New old home

Rafael drawing in our new office
Photo by me

What a difference (almost) 4 months makes.

We have been back in our home for 3 months. There are plenty of snags to keep us busy for the next few years, but we are home, and the memory of a summer spent moving every week is getting fuzzier and fuzzier.

In the meantime, I managed to slip down the newly sanded and painted stairs (glad it was me, and not Rafael, and, yes, we do need to put carpet back on, it’s on its way). And we’re down one cat, who we believe has found a new, less-under-construction house.

It was only last week that we managed to get the office ready to be used, as the final moving box was opened and emptied.

We’ve had a few visitors since we moved back in, and it’s truly lovely to be able to offer guests a space of their own.

And it’s great to be home for the winter.


Nearly there

OSB stairs bookcase in our home
Photo by me

It’s about 5 weeks since my last post. It’s incredible how much the house has changed since then: we’re down to the final details (if you ignore the fact we have no windows in the loft), and we have a moving-in date!

We’re hoping to be back in our house in two weeks. The builders will still be there for a few more weeks, on and off — not ideal but we don’t want to keep being nomads any longer.

For the past 3 and a half months we’ve moved house 10 times (8 different houses), and have travelled abroad twice — so I guess we moved 12 times. It sounds crazy, but it’s amazing how quickly we got used to it, even Rafael has adapted really well.

It will be strange to be back home, and I’m sure the dust will annoy me immensely, but right now I can’t wait.



Waiting to see the cats at our under construction home
Photo by me

It’s been 9 weeks since we moved out of our home and the builders “moved in”. Since then, we’ve lived in 7 different homes, 8 if you include my parents’ flat in Portugal. That’s 8 moves.

It’s incredible how something you dreaded can quickly become your new normal: I now find it normal to move home every weekend.

We’ve managed to reduce the amount of stuff we lug around with us to one carload, including the three of us and Rafael’s buggy, with some space to spare.

Rafael gets a bit confused sometimes, but he knows his house is “a little bit dirty” and we can’t go back just yet. He’s visited and seems excited about the works.

Hopefully, we’re just a little over the half way point. I can’t wait to be back home, with my things, but I’m so used to being on the move and having to adapt to other people’s homes now that it feels weird to even think about it.

Living Money

Home renovation

My house being gutted
Photo by me

Home ownership is a very grown-up thing, but renovating your house – the kind of renovation that involves planning permission, structural engineers, architects, skips, and steel – feels a lot scarier.

We’ve just started what we hope will be a 3.5-month renovation that involves knocking down walls and lots of structural work across all three floors of our house.

It will be worth it, people tell us. I really do hope so.



Photo by George Redgrave
Photo by George Redgrave

I’ve just entered the seventh month of maternity leave. The London I have experienced since last summer has been at most times confined to Waltham Forest: Leyton, Leytonstone, Walthamstow. I have travelled farther, but it’s certainly easier to go places that mean just a quick run back home if accidents happen. I’m sure plenty of people don’t think London is the best place to raise children, but I’m not planning on moving to the country just yet. I’m looking forward to showing my son what wonderful city he was born in.



Photo by Ewan Munro

For the first time since I moved to London in 2008, I am not living somewhere along the Piccadilly line, or in North London: Leyton, East and in the Central line, is the place I now call home.

We’d heard houses here were still affordable, so I decided to explore during one of my work visits, about a year ago. I was prepared for the worst.

A few seconds after exiting the Underground station, however, I knew this was it: the high street seemed pretty and busy, most streets off it were lined with Victorian houses, my mobile phone didn’t try to go into roaming mode (like when I took the Overground towards Crystal Palace) and I knew that houses were indeed cheaper.

The fact that less than 10 minutes into my exploration I had walked past a Portuguese café and a Portuguese restaurant certainly helped too.

So here I am now. I am even slowly starting to forget which—and in which order—stations there are in the Piccadilly line.



Gherkin tilt-shift
Photo by Robin Hawkes

After almost 2 years, I returned. The deal was to see if Belfast worked, and, for several reasons, it didn’t.

Coming back involved three cab rides, a ferry and two trains with two scared cats in tow; a completion on a house just seconds before closing time on a Friday and after several headaches that come with buying your own house; but now that’s all done and it was all worth it.

This was 7 months ago, and I have avoided leaving since. London is just as magnificent as it was before, perhaps more, and I am happy to be a part of it again.

Living Mood

My one and only

We first met when I was 14 and I fell in love. I never forgot her; it was too early for me but for 12 years I lived in the knowledge we’d be together some day. And we did. And it was amazing. Waking up every day was spectacular because I knew she was mine; we had the best of times, and when I was less than happy she was always there to make me smile.

But things change, life moves on, and I left her, safe in the knowledge I could still see her once in a while. I wasn’t going far.

I can’t tell if those once in a while visits are making me happier or sadder. But I can tell that sometimes you just find the one and nothing else will ever compare.

I miss London.



The first time I visited London, in 1997, I fell in love. Until I moved from Portugal in 2008, I dreamed of how wonderful it would be to walk to work every day by the Thames, of not being a tourist in London, of feeling it was my city. And it never disappointed me. Walking by the Thames was in reality taking the rush hour tube to Hampstead, then Soho, then Millbank, but that didn’t matter.

For me, London is the best, most beautiful city in the world. Just walking along the street makes me happy like I don’t believe any other city will ever do. But the plan was always to move on, to see other places. Belfast is not Paris, but I believe what awaits me there is great in its own way.

My first return is scheduled for 6 weeks from today, so I can’t really feel like I’m saying goodbye. London will now always be mine and in my heart.

Living Travel


Photo by me

I have lived at three different addresses since I moved to London. In all three occasions, the nearest Underground station was on the Piccadilly line, each time a little further north than the previous. Three years later, I finally went to the northernmost end of the line.

It seemed like a lovely place, Cockfosters and its surroundings (I could see it since the trains run overground from Southgate). The station is nice too, still keeping a vintage feel. Here’s a quote from “What’s in a name?”, by Cyril M. Harris, a book I have about the names of London’s Underground stations:

“It is suggested that this [a house] was the residence of the chief forester (or cock forester), hence this rather unusual name which, until the arrival of the tube, was sometimes spelt as two words. Prior to the station’s opening the name of Trent Park was considered, but it opened as Cockfosters on 31 July 1933.”