Don’t talk to strangers – or do

In London, there are secret rules.

Breaking them ousts you as an outsider, letting everyone in the immediate vicinity know that you’re a foolish, flailing tourist. They stir up feelings of mild contempt or pure raging hatred, depending on how serious the crime.

London is in fact designed specifically to identify outsiders- from impossible-to-pronounce towns to those pointless Open Door buttons on all tubes (HINT- none of them work, it’s just a sinister TFL ploy to reveal newbies to the entire carriage).

By far the biggest London rule, however, is to NEVER SPEAK TO ANYONE. Ever. Even if you’re squished up against their face between King’s Cross and Moorgate. Even if their rucksack just smacked you in the face. Especially not if you’re in the queue for something. What are you, some sort of sociopath?

**Top London Tip**: It’s really fun to break this rule.

So I bought a (toy) lion at the Zoo Late a week or so back, and being the cheapskate I am, refused to pay for a plastic bag to carry him home in. And as it turns out, being on a train full of drunk people while you’re carrying a toy lion is a great icebreaker.

We (me and my lion) were being mercilessly stared at. It was getting awkward. I had to break the rule. “I don’t just carry him around everywhere” I announced, startling a commuter who had been snoozing. The couple sat across from me caught my eye and started laughing. The man sat next to them, who was almost certainly a drug dealer, asked me what my lion was called. He suggested Tony, a la the Kellogs adverts. I pointed out that Tony was in fact a tiger, but nice try. More people laughed.

I sat quietly for the rest of my trip, feeling really bloody pleased with myself. I must be hilarious, I thought, sauntering down Shepherd’s Bush. I’d always secretly known I was a comedic genius, but these Tube strangers confirmed it for me. In two simple quips I’d made at least seven people in laughter. This must be what Peter Kay feels like all the time. I rang my boyfriend to tell him the good news.

A few days later, after a particularly bad night’s sleep, I nipped to the shop to get some milk. Yawning as I passed over my money, the guy commandeering the till asks me “Still in bed?”. I reply, “Yeah, and going straight back to it”, cue a ripple of laughter from him, the guy stocking the tobacco shelf, and the woman behind me in the queue. Wow, I thought, smiling, that wasn’t even that funny. Maybe because no one in London talks to each other, when they do make the slightest joke, it’s actually hilarious… I’m coming back here again.

I think London is dangerous for my ego.


Selfie Sunday: I’m just plain old ‘Northern’ now.

I was a busy little blogger yesterday- it’s my first London weekend that didn’t involve moving house again, so I took full advantage of not having to spend a Saturday packing, and spent it walking instead.

Mostly this just involved getting lost, but I managed to take my mini walking adventure via West End Live (which was okay, just a shame about the techie issues), round the tourist-rammed Portobello Road market, down Notting Hill and back home to Shepherd’s Bush. Completely pooped, I was ready to get into bed come 4pm.

But I live in London now. And I think it’s technically a legal requirement for 20-somethings in a capital city at a loose end on a Saturday night to find something to do. And who am I to disrespect the law?

So, when my wonderful housemate Georgie invited me to a party in Shoreditch, to a swanky little basement bar called nineteen-twenty, I couldn’t possibly say no. I spent the night talking buzz-words, north-south divides and The Shard. The wine was flowing and there were free cupcakes, and what more can a girl honestly want from a party?

I was starting to feel more like a real Londoner. Stopping for a hotdog in Notting Hill, heading off to jaunts in Shoreditch, planning charity shop hauls in Clapham. Then I found myself having to explain, mortally offended, that Manchester is NOT in fact “in Yorkshire“. I was horrified.

This innocent (and wildly misinformed) mis-placing of my hometown was crazy. Being a Manchester girl living in Yorkshire used to be a big deal- i.e. I was mercilessly teased for my pronunciation of “beer”, and asked to provide a passport every time I crossed the Pennines by my charming and ever-loving friends. But I guess in a city where the War of the Roses is skimmed over in history lessons, none of that matters now.

I’m just Farrah From The North, and I can spare people the potted life history now- which is going to save a lot of time.



Room to breathe.

Having had all sorts of bedrooms, from poky student digs to enormous country manor kicks, I’ve come to really appreciate the importance of having a room you love. I’ve had my fair share of crap setups, including having to top-and-tail with my little sister, so living in a beautiful room of my own is my idea of heaven.

Being in London, everything is high-energy, no-time, mad-rush. And it can be a bit overwhelming at times for little old me, so retreating to my quiet little corner to read, maybe phone the grandparents, is so relaxing it may as well come with it’s own acoustic soundtrack.

Top shelf L-R: Family portrait of the Kelly girls, school portrait miniature, Beth’s first day of school pic, a card my family gave to me on the first day of university, me and Miss Bennett, empty picture frame that my boyfriend PROMISED to get a picture of us for, one of those fancy schmancy scent things.
Bottom shelf L-R: My wonderful Holga camera, a pile of books and notepads, “Good friends are like stars, you don’t have to see them to know they are there”,my mini Geisha, Simon Armitage collection/The Female Eunuch/To Kill A Mockingbird/How To Be A Woman, ikea tealights.
And of course I have my Rosie Riveter postcard as a little reminder to myself walking out of the door every morning, ready to face the big bad Smoke. I’ve always loved making my stamp on the numerous rooms I’ve lived in, and this time is no different. London is starting to feel a little bit more like home now!

Welcome to London!

I’ve been a very absentee blogger of late. This is down to two factors: emotional exhaustion and physical exhaustion. So one factor really. Exhaustion.

I’ve been emotionally exhausted because moving is HARD. You’d think as this is something like my fifth move in three years I’d be totally cool with putting my life into a few suitcases and shifting scenery once again. Turns out nope. Moving to London is a whopper, and no amount of previous upheaval-wisdom would have been enough to prepare me.

This makes it sound as though as I encountered a dragon on my way down the M1. I’m afraid the truth is less dangerous and exciting, and more…damp. Saying goodbye to my Northern family as I became the first Kelly girl to venture down south turned into a teary little adventure. Anyone would have thought I was never coming back, and the fact I’m heading home in July did little to comfort anyone.

When you’re emotional like that, it can quickly sap the fun out of you. I was in no mood to blog about how much I missed my mum, because it probably would have brought on a spout of wailing. So I just cracked on.

The physical exhaustion was kinda boring. I’d have a fantastic day at work, be full of enthusiasm and peppiness, then completely crash come 6pm. Being on the tube squished under some guy’s armpit and being hit in the face with some tourist’s backpack isn’t really the best way to set yourself up for a fun-filled evening of exploring a capital city.

So I went home each night, Skyped and called and watched TV. Did extra research for work, played with my new shiny tablet, and got early nights. It was boring. Really boring. How could I blog about it?

But, alas, I perked up. All it took was for my colleague Lara to tell me “No good story starts with, ‘so, I was doing everything completely right…’, my little sister to visit briefly and for the discovery of a fantastic little Mexican in Covent Garden with Laura, and I’m back.

I’ve got some really cool things lined up, including my first ever blogger event, moving house (again…) and a Zoo Late (it’s a party in a zoo. For real.). Plus I finally got my camera fixed so I’m going to town (literally) with that this weekend!

Welcome to London!