Many of you will know we used to live in Edinburgh, moving back home to Northern Ireland when Luisa was around seven months old. We still miss the city and our friends but the move was inevitable with the higher cost of living and lack of family support in Edinburgh.

Major cities offer so much culture and fantastic experiences but it doesn’t come cheap and you do have to make some compromises. For example the vast majority of people living in a big city live in a flat. If you’re not used to that it could be a bit off-putting, especially if you have young children. I think it’s one of those things you just get used to, there are of course downsides but the opportunity city living affords you balances it out in my opinion. I was reading some interesting facts about flats from Deacon Insurance and it got me thinking about my own experience with city dwelling. I thought I’d some of those cool fact as well as things I think are really great about living in a flat – or tenement, as they’re called in Scotland.



Weird and Wonderful Facts About Flats

  • Did you know that Romans built the first flats in the middle of the first century BC? Their early multi-storey blocks usually had shops on the ground floor and apartments on two or more floors above. These early flats were called insulae or “islands” because they often occupied an entire city block, with roads flowing around like the sea.
  • The first residential tower block in the UK, “The Lawn“, was constructed in Essex in 1951, after the Second World War. It’s now a Grade II listed building.
  • There are over 20 million apartment homes in the U.S. If you stacked them all on top of one another, you could reach the International Space Station 122 times!
  • Dubai’s iconic Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest skyscraper in the world standing at 72 metres high whilst the largest apartment block is The Copan Building in São Paulo. The 38-story residential building is made up of over 1160 apartment units providing homes to more than 5,000 residents.


Why We Loved Apartment Living

As I said before Matt and I lived in Edinburgh for about six years, moving back to Belfast when Luisa was six months old. Living in a tenement or flat whilst pregnant and with a new baby certainly had it’s challenges but there were some big benefits too.

  • We lucked out in that with a few small exceptions we always had great neighbours. Someone to say hello to, take parcels for and generally keep and eye out gives you peace of mind and saves a trip to the sorting office!
  • Shared spaces. I loved our communal garden, it was really big and well maintained – partly by the service charge and partly by residents mucking in. There was a real sense of community and lots of group BBQs.
  • Neighbourhood. Living in a central flat as opposed to a semi in the suburbs means you’re close to everything. I could walk out the front door and be in one of the most exciting cities in the UK in 15 minutes. In the immediate area we were spoilt for choice when it came to shops, cafes and restaurants.