I made a million pounds! Well nearly…

Musings, Property, Ramblings, Renovation

I have spent today writing a business plan for property investors, well I was forced to write one by my husband actually.  I would much rather have spend the day pottering around the house or simply lounging about eating crumpets.

Anyhow, part of the job today was to go back through the years, (it is decades actually), and tot up the profits of buying and selling houses which I have renovated in my life.  The amounts were really quite large, and I was shocked to see the results.

History

I was lucky enough to get onto the property ladder in London in the 1990’s, straight after the big crash and when property dropped to a price that I could afford.  I bought a sweet  flat in Clapham for the incredibly low price of £45K.  It was very tiny, in fact so small that if someone came into the entrance hall they trapped people in the living room as the doors were a bit too close for comfort.  Saying that, the interest rate was 16% so it was the most I have ever paid of a mortgage in my life, and for the smallest one.  Eyes water when I think what my various London properties much be worth now.  But…

Non, je ne regrette rien!

Within weeks off buying my first home I had discovered the joys of decorating and DIY.  I would rush home from work and paint, varnish, strip and build for hours, usually resulting in irate neighbours turning up and asking why I was drilling at 3am.  I became a serial mover, usually lasting in a house for just a year whilst I did a turn around and then moved on.  One friend complained whenever I moved, as I was ruining her address book with crossed out addresses by my name.

It was only having children that slowed me down, my own mother had been a serial house-mover and I hated always having to change schools and make new friends who I knew I would lose in a year or two when we moved again.  So I vowed my own children would have a more constant time at school, and only moved a very few times throughout their education, and in locations so they could stay at the same schools.

But I am rambling…

My point of this blurb is that I added up all of the profit over the years, and I should theoretically be really RICH.  Like close to a million rich.  But I am not-  on each sale the lawyers, surveyors and agents all took a chunk.  Land Registry took some too.  I would then use the remaining profit to upgrade to the next larger house and have some money left over to renovate it.  Then I would sell it straight away for an inflated sum. This all tootled along nicely until I had my first daughter.  I was all set to be a full-time working, part-time property developing, multi-tasking mother.  But I took one look at her when she was born and decided I never wanted us to be parted for more than a minute.  So I sold up, moved out of London and used some of the profit I had made to be able to buy a cheaper house, (it was a beautiful 16th Century barn conversion so I can’t complain at all!).  More importantly it also meant I could stay home for the next few years with her and then her little sister who followed, as there was enough money left over to pay the bills.

If I had stayed in London I would now be in a house worth well over another £1.5 million pounds to add to the previous figures.  In the words of Del Boy I would have been a ‘miwllionaire’.

Am I sad?

No.  The upside to losing my near million, plus the ones I never actually saw, is that I have been able to watch my children grow up PLUS work part-time only when I wanted to.  I think I have been incredibly blessed to have been able to do that.  Now that the children are starting to leave the nest, I am back into renovating houses again.  And I have to get a serious job to help pay for their next steps at University.  But those houses in London decades ago gave me a reward far greater than sitting on an over-inflated,  obscenely priced house in the capital now and having missed out on my girls growing up.

So whenever I am in London and peep into estate agents windows and see earth-shatteringly expensive houses just like the ones I used to own, I just have to remind myself of my beautiful daughters and how I have shared their lives thanks to being on that property ladder as it started growing, so…

Non, je ne regrette rien

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Up All Night -A Domestic Goddess’s Insomnia

Musings

This post has has absolutely nothing to do with interiors, but this is a blog so I am allowed to go ‘off piste’ sometimes.

THE PROBLEM

So…. I have insomnia most nights now, mainly due to thinking… thinking about the house, thinking about the kids/laundry/parent taxi service/exams/what is for supper tomorrow….thinking about things I have to do, what I may have to do and what I have forgotten to do….

insomnia-relief

This is how asleep I would like to be as soon as I get into bed…

Most nights I get into bed ready for sleep and then my mind starts churning so much I can almost hear the cogs turning, it must be due to the quiet in the rest of the house at that time of night.  The next morning I am pie-eyed with exhaustion, and most of the lists and thoughts that came into my head vanish so I cannot even remember what I planned the night before.  So then I spend the day racking my brains, and getting grumpier as I become convinced dementia is setting in early.

the_scream_after_munch_detail

This is sort of how I am feeling when I still cannot get to sleep and it’s 4am….

Someone once told me to visualize an empty beach, and imagine myself looking out to sea onto an empty horizon.  It used to work, but now things interfere with the vision; paint charts appear through the sand, paperwork I need to finish floats in on the tide and then the whole beach vision is gone and the thoughts start swirling en masse.  It is like those scenes in old movies when the dates start flying off a paper calendar in the wind to signify speeding time.  I also apparently fidget, huff, turn a lot and tap my fingers on the pillow when I cannot sleep, which also drives the hubby insane.

I have tried all of the usual suggestions: hot baths before bed, warm milky drinks, caffeine bans, lavender, camomile, herbal teas, no electronic technology in the evening, valerian, magnesium, aromatherapy oils, sleep masks, open windows, and tried to drink myself silly with wine to pass out.  But alas, none seem to work and the last one is really bad with a hangover to boot the following day.

THE SOLUTION

I decided this week to try a new approach.  Armed with a notebook and a pencil, plus a nice candle on my bedside table, I got into bed and tried to fall asleep.  Thoughts and plans and to-do’s started swimming about in my mind, and instead of lying there and pretending I was asleep,  each time a thought came I wrote it down briefly by the dim but not too bright candlight.  I fell asleep pretty fast, (with the notebook ending up in the bed, and thank god I had a pencil and not a pen as my sheets would have been ruined with bizarre markings), probably because I was expecting to stay awake.  In the morning I looked at the notebook and found some quite bizarre notes, bizarre as in I have no idea how one thought led to the next.  Here they are:

  • Fix hole in wall in daughters bedroom and paint it
  • Ring godmother and arrange lunch
  • Do company accounts
  • Where are the tent pegs?
  • Are the children really happy?
  • Why can’t I just let things go to the charity shop?
  • Book vet for cats vaccine boosters
  • Do we have any baking soda left in the larder?
  • Look into ferries for summer trip
  • Must clear the borders in the garden
  • Put Point To Point date in diary and call Claire
  • Am I ringing Mum enough?
  • Actually when is our wedding anniversary?
  • Bathroom

The last one escapes me, I have no idea what it even means.  What bathroom?  Where?  Do I need to fix something in the bathroom?

But I am quite pleased with a lot of the others, as I can actually try and get on with some of them.  So far this has worked for 3 nights in a row, and my daily exhaustion and procrastination, (which I feel is an art form in its own right a lot of the time), have improved.   Time will tell if it really works, and my husband seems OK about waking up with a pencil digging into his nether regions as it sure beats me huffing, tapping, turning and keeping him awake all night.

With that all out of my system, I bid you goodnight x