One Sunday lunchtime during our holiday in South Africa, we jumped in our little car and headed from Cape Town to Kleinmond
We had family there to visit and it’s just under 2 hours out of Cape Town. Cape Town to Kleinmond such a beautiful drive. We drove the main roads out of the city and down the N1. Once you get out of the city, it’s lush greenery and mountains. Then a short drive from the main road, you arrive at this beautiful little beach town.
Kleinmond is a small town in the Overborg region of the Western Cape
According to Tripadvisor, there’s plenty to do in Kleinmond. I wish we’d had more time to check out the forest adventures or the penguin colony in Betty’s Bay! We’d come to see my father-in-law and wanted to spend as much time with him as possible.
As it was, we only had an afternoon so we settled for a walk on the beach coastal walkway. It has some rugged terrain but it’s got a lovely wooden path built into it. The rock formations, the way the waves fall, it’s amazing. I grew up at the seaside with some choppy sea but I’ve never seen such beautiful waves as I did that day.
We strolled from the house down through the walkway and up to the cove. I could have hiked for hours through miles of rugged terrain but we were limited on time, and hungry!
Here there’s a fair few restaurants and shops, mostly aimed at day trippers.
Cape Town has such a variety of great restaurants but Kleinmond has a lot to offer for such a small town!
Some are super fancy, but most have a really chilled beach vibe, which goes well with the surfing clientele that come throughout the years to ride the sick waves.
My father in law has his favourite restaurant there and is a regular face. Kabel Joe’s is right on the peak with a great view. It has outdoor seating and a top deck for those warm days. Despite them preparing to close, they kindly set us up a table and agreed to feed us weary travellers. As with many restaurants on the sea, their focus is on sea food. Their food was completely on point. Huge portions, well priced. Perfectly seasoned, beautifully presented. We couldn’t have asked for more! I had the coconut mussel pot with some fresh hot bread and it was delicious.
If we come back to South Africa in the next few years, I fully intend to come back in Winter. This is whale season! Kleinmond is a prominent location on the whale route and those beautiful beasts can be spotted lazing and playing around near the coasts.
We left to head back to Cape Town much later than I’d planned.
I don’t love driving in the dark. The roads are big and crazy and dark. We decided it would be lighter and safer to go back along the coastal routes, rather than through the mountains. I’ll rarely admit I was wrong but I was so glad we left late. As we hit the coastal roads in the last leg of our journey, we turned a corner and nature presented us with one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.
Cape Town to Kleinmond might be a tough day out with kids but it’s a great road trip for friends or a couple. The drive is easy, the scenery is stunning, and the people are so chilled.
We arrived safely back in our apartment in Century City, where the next night we were treated to another stunner of a sunset. I can’t get over how naturally stunning the sunsets are for a city!
You’ve grown and reached that point; it’s time to fly the nest. You have to become a first time tenant at some point.
If you live within 10 miles of a London zone, you – like me – are not going to be able to afford to buy a house until at least the time that Oprah becomes President.
So the choices lie at:
A – live with your parents until the end of time and hope you marry rich
B – sink your money into a rental property and have freedom
If option B is the only way to save your sanity, here’s some tips from an estate agent turned property manager, who is also a tenant (Me!). Take heed of my first time tenant advice and you should sail through the process.
My advice to a first time tenant is to ensure you thoroughly research the 5 areas below
1 – Location, Location, Location
There are so many factors in deciding which property to rent. You need to check
*that it’s commutable to your place of work,
*that the transport suits your needs (ie access to a tube line that has step free access),
*that there are amenties nearby if you’re a disorganised nightmare like me who has to go food shopping at least 3 times a week
*the crime rates in your area (this will affect insurance etc)
*If you’re looking for something lively, you’re going to be best within walking distance of a high street.
*If you’re a homebod and not a fan of drunk people singing outside your door at midnight every night, then you’re best looking a few streets further away than stumbling distance.
2 – Budget
Yes, you want to live somewhere nice. But you also don’t want to struggle to make it to the end of the month after you’ve paid your rent and bills.
All the below need to go into your rental budget. You need to ensure that after these, and your other costs (car, phone, Netflix etc) that you still have money for food, fun, family and savings!
*Council Tax (you find the council tax costs of any property in the UK on Council Tax Finder
As a first time tenant, advice would always suggest to over-estimate your budget to give you some cushion room.
3 – Property Type
Very rarely in the UK will you find a landlord who will allow you to redecorate fully. So you need to make sure that the property you pick suits you. As an estate agent, I believe there is a property out there for everyone.
*Modern new builds tend to have smaller spaces
*Older Victorian properties tend to have beautiful features but single glazing
*If you want a garden, you’re going to naturally have a higher rent
*Communal gardens usually mean you don’t have to do gardening but do have to sunbathe with strangers
*Private gardens are great for having a BBQ but you will be responsible for maintaining it
*Ex local authority flats tend to be in really ugly buildings but are often very spacious with lots of storage, in well maintained developments
A first time tenant is usually either really picky and ends up over budget or doesn’t stipulate what they want and ends up in something they don’t love. Know what you want and stick to it!
4 – Agency
Most properties are advertised through estate agents. In my experience, most landlords who do not advertise through agencies do so because they want to save money. They tend to continue with that attitude, taking shortcuts with repairs and more. Having an agent gives a landlord some accountability. It also means that they value their property and want to find the best tenant too. The majority of properties rented through agencies are managed by them too. They will be your point of contact throughout your tenancy and will take care of repairs and queries should they arise. This is what I do for a day job!
To ensure you’re with a reputable agency, there are a few things to consider:
* Google reviews – people will turn here in the best and worst case scenarios so it’s always interesting to see who has taken the effort and what they’ve written
* Word of mouth – even in the digital age, this is so important. A lot of my business comes from referrals from tenants who have recommended my team for our reputation of being honest, efficient, friendly and trustworthy!
5 – Pre-moving costs
If you go through an agency there will be the inevitable costs. We get a bad rep for it in the media. There are some agents that charge way over what is reasonable but these tend to be big, corporate companies. For the average high street independent agency, these fees are vital for survival. Admin fees pay my wages!
Ensure that your agency costs are in line with the average in your market. You’ll most likely need to save for them so it’s worth knowing in advance. By law, the agency has to display their fees on their website. If they don’t, don’t use them!
* Admin fees – usually between £200 to £300 per tenancy. This covers all the administrative work involved in creating your tenancy.
* Referencing costs – usually between £30 and £75 per person, depending on the referencing agency used. This includes landlord reference, employment reference, credit check, Right to Rent check and can include Anti Money Laundering checks
* One months’ rent in advance
* Six weeks’ rent as security deposit (to cover any damages etc). This must be held in a deposit protection scheme, by law. Don’t be afraid to ask which one they use if you’re unsure!
*Additional costs. This may include a higher deposit if you’re a student, or if you have pets, or an adverse credit history.
*Check In or Check Out fee – Generally, one of these is paid by the landlord and the other by the tenant. Having a full inventory at the beginning and end of the tenancy protects both the tenant and the landlord. It will ensure that any defects or damage created before you moved in is noted, so there is no liability on you at the end of the tenancy and no unwarranted deductions from the deposit.
If you don’t go through an agency, you’ll likely only pay rent, deposit and check in / check out cost.
There’s a lot more to moving than you would think!
There’s a lot to prepare when you are looking for a property, whether it’s your first or tenth time. Don’t be overwhelmed. Be organised, research and you’ll be fine.
I’ll happily answer any questions you have, either in the comments, or via email or my social channels.
Please remember, though I am a property professional, I am not an expert. I will offer my opinions based on my experience as a tenant, letting agent and property manager, but please research more outside of my thoughts!
Good luck – whether you’re a first time tenant or tenth time tenant (like me), keep strong and get excited for your new home!
There’s me, just minding my own business on a Friday when a little Twitter notification pops up. Yoohoo!
Ross has tagged you in the Sunshine Blogger Award!
Fridays don’t get much better than that. Being acknowledged for the hard work I’m putting into my blog feels just like when you dip a chocolate biscuit into tea and get the soak level just perfect. Or buttery-marmite crumpets. Just lovely.
I’m a little late posting as I’ve been absolutely manic working and preparing to move house. I’m sure most of you feel my pain of living in packing hell. I pack a box, then spend an hour looking for something. Which is, inevitably, in the packed box.
Ross is pretty much like me – just a human wiggling their way through the world, one tweet at a time. He’s honest, funny, thoughtful and his writing reads like a dream. He covers everything from equality for women’s boobs to nerdy guy stuff about comic book movies. There’s very few male bloggers in the sphere and it’s lovely to see one who has a diverse range of interests. He’s also great at showing his personality in his writing!
Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog;
Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you;
Nominate 11 bloggers to receive this award and ask them 11 new questions; and
List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog site.
Here’s Ross’ questions and my honest answers
If you could see any Band or Musician that has sadly passed away who would you see?
This would 100% be Whitney Houston, in her golden days. Or Amy Winehouse. (75% Whitney though). Both these women were phenomenal singers and performers. They also put on a show day in, day out, whilst struggling with a lot of internal problems. Something most of us can relate to. Plus, I love a good singalong!
What are your thoughts on Avocados?
I bloody love avocados but it’s so hard to get the perfect level of ripeness. I know that’s the most first worldly middle-class issue to have. It’s still an issue, though. Perfect in a sandwich on crusty bread. Yum.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
People with no manners. Using manners doesn’t cost a thing. Not using them can cost you a lot.
Would you rather have no hands or no feet?
No feet, definitely. You can do almost anything with your hands. Imagine trying to brush your teeth with your feet. I’m just not that flexible.
We are going to form a band, what position would take?
Front and centre. Honestly, I’m large and in charge. If I wasn’t in the actual band, I’d definitely be the manager.
What is the most influential quote you have in memory?
“Those who matter don’t mind. Those who mind don’t matter”. Don’t worry about everyone’s opinions of you. The people whose opinions matter will support you. Those people who don’t aren’t worth your time.
Which is scarier, Space or the Depths of the Ocean, and why?
The Ocean! As far as we know, there’s nothing out in Space waiting to gobble you up with gnarly teeth.
What are your thoughts on the scandalous “Reality” TV shows, such as MADE IN blah blah or Real Housewives of who knows-where?
Honestly, I used to be a big fan of the older reality shows. The Girls of The Playboy Mansion was my life when I was at uni. Now, I think it’s a bunch of garbage. It’s all staged. People are very quick to ditch their morals or dignity in favour of 3 column inches on the DailyFail website.
Morecambe and Wise or Two Ronnie’s?
Ronnies! I still think they’re hilarious, even if it is in that cringey grandad way.
If you could hang out with any Kids TV Character from your childhood who would it be?
Rosie and / or Jim. I’d happily spend my days chugging along on the old Ragdoll boat.
What Animal would you be most excited to see at the Zoo?
HEFALUMPS. Elephants are my favourite animals on the planet by far. I’ve been lucky enough to visit two sanctuaries in my time. I’ve spent hours up close and personal, plodding along. It’s the best feeling.
Honestly Holly’s Sunshine Blogger Award Questions
Sunshine or snow?
How do you feel about gin?
Was Salem in Sabrina the Teenage Witch the best character ever?
Do you ever read any news publications in actual print form anymore?
Why do you blog?
Should the Kardashians be put in the bin?
What 1 sentence would you say to Donald Trump?
Do you feel bad about how much plastic you use?
Do you exercise as much as you should?
What’s your favourite drink?
What takes up too much of your time?
Honestly Holly’s Sunshine Blogger Award Nominations
Hastings is such a beautiful area, rich with history and an every changing culture. 12 years ago I left for the bright lights of London but my family remained. I have the luxury of knowing Hastings both as a local and as a tourist. I’ll be doing a short series – Hastings in a Day, Hastings in a Weekend and Hastings in a Week. I’ll focus on things to do, things to see, places to stay and things to eat, for all weather options.
This week, it’s Hastings in a Day. Being less than 2 hours from London by train or on the road, Hastings is an easy option for a day out. Whether you’re looking for family fun or a romantic day at the seaside for a couple, there’s something for everyone!
Things to Do
When the British weather does us proud, I would definitely recommend wasting some time playing mini golf at Hastings Adventure Golf. If it’s good enough for the World Mini Gold Championships to be held at, the course is good enough for me! It has water features, sound and light effects, shade and is a great price too.
The beach is meters away, with arcades across the road and refreshments all round. There’s a big car park just next to it or it’s a short walk from the town centre so it’s easily accessible from all areas.
If the weather isn’t on your side, there’s plenty of alternatives too. One of my favourites, especially with children in tow, is the Blue Reef Aquarium. This is again reasonably priced, with a big car park right outside, and right on the beach. The displays have everything from Nemo look a likes to reptiles. There’s even a shark tunnel where one can stand in awe with the tank above them full of life!
Tip – buy tickets online ahead of your visit and get them cheaper!
Things to see
If you’re around the mini golf and the aquarium, you’ll be in the area locally known as the “old town”. This area is rich with history and has a great mix of the old and new. George Street (which runs parallel to the main road) is a beautiful small cobbled street that every visitor needs to see!
From art galleries to restaurants, tattoo shops to book shops, there’s something for everyone in George Street! It’s always full of life and is one of the most picturesque streets in the world to me.
Things to Eat
All this walking and sight-seeing is bound to build up an appetite! At almost every turn you will find a fish & chip shop or an ice cream stand. It’s almost mandatory to have a 99 Ice Cream when you’re at the seaside and I fully encourage it. They’re good for the soul.
If you’re after something more substantial, then the Codfather or the Blue Dolphin should be where you go for fish and chips. Beware of the seagulls though if you’re going to takeaway and eat on the beach!
If you’re after something more sophisticated, the Two Bulls Steakhouse is a must. I went with my mum and had the satay beef skewers last year. We couldn’t find a single thing to fault.
If you’re going in a group, the cheapest way to travel is probably by car. With the A21 extension being recently completed, the journey time from London is down to just under 90 minutes. That’s time for only 2 podcasts!
If you’re going it alone or a couple, it might be cheaper for you to get the train. The trainline often do great deals on tickets on certain times of day. Make sure you take a good book or film for the journey as it can take over 2 hours. However, the trains are always clean and air conditioned and there’s a lot of stunning scenery to watch along the way!