Hello to Hertford

It's so interesting when people move to different places and Carla shares an insightful personal article on the journey from Bow to Hertfordshire with some great advice for anyone looking to do the same. Moving from Bow in east London to Hertford, Hertfordshire. Having lived happily with our first child in our 2 bedroom flat in east London until he was 3, the usual considerations started to surface: Wouldn’t it be lovely to have our own garden that wasn’t communal, full of dog mess and regularly used by all sorts of people to sit and drink (and worse)? Just one extra bedroom would be great and a bit more space for baby number two… but house prices in our neighbourhood and indeed the rest of London meant we couldn’t afford to buy anywhere bigger there The busy, hectic and overcrowded area that we lived in had started to get me down and we weren’t making full use of all that London has to offer. I rarely visited the centre any more The pollution levels were evident to me every day as well as being constantly reported in the press - since becoming pregnant I had felt uneasy about this although luckily we had no evidence that we were suffering from it ourselves The nearest primary school to us which was just around the corner was six form entry - something I hadn’t experienced until secondary school and that simply felt too large and impersonal to be sending our four year old to Why Hertford? Both my partner and I grew up in the Home Counties (Herts and Bucks) but...
Real Story – Escape to Oxfordshire

Real Story – Escape to Oxfordshire

Escaping from the stress and hustle of London is a common dream. This young family decided that it was time to unwind and struck out for South Oxfordshire. Here is their story, plus their sage advice for finding the right patch of dream countryside for you.   Living in London? My husband and I both grew up in the countryside and longed for city life as soon as we could possibly get there. After meeting at University in Bristol, we headed for the bright lights of London as soon as we graduated. We never looked back… until we had our first child at least! When life after London isn't happily ever after Five years into city life we were young parents-to-be. We were not yet on the property ladder so we took the plunge and moved to my hometown in Kent and rented a lovely house within walking distance of the busy commuter town Sevenoaks. We had a handful of friends there, a convenient commute for my husband to get to work and parents nearby for support. What could be better, you might say. Well, we went from two city-dwelling professionals to one sleep-deprived commuting professional and one young, overwhelmed first-time mother, whose friends were all trailblazing in the city at the start of their careers. The sudden change was quite the shock and certainly not the recipe for the ‘good life’ that we had imagined. We felt completely isolated and as if we had moved away from everything we enjoyed. Life back in London Back to London we went, after 18 months, managing to buy a small house and vowing never to leave our beloved London again! We...
Real Story – Dorset Diaries

Real Story – Dorset Diaries

Dorset Diaries' young couple, the spaniels and the horse have moved to Dorset, signing their London house away whilst on their honeymoon. Now they and their chickens are loving life in the country. We asked Jemma to take time out from egg gathering to tell us about the move.   A New Start Being a couple that has always yearned for more, we took a leap of faith in 2017, mere weeks after getting married, and moved to Dorset. We are what you would call an ‘outdoorsy’ couple. The husband is an avid angler, spending most weekends under a brolly or tucked away in a bush in pursuit of some ancient carp or another. On the other hand, I have always kept horses and find great enjoyment in training and working our two spaniels. You could say that a move to the country was always on the cards. We found ourselves no longer needing to live in ‘Commuter Belt’. Our careers had taken us in unexpected directions. We didn’t benefit from the easy commute into Town or from the extensive network of motorways that living in NW London brought. The things we had to compromise on in order to live close to Town just weren’t worth it anymore… The only benefit left became clear when our little 3 bed suburban semi was valued. A total ‘ca-ching’ moment!! In the 4 years we had lived there the little darling had doubled in value…admittedly we had put a small second storey extension on it but it was still returning a very tidy profit!! It opened the door for our ‘escape to...
Real Story – Canada to Wales

Real Story – Canada to Wales

I met Mikeila Li on Instagram when I asked  for information about moving to North Wales.  Her response was so heartwarming I didn't just want to include a short quote but instead thought her wise words would resonate with lots of people.  Moving to a new area, from a different country, newly married - it makes me quake!  Mikeila has clearly thrown herself into life in Wales and her advice is very sound.   From Canada to North Wales I was born and raised in Canada. I grew up in British Columbia, which is, in my opinion, the most beautiful of the Canadian provinces. To the coast of the Pacific ocean, to the tip tops of the snow-covered mountains, BC has all a nature-lover could ever hope for.    My husband Tony, is a engineer. He was born in China, but moved to Canada when he was 11.  Soon after we were married, he was given the opportunity to do his masters and PhD in physics through the University of Huddersfield. The university has a little lab in a building owned by Glyndwr University, in the St Asaph business park in Denbighshire, North Wales. So, we decided to move there at the beginning of January 2017. Neither of us had been to Europe at all before this.  Tough times to start The first five months or so in Wales wasn't great. I was extremely homesick, and lonely (missing my young siblings and all our family connections back home)  I was only 20 and both of us felt very lonely, and very set apart from everything we had ever known. We...
Real Story – Country but connected

Real Story – Country but connected

Alex's story is one which is all too familiar - the need for space, the easy commute, the requirement of decent schools.  We are always asked where people should go - and Buckinghamshire certainly hits the spot for many.   Country But Connected Two kids. Central London. Yearning for more space. Needing to commute.  We’re such a cliché, it’s nauseating but clichés ring true for a reason – they’re the well-trodden path that many of us find ourselves facing in the journey to a happy little ever after. My husband and I had always been South West Londoners.  Much to his chagrin, I still regularly attempt a "Sarf London accent innit", which is no mean feat considering I’m from Melbourne and my “Sarf London” was well-heeled Clapham but God loves a trier, I give it a bash.  After moving to London, meeting a fella and moving out of my various lovely flats in Balham, we set up shop in his bright sunny flat Betwixt the Commons (yes, the estate agents make it a proper noun with capitals and all) in Clapham and got hitched, only to find I was up the duff a few months after the wedding.  Hubby was on gardening leave from a job and I got home from work to find he’d put the flat on the market, bought a family car and had a list of houses to visit that weekend.   I’d barely peed on a stick and he was living by the mantra “time waits for no man”.  We moved into one of the oldest houses in Clapham, a 3-storey, 3.5 bed with a...
Moving to Lewes

Moving to Lewes

Why did we even leave London? We made the move from Stoke Newington in London to Lewes, East Sussex two years ago now. Ours isn’t a story of growing tired of London, of finding it too busy or feeling fed-up with the grime, crime, noise or air quality. I loved London – and I still do. Addicted to London I’m sure I was addicted to the capital, stepping out of the front door was just like getting a top-up of that buzz, the amazing energy of a place that is always changing - new faces, new places popping up (and closing down), constantly feeling like things were ‘happening’ all the time and that we were right there. In fact, I have to admit that I was once one of those people who would wrinkle my nose up about the idea of leaving London… why would anyone want to leave one of the best cities in the world? I couldn’t think of anywhere else I would rather be. I often used Stewart Lee’s brilliant sketch about moving to the countryside as validation for my feelings, but of course, I’m so ashamed of those feelings now – of being so dismissive of something I frankly had no idea about. When two became three My partner Will and I lived in a two bedroom apartment with our two daughters (at that time aged 6 and 3) We knew we wanted a third child but soon realised we just couldn’t afford a bigger place in Hackney. We had a choice - move our children out of school to another cheaper area of London or just...