Moving In

Welcome to your Tuesday afternoon post, readers, with me at the helm.  I, who now resides in a different postcode and in an address Rach M  told me was “straight out of a storybook”.

Mr K and I moved in to our new home last week.  It’s testament to how beautiful the house is that I have sailed through the last (significantly stressful) week mostly unaffected by the floorers and the painters and the movers and the locksmiths and the things that don’t work and the lack of hot water and the never-ending sawdust.


Every morning  I am the first one downstairs and I walk into our kitchen and raise the blinds and open the patio doors and step out into the sunshine and think how much I love being on holiday and then I realise that no, this is my life now.

I know the sunny weather has helped tremendously.  It’s hard to feel stressed when foreman Dave is getting discernibly annoyed at your indecisiveness over where to put the wardrobe when you can go and sit on the decking and drink tea and let your mind wander and hear birds.  Not people screaming at each other, or cars backfiring, or kids using bolt cutters, but actual wildlife.

A couple of times I’ve fallen asleep on the grass in the sun, with my arm across my face and woken up and the house is still there, solid, inviting, waiting for me to go in and unpack some more, to bring it bit by bit back to life.


On the day we moved in, a card fell through our letterbox.  It was in a red envelope and on the front, in beautiful, looping handwriting, it said “Welcome to Highams Park”.  Inside was a card wishing us many years of happiness in our new home, and it was from Dorothy from no. 27  around the corner.  My heart melted.  Other neighbours have dropped by, with greetings and well wishes and welcomes, offers of milk and power tools and help.  I know this is probably business as usual for many of you, but in nearly eight years of living in London, I’ve never had this.  No-one has cared when I’ve moved anywhere.  I’ve never known my neighbours, their names, their stories.  I didn’t even know I wanted it, until it happened here.


I have got to know floorer Dave and painter Del pretty well, from having spent days together.  We get on; they both make me laugh and are good at what they do, and enjoy explaining their work to me and answer my many questions.  We have tea outside when they’re on a break.  I get them sandwiches from down the road and we talk about their lives.

“It’s impossible to have a bad thought in this garden” said Del.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, you sit here, and it’s so peaceful, and your mind wanders, and you forget that your dad’s hitting your mum downstairs, and your brother’s off selling drugs and you’re failing at school”

I didn’t say anything.  Anything I had said would have sounded trite.  So we drank some more tea.

“You’d better love this house.  It deserves to be loved”, said Dave.

“I do.  We’re lucky.  I know it”.



 I know I could have made this prettier with Instagram.  But I don’t care.  This is cheesecake at its most unapologetic.

It was Mr K’s birthday last week.    We agreed that our priority at the moment is moving, so no presents, but you can’t let a birthday go without some love.  As Esme so wisely said, food is love.  So I made Mr K the mother of all birthday cakes, from Tea With Bea.  German chocolate cheesecake, chosen by Mr K one night prior to the  move when he was particularly stressed (I did the only thing I know how to do in such situations, which is put a cookbook in front of him and distract him with pictures of cake).  This cheesecake has a topping of dulce de leche, toasted coconut and pecans and fudge icing.  It is made in no less than THREE  STAGES.  You know you love someone when you have to unpack five boxes to find the sodding balloon whisk because if you don’t find it in time, their fudge icing will go dull and grainy.


I had a low moment on his birthday.  I had made Mahj’s steak and stilton salad (she wrote about it on Florence Finds) and the steak was cooked and the salad was tossed and the wine glasses were out and the wine was chilled and the terrace was ready, and the night was balmy and I called to everyone that food was ready, let’s go.   I had been looking forward to this moment, our first cooked meal in the house, for weeks and weeks.   I’d wanted to toast what we’d achieved, all those months of hard saving and worrying and all the stresses and strains of moving, balancing it with full-time jobs and the blog and everything else.   I was hot, I was sweaty, I was so, so dusty.  And I looked around for the corkscrew.

There was no corkscrew.

I hunted for the corkscrew.  I had seen it.  In a box.  I had.  Or had I?  Had I only dreamt the corkscrew?  Was the corkscrew a mirage?  All I could see was this chilled bottle of wine,  condensation on the outside of the bottle, the light hitting the liquid and making it glow a pale yellow, and the wine on the INSIDE of the bottle.

Mr K recognises the look I get in my eyes when I’m on the edge.  “There’s a screw top bottle over there, at the back of that cupboard” he said.

Red goes better with steak, anyway.

The meal was perfect.  We finished with cheesecake.  Micol, Mr K’s best woman, led our toast.  “May not finding the corkscrew be the worst thing that ever happens to you in this house”,  she said.

I hope she’s right.

Categories: Life Experience
26 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted May 29, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink


    (That is all. After yesterdays epic comment I’m keeping it short from now on)

    • Posted May 29, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      No, Resident Keeno, you can’t do that! You HAVE to write long comments… it’s what we expect now!

      • Posted May 29, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        oh, OK then… if I must… I’m nursing a very itchy Chicken Pox boy over here- I blame yesterday’s ridiculous length on not speaking to another adult for over 48 hours!

  2. Posted May 29, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Happy housewarming Anna K.

    *buries face in cheesecake*


  3. Posted May 29, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    The corkscrew story genuinely made me laugh out loud.

    Brilliant! Hooray! You’re in your new home and it’s LUSH!

    More stories from the house of dreams soon please.

  4. Posted May 29, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    I was going to comment with all sorts of intelligent thoughts (no, really) but actually all I can think now is OHMYSHITTINGGODINEEDTHATCHEESCAKEINMYFACE.

    K x

    • Posted May 29, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Next Any Other Party, I’m making the cheesecake.

      And it will have Katielase and Pensky flags in it, reserving your slices.

    • Posted May 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink


    • Posted May 29, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      (and I wanted to write more than haha in response to that, Katielase, but I was laughing too much!)

  5. Posted May 29, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Gorgeous writing Anna. Nearly one year on our home still excites us. Enjoy exploring each season in your home.

  6. Steff
    Posted May 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Just ridiculously exciting, I want to be on the deck drinking wine and eating cheesecake in the sunshine. In my head you now live in a Gingerbread house Anna, with trees made of liquorice and little jelly tot flowers.

    And now I’m hungry…

    Wishing you lots of years of happiness in your new home with your neighbours :)


  7. Vivienne
    Posted May 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful Anna – and just what I needed to read as I’m eye high in boxes and years worth of accumulated tat that I need to sort before we move to our ‘forever home’ on Friday. The stress will all be worth it – and your house sounds like it will be a place where very special memories are made


  8. Posted May 29, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    This post has evoked many a wistful feeling and made me so much more motivated to paint our spare room this evening so that we are one stage closer to getting our flat on the market and buying an actual house.
    I am, however, distraught that I have yet to see a picture of the treehouse.

  9. Posted May 29, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Beautifully written Anna. I’m so excited for you, and I like that there are moments of ‘real’ in this.

    The ‘sodding balloon whisk’ for one… sounds like something I would do. Because you needed something esle to do this week, right?! ;)

    • Steff
      Posted May 29, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Am I the only person who doesn’t know what a balloon whisk is?? Domestic Goddess I will never be…

  10. Mrs Jones
    Posted May 29, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Lucky, lucky you! Enjoy every moment and I hope you have many more happy times.

  11. Mahj
    Posted May 29, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Hee, am loving the man salad shout-out in this truly wonderful post!
    This has made me want to go straight home and stroke the walls (with love for my home you understand and not because I’m odd!).

    Happy New Home Mr & Mrs K!

    Ps. Cheesecake looks EPIC!

  12. Kate S
    Posted May 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    I have one overriding emotion while reading this post. What is it..? Oh yes… ENVY.

  13. Posted May 29, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    I’m definitely having an AOW terrace get-together. You lot have put up with my desperate tweets unrewarded for far too long.
    Amy, I fear the treehouse is more a house on stilts bhind a mini tree. But it’s still amazing.

    • Posted May 29, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      In what way is a house on stilts LESS cool?

  14. Posted May 29, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Awww I’m so jealous. I want a house instead of a top floor flat on a busy road! Small matter of savings is all that stands in my way :) I hope we can find somewhere we love as much as you love yours though, sounds blissful!

  15. Posted May 29, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Oh Anna, you make me so excited for the day that we finally buy a house all of our own! Circumstances always seem to conspire against us, but reading this makes me realise that it will so be worth the wait. I’m so thrilled that you have a home that you are clearly in love with!

    I’m also pretty certain that if you make another of those cheesecakes for a meet up that it will end in a fight for the last slice. Best you make two (or even better three…). We don’t want to end up in A&E and have to explain how we got our injuries!


  16. Anne
    Posted May 29, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Oh, just me then who doesn’t share that dream? Are there no other nomads out there? House sounds great and glad the move went well, there’s also no secret jealousy or resentment for not having the money or job to do that myself, but I honestly also don’t want to. Not right now, anyway. Ask me again tomorrow perhaps. Someone had to do the whole ‘guys, stop with the peer pressure that settling down is what we should all secretly want and it’s only your fault if you don’t hate yourself enough to do something about it’… Ahem.

  17. Posted May 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Any excuse to quote Wendy Cope:


    The day he moved out was terrible -
    That evening she went through hell.
    His absence wasn’t a problem
    But the corkscrew had gone as well.

    Happy housewarming, Mrs K x

  18. Posted May 29, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    I’m SO behind on commenting, I need to go say Hi to Aisling too!! Happy New Home!!! I love that you are clearly so excited about it and it’s easy to see it was worth all the ‘will it, won’t it be ours’ heartache! Glad you are settling in and hope you’ve found the corkscrew now! :) x

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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