A blogger and her family on why they swapped Hackney living for Suffolk life

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    By Yasemin Cusack

    Hackney is one of those London boroughs where people live in their 20s and early 30s, and move out when they have children. 24,597 people moved out in 2018.

    Stoke Newington resident, Emma Paton, 38, started a fashion and lifestyle blog and Instagram platform called Finlay Fox after stopping her career in fashion buying to have children. She’s married to music composer, Liam Paton, and they have two kids: Finn (6) and Violet (3). They have sold their Stoke Newington house and are moving to Suffolk.

    How long have you been living in Hackney?

    We have lived in stoke Newington N16 for 8 years. We picked to buy in Hackney as it was a great place to start a family with everything we needed on our doorstep. It seemed to be a creative community with good schools and plenty of places to eat and find good coffee! It seemed to be the right area to invest in after being out priced in Islington and we had friends and family who also lived in the area.

    Why did you buy your house in Hackney?

    We struggled to secure a house when we looked in the area 8 years ago and actually had to move in with my in laws in order to be in with a better chance of securing a house. We built up a good relationships with estate agents and were lucky to see a rare double fronted Victorian property in Stoke Newington before it even went on the open market we snapped it up. We started with a double story side return (adding lots of light with big panels of glass at the back) and more recently added a loft extension. Taking it from a 2 bed to a 5 bed house.

    How was life living in Hackney? Your favourites?

    We love Hackney! Our neighbourhood brunch fave is Esters and The Prince Pub. Also London Fields (where my husband has worked for 10+ years), Broadway Market, Clissold Park, Dalston Curve Garden, Lizzy’s on Newington Green, Meat N16, The gelato shop on Albion road. So many good in- dependent shops.

    We love that Stokey it has its own little village vibe going on yet you can still jump on a 73 and be in the depths of central London in 45 minutes.

    Anything you might miss in Hackney?

    We are going to miss the amazing neighbours and friends we made the most and Betty Layward school! Also being able to stroll to Clissold Park in 5 minutes and have good coffee so close! Also uber! We will also miss having family nearby. We will miss the amazing authentic Turkish (Testi and Cirrik) and Vietnamese (Kingsland road) restaurants on our doorstep.

    Why did you decide to move outside of London?

    For more space, less pollution, a lifestyle change and a new adventure!

    Emma Paton in her Stoke Newington house.

    Why did you decide to move to Suffolk?

    We took ages to find the area we wanted to live in. We always thought we would buy a plot of land and build a house but instead we found an interesting property that needed some love in a small village (that a Hackney friend had also recently moved to) with an incredible pub only a few doors down. This seemed to be the better option for next steps
    of moving out of London with young kids.

    Not too remote and somewhere with a village school and community vibe still. We can both work from home which means we will only have to occasionally come into London. We will need to build my husband a music studio in the garden!

    It will be a bit of a project (a grade 2 listed property that will come with many challenges!) but we love renovations and interiors a lot of it I will be sharing on my social media and blog.

    Was it a tough selling and buying process?

    Yes and No. The selling was easy it went over asking price within the first week of viewings, the house is in a very popular area with good schools in the catchment area. We used The Modern House estate agents as they were so positive about the market, who have been excellent and really take that extra step in selling your property. The buying part was harder and the chain was very complicated and it got very stressful, especially as we had to try and tie in and agree the completion date so that it would work with my son starting a new school in September. Honestly the whole experience was really emotionally testing having a young family in tow and we realise how bad the system is here.

    Any tips?

    If you’re thinking of relocating do as much research as you can schools, pubs, the commute, the people! Really think about what is important to you and how much you are willing to take on.

    Also make sure you get a good solicitor! We are getting a removal company to pack our house up for us a bit of a cost but everyone we have spoken to has said it makes the move much less stressful.

    Tell us about your new area?

    It’s a small village in south Suffolk with lots of grade 2 listed buildings and beautiful countryside. Bury st Edmunds is not too far and a really lovely market town. We are looking forward to exploring and being much closer to the beaches of Southwold and Aldeborough.

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