The power of community
With National Friendship Day approaching, we caught up with a group of neighbours at our Woods Meadow development, to find out how they went from strangers to friends for life – and how to go about meeting people in your new community of homeowners.
Images supplied by @roseberryeverafter, @theharrodsathome, @hadleighhome2020 and @woodsmeadowsouter
Hi ladies! Great to meet you all. Could you introduce yourselves, and tell us how you all came to be friends?
Marijka (@roseberryeverafter): We’re Philippa, Marijka, Lauren and Laura. Believe it or not we all became friends via Instagram! We followed each other’s home accounts and realised we all had plots next door to each other on the same Persimmon development. The friendships have blossomed ever since!
How would you describe the relationship between you all? Do you spend time at each other’s houses, go out together?
Marijka: Our relationship is really special - more than ‘just neighbours’. We are always there for one another. We always say we feel like we’ve known each other for much longer then the year we have lived here! We have a private drive WhatsApp group where we talk to each other most days, as well as asking questions like ‘do you have any space in your wheelie bin?’ or consulting on Christmas decorations! The excitement in the group chat when our street lights got turned on or when I realised our oven was self-cleaning was especially funny!
We spend lots of time round each other’s houses, from BBQs to games nights or just a cuppa or glass of wine. It’s a bonus that we don’t have far to walk home after! We are all similar ages and have young children, so it’s nice that they will grow up together and they all get on. I trust the girls completely and know that I can text any one of them and they will come round and keep me company if my husband is on a night shift, or help with school runs or with my boys.
Lauren (@theharrodsathome): Our relationship is great and getting stronger - we also spend time with each other for breakfast dates, special events, going for walks, and days out with the kids at Sea Life and the zoo.
What’s your fondest memory of your community at Woods Meadow?
Philippa (@hadleighhome2020): My fondest memory is of the our first Easter egg hunt we did on the private drive after being in our new homes about 6 weeks. It was so much fun and great to see all the children running around - it was such a success we decided to make it a yearly tradition!
Laura (@woodsmeadowsouter): Mine has to be when we first moved in during lockdown. At the time we weren’t allowed to go in each other’s houses, so we used to have ‘drinks on the drive’. We’d all sit out in camping chairs and have a few drinks and just get to know each other!
Moving to a new place where you don't know anyone can be tough. How has having this community of neighbours helped you?
Philippa: Being a new mum, life can get pretty lonely, but knowing I have these wonderful neighbours right next door has been a massive relief! I know that they are there for me no matter what time of day or night and no matter what the problem is! Even if you aren’t a new mum, life can get lonely and become isolating but great neighbours and knowing you have a community that cares around you is priceless.
Marijka: What Philippa said! We moved from another county and as exciting as it was, it was also quite daunting not knowing anyone. Knowing the girls from talking on Instagram helped break the ice - knowing we are all on this home journey together and immediately have a common interest and lots to talk about - especially home decor! Knowing I have the girlies next door makes me feel safe and I’m so grateful for them.
Lauren: Agreed! It’s the things like having someone there to help rescue your plug situ with your Christmas tree, or to have a chat and a cuppa with, or to host a street party with to celebrate the Jubilee. Having someone there, and knowing that they aren’t far away.
Finally, do you have any advice for anyone who is thinking of moving house and is daunted by the prospect of starting fresh in a new place?
Philippa: No matter how daunting it is, go and knock on your neighbour’s door to introduce yourself and your family (take a cake, that always goes down well!). Hopefully you will be lucky like us and make lifelong friends!
Marijka: Even if I didn’t know the ladies prior to moving in, I still would have put myself out there and knocked on the door and introduced myself. Great neighbours really improve your quality of life and if you can help your neighbours in any way, it goes a long way. Even the little things like taking in a wheelie bin or cutting their grass. And with the summer coming, what better excuse than to invite your neighbours round for a garden party!
Lauren: Do try and get to know your neighbours. One of the things a new estate is good for is that everyone is in the same position – so start with a ‘Hello’, and go from there!
You can find Philippa, Marijka, Lauren and Laura on Instagram at @hadleighhome2020, @roseberryeverafter, @theharrodsathome, and @woodsmeadowsouter.
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