Magnetic north: how moving back to Scotland brought me closer to my family

“We bought our maisonette in Tulse Hill, Sur de Londres, en 2013 when our daughter Rosa was eight months old. It was an ex-council property with three bedrooms and a small patio, and a lot more spacious than the flats we’d previously lived in. Brendan and I both worked in London – I’m a freelance editor, while he works in media sales – and it was convenient for places like Brockwell Park and Brixton, and we had some good friends who lived nearby, so we were thrilled with it.

But as the children grew up – we also have five-year-old Patrick – space started to become an issue. We had a galley kitchen and no dining room or proper garden, but we knew we’d never be able to afford somewhere bigger in London. We could have moved to a commuter town, but we simply weren’t keen on that option. We also spent a lot of time and money visiting our families in Northern Ireland and Glasgow.

En 2017, after a family wedding in Scotland, I realised on the way to the airport that I didn’t want to go back to London, which was when I started thinking about moving home. Then in 2019, shortly before the pandemic struck, Brendan got made redundant and went freelance. It was the final tipping point: our home made a great crash pad, but it wasn’t ideal when there were four of us living and working together. We really missed our families, también, made even harder by the large distance between us.

Moving closer to my family in Scotland seemed like a logical choice, as it would also make visiting Brendan’s family in Northern Ireland easier. My mum, Myra, had taken early retirement just before Rosa was born, so she’d come down to stay with us a lot, occasionally bringing my dad. We’d sometimes send the children to Scotland for a few weeks during the school holidays too, which gave us a break – but we missed having any day-to-day support while we juggled work, nursery pick-up and drop-off, and illnesses and school closures, as well as all the usual family admin.

We discovered our home had gained a fair bit of value since we bought it, and that if we sold, we might even be able to buy a house in Scotland outright. We’d bought our maisonette for £240,000 and quickly sold it for £420,000, which we were thrilled with.

Due to the distance, we did all of our research online. My Home on Zoopla helps you track property prices in your chosen area, wherever you’re looking in the UK, and to check whether you’re getting a good price for the home you’re selling, también. As my parents lived near where we wanted to buy, I gave them a shortlist and they did our house viewings for us, which meant we hadn’t even set foot in our new place until the day we got the keys. I’d only ever been to Bishopbriggs once, as a student, but Mum and Dad found us a lovely four-bed detached home there, with a decent sized garden, a dining room and two bathrooms. Ahora, we call it home.

Just before we moved, Brendan got a new job. He can do it remotely, but it still wasn’t easy to leave our life in London. The summer weather is better down south and we have some fantastic friends. One couple lived just around the corner from us and had a daughter the same age as Rosa. They grew up together and we were all like family, so it was a wrench to leave them and our amazing next door neighbour behind. Saying goodbye was really hard.

Although we’ve only been in our new home for a few months, it’s been brilliant so far. Our place is a 15-minute drive from my parents’ house, there are good schools in the area, and we’ve seen a lot more of the whole family. Mum’s been helping with drop-offs and pick-ups, and when schools were closed for the May elections, she was able to look after the children while I got on with work.

My two brothers also live in Scotland, one in Glasgow and one 30 miles away in Livingston, so the children will be able to see more of their cousins, también. It’s so good to hang out together and have family over for dinner. Brendan is a keen gardener, and although he did his best with flower tubs and hanging baskets on our old patio, he’s excited to have a proper garden to get his teeth into.

Now we’re here, I think it will be permanent. Not many people go back to London once they’ve moved somewhere bigger, so there’s no going back! Although it’s been a huge adjustment for us all, I love the extra space and being nearer to my family. We definitely made the right decision.”

Check My Home on Zoopla and see if it’s time to sell

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