THERE’S no denying that the coronavirus crisis has turned all our worlds upside down – but for Lauren Arris Cartwright, life is basically unrecognisable now.
In March last year, the retail worker hopped on a plane from her home in Northern Ireland to visit a guy she’d been casually dating who lived in Manchester.
Lauren, 27, travelled to Bolton from Northern Ireland to visit a guy she’d been dating – and then found herself stuck there in lockdownCredit: Lauren Arris Cartwright
Before the trip, Lauren, 27, had only been on four dates with Dan after they’d been introduced at a friend’s wedding.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Lauren explained: “When driving to the airport on the Friday, my dad jokingly said ‘you better come back on Monday’.”
However the following week, the UK went into total lockdown – and Lauren and Dan’s found they’d accidentally jumped a few steps ahead in their relationship and spent months living in each other’s pockets.
“It was really hard at first,” Lauren said. “All I had with me was just a few bits of clothing, makeup and my toothbrush – it really wasn’t ideal!”
The couple had only been on four dates before they accidentally moved in togetherCredit: Lauren Arris Cartwright
Unsurprisingly, Lauren found life in Bolton “very very very different” to the town Coleraine where she lived.
Although she grew up around beaches and very few cars on the road, Lauren has come to enjoy the quicker pace of life in Bolton.
Initially, Lauren was furloughed from her job at Topshop – but in July, she had to decide whether she would return to Northern Ireland or stay living with Dan.
She added: “I had a chat with Dan but we just agreed that I was really happy here so I just decided to stay.”
All I had with me was just a few bits of clothing, makeup and my toothbrush – it really wasn’t ideal!
Lauren Arris Cartwright
When restrictions eased, Lauren travelled home to pick up some more of her belongings and returned to Bolton where she started a new job in September 2020.
However, the couple have now outgrown the flat where they spent the first lockdown and are planning on moving into a cottage.
“It’s a really cute wee cottage,” she added. “I’m sick of living in this flat now so we thought we’d get something bigger!”
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