I’ve moved and gone solo!

Mel sat in front of loads of boxes, bags and frames

It seems like only yesterday I was telling you all in my, ‘Why I took a year off blogging: Break ups, backpacking and beginning again’ post how great it felt to move back to Manchester. Certainly, after a whirlwind few months going through a break-up, quitting my job and six months’ worth of travelling, I was definitely ready to start a new! 

Now just under a year after I hit ‘publish’ on that post, I’ve moved again. Let’s get into it! 

Where it all began

I find it mind-blowing how much lockdown has impacted almost everything in our lives. We always boil it down to not being able to see friends and family and do the things that make us “us”. But it’s had an impact on so many other factors in our lives.  

When I moved into my shared flat, I was single and fully immersed myself back into city life. I worked in town and spent the weekends either out partying or travelling. Even in the week I would be catching up with friends over dinner or working late. It’s safe to say, I was barely in said flat! I loved life at this pace.  

Then the pandemic hit and I was stuck at home…along with everyone else on the planet! I must admit though, I enjoyed the first three months of official lockdown here in the UK. I moved in with my new boyfriend, took some time out, saved money, walked the dogs for hours on end and baked banana bread (of course!). Then everything began to change…

Mel taking Lilly the cockapoo for a walk in the park in the snow
Lilly wasn’t complaining about the extra walks – even in the snow!

Deciding to move out

At the start of this year I wrote a post about the ‘Top 10 things I want to achieve in 2021’, with one of these goals to move out of central Manchester. 

Thoughts of moving had been rattling around my head for months towards the end of 2020. But especially as the UK lockdown continued into 2021. 

For the last 11 years, I’ve enjoyed living amongst the hustle and bustle of the city. Since my student days I couldn’t have imagined a time in my life when I wouldn’t feel this way. Like most 21 year olds I guess, you feel like everything will last forever!

“I’m a city girl, why would I ever move out of the centre of the action?!” I would say to my ‘burb friends. 

But when the pandemic hit, I started to feel differently. What started as a temporary arrangement moving in with my boyfriend during the first lockdown, ended up being something we started seriously talking about. I loved being able to see him every day and enjoyed the extra space of living in a house. Not to mention the adorable two pups that came with this new living arrangement!

But at this point we had only been together a few months and neither of us were ready to take the leap so soon.

When lockdown restrictions changed and support bubbles were introduced, I decided it was time to go back to my flat. But it was just never the same after that. The stress of a year in almost permanent lockdown, working long hours at home, a job change, and the pressure of sharing such a small space 24/7 slowly chipped away at me.   

When I started my new job in January 2021 with a London based charity, I took on a four day week contract working from home. This changed two things: 1) I would now be working from home long-term for the foreseeable future and 2) I could now dedicate a full working day a week to work more on my blog. Win, bloody WIN!

It was at this point of work life changing that I could feel myself needing a change in my home life too.  

Mel holding an umbrella and looking up at the 'and on the sixth day God created Manchester' wall art in the Northern Quarter

Embracing a new chapter

I have always seen life like a series of chapters in a book. I never get scared as I feel the next chapter coming – even if the change has been brought about by external forces.  

At worst I’m apprehensive but at best I’m controlling the growing excitement in the possibilities of what is coming next. Whether that be a new job, a new love or a new adventure – moving into the next chapter of your life is a sign that you have outgrown wherever you are. Without a doubt, I knew I had outgrown my shared living arrangement.

When I started the process of looking for new flats I could grow into and make my own, the only thing I knew for sure was I wanted more space and less noise.

For the last 18 months I have lived in a beautiful area of central Manchester called Ancoats, which was at the centre of the industrial revolution as the former textile district. Most of the old factories and mills have been renovated and repurposed into cool flats. An eclectic neighbourhood has emerged too as trendy restaurants and bars have popped up during the area’s development – it’s awesome!  

But as much as I’ve enjoyed living in Ancoats, I knew I’d enjoy my new place even more!

Mel walking by the canal in Ancoats Manchester at sunset
Sunset by the Ancoats Canal

Moving to Chorlton 

When I started looking for a new place to live this time around, I had more flexibility because I didn’t have to commute. With this in mind I decided to widen my search and found this great place in Chorlton. Which I later found out The Times voted ‘the best place to live’ in 2017. So I figured I hadn’t gone far wrong picking the area as flat hunting goes!   

My new place is in a pretty Edwardian residential area in the centre of Chorlton. It’s the perfect compromise – I get the quiet and green space of the suburbs whilst staying close to the social scene with independent shops, trendy bars and a load of vegan food places on my doorstep.  

Chorlton is also only 15 minutes on a tram to town for nights out, shopping and meeting up with friends after work, which has worked out amazingly!

I already can’t wait to share more about Chorlton on the blog as I get to know the area. It’s home to a ton of independent shops and vegan eateries that I can’t wait to explore!  

Mel moving with lots of boxes filling a room
The unspoken horror of moving – the actual moving!

Going solo!  

But the most exciting development in this story isn’t moving out of the city, oh no. It’s that I’ve moved into my very OWN place for the FIRST time! *Macaulay Culkin Home Alone face*  

There are very few opportunities in life in which you’re able to live by yourself. Some people simply can’t afford to. Or just go from living at home/ with flat mates to moving in with a partner.

Particularly if you’re in a long-term relationship, you can’t exactly turn to your partner after years of living together and go: “You know what, I’ve always wanted to try living on my own, I think I’m going to move out for six months and give it a try.” By this point that ship has long sailed. And chances are if you’re thinking about this years down the line, there’s probably something up in your relationship!

Similarly as relationships become more serious it’s only natural that you spend more time together so the next logical step is to move in together.

It just so happens that I have found myself with a unique window of time to experience having my own place before taking this next logical step. And I’m fully embraced it!

So, what’s next?

With ‘move out’ now scratched off my goal list for this year I’ve still got three other goals left to start work on. These include: running another half marathon to get my pre-lockdown body back and relaunching my YouTube channel. Wish me luck!

My move also happens to coincide with lockdown restrictions easing last week with bars, restaurants and non-essential shops opening again. I’m taking it as a sign from the universe that more change is coming and the best is yet to come!

Mel sat at her laptop with Footsteps on the Globe website up

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