(March 2015) It’s exactly a year since I moved back north, leaving the bright lights of London behind me. Two children and ‘no room to swing a cat’ in a small flat in leafy North London. My husband and I working every hour God sent to ship the kids off to an overpriced North London nursery for eight hours a day/five days a week eventually took its toll on our sanity and … on our bank balance.
So we decided to do it. Sell up, take the money and run back up the M1 after 17 years in the Smoke. So many pros: closer to family, babysitters on tap, a bigger house, lots of sheep, cheap beer…
I loved my life in London, especially before we had kids. My husband, Iain, and I both had good jobs; I managed an agency in London that specialised in destination marketing and PR. I love photography and, after some private tuition, I was getting on famously with my Nikon. Iain was a project manager working for the Underground managing elements of the Cross Rail project. He was in his element too.
Our weekends were spent wandering across the green sanctuary of Hampstead Heath, me happily snapping away, steadily getting to real grips with my camera. This activity would inevitably be followed by beverages and food at one or several of the many nearby gastro-pubs.
We love to travel, and were lucky enough to take a year out of normality, backpacking around the world in 2008. Working in travel myself, I regularly crossed the Atlantic on business, visiting various North American destinations and staying in swanky hotels.
Then along came the kids and within four years we were back in the bosom of Yorkshire. Ilkley to be exact.
I’ll admit, it was harder than I thought. I tried to love the outstanding beauty of Yorkshire right on our doorstep but I left my heart in London. I was a big-city girl and Leeds just didn’t come anywhere near close – in my mind anyway.
However hard I tried, I wasn’t enjoying life in Yorkshire. I was working in solitude from home, I had temporarily lost the zest for photography so the Nikon was collecting dust, and before long I was walking out of the doctors with a prescription for a job lot of anti-depressants in my pocket. A last-chance saloon; before my husband served divorce papers for living with such a damn right miserable, short tempered moody cow.
A year later and suddenly I found myself in a situation that resulted in me losing my job. It was sink or swim time.
I’m choosing to swim. I’ve going to manage my own destiny; launch my own business and be my own boss. I’m swapping mornings in the gym watching Jeremy Kyle on the treadmill for solo hikes across Ilkley Moor. Iain and I are going to take our children on adventures and I’m going to hunt out the best attractions, experiences, places to eat, shop and drink, and do.
My Nikon has been dusted off and I’m going to snap and munch my way around Yorkshire and show myself, and you, why this really is God’s Country.
Come along for the ride.
All photographs are my own throughout my blog.