Maida Vale

Wealth Check: A £19,000 salary and a dream of owning a home in

Rita Dores, 29, struggles to make ends meet in London, where the cost of living is far greater than in her home country of Portugal. "I moved here 10 years ago because I was young and wanted to try a different way of living, and ended up staying," she explains. "However, it is very expensive and I don't earn much."

Red hot and blue: Personal crisis and a love of dramatic colour have

My bedroom isn't huge but it's a good space and the light in here is lovely. Moving to this flat in Maida Vale, west London, six years ago was very liberating. I was 23 when I got married and had lived with my mum until then. I had never lived alone or had a flatshare before, and what everyone else learns in their youth, I came to in my late 30s when I was getting divorced. I had carte blanche to do what I liked for the first time in my life.