Sunday, 10 March 2019

The Unexpected Joys Of Moving To London

I'm having a bit of a bad day, more like a few weeks. I'm struggling with feeling burnt out, tired and anxious about work, life and everything in between. But in the midst of things, and to make myself feel a little bit better about everything, I've decided to write a few little things about the good things about moving to, and working in London.

1. Friends

My first few years out of University, I navigated pretty alone with the support of my family and my new work colleagues and flatmates. It was great to meet new people, but being in London has meant I've reconnected with a large amount of people I went to University with.

Going from seeing them once or twice a year to almost weekly has been brilliant (but sometimes overwhelming). I'm still recovering from two weekends of house parties that made me feel like I was back in my uni town.

2. Using my time more wisely.

Time has always been a source of anxiety for me. Not having enough time, having too much time. As an introvert, I crave time alone with my thoughts, even if it's making a nice dinner or switching off with some Netflix after work, these things are pretty essential to me.

But being in London, with a commute that's longer than a 20 minute walk and longer working hours, I never thought that I would voluntarily make plans for after work, knowing that it'll take me an hour to get back home afterwards and knowing that I'll be a bit tired the next day. It's pretty liberating.

It also made me reaslie how much time I used to waste. I'm hoping once the evenings get later, I'll be able to have a bit more motivation to do more.

3. The Freedom

I love exploring London. I love how easy it is to hop on a train or tube and be in the centre of it all. I can't wait for more weekends spent in the sun visiting museums and places I haven't been to before.

I also love that a trip into London isn't a big trip. I can spontaneously book tickets to see some theatre or make a quick dash in on a Sunday and still be home in time for dinner.

4. Career experience

As much as I am stressed, the career experience will be invaluable - note the will. I know I need to power through, learn from my mistakes (and there have been many) and come out the other side with a load of experience under my belt. I just hate that I had to go to London to do it.

Here's to a hopefully less stressful and productive week. To ward off the Sunday worries, I'm having a cup of decaf tea and a chocolate hobnob whilst listening to The High Low podcast.


Sunday, 10 February 2019

6 / 25 - Books I've Read So Far In 2019

It seems like everyone has caught the reading bug this year. My twitter was filled with new year's resolutions about wanting to read more and I was no different. In a bid to 'consume more culture' rather than spend hours scrolling through social media, I set myself a challenge to read 25 books this year. I'm actually also keeping tabs on Goodreads (which you can follow me here on if you fancy) which is where I get a lot of recommendations from people I follow.

I also joined the library this year, and where I have got most of these books from. I no longer have the space to house lots of books anymore, most of mine were packed in a box when I moved to London. Hence why the library is great. No, I can't get the latest book that is featuring on everyone's Instagrams, but I love looking around and picking up a book purely based on the description on the back. I tend to go for romantic comedies or period stories. Who knows, one day I may venture into crime or something equivalent, but these books have kept me in my own little bubble on my commute.

1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

I usually always watch the film of a book first, but with this, although knowing a little about it as I had seen adverts and trailers from a few years ago, I liked not knowing the full story before and having a film to compare it to. Looking for her next book topic, writer Juliet receives a letter from a man on the island of Guernsey. Set in the aftermath of WW2, she travels to Guernsey and discovers a literary group who meet after their founding member disappears.

The book is written entirely in letters - a little different than your usual read and a really charming way of moving the story along. I did however find the introduction of characters a little hard to follow, but that also could be my quick reading style and a noisy reading environment.

It was lovely, heart-warming and basically everything I need a bit of escapism to be.

2. 1984 - George Orwell

This certainly did break the mould of the rest of the books on this list. I loved watching The Handmaids Tale and I think it's the sociologist in me that makes me really interested in dystopian society, but ones that could very easily become reality.

I was gripped by the story, I read it whenever I could and was instantly fascinated. In a world of 'fake news', I was especially intrigued about the way in which the "Party" looked to control the media and even the creation of new language to stop spreading wrong ideals.

I really would urge everyone to grab a copy and read it. I found it gripping and a worrying sign of what could become reality.

3. The Rosie Project - Graeme Simpson

This had been on my to read list for a little while, although I never picked it up. Don Tillman, socially challenged genetic professor looks to find a wife when he meets Rosie who goes against all the criteria he is looking for.

I loved the character of Rosie and how she slowly brought Don out of his shell. The ending was particularly charming, because who doesn't love a happy ending? I think there is also a sequel, so I'll be looking out for that soon.

4. Dear Mrs Bird - AJ Pearce

This was slightly along the same lines of the first book on this list. I think it must be my love of Call The Midwife and my nan lending me books about women in the war that made me pick this up.

Aspiring journalist Emmy finds herself working for a declining women's magazine, typing up agony aunt letters rather than being a war correspondent as she dreamed. I really liked the character of Emmy, and her best friend Bunty. With a few twists and turns in the backdrop of WW2, it was a sweet read.

5. Us - David Nicholls

This book was beautifully written, switching seemlessy between the past and present in a way that wasn't confusing. It was full of detail about Douglas and Connie's 25 year marriage and Doug's attempts to rekindle their marriage, and his relationship with his son as they go on a big holiday around Europe before their son Albie goes to University.

I really loved this book and even though the ending was a little unexpected, I felt happy with the way it was finished.

6. Becoming - Michelle Obama

This was one of my favourite Christmas presents and I've been keeping it as a book to read before I go to bed rather than take on my commute (also because it's quite heavy!). I absolutely loved reading about Michelle Obama's childhood, early career and her experiences of being the First Lady. She is so inspiring and it's a really great read.

I've got my next three books ready to go, which are Bridget Jones's Baby, Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland and The Cactus by Sarah Haywood which I'm looking forward to reading next.

Any book recommendations, please send them my way!


Friday, 11 January 2019

Ways I'm Making London Bearable

The end of 2018 was a pretty big change for me. I changed jobs and moved to London. For someone who had worked and lived in small(ish) towns and cities, this was a huge change for me personally and professionally. I was terrified - and still am to some degree- but I'm trying to navigate through the craziness, whilst still holding onto a few of the things that I am used to.

One that doesn't apply to everyone is that I still have my car. In the short amount of time I had to find a place, I opted for a higher number zone. There are pros and cons to this which I would love to do another post on, but having my car makes me feel a little more connected to my family, plus the ability to drive to the nearest Lidl is a lovely feeling.

I have a few little habits and rituals that I have taken from each living situation I've lived in. From a student to being in a house share, batch cooking has been a sense of comfort and security. I currently have 5 portions of sweet potato curry in the freezer ready for this week. Yes, I end up eating the same thing, but having some sort of order makes my little amount of time I have in the evening stretch a little further.

As it was the first week of January, I had some things I needed to tick off my to do list. This included signing up for the GP and changing some addresses which makes the move seem a little more permanent. I also joined the library, which, whilst wandering around the quiet hall, made me forget about the hustle and bustle of London life and have a little bit of peace. Plus, I now have some great books for my commute.

I'm also trying to meet up with my friends. I never had my university friends in such easy access, and although work schedules are hard to match up, it's great to reconnect with some people, and spend more time with those who lived far away. I have always been a homebody, but my first month here, I met up with friends once or twice a week. Getting home any time after 9pm used to make me quite anxiety filled. But now, time isn't something that scares me.

It wasn't until I went home for Christmas that I realised that my worries and anxieties about living and working in London including money issues, feeling like an impostor at my new job amongst other things were things that almost all of my friends have experienced or are currently experiencing. It made me feel a lot less alone and more something that we have to get through. 

So here's to a new year, and trying to navigate the craziness of living and working in London. 

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