A year ago today I packed up my life in London and relocated to Newcastle. I honestly can't believe it's been a year already, time really does fly.
Before meeting Simon I had never been to Newcastle before and I had the completely wrong idea about what it would be like. I'm so ashamed to admit that I thought it would be miserable, wet and freezing cold with absolutely nothing going on. Instead I found a city that was so alive. I fell in love immediately - with the people, the gorgeous architecture, the restaurants and bars, the Quayside with its iconic bridges, and the easy access to the beautiful coast and countryside. I'm not sure that I have ever connected to a city in the same way that I did with Newcastle. Very quickly I could see myself living up here.
In the early stages of our long distance relationship Simon and I had decided that if either of us was ever going to make the move that Simon would come down South to me. I couldn't see myself wanting to leave London for anyone or anything.
I think by my second or third visit to the North East I was smitten and it wasn't too long after that I announced to Simon that I was not only in love with him but was also in love with Newcastle and was thinking about relocating. I'm not sure he quite believed me to start with!
It feels like only yesterday that I packed up my room in my house share in Wimbledon. It was a bit of an odd morning. My housemates were both out so my last morning in London I woke to an empty house.
The removal men turned up early, I knew the journey would take them hours so wanted to get my things up to the North as soon as possible. The plan was that the removal men would take all of my boxes and the few bits of bedroom furniture that I had and I would then finish cleaning the house before hauling my suitcase across London to catch my train to Newcastle.
Unfortunately in the chaos that followed I somehow managed to give my suitcase to the removal men, only to realise a short while after they had left that they were driving up to Newcastle with my train ticket. Not the best start to my move!
So I trundled off to the station to buy myself a new £120 ticket to Newcastle. It was kind of odd buying a single ticket, knowing that I wouldn't be coming back. I confess that as the train pulled out of Kings Cross Station there were a few tears. When making a huge lifestyle change you can't help but worry if you've made the right decision. I loved my 5 years in London and suddenly I was leaving everything I knew behind - a well paid job that I enjoyed, brilliant friends and a city that I had called my home for so long.
A 3 hour train journey is quite a long one to make when you're off on a life changing adventure. I had a lot of time to reminisce and think and spent most of the journey swaying between being nervous, happy, worried and excited. Moving in with your boyfriend of a year is a pretty big decision in itself without adding a city change to the equation.
Any worries I had soon vanished when I stepped off the train at Central Station, knowing that I could now officially call Newcastle my home. I jumped on the Metro and raced to our new flat to see Simon. I can't even describe how amazing it was walking through the door that first time to see him standing in our flat knowing that we'd no longer have to go weeks without seeing each other and that I would no longer be leaving Newcastle in tears on a Sunday night after having to say goodbye to him.
And there began a brand new chapter to my life. Some parts of my new life have been very hard to adapt to and I'm not going to claim that it's all been easy - sometimes I miss my old life terribly, but I've never for one second regretted my decision.
My first year in Newcastle has been amazing and I feel so fiercely proud to live in such an amazing city. I have a feeling that 2014 is going to be a huge year for me, my man and my city ... watch this space!