The week got off to an emotional start involving 2 vacuum bags, one suitcase and a feather duvet. Note to those charged with marketing the sale of said vacuum bags: they are NOT the miracle workers you claim! They can only fit so much and no matter how hard the vacuum cleaner sucks the air out my items it will never compress as much as I need them to. Cue a number of hissy fits, a lot of coffee and a door or two slammed shut in frustration. I know, I’m an arse but I don’t do well travelling light and when it comes to moving your life across the sea it’s very difficult condensing 30 years worth of crap into a 23kg baggage allowance!
Fast forward to Tuesday lunchtime and mum drove me to the airport to see me off. It was a bit of a surreal experience. The last three weeks had been building up to this moment and that’s where my plans came to a halt. I knew once I arrived at my new home nothing else was set in stone. We said our goodbyes and I boarded the plane with uncharacteristically tear-free eyes. I decided to take one last snap of home and as I zoomed in on Samson and Goliath – (at least, I think that’s them! There are a few cranes dotted about the place,) – the floodgates opened and I sobbed my wee heart out for the rest of the trip while the lady next to me tucked in to a packet of Tayto Roast Chicken crisps. Each to their own.
I arrived at my flat around 7pm and started to settle in. I’m living with two girls, one of whom has a pet Chihuahua. They seem really nice and we have a bit of craic watching crap TV in the evenings. They haven’t judged my penchant for any ‘Real Housewives’ show too harshly yet but there’s time for that! 😉
I’ve spent my first few days in the city exploring and thought I’d give you my first impressions of the place.
* Everyone is in a hurry. If you fall down in a Tube station more fool you. You will be trampled to death by commuters more important than you as they rush to and from jobs they seem to hate. God help you if you have a case resembling a dead weight because you can bet that no one else will. I schlepped my luggage from one side of London to the other and want to know where the only guy who helped me was from? Ireland, of course. (Note to girls looking a new boyfriend – Irish boys are well reared, like their cattle.)
* A trip to the shops for essentials will make your eyes water. You will lose weight in London because eating is an expensive past time. What I’ve been able to deduce thus far Londoners run almost exclusively on caffeine. There are coffee shops every few feet (for a coffee lover like me, this is no bad thing) and supermarkets are on the pricey side. Meals must be planned with purse-friendly precision. Channel your inner wartime matriarch to make meals stretch. I’ve been following a few really interesting blogs with purse friendly recipes. I’ll be sure to share the ones that work for me on here.
* Get to know the locals. Anyone who has moved to London before you and I has blazed the trail and made the mistakes that we don’t necessarily need to make as a rite of passage. Thanks to those who have gone before us. My flatmate told me about an amazing free app called Citymapper and I can tell is going to become my best friend as the weeks and months progress. You input your home or current location and search for routes to take you to where you need to go. The routes cover walking, cycling, taxi, train, Tube and bus routes and also include the cost of your journey. Essential for my budgeting! You can also access it online if you want to try it out before downloading, just click on the link above to give it a go.
My friend, Sophie, who is a born and bred Londoner, also gave me a HUGE beauty tip! The Vidal Sassoon Hair Academy in Mayfair offer super cheap haircuts done by their apprentices under the watchful eye of the professionals. Our friend, also a Sophie, got a haircut there and was really impressed. Will definitely be keeping this in mind for future reference!
And with that I’ll bid you adieu. I’m off for a wee cuppa before I finish editing a short film I made at Christmas time. I’ll hopefully get it finished to share with you over the weekend. Have a good one and if you have any tips on surviving London life on a budget be sure to send them my way!xx