I never meant to stay away so long.
It’s difficult to know where to begin with 2020. It’s been the toughest year for so many and yet, in a way, one of the best for me personally, despite – or perhaps because of – all the restrictions that came in the wake of the pandemic. It’s certainly been unique, this ‘slowing down’ of time, and the space it has afforded to reassess and properly evaluate.
Alongside launching Fabric of the North, I’ve also moved home – twice in 2020 in fact! – and now have a brand spanking new blank canvas to play with when it comes to crafting my home interior environment. The last lockdown, which came just three weeks after I’d moved into my boyfriend’s two bed flat, really drove home our need for additional space for us to both work and coexist in peacefully together, as well as the importance of our own little slice of outdoor space too. We didn’t even have a balcony in our last home, so the fact we now have a little garden – complete with decking – is definitely going to make any further lockdown scenarios infinitely more bearable, especially during winter.
When you spend 24/7 in a space you quickly learn that having a separate area to retreat to and recharge is a must. I’ve been working from home for nearly four years now, so that in itself isn’t a massive challenge for me, as much as I miss my usual working days in town, laptop in tow, cafe-hopping between all my favourite Manchester haunts.
When I first moved in with Luis the idea was that the spare bedroom would become my office, whilst he was out at work everyday. If Covid hadn’t come along, I’m sure that would have worked out wonderfully. But having gone from living on my own for three years, setting my own workday schedules and having plenty of space and quiet to work on client strategy, content development, blog post writing and photography accordingly, we swiftly moved to a situation where Luis was home 24/7 too, taking over my office, having an excessive number of video conference calls and generally upsetting my workday rhythm to no end. I’m sure pretty much everyone can relate; we’ve all been in the same boat this year!
When the official lockdown finally ended, things didn’t change for us that much since Luis’ job allowed him to remain working from home for the foreseeable future. So, after a fraught morning of being endlessly bothered by Luis’ office chair squeaking next to me every time he shifted in it, he decided to jump on RightMove and investigate our options. Two hours later we were stood in the living room you see here, surveying the space. By the next morning, we’d signed the contract to move. Crazy, right?
We’re just a stone’s throw from where we were previously, but have upgraded from a top floor two-bed flat next to the station, to a three-storey townhouse on a quiet residential street. Technically we have four bedrooms, although the two box rooms will become our home offices – each on different floors, with our own door to shut the disturbance of the other out. Hallelujah!
I’m so excited to have a whole new blank canvas of a house to decorate or furnish (we’re still renting though, so can’t make too many physical changes) and my mind is running wild with the possibilities. It’s also the first time in a long time that I’ve had separate kitchen and living rooms, rather than one open plan space, so that’s pretty thrilling for me. Expect plenty of makeover updates to come over the next few months, as being in the house constantly will definitely do my patience absolutely no favours at all when it comes to a slow approach to decorating.
Going forward, you’ll see a slow return to a blogging style of old; personal posts sharing snapshots of my life and photography documenting the evolution of our home, as well as inspiration posts showcasing all the beautiful interiors that are influencing my decisions and lovely home decor items that I’m lusting after for the space. Then you’ll also find me writing more formally about considered design and slow living in the North of England over on Fabric of the North; my new passion project borne out of the pandemic.
Having been self-employed for over three years, I was one of the ones lucky enough to have access to the government’s furlough scheme, which has definitely made the past six months far more manageable as my client and blog work initially dried up completely. Not being one who does well with being idle, I decided to devote my newfound ‘spare time’ to finally getting this passion project off the ground – you can find out more about my motivations for it in my first editor’s letter on the site. I’ve interviewed so many wonderful designer makers and small business founders based in the North over the past few months and it’s been an absolute pleasure to hear their stories and help them spread the word about the fabulous things they are doing just now.
So that, in a nutshell, is where we’re at.
I’d love to hear how you’ve been faring this year; any positive changes you may have made in your life as a result of current restrictions, or any you may have planned going forward as things begin to get back to a ‘new normal’ routine?