After talking about it for what seems like forever, we are finally getting ready to move into our new house. Contracts have been exchanged, the completion date is set (for next week!), and we are spending all our free time looking at sofas, beds, paint and the entire contents of Ikea.
Where I live has been quite a big part of this blog’s identity for a while now, and this move will change that a little. As of next month, I will no longer live in St Albans – I’m moving to Tring, which is a lovely town on the Hertfordshire/Buckinghamshire border.
I’m not going far. Tring’s about 18 miles away from St Albans, and my family and several of my friends still live in the area, so I’ll be back regularly and it will still very much feature on this blog. All of my favourite restaurants are in St Albans, after all! But I’ll be casting the net a bit wider now when I blog about local restaurants, including Tring, Berkhamsted and other local towns in my reviews. I’m excited to explore Buckinghamshire more, which has a wealth of stunning scenery and amazing pubs and restaurants. If anyone is reading this who wants to work with me, I’m still happy to come to St Albans – but am open to anything in Herts/Beds/Bucks. I drive, I’m flexible.
When we started looking for somewhere to live, we always knew St Albans was unlikely. It’s become a very expensive place to buy property, because it’s so easy to get into London from there, and because it’s so bloody NICE. So we made up a list of places that weren’t too far from Watford (where we both work) and that had decent transport links to London, and started visiting them. Tring was the first on our list, and it didn’t give anywhere else a chance. We visited the rest of the places, but it was pretty obvious that we’d fallen in love with Tring and nothing else would compare.
The process of looking for a place to live wasn’t something I’ve done before – I’ve always known the areas I’ve lived in quite well – and it’s a funny one. I was expecting to ‘just know’ when we found our house, but I wasn’t expecting the same feeling for the town. But I really did. More than with the house, in fact. On our first visit to Tring, we were taken aback by how friendly people were – they came up and chatted to us as we were looking in estate agent windows, they gave us advice – and what a pretty, well-kept town it is, with fresh flowers planted throughout the town centre, lovely historic buildings and a beautiful park. It has character. It’s much smaller than St Albans, but more and more independent restaurants are popping up and I think it’ll be a really popular destination for commuters in the next few years, with a direct train into Euston and rumours of it joining the Crossrail network.
Whenever we told people we were considering Tring, the response was always ‘Oh, Tring’s LOVELY.’ Unanimously. That’s a nice feeling. And it IS. When you walk down the high street, you can see the Chilterns rising up to meet you in the distance. Many of the houses are properties with history and character (including our little Victorian terrace) and all the primary schools are rated Good on the Ofsted report (nope, I’m not letting slip some *news* but at some point that will be important to us, and we’ll probably still be living in our house when it is).
Over the next few months we’ll be working hard to make our house our own. We’ve got wallpaper to strip, painting to do and oh-so-much furniture to buy. It’ll take some time. It's currently painted pretty much entirely yellow inside. But I’m really excited to get started on the process and turn it into a real home. So many of you have been renters for a long time – like me – and so I’m sure you get how exciting it is to be able to put down roots. To finally put my own address on my bank statements, rather than my parents’! It’s a simple thing, but gosh it’s exciting.
There will be plenty of home-related posts on here over the upcoming months, and I’m planning on doing a few Before/After pieces as we work on each room. I was also considering writing some pieces about what I learned during the house-buying process – let me know if you’d be interested!