Landlord revolution, or hot date?

Oh the joys of living in rented housing. The surprise scaffolding you find your house covered in one day, the hole in your ceiling that’s lived there longer than you have, the joyous feeling of flushing half your wage into some estate agents lap, never to be seen again.

I love it. I truly do. What other aspect of life is it okay to skew social norms, by, oh I don’t know, demanding that you pay £240 for new curtains that they’ve x-rayed for any minor sign of unwarranted dust, but dumbly drag their knuckles across the ground when you politely ask that maybe, if they have the time, could they please fix the boiler because we’ve not had heating for four months? When else in life are people allowed- expected and paid- to be giant bumbling hypocrites? Long live estate agent/landlord freedom, that’s what I say. What possible harm could this have on the future generation’s ability to house themselves?


Well never mind that now, there are important things to be getting on with. I have seventeen upcoming appointments with my new builder. They’ve been sent by our landlord to renovate our windows, or something. I’ve been documenting their progress.

Day One: Had to get my mum, who was visiting from Manchester, to stay at home while I went to work. The builders came, looked at all seven windows in our house, nodded sagely, and left.

Day Two: Had to arrange working from home. Builder man came back and cleaned the edges (not the middle) of two windows. He then left.

Day Three: Same builder returned to clean the other five window edges. I had to work from home again. He shouted at me for having personal possessions (in this case, some money and jewellery, kept in a box) on show. In my own house. In a bedroom.

Day Four: I took the morning off work. Same builder came round, looked at the windows again, wrote down four things and nodded sagely. Tells me there will have to be another round of window-sorting-outtery, and can I take some more time off work?

Day Five: Builder texts me to tell me he is coming round between 5-7pm tomorrow night. Am not sure if I’m expected to provide his dinner, or if this he thinks this is a date. Maybe he’s coming to look at the windows again.

I’m starting to think my landlord is simply sending the builders round once a week to make sure I don’t have the time to muster up some sort of anti-landlord revolution. Where Estate Agents spend ten minutes in the stocks for every £50 of bollocks administration fees they administer. Where you weren’t forced to keep couches that are so brow-beaten that they’re literally impossible to sit on, just because it’s on the inventory. Where broken radiators would be fixed before you were forced to decide whether it’d be warmer to make a cup of tea with that newly boiled kettle, or just to cut out the middle man and drink it straight from the spout. Where sending round builders to gawp at my window for thirty seconds a day does not mean I have to take time off work.

Maybe that’s it. Or maybe the builder actually does fancy me.


Photo Diary: Walk through Brick Lane

I had my mum and sister come and visit the other weekend, and knowing how much my sister loves hipster vintage stuff, and my mum loves great street food, I thought we could discover Brick Lane together.

Brick Lane is a national institution in London. The Shoreditch end is caked in amazing graffiti art, market stalls, tonnes of incredible smelling food and some real life hipsters to top it all off.







As you can probably tell, this is also the weekend I discovered the macro setting on my camera. I’m getting used to all the extra buttons and options on my Olympus now, so expect better quality images as we go on. :)



Getting high in London

The thing with London is, there’s just so much of it. It takes an hour to get just halfway across it, there’s always new must-see places being added to your to-do list, and finding time to experience is tough- come the weekend or evening you’re already pooped from battling with three hundred other people for your place on a stinky tube.

Trying to catch a breather can seem like a near-impossible task, unless you’re a fan of locking yourself in your house for the whole day. Which, incidentally, I’m not/no one is. But I don’t need to worry that the constant honking of car horns, the never-ending bustle of the rush hour tube or the blaring of Evening Standard distributors is going to drive me a little bit mental. Because I’ve discovered a secret.

Getting high in London is not only super easy, it’s also seriously effective. All you need is a lift, a big ol’ building and preferably a fancy cocktail bar waiting for you at the top.

The Shard

I’m lucky enough to work in The Shard- London’s most famous pointy building- and the views are incredible. My office is only Level Three, so there’s no view to speak of there, but I do get to nip upstairs every few months for pay-day drinks. My number one recommendation for visiting The Shard is to skip The View. Though I’ve heard great things, it’s much more time/booze-effective to haul yourself up to floor 32 for a cocktail at Oblix or Aqua Shard.




 The BT Tower

I was lucky enough to be invited to head up the BT Tower for a fancy-schmancy professional networking event. I was there to schmooze with big bosses, and managed to make a fool of myself by stalling mid-pitch, in front of two CEOs, to shriek “Oh my God, we’re moving” when I realised they’d switched on the 360-floor rotation. The sensation of being slowly spun around in the sky took a little getting used to, but the views it afforded was well worth the vague feeling I’d just been on the world’s slowest rollercoaster. You also get a nifty certificate so you can add something to your CV. Naturally, the fact that I was supposed to be working didn’t stop me from taking a selfie.

(Unfortunately, the Tower isn’t open to the public , so you’ll have to just gatecrash the next fancypants event they hold there.)




Heron Tower

I am in love with Heron Tower. It’s not the most funky skyscraper in London- it doesn’t have The Shard’s edginess or the BT Tower’s revolving floor- but I have totally fallen for this badboy. Namely because it is home to the most delicious food I’ve ever tasted, and some of the most incredible views you can find of London’s skyline. I’m going to do a full review of the restaurant gets me salivating. I’ve not been to Sushi Samba, which is on the floor below, because I haven’t been able to convince anyone to pay for me (…yet). The lift is so fast, and because you have a full view of London as you soar up, some people I’ve been with felt kinda funny going up and down, but I loved it.





There are a million other places I want to get a good old view from- I’m determined to get inside the Gherkin, I’m going to go for coffee at Centrepoint, and one day I’ll fork out for a whirl on the London Eye. Looking across the skyline is a gorgeous way to get a real idea of the city, and to take a much needed breather from all the business of the tiny, tiny people down below.


When London breaks

You know how when it snows, everyone gets ready to make those “Southern pansy” jokes? The ones about how oop North, we rally through full force gales, shimmy over snow drifts and pick our way through the perilous icy peaks to get to the mines, but when a single snowflake lands outside Buckingham Palace, every Londoner goes into a full-scale meltdown as though they’d never seen the sky deposit such an unearthly matter on their beloved city before, and as a result they spend all day blankly refusing to go to work?

Yeah. I used to make those.

I lived on the edge of the Pennines for a year, where, in winter, it was safer to sit on your bum and slide one mile down the ice-covered road into oncoming traffic than to risk breaking your back by walking down said hill- and I still never missed my bus. I used to slide to college, voluntarily or otherwise, every day with only a few complaints and a twisted ankle. I felt my perils were just a simple part of winter, and coping with it was a simple job of getting on with your life despite external forces.

I used to look at Londoners, whimpering over the weather forecast, and think that they were pathetic. That was then. That was before I experienced The TFL Tube Strike.

I’m not sure if you noticed (…) but London just had a public transport freak out. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the situation, so do your fact-finding elsewhere, but I do know that for two days, it messed with my head.

The night before the strike, I’d been pretty smug. Meh, I thought, ignoring all warnings, this will just be another thing that Londoners meltdown about. Oop Norf, we rally through full force gales to get t’werk…(cont.). That was before what should have been an hour and a half round trip took me SIX AND A HALF HOURS.

I saw five people crying. I saw three arguments. I saw queues of one hundred people trying to bustle onto a single decker bus. I was in Waterloo East when it had to be evacuated and I was in gridlocked traffic for so long that I gave up and decided to walk the remaining stretch in the windy drizzle.  I was on the only central-bound train from Clapham that thoughtful strangers decided to fart on. And you know the worst bit? I didn’t even have it that bad.

I’ve got a new found respect for Londoners. I used to think that the transport-drama headlines were hyperbolic, and simply proof that people were softer down south. But having experienced just a taste of what it’s like to be in a crowd of one thousand lost and late commuters, I sort of get it now. Because back home, when there’s a transport crisis, we’re not battling with crowds of hundreds of people who are getting in your way, or knocking you over to get on the bus. And there’s certainly no one farting into your handbag.