 2-bed flat on the very busy Woolwich Road. It took some time getting used to the noise from the traffic outside. We bought two amazing hybrid lightweight bikes and stored them in our underground secure garage hoping to use them to explore the area. They were stolen within 2 weeks. We got a pair of crappy ones next time and they survived. We biked to the O2 arena almost daily in the summer. We went bargain hunting for antiques in the Greenwich Sunday market and got stack in traffic for ages in Blackwell tunnel. We'd drive 40' to get back to Chelsea on Saturdays and have our breakfast at Blackheath every other Sunday.
Now, there is absolutely no doubt, my husband will freak out seeing these photos. Oh, the memories! Again, this is the exact flat we lived in and yes the firniture seems to be still the same.
Then in Spring 2007, 4 months before getting married we got into the market again and after seeing a considerable number of properties in SW6 (from Sand's End to Munster Village and everything in between, really) we decided to buy our first property. It was, to our surprise a Victorian that had been properly demolished and re-built as two split level flats. We got the first floor flat that had a dizzying spiral staircase to the biggest master bedroom I had ever seen. It was bought at the asking price and just £1 before we'd be hit with a higher stamp duty. It was a matter of whose offer would get to that level first, so we decided not to miss out given the development that the area was undergoing.
We moved in in July 2007, stayed a month then packed and went to get married. We were on our honeymoon in Mauritius and were thinking about getting back to the new home and putting our stamp on it. Queue September 2007 and the property market took a dip. A considerable dip but we were in it for the long run.
I will spare you the photos from when we lived in. Instead, to keep up with appearances, here's what the place looked like when we recently rented it out again in 2015. We spent a good few weekends repainting the whole flat (and I mean ceilings and all and it's a double height in a couple rooms!) and giving it a grown up look as one room (the one below) still had a baby blue theme wall (previous tenants did not complain so it was never thought a necessity to change it).
Again, the location and space were perfect for the two of us. Then in July 2009 two became three. And for a couple years all was good until the toddler could walk properly and our relatives complained for not having a room of their own when they visited. Coupled with a lack of good schools nearby, we decided to leave the spiral staircase behind and move somewhere bigger. By the way, do not ask how we got a deep spring pocket king size mattress up the spiral staircase. To this day I still do not know and if it ever needs to come down (because it will NOT fit through a window) I am afraid that a chainsaw will be needed...
So off we moved to Surrey and rented out a bigger home. We asked for space and we definitely got what we asked for. And I personally got to clean 5 bedrooms and a patio the size of a tennis court. It was buffling how this massive house would be cheaper (a lot!) than the 2 bed in Fulham. Location, location... The garden was like the Amazon and the soil so bad and full of limestone that nothing would grow. I fell off THIS wall while planting flowers (that was before I new that they would not grow much) and had 5 stitches next to my eye and a badly bruised cheek. I went grocery shopping and got looks from people thinking I was the victim of domestic abuse.
The thing is we were again renting out so we had no say over how the house should look inside. And our landlady didn't like changes. So it was a green kitchen and magnolia throughout. Oh and a fairy forest handpainted mural from the 90s in my son's bedroom (on one side. on the opposite wall there were pink unicorns and magic castles... say whaaaaat! We asked to paint it over and were told firmly no, because the owner had fond memories of it).