Even though I have lived in London for years, recently I’ve been so caught up in work, life, the new house, and illness I really could have been anywhere. Over the past few months my life fell into a routine; during the week I was attached to my laptop either in the house or at my Camden co-working space, then the weekends involved a blog shoot, brunch, and a trip to some sort of homeware store. This repetition was beginning to become a bit of a bore and I felt like I wasn’t taking advantage of living in such an awesome city.
With so much on it’s been difficult to pull myself away from my massive to do list, but as I’ve said many times before to be a lifestyle blogger you really need to have a life. My trip to France snowboarding really gave me some clarity and reminded me that my inspiration comes from people and places and that locking myself away was probably the main catalyst for my recent creative lethargy.
Of course, I still have work to catch up on and a house to fixm but somehow I found extra hours this week and managed to actually embrace living in London.
It is always easy to fall back into a routine but I had run out of all my beauty products at once and as they are all from different retailers I had to leave the house. Internet shopping has been both my saviour and downfall over the past few months but when I purchase makeup I need to test it out in real life, so this gave me a reason to have to leave the house.
Trying to save time, and not wanting to go too far, I made the short trip to Stratford. Westfield is only a hop away from my house so should have been an easy expedition, but if you have ever been to the biggest shopping centre in Europe you will know it’s a black hole for time. Despite the variety of shops (and the hours I’ll never get back) I only ended up with Makeup Revolution Concealer, a Body Shop Seaweed Face Wash, and a Lush H’Suan Wen Hua Hair Moisturiser – not bad, but not everything I needed to replenish my beauty bag.
Attempt 2: I went straight to the mothership and headed into central London. I always build up trips to Oxford Street in my head and dread the prospect of the busy crowds but actually, during the week, before noon, it was a pleasantly quiet experience and I managed to get my Manic Panic hair dye and a friend’s birthday present without a hitch.
I could have gotten everything my heart desired in Central London, but I finally booked a hair appointments at Luke Jacob in Shoreditch so finished off my spree in Spitalfields market instead. After a quick rummage through the market stalls I then made a quick trip to two of my beauty favourites: Urban Decay and The Ordinary, and finally I was done.
Why am I telling you this mundane tale? Taking the time to go out and shop instead of buying online reminded me that everything I could ever want is right here on my doorstep, and was actually much more enjoyable that waiting in for DPD.
I always joke that when you step outside your door in London you’ve thrown away at least a tenner; and you know what, it’s true. London is expensive and realistically by the time I’ve paid for public transport, picked up a coffee and lunch it’s more like £20.
This is one of the reasons I’ve been somewhat of a hermit the last few months, if you caught up with my 3 month update you will know that since Christmas my little business hasn’t exactly been lucrative, so money is tight and spending anything fills me with guilt and worry. After squeezing every possible drop out of my products and leaving my hair to grow into a tangled mess it was time for a ‘treat yo self‘ moment and heading outside for a purpose that was not related to my to do list was such a nice change of pace.
Though I do try and get out for a walk round my local area a couple of times a week, it was a becoming a bit routine and I needed somewhere else to stimulate my mind.
London has so much going on and so many places to choose from sometimes it’s hard to know where to start, but having specific items to pick up helped my choice paralysis and I made my way to three of my most trodden spots: central, Camden, and Shoreditch.
Exiting out of Tottenham Court Road and walking down Oxford Street I usually march at high speed, weaving around tourists, but this time I strolled looking up at the beautiful old buildings which have now been transformed by modern window displays and shop signs. Have you ever taken the time to really look at the busy streets of central London? If not do it, they are actually really stunning.
Now finally freed from the indoors I didn’t want to be confined to the underground so instead hopped on a bus to Camden. Sitting on the top deck, the buildings transformed from the grandeur of Mayfair to grimy council estates with plenty of art, people, and quirky shops in between. I love the diversity of London and if you don’t have time to walk then taking a bus and sitting upstairs is the best way to see how this puzzle of a city fits together.
Sure, it took me longer to reach my desk at Camden Collective but once I got there I felt clear headed and motivated to get to work.
The next day I took a similar approach and instead of rushing to my hair appointment I left early, giving myself enough time to stroll down streets that were new to me and peruse the market I usually speed past.
Actually, taking the time to enjoy the city I live instead of using it as a vehicle for getting me from A to B was so refreshing and once again made me appreciate living in this beautifully harsh place.
Having a Weekend
With Pablo and I both having our own businesses, weekends aren’t really a thing in our house but by Friday we were both feeling a bit burnt out and needed a break, so instead of heading straight home to talk about our next big idea or plan my blog shoot we instead grabbed a pizza and caught up on our busy week. Pablo had worked late most nights and I had only seen him briefly on his lunch break to take pictures for my International Women’s’ Day post so it was nice to finally get some face to face time without work getting in the way.
On Saturday was our joint best friend Calum’s birthday. After picking up his cake from the amazing Tortology we headed to Jones and Sons, a restaurant and cocktail bar housed in an old factory in Dalston. Most of our table opted for bottomless brunch, but after being under the weather I wasn’t up for it. Thankfully my menu choice wasn’t a problem for the staff and despite there being 30 of us over two tables, they were happy to accommodate some al la carte orders.
I (of course) went for classic avocado on toast, which was served on fresh bread and drizzled with oil and lemon. The atmosphere was lively and the only small grumblings I heard were that the drinks didn’t flow as quickly as some people would have liked, but considering the size of the place and the quality of food they were serving it is one of the best bottomless options I’ve been to in London. Afterwards we headed to Farrs School of Dancing, where (to my relief) there was no dancing, but a cool pub instead with stripped back walls and vintage style decor which made for a perfect chilled out location to drink the rest of the evening away.
Naturally, we couldn’t afford the time to have an entire weekend off, so Sunday was a getting shit done kinda day! First up was a gym tour. Now, I am not a natural gym goer but it’s something I feel like I need to do to improve my health. After sorting out my membership the adulting continued and we ended up in B&Q again. I did have some consolation for yet another portion of the weekend spent doing DIY and had brunch at my new favourite Buhler & Co.
I’m really enjoying exploring Walthamstow at the weekends; there are so many awesome independent places lots of art scattered around the area, and it feels vibrant and young yet still down to earth.
Somehow lost in the chaos that is our lives, we have forgotten how precious weekends are and in a city where there is always something going on we have to make time for London and ourselves, as well as work.
Busy being productive
Flitting about all over London might not seem the best method for productivity but this week I’ve smashed out more work than I have done for weeks. I think as a society we have this idea of ‘working hard’ is being chained to your desk for hours on end but that’s not the case for everyone and is definitely not where I find productivity. One of the reasons I started working for myself is because I felt like my creativity was beginning to get crushed by the predictability of the 9-5 but it’s a hard habit to break.
So, here’s to getting out and enjoying life a little more.
That was longer and chattier than expected but hope you guys are liking these causal life updates.