Never NEVER overcook broccoli. If you don’t know why I suggest you go into your kitchen now, boil broccoli for five minutes and then smell the rotten fart of Mordor.
On smells, candles are great and will make your flat smell like a dream HOWEVER there are certain smells (bacon I’m looking at you) that candles can’t overpower and instead your flat will smell like a Greggs/Lush hybrid.
You will think you can get away with not owning a vacuum cleaner because it’s such a small space surely you can use a brush and pan. You will be wrong. Turns out the vacuum cleaner is the greatest invention of all time.
It is impossible to open the door to tradesmen without it feeling a little bit like a porno.
You can never invite a boy to hang out without it feeling like a euphemism (the bed is in the living room).
There is nowhere to hide your washing. You will pretend your washing is a Tracey Emin installation when friends come over.
You will fall over three times when walking from the bed to the kitchen before you learn to walk like a human.
If you move something in your ‘livingroom’, like a bunch of flowers maybe, to a new place you will wake up thinking someone is sitting in the corner watching you while you sleep.
If one thing is messy your entire house looks messy.
5 gin bottles as the focal point for your flat is a brilliant idea.
If your sink is deep enough you can hide two days worth of dishes in it and everyone will think you are tidy.
Having your own space is entirely worth it.
It is only two months in that you will realise that what with the curly hair, being a writer, living in a studio and drinking slightly too much you are essentially Carrie Bradshaw.
You will hate the above realisation.
Having such a small space you don’t need a tv, it looks better without a TV. Every so often you will want a TV.
There are only three good hiding places when you are playing hide and seek.
A rug will make it feel like home, particularly if said rug reminds you of a medieval joust
Apologies in advance for all the feelings in this one, thankfully you are reading this in electronic form otherwise you would see the tears on the page. I am writing this on the evening of moving into my new flat and I am overtired, hungry and cresting the rainbow of emotions about living by myself for the first time. I wrote last week about why I was moving and how damn excited I was for it, but the closer I got to M-Day there was just so much going through my head.
First up I should say I’m not an idiot, I am a spreadsheet loving queen who is entirely capable of paying bills, ordering furniture, changing lightbulbs*, negotiating a lease and ordering groceries. I know I got this, at least the analytical part of my brain knows this. Apparently my analytical brain and my heart don’t regularly catch up over coffee.
The week leading up to the move I had the stunning combination of being seriously busy at work and getting about three hours sleep a night because I had so much anxiety about the new flat. Of course none of it was rational worry, I was waking up at 3am to manically google how to attach a leaning shelf to the wall. Or where to buy the best succulent arrangement. Or if Ikea had changed their delivery terms since the last time I looked. Or if H&M home had any wooden trays because the metal ones just didn’t work for me.
Nothing rational, all silly things that were covering how nervous I was at doing this by myself.
If this was NZ my parents would have shown up bright and early with takeaway coffee and started loading stuff into a car. Any issues with the new flat they would have been there justifying the decisions I made (or telling me to not be quite such a bitch when John Lewis couldn’t find my new address). I know it is one of the sacrifices I made for living in London, but my god I wish Mum and Dad were here with their amazing combination of humour and practicality to help me through it. Not that anything would have been fundamentally different (as I said before, I know that I got this), but I might have had slightly more sleep. And I might not have accidentally put a screw through my foot**.
I did have bright spots, bits that reminded me what I was missing in this emotional rainbow was other people to ground me. The first was that I had booked Kiwi Movers to cart all my boxes. The original deal was that they would move me and I would mention them on the blog as payment. But fuck me if I don’t get a little teary about these guys. It was just so much like living at home and having friends help with the move. Nothing was a drama for them, they just turned up with a familiar accent (one Kiwi and one Brit) said ‘sweet as’ and got to it. It was so damn chilled out, they just lifted and joked and it was easy. All my stressing about my mountain of boxes not fitting in the van were groundless, these guys were tetris masters.
I have now used a ‘man and van’ to move four times in London and every other time has been hard work. Normally it’s a driver who doesn’t actually want to lift anything, is hard to communicate with (either a language barrier or they were just a dickhead) and all up it was like they were doing me a favour. But these kiwi mover guys just smiled and got on with the job. Sorry I know that saying how much I love the movers and they remind me of home is not a normal ‘review’, but I warned you I was overtired at the start.
The second part of the move that I didn’t realise would have quite such an impact is Lex and Aaron. I may or may not have convinced them to move into the same building as me, the apartment one up and one across. Instead of thinking of it as advanced stalking, I choose to believe it is a mutually beneficial ‘access to the gin collection’ in exchange for ‘access to the nail polish collection’ arrangement.
Anyway we both moved in on the same day, and just as I got to the ‘if I have to face any more unpacking I might dissolve into a puddle of tears’ stage – Lex and I decamped onto the balcony for gin. Then once Aaron was home for work we headed up to their flat for takeaways and prosecco. Every other time I have moved flat in London the day has finished with me sleeping in a half made bed, focussing on all the shit I had to ask the landlord to fix and exhausted already at the thought of the boxes I had to face the next day. But this time? This time it was celebration with friends, it was a cheers and watching dogs on Youtube; it was what I would have had if I had been at home with my family.
I’m not quite sure what the point of this blog is. To be fair that statement could apply to this post or to Runawaykiwi in general. I think it is that I want to remember that people make the difference. Weather it is a friendly mover or friends to commemorate the day with, the people can make you feel like it is not all on you. I love my flat, love it. And as predicted I am entirely capable of any random house things that have been thrown my way. Moving is always stressful no matter where you are, but you don’t have to do it alone.
*Dad if you are reading this I know you had to skype me through the last lightbulb change I did, but I swear I learned from it and I am 99% sure I won’t buy the wrong lightbulbs and electrocute myself this time.
** Nope I didn’t screw too far when putting the leaning shelf together, that would be far too normal. I was looking at a framed picture of Gandalf the Grey, trying to decide if he should live next to my gin, tripped on my Moroccan poof and landed on a screw that I had left on the floor. A painful reminder that Gandalf is one of the most powerful wizards around and should be respected as such.
I am currently sitting on the pillow sized bit of my bed that is not covered in stuff. Apparently I own four backpacks even though I have never knowingly purchased one. I also have precisely eight pairs of running shoes, EIGHT. I have not been to the gym this year, and the last time I ran was to get the last filled croissant at White Mullberries. This surprising amount of stuff has colonised my bed because I am moving flats this week, I am moving into my own place for the very first time.
I know that back home most of my friends are contemplating buying their own house right about now, but living in London makes the thought of saving for a deposit laughable. So instead I am beyond excited to be renting my very own studio apartment. Not having to be considerate about using the washing machine, making smoothies at 7am or freaking out someone with the size of my morning hair; its the dream. Since moving to London I have only lived with one other person, big flats were never going to be my thing. And the ‘one persons’ that I have lived with worked really well. Four years, two people and 0 arguments. Not even a tiff.
But I just have reached a point where I can’t do it anymore. I don’t want to live with a flatmate. I am meant to be a fucking adult, and I can’t make the breakfast that I want because I am worried about waking up my flatmate. I just want to live entirely on my terms, and living by myself is the key.
I also don’t really like my current flat. When we moved in I thought it was everything we were looking for, but in the last 14 months I have never felt good vibes here. The hocus pocus side of me wonders if the building used to be a workhouse or Jack the Ripper once lived here. But in reality I think me not loving living here is because it is a basement flat with no light and a dank smell that no amount of Anthropologie candles can get rid of. Also my flatmate at the moment has a lot of furniture, art and knick knacks so all of the flat apart from my bedroom doesn’t feel like mine. Other things I am not going to miss about my current flat?
The boiler being in my room that hums loudly every single time water is used
The light switch in my room being hidden behind a wardrobe so I ruin my nail polish at least once a week
That basement smell (I know I already mentioned it, but I just hate it that much)
My ‘view’ being a brick wall
Mold waging war on in bedroom
Having a bathroom with no windows and no fan
Having a lounge that gets no natural light and lighbulbs that blow once a month
I am pretty sure you are all wondering how affordable living by yourself in London is. Its not, not at all. But I have pretty much taken anything close to a travel budget and am spending it on the flat that will make me happy. I travel so much for work anyway that the thought of getting on a plane to go on holiday is abhorrent. Seriously, all I want to do is take annual leave to have lazy days in London. It is a pretty cool city after all.
So I am packing. I hate packing. I seem to have a personality where I am 100% ok making big decisions (ah la deciding to move to London over brunch), but anticipation absolutely ruins me. Having four more days to anticipate all of the different things that could go right or wrong in the move is simply exhausting. If I could move tomorrow in a whirlwind I would be a happy camper. To get through the next four days I will complain to anyone that will listen and procrastinate packing by watching Firefly and Gilmore Girls to my hearts content. And before I know it I will be nesting in my new flat. It will be all mine.
Yes this blog post is me procrastinating those dreaded brown boxes. Sigh, I should get back to it. I can’t even tell you how happy I am to be moving, and to have the chance to create my own space (I have already ordered a pillow with my three favourite swearwords on it). I will keep you posted!