Next week we’ll have been in our house in Woking (Surrey) for six months! I can’t believe how quickly that time has gone. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have probably seen a bit about the journey of moving away from London to just outside the M25 in Woking, but I wanted to share a bit more here to give a bit of background to a few likely posts coming up.
James and I talked about buying quite early on in our relationship, more in that it was both something we wanted than being in a rush to get on the housing ladder. There’s a lot to be said for the flexibility renting affords but when you pay over £1,000 per month to someone else, it got to the point where we wanted that money to go into our own future. We were really lucky in that the buying process from finding our house to moving was fairly straightforward. We saw our house on the first day of viewings (we saw six in one day) on a cold day in March and very randomly it was owned by a friend of a friend at work. Our offer was accepted and, as it’s an 80s house in good condition, the rest was just paperwork, phone calls and waiting.
So why Woking? Well quite simply budget and affordability. I wanted a two-bed house over a flat, in a safe area and London wasn’t really possible for our budget. We wanted to stay south because we have a lot of friends here and frequently fly out of Gatwick to see James’ friends and family in Guernsey. We had a list of places we liked and could afford, with a manageable commute time and Woking just worked.
In moving further out, I was essentially exchanging commute time (although Woking to Waterloo can be done in 25 mins) and cost for a house with stairs and most importantly a garden.
I was pretty apprehensive about being so far away from London and thoughts like – will I see my friends as much, will I miss out on things in London and will I hate the longer commute went through my mind. But as I stepped into our house for the first time at the beginning of June all those worries faded away.
Firstly, I couldn’t believe how we’d managed such luxury. The contrast from our tiny one bed flat in Colliers Wood was ridiculous. I couldn’t quite get over having a spare bedroom, stairs and a garden. It was a bit of a heat-wave that week and sitting at the table left behind in the garden was just heaven on earth (and with zero furniture – a life saver!).
As for the worries about missing London, in that first week I was off work but still went into London three times. And over the summer I pretty much did everything I would normally do. I think being someone who doesn’t sit still for long means I have a motivation to get back into the city. So I quickly realised everything that I was worried about would be down to me to manage and that it could be done easily with a bit of extra effort.
But I love Woking too and I think it means I get the best of both worlds, which in today’s world I’m so grateful for. The best part of it is just how much quieter and more green it is here.
We don’t have a car right now and that will no doubt have to wait until after our wedding (there’ll be a post on Toulouse covering that! 😉 ), but we’ll hire a car here and there. I’m excited to explore more of Surrey and the rest of England too.
I have noticed that as time has gone on I’m more content spending a weekend in Surrey, more than I ever thought I would be. I suspect that has something to do with the house being ours (it’s mould-free) and even though it’s a slow process it is beginning to look like its ours too.
So what does it mean for the blog? Well I still work and love London, I’ve been there for eight years and had a blog for five of those so there’s quite a lot that I could still share and I know there’s still more out there to discover. But I’m hoping I’ll be able to cover more lifestyle stuff too. I’ve done this on here in the past and I think this time the focus will be more life in general, living in the city and the suburbs, and anything worth sharing about photography. I’ll still be doing the usual coffee and cocktail reviews, plus anything I find in the City. I do have a tendency to attempt blog series and fail to commit, so this time I make no promises and I’m just going to share what I think works rather than worry about keeping something going.
BUT, if there’s anything you’d like me to cover, especially related to London – get in touch!