Life After London: Looking to Winchester

We have big news in the Winter-Luscombe household this week! We are following the path of many before us and starting to think about moving out.

Both Andrew and I are Londoners, but at a time many go back to their home town so they can raise their children near their family - my home town is Islington and totally out of our budget. We love our London flat, especially all the cupboards. 

However as the girls grow bigger, our flat grows smaller and being on the first floor means that I can't let them in the garden whilst I potter about, all connection with nature involves a trip out to at the very least to the park. 

Our target town at the moment is Winchester. So many people are asking why, I think I am going to promote you to this blog and at least improve my website visibility as I answer the question!

1. Historic & Pretty Town Centre: As a visual person - I take notice of my surroundings and it really makes a difference to my mood. It has always been a dream to live in a pretty city with pretty buildings, just to be able to walk about to activities and to feel the history and beauty of my surroundings. Bliss!
2. Commutable to Waterloo, London: At the moment it looks like my husband will be keeping his London based job and so will need to get to that, plus my family all live in and around north London and until I can persuade them all to move out west - it would be good to be able to see them in a day trip. 
Additionally as a portrait photographer, I will be retaining the London side of my business so I needed to be able to commute as well. Helpfully Andrew's own family live near Salisbury so it will be good to be able to visit them occasionally!
3. Near Nature, Near the Seaside: When you live in London, you never really need to go far. Everything you need is right there and as a car free family (atm), we don't really go out of London very often. It would be great to be able to go to the sea on an afternoon trip without hours of train delays and also to see a more wild version side of the beautiful nature the UK has to offer than what is available in the city.
4. Affordable. I know, I know. Winchester is still expensive, however - when we are used to London prices - it is all relative and we hope we can manage to find something we love within our budget in this area.
5. Space: This isn't Winchester specific but I am going to reread it when we have finally moved and I am missing London, to remind me what I wanted from my new home.
A garden, with real grass, and mud for the girls to make mud cakes (but not too much mud!)
A dining room table, that stays up all the time, that we can all sit down together and share a meal, at the same time. With room to invite friends over for Sunday Lunch.  ( I am really, really looking forward to not putting the highchairs away all the time.
6. Community: Lots of people think London is too big to have a community, but it really isn't - especially if you can find your tribe, through church, volunteering, facebooks groups etc - there is a lot on. However, the community is spread out and it does take serious effort to stay in touch. I would love to have community a bit closer and from what I know of Winchester, there are lots of families, including those who have also moved from London.

Growing up in London, I knew I would probably never be in a position to raise a family where I grew up but I am looking forward to making the most of this opportunity and writing the next chapter of our family's lives.

So that is most of it really. To see what happens next, watch this space or check out my instagram account where I will no doubt be posting updates. This week we will be getting the house ready to advertise. Wish me luck, no mean feat with a three and a 1 year old!

Have you moved house? Thinking of moving house? Did you have different reasons? What are your helpful tips? I'd love to hear, please comment below!