London makes you work hard to be happy

Duck and Waffle reflections at night

I had a bit of an epiphany at 5:30am. This was unusual for two reasons, firstly because I don’t normally have epiphanies, I normally sidle up to an idea and casually buy it a drink, and secondly I was voluntarily awake at 5:30am which is unheard of. The epiphany was this: London makes you work hard to be happy.

The reason I was conscious at 5:30am before work on a Wednesday was for brunch. Some may quibble that brunch before the sun has risen is not brunch, but fuck you I am a hobbit and if I call it brunch…its brunch. A friend was leaving London and wanted to go to Duck and Waffle before she left, and at a weeks notice the only booking we could get was at sparrows fart o’clock. We decided to go for it, I mean we were drunk so of course we were up for it at the time.

The day came and I think we were cursing the very name of Duck and Waffle. Tired, groggy and awake before the tube was running this seemed like literally worst idea that anyone had ever had ever. Who in their right mind would wake up three hours early to go to a restaurant – particularly when its still dark out? After the traumatic commute (Londoners are extra weird that early in the morning) we arrived at Duck and Waffle and took the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory lift up to the 40th floor. In that short lift journey everything became amazing.

Sunrise from Duck and Waffle

All of a sudden London was the city you see in the movies. We drank coffee as we watched over London at night. The lights below making it seem like the city was full of possibilities. We ate the namesake dish as the sky started to blush with light. By the time we moved to the bar for champagne London had given us a magical sunrise.

Then the epiphany happened.

This brunch has made me almost speechless with love for London, it just felt so special, but I never would have experienced it if I hadn’t got up at an ungodly hour.

This is exactly what London is like. There are almost limitless incredible experiences to be had, but you have to go out and grab them. Generally these amazing things either require you to be super organised, will mean you have to scrimp and save, find new reserves of courage or just be absolutely exhausting. But they are there and can make you feel like all the shitty and hard bits of London life are worth it.

The danger is that if you don’t make the effort with London it will suck. The far easier option for me would have been to say no to the insane early booking and just not go, or go to a local cafe – but then I would have missed out on seeing London at its best.

Morning at Duck and Waffle

This next level London is particularly hard to unlock when you are a baby expat and don’t have any friends here yet. Since you don’t know anyone the easiest option is to sit at home and watch tv – easy but it means you are missing out on your life. So you have two options, grow some balls and see London by yourself or grow some balls and go outside your comfort zone by asking strangers along with you. Either way balls are required.

London makes you work dam hard to find happiness. If you take the easy option you will miss out on the incredible, the magical and the taste of champagne before sunrise. Fuck the easy, it’s time to find the London you see in the movies.

13 Comments

  1. January 11, 2016 / 10:24 am

    Hear, hear! Also: that is my FAVORITE time to dine at Duck & Waffle. Watching the sun rise from there is absolutely incredible.

  2. Jess
    January 11, 2016 / 10:30 am

    I love this post. I’ve just come back from 4 weeks holiday in Australia and have been feeling a bit depressed, for obvious reasons… I’ve even been questioning why my partner and I chose to live here! However, you’re absolutely right – London is what you make of it, and you’ve inspired me to work for it.
    And the Duck and Waffle is now firmly on my list! Thanks for a great post 🙂

  3. January 11, 2016 / 2:28 pm

    I loved this. Thanks so much for giving me a new perspective on a city I sometimes feel is so bland and grey. Not sure I’m up for a 5am brunch though… but I get the sentiment!

  4. January 11, 2016 / 11:56 pm

    While reading this, I heard swelling, triumphant music in my head.
    Perfection.

  5. January 12, 2016 / 10:09 am

    Oh woman, you are just one of my favorite people. Lovely post, once again, you’ve nailed it. xx

  6. January 12, 2016 / 10:31 am

    I couldn’t agree more – this city makes you drive for more, and so desperate to go for sunrise but not yet got the balls! Lots of love, Andrea xxx

    Andrea’s Passions

  7. January 12, 2016 / 12:00 pm

    “So you have two options, grow some balls and see London by yourself or grow some balls and go outside your comfort zone by asking strangers along with you. Either way balls are required.”

    ^ This line made me want to suggest that at some point we meet up and go to Lounge Bohemia, if you haven’t already been. I think you’d love it (and it doesn’t require getting up at 5am), it’s an amazing secret cocktail place, they do the best cocktails. Plus it’s just generally a really quirky, interesting venue.

    But I’ve grown up in the UK, which means I have the British sense of being absolutely convinced that strangers don’t want to talk to me, and also I’m a Person On The Internet, which makes me think you’ll think I’m a creep 😛

    But I’m going to push my social awkwardness aside and post the comment anyway, because I think you’d like the cocktail bar and you should definitely check it out at some point!

  8. January 12, 2016 / 12:04 pm

    Seriously, this should be required reading for anyone planning to move to London or are currently here but hating it. This sentence basically sums up the first two years of my London experience,”if you don’t make the effort with London it will suck.” Way to call out what took me so long to realise Rebecca! I wish my keyboard could produce high five emojis.

  9. Eleftheria
    January 12, 2016 / 6:46 pm

    I love London!!!!!!!!!! And I loooooooooove this post!!!!!!!!
    xxx

  10. January 13, 2016 / 1:02 am

    I think I audibly repeated “fuck them” when it comes to brunch and then I kept reading to make sure you drank…bases covered. Soo…um…this post is making me completely giddy about our upcoming move to London! Can we take Jess and do some ridiculously touristy but fantastically cool thing that people judge you for but fuck them because we’re expats and we do what we want?.

  11. January 14, 2016 / 4:53 pm

    Incredible photos! I’m going to have to go to Duck and Waffle at an ungodly hour just to see this now, looks like it’s a view of sunrise that can’t be missed!