On April 24, 2004, our lives in London were to be irrevocably changed with the arrival of twins, Charlie and James. Our number of children doubled overnight from two to four and suddenly, the house that seemed almost roomy for four was downright squished for six.

Gabrielle and Roo de SelincourtGabrielle and Roo de Selincourt

But perhaps more pertinently, now having three children under two years of age any prospect of continuing work was rendered financially impossible due to the cost of childcare and lack of family support in lieu.

Which gave my husband the window of opportunity he’d been waiting for.

Clearly he didn’t book having twins when we ‘went for’ number three and got three and four, but the situation we found ourselves in meant he was able to voice what he’d been thinking for some years.

Though we’d met in London and both loved living there, he’d always felt it was not the right place to raise children.

With no job to tie me to London and his job being somewhat more flexible, he bravely raised the prospect of selling up and moving out to ‘the country’.

He didn’t have a destination in mind and, rather insanely in retrospect, left the decision to me. Trusting a mother of four to make life-changing decisions was pretty bonkers, but I’m pleased to say it turned out just fine.

Our children had 11 years between the eldest and youngest so when I started researching our move to the not sure where, I had to take into account secondary education for my first born, Roo.

London, like many places, was a nightmare for being in the right house for the right catchment for the right school and I was very apprehensive about making the move while trying to line all these ducks up.

In addition, neither my husband or I had any pull towards our home county, Surrey, and didn’t have another area in mind.

I just knew I did not want to be too remote or I might go a little mad with 3 tiny tots. I literally had no idea where to start looking.

Then, serendipity came my way.

A great friend, Kirsty, knew I’d been trying to find the solution of where to go without compromising my sanity and suggested Torbay.

“You’ll love it – there’s always something going on”.

A previous flatmate of hers moved with her doctor husband to Torquay and she had spent many happy visits here.

Thank goodness for the internet. One very small search gave me the magic combination. Living by the sea and grammar schools that don’t require you to be in the catchment area. Hoorah!

We moved in August 2005.

One of my first expeditions was taking the children to Paignton Zoo.

Little did I realise I’d picked the busiest time of year; coming from London being in a crowd was normal. The zoo became one of our ‘go-to’ places, along with the leisure centre (thank heavens for Bumpers Back Yard) and, starting our Devon life renting, we were able to take our time house hunting.

Roo started at Churston Grammar shortly after we moved and I’m so pleased to say all my children have loved going there. I’m also proud to say I now work there and it’s genuinely one of the most wonderful places I have ever worked.

There’s not a day that goes by that I am not grateful to live here. There is a long list of fabulous stuff going on (albeit paused at the moment). Thank you Kirsty, Thank you Devon. Thank you Torbay.