Thursday 1 March 2012


Birdsong, daffodils, trees filled with frothy blossoms. I am impatient for spring, for new beginnings, for all the sleeping bulbs and plants in my garden to slowly awaken and unfurl. I am on my second lot of hyacinth bulbs in the sitting room and but the muscari still show no interest in flowering and are seemingly are quite content to pretend to be grass instead.
The contemplation of a new chapter of the year made me think about the varying chapters of my life and in particular one of the most recent and significant - the time when we first bought our cottage.

It was with great anticipation and excitement that we started looking at potential homes. We'd been raring to go for the past 5 years but had been held back by London's ludicrous property market. But we were unperturbed, we watched Location, Location, Location it all seemed quite easy. You make an offer they accept or reject - no problem right? How wrong we were - looking back we were pretty green first-time buyers. We probably experienced some of the worst tricks in the property market; we were gazumped, manipulated by estate agents and got ourselves drawn into a bidding war only for the seller to walk away! As we retreated to nurse our wounds and bemoan the tactics of estate agents, it suddenly occurred to us; why not cut out the slick suited middle man altogether?

We put together a standard letter to house owners informing them that we were interested in their property and asking them to get in touch if they were looking to sell. As we drove around neighbourhoods we liked we would post our letter through the door of any properties that caught our eye (and that we thought we might be able to afford!) We had a few responses and one of them was from our cottage's previous owners. Eight months after posting that letter we were the proud owners of bricks and mortar.

Holly and Ivy will also be experiencing a new phase in their lives after this week; Holly will turn 1 on Friday and Ivy will follow a couple of days after. Above is the expression I received from Holly after informing her that she would soon be 365 days old!


  1. Aww, she really does look like she is sucking lemons hearing that news!

    I am with you longing for Spring.

    And we have the same candlesticks. That's my roundup! xxx

  2. It will be Bella's fifth birthday tomorrow,how time flies!
    Hope March will turn out to be as warm as it was last year. :0)

  3. I can empathise with your house buying experience as my last one was pretty traumatic too - bidding wars, house being removed from market etc etc, but I'm glad yours worked out well in the end (as did mine).

    Cats have a wonderful way with expressions don't they!

  4. Kathy in Michigan USA1 March 2012 at 11:52

    All those real estate machinations are amazing to me. Certainly none of that is revealed on the House Hunters International programme that I love. I was really impressed with your alternative house hunting method & love the look of your cottage. Just found your blog through a maze of other blogs.

  5. I'd like to think that real estate agents are a little more ethical here, either that or being the litigious folks we are we'd sue them.

  6. That's a really enterprising approach to home buying - good for you!
    Holly does not look impressed at the news of her birthday!

  7. This is a wonderful post Charlotte, I like the look on Holly's face! Happy Birthday to Holly and Ivy. Beautiful plates and I am so impressed with your approach to buying your home. We will be selling in a year and personally I am dreading the approach agents take. Congratulations to you, your cottage is so beautiful. We are downgrading into a small cosy cottage that is being built in a Victorian style, so I think the layout will be quite similar to yours. I have just through your pictures picked up some wonderful tips in how you have made your space work well, thank you so much. Kind regards, Ann

  8. That was a brilliant inspired idea to post letters through letterboxes of houses you liked to ask if they were thinking of selling.Just shows it pays to do so.I would have never thought of doing that.

  9. You did well there! And Holly is giving a great 'look'. My son often interprets the cat's looks (mainly in terms of: 'What are you doing, minions? Where is my food? You can't get the servants these days...')

    Such a lovely post - thanks!

  10. What a little cutie x x x x

  11. Its great when a plan comes together and I am so glad that you found your lovely home. Holly doesn't look terribly impressed you will have to tell her again!!!

  12. Holly does not look amused! Cats are such wonderful little favorites!

    I enjoyed your home buying story. It does give one a sense of stability to be the owner of bricks and mortar.

  13. I have to tell you that Holly is one of the cutest cats I have seen. And I have known quite few. I shall never understand how some humans can not be moved by these magnificent creatures.