‘Leaving London changed my life’: how one ex-Londoner swapped a Fulham flatshare for a new home, a husband and dream business
Approaching a milestone birthday is a time for reflection. And Emma Moreira’s reflection as she approached her 30th was that her life was not going to plan.
“I’d been through a relationship break up, I was living in a flatshare, my career wasn’t really progressing,” she said. “I was almost 30 and I wasn’t getting anywhere. I literally called my mum and said: “I’m coming home”.
That call was probably the best decision Emma has ever made.
Getting out of the capital not only gave her the chance to buy a home of her own but Emma also met her future husband, and they have recently achieved the dream of setting up their own business.
Back in 2014 Emma, now 38, was sharing a flat in Fulham with a friend, paying £570pcm in rent, and working in exhibition sales.
Moving home to Andover, Hampshire, allowed her to start saving hard for a deposit and in 2015 she met her husband, Andre, 39.
The couple wanted to set up home together but, to save money, decided to look somewhere less expensive than Andover and found themselves living in a tiny £600pcm studio in Southampton.
By 2018 they were ready to buy and paid £135,000 for a two-bedroom flat in the city. Their mortgage, at £440pcm, is far cheaper than Emma’s rent in London or Andover.
She also got a new job, working for an organic wholesaler, while Andre worked in retail and hospitality.
“Southampton is growing on me,” said Emma.
“There are lots of parks, lots of live music and restaurants, and it is quite a cosmopolitan place.”
It has also given Emma and Andre the chance to open their own business, a shop in fashionable Carlton Place. Gaia Health Store, which sells health food and wellbeing products, opened in February last year.
“I would never have been able to do something like this in London because the business rates are so high,” said Emma. “Leaving London has changed my life. I have got everything I wanted: a home, a business, and a partner to share it with.”