Instagram

People keep asking me when I am going to move home. I don’t know if it is my advancing years (apparently at 28 I should have kids and an alcohol habit already…I have one of those things), that I have been in London past the 5 year limit or that recent terrorist attacks have made everyone work hard to justify London life – but it has made me really think about why I am still so in love with London.

I don’t know if it is even love any more. I have written time and time again about how much this city gives me life, I’ve written sonnets to its energy and beauty. But now? Now something has changed in my feelings towards London Town, it’s all becoming a little less exciting and a little more stretched out and comfortable around the edges.

I’ve always said that London is a hard city to live in, it steals your energy and your money. Unless you put effort in it is an isolating place to be and don’t even get me started on the practical side of things like rent and windowless bathrooms. Today though, today I think my perspective of easy and hard has changed. I am so time poor these days that I want to be able to experience life and friendship in small intense bursts because that is all I can manage. And my dear London is perfect for that.

Last weekend I had two hours free before hopping on yet another plane. I got the tube to Old Street, had breakfast at Ozone (massive benefit of dining alone is you never have to queue for a table), then wandered through the world of street art that is Shoreditch before heading to Heathrow once again.

In those two hours I got more stimulation, relaxation and felt more like ‘me’ than I used to in an entire weekend when I first arrived. I used to be so concerned about what everyone else thought of my life, that I was doing everything ‘right’ (shout out to my fellow perfectionists), that I got overwhelmed by the city. Now that I have to focus so much more on getting the most out of small bits of life that I have finally played into London’s sweet spot.

Forget trying to do everything. Forget long days traipsing between markets, attractions and halfway across the city to meet a friend you don’t actually give a shit about. London now lets me experience a world of amazing opportunities, just a little at a time. I spent so long caught up in what I was missing out on that I exhausted myself in the attempt. Now I am getting pure childish enjoyment in taking London one bite at a time.

If I was in New Zealand I would wait for months anticipating (hoping) a new brunch place opening up. In London with hundreds to navigate (download my app if you want help!) it was more a ticking off the list exercise rather than relishing the moment.

I don’t doubt that my relationship is going to change time and time again with London, but for right now I have no intention of moving on. This city is still full of likeminded friends, opportunities beyond what I could get in New Zealand, and pretty damn good coffee. And now that I am not killing myself to see it all, I can finally get round to enjoying it.

It’s finally time to announce my first secret project…I launched an app! It’s been a long time coming but you can finally have me in your pocket all day long (in the least creepy way possible). What is this app I hear you cry? Well, one of the most requested things is for me to put all my coffee, brunch and things to do recommendations on a map, with this app I’ve been able to do one better.

My London by Runawaykiwi is like having a know it all friend ready and waiting to introduce you to this crazy city. Once you download it you will find such delights as:

  • A just arrived in London survival guide for when you need to register with a doctor, buy furniture for the flat or you just want to make friends
  • Links to my latest blog posts
  • Coffee recommendations based on years of hard research
  • A ‘freaking out’ section for when you are at your lowest and just need someone to tell you it will all be ok
  • And of course, if you are in the middle of London and have a brunch emergency, it will tell you where near you does a Runawaykiwi approved brunch

The reason I wanted to create an app is for me five years ago. That curly haired innocent kiwi trying to decide what was good or not based on anonymous London reviews. All I wanted was for someone I trusted to tell me if I was going to be wasting my time. Yes I could spend endless hour’s googling for cafes or things to do, but it was really hit and miss depending on the person recommending it. Well, you know me (after 700+ posts probably better than I know myself) and hopefully trust my version of London.

It’s taken me about six months to get it to where it is today so I am slightly freaking out at the thought of people actually using my little old app. I’m sure there will be some teething problems, but please shout if there is anything I can do better.

At the moment only the iTunes version is up and running because I am in the middle of an argument with Google. Fingers crossed the Android one launches as soon as possible, I will blog about it as soon as I hear anything back from the Big G.

This is the first time I have done anything like this, so let me know what you think! You can search the app store for ‘My London by Runawaykiwi’ or click this link: Take me to the app store

I never quite know if you are interested in little life update posts or not. For all I know you only come for the raging over Clear Blue adverts and stay for the brunch recommendations. But since you aren’t exactly here to ask…I guess I shall ramble on about where I have been recently (and why the blog has been so quiet).

I swore to myself at the start of the year that I was going to calm down on all the travel. In theory I live in London, which is slightly hard to do when I’m not here half the time. That vow lasted all of five minutes, since March I have spent two weeks in Sweden, two in New Zealand, a weekend in Berlin and I got back from a few days in Cologne last night. Looking at that I consider the vow a total and utter fail.

I know that it sounds like the dream (I would have thought that a few years ago) but when you are traveling for work its long, hard and stressful. No matter how sexy the destinations its pretty much just me in a conference room and then back to my hotel for spreadsheets and Skype meetings. I do however love my job, so I just have to lump the stupid travel. Although I have just brought a felt underlay for my ironing board so don’t say my lift isn’t full of thrills.

Anyway, the whole travel thing makes the blogging thing rather hard to keep up with.

I have actually done something fun recently. Last weekend when I was in town for a couple of days I made it to the Tate Modern to see the new extension. It is still my least favourite modern art museum ever (I find it so hard to find the damn art), but the view from the top is hard to beat. And climbing the ten flights of stairs to get to the top counts as a high intensity workout I’m sure…

So where am I right now? I am in bed in my flat in London listening to the sound of my washing machine while trying to stop this cold before it goes full flu. And what am I doing right now? I have two top secret projects that I am working on at the moment (seriously, my blog is starting to feel like an abandoned step-child) one of which I will announce next week, the other should be mid-June. I know its entirely lame to hint at exciting things. But give me this one – the one coming mid-June I just spent all my savings on so I feel entitled to a little build up.

I am now back for two whole weeks so I am planning on doing some actual London fun times. It is time for me to actually get out and do rather than sit at home and work. Any suggestions for what I should put on my list?

xx

I like labels. They stop me from accidentally drinking window cleaner even though it’s such a pretty pretty shade of blue. But when it comes to labels of self it all gets a little messed up. I’m not even talking about the labels we give other people (we all know that’s a shit show) I’m talking the ones you give yourself. I have thought about it a lot recently and I figured out who to blame, it’s those little blue fuckers: The Smurfs.

It all made so much sense when I was little. Of course you have the lazy one, the brainy one and the grouchy one; it’s a world view that works for a kid. Actually it works for adults too, at the moment there is a general election going on in the UK and the papers don’t seem to see beyond the incompetent one and the lizard one. Global politics aside, one of the reasons we give ourselves labels is because they feel so good.

Labels help us to feel like we know what our place in the world is, like there is something forming a solid foundation. If you know who you are, then it is easier to figure out everyone else. Positive or negative the thoughts we have about ourselves justify any interaction that we have. Even the introvert/extrovert bubbles that was so in fashion a couple of years ago had its dark side for me. I know that I am an introvert (yay for the lemon test) but the more I call myself an introvert the more I justify staying at home on a Friday night. The more I stay at home on a Friday night the more likely I am to end up with one of my 87 cats eating my face. Sorry, that went in a weird direction.

In all the episodes of Super Nanny I watched one thing stuck out, you never tell the kid that they’re bad instead you say that the behaviour is bad. This is to stop the little angels internalising that they are a bad person because the language that we use impacts how we think. The more we focus on those innocent little hashtags the more we believe in them, the more we believe in them the more we become them. Grouchy Smurf just had a bad day in kindergarten, the day after the teacher said “here comes Mr Grouchy, are we going to have a better day today”? In the face of such awful teaching he was yet again grouchy. And then, without him recognising what was happening, very slowly this thing he was called became the thing that he was.

The more I tell myself I am an introvert the more I justify introvert behaviour. The more time I spend isolating myself (fully justified because #introvert) the less likely I am to even try. Basically I am shooting myself in the foot by using language that allows me to tap out whenever I want.

Think of some of the words you use for yourself. Not just the ones you put in your CV or Tinder profile (am I the only one for whom those are the same?) but those negative ones that never leave your head as well. Are they who you really are right now?

When I look at how I’ve changed as a person in the last ten years, hell the last five or two, I would hate to think I am limiting myself to who I used to be. Part of being human is constant change (except for when I wanted to buy milk the other day, then there was no change) and as comfortable as it feels to label yourself to pause the change, it is only going to Smurf you further down the line.

P.s. sorry I didn’t have any Smurf related images, we are going to have to make do with a blue dinosaur eating a doughnut…