This week’s amazing guest post comes from Amelia who writes a gorgeous blog called Oh Little One Sweet. I had actually been stalking her lovely pictures on Instagram for quite some time so I was utterly thrilled when she said she would write a guest post for us. Take my advice. Grab a cup of tea, something snuggly and settle in to read this post all about her move to rural life. And be sure to pop over to her blog or social media channel to say Hello.
Hello, I’m Amelia, a 31 year old mummy to to two little boys – Freddie who is 3 and Luca who is nearly 15 months. I started my blog Oh Little One Sweet, when I was on maternity leave from my job as a primary school teacher. After going back full time for a short while, when Freddie was 1 I decided I’d had enough of my teaching career and wanted to be a stay at home mum instead, which I’ve continued to do alongside running my blog for the past 3 years and I haven’t looked back since.
Until November, we had been living in a village on the outskirts of Bradford in West Yorkshire. The village itself was pretty big, and not really very ‘villagey’ at all- more like a rural suburb on the edge of a very large, busy industrial city. However, our house (a three bedroom terraced barn conversion) was about a mile up the hill from the main part of the village in a rural backwater, and we were incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such gorgeous countryside. Looking at the view, you’d never guess we were just 4 miles or so from the city centre of Bradford. We lived in the house for 5 very happy years and loved the fact we had countryside right on our doorstep, horses going past the kitchen window every day, yet all the convenience of being 4 miles from city centre amenities. But we had two burning issues which meant we could no longer stay in the barn conversion we so dearly loved. One was the fact that my husband was having to commute ridiculous distances to work each day (4 + hour journeys most days) and also, for various reasons, that we didn’t want to send the boys to the large primary school in the village where I was a teacher for a number of years.
So early last year, shortly after Luca was born, we made the decision to put our house on the market. We had been planning for quite a few months about where we would want to move to, should we be lucky enough to sell the house. We had a rough list of criteria which we used to help us find an area to search in, and we eventually settled on the rural county of Lincolnshire- not too far from family in Bradford and renowned for good schools, oodles of unspoilt countryside and a place where you can get a lot of house for your money.
It took 8 months to sell the house, and in November, we finally made the big move to our new home in a very small, quaint village on the west side of Lincolnshire. When we first looked around, we fell in love with it straight away, with it’s little high street lined with dolls house-like brick houses with pantile roofs, a little pub, post office, a village church and a little family run bakery which only opens for a few hours a week.
Moving house in the depths of winter can be hard, especially moving from a more cosmopolitan lifestyle to a slower pace of life in the country. In all honesty, the first few weeks were quite hard. We weren’t near any family and we didn’t know a soul here in Lincolnshire. We had no mobile phone signal or internet, and of course 4G is non-existent around here, but it was quite refreshing to be able to get back to basics, to live a slower pace of life without the hassle of social media, and to just enjoy being able to discover this new area. We got to learn the geography of the local area by just going out in the car and following our noses- I honestly think this is the best way to work out a new place- we spent our days going on little rides in the car, and we literally used these little journeys to discover everything we wanted to know- from places to take the boys, to finding nurseries and of course, finding the nearest Coop (which is around 5 miles away).
Living in such a rural setting might not appeal to everyone and it did take a few weeks to adapt to our new way of life. We are still learning we have to be more organised when it comes to planning life- we can’t be as spontaneous now that’s for sure. If we run out of milk, the post office might have a bottle or two in stock if it’s open but otherwise it’s a bit of a drive to the nearest shop. And it’s little things like having a cash machine close or a petrol station close by which I used to take for granted; you certainly don’t want to be running out of fuel around here or you’re in for a very long walk with a jerry can if you do…
I’ll admit that although our first rural winter was hugely exciting as we were in a new place, it was also quite hard too, especially on those long, cold, dark days when I was here with the boys on my own and didn’t know a soul around. I felt drawn back to town life and we often spent our days out driving to find a retail park or a Costa, just so we could be in a busy environment, even if only for a few hours. When you’re used to having amenities so close by, it’s what you get used to after all. Friends often joke that they think all we do is drive miles to go to Costa, and while we do enjoy our little escapades back to town life occasionally, we are really loving our new rural life immensely and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I love the slower pace of life which comes with living in the countryside. We’re rarely in a rush and never see traffic. The most frequent passers by our front door are pheasants and tractors or the children walking to the village school down the road. No one seems in a hurry and everyone has time to stop and chat- not just a civil “good morning” like I’m used to, but a proper chat. We go on our daily stroll around the village and everyone instantly recognises us. I think the neon green pram and loud 3 year old in a bright yellow coat probably help, but people are genuinely interested in what we are up to and how we are settling in. I’d say that in a rural setting, it’s through chatting to the friendly locals that you’ll find out all you need to know- it’s how we found our doctors, our playgroup and so many other things which helped us to settle in quickly.
Before we moved here, I was so worried that as a mum of two young children, I’d feel lonely and isolated during the day when my husband was at work, especially as we were moving to a rural location where I didn’t know anyone and we would be miles away from family. Would I be the only one in the village with young children? Would I be stuck for things to do each day? These were all questions which whizzed around my mind and kept me awake at night in the months leading to the big move…
The lady in the village post office absolutely made my week when she told me there was a mum and toddler group in the village- and there I’d been having loads of sleepless nights worrying there wouldn’t be any other mums or toddlers. I nervously went along to the toddler group the first week and was greeted by such a friendly bunch of people. Everyone was so welcoming and interested to hear where we were from and how we were settling in. I was so pleased to see that the boys would have little friends to play with and I’d have other like minded mums I could chat to or have a cuppa with. It’s vital when you live in an isolated place, and I’ve found over the past 5 months we have got to know other families much better than at any group we ever went to where we used to live. The village toddler group has been such a lifeline for me, and from meeting other mums there, I was able to find out about a nursery and playgroup for the boys and good places to take the boys for days out.
Moving from the outskirts of a large city to the middle of the Lincolnshire countryside has been a real life-changing experience for us, even though technically we did live in the countryside before. This is a whole new level of rural living and so far we are really enjoying our new lives together here. I’ll never tire of the views from our window, the calming sounds of the wood pigeons, the hoots from the owl outside our bedroom window or bizarrely the noise of the tractors driving past the front of the house. And now that spring has arrived, we are loving the chance to explore all that this gorgeous county of Lincolnshire has to offer, and which we are so proud to call home.
Please check out ‘Oh Little One Sweet’ HERE
And a huge thanks to Amelia for writing this amazing guest post for us. I really enjoyed it and could stare at her photo’s for hours