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I can’t decide whether this should be a Van Life Loy update or not… It’s been a busy week  in Van and out, and it’s hard to separate the two. 

I write to you from the warmth of the wood burner in The Three Merry Lads, a pub on the edge of the Peak District that accepts visiting campervans and allows free overnight parking if you eat/drink there.


And as I have been working hard for long days this week I am glad to have someone else cook for me and a safe place to park overnight… What’s more they provide hook-up (electricity) and water. It’s a van lifers dream. Well, it is if you’re this Van Lifer with my recent history! Which, incidentally, whilst I have been here has reached the national news. Madness. 

You may think after such incidents I would be tempted to re-think Van Life and I confess, for about 30 minutes I did …But then I remembered all I love about it and how very rare such incidents actually are, and I decided not to let them steal my joy and my adventure. 


The view up here at the Three Merry Lads is beautiful and it’s a relief to know that my needs are met for a whole week and I am safe. And more than safe, I have people to look out for me and check in with at the end of the day. Sarah, Imogen and team – Thank you for looking after me. X

I’ve also had the opportunity to meet and converse with the other visiting Van Lifers: A couple part-timing on holiday in the area, another guy living van life on weekdays passing through for work, and one full-time traveller discovering the world from his camper for more than sven years now. It’s been great swapping stories over a drink. 

So the reason I am up here in Sheffield is that in one month’s time I am launching my next single, Hold Me Now, and I needed a music video, and the company we chose to make it are based here. Renton Productions, A.K.A Tristan, Jess and Ben. Of course as a van lifer it’s easier for me to come to them than vice versa.

It’s been really cool. I feel I have had an immersive experience of Sheffield. On the first day I went to Meadow Hall shopping centre to buy my costumes – That meant public transport – Bus down the windy steep South Yorkshire hills, and then a tram through the city. 


I’ve discovered Sheffield’s very cool street art, and been inspired by it’s most famous illustrator Pete Mckee. 

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The first location was filmed in Sheffield’s quaintest venue, The Lantern Theatre.

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Our other locations have actually been people’s homes. Judith generously loaned us her whole victorian maisonette complete with grand piano, and teenage Anaya loaned us her bedroom. 

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The scenes that involve our homeless gent have taken me down to the canels,  round the warehouse and under the bridges, amazing industrial scenes, such a contrast to the rolling hills. 


It’s been a fascinating process. This is the first time I have made a video that involved so many people. We have brought in actors to play various roles that illustrate the story in a variety of ways.. and we’ve had assistants on set too. If you’ve been watching my instastories you’ll have already seen some of these faces. 

I was rather surprised at one point to find myself in tears watching actors Claire and Lee playing out certain parts of Hold Me Now. 

IMG_4214 (1).JPGAs the song is about coping with pain, we bought in Matt Willoughby, a very talented prosthetic make up artist to give one of my characters, a teenage girl played by Leah, some true to life scarring.


The final day of filming took me down to the Wicker Arches, by the river that we’d scouted a few days previously. It was shocking to be faced with the remnants of such an active drug scene. Something of a wake up call to see the real truths of peoples pain. 


I have loved being plunged into the heart of this city and meeting some of it’s people. Most especially the team from Renton Productions – Tristan and Ben worked tirelessly and cheerfully for hours on end to achieve the outcomes we wanted. Thanks fellas! I cant wait to see how it turns out. 🙂


Today I also had the opportunity to meet some of the other folks who have been working for me behind the scenes: Ben Walker from Arise who built this fab website and Joel Toombs from Resound Media who writes my press releases. It’s been a really fantastic week – Thanks to everyone involved! Thanks Sheffield!

I  look forward to coming back on the 24th of March to open for Sam Bailey at City Hall. I hope those of you local to the area will be able to join us?

If you enjoyed this post you may also like to read my previous post: Van Life Loy #10 – That time I was in a drive by shooting

’til next time… 


Nikki x

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