Moving to London was a decision that we made just one month into married life. We were totally happy in Birmingham, all of our friends were there and we thought that Birmingham was going to be our home. Then an internship offer landed in J’s inbox whilst we were on honeymoon and we just knew that we had to go. We borrowed J’s Dad’s car for the day and moved. Anything that would not fit in the car went to the charity shop – Scrabble, wellies, cushions. Looking back now, I can’t believe how rash we were. We had very little in the way of a plan, but that is what you do when you are 21, freshly graduated and married, right!?
We stayed with family in a spare bedroom for a week whilst we dashed around London trying to secure somewhere to rent. Finding somewhere in such a crazy city is so difficult, especially when everything is so incredibly expensive. A few times we would go to a viewing and then arrive to find that the flat had gone. After so many failed viewings, we landed on this place. Our first home. A mouldy basement room, with two tiny windows and a basic kitchen at the end of the bed. It was £800 a month and we could just afford it. We scraped together money that we had been given for the wedding and got a deposit together – and it was ours!
More photos of our very first home in this blog post here.
After nine months we finally had jobs and a bit more money so we could move. Moving to a one bedroom flat, with natural light and an actual kitchen was incredible. We even had a balcony and so we could even have plants! We felt so blessed when we moved into this flat. I need to remember that feeling. Pure gratitude.
Brutal honesty time. I have been feeling incredibly low and frustrated with London living this week. Frustrated, angry and pretty hopeless as I relentlessly try and make this space work with a baby. Whilst this space was perfect for two, it is a real squeeze for two plus Belle, especially in the winter when we are stuck inside so much. I am so tired of having to think up clever storage ideas and more often than not, throw things out. We are at bursting point here and it is a daily challenge to make it work. I mean, the space works (ish) when it is neat and everything is put away but as soon as there is a bit of mess I feel claustrophobic.
Why am I telling you this? I am grabbing back gratitude. I am writing this to remind myself that we have felt like this before and ‘it too shall pass’. This is a season and there is another one coming. We will not be here forever and for the time being we can get creative and make it work.
We knew that it was never going to be the ‘easy option’ starting our little family in the city. But we know that it is right for us. In the frustration we have found ourselves asking ‘what are we doing here?’ and after a week of fantasising about bigger homes outside of London and an easier life living closer to family we have come back to the decision that London is where we are meant to be for now. It is just sometimes harder.
There is no way that we can afford a two bed in our area and we are not ready to quit London and move out to a ‘family friendly place’ just yet. Our hearts are still right here, where we are. J is a short tube journey away from work which means that he can be home in time to do Belle’s bath (most evenings) which is priceless and I can pretty much walk everywhere that I need to go day to day. Our church, friends and life is here for now and after a bit of a wobble this week, we are ok.
So, the action plan is to have a big reshuffle so that we can squeeze an extra few months out of this home. We have decided to swap around our bedroom and living room to give us space to make a little nursery corner in our room for Belle (when she eventually graduates out of the co-sleeper – we are working on that!) and then we have sold our big sofa and got a new smaller one and made our old tiny bedroom a snug.
This is home and that is what we are doing here.