Following ten years at boarding school where I mostly, but not always, avoided the Headmistress' office, I attended university in Bristol and completed my industrial traineeship in the Accountancy department of IBM Headquarters in Hampshire. I then spent an incredible 10 months backpacking over three continents from 2006-2007 before settling down to life in Bristol - working my way up to a respectable job in middle management. Life was good, if perhaps more landlocked than I had envisaged.
I worked hard and I played hard, but almost every bit of annual leave I took saw me trundling South down the M5 back to North Devon to be nearer to the coast and the Island.
An important question
It was two similar remarks made by unconnected friends, coinciding with a particularly stressful period of work life that saw me re-evaluating my previous decisions. “Have you ever thought about moving home?” , “Do you think you’ll ever move back to Devon?”… off the cuff comments that suggested my friends knew me better than I knew myself!
In truth I wasn’t all that sure what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go but I knew that a change was required because I felt unfulfilled and had a yearning to be back by the sea.
In reality I’d just been doing what was expected of me given my high quality education. At my school we were all expected to head off to University and move up our chosen career ladders… it was just the done thing. I felt that a move back to the South West seemed insurmountable. The thought of selling the house and packing everything up too much stress to even begin to think about.
Although I could envisage a life by the coast with inspiration a plenty for my creativity I knew I need to push myself to make it happen. It’s a hard thing to decide to shake your life up – and I talked it through with friends so much it must have been like having a broken record around! The response was always the same – that I could do it and they had faith in me to carve out the lifestyle that I wanted. My work life balance needed a serious overhaul but I had to be the one to kick start it.
A Sea Change
To cut a long story much shorter, the summer of 2017 saw me selling my beloved 1860’s cottage in Gloucestershire and upping sticks back to the West Country. Driving down the North Devon link road with the sunset streaming through the windscreen, and my rescue dog Jazzy on the back seat, I can remember calling a friend & giddily shouting “I can’t believe I’ve bloody done it” through a mixture of tears and laughter at the thought of what lay ahead.
I’d taken a demotion at work so that I could be home based without managing a team of staff so my day-job was all sorted, and I could now find time for creativity with plenty of inspiration on my doorstep. I moved home on the Thursday and the following Tuesday I joined the volunteer crew of the local Lifeboat station. A few months later I traded in my car for a camper van and my rescue dog and I started to really settle back in to our new coastal life.
Lucy Lo-Vel (me!) working as a volunteer for the RNLI
The Grandfather Connection
I had been a lampshade maker since my Gloucestershire days, but I found that I now really wanted to explore my creative side and I repeatedly thought about the amazing work of my Grandad hanging on the walls of the family home. I wanted to bring his work greater recognition and to start a creative family business albeit by collaborating with him posthumously.
I started to talk to my Dad about it and he showed me some of the original artworks he had including some incredible poster-style prints that I really fell in love with.
From these early discussions Tide & Isle was born, offering prints of those original 1950’s & 1960’s artworks and putting smaller more intricate drawings and watercolours onto lampshades.
Later this year I’ll be adding more products to the range – I’m already excited to share them with you. Stay tuned to hear more about both the Lo-Vel’s on Lundy, and the current day adventure!
Shake it up!
Most of all – remember that if you think you need to give your life a shake up, and are too scared to do it, take it from this girl who did just that.
It is possible… you can really change your life for the better if you’re willing to take that first step.