MAKING THE MOVE TO CORNWALL: CHILDREN'S AUTHOR
PUBLISHED: 12:51 26 May 2015 | UPDATED: 13:02 30 August 2017
Children's author Annie B shares the story of her move from London to Cornwall and offers her tips for making it work
A move to Cornwall marks the start of a new life for many people, and none so much as children’s author and artist Annie Roberts who left the glamour of London’s music business more than 15 years ago. She shares the secrets of her Cornish success with CAROL BURNS
For most, the move from London to Cornwall is a one-way trip. A better quality of family life, more space, a milder climate and stunning coastal walks, beaches and food make it pretty much impossible to return to the capital.
For Annie Roberts, who moved from West Central London more than 15 years ago, life has been transformed. Now living in Tregoyne in Porthtowan, with husband Stephen and five-year-old Sonny, their home, she says is: a funky little green surrounded by houses full of our friends and creative people, Driftwood furniture makers, photographers, writers, quilters and designers…’
She continues: I always wanted to leave the crazy media life and fast world of the music biz and television to live by the sea, walk the wonderful beaches, sit amongst the many wild cliff tops of wild flowers, surf, and lead a slower life so I could concentrate on getting back to my creativity and myself… the real me I felt I had lost in London after 15 years.’
But she admits Cornwall wasn’t her first choice. I actually planned to move to Spain and open a juice bar initially, but then came to visit a friend in Cornwall who took me to the Minnack Theatre and the magical Porthcurno beach and that was it, I was in love!
I put my flat on the market at 10k above the valued amount and sold it in a week! I then panicked as it was all happening so quickly, so went to India for six weeks to really consider the move, and on my return, knew in my heart it was the right move so packed up and left my fast-paced media life in London and have never looked back.’
In the beginning, she commuted to London for work, doing four or five days in television but soon got tired and looked for alternative - and very different - work. I found a position supporting a brilliant disabled art student at the Falmouth College of Art, which really inspired me to get back to my own art.
Everywhere I looked I was inspired by Cornwall’s amazing beauty and the wonderful ocean and azure blues and aqua tones; so I soon began painting and now 15 years on my art can be seen on books and DVDs around the world.’
Today she is a children’s author, her book The Hare and the Wise old Apple Tree, which she says was inspired by teachings with the Dalai Lama and what she describes as a light bulb moment…when he said: “if we want to stop terrorism in the future we have to teach our children about love and compassion for others.”. Two weeks later I was illustrating a positive children’s book.’
There are many, many differences to life in London, she says. There’s a better quality of life here; living at a slower pace, surrounded by interesting, quirky artistic people who love the same things I do: camping, sitting by the fire, beach and woodland walks, conversation, amazing locations, always a hidden gem around the corner. I also got a dog, a gorgeous golden retriever, something I would never do in London.
I met my husband, got married (something I had never planned) – became a mum – definitely not on the agenda either, as I was a total free spirit,’ she continues. So now I am a mum, something I love, and now I have written a children’s book, and am reading it in schools, doing story telling and painting workshops… so far away from the international jet setter, working in music, TV and advertising.
I just felt Cornwall was my spiritual home… Lots of my high-flying London friends constantly rang me up asking if I was coming back or bored, but far from it, I just loved my new life.’
And what’s her advice to anyone thinking of moving to Cornwall? Ask yourself what is important for you, what do you value most? A relaxed lifestyle, spending time with family, in nature etc… Do you love the outside life? Do you enjoy amazing quirky art and theatre and locations to die for? If the answer is yes, Cornwall is for you.
Explore the work options or be open to a new career - and with the internet I feel there are many more options to make your dreams come true and to live and work in our beautiful Cornwall.’
This article first appeared in Cornwall Life May 2015