23 Mar 2019

How to survive in London: The Northern Edition

I've been in London for a whole 4 months now. Admittedly it seems like I've been here a hell of a lot longer than that, in a good way of course. Like a Northerner in a bath (pronounced baff please) of gravy, I have really taken to the Southern way of life. There really is no comparing to the North, they're both different in so many ways that it's best to just accept the differences for what they are. Equally wonderful in their own ways.

When I first moved down South, I used to find the underground to be the most stressful thing each morning. I would stand back and miss tube after tube as I simply couldn't be bothered to fight with the masses over a centimetre of space. I certainly couldn't understand how I would see people napping on their commutes or even watching people read their books looking so utterly relaxed in what I thought was the least relaxing environment.

Fast forward four months, I'm now that person. So much so that I miss my stop more often than not, mainly because navigating around this city isn't a strength of mine. I've learned that you have to be brutal, sometimes. Pushing and shoving however, is never acceptable. There's always space for manners, but that's likely the Northern soul in me. 

The key to surviving in this neck of the woods is acceptance. The sooner the accept the following, the sooner you'll enjoy your time here:

1. You have to accept that your accent will be mimicked with every utterance you make.

2. Accept that you're going to develop a complex over said mimicking.

3. Don't fancy throwing yourself down the escalators this morning? That's fine, but stand to the right, don't be a d*ck and let the rest of us risk our lives instead.

4. Accept that you're not going to find fresh air, anywhere. In fact, bugger it. Buy one of those surgical masks, your lungs are gonna be done in.

5. You need to accept that you're not going to walk in a straight line most days. I often compare my morning walk along Oxford St to Mario Kart. Swooping in and out of the masses.

6. Accept that people will be brushed up against you during your daily commutes - this cannot be avoided, it's simply normal to have someones breasts on your back. The sooner you accept there's no such thing as 'personal space' the easier this will be for everyone involved.

7. Get your Oyster card ready to exit the station. I promise you there is nothing more annoying than that one imbecile holding up the queues by a whole 2 extra seconds... things move quickly here and you have to keep up if you want to face a chance of survival.

8. There's no denying that London is expensive. Beyond a joke, sickly expensive. Instead of giving in to temptations, and trust me there are many, bring your lunch to work. Make it at home, save some ££'s. Fancy a treat? Then download NEZ. They publish exclusive food offers in central London and will save you a fortune.

9. Probably one of the most vital purchases you should make, invest in a water filter, trust me, you're gonna need it. Thames water just simply does not cut it if you're used to fresh mountain dew.

10. Download CityMapper - I'm not sure how people survive without it. It will be your bible. It allows you to enter destinations and will tell you exactly what line you need to get there. A little tip, screenshot your journey before going underground. WiFi on the tubes is a whole other skill so it's best to have it saved on your phone in case you can't connect mid-journey.

Have you recently made the move cross country? Thinking about doing it? Let me know!

Just Write About It.
Raven Twigg

23 Jan 2019

Dating. Do you love it or hate it?

IG: @selfcarecorner
Love it, hate it, some people even love to hate dating. I’m the latter. I find it all to be such an effort and although you can have a few good dates, they all just seem like a complete waste of time of late.

I've been dating on and off for few years now, having the occasional break here and there when things start to get that little bit more serious. All until the honeymoon period ends, I find out I'm the other woman, or it really was too good to be true. Then it’s back to Tinder I go. 

This past year I’ve been dating more than ever. I really came to terms with the fact that I'd quite like to share my life and my experiences with someone I was happy and comfortable with and decided that I was (finally) ready to commit. And don't get me wrong, you're not about to read an "I hate all men" stereotypical blog. I’ve met some lovely men along the way, and my male friends are amazing people. But dating the men in London is like a whole new kettle of fish let me tell ya! 

Back up the M1, you’d meet someone on a night out, or match with someone on one of the many dating platforms our millennial selves are unashamedly obsessed with, and you could be engaging in dry chit chat for weeks on end before actually meeting up. It's a lot of effort and for very little return. London on the other hand? Nah. You swipe right, you match, you meet and you either enjoy your evening and decide to see one another again, or you really don’t enjoy it at all and start the process again with only a matter of days wasted. It's a much quicker pace and much less disheartening when you've only wasted 6 texts on your latest catfish instead of 6 weeks.

IG: @frizzkidart
Let me put this all into context for you. Here comes the juicy nightmare-ish bit you were hoping to read when you clicked on the link. One of my first dates in London was with a 27 year old Glaswegian lawyer in November last year. There were no awkward moments and we seemed to enjoy each other’s company. So much so that we had moved from pub to pub drinking and yapping the night away. He appeared to be a proper gentlemen, holding doors open for me, pulling my chair out, covering the bill and even holding an umbrella over the two of us as we continued on our crawl of Clapham's finest boozey establishments. The night ended on a high as we parted ways and we both agreed that we would see one another again soon. Nothing strange about that is there? Well... this is when the weird sh*t begins. 

About 30 minutes after I had left him, he starts inviting me over to his house. We came to an agreement that this wasn’t a great idea, despite the intoxication, but that we would hang out some other time the following week instead as we did really get along. 

The next day he had text me asking to see me again that evening. I politely declined and suggested that it was a little bit too keen but was open to arranging something the following week. The next night, he calls me drunk at 1AM. I didn't answer the calls, because I'm not a psychopath answering calls to drunken strangers at an ungodly hour. I didn't open the texts he'd sent to follow the missed calls but could see that he was again inviting me over to his place. Both flattered and freaked out all the same, I really couldn't believe that this is the same chap I’d spent a really fun evening with just two nights prior. 

Anyway, fast forward a couple more days and he starts to question why I wasn’t responding to his texts. Hmm... go figure mate. But I explained that I had been super busy with work and to stop being so needy. This is when it gets real weird. Just five days after we met for the first time, I received a text from him at 12:30AM saying ‘You doing?’ Noticed that there's a pattern here?

Well I obviously wasn't going to respond, so I didn't open the message so that he wouldn't know I'd seen it and just ignored it. I'd made the decision in my head that I was going to text him the following day to explain it was all a bit too much for me and thank u, next. But before the sun arose, in fact just 10 minutes later I received another text from the Glaswegian gent. This one reads:

 ‘You’re actually just a big fatty anyway’.

Ha, sorry. What? I’ll admit, I haven’t been a size 8 since I was around 19 years old but does this define me? Hell no! Weight doesn’t define anyone. So, Mr. Lawyer, I hope you find happiness one day, so much happiness that I hope you choke on it too.

And so my search for my very own Prince Harry / Simon Neil / Matty Healy continues... offline. 

Do you have any dating experiences you want to share? Reach out! I wanna hear them.

Just Write About It.
Raven Twigg

9 Jan 2019

Let's start over...

Pardon the theatrics, but would you expect any less from me?
When I was offered the job down in London, it all happened very quickly. I didn't really have the time to think about it or process what was about to happen. I was so caught up in the stress of where I was going to live, packing my cosy little house into boxes again, and saying goodbye for now to all of my friends, that it never occurred to me that actually, my entire adult life as I've known it was about to change drastically.
When I first moved to Manchester in 2012, it was for university. I used to visit my hometown at least once a month and I'd even spend the summer and Christmas breaks back there too, so it never seemed permanent. When I headed to Australia, again, this was never going to be for longer than 2 years and I was travelling with like-minded strangers. I think this is why it seemed like such a bigger deal to be headed down the M1 to London than it did to fly across the globe alone at 22 years old to Sydney.

When I was sat in Manchester feeling sad, anxious and excited all at once about leaving everyone and everything behind, a friend of mine said to me "Raven, you're going to love it, honestly." And I just simply didn't believe it, I didn't want to believe it. I'd even had a stern word with myself that I'd go through with it all as the opportunity was far too good to pass up, but if I didn't like the city, which I was sure I wouldn't, then I could always come back. I was so worried that the comfort blanket I'd established up North was going to be ripped away and I'd find myself in a terrible place again. But how wrong I was! I really had no reason to be worried at all. 

Now when I actually sit and think about the fact that i'm settled in London, I'm pretty f*cking chuffed with myself to be honest. I never saw this coming, I honestly thought I was settled in Manchester. I was happy with every aspect of my life apart from my career. So whilst being signed off as "unfit for work" by my GP, I applied for this job, and it's probably saved my life. I've started a career, I've met so many incredible people and have rekindled old friendships, too. I'm experiencing a social scene like I've never known before and dating? Well, that's a whoooooole new kettle of fish I tell you!

I'm truly so shocked by how well I've taken the move in my stride and am honestly loving it. I've rediscovered a confidence in myself and my ability which I haven't seen since my school days. I really feel like I can be myself down here and it's the biggest relief in the world.

Manchester will of course always feel like home to me, it would be strange not to after 6 years, but for now, London has my heart.

Just Write About It.
Raven Twigg