Guest post by Rachel Bull, founder and editor of Live Urban Love Rural (LULR)
I was a fledgling journalist when I moved to London. Relocating from my safe little Yorkshire village to the sprawling neighbourhoods of the capital was a lonely adventure – not least because my favourite blogs and Facebook didn’t even exist for company. It was a tough transition for two reasons, I guess. I missed the quietness of the country, having a garden, the nods from strangers on the street, the simpleness of it all. And I missed feeling like I belonged to a community. It was as if the order that defined me had been stripped away, I could choose to rebuild it however I wanted, but there were so many options available that I was completely overwhelmed.
It’s hard to comprehend, but at that time social media and blogging were all very primitive. What I’m about to say may shock, but Twitter had not yet been invented. (So that I don’t feel quite so old, I must add a caveat here: it has all developed VERY quickly!). The era of commonplace online social interaction still belonged to the future, so while I doubt I’d think twice about searching for crafting groups on twitter nowadays, it was difficult then to know how to even begin building a community around me.
I know that I’m not the first person to feel this way – I’m far too ordinary for that – nor will I be the last. I also know that there are a lot of like-minded people out there who crave a bit of the simple life in the city. I felt compelled to create something where I could feed my passion for all things rural, and where I could build my own online community for others to be a part of.
After many months of designing, building, branding, writing and editing, my website Live Urban Love Rural.com was born! At LULR I try to show readers that they can live a simpler, rural-style existence and still reside in the capital. Among our launch copy were interviews with the founder of craft workshop The Make Lounge and luxury blanket weaver Holly Berry. There was also practical guides to helping urban bees, allotment gardening, and tackling DIY (get your dream home series). I took a look at one of London’s most intriguing community garden projects and tried out a fabric printing class. This week I review a course at new sewing café Sew Over It, where I got to make a patchwork lampshade out of beautiful Liberty London fabrics! It’s well worth checking out for total inspiration. I also make sure we have an up to date events listings of all the countrified goings on in London, such as farmers markets, crafts fairs, local festivals and exhibitions.
I launched LULR on 21 July and the response so far has been truly heartening. I received emails from readers who told me that they, like me, found London living hard from time to time, but that LULR had inspired them to find their own quiet corner of the city. I’m so excited about the amazing articles coming up over the summer – we’re featuring an urban writers group, interviewing the green ambassador from London’s Savoy hotel, and we will have lots more tips on growing in tiny spaces. Our social media presence is getting bigger everyday. For me, making sure this continues is a big priority at the moment. Once we’re more established, I want to launch a products page, featuring gorgeous balcony furniture and handmade soft furnishings, and I’m thinking about starting a Family channel, which would give advice and inspiration to young mums in London looking for green activities to do with the kids. I’m still testing the idea out, but if anyone thinks it could be a goer let me know!