Leaving the City… 2 years on

We spent yesterday in Bristol, taking in the buzz of the Harbourside Festival and catching up with friends. It made me think about how things have changed for us in the time since we left our city centre flat, 2 years ago this summer.

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City   ❤

The decision to move to countryside suburbia was not an easy one. We were 25 and 27 at the time – it seemed like ‘settling down’, which I felt we were too young to be doing!

I thought I’d reflect on how we came to the decision….

THE PROS

Affordability

Turns out EVERYONE wants a quirky period terrace within walking distance of the city centre. No matter that most are poky, prone to damp, have tiny paved backyards and are squashed onto narrow streets with no parking – they are fashionable. After being outbid on several properties (at least once by cash buyers intending to renovate and sell on for even more crazy ££££), we had to admit defeat.

Out here, we can afford a proper grown-up house with a garden and a driveway. Call me old but having my own parking space (we have ONE EACH!!) is a DREAM COME TRUE. Never again will I arrive home at 10pm, spend 20 mins looking for a space, find a space, try to squeeze into it, realise it is way too small even for a KA, probably dent mine/neighbour’s car, almost cry with frustration, end up parking streets away and have to carry up a ridiculous amount of stuff up 4 flights of stairs.

Greenery

As well as having a cute little garden to call our own, we are on the edge of the Cotswolds. We can head out on our bikes and be surrounded by beautiful quiet countryside within minutes.

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Countryside   ❤

Travelling

We are now just a 25 min country road drive from work. No more selfish rush-hour drivers cutting us up on roundabouts or hours spent helplessly queuing behind a motorway pile up. Now we just get caught behind the odd tractor!

Also (and I realise I sound like an estate agent here) – we are so close to the M4/M5 that popping over to Wales for the day or zipping down to London by car has never been so easy.

THE CONS

Travelling (again!)

We’ve become more reliant on our cars. If I want to visit friends by train, I’m dependent on Boy being available to ferry me to/from the station.

If we want to go out drinking in Bristol (as we did yesterday), it’s an hour-plus bus journey. Or crash at a friend’s house and persuade them to drive us home in the morning 😎

Fewer activities (for younger people)

When we lived in the centre I used to go to various dance classes. No pole dancing on offer in suburbia – it’s line dancing or Zumba, where I’m not exactly expecting to meet potential friends at the same stage of life as me! Classes in Bath or Bristol are only a 30-40min drive, but on a week night I’m not sure I want the hassle.

Generic 90s house

After 2 years spent in a drafty, leaky (but beautiful) period flat, I should have known better – but I had my heart set on a period terrace. Victorian fireplace, lovely sash windows, lots of character… but also needing LOTS of maintenance. With our sensible heads on, we had to admit that some of the houses we loved were potential money pits.

Out here, we don’t have the choice. I can only dream of the period cottages or converted barns nearby. So, soulless housing estate here we are! But, #first world problems. We’re not just fortunate to have a roof over our heads – as young people in the UK, I know we’re very lucky to be able to buy our own place at all.

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Garden   ❤

It feels like we were a bit ahead of the game – more and more friends are buying houses and moving to areas which are closer to good schools than good bars! I love our house and the little town that we’ve moved into – it suits our lifestyle perfectly. I wouldn’t rule out a move back towards Bristol, but for now I’m glad we made the jump out here 🙂

H x

Out and About: Cabot Tower, Hidden Gem of Bristol

Last week I finally visited Cabot Tower. This landmark is only a few minutes walk from my flat but until recently I had no idea it existed – I had never even knowingly seen it, despite the fact that it’s a huge tower on top of a hill! It is largely hidden behind the buildings of Park Street.

I dragged my boyfriend out in an attempt to find it – we turned up several wrong streets before spotting the steep steps onto the hill. It was quite exciting – it really does feel a bit off the beaten track. I don’t remember seeing any signposts. A few steps up the hill and we left the hustle and bustle of Park Street behind.

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A cheeky little squirrel!

The tower is set in a peaceful little park area called Brandon Hill. We went straight over to the tower and raced up the narrow, twisty staircase. We were rewarded with an absolutely stunning view over Bristol.

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Looking South: The harbourside and over to Southville and Bedminster

 

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Looking East: Will’s Tower and Park Street

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Looking West

We have now moved out of the flat and I am so glad that I took the time to take in this wonderful view while it was so accessible to me. I’m a little sad to be leaving the city centre but, fingers crossed, better things are to come soon – and lively Bristol will only be a short drive away 🙂

H x

Out and About: Lively Bristol

Bit of a gap between posts – every evening this week has been spent rather frantically researching houses to view, mortgages and solicitors. It’s mad. These photos are a week old now but I wanted to put them up for posterity and this was a day I really enjoyed!

Bank Holiday Sunday was gorgeously sunny and the streets had a a definite festival vibe to them. Just down the road from my flat was the ‘Park and Slide’ event – a temporary water slide built on Park Street, one of Bristol’s steeper main streets. It was such a fun idea which I think really encapsulates the sort of culture in Bristol. Thousands of people (including me) applied for tickets to go down the slide but only a few hundred were selected in the ballot.

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Park Street – closed for the event and very crowded!

The slide itself was a little shorter than I expected but it was obviously a tricky event to pull off and had been very hyped up.

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The slide was made from hay bales and tarpaulin… sorry for the wonky shot!

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Crowded Park Street, looking back up at the slide.

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Part of the Bristol Food Connections event on College Green

Heading down Park Street and onto College Green there was some pretty mouthwatering food on offer in various marquees. There were a few related foodie events going on as part of the Bristol Food Connections festival.

The afternoon was spent exploring the different areas looking for some tasty treats before it progressed into a bit of a pub crawl around the waterfront with some friends. As evening fell we visited the Old Duke and Small Bar on historic Kings Street before getting last minute tickets to a gig at Thekla, Bristol’s venue on a boat! These are some of my favourite places in Bristol so maybe I’ll do a separate post on them at a later date.

Hope everyone’s having a good weekend. I went to a Eurovision party last night so I’m pretty tired now and trying to ignore the fact that tomorrow is Monday…

H x

A gorgeous sunny evening – time for a bike ride!

Well, scrap what I said in my last post – we had beautiful sunny weather in Bristol yesterday! My boyfriend and I headed out on our bikes as soon as we got home. This is my bike – fairly girly, it’s white with pink highlights on the wheels!

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I purchased it through the Cycle to Work scheme. My boyfriend is a keen cyclist; he and a group of friends cycled from Bristol to Barcelona last summer, raising over £10,000 for MacMillan Cancer Care (but that is a whole other story!). He thought it would be a nice activity to do together so I decided to get in on the action. One of my goals for this summer is to complete my commute to work (a 50 mile round trip with a 5.30am morning start – unfortunately, I don’t work in Bristol!).

As I’m fairly fit already, when I started riding my bike at the beginning of this year I was able to do 15 – 20 miles quite easily. However, it wasn’t so easy on my knees! I ended up with a knee injury requiring physiotherapy. I’ve learnt my lesson; I’m trying to be really disciplined and do my stretches and strengthening exercises as often as I can.

I’m now slowly (and sensibly) building up the miles, so yesterday’s ride was a fairly short and easy route. On our way back we did a quick circuit of the Downs, where I annoyed my boyfriend by wanting to stop and take photos every 5 minutes! It’s such a great open area and I’m lucky to live so close to it. I find open spaces relaxing just by looking at them.

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It was also great weather for flying kites…

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Hope everyone is enjoying the warmer weather!

Hattie x