I’m a Londoner, born and bred (bar two years in the Caribbean when I was six and a three-year stint in Lancaster in my 20s). I did most of my growing up in the leafy suburbs of southwest London, where the streets are fairly clean and you’re only a stone’s throw away from central London.
I’ve always thought I would continue living in the area, largely because I like it. I still spend a lot of time in New Malden as my parents live there. It is a lovely place, being pretty close to central London, but still feeling distinctly suburban. The streets are clean, the schools are good, the parks are green and there is a large population of Koreans, making for a unique melting pot of culture and fab grocery shops. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?
However, all of this suburban bliss comes at a high price, and ultimately we can’t afford to live there comfortably. And when I say comfortably, I mean we don’t want to pay a fortune for essentially a hovel. And this is the reality of buying property in London.
Having lived in Lancaster, I know what it is like to live in a smaller place, and to have access to greener places. I’m starting to look around me and wonder if this is really where we want to settle down and bring up the children. I’m not enamoured with our current little corner of London, and despite it being a less affluent area, we would still struggle to buy somewhere adequate for the kids to live in.
So I’m now getting itchy feet and considering upping sticks and moving out of London. Like, way out. This change of direction is largely influenced by my desire for the children to live in a less polluted, cleaner and greener area, not to mention getting a lot more for our money!
I’ve been casually browsing the internet for area-inspiration, and am ever-so-slightly overwhelmed by the amount of places that are appealing. (Anyone got Kirsty and Phil’s numbers?!) We would ultimately need to be a couple of hours drive away from London at most, to allow the hubs work-flexibility.
The hubs is not so enamoured with the idea of leaving London. He loves London just as much as I do, and his parents are still in the house that he was born and grew up in. He has some fairly well-developed roots in the place we currently live. He likes the buzz of London and the close proximity to everything you need (shops) and everyone you know (all of his friends from the school days).
However, at the moment, we hardly go into central London, as it is a royal pain with an inquisitive toddler and baby with limited mobility. (Ever lugged a double Maclaren onto the tube?) Plus, I think young kids get far more from nature and wide open spaces than they do from the city. My kids do, anyway. Granted, teenagers need some access to life, but that isn’t something that will be excluded. I’m thinking maybe making the city, whichever city it is, a little further away from the house we live in.
So that’s something that may be on the cards for The Chicks in the near(ish) future. Do you live in a magical corner of the country? I’d love to hear about it.