As a nation, we’re going back to life, but not as we know it. It’s time to celebrate the little things we couldn’t wait to return to, as well as adjusting to the new normal. Acting casual in relationships is no longer cool, day uniforms are anything but basic and every outdoor moment is truly great! We’re championing the real people who have supported us in this 5-part series.

Mancunians Luke and Kya were enjoying the honeymoon stages of their new relationship when lockdown hit. Instead of breaking them, spending months inside together only strengthened their love and made their future plans bright. They’re getting back to loving real life together … 

Hey you two, introduce yourselves!

Luke: Hello, I’m Luke. I’m from Manchester and I’m an artist.

Kya: I’m Kya and I’m also from Manchester. I’m a writer and founding editor of Aurelia magazine.

How important is it for you as a couple to have shared passions? 

Luke: Very important. I think when you share every day with someone you need to share passions and viewpoints too. You inspire me a lot even if you don’t mean to and I think I do the same for you. 

Kya: It’s nice to be an artistic person in a relationship with another artist, especially one you respect because you understand each other’s need for creative space. It’s nice to ask for advice even though what we do is so different. 

What do you both look for in a significant other?

Kya: I didn’t know what I was looking for before I met Luke. 

Luke: I’d never had a connection creatively with anyone really. I guess I was always looking for that but didn’t know what it was or how to find it. Then Kya walked into the bar, asked for some cake and that was it. 

Was there anything you were really excited to be able to get back to? 

Luke: A lot had changed for me so there wasn’t really anything to go back to. Lockdown really shaped what I create and what I do now. I’d never really felt as confident as I do now to sell work. I sold the first painting I’ve ever sold during lockdown. 

Kya: I’m a very tactile person and I like to be able to touch people and kiss them and I’ve really missed not being able to get as close as I'd like to my family and my friends. You lose something really special that you have with a person if you can only communicate with them through a screen. So as soon as things started to ease it was so nice to hug my friends and be around my mum properly. 

Would you say your love language is touch? 

Kya: My love language is definitely touch. I used to think it was positive affirmations about the way that I am, but I think that was just because I’d never really had that before but it’s definitely being touched. 

Luke: I’ve never really experienced love like I do with Kya so it's hard to say. Kya is my love language - big cringe! 

How did you guys meet? 

Luke: Ky came into my work one day looking mint. She was with a gal pal, had some soup and ordered some party ring cake and I knew she was the one for me.

A year has passed, and lockdown has happened, what do you value most in each other now? 

Luke: You’re my best mate I think. 

Kya: Luke’s fearlessness with creativity is something I’ve never had in my own life but something I’m starting to pick up. I’m less bothered about what other people think of what I create and more bothered than I'm creating in the first place. 

How has lockdown changed your relationship? 

Luke: I’d say it's brought us closer more than we ever would have been. I feel like I've known you for 30 years. 

Kya: I think if you can survive spending every minute of every day together it's a pretty good sign. 

Luke: I’d say I’m set now, I’m comfy. 

Has lockdown brought about any realisations about your relationship? 

Kya: lockdown has made me traditional. I want to get married and have children obviously not right now but it's definitely something that I want. I didn’t really think that much about those things in the past. 

Luke: I guess lockdown was old fashioned. There were no distractions, no day to day things in the way of life, it was just us. I guess that's quite an old fashioned way of being with someone. In movies people meet and that’s it or you hear about how your gran and grandad met and were together forever. 

We’re in a dating age of app culture and swiping so it’s easy to feel like there are options. Do you think it’s rare to decide ‘you’re set’ on someone so early?

Luke: I think we just live in a disposable world don’t we? Where no matter what you’ve got there's another one around the corner from relationships to a fresh pair of shoes. You can buy one pair of trainers and then the next week they’ve brought out some new ones. 

Kya: People think it's cool to be available and to be wanted but there's nothing better than really loving someone and being really open about that and celebrating that you're in love. It's such an important part of life that I can’t imagine wanting anything different.

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