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Slipping away

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My favourite memory from the summer which is fast slipping away (the summer and, these days, my memory :) ).

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Emergency Room

emergency trip to the er Hope your summer is going as well as ours ;).

Looking forward to blogging again soon.

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for saleSo it turns out we are not moving after all.

I knew I shouldn’t have broadcast on the internet that we had a buyer – it’s the ultimate jinx!

This is the second buyer that has pulled out. The first pulled out because she was allergic to rapeseed which the farmer sometimes grows in the adjoining fields. The second buyers pulled out because they are divorcing. I can make our house look absolutely beautiful but I can’t do anything about those sorts of factors.

So now we have switched agents and are starting again. It is rather depressing though to look at our house with fresh eyes (for the new agent to take photographs) and realise that all the painting and deep cleaning we did last year looks like it never happened. We need to do it all again and then MOVE OUT if we are ever to have any hope of selling this place.

The agent took photographs of the house: living areas and outside only as that’s all we do, he said, so it was a little embarrassing to see another house come on the market with the same agent (admittedly in a different price bracket) which had a full complement of pictures including all the bedrooms which were beautifully presented with matching cushions and so on.

So now I know why our house hasn’t sold. It’s because we don’t have matching cushions adorning all the beds!

Of course, I’m not thinking that, not really, although I’ve watched enough of the programme Why Your Stinky Cluttered House Won’t Sell to know that all this ‘staging’ to make your house look as though nobody actually lives in it does work and, for the most part, we do do that each time we have a viewing. (Exhausting.) But the bedrooms could do with improvement so I have been and bought some crisp white bed linen, comforters (in an accent color) and some cushions in a different but matching color (see how good I am at this?).

Correspondingly, I fully expect the house to be sold by tomorrow.

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Ha! Just as I was about to hit publish on this, the estate agent rang saying could someone come and look around in an hour from now. It’s a sign!

However, given I had to say no – there was no way I could get this place looking presentable in an hour – that may also be a (less than positive) sign.

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Although we haven’t quite sold yet, I’m feeling confident. Here’s what we have learnt along the way:

Tips for selling your house

If you want your house to sell for a good price and relatively quickly there are a number of things you can do to make your house attractive to potential buyers:

Preparing your house for sale

1. Declutter and de-personalize – throw out anything you don’t need anymore and put any items you can into self-storage. Remove personal items such as family photographs, certificates or children’s artwork.

2. Fix all the little broken things inside and outside your house – make your house look like it has been well-cared for:

– fix any leaking gutters or broken fencing
– replace any broken floor tiles
– re-caulk around showers and baths
– replace broken window blinds
– clean or replace dirty or worn carpets
– make sure all light bulbs are working

3. Deep-clean your house including all the windows. And then clean your house regularly.

4. Buyers like to open cupboards so make sure your closets look clean and tidy and not too full (throw out or store clothes you don’t need), clean inside your refrigerator, make sure kitchen cupboards are clean and not crammed full of items.

5. Give your house kerb-appeal: mow the grass, invest in some plants to put by the door, give the door a fresh coat of paint or a good clean.

6. If the kitchen is looking worn, consider replacing it or replacing kitchen cupboard doors and old appliances.

7. Paint your walls in neutral colors so prospective purchasers can imagine themselves living there.

8. Arrange furniture to give as much space in a room as possible.

Staging your house

Once the preparation is done, it is a good idea to stage your house for viewing:

1. Use plain bedlinen in bedrooms and accessorize with cushions/pillows and comforters/throws.

2. Use plants, mirrors, lamps, cushions, flowers and other accessories in living areas to make your rooms look more attractive.

3. Accessorize bathrooms with nice lotions, soaps and towels. Close toilet lids and remove trash cans.

4. Tidy everything away, remove evidence of pets if you can and tidy away as many children’s toys as you can. Put away bulky kitchen appliances to leave kitchen worktops looking spacious.

5. Give your house a last-minute clean and open the windows for fresh air.

6. For the viewing make sure your house is warm, the lights are on and everything smells clean and fresh.

If you’re selling/have sold your house, let me know how you got on!

Photo: AKZOPhoto

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notes from home crayon faviconHello! I have missed you.

It has been a hectic few months since I last posted. Regular readers will know that we put our house on the market many many many months ago – rather later than we hoped so we missed the traditional housebuying spring market. Despite quite a few viewings and a couple of offers it didn’t sell. However it looks as though we might have a buyer now, so I hope our move is all going to go smoothly. I also hope it means I’ll be spending less of my time scrubbing, tidying and removing all evidence of us actually living here (and you will have NO idea how long that takes me!) every time somebody comes round to look at the house. There is a beautiful moment when we come back in the house after the prospective buyer and agent have finished the viewing and left and everything looks so clean, positively gleaming in the sunshine, and it looks like the sort of house you really actually might want to live in.

Then, four children and six minutes later, my hard work has been demolished and it looks like it always did.

First up on my list now if I win the lottery: employing somebody just to keep the house looking beautiful.

The other major project on the go at the moment is the 11+. My eldest is knuckling down to the preparation for his exam later in the year as well as any boy can knuckle down to extra work on top of a pretty long school week. All I can say about the 11+ is that it is a lot of work – for us both. If he passes, it will very definitely have been a team effort! As I keep telling him: ‘I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it‘ (an Art Williams’ quote) and I even bore myself with the number of times I say it to keep our flagging souls toiling away at Area and Perimeter, Compound Words and Letter Sequences. Any fellow-11+ parents (past, present or future) please say hello! And please let me know how you are getting on! I am posting some of the things I have typed up to help Harry in the Eleven Plus Exam Printables category for anyone else to download if you are interested.

So it is busier than I would like but life is moving forward and hopefully this year is going to be one of big change for us as a family. I’m really looking forward to it.

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christmas lightsDue to the fact that I have four children in three different schools and our afternoon school run starts at 2.50pm and ends at 5.10pm, we spend a great deal of time in the car these days. This excessively long school run was only supposed to be a short-term arrangement but it has dragged on rather longer than we would like because we couldn’t sell our house. So our opportunities for Christmas traditions were much more limited this year. In previous years we have had traditions like Advent Reading by candlelight as well as our usual Christmas traditions but this year we added a new one, a game started partly out of desperation on my part as a way of keeping the children amused in the car (and looking out the window so as not to feel car-sick) which then became a tradition because the initial game grew to take on a pleasure of its own amongst the children.

They called the game Christmas Kisses and it simply involved them shouting out ‘Christmas kisses!‘ every time we drove past some Christmas lights. Each sighting gained them a point, then at bedtime I owed them as many kisses as points they had garnered. It makes me smile even now thinking about the delight they took in knowing I owed them thirty-six kisses (thirty-six kisses Mummy!) at bedtime and the joy it gave me to give them those thirty-six kisses, especially as sometimes the witching hour and bedtime is a bit fraught and shouty as four children run around half-naked unable to follow (or it seems even to hear) the most basic instructions to get their teeth brushed and so on, so that by the time it comes to tuck them in I’m more of the kiss and run (straight to the wine bottle) type girl. Thirty-six kisses takes time and quietens even the most rambunctious little boy and softens even the most stressed-out mother.

Sometimes the simplest things turn out to be the best.

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Friday ClubWelcome to the Friday Club Carnival, a regular carnival held here. This week’s Carnival is all about Christmas traditions and here are the other entries in this carnival, please click through and read these lovely posts:

Mymumdom posts You know christmas is coming when….

The Diary of a Frugal Family posts Frugal Christmas – How to Make a Gingerbread House.

The Iota Quota posts The music of Christmas.

Looking for Blue Sky posts How to Make the Perfect Christmas Dinner.

Midlife Singlemum posts I’m the Christmas Cinderella.

Thank you to to all these lovely bloggers for taking part!

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Goodwill to all mankind

cathedral christmas decorations

cathedral decorated for christmas

This week was the boys’ school Christmas Carol Service. It was a very moving service held in the Cathedral and a fitting end to several busy days of Christmas activity at school.

I am looking forward to the holidays. It has been a long and busy term and I think we all need a few weeks of rest and family time. And I am particularly looking forward to not having to do the gruelling daily school run!

As I stood in our beautiful Cathedral, Matthew was many miles away in a cold parish church at the funeral of one of his best friends, our son’s Godfather.

This holiday period, if there is someone you know who is on their own or if you know someone who is struggling with something – anything – please reach out to them and let them know that they are not alone.

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