New Home: Dreams Vs Reality

2018 has not started off on a good note for me – I’ve been quite sick and what’s even more concerning is that nobody could figure out what’s wrong with me and I felt like I was falling into a deep dark hole… When you’re unwell it gets you thinking about your life, future (if any) and many other things you haven’t considered before.

I have never ever wanted to live in Ireland forever, it was never a part of the plan. The recent events made me rethink this idea as my family and friends brought me so much comfort and support. It got me thinking: Will I have this abroad? What will happen if I get sick again? Will I make new friends? (See what your mind can do to you?). During my time off work I went to visit a friend who recently bought a house and I FELL IN LOVE.

The house was absolutely stunning and one of a kind. All white everything with grey furnishings – Pinterest Worthy! That day it got me thinking that I cannot wait to have my own home. One that I will design myself and one that I will be able to call my OWN. This is how an inspiration for this post was born.

Getting Ready

Once you start thinking about a possibility or buying/building a house you need to have the $$$. It takes time to save for the deposit and show the banks that you can save and manage the repayments. Hence why you need to be in a decent job like right now. If you’re not, then it’s time to start hunting for one – better pay, benefits, less travel expenses – believe me I have gone through this recently and it will be so worth it. In the current state the banks will lend you 3.5 times of your joint gross income, i.e. if you both earn 30 thousand a year, then your joint gross income is 60 thousand; this means in theory you should be entitled to borrow 210 thousand provided all of your affairs are in order.

You need to think ahead, don’t leave these things to last-minute as this might set you back 2 or 3 years.

Expectations Vs. Reality

You need to really do a personality check between yourself & your husband/partner. Can you save X Amount? What area would you like to live in? Can you afford to live there? Are there schools nearby? Is is accessible for work? All of those things need to be considered. The amount you’re able to borrow might not be enough for your current living area and that’s where reality check comes in. You might need to look further out.

Another thing to decide – are you going to buy or build? If buy – new or “2nd hand”. If build – do you have the patience to do that? Can you buy a land in the desirable area? Does the land come with planning permission? How to source good suppliers? All of those things must be considered before you even step your foot in the bank asking them for money. Keep in mind that in Dublin area there is next to no land available and to buy a land somewhere in the country you must show family ties to the area, you can’t just simply want to buy anywhere you like – yes this makes things a little more complicated.

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Ireland is known to be one of the most expensive places to live. Here’s an example:

Ireland – Kildare Area

3 Bedroom House (1 En-suite, 1 “double” & 1 Single (Box) Room) 2.5 Bath, living room, kitchen located in an estate with a small garden & neighbors all around is approx. €300.000-€325.000 minimum.

USA – Upstate New York

3 Bedroom House (3 Doubles – 1 of them En-suite) 2.5 Bath, Living Room x 2, kitchen overlooking a lake, 2 acres of land, plenty of privacy is approx. $175.000.

Can you see the difference?

Now, do not get discouraged when you see the prices, again be realistic with how much you can comfortably pay off; how much you’re willing to pay monthly – remember you will most likely be paying this for the rest of your life, so you want to pick a sum that will allow you to still live comfortably, enjoy yourself – have a nice car and go on a holiday.

What I can suggest is, get the basics in – Kitchen, Bathroom and 1 bedroom and you’re good to move in and stop paying rent elsewhere. The sooner you are in your own property the quicker you will start saving! It’s your house, therefore you can wait to have the rest finished! Heck, that’s what I’ll do. Paying rent to someone else’s bank account is dead money!

Pinterest

Pinterest is like that better looking sister/friend you have. You look in the mirror and think “Gosh, I look quite well today!” and then you see your friend and all of a sudden you feel rubbish! By all means, take as much inspiration from Pinterest as you wish – just don’t let it bring you down and make you feel bad about your current situation. Pinterest only shows the IDEAL world – that’s an important thing to remember.

Remember, at the end of the day Pinterest is a hugely successful visual marketing tool, where people “Pin Their Dreams Away”. You can have a house of your dreams, just take Pinterest with a pinch of salt, as most of the beautiful imagery you see there, took hours to put together just for 1 photograph.

Shop Around

Once you are happily in your new home or if you’re at a “nesting” stage of buying few home-ware bits here and there for your new home take a look around. There are plenty of affordable chic home-ware shops in your area and you don’t need to spend a fortune. For starters Primark are bringing out the best styling products for your home, from copper coated goods to the trendy marble cushions and prints. Another great however underrated place to go is your local Tescos. They really upped their game in the home section. They have beautiful wall hangings, clocks and prints. Their fluffy throws are to die for. If you are looking for more unique, once off pieces then TK Maxx is the place to go; it mightn’t be as affordable as Tescos and Primark however its worth having something different to everyone else.

For my Polish followers I can suggest two amazing home-ware shops which are JYSK and PEPCO as we don’t have the likes of Primark these two shops really make up for the lack of it and they’re super affordable.

Lastly, don’t be put off by going into your local charity shop. Recently, I went in with a donation and whilst I was there I just had a quick scan of the shop and oh my! Some of the things were like 50c; where would you be going with that! Honestly, these are underrated and there’s absolutely no shame in buying from your local charity shop – and remember you’re doing the world of good, by supporting these shops. If you follow Dainty Dress Dairies you will know that when she first bought her house she bought majority of her things second-hand or got it for free from Adverts.ie etc and look how beautifully her home turned out.

Images: Dainty Dress Diaries Instagram

I hope you enjoyed some of the tips I have shared with you today. The photography I used in this post is for visual purposes only from Pinterest and some of my lovely fellow bloggers via Instagram. If there’s one thing you can take out of this post is, don’t be hung up on the beautiful world of visual marketing we seem to live in via Pinterest and Instagram and enjoy what you have and can afford. Don’t ever overspend.

 

Joanna x

 

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Baby Shower: How to Make a Nappy Cake

This year I was in charge of organizing a baby shower for my sister. We already had a baby shower for her few years back, it was held in her house with snacks, games and people over however this time around with a very energetic 5 year old running around I decided we will organise it somewhere outside.

I chose a private function room with lunch in a local hotel in which I used to work in (keep those connections strong 🙂 ) and with that you obviously cannot bring your own food. I wanted to still mark this occasion as a celebration and I thought what better way than with a nappy cake!

I searched many YouTube videos in order to come up with the most straight forward way to create a nappy cake with items that I already had in my house. I love the idea of a good DIY but I hate to see DYIs involving various items which you might not even have in the house or use ever again after that – the less waste the better.

What will you need?

  • Nappies – I bought Newborn Nappies up to 5Kg – For this project I used 24 Nappies
  • Cake Stand – I used a 10″ Cake Stand
  • Super Glue – I used Gorilla Glue
  • Kitchen Towel Roll
  • Elastic Bands
  • Decorative Ribbon
  • Cake Topper – I used Faux Flowers as I had some left over from a previous DIY however it can be anything you like
  • Scissors

Nappy Cake Essentials

Method

** The Complete Method in Photographs is available below **

  • Generously apply the glue on one end of the kitchen roll, measure out where the middle of the cake stand would be and stick the roll firmly onto it.
  • While the glue is drying for few minutes, take 6 nappies and roll them up. Once you roll each nappy secure it in place with a rubber band about 1/4 from the top to stop it from unfolding.  Some nappies have embellishments on them – if you want the cake to match ensure you roll each nappy on the same side. Some nappies are all one color and it will not make a difference.
  • For the first “tier” of the cake you will need 6 nappies. Line them up along the kitchen roll on the cake stand.
  • Once they are all in place, take a rubber band and place it over the 6 lined nappies keeping them all secure in one place.
  • Slowly remove the small rubber bands from each individual nappy you rolled.
  • Roll additional 12 Nappies, secure them with small rubber bands 1/4 from the top & lined them along the 6 nappies that are already securely standing on the cake stand.
  • Once you have lined up the nappies, again take a large rubber band and secure them all in place. Remove the remaining rubber bands from individual nappies. This marks the end of tier one.
  • Tier 2 is essentially tier one using the last 6 nappies.
  • Once both tiers are finished, take your decorative ribbon and line it against the large rubber bands that hold all nappies together and tie it (Essentially covering them up). This is where you can get as creative as you like, have as many colors as you like. Do this for both tiers.
  • Last but not least, place your cake topper on the top. HINT: Try to use something that can go into the kitchen roll and not actually fall into it.

** Cake Stand is available from Dealz for €1.50; Pack of 44 Nappies is available from Aldi for €2.50 **

Nappy Cake

Nappy Cake

How to make a nappy cake
How to make a nappy cake

How to make a nappy cake

How to make a nappy cake

How to make a nappy cake

How to make a nappy cake

The Finished Product

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I hope you enjoyed this DIY Nappy Cake Post. I’d love to know if DIY is something you’d like to see more of, as I have many projects coming up.

Joanna x

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How To Make a Nappy Cake

Morocco: A Week in Agadir

This year was the first time I traveled to Africa in my life and oh my what an experience it was. It’s definitely a culture shock, the standard of living is much different and the climate is much more humid than what I had been used to.

Ever thought about travelling to Morocca? Here’s everything you need to know whilst travelling to Agadir, a holiday city in the south-west Morocco.

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Currency

Currency in Morocco is Moroccan Dirham. You can pre-order it in most major banks in Ireland, I bank with Ulster Bank and I was able to pre-order enough to last me for first few days.

1 Euro = 11 Dirhams (Approximately)

Travel

We booked our flight with Air Arabia which we never used before and I have to say it is a very decent airline (plenty of leg room) 😉 Return flights cost us €200.00 per person and we traveled June/July of this year. We flew directly to Agadir from Dublin.

Visa

When you land and make your way to the passport control, nobody will tell you but you will need to fill out a form on which you state all your personal details, where you will be staying, how long, and what is the purpose of your stay. Without this document you will not be admitted to the country.

** TIP ** Bring a pen with you as the airport does not provide you with pens to complete this form.

On a separate note, brace yourself as the passport control is extremely thorough and we queued for approximately 2 hours.

Accommodation

Book only 5 Star accommodation. This is where I made a huge mistake and booked a “4 Star” Hotel which turned out to be a ruin, completely horrible and to this day I am fighting to get some money back. (I will not be naming this property, however trust me on this).

Who is Agadir for?

Funnily enough this is a place for 2 types of travelers:

  • Those who love to be “out-out”: Agadir has one of the most exclusive night clubs I have ever seen and there’s one for every day of the week. They are all high end, exclusive with vast amount of security outside. You are guaranteed a good party till early hours of the night.
  • Those who love peace & quiet: Agadir is a very very quiet town in general, with few cafes, a boardwalk, a beach and a little square where the locals have their summer fests and concerts.

** TIP ** You will not find your usual “strip” in Agadir, as you would in Spain or Portugal. Most places (bars/cafes) don’t serve alcohol, you will not find live music or comedy shows here at night. If a long strip of bars is what you’re after this is not for you.

Food & Drink

La Grilladiere – Lovely restaurant, with great food somewhat out of the way from the center. Here you will not be served alcohol, however food is tasty, you get exactly what’s promised on the menu and it’s affordable.

Le Maxwell – Here, you will get one of the loveliest Chicken Tagines I have tasted. Tagine is an original Moroccan dish and the way spices go through the meat throughout the cooking process is heaven! This is a great place for couples, as you will be served alcohol and they show all major sporting events on their TVs (I’d know being a footballer’s wife) 😉

Shopping

Agadir offers plenty of local shops in the center, and if you are a fan of replicas of high end brands this is the place to go.

Food and drink is extremely cheap in the shops, however please note – you will not be able to purchase alcohol in the shop before 12.30pm or after 8.00pm daily.

Generally I try to bring some meaningful souvenirs back home, for when we finally get our own place we will be able to display it. This time my husband came across an incredible street seller named Elmghari who painted views of local beach, local area and Arabic accents. I fell in love with the below painting, however I knew there’d be no way I could transport it home safely, now I am totally regretting it. Instead we purchased, the painting of the beach below and within the price he included both mine & hubbys name in Arabic as a personal touch. If you are in Agadir, definitely look him up – he’s lovely, extremely affordable and I love the idea of supporting local people who love what they do.

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Excursions

Marrakech: 1 Day trip to Marrakech costs approximately 400 Dirhams (depending where you go to book) and it lasts a whole day. Don’t be fooled when they tell you it’s 1.5 hours. It is a 3 hour ride one way to Marakkech. You have a guided tour of the Palace and you are given approximately 2 hours free time to eat and ramble around the Marrakech Market. Marakkech is nothing like I’ve ever seen before – full of beggars, snakes, monkeys, street performers. It’s quite overwhelming actually. Personally I wouldn’t book Marakkech as a day trip – if you’re comfortable renting a car I’d do that instead and then you decide how you spend your own time. We found sightseeing in 43 Degree Heat a little too much.

Paradise Valley: Half Day Trip costs approximately 250 Dirhams. It’s a 1.5 hours drive (1 way) from Agadir to a valley where then you will hike for 30 minutes only to discover the most amazing oasis I’ve ever seen in my life. There you can avail of the “fish spa” au naturelle of course, you can jump of the cliffs into the valley and enjoy the waterfall. It’s truly the most magical place, the only pity it’s so commercialized due to volume of tourists its slowly losing it’s charm. Definitely wear comfortable shoes as the hike is 30 minutes one way up a hill.

Unfortunately I cannot recall what company we went with but please take everything they tell you with a pinch of salt, as they will tell you what you want to hear just to make money. Sad but it’s true. One thing for sure, I would not travel to Morocco as a single woman, I wouldn’t feel safe.

Locally in Agadir town there’s a huge hill from which you can see the coast, the whole town and the view is breathtaking. It’s quite a hike, however we have rented a taxi for 120 Dirhams and he waited on the top for us while we looked around and then brought us back to the hotel.

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Lastly, the town has an enormous Souk (Market) and you will literally find anything you want there. From food, fruit to livestock, home goods – cleaning products, to curtains, carpets, clothing, washing machines. You name it it’s there! It’s a great opportunity for some authentic photographs. You will need some patience as the vendors will try to get you to buy their things immediately as you walk in.

I hope you found this post useful and it gives you a clearer picture of Agadir, if you are thinking of going.  As always I will answer any further questions you might have in the comments below.

Joanna

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