Why hello there you bladdy lavly bunch, thank you for all your amazing comments and messages after my past few posts recently, it truly, truly means so much that you've been enjoying my posts on both my blog, YouTube and on Instagram and makes everything oh so worthwhile so I cannot thank you enough for that.
But today, I'm going to be talking about the relentless battle I have and I know a lot of others have with London. This is a post I've wanted to write for some time now but it's regularly been pushed aside in favour of other topical posts or campaigns, however today is the day and I'm finally getting some things off my chest.
Having lived in London for two and a half years up until last November when George and I moved to Manchester once and for all. I've grown up in this incredible city however, whilst I was younger always pined to move to London as that's where we were told dreams came true. I think for many a creative soul, we are regularly tortured with the idea of moving to London to take on the world and make it in our chosen industry, myself included.
Whilst at university where I studied Fashion Communication and Promotion, my tutors bombarded us with all the opportunities that London had to offer, drenched us in the vision that it was London or nothing and I fell hook line and sinker for it.
During my placement year at university which is basically a glorified year of work experience, I upped and left for the big smoke. Work experience yes but I must say I have A LOT to thank this year in industry for. I hot footed to London and worked at some pretty cool places for around 6 months.
After 6 LONG months, honestly the longest of my entire life; 6 months of no money and a very limited social life, I moved back to Manchester for a paid internship opportunity and vouched I'd never return to London again.
However, low and behold after being head hunted for a role at ASOS, after graduating I made the dreaded move back to London town.
I had an amazing two years, learnt SO much, worked for one of my favourite brands and made some absolutely incredible friends. And whilst it was great for me to do this, to put my all into London life, into work and into getting my blog off the ground, something just wasn't right.
After two and a half years, and after taking the plunge into full time blogging (I was still freelancing at ASOS at this point) I decided to up and leave for my very own pursuit of happiness.
We managed to find the most incredible flat in all the land, slap bang in the centre of Manchester and I must say I have NEVER EVER looked back.
JACKET- c/o MISSGUIDED, SHIRT- COS, JEANS- 7 FOR ALL MANKIND, BAG- GUCCI, TIGHTS- ASOS, TRAINERS- c/o CONVERSE
So life story over I thought I'd put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard and discuss the pros and cons of London versus anywhere else in the UK. This is simply because I've learnt that it isn't fair for the industry, tutors or the media to make us feel like we must live in London to make it in life. This really is incorrect. Although I have a lot to thank London for, it's not always what it's cracked up to be and I think I've just about got the life x work balance right.
So first up I just wanted to address that it only takes TWO HOURS for me to get into London. Honestly the amount of shocked faces I receive when I tell them I've come from Manchester really is astounding. Manchester isn't the back and beyond people and it really is SO easy for me to commute, on a daily basis if I so wish, in and out of London for meetings, events or otherwise.
Admittedly this was something that took me a while to realise, on deciding to move back home to Manchester I wasn't sure how I could make this work, but after just two trips in and out of the big smoke I realised just how easy this was going to be. Two hours to sit and sleep, sit and think, sit and work or read, it's just two hours and to be perfectly honest I really value those two hours of me time.
Time that I wouldn't normally get to just sit with my music and put the world to rights.
Next up is happiness... aka the most important thing in the world.
Don't get me wrong, whilst I was in London I had the BEST time, made some incredible friends and had some amazing opportunities and experiences that I will never ever forget, but quite honestly something wasn't right; Something I couldn't quite put my finger on.
After what was a rollercoaster of a few month, George and I decided to go with our gut and return to the North to be closer to our family which for me was a guaranteed ride to happiness.
This past year has been the happiest of my life so far and I have Manchester along with a few other things to thank for that. I'm lucky with the line of work that I have some how ended up in, that I can work from pretty much anywhere, as long as there is WiFi of course.
So Manchester was a no brainer for me and I can whole heartedly say that I have never ever looked back, even with the inevitable of missing some events, missing friends and the two hour commute, it was by far the best thing I ever did for both myself and my career and I am bloody glad I stuck to my guns and make this work.
We all know that London has EVERYTHING you could ever want in a city. It has all the best shops, the best exhibitions, restaurants, bars and otherwise, it's the perfect place to live, if you like that kind of thing. And yes, I love that kind of thing.
What I don't like is the hectic GO GO GO lifestyle and the sheer size of the city.
Nothing makes me more smug inside than when George and I can walk to our friends homes, get to the furthest away part of the centre of Manchester without setting foot on public transport.
Manchester has everything that London has, yet it's much more compact. Whilst still being busy and bustling it never feels overcrowded or hectic, to me it's the best of both worlds and I couldn't imagine being anywhere else in the world.
My favourite bloggers Amy from The Little Magpie, Lizzy from Shot From The Street, Anna from The Anna Edit and even Liv from What Olivia Did; not a single one of them live in London, yet are fully emerged in whats going on down there. They're just some of the regional bloggers that I absolutely love yet they're happy to pop in and pop straight back out of the city when the working day or week is done.
There are definitely ways to make regional blogging and working work for you, you just have to get creative. I'm finding that more and more beauty brands in-particular are popping up to Northern cities to educate us on their products and it's so wonderful to see us getting some love. I think people are finally realising that the world doesn't stop at London.... FINALLY!
So there we have it, my little post full of word vomit. Some thoughts and feelings I've had recently that I just had to share. I'd love to know your thoughts on this matter, perhaps you live in London and love it? Perhaps you live there and don't like it? Or perhaps your itching to get down there... Lets discuss.
Thanks for the mention ya wee babe, looking amazing as always xx
I completely get this! I moved to Watford (closest in to London I could afford!) a couple of years ago to try and make a go at London life and just found it wasn’t for me… like you I loved the array of shops and restaurants but that didn’t outweigh the cost of rent and how hectic it was and moved back home just a few months ago and LOVE IT! It’s great that you have a job that allows you to be creative where ever that may be… I’m still working on that part!
Loving the blush converse too!
Rose and Weston x
Love this post, I was born and bred in London so i’ve always felt a sense of belonging, but after falling head over heels with places like Manchester, Newcastle and Bristol, I can definitely see a world outside London. I live in South London which has a real unique sense of community and I think that’s why I can’t think of leaving here. It’s great that brands are spreading out regionally too! Manchester really is a special place, it’s that northern air haha
Love, love, love this post. I’m currently facing the same dilemma in reverse. I am London born and bred, yet just can’t feel myself staying here too much longer. I often visit Manchester and have completely fallen in love with the City and can’t stop thinking about moving there. I love that it’s basically a compact London. It has everything that London has…incredible shops, restaurants, bars, clubs and a budding culture, yet is actually affordable. I hate how people think that England stops at London, Manchester is just as great a City and deserves way more credit!
Ahh Sabrina thanks so much for reading and for taking the time to comment, it means SO freaking much!
I’m buzzing that you love Manchester so much that you’re contemplating leaving your home town of London… Thats bonkers but so great! Keep in touch, if you do pop up to Manchester lets hang 🙂 x
I lived in Manchester for a year after I graduated and loved the city so much! The Northern girls I worked with there became my closest friends and two are actually going to be my bridesmaids! It definitely has lots going on but is compact enough to get around so I totally know what you mean. Saying that, I have lived in London for the past 4 years and now don’t know if I can go anywhere else as it has so much to offer outside of work! Steph x
I love this! I’m currently having this inner debate with myself about where I want to live when I finally move out next year (hopefully). I’m a northern girl too and I love it but there is just something about London that I love but Manchester is just so quirky and the right distance between Leeds and London for me. I think after reading your post I’m leaning more towards Manchester. Thank you for this post Megan! It’s amazing!
Thanks for sharing Dionne, I’m so glad you liked this post. I know what you mean about London, there is something about it and I feel everyone should totally give it a go, but Manchester is the bomb.com and if you’ve never lived here before, I think you’re going to love it x
Emily Rhodes says
I absolutely loveeee this post! My hometown is just a little bit outside of Manchester but I’m currently at uni down south. I already feel like I am going to have to pick between these same two cities when I graduate in Summer, but for me Manchester has got to be the winner. I loved reading this post so thank you for sharing it Megan.
Thanks so much for commenting Emily, it means a lot! I’m so glad you enjoyed this post and I am BLOODY well chuffed to hear that Manchester is your winner too! xo
This is so relatable to me, Megan! Wow! It’s so refreshing to hear someone say this out loud because I’ve had years of uni lecturers, friends and colleagues egging me on to do London and after succumbing to pressure to climb my chosen career ladder (I work in broadcasting) I moved down earlier this year.
It was a fantastic learning experience and it’s great for my CV having climbed the career ladder down there… But, like you, there was something I couldn’t quite put my finger on about London not feeling quite right to me…
I lived in Manchester before for 7 years and like you, I fully believe Manchester has everything London has to offer- just in a more compact (and cheaper!) form! So, I decided happiness had to come first and after just 4 months in London- I upped sticks and moved home to Birmingham to be near to my family and boyfriend and I’m SO happy I made that choice.
At first, I felt like an alien for admitting to all my London friends who advocate London life, that I, did not feel the same way… I felt a bit of a failure… But then I thought; failure is not trying- and I did try!
I think London is a great place to travel for weekends and visits to friends etc and I will still have to pop down occasionally for business meetings but… Ultimately, there is no place like home! Reading your post was like reading my own journey this last year and hearing someone else be so honest is so comforting!
Thank you for sharing- I’m not a fashionista at all but I love all your social pages and lifestyle aspects! 🙂
Georgina, thank you SO much for your lovely comment, it means so much that you enjoyed the post and that it resonated with you! And thank you for sharing your story too, sounds exactly the same as mine… Bonkers ey! I am SO glad that like me, you chose happiness and got back to where you belonged. You’ve hit the nail on the head with that of feeling like a failure and having to explain this to your London friends who just didn’t get it, that is totally what happened with me too! Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment, it bloody means SO SO much x
Thanks for this Megan but I also kind of wish you didn’t tell everyone just how brilliant Manchester is. I want it to be kept a secret so all them Londoners don’t turn up!
This is a battle I have often because of being an actor. Lots of work down in London. But ultimately my feeling of contentment has always struggled in London. Manchester has always felt like a much more welcoming place for me and I think, thanks in many ways to your blog,
I’m gonna find myself back in Manc land! So thanks for that 🙂
This was really useful! I’m in my final year of uni and seriously considering a move to Manchester next year, of course I’ve considered London but it’s great to hear it’s not the be all and end all. Thanks Megan x
You’ve put into words exactly what I’ve been struggling with for months. I live in London working for a festival promotions company – which is what I’ve worked so hard for and it’s more than fab – but I’m dreaming of the day I can run back up to Manchester. Get me to that bloody Northern Quarter and back to all the lovely Northerners! x
I spent ten years in Manchester and as many in London before meeting and marrying my husband and moving to the southwest. In my opinion, Manchester made me, in terms of style, independence and confidence. I loved the dry wit of the locals, the great eclectic style of the city centre and the way you can be free to be or do anything in a way you can’t in the capital. Genuinely, folks don’t give a shit in Manchester, they are interested in your style, they don’t judge it the way they do in London. It’s a great city for culture, fashion and clubbing. A brilliant musical heritage (I’m still proud of the fact i dj’d at the hacienda) and a sarcasm and self deprecation you don’t find in other cities. In the words of a t shirt i suspect you still might be able to buy in affleck’s; ‘and on the 7th day, god made Manchester…”. Xx
Anna (Don't Cramp My Style) says
Megan, I can so relate to this! I never lived in London by I have been traveling to events lately approximately 4-5 times a month. Every single time I chat to people, they are in shock that I traveled from Manchester. It’s not bad and totally agree with you for having that moment to yourself, put music on or read a book or newspaper! I recently don’t have time for these pleasures! I mean I know, I am only at the beginning on my journey ( as we chat in Manchester House) but I am kind of having 3 jobs apart from blogging and it’s hard to find time for yourself.
‘manchester have everything except a beach” and we have to agree with Ian here 😉 Since I discovered NQ, I am not moving anywhere, well unless to the actual NQ which is my next goal 🙂 ps. I wasn’t much commenting but reading you regularly girl 🙂
I totally agree! I’m happiest when surrounded by my friends and family no matter where that is and it just so happens to be in a small town. It’s so nice to go to London but also amazing to come home out of the madness!
I moved there for about a month when I first finished uni to be a stylist and I hated it! The commute, the atmosphere, the craziness! Definitely not for me!
Katie Lennon says
I have loved heading in to Manchester since I was about 16.
As you were saying I love how laid back it feels in Manchester! I went to London last year and I couldn’t handle how fast paced it is in London!
Victoria BH says
I am sooooooooooo glad that there is a blog post about this! Don’t get me wrong, I have always wanted to go to London and I may well be doing just that in a few months with university; but there is no way I could stick it down there! I would worry about being late to work and getting stuck in traffic and having to get up earlier than my early alarm clock just to beat the rush hour. I’m looking to move away for another two years of university after this year with Huddersfield being my main option. With my boyfriend living up north and me in the Midlands, I think up North is just going to be as good as London, if not better in its own little way.
Victoria BH says
I was also meant to say that me heading up North quite a lot has meant that I can understand what Megan says in this post! I prefer it to be honest!
I definitely feel this Megan – I moved from the Cotswolds to Surrey, after years of thinking ‘London is the place’ but wanted to come back to greenery. Honestly, I love having access to London and Brighton from where I live and yeah, it’s helped being nearer to all the events but I don’t know if I could live there anymore (22 going on 90) it’s nice to be out the way and all my London pals come here and it’s amazing to see them relax into calm! Good on you for sticking to your gut and making it work!
Britton Loves | Lifestyle Beauty Wellbeing
I’ve been at uni in London for the last three years and am so worried about leaving once I graduate, maily because of the perceived wealth of opportunities here! I’m sure my time in London is far from over but I also feel something is amiss and would love to be closer to my family. I guess it’s something I’ve still got to work out, but it’s great to know it’s not all doom and gloom back up North- thanks for your wise words!
Yay, good on you for writing a post that will hopefully help bloggers, and everyone really, realise there are other buzzing places than London where it’s great to live and work.
I get your love for Manchester as I’ve got the same feeling for Bristol, where it’s easy to commute by walk, bike or buses and has way too many incredible independent shops, pubs and venues.
The grass is not always greener on the other side indeed.
YES CLARA! Thank you so much for your comment, I love Bristol too, my best friend lives there and I MUST get back there very soon x
I hear you lady! Even though is Essex my commute to London is just over an hour, I still love being close enough to do what I need to then heading back to the countryside at the end of the day! I adore you and everything you do lady, you’re killing it as always and paving the way for every non-London based blogger out there!
Megan I love how you talk so passionately about your hometown! I work in London although reside in a little market town just outside of it and I love that I can pop in and out whenever it takes my fancy but ultimately home is home!
This was a great read and if anything, I need to get my butt to Manchester for a nosey around! xo
This is amazing!! I went to uni in Kent and everyone raved about London but I’m from the Peak District and find Manchester is much much more friendly and accessible. Have even convinced my southern boyfriend to move up here! Love your blog x
I definitely needed to read this, I am currently living in London, but with my boyfriend coming from up north and his job there, I am taking the move and I have been so scared about it, but this makes me feel alot more calm and settled about it all, although it wont be manchester and it will be leeds instead, I think it’s probably very similar. Its lovely to see how others like yourself make things work and you dont have to be living in london, all my life all ive heard is, living in london will give you the best opportunities, but actually its so hard to live here and have a nice balance in life. Thank you for this post, its definitely made me feel alot more at ease at the thought of moving north.
Ahh jess, thank you for your lovely comment but honestly don’t be scared! Leeds is such a great city and so well connected to Manchester and London and so many other awesome cities so you’ll love it and have the best of both worlds. Family is everything girlie girl <3 x
I totally get this!! I moved to MCR 7 years ago from the south ( all my friends live in London and think I’m nuts) and I’ve never looked back! Best city in the world!
beautiful look 🙂 Love the bag 🙂
I’m leaving London to return to Manchester in 2 weeks and this has made me feel so much better!
I can wait to re-explore my hometown 🙂
I’ve read this blog post and I rely to it so much even though I’m not British. I’m Belgian but I’ve visited Manchester 7 times. I can’t explain why but I’ve left a (huge) piece of my heart here. Maybe it’s because of the great food, the people, the architecture, the things to do.. People usually think the UK = London but they’re so wrong. I’m a proud Manchester ambassador back in Belgium and I can’t wait to book my tickets and come back 🙂
WOW Sandra, that means oh so much to me! Keep flying the flag for Manchester in Belgium, it means a lot! X
I really relate to this, except for me it’s not London but Paris. I live in the South of France, and in France all you hear is that Paris is the heart of the country. It’s where everything happens, where all the jobs are: even though it’s quite true, it’s really annoying because the rest of the country feels really left out. Just as England is so much more than London, France is way more than Paris too.
Megan Ellaby says
Ahhhh yes I can totally imagine!!!