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.

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 think by now we have well established that I am terrible at packing. It’s not that I forget anything important, more that I am entirely unprepared for whatever weather gets thrown my way*. I swear I check the weather forecast before I go, but the day I arrive inevitably a freak weather system rolls in and I am entirely screwed. Over Christmas I think I finally nailed it, I was the packing master (not in the Dr Who sense, I wish). I managed to pack for a 40°C fluctuation in temperature and not freeze or boil.

I was in New Zealand to see my family over Christmas where, due to being on the arse-end of the world, it was summer. On my way back to London I needed to head to Chicago for a week where the temperature (I hoped) would be around 0°C, but because its me it was actually -20°C. Yay me and my weather curse.

I took my big suitcase (can hold up to 20kg) but because it was Christmas I only had half of the space for potentially lifesaving clothes, the rest was allocated for Christmas presents; last time I went home for Christmas Santa (my parents) gave me an entire towel set (including bath mat and two face clothes) so I had to be prepared. Yes, you can get towels in London and yes my parents were aware of this but decided to go for it anyway.

What was a girl to do? Turns out it was to just pack the same things for both temperatures. Yes I know that makes as much sense as a chocolate tool set. NB: I got my Dad a chocolate tool set for Christmas and it was amazing, the bolt worked and everything. Anyway, hear me out with the packing theory.

I am not a stylish person, no matter how long I look at cool girls on Instagram I inevitably end up wearing jeans, a black H&M singlet and a sheer shirt thing over the top. If I am very lucky I might even wear an actual shirt, but since I only iron twice a year there isn’t a high likelihood. This lack of style makes packing rather easy, jeans year round and the same top no matter what the weather or circumstances. That top I have that looks like an avian themed 70’s wallpaper? I have worn it to interviews, parties, on dates and to work. Fashion confuses me. If anyone knows how to change this please DM me.

Anyway, I packed as if weather did not exist in my universe and then made four additions.

  1. A pair of shorts
  2. A puffer jacket
  3. A bobble hat
  4. A pair of gloves

I turned up to the airport in Chicago wearing jeans, jandals (I’m a kiwi, I always travel with them) and a puffer jacket looking like a girl who totally has her life together.  I got laughed at the moment I walked into the office in Chicago (happens wherever I go), but to be totally honest with a puffer jacket, a hat and gloves you can survive almost anything. And as for New Zealand, it was its normal terrible December weather and at 20°C I was completely fine in jeans and a t-shirt .

At this point in this blog post you might be rolling your eyes and are almost ready to click off. BUT hear me out. Before anyone goes on holiday there is the inevitable ‘holiday tax’. You go and spend money you don’t have on clothes that you NEED just for the holiday. I call bullshit. Living in the endless grey weather conditions that make up London you have almost all the clothes you will ever need (unless you are literally going to find polar bear), take the money you would have spent on that top with the pineapples on it and spend that on a bath of chardonnay when you arrive. Clothes will never make for the perfect trip, being there is what is important.

*Seriously, I am in Stockholm at the moment. I when I looked last week it was all meant to be sunshine, today there was a snow storm…the snow was going sideways…my shoes are ruined.

I have my fear of flying fairly under control these days. This is mostly thanks to exposure therapy (aka traveling for work) and those magical Gin Gins that set my mouth on fire to distract me from the turbulence. But holy hell the flight I just got off almost had me back to my crying on strangers days.

To be very honest I think I would have cried on strangers if it weren’t for the fact that I was sitting in the middle seat and the man to the left of me clearly had the flu, and the girl to the right of me was a statuesque ice queen who stole my arm rest. I was out of crying options. From the moment we took of until we were just outside Stockholm it was horrible turbulence. The sort of turbulence that is reminiscent of a roller-coaster from an illegal Disney theme park where there are ‘hidden Rickeys’ everywhere.

It was all because of some fucker called the jet stream. According to my extensive research (I googled it) jet streams are the mammoth winds that move weather systems around the globe. For a pilot it means fun times because coasting along in one like a metal albatross makes the plane go faster. For me the jet stream means spending two hours in the middle seat of the last row of the plane, frozen with fear as I imagine the fiery death in front of me.

Of course (spoiler) I didn’t die. I am currently in the back of a taxi and have just had a lovely chat with my driver who is Somali and lives in Sweden but studies Italian. I don’t understand how flying still causes such a fight or flight reflex in me. Yes I am better, and long haul is easier because I try to fly on A380s or Dreamliners, but still a smallish plane and non-stop turbulence can take me right back to square one.

Part of me wonders if it is imagination. Whereas James Bond can walk into a room and see 100 ways to kill people, I can walk into a room and see 100 ways that I will fail at life. When I fly I can’t just accept the science and statistics, I KNOW that things can go wrong (even if there is an almost 0% chance) and my brain just extrapolates from there.

It’s not going to stop me travelling of course, mostly because it is literally my job and and quite like being able to pay rent. But as I check into my hotel and try to unwind my tense mussels I will be cursing the jet stream with every creative word I know.