Real Story – New Build in West Sussex

Although our website is called Life After London there was never anything intended to exclude others moving from different areas, the key is we are here to help with any move and I'm delighted to share Octavia's story of their move.  It's especially interesting because she left an area many aspire to move to, and moved into a new build, highlighting some of the issues that you might want to consider. Forewarned is forearmed after all.    The search for Good Schools We moved to West Sussex in January 2016.  We’d been looking for a while and were concentrating our search on 3 very different areas, all with one thing in common: good schools!   Hot House Rejection We moved from Bucks / Berks borders, in Bourne End, near Marlow, where prices are astronomical and outstripped our finances, and schools are 1) excellent if your child gets into the grammar system, or 2) mediocre at best.  As we weren’t keen to “hot-house” our children with tutoring, and would rather rely on their natural abilities to enable them to achieve their best, whilst maintaining a healthy balance of school and leisure time, we decided to move away from this system.      The Golden Hour with friends Another criteria was that we wanted to be within 1 hour of London, oh and we should know someone who lives or has ties to the area we chose.  Our short list was: Winchester, Cambridge, and Horsham and we viewed houses in all these locations.  We were beaten (in sealed bids) to a house in both Winchester and Cambridge, so we elected for a...
Moving to our holiday destination

Moving to our holiday destination

How many of us have been on holiday and dreamt of moving to that place....well here is an inspiring story of someone who did it and started a whole new business because of the move out of London. Holidays turn to real life We came to Norfolk for a holiday in October 2005 and I spent a week at a seaside hotel, sitting in the bay window of our hotel room, or sitting on the beach, listening to the sea and planning my life. All Summer I had become more and more desperate to leave my job and had spent nights working out how on earth we could afford it.  After 16 years in the law, the stress was getting too much for me. I had achieved everything I wanted – partnership, trips to Hong Kong, working on multi-million pound deals, but now I wanted time to be with my son; I was fed up of missing his school plays, and fed up dealing with internal politics. During that week in Norfolk I decided to give up my job. Apprehensively, I chatted to my husband, and he said “That’s great – I will give up my job as well”. I knew I wanted to run a business but had no burning business ideas, so after discounting a number of business ideas, including running a seaside café, a dog grooming business and a B&B, I Googled “Franchises” and found The Best of. The business suited both my husband’s skills and my own. We decided to buy a thebestof franchise and it was a case of where in the country we...

Things to Remember–A Real Story of Leaving London for Saffron Walden

    I've known this family for quite some time - they've been regular and active members of Life after London as they've explored their different areas and plans so it gives me so much personal pleasure to be able to share their experiences with you, now they have made the move.  They have so much good advice to share as they had more than their fair share of 'experience' during the whole process - tips such as getting your house on the market, focus on what you want to achieve, get to know your estate agent - all such great things to remember.  May I introduce the Family May....   So we’ve finally done it.  We’ve actually made the move out of London to Saffron Walden, with three kids (aged 7, 6 and 2) in tow and after almost three years of “shall we, shan’t we?”, including two aborted attempts.  It all started, as I’m sure most of these things do, with a casual flick through Rightmove just “out of interest” to see what we could get if we sold our slightly cramped terraced house in Chiswick and made the big move out.  Georgian Dreamers Turns out you could get quite a lot, and we stumbled across a gorgeous looking Georgian farmhouse in the middle of Norfolk.  It ticked all the fantasy house move boxes:  beautiful, massive, lots of land, outbuildings, a small lake, cows in the field next door. And a tennis court.  Yes, a tennis court.  My wife grew up in Norfolk so we thought we might as well have a look at it, in the...

Real Story–10 Things I’ve Learned About Moving to the Country

Instagram is a bit of a time sap for me, so many beautiful pictures just begging to be liked!  The negatives are far outweighed, however, by the positives, and that is the people I've met.  Many people looking to move out of London but also people who've made the leap and are willing to share their stories with you.  We know there is so much to be gained by listening to the experience of others - and not just friends.  We love asking friends but they have a habit of giving us the answers we want (instinctively we're all guilty of 'choosing' the friends we ask - those who will tell us what we want to hear!).  So instead you can read from 'a stranger' who has no invested interest in your move.   I am thrilled to share Catherine Hackett's story and I'd strongly recommend you pop by her Instagram account if you're on there, or visit her blog and enjoy her journey. Four months ago we left our Victorian terraced house in South West London for a draughty farmhouse on a rural three acre smallholding in Hampshire. Having spent years trying to grow as much food as we could on a tiny patio and becoming frustrated at the lack of space for our son to play in, we wanted to go somewhere with beautiful views, where we could grow or raise a significant amount of our own food and where we could swap gym membership (well, we would have swapped it if we had it…) for digging our own vegetable beds. It’s been wonderful, but a paradigm shift, so...

7 Things I Learnt Whilst Moving Out of London

A while ago I was introduced to a Facebook group called Mummy's Gin Fund.  As someone who runs a local Facebook group myself, I was fascinated by the growth and the usefulness of the group - and inspired by the lady in charge.  I was really proud when Helen agreed to share her story with our readers!  Helen is pretty well known for her work with her website and Facebook group and her honesty in this article is so refreshing and her advice so useful and I want you all to read it, and take it on board! There is so much good information here like worry less about your children.  Really they do bounce, although a little heartfelt additional point from me on that note is to remember children listen to everything, so do try to keep your chats with friends positive - they have no reason to be concerned about a move unless they hear you endlessly stressing about it with your playground buddies. Also embrace the changes - for you and your life. It's a great opportunity for a little reinvention but don't forget who you are.  I've said it before and I'll say it again - if you're a super fashionable, matcha latte drinking, pilates devotee don't assume you're going to morph into a welly wearing, Nescafe loving, pudding baking Mamma.  Don't ignore who you are but embrace who you want to be. I'll leave it to Helen; she says it all so much better than me and I'm excited and proud to be hosting her article on our website.  Thanks Helen for being with us.   7 Things I...
City Living from London life

City Living from London life

Rural v Urban Post London Life My husband Nick, and I lived in London, but soon after getting married decided to leave to find an affordable home where we could settle and start a family. We came to Cambridge by chance after I found a great job. We made our first appointment with a local estate agent to view some properties in the villages just outside Cambridge. It was immediately obvious that the last six years in London had determined our appetite for a city lifestyle, and we redirected our search to Cambridge. Cambridge Requirements We didn’t know anything about Cambridge. Our remit was to find a three-bedroom house with a garden, near to the shops and easy commuting distance to the station, on this last point there was no room for negotiation; Nick would only consider a short walk to the station. In hindsight I wish we had invested in a specialist relocation company, such as Move to Cambridge, as we spent many wasted weekends viewing houses that really didn’t meet our requirements. Mill Road Through our house hunting we discovered Mill Road. The area has a multi-ethnic buzz, a diverse and strong sense of community, lots of independent shops and a real vitality about it. The Mill Road area is a community in itself; indeed, it was runner-up in the Great British High Street of the Year award 2015. We soon found our dream house, without doing anything as grown up as selecting it based on schools in the area. Fortunately, Cambridge came up trumps. We had a fantastic choice of nurseries, schools and colleges, both state...