London

557 days ago (yes, I counted) I packed up my things into boxes and moved to London. Three jobs, two homes, countless tube journeys and a LOT of brunch later, and I’m leaving.

 When I moved, back in the summer of 2017, I was very sad, very fed up, and in desperate need of some change; and London offered that. It also turned out to offer me new friendships, endless things to see and do, and the most glorious summer I’ve ever had.  

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At times, especially at the beginning, I felt incredibly lonely and a little bit lost in a city so big. A few months in, I wrote about trying to make a home for myself in London, and how I was struggling without the people I loved being just down the road. But, in time, I found people I loved in London too.

Online friendships, which were once made up of retweets and double taps and DMs, turned into real-life brunches and dinners and evenings spent singing along to High School Musical. Disappointing dates and evenings spent swiping were soon swapped for proper conversations, getting past date number two and, much to my surprise, falling in love.

It’s somewhat bittersweet. I get to return to the friends I spent all that time missing back in the beginning, but now I’ve gained a whole new set of people to miss.

There’s other things I’ll miss too. I think I’ll miss the anonymity. The walking down a busy street and getting lost amongst all the people. The going to Tesco in pyjamas, safe in the knowledge that you’re not going to bump into someone from work, or someone you went to school with haven’t seen in almost a decade.

I’ll miss the choice. The knowing I can get on a bus or jump on a tube and be in a totally different part of the city within 30 minutes. And, even though I might frequent the same spots over and over again, knowing the option to go somewhere different is there. If I want it.

Of course, because I’m leaving, I’m inevitably going to focus on the good things. The same way you miraculously seem to forget the bad bits when you’re going through a breakup.

I won’t miss crowded tubes, signal failures and the disdain at having to wait over four minutes for a tube. Standing in the cold, waiting for a Wimbledon train to finally arrive. Standing in the cold waiting for the number 74 bus to turn up after the aforementioned Wimbledon train never happened. Rent prices. Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon. The Central Line in thirty-degree heat mid-July. The Central Line in general.

But I owe a lot to London. The city that picked me up when I was at my lowest. It pushed me to meet new people, make new friends, start new jobs and, most importantly, learn to cook more than just toast.

So goodbye, for now. I’m sure I’ll be back soon.

2017

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve tried to write about this past year. The thing is, I have a lot of feelings about the past 365 days, but when it comes to actually putting pen to paper (no really, I like handwriting posts first) I’m suddenly lost for all words aside from “This has been the worst year so far.”

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Except it hasn’t. Worst is unfair. Worst implies bad things have happened when, truly, a lot of very good things have happened. So, as much as my brain wants be to use the word ‘worst’, I think I’ll stick with ‘hardest’ instead.  Because 2017 has been one rather big, rather incomprehensible whirlwind of change and emotions and enough tears to fill enough Lush-fuelled bubble baths.

It’s not been all bad. In fact, a lot of good things have happened. I left a job. I moved to London, away from all of my friends and family, and managed to survive the process. I visited the south of France and Rome and Paris and did multiple trips to various locations around the UK. I started a new job. Worked on a brilliant event. Met so many fantastic new people. And finally, after almost three years of short-term contracts, got offered and started what I’m sure 15-year-old me would have deemed a ‘dream job’.

And yet I can’t process it. It’s as though I’m watching someone else’s life. As much as I’m very very aware of everything I’ve done, I can’t quite bring myself to feel it. Either that or I’m feeling too much of something I can’t quite put my finger on, and it all becomes really quite overwhelming. There’s rarely any in between and, and points, it's felt like I've lost entire months of my year from not being 100% ok and effectively shutting down. I still don't really know how to refer to it, but let's just say that the whole month of June is one big blur. 

I’d like to say I’m ending the year with some kind of closure, some kind of answer to how I’ve been feeling. I used to hate writing things that didn’t have an ending – but I suppose not everything needs an ending and maybe it’s not each post, but the entire blog that’s the story. So, for now, I’m ending the year wearing my comfiest loungewear, watching Black Mirror and with the plan to just take each day as it comes. 

Home

HOME

noun

1. a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of aperson, family, or household.

2. the place in which one's domestic affections are centered.

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I got ill this week. What started off with a scratchy throat on Sunday evening turned into a full blown coughing, sneezing, watery-eyed cold by the Tuesday, which left me feeling very sorry for myself with no one to look after me and had me questioning why I ever moved out in the first place. Yes I was sick but, even worse, I was homesick.

It wasn't just the cold - there were definitely other seemingly insignificant things that led to my homesickness. I've started hesitantly filling in my new address in online forms, I received my first proper piece of post through the door last week and, in a conversation with my Dad at the weekend, it was pointed out that I now refer to London as home. The latter was quickly rebuffed with a half joking "yes but I refer to anywhere with a bed as home."

Half joking because I do. When I board the train a couple of Fridays a month and head back to Bournemouth for the weekend, I say I'm going home. And when I get back on said train (sometimes on a Sunday evening cut short, sometimes on a painfully early Monday morning) I also say I'm going home. I call my Mum's house home and my Dad's house home and the house I've only lived in for two months and share with four other people I don't really know? That gets called home too. 

My (now permanent thank god, but more on that later) job is here, in London. A lot of my possessions are here, in London. And I spend approximately 528 hours a month (yes I did some maths) here, in London. But you see, it doesn't feel like my life it here. Not yet. Not when all of the people I love, the ones who feel like home, are all a two-hour train ride away. Which yes, could be worse. In the grand scheme of the big wide world, two hours is miniscule. Yet it doesn't feel that way when you're friends are arranging trips to the cinema via WhatsApp, and you're desperately missing the long gone Monday evening gym class with your Mum and you could really really just do with meeting up with your best friend for dinner after work. If we're doing clichés – which I'd rather not but I seem to have walked straight into one – I suppose home really is where the heart is. Or at least where the plans made via WhatsApp are happening. 

In lieu of all the bits I'm missing, I've tried to make this home here in London feel as 'home home' as possible. I've filled my bedroom with prints and more plants than I really know how to take care of, and I've got pretty good at keeping it tidy too. 

On the free weekends I do have, I'm trying to get to know London a little better. Or at least well enough to not have to open up Google Maps every time I leave the house. Last Sunday morning I took myself on a walk to Putney. Yes, I may have followed the blue dot to get myself there, but on the way back I made do without and walked back through the park and, on my walk home, I felt incredibly fortunate to live in such a lovely area. In between the there and the back, I found myself in a Waterstones café* with a cup of tea and some raspberry and coconut cake and I felt incredibly content and it almost maybe felt a little bit like home.

 

*I googled 'café' to check the correct accent direction, and it immediately offered me a selection of cafés in the Bournemouth area and, of course, I promptly burst into tears. Even my laptop doesn't know where home is. 

Things from Paris

Almost two months ago I went to Paris. Here are some photos. 

Sacré-Cœur

Sacré-Cœur

Sacré-Cœur

Sacré-Cœur

Gardens of Versailles 

Gardens of Versailles 

Gardens of Versailles

Gardens of Versailles

Gardens of Versailles

Gardens of Versailles

Château de Versailles

Château de Versailles

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The View From The Afternoon (Galeries Lafayette)

The View From The Afternoon (Galeries Lafayette)

Disposable: Summer

Earlier this year I re-discovered my love for disposable cameras and then proceeded to spend far too much money on getting the photos developed. So here's July – September from a few overpriced fujifilms. 

1st July - Compton Acres, Poole

1st July - Compton Acres, Poole

1st July - Compton Acres, Poole

1st July - Compton Acres, Poole

1st July - Compton Acres, Poole

1st July - Compton Acres, Poole

1st July - Sandbanks Poole

1st July - Sandbanks Poole

1st July - Sandbanks, Poole

1st July - Sandbanks, Poole

8th July - Kew Gardens

8th July - Kew Gardens

8th July - Kew Gardens

8th July - Kew Gardens

8th July - Kew Gardens

8th July - Kew Gardens

8th July - Kew Gardens

8th July - Kew Gardens

26th August - Moors Valley

26th August - Moors Valley

26th August - Moors Valley

26th August - Moors Valley

2nd September - Sacré-Cœur, Paris

2nd September - Sacré-Cœur, Paris

2nd September - Sacré-Cœur, Paris

2nd September - Sacré-Cœur, Paris

2nd September - Sacré-Cœur, Paris

2nd September - Sacré-Cœur, Paris

3rd September - Versailles, Paris

3rd September - Versailles, Paris

3rd September - Paris

3rd September - Paris

4th September - Arc De Triomphe, Paris 

4th September - Arc De Triomphe, Paris 

4th September - Eiffel Tower, Paris

4th September - Eiffel Tower, Paris

4th September - Eiffel Tower, Paris

4th September - Eiffel Tower, Paris

4th September - Eiffel Tower, Paris

4th September - Eiffel Tower, Paris

5th September - Paris

5th September - Paris