I lived in London for 5 years. They were 5 hard, career-building and personality defining years – it was post university, but I still feel like I arrived in London as a ‘student’ and left as a fully grown adult with a career.
The big smoke
My time in London was punctuated with drama – at various times I lived with random flatmates I found on Gumtree (in a flat with no living room), I moved in with a boyfriend (we broke up amicably a few years later), I even lived with one of my bosses for a while!
I had a boring job that paid well, so I quit and worked for free for 3 months doing unpaid internships. That got me my first PR job (which was truly awful) but paid OK and helped me cut my teeth and start my career. Then I got an events job and even got to travel to America a few times with work…but then, I was made redundant via G-chat (yes, really).
After that I went back in to an agency and worked for big brands like Microsoft for a while, and then 18 months later I quit, went travelling in SE Asia for a few months, and then went back to London for a final hurrah and a 6 month contract at Lonely Planet as their in-house press officer (which was ace).
What was the point in all that waffle? I guess to explain that after 5 mental years of long commutes, tube strikes, expensive rent, low pay and a lot of job drama, I got a little bit sick of London. It was also hard seeing friends back here in Cardiff being able to afford mortgages and nice holidays, knowing that that would NEVER happen for me whilst I lived in the big smoke. So I turned my back on it, and came back to Cardiff. 2 years on, and I still feel it was a good decision and I don’t regret it for a second.
Having said that, now I am finding that like an old friend coming back in to my life, I am falling back in love with London. This in mind, there was really nowhere else I wanted to spend the weekend celebrating before my 30th birthday (*insert scream-face emoji*).
It really is a bloody brilliant place.
Where to find my 30th birthday highlights
- The top of the ‘walkie talkie’ building at Sky Garden for a morning brew with a view:
Head here before noon to beat the queues. (after then you’d need to pre-book). A fab place to enjoy your morning coffee!
20 Fenchurch St, London EC3M 8AF, Free (or the price of a cup of tea)
2. At Covent Garden to see it at its most magical:
3. At Covent Garden for Vietnamese food, because we can’t get any in Cardiff 🙁
Can’t ever beat a good bowl of Pho!
Com Viet Restaurant, 2-4 Garrick St, London WC2E 9BH, Set menu: £22pp
4. At Leadenhall Market for the most instagrammable backdrop!
This old market in the financial district is closed on Saturday and Sundays, so make sure you visit in the week.
London EC3V 1LT, Free (if you can resist the shops)
5. At Duck and Waffle (the highest restaurant in London) for 4am brunch 🙂
It’s never to late – or too early – for brunch!
Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY, Plates from £9
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