Not many people would swap the glitz and glam of performing at London's top five-star hotels for a quaint farm in Central Hawke's Bay.
But singer-songwriter Mandy Meadows did just that – and hasn't looked back since.
Meadows returned to Waipukurau from a "Covid ravaged" London in October, after a string of bad luck which included catching the virus herself.
The 35-year-old spent five years in the English capital performing at luxury venues including The Savoy, Dorchester and Harrods, before lockdown caused bookings to dry up and left Meadows pondering what life was like back home.
After she became trapped in a small apartment in central London with no outdoor space, her situation was not helped by a crumbling relationship.
"I had to spend months in a tiny apartment in lockdown with a now ex-partner who was also not working," she said.
"And because I was a limited company and the only employee, I slipped through the cracks for government help so ended up teaching English to Chinese kids in the early hours of the morning.
"The pay rate was very low, but I needed to do it to stay afloat."
The misery continued as the pair also contracted Covid.
"If anyone was going to get it, it was going to be me. I was still performing with guests coming up to me requesting songs - plus I was getting the Tube to and from work," she said.
"I lost my taste, developed a dry cough and felt cold and tired. I could only walk 10 steps before needing to lie down."
Meadows said while an August lockdown lift raised spirits and gave her the chance to move apartment, the idea of a return to her Hawke's Bay home became more tempting.
The performer decided to give up the lifestyle she'd spent years chasing and booked a one-way ticket to New Zealand, securing a lucrative spot at a managed isolation facility.
After spending her two-week stay at the Ibis Ellerslie in Auckland recording music, Meadows' hopes of freedom were soon dashed once again following a community case nearby.
"Quarantine isn't fun and I'm sure I annoyed my neighbours, but I'm so grateful to have dual-citizenship," she said.
"The day I left managed isolation there was one community case in Auckland, so my plan for a great night out was ruined and I worried my worst fears were true – Covid had made its way back in New Zealand just as I arrive home."
After leaving quarantine and spending three months working at her sister's Bay of Plenty backpackers, Meadows found herself preparing for a jam-packed Art Deco schedule, only for her plans to be quashed again after the cancellation of the festival.
However, Meadows' said her spirits remain high – grateful to be back in a "safe place I call home".
"I'd gone from a five-star hotel singer to a backpacker hostel cleaner. Then to losing out on the biggest thing I was looking forward to since arriving back," she said.
"But I understand the Art Deco organisers needed to act fast – which is the reason for New Zealand's success so far."
Meadows added: "I'm just grateful to have human interaction, not wear a mask, be able to give people a hug and not live in fear."
Originally planning on a temporary trip back to Hawke's Bay, the move has now become permanent.
"There is more to life than singing at high-end hotels every night. As I've got older I've wanted to be closer to friends and family in a country that is safe," Meadows said.
"What I gain here far outweighs what I've lost in England."
While a week of Art Deco Festival shows were canned, the performer was still able to take to the stage at The Mission Winery with the Hawke's Bay Big Band.
Meadow's album Oceania is available to stream online.