I thought it was about time to jump on here to give you a little life update, now that we’ve been living in Norway for over 8 months already. In one way it feels like we’ve been here for years, yet on the other hand it feels like just yesterday when we were packing up our house in London… So much has changed – for all of us – so I thought I would give you a little life update on all things relocating, our new life in Norway, family life and what my plans are, career wise.
OUR NEW LIFE IN NORWAY (AND WHY WE MADE THE MOVE)
If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you would be up to speed on most parts of our life over here. Where we’re living, our daily life, etc… To sum it up short, life is good here. Life is really good here if you have kids, which was one of our main reasons for relocating to Norway.
However, if I’m going to be totally honest; back when I was 19 years old, I couldn’t wait to hop on to that plane to Australia, and escape Norway. As however idyllic and safe it is to live here, it’s always been so small in my eyes. It’s a small capital city, a small country, and in my eyes – a small community, where most of the times, everyone knows what you’re doing (or not doing). I was longing for a big city, where I could be whoever I wanted to be, do whatever I wanted to do. First stop was Sydney for a year, Barcelona for three, and I finally settled in London for 11 years (I was supposed to be going to New York in-between that, but then I met Sam, so I stayed in London).
Ask me a few years back (pre children), and there’s no way I would ever consider moving back to Norway, but here we are, and I have to admit, I’m very happy with our decision to move. Of course, it’s not as exciting as London, however we naturally stopped utilising London in the way we used to, after having Rio, and all we wanted was a safe and green environment to raise him in. Fortunately we were living in our lovely house in Teddington, which we had a lot of happy years in, and which had great schools and parks, but something was pulling us back to Norway (mainly being close to my family), so off we went. We decided to move to the capital (I grew up in the city suburbs, only 10/15 min outside of the capital), and Oslo has changed so much since I lived here! The food, fashion and culture scene has expanded and boomed to another level. It’s thriving and developing so much, and it’s fun to be back to enjoy it all.
However, believe it or not, it was actually Sam that was the driving force to move here; in fact, he’s been wanting to ever since he visited the country nearly 11 years ago. He loves the lifestyle, the outdoors and the quality of life. Fortunately he managed to do a direct transfer with his work, after deciding that we wanted to make the leap, so that was ideal. But it also meant we had to move a bit sooner than anticipated. We didn’t have time to sell our house, so we rented it out instead, and it was a rush to find somewhere suitable to live here in Oslo, albeit we managed to secure a place just in the nick of time… Now everything has changed: we are selling our house in Teddington and we are just about to start the renovation on our new property we purchased here in Oslo (follow my new home account for all things renovation and interior). We decided to stay on in the city for 1-2 more years, as the capital is still relatively small, and the area we’re in still feels like a little village compared to London (I mean this in a good way). We’re surrounded by lovely parks, and we’re minutes away from Rio’s kindergarten, which is situated right in one of the parks. The overall work/life balance for Sam is brilliant, we see him so much more and everything is generally much more flexible and incredibly family oriented (a huge difference from his previous job/life in London). The commute for Sam is a short walk downtown, and the general pace is great in terms of family life.
When all of that said; it hasn’t all been perfect, and although we’re happy overall that this is now our new home, it’s not just been plain sailing. I haven’t lived here properly since my early twenties, and I’ve had to adjust to a city which feels very different to the previous cities I have been in for the last 15 years. I am getting to know my hometown again, and although I’m fortunate to have kept in touch with my closest girl friends, I’m also having to build up and secure our new life here, creating something which works for us as a family. Sam loves living here, however he misses his family and friends a lot. He’s never lived anywhere else expect for the U.K., so the adjustment has been huge for him. We both miss our lives in London; the convenience of a big city, all our friends and our fun life over there. Personally, it took me 3+ years to fully adjust to London when I first moved there, so I reckon it’s going to take some time to fully feel like Norway is home as well.
FAMILY LIFE & DAILY STRUCTURE
I guess I’ve already summed up a lot in the previous section, but let’s go a bit deeper on the family life, why we feel it’s so much better here than London and our day-to-day structure… Family was, and is the main driving force to moving here. To be close to my family, and for Rio to be close to them too, especially his cousins. I’ve been living abroad for so many years, that it felt right to finally move back once I had a little family of my own. The relationship he has with my parents now, is so lovely to witness. Fortunately, we also get to see Sam’s family every few months too, so Rio is one very loved and lucky boy.
He started kindergarten in the beginning of August, and as with everything, it’s been a journey – but we’re at a really good place now. He settled in quickly initially, but then after a few months he started acting out a bit when he was here, but now it’s all back on track, and it’s a struggle to even get him back with me when I come to pick him up! His speech has developed so much too, and it’s so rewarding and fun to see such rapid change in him (although I definitely feel like he’s growing up much too quickly!).
As mentioned, the work/life balance was one of the main reasons for moving to Norway, and our overall family life has improved so much. On most days, Sam comes home between 16:30-17:00, he doesn’t have to commute for 1.5-2 hours every day, and most days he walks to work. This is the polar opposite to his life in London, where his commute was so long, he was home late most days, and a lot of travelling.
Our daily structure has changed a lot, with Rio being in kindergarten full time, from 9-16 on most days. He’s happy, we’re happy and the next step now, is to complete the renovation of our new home, and get him settled there. He seems to adapt very quickly to things, so I’m hoping it will be a smooth transition when the time comes.
CAREER UPDATE & MY FUTURE PLANS
One of the things I was prepared for when moving abroad, was a somewhat change with my career, and the work life I had built for myself in London. I’m of course incredibly fortunate that I’m in a career which is easy transferable in terms of everything being online, and I can technically work from ‘anywhere’, but I was still prepared for things to be different once I located to another country. All my contacts, brands and physical meetings were always in London, and suddenly being away from all of that, I knew things would drop off a bit.
In a way, I’m glad that it did, especially in a time where I didn’t actually have much spare time to work, as we were busy building a life here, and looking after Rio full-time (before he started in the kindergarten in August). All my time was dedicated to Rio, transitioning him as seamlessly into a new country, as well as keeping on top of our new home being renovated in time, and finding our feet in this new city. On top of all of this, I had been feeling somewhat uninspired and unsure of everything I was doing for some time. I guess that’s where the downside of social media comes in, where you see everyone else’s progression and success, and you can’t help to feel somewhat lost and insecure with your own path and destiny. I found myself questioning what I was doing all of the time, more than enjoying the journey, and suddenly everything started feeling quite negative.
I’m a natural creative at heart (I majored in art), and I always thought I would fall into a more creative industry (like my parents and my sister – seamstress, art director and graphic designer). Not that social media and writing this blog isn’t creative (I did after all start this blog as a creative outlet, from my regular day job) – but I always envisioned doing something more physical and actually working with my hands. So when I moved here, I decided it was the perfect opportunity for a brand new start; a new chapter to do something fresh. It was exciting, and I felt fortunate being in the position of having all of this free time, now that Rio was full time in the kindergarten – to reflect and delve into new beginnings. But then the pressure of actually finding something to do, became incredibly overwhelming and it all became a bit too much for me. So I took a step back, and took a little break from all the chasing and all my thoughts, and ironically, that’s when it suddenly came to me. Not completely out of the blue, but something which I’ve always wanted to pursue professionally, but never had the confidence to… Interior Design.
Ever since I was a little girl, I was re-arranging my room on a weekly basis. I loved going to flea and antique markets, buying furniture to paint and sand down. I even did it for my parents friends, in exchange for some pocket money. I loved working with my hands, I painted, I made sculptures, I loved writing… And I was obsessed with creating new interior and spaces within our home. As you know, my husband and I have been in the property industry for nearly 8 years now, where we’ve renovated and sold 5 properties in London. I would project manage and design the properties, and he would be on top of the finances. I absolutely loved this process, and albeit stressful at times, it was fun and at the exact pace that I enjoy. Throughout this time, I’ve had so many messages from my readers and followers, whether I would ever consider doing interior design full-time. I always brushed it off, as I never thought I was good enough, or that I would be able to do it for someone else other than me, which would be a completely new territory all-together. And even as I’m writing this now, I’m not sure what the future holds! All I know is that I am going to finally pursue something within the interior design industry (I start an Interior Design Consultant course in February), and I might make something out of it, or I might just continue with our own property projects… I have a lot to give and I feel so inspired to start this new chapter and career venture.
When all of that said, I’m not planning on shutting down the blog or my Instagram, I’ll still be sharing regular content as always, however this will just be an extension to my regular content, for my new life here in Norway. I hope you’ll stick around for the journey!