City Girl, Country Life

As a born Northerner-adopted-City life girl, having now returned to a country life, I think it is safe to say I have experienced the best of both worlds. I left the stunning scenery, beaches and canny folk of the North East behind at the age of 22 and headed for the bright City lights of the Capital. I had in my mind that it was ‘only for a couple of years’ but 18 years on I had thrived in vibrant London and made it my adopted home town.

So why did I leave my urban utopia? Although London offers an energy and vibe that is unparalleled, this excitement is pretty much denied once you have had children. Instead it is the battle to get them into a decent school, a Catch-22 need to work all hours to pay for their exorbitant childcare, and a non-existent social life due to lack of time, energy and disposable cash.

As I wheeled the Bugaboo around after my daughter, loaded down with shopping, sippy cup and emergency rice cakes, I reflected on just how different her childhood was going to be compared to mine. I moved to Northumberland when my daughter turned 3, I figured I needed a year to settle into a rural life in time for her to start primary school. I wasn’t tired of London, but I wanted space, beaches, nature and freedom. Northumberland won hands down.

So, relocate to the country. But you can’t, because London’s where the work is. Or is it? Technology and the pandemic are changing the where and when we work at such a rapid rate that the most unlikely city types are upping sticks to move to the far-flung countryside, and bringing their careers with them. I know – I am one of them!

Darling daughter, now age twelve, has embraced the country life. London living and country living are two entirely different ways of life – each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Research (commissioned by Sky 1) reveals that more than a quarter of those who have recently moved to the countryside admit it was harder than they thought it would be. A yearning for the bright city lights and the dramatic change in the pace of life proved to be some of the most difficult hurdles to overcome. I would agree with that.

So why a country life? It’s the fresh-air-and-pink-cheeks childhood that we all dream of our children having. And, as all children do, I took it entirely for granted. But who says we can’t have both? There needn’t be a City versus Country. The wonderful thing is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Take Northumberland for example, Newcastle is half an hour away, Edinburgh an hour by train. You can get to London easily, by train, flight. You don’t have to abandon shops, cocktails and dancing. You don’t need to worry about it all being tweed, wellies and horsey types.

I expect the advantages of City life to become more compelling as my daughter grows up. By the time I was 15 my rural idyll felt more of a prison than a paradise. Country living doesn’t protect you from real life and you can have a great childhood in London or the countryside. For me, it all comes down to balance. I know that I need both and wouldn’t be without either. The surf, sunsets and raw beauty of Northumberland to the diversity, energy and vibrancy of London.

If you are considering a move the Countryside from the bright City lights and want some advice, please feel free to get in touch.

Happy living! Countryside, City or somewhere in between.

Cherylle

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