Am I a grown-up now? A sneaky peak at my new house

Merry Christmas everyone!

I hope you’re all enjoying a fabulous Christmas break and you’re all sporting pudgy Christmas bellies filled with mince pies and far too many turkey sandwiches.

Today’s post is a little update and some very scary news…

I think I might be an adult.

I know I’m 27 years old so, technically, I’ve been an adult for a very long time. But I haven’t really been an adult.

I still eat ReadyBrek with Nutella for breakfast and I often watch cartoons over the news. I can’t cook and I feel like a fraud when I have ‘grown-up conversations’ about bills and council tax and, you know, grown-up stuff.

The reason for my sudden grown-up realization is because I have a house! I’m a home owner! I have keys and everything!

I’ve been hinting at this whole house buying malarkey for a REALLY long time now. The deal has been on and off so many times in the past six months that I began to wonder if it would ever go ahead. There was even a point where I didn’t care if it went ahead, I just didn’t want to ever speak to another solicitor or estate agent again in my life.

I collected the keys just over a week ago and merrily sped to my new house. The garden was so overgrown that I couldn’t even park on the drive so I abandoned my car outside and clambered through the bushes and brambles. I crept into the house like an intruder, quietly walking from room to room as I opened cupboards and draws in the hope of finding a forgotten treasure.

The house has been empty for more than three years and has had no maintenance done to it for what looks like more than 50 years. So when I say it’s in need of a little TLC, I’m being very kind. The place is a wreck.

I initially came across the house on Right Move early this summer. We’d been looking for a house for a few months but anyone who has been through this process will know it’s a slow and painful experience.

As soon as I saw the house online I squealed so loud that Sam came running into the room to check I was still alive.

‘I’ve found it,’ I told Sam with dead-set certainty. ‘I’ve found the house.’

As soon as I saw it I knew it was the one. It sounds like a corny love story but I genuinely believe there’s more to buying a house then just ticking the right boxes. There’s a certain feeling that comes with a house and it’s something you can’t explain or even understand, you just know when you have it and when you don’t.

After months and months and months – which is actually only 6 months but feels like an eternity – we finally own it.

There was a time when we were going to give up on the house. It’s a lot of money, a lot of work, a lot of time and a lot of effort. There are cheaper, easier houses out there. Houses we could move straight into and set up home in time for our new baby.

That would be the easy option. But I’ve never been the kind of person to take the easy option.

Who wants a cookie cutter house when you can have a riverside cottage?

Admittedly it’s a riverside cottage with no windows, kitchen, bathroom, plaster or water but one day it’s going to be the perfect home.

One day in the very distant future…



^Buying a house next to a river comes with its pros and cons. Pro: This is at the bottom of our garden. Con: It’s been known to flood from time to time. But we won’t talk about that.

As I’m nearly 7 months pregnant (oh yes, that’s another reason why I’m feeling a bit like a grown up) so I can’t do a lot in terms of house renovation. I’m cutting back brambles in the garden and sitting by the river as I dream up plans for the future.

Here’s a sneaky peak at what the house is looking like so far. You’ll need to use your imagination!

House renovation Project | The Travel Hack at home

House renovation Project | The Travel Hack at home

House renovation Project | The Travel Hack at home

House renovation Project | The Travel Hack at home

House renovation Project | The Travel Hack at homeThe project I’m most excited about is in these final 4 photos. This is a little outhouse we hadn’t previously seen before we bought the house. It was surrounded by a fortress of brambles and so full of junk we couldn’t get inside. It’s turned out to be a little gem and will eventually be my blogging office. It’s surprisingly big and Sam will be inserting a log-burner and a new bathroom and converting this old workbench into a desk.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to post another update in a few months when it has actual walls and windows that won’t fall out at any second.



Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a full time blogger and has travelled around the world in search of affordable luxury travel experiences.Monica lives in Wales with her growing family and now also blogs about travelling with young children!

SHOWHIDE Comments (43)
  1. How exciting! Can’t believe how much you’ve already done so far considering it’s Christmas! I definitely agree that you get a “feeling” when you find a place that is perfect for you. And I would say that you’re almost certainly a grown up now – although I think the baby had cemented that title already 😉

    1. Yea, Christmas hasn’t really happened for us this year. We had Christmas Day and Boxing Day off and then it was straight back to it! It feels like we make so much progress every day. I think it will be like this for a few weeks before the fiddly jobs begin. At the minute it’s all smashing walls down and ripping down ceilings.

  2. I was 23 when I bought my house, but I didn’t felt like an adult hahahahahaahh actually my parents told me I was rushing up. At the time I bought one which had already been restored as I didn’t had any time nor money to restore one for myself. I do see the same as you, a great potential in your house, just the light alone is enough to make me smile. Not sure if I would be brave enough for a project like that here in London now 🙂
    All the best

  3. Congratulations ! Huge achievement and a great project for the future. I can definitely see it becoming a great house for you and your family.
    Must say that the biggest shock to your system and what will really make you an adult is once your baby is here. Lots and lots of adventures ahead.
    Wishing you the best for a great 2015 year.

  4. Holy smokes! You really took on quite the little project there! Well I have no doubt that you’ll be able to turn it into something amazing! It’s great that you’ll have your own little office, too! I’m 27 and nowhere near as grownup as you, you homeowners with a baby on the way! So at least take some solace in the fact that some of us are far, far behind you… 🙂 Happy New Year Monica!

  5. I can totally see it, Monica! It’s going to be beautiful. That setting is just perfect for writing, or creating anything really. I’m so excited for you – I hope you’ll share lots of updates along the way. I love seeing home transformations and I can tell yours is going to be a good one!

  6. Ooh it looks great! Congratulations! I’d love to renovate my first house, so can’t wait to see how you get on! Looking forward to seeing the progress x

  7. Exciting isn’t it? I’m 27 too and bought earlier this year. Ours is a fixer upper too but no where near as much as yours. Good luck 🙂

  8. Aw, it is going to be so incredibly gorgeous – I can already see it! I’m always so envious of the buildings in Europe that truly have vintage charm, compared to here in Southern California where “old” means built in 1970 – ha! How long before you move in? Congratulations on being a home owner and can’t wait to hear more about the progress!

    1. Thanks Jessica. Vintage charm is lovely but I’d take Californian sunshine any day!
      My boyfriend is telling me we should be in by July. Baby is due in March so I’m still optimistically hoping we’ll be able to meet in the middle and be in sooner.
      Like all renovation projects, we keep discovering new things that need to be done before we can move onto the next step but we’ve basically taken the entire building back to bare brick now so surely nothing else can go wrong! *tightly crosses fingers.

  9. Congratulations! We bought a house this year too – we thought it was much more ‘finished’ than it was, but it turned out to need quite a bit of work. Still, we’ve never once regretted our choice; the house is now truly becoming our home and it’s such an amazing feeling – very grown up! Even needing some work, yours looks like it will be really special.

  10. This is great!! I think that in most people’s lives things just start falling into place (though, it’s a lot of work and “falling” isn’t the right term). This must be yours. How exciting! A baby and a house. I would definitely say you are a grown-up! But the more years I have under my belt the more I realize that I’m not sure how grown up grown-ups really are. 🙂 Best wishes on your renovations!!

  11. Very exciting!!!! It’ll be lots of hard work but definitely worth it to be able to make something your very own. I am 27 too but don’t see myself as an adult at all…in fact I am pretty sure I am regressing the older I get!!!

  12. Exciting! Love the idea of a riverside cottage – and the blog office. You’re definitely managing to feel grown-up well ahead of me. I think I finally felt I was getting there when my daughter was born… so, er, 36.

  13. Wow, what an amazing project – and a lot of work!! We bought an old cottage but at least it had, you know… structural integrity 🙂 (And for about the first year, I was sure, whenever I answered the door, that someone would ask if my parents were in. I still don’t really feel like I’m grown-up enough to own a house, and we’ve been here eight years!)

  14. Oh wow, congrats lovely1 I think yes, this qualifies you as a grow up. All the best with the refurb – as the daughter of a property developer, I hope I never see a Paslode or plasterboard ever again!

  15. The house definitely has a potential! I’ve always dreamed about living in a cottage by the river.. I’m sure you will make it cosy and dreamy! Thanks for sharing.

  16. I feel heart palpitations and stress looking at a renovation, but how exciting when you see the after photos!! I’m so jealous though, I have always wanted a home in England in the country. Can I live in your garden? lol… I kid I kid… Your home is absolutely lovely, I just saw your blog on your attic bedroom as well. So nice!

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