Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lessons learnt moving out of home and away from London

I started writing this blog post a couple of weeks ago. So here is how it started.....

"I am writing this in my local library. We've been moved in two weeks and wifi still hasn't happened. This may well be a personal record... I am so eager to type all of my thoughts and observations out at the pace at which they're running through my head but unfortunately I've got to contend with a space bar which requires two thumbs to press it down and the eccentric sound of a father and toddler daughter singing a song from "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang". In a library. Yep. Welcome to my weekend! Life is weird away from home (London) sometimes. Anyhow, here is a little list of things I have learnt moving out of home... "

Then, as you can gather from the distinct lack of list, I decided to give up and go home (via three awesome charity shops). Now here I am two weeks later, sitting on my bed in the comfort of my new home with wifi galore. I suppose that can be lesson number one - transitions are unsettling sometimes but the beauty of them is that they're temporary.

Anyway, not only did I fail to complete the list or the blog post, I didn't return to Blogger again up until now. Where have I been? Well, just here really. Here and at work, and in my car getting between here and work. And on trains getting between here and work when work isn't at work. Up until this month - and can you believe that this is only post number three of September when we are pretty much in October? - I blogged regularly with the energy I'd been bottling up from all of those hours of rest. It was a full-time hobby, a creative outlet and something I loved. I still do love it now, but here's lesson number two - real life can get in the way!

I assume it is the adjustment that needs to be made when you move to a new town, in with a partner, starting a new job, thrown in with a weekend going back home for birthday celebrations, which has stolen me away from tending to this online space of mine. I come home and feel too exhausted to even turn the laptop on, let alone spill my thoughts onto paper. Oh and talking of paper, driving everywhere means that I spend little time on trains which means less time putting pen to paper for non-work related activities. So there's a little explanation of where I have been. I would imagine that my routine will form soon enough and that will make time for blogging, yoga, exercise and other things which have taken a back-seat.

So what else have I learnt about moving out of home? Well, mostly that parents do an amazing job managing work, life worries, organising and cooking meals, making packed lunches, doing the washing and ironing, owning an ironing basket in the first place, owning a hoover, using a hoover, knowing how to do basic plumbing, knowing how to dry a bath mat, taking care of more than one person and doing all of it everyday without fail. Wow.

But also that it is hugely exciting to know that you can learn to do all of these things, and more, yourself too. Things become second-nature, your skill set widens, your interests diversify...I wasn't anywhere near as interested in dish-drying racks ever in my life as I was trying to find the perfect one during week two of living here!

Also, there's a lot of paperwork involved in moving house. Keeping a folder handy for filing important documents and knowing where to find them is super helpful in those moments when you realise you're an "actual grown-up" now and it's your responsibility to pay for things that come out of taps and plug sockets. Get your favourite stationery involved so it feels less boring :)

More specifically, I'm having to get used to seeing a whole new level of road-kill in these countryside-ish ends. Blerrrrrrgh...not a sight I'm used to in London. Plus it reminds me every morning of a documentary I once watched in which I learnt that some people actively look for road-kill to eat for their dinner. Blerrrrrrgh again.

I suppose that leads on quite nicely to another major lesson I've learnt - and this may shock you so brace yourselves - there is a world outside London!! Growing up in one place, loving it and then leaving and not knowing if you'll ever go back is a daunting thought and one which I tried not to entertain too much prior to moving but crept into my head from time to time. Living away from the bustle of the city is somewhat of a shock to the system - as is the size of the "big" supermarkets (tiny, for the record) - but I am beginning to appreciate tranquillity and not queuing up for 15 minutes in each shop, not striding down the high street willing people to move out of your way because you are on a mission, nor being on a mission because quite frankly what's the constant rush all about? Sure, I miss the variety and choice of food, entertainment and people in London, I miss my family and friends, and I will always consider London to be "home home", but starting a new little life here, with all the humongous changes and (un)anticipated challenges, with M, quite frankly feels like one of the best things I have ever done.

And whilst that doesn't take away existing hardship, it certainly feels like a nudge in the right direction, which is the last little lesson I'll leave you with - if you can create a positive space in which you feel safe, whilst accepting that change is inescapable, then that's a pretty good foundation for whatever you decide to conquer next.

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Sunday, September 07, 2014

Sunday Round-Up

Hello from my new town! It is a weird feeling no longer living in my family home and being away from most of the people I know....in fact, ALL of the people I know minus 1 (albeit it a very important one). It feels different to moving away for university but it doesn't feel permanent yet. That'll probably take getting into the swing of things with the new job et al but so far, so good. It took precisely five people, two cars and a transit van to transport all of our stuff down here. That should probably read *my* stuff, since M's possessions were limited mainly to a couple of books, a chest of drawers and his clothes (not packed, just carried in the aforementioned drawers). Since the weekend we have acquired a lot more joint belongings, such as bed sheets, a giant straw laundry basket and a toaster. I've been busy getting to know the area this week, doing shopping and sorting out admin before my real job starts next week. I hope to be able to continue writing here as I usually do, although that may be less frequent to begin with than I would like. Anyway, without further ado, here's my Sunday round-up....

This week I have been....

Assembling :: flat-pack furniture

Buying :: bits and bobs for the new flat and work clothes

Eating :: with M each evening - what a treat! Also tried Five Guys for the first time, having heard such mixed reviews prior to trying. I really enjoyed it! Bit expensive (same kind of price as you would pay for Patty & Bun which is the superior burger...of all burgers ever, followed closely by Honest) but the chips are awesome (and you get loads), you can pick which burger size you'd like and the drink options are simply incredible. Yep *incredible*...

Drinking :: mixtures of all types of Fanta flavours; litres of tea

Reading :: a book about yoga, "Coming Up Roses" (Cath Kidston's business story) and a book about women and the suffrage movement

Having a love/hate relationship with :: not having wifi  in the flat! It is lovely to have more time to read, talk and play chess, but it has meant several trips to the library to sort out house admin.

Booking :: train tickets all over the place

Considering :: birthday plans

Enjoying :: having plants in the house...just a little Ikea one and a mint plant for the moment. Flowers are next on the list!

Please leave any tips for being a newbie in the workplace in the comments below! Hope you've all had a marvellous week - let me know what you did this weekend :)

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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

London // Rise 46, Clapham

You're all lovely, loyal readers (thank you, thank you, thank you!) so if you're a regular you'll probably be aware that I moved out of home over the weekend! Gulp!

In amongst all the organising and packing, I managed to get my closest friends together to have a "Leaving London" party. The venue of choice was a lovely little 1920's inspired cocktail bar, Rise 46, a short walk from Clapham Junction station.

From the Rise 46 website
You can watch Gatsby here!
I'd been in contact with the bar to book a small area for my party and I just need to make it clear how kind and accommodating Rise 46 staff were from start to finish. When my search for the perfect venue began, I e-mailed a handful of bars to enquire about booking and whether any events were happening etc, and most places seemed pretty half-hearted about it. I suppose they know that on a Friday night they are likely to be busy regardless of whether they have a booking like mine. Rise 46, however, answered all my questions, didn't require a deposit, didn't stress me out over a minimum spend, made me feel like they'd love to look after us and replied to all e-mails promptly and politely. A massive tick already before I'd even set foot in Clapham.

When we arrived, we were greeted by Sergio - a brilliant barman - who showed us our area and a complimentary bottle of Prosecco. Loooook...!

There were enough of us to make it feel like we weren't cut off from the rest of the bar, especially as the staff were so attentive. Before long, crowds of us gathered around the main upstairs bar as we had spotted sweetie jars...the intrigue hit all of us and before we knew it, there was a multitude of popping candy, lollipops and fizzy bubblegum bottles being shared around. I mean, just take a moment to think about that - you've got a huge jar of one of the most delicious cocktails you've ever tasted, and in the jar's lid you've got an abundance of sweets (and good ones too). Are you not sold on that alone?!

If you needed even more convincing that this is no ordinary bar, did I mention that they have a popcorn machine too? You're just handed little bowls of freshly made popcorn every now and again, amplifying the fun experience tenfold. You must be sold now, right?!

We were blown away by the range of cocktails Sergio made for us and the speed with which he did it. They were honestly amongst the best cocktails I've ever had - really carefully and skilfully crafted. It has made me want to learn how to make them just as well. Mojitos are usually my drink of choice but I don't think I even had a single one that night, on account of there being so many other delicious choices. If you don't believe me, take a look at the drinks menu here...how do you even know where to begin?! (Answer: sweets. Always the sweets.)

Photo of us sourced from Rise 46 website

Other handy information ::

You must try their :: porn star martini - seriously good.
You'll be dancing to :: all the types of tracks you want to hear on a night out, and live music on certain nights if you're lucky
You'll be surrounded by :: happy people
You'll be blown away by :: how yummy the cocktails are
You won't stop talking about :: the sweets and popcorn!
You can get :: 20% off your drinks on weekdays if you sign up to be a friend of Rise 46
You can find them at :: 46 Battersea Rise, London, SW11 1EE

On the "Leaving London" front - as sad as I am that I have left my favourite city, I am pretty excited to be able to adventure in a new part of the country and explore pretty little places I don't even know exist yet. Thank you to my friends for being such wonderful company and to Rise 46 for really looking after us - it was the perfect send off!

A huge thank you also to my friend Anj who kindly helped me out with photographs for this post. Pictures on a night out are tricky with the iPhone! Apologies for the graininess...do any of you take your SLRs out with you to bars?

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