Things I have learned: About Moving

With only 2 days to go, the moving countdown is really on for us. I thought I’d write a few notes down about how the move has been but between me starting this post and coming back to edit it later, we had a major upset and rethink, so this post ended up being a bit of a story too. I’d love to hear if any of the things that happened or feelings you had about moving at any point took you by surprise.

It doesn’t have to be a stressful as people make it out to be. We have had a lucky run of it, by my own admission, (until last week… see later!) We didn’t have to negotiate on the price we accepted for our house, then our first offer was accepted on the house we’re buying, so it was low stress and we have been incredibly lucky with the other people involved in the chain. Everybody has been keen, prompt and understanding, right down to the sale of furniture too!

Packing is sad. The day we started packing I felt so emotionally displaced, the way the house was so out of kilter and my life was being packed up around me. As Mum and I packed the kitchen, Pete started on the DVD’s and things in the lounge. When I came into the room the pictures were gone from the walls, even the cushions from the couch and it felt like all our hard work was being taken apart piece by piece. It’s also inevitable that you start looking through old things like photo albums and finding cards – Pete and I have had many a reminiscent moment over ticket stubs and love letters. 😉

It’s emotional. I expected to be sad when we leave – The 7 years we have been in this house have been pivotal for us. We both chose our career paths in GP, graduated and joined practices. We got engaged and married, and have had lots of parties and gatherings of friends and family around our dining table. Everything we pack though seems to bring that into acute relief, the end of an era and like we are saying goodbye to that phase of our life.

Francesca reading on the kitchen worktops as there was nowhere else to sit!

It’s really hard to know when to pack. We started with some aspects of the kitchen equipment that we use infrequently and were foiled by Francesca wanting to bake. I’m purposefully leaving the bedroom until last so I have a place that feels normal for as long as possible. As soon as the packing started, everything that was neatly hidden in the cupboards is taking up floor space in large boxes.

You shouldn’t sell all your furniture to the people who are buying your house! We have sold a few items from around the house that we didn’t think would fit in the new house (decoratively) or that we would be replacing anyway. Amongst those items are our wardrobes as we didn’t want them for the new house. The downside to that is that we need somewhere/thing to put our clothes on at the other end… hello ebay garment rails.

Organisation is key. Having a system for the boxes helps me feel a lot more organised than we actually are. Having a husband who doesn’t necessarily follow it does not.

You can’t clear out too much. We had already had a few clearing out sessions in anticipation of Francesca moving in, as we had to clear the whole spare room out and other areas to make more room for the things we evacuated. Now I’m determined not to take old paperwork with me so have embarked on a massive filing exercise. More paper has been recycled and shredded than I realised was hidden in there. Whole shelves of filed paperwork have been reduced to single box files. Magazines have been culled, charity donations made. I have at times thought, had I done this earlier, we may not have needed to move!

It’s not over until the fat lady sings (or you exchange contracts…)
We always planned to move on the 27th and exchange contracts (the payment of a ‘deposit’ and contractual agreement that commits you to the move,) a week or two before. We have had a bit of trouble with our solicitor being, shall we say, less efficient than I would expect, so having found out from our vendor that a condition of their onward purchase was them exchanging on the 20th, allowing a week before we completed, we had a rather tense conversation with our solicitor last Monday to ensure everything was in place.

We were assured everything was, with just one hitch – the mortgage paperwork hadn’t come through. We knew it was approved, but he had nothing to prove that. Cue two days of us scrabbling around to get electronic copies for him, only to find on Thursday that we needed to get documents signed and back to him ready for the exchange on Friday. This would have been easier, if not ideal, had Pete been in Manchester, but murphy’s law prevailed and he was actually in the South Lakes on a course. That meant I had to leave work at lunch and drive to to him to get things signed and back into the post that afternoon, before getting back to work – about a 140 mile round trip. I pretty much collapsed into bed that night, thinking how stressful the day had been but at least we had done everything that we could to be ready to exchange the next day. Little did I know.

On Friday morning, I awaited a call from our solicitor to say that he had received the signed paperwork he needed and that we were good to go. I received an email detailing a couple of issues, one of which was that one of the searches had revealed a sewer pipe passing through the back of our property – the vendors couldn’t offer any more info and he trusted we were happy to proceed on that basis. I texted Pete who had patchy service and confirmed he was happy to exchange and he replied ‘go go go!’ I just needed to ask about that sewer.

My view last Sunday – my last Sunday lie in and one of my favourite things to do in the house

Once I spoke to our solicitor it became apparent he didn’t have a lot of information about the pipe, other than it’s location right across the back of the house. As I asked him more questions about what kind of pipe it was etc, I eventually asked, ‘what does this mean to us?’ and he said, ‘nothing, unless you wanted to build over it.’

At that moment, my heart sank. You know that feeling when you realise you have made a terrible mistake and feel cold and sick. That’s how I felt, because Pete and I had been planning to extend the back of the house to create a large kitchen diner. It was 1 o’clock on exchange day and I knew I needed to find out more and said I would call him back and for him to hold off exchanging for now. I hoped with a few phone calls I could get some information and clear up what must be a misunderstanding. Surely there was some way around this?

What followed was 3 hours of fraught phonecalls, whilst the clock ticked and Pete being unavailable to discuss it with. I called a local builder, a surveyor, the planning office, buildings regulations office, United Utilites, an architect… everyone I could think of. Pete asked friends of friends, as did my mum and everyone came back with different advice. Eventually the planning office were able to tell me the pipe was huge. 1m wide, 4m underground and still in service. Only United Utilities could tell me if we could build on it. The only problem was that the department that dealt with such enquiries operated on an email applications only basis – there was no phone number. In desperation I rang their usual number and begged to speak to someone. It transpired there was no way we could build on it, or in fact within 6 metres either side of it. Due to the location of the pipe and shape of our houses footprint, it completely ruled out any kind of extension.

To put this into context, I realise it might have sounded silly, to be so fixated on something that doesn’t yet exist, we had decided to buy the house as it was after all? The thing is, I can’t remember when we first decided that we wanted to extend, but it was before we even put an offer in. In the weeks since I had already met an architect. I had spent hours imagining what it would look like and our life in it and now I couldn’t see past the lack of it. All of sudden the money we were spending, the mortgage, the pressure and enormity of the choice I was making was in sharp focus and I panicked. Unable to make a decision it was only my solicitor backing me up that made me feel I could postpone the exchange, to buy some thinking time.

That night Pete and I were devastated. The proposed extension was such an integral part of our plans for the new house that we could only see the whole thing falling through. I felt trapped. Trapped by the thought of letting down the other people in our chain who I knew were as excited about their respective moves as we were, and trapped at the thought of going through with the purchase and realising we had really needed that extra space. I knew I loved the house, but I wanted a big space for us to have a family area where we could cook, eat, keep an eye on any kids we were lucky enough to have and the existing layout didn’t allow for that. We decide we would have to go back again and see if we could make it work as it is.

After a sleepless night,  we did go back and we spent 2 and a half hours by ourselves and with the architect, looking at the space available and what we could do to improve it. After brainstorming with my Mum, Pete and Jess, we had decided there were options. I’ll tell you all about them when I take you around the house but for now, I’ll just say, we decided to go ahead and we think we can make it work for us. It felt like a huge weight lifted and we exchanged on Monday without any worries or doubts.

The new house!

So that’s it. we’re really moving, on Friday in fact and I can’t wait. I’m over packing, living in a tip and waiting. I’m ready. So lets go!


Moving On…

Readers, I have big, exciting news! We’re moving!

Remember when I wrote this post, saying that something big was happening? And this post about my dream house? Well now I can finally share with you what’s been going on behind the scenes! Those of you who follow me on Instagram may have noticed this picture that I posted last night and heard the news a bit sooner than everyone else. We’re actually already at the packing stage with less than 2 weeks to go before we move (eeek!) but I wanted to wait to tell you all until we were more sure it would all go ahead. We sold 8 weeks ago now so I thought I’d take you right back to the beginning and share the background to our move and the ridiculously crazy sale/purchase story.

Celebrating with friends in Glasgow the night we sold the house…

For a long time now, Pete and I have thought about moving. First it wasn’t financially an option, then just as we started to feel we could afford a bigger mortgage, I qualified and started locum work, making me self employed. We couldn’t afford a bigger mortgage on Pete’s salary alone and planned to wait for me to have 2 years of accounts to show the mortgage companies, then we found out that Pete was also going to become self employed, just 4 months before I would have had 2 years of accounts and the magic date got pushed back again. Out of the blue a few months ago, our financial advisor found a company that would give us a mortgage and gave us the green light to start looking.

Now when I say start looking, we had both been looking, with Rightmove sending us daily updates for over a year. We had lots of big ideas and fantasised about several different properties that had been out of our reach. We decided we wanted to, but weren’t desperate to move, so we would start looking and hope the right thing came along. My wish list was long and there aren’t many houses where we live that fit the bill so we cast the net a bit wider and looked in neighbouring Didsbury. One of the things we wanted was a house we could make our own. (Our current home had been bought by a developer and so whilst we have decorated and made small adjustments, we have also been stuck with the new and perfectly fine, but ‘not to my taste’ kitchen and bathroom, so I didn’t want that to happen again.)

Over the next month or so we looked at a few wrecks and a few lovely houses but didn’t love any of them. As we knew it would be much harder to find what we wanted than to sell our own house, we decided to put ours on the market only when we had found something we wanted. I remember sitting with Jess, telling her about another unsuccessful viewing and recounting that my horoscope for that month had been all about proporty, foretelling that I could have anything I wanted and everything was aligned to make moving a reality, scoffing as I told it. Eventually, sitting in a bar after another viewing, we decided that in actual fact, we didn’t want to leave Chorlton and resigned ourselves to a long wait for the right property to come on the market. 2 days later it did.

It was a Friday and Pete was going away on a Stag that weekend so by the time I texted him, he was already on the road and out of contact. That weekend I arranged valuations for our own house and a viewing for the new house, then told him I had found it when he got back on Sunday afternoon. I held my breath while he looked at the brochure then as I had expected, confirmed it was perfect. We were go!

That week Pete primped the house, resealing the bathroom and touching up paintwork, and we had a valuer on Tuesday and 2 more on Thursday, then went to see the new house on Thursday evening. We stepped into the hall and I could see how much Pete loved it straight away. I tried to keep a lid on it but when I went into the downstairs toilet(!) with built in cupboards for coats, I had to take a moment to rearrange my face before coming out, so as not to seem too keen. We left after our viewing and walked straight around to our chosen estate agent and told them we wanted to sell, and quickly.

The next afternoon our house went up on the agents website and we woke on Saturday morning to find our own house in our daily Rightmove email. It was surreal but we didn’t have long to dwell on it as we had arranged a second viewing on the new house. Doubts had crept in while we were busily planning and I went in with a critical eye. Were the rooms big enough? Was it light enough? Was I sure? Happily, everything was better than I remembered and as we left I felt a lump in my throat – I really wanted this house.

That day we were rushing up to Scotland to meet some friends who were over from Canada, and we got straight on the road after viewing the house. We had left our keys with the agents to show people our house. We left at 10.40 and talked non-stop about the new house in the car. In the hope that we had an offer in hand on our property by then, we decided to wait until Monday and went round in circles trying to decide what we should offer. By twelve thirty our agent called to say there had been an offer on our house – we were stunned. After more discussions and speaking to my mum, we decided to make our offer too… why wait until Monday? We put our offer in at 1.45, just before we arrived in Glasgow, stomachs churning and nerves on edge, even though we fully expected it to be Monday before we heard. While Pete was parking and I was alone in the hotel room we had a call from the agent. Congratulations, she said, they accepted!

This was taken the evening that we had sold our house and bought the new house – we were still in shock!

In the space of just a few hours it felt like everything had changed, we had sold and bought a house and it took me about a week to calm down. Since then it has been rather more stressful as we applied for our mortgage and read the 51 page survey report. Despite it’s age (the new house was built in 1898!) fortunately nothing major came up and we’re all set for moving at the end of this month! Even though I can’t wait to get into the new house I am really sad to be leaving ours. When we started packing yesterday it felt really unsettling to have our lovely home in such disarray and with many of the homely touches packed already (Pete blitzed the living room yesterday while my Mum and I started on the kitchen,) it’s more like a shell than a home already.

I’ve got so much more to tell you all about it and our plans, but for now I’ll leave it there. Is anybody else moving? This will be the first time we get movers in so I’d love to hear any advice you’ve got for making the process as smooth as possible.


#JanuaryJoy – Make a Budget or Savings plan.

Image via Who What Wear

When I was growing up one of my abiding memories is of my mum checking off receipts against a pile of bank statements. Aways a big list maker, every penny in her bank account was accounted for as it went out and double checked. I always thought it was funny but joking aside, my approach to money couldn’t have been more different to my Mum’s. A child of the credit years I sailed through uni living in overdrafts and student loans, which might as well have been monopoly money. When I finally graduated aged 24 and started work I was incredibly fortunate to have a well paid job and progress through the ranks that saw my salary rise. It wasn’t without hard work of course, but the old adage work hard, play hard could well have been written about junior doctors. Of course there were times that I made budgets, but it was always more of a retrospective activity and an eye opener as to how much I was spending.

However, there have been periods in my life where I have saved, and saved hard, when we bought our house and the most notable being prior to our wedding. At the time we decided we wanted to save a certain amount, worked out how much that was and divided it month by month between the two of us. We managed it but fell back into bad habits after the enforced saving pre-wedding and a few months of treating ourselves turned into years.

Back in July, I wrote the post Dutch no More, where I shared Pete and my financial plans to go fully ‘joint’ in the banking department to try and save money towards our next move. There were 65 comments from those of you reading sharing your own financial arrangements and a few of you asked for a future update on how it went for us. 6 months on I thought it was time to recap.

When we started out, I don’t mind admitting was worried. I was worried we wouldn’t have enough in one account to cover both of our outgoings and our new financially savvy life would be austere and devoid of fun. I got my joint account card and didn’t want to use it. I suddenly felt so much more responsible for my money and accountable for where it had gone. In reality Pete doesn’t tell me what I can or can’t spend and when I have come home with shopping bags thankfully he’s good humoured about it. Those shopping bags are definitely fewer and farther between however. Everything I spend I think twice about and fripperies I might have splashed some extra cash on often go unpurchased. I do think this is in part because of the mental investment I have made in what we’re trying to do, how much I want the next house we’re saving for. The biggest adjustment has been remebering that his account (which we now live off) is not ‘his’ money, but ‘ours’, no more than the money that earn and save is ‘mine’. I joke about shopping bags but Pete reminds me that where I may spend more on clothes, his car costs a lot more than mine to run and maintain, so it all balances out.

It has been surprisingly easy to get used to shake off that feeling of spending somebody else’s money and the most rewarding thing has been that talking about money, previously something we took care of individually, has become a part of our relationship. It’s another element to the best feeling that marriage brings. That feeling that you’re in it together and we’re working towards our future together. And I’m pleased to report our bank balance has never looked healthier so it’s working too. More than anything I’m glad we did this before we had a family. I now have the confidence to know we can manage without my salary and it will be one less adjustment to make if and when the time comes.

Now it’s your turn readers. Did my post 6 months ago inspire you to change anything about your finances or are you, like we are, saving for something inspiring?


PS. I have concentrated on saving here as that is most relevant to me at the moment but if you’re thinking of making a budget definitely head over and read this brilliant article by Sarah on Any Other Woman.

Real Homes: The Flemish Exchange

I’ve known Laura for a few years now, through the wonders of blogging and t’interweb but only got to meet her at the Pen-Do last year. I was then heartily disappointed to find she was moving away, and a little bit jealous that she was making such a leap of faith. Laura wasn’t moving to another road, or town or city, but to another country; Brussels. Now you see, I always had a sneaking suspicion that Laura was uber cool, which is clearly why I wanted to be her friend (aside from her great Northern sense of humour,) but all my worst suspicions were confirmed when I saw her new home, pulled together from scratch and realised I had actual life envy. The only decent thing I could do was beg her to share it here and I’m thrilled that she agreed.

Thank you so much Laura!

When Rebecca asked if I’d write a piece about moving to Brussels in August and starting decorating from scratch, I was delighted. Basically, I’ve been spending the last couple of months moving ornaments about, hanging pictures and then posting the results on instagram, so it was nice somebody noticed – other than my husband, who’s been driven mad by my incessant wittering about the best place to position our recently-unpacked possessions 😉

And when I say it was a blank canvas, it really was. When you rent an apartment in Brussels, you rent the shell. The previous occupants were under strict instructions to remove the curtains, the blinds – even the lightbulbs. Seriously. Apparently in Germany they go a step further and take out the kitchen when they move – I kid thee not!

I’ll be honest, though – moving into this place was more than a little daunting. In the UK, I lived in a back-to-back terrace in Leeds. It was homely and we’d put a lot of work into it. The thought of starting all over again galled me a little. And the thought of 15 foot ceilings was, quite frankly, terrifying.

Before we moved out here, we had the mother of all clear-outs. We had car boot sales, dropped off disgusting amounts of stuff at the charity shop, numerous ebay sessions and more than one trip to the tip. It was a long and arduous process. However, it was so worth it. If you’re thinking of moving, you must do it – you’ll hate yourself if you don’t. I had a question I asked myself whenever I found myself hovering over something – ‘Do you LOVE it? Actually LOVE it?’ Yes – it was wrapped lovingly in bubblewrap by Transworld’s finest packers. No – au revoir.

I’d define my taste as 1930s/40s modernist. I like plain backgrounds with pops of colour. I love walnut. Glass-fronted bookcases make me very, very happy. My passion for Anglepoise lamps and velour is a bit indecent. My husband is more cheerful and countrified in his preferences, and so we influence/restrain each other.

My most adored piece of furniture is my glass-fronted bookcase (we have two – the tall one is my favourite). My mum and dad gave it to me when I bought my first home. It was given to them as a present by a family friend and I’d worshipped it from childhood. I’ll own it forever, and I’ve bought other bits of furniture to fit around it. The computer desk was a bargain from Leeds’ Retro Boutique – a great shop that’s always jammed with little surprises from years gone by. The little set of drawers in the hallway was purchased in a shop called Le Petit Coin in Brussels (I also bought the coloured atom coathooks there) and was a bit more expensive but the wood was a perfect match for our other bits and pieces so I just couldn’t resist. The vintage radio is the genuine article – a 1952 fully-working reconditioned GEC beauty – and was a wedding present from some very lovely friends. One of the Russian dolls was a wedding gift – my brother bought the other one back from a study trip (to Russia, unsurprisingly).

I love framed prints, but now that we live in era where anyone with a Mac and a monthly subscription to Photoshop can knock up something decent-looking and sell it for a fortune on etsy, I find myself getting choosier about what I’ll put on my walls. The prints on our living room wall were collected over time – clockwise from top right is a Guinness advert I found in an old Country Life magazine in a second-hand bookshop and bought for mere pence; the man diving was bought in the Side Gallery in Newcastle and I just love the cheekiness of it; the centre print is one by North West artist Alan Stones which I bought for my husband when we got engaged; the next is a selection of pages from a children’s book entitled ‘How to Swim‘ – I adore the illustrations – and finally the last three pictures are a trio of my favourite Irish writers. Apart from the Alan Stones pictures, none of them were particularly expensive.

I would totally recommend having a look in second-hand book shops and charity shops for vintage magazines and children’s books with quirky pictures – shop around for a decent picture framer and you’ll have something beautiful that’s completely unique (did you know that the Keep Calm and Carry On prints originated in a second-hand book shop in Alnwick before they became popular and took over the WORLD? It’s true! It really is worth the effort getting them framed professionally – I bought frames in Ikea and tried myself but just couldn’t achieve the same look. Mind you, I’m not very practical…

I’ll admit, moving abroad made me a little sentimental about the good old UK, and so when I went to see the 100 years of British Design exhibition at the Victoria and Albert in the Spring, I bought the Manchester motorway junction and Go To Work On An Egg prints. We used to go on dates in Manchester quite a bit when we first got together so this print always makes me smile. My husband works with farmers promoting home-grown and farmed produce, so the Egg print is his favourite. Museums and galleries are another great source of interesting prints. Try local ones for something with personal significance – as an (Irish) Geordie/daughter of an ex-miner I couldn’t resist the Building of the Tyne Bridge and the Miners’ Strike from Easington prints from the Side Gallery.

After purchasing a generic brown leather DFS sofa for my front room in Leeds years ago, I decided to invest in some new furniture for Brussels. For the front room I went for a grey sofa from Barker and Stonehouse – it’s the most comfortable thing I’ve ever sat on, and I think my beautiful blue Donna Wilson blanket and yellow Habitat cushion brightens it up a little – and a blue velour winged chair with multi-coloured buttons (also from Barker and Stonehouse). I’ve gone from being obsessed with green to being obsessed with blue – even my John Lewis bird-print oilcloth is blue (I love oilcloths – you can buy them by the metre and spill an entire bottle of wine on them without doing any real damage – what’s not to like?) Belgium is a bit rubbish for mainstream/highstreet furniture shops, but the small antique-y places are good and they do have a Habitat (JOY).

So, if I had any advice from starting decorating from scratch it’d be have a huge clear-out, make sure you love everything, don’t be afraid to mix old and new, make the effort to hunt out unique pictures and don’t be scared of blank walls. I’ll be happily finding pictures for mine for the next two years, I reckon.

*If you’ve gone all fan-girl like me, you can hear more from the lovely Laura on her blog Parliament of Owls or follow her on Twitter @MissMacDonner

Selling Out

In the past here on Florence Finds I’ve talked about doing what makes you happy, my career, finding balance between working and blogging, having a life plan, growing up and wanting different things.

Recently, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the future, work, money, babies… and my job has been playing a starring role in those thoughts. 12 months ago, I had just completed my final years training, become a fully fledged GP. I wasn’t ready to plan for a move into a long term job and happily that coincided with me starting Florence Finds. I worked part time locuming here and there, and filled my time creatively. Looking back it was the best thing I could have done. It gave me a much needed break. Time to look back at where I’d come from and how I got here. Sometimes we get so busy on a path working towards a goal that we don’t ever stop to think about whether it’s still the same thing we wanted when we started. Life changes, what we want and need now is often different to how we felt 5 and 10 years ago.

It has been a useful 12 months. At times I felt like I was stuck in a rut, treading water, watching my career stall and failing to progress Florence Finds. What I have come to realise is that Florence Finds is essential to my enjoyment. It represents every aspect of my life outside of work and I cherish that balance. But how do I put myself in the position to enjoy life out of work? I go out and earn money, just like the rest of you.

Image Credit: Script Gods must Die

A lot of my focus recently has been the immediate future. It’s amazing how the thought of planning a family changes your outlook on what you need. For years Pete and I have talked about moving and six and a half years later we’re still where we started. We’ve talked about saving and shamefully haven’t made much of an impact on building a positive bank balance. We’ve had a brilliant time on holidays, spent money decorating the house and lived it up while we could. It has allowed me the luxury of time to spend on Florence Finds – although it turned out to be the minority rather than the planned majority of the year, I’ve been able to work part time and concentrate on other projects.

Just recently I was offered a short term job in a place that I love and the opportunity to earn more money. The big niggle, it is more hours than I like to work and is going to throw one more ball into the mix of roles that I’m juggling. 12 months ago I might have said no to this great opportunity, but my priorities have changed and so have I. Of course I’d love to work part time on Florence Finds, but that new house isn’t going to buy itself, that potential mortgage won’t be covered if I take maternity leave without me setting aside time and financial security in the meantime.

Despite knowing all that, it feels like selling out. It feels like it’s not what I planned for, which is odd because Florence Finds was never meant to be a new job or career. I guess it relates back to my post about ambition, and how it’s not acceptable to say, I want more money, bigger things. Don’t get me wrong, day to day, that’s not a mantra – there are more important things in life. But you can’t deny that life costs money and my new dream, moving house, requires it. And if I sit here saying ‘there are more important things in life‘ for the next 5 years, I’m still going to be no better off and no closer to building a better home for my future family. It’s romantic and a great story to talk about pursuing dreams.

I wondered, have any of you realised your goals have changed recently – has it lead you to make decisions that you might not have expected your future self to make some time ago? You might be doing exactly the opposite of what I’m doing, making like I did 12 months ago and stepping back for a while. I’d love to hear your thoughts…


Making Friends when you’re a grown-up

One of the best bits of my experience blogging, prior to starting Florence Finds, was the networking, the meeting people, the making new friends. By nature, I’m a sociable person, I really look forward to meeting new people when there are events and parties booked into my diary, whether it’s with people I’ve conversed with on twitter, in real life fleetingly at events or people who are totally new to me.

Image Credit: Erin Ever After

Many a time however, it has occurred to me that if it wasn’t for me having this new avenue to explore or experience in life, how else would I have continued making new friends?

I hadn’t ever given it any thought until a couple of years ago when my friendship circle started to dwindle as we all entered a new chapter in our lives post-university. Couples moved away for new jobs at first, then in recent years, they started having babies. Girls nights out have become less frequent and trickier to arrange! It all seems unimaginably grown up. And in the latest chapter my friend Laura is heading off to Canada for a year or two for a married adventure with her husband. Sometimes it feels like everyone is leaving one by one.

*Image Credit: Sartorialist

Along with that, I’ve also reached that point in my career where I am no longer moving around and could soon settle into a permanent job, where I could stay with the same colleagues and staff for the rest of my working life, with little change in those around me to encourage new friendships.

I know that a natural time to make new friends is when having children – pre-natal groups, baby groups, at the school gate, but that’s still some way off for me I think, so I often wonder, How do adults make new friends?

Image Credit

We’re not all so dynamic as to be able to take up a new hobby regularly or lucky enough to have the time. I’m also aware that whilst my friends have moved on, I’ve been the lucky one, staying in the same place without any of the stress or uncertainty of starting afresh elsewhere. Perhaps you’re one of those people, who had to start again somewhere new, or maybe you were uprooted because of your partner having to move which must be even harder. I can imagine that if you’re not outgoing it might be really hard to reach out to new people and result in feeling lonely and isolated – life is really hard when your best friend isn’t around for some reason.

Image Credit

I’m hoping that Florence Finds will become a place where you can have a little mobile piece of home, like a virtual comfort blanket of supportive ladies who can start helping each other today. I’d like you all to share your stories if you have any experience of moving jobs and areas, away from those you love, your friends or family. Maybe you’ve got that situation looming or are going through it now, or maybe you’re the one staying put but losing a friend… I’d love to hear how you dealt with it and made a new life and friends somewhere new and hopefully leave those with the situation yet to face feeling a little less daunted or apprehensive.

Lots of here’s-to-making-new-friends-in-new-places love,

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