I’ve lived in London for around two and a half years now, including two jobs, three houses, countless burgers and more than my fair share of extortionately priced ‘craft beers’. Here are some of the things I have learnt in this time.
1. Waiting more than 3 minutes for public transport is a new hell. Back when I lived out in the sticks, I’d be happy that the next train was ‘only in 20 minutes’. Nowadays, waiting four minutes for the next Bakerloo line on a crowded platform feels like an eternity.
2. Twitter is the best way to meet people and pretty much an essential tool for knowing stuff/complaining about the Tube/mocking BoJo. Basically, if you’re under 35, live in London and don’t use Twitter, people will give you funny looks and wonder if you’re secretly actually commuting from Mars. Or the Home Counties.
3. You can get drunk on the cheap. You just need to know where to go. I once had a pint (okay, it was Fosters but still…) for £1.80. IN CAMDEN. Get in.
4. When it comes to where you choose to live, you’re either a ‘North of the River’ or ‘South of the River’ person. Once you’ve found your geographical tribe, you’re there until you die. Or move to the Home Counties.
5. Doing touristy stuff is still fun and something born-and-bred Londoners don’t do enough of. Unfortunately, it does mean you have to deal with…tourists. City elbows at the ready.
6. A flair for interior design on a budget is a useful skill. Chances are, if you’re anything like me, the rented flats within your budget won’t be particularly palatial (although, my current flat is actually bloody nice. HA). A visit to a charity shop/poundshop/Ikea to pick up some throws, cushions and perhaps a wall hanging to cover that dubious stain and you’re basically the Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen of Leyton.
7. There ARE ways you can buy your own home though. They involve either inheriting a wodge of cash, having a generous bank of mum and dad, winning the lottery, or being a banker. And not the Monopoly kind.
8. Uber and City Mapper are on a par with fast pizza delivery and mid-priced gin when it comes to Essential Things For Londoners To Know About.
9.If it’s even a little bit sunny outside and you’re not on Hampsted Heath/in Hyde Park/in a beer garden, you’re basically a social pariah.
10. London is amazing. It’s big, it’s busy, it’s expensive, it’s stressful – but it’s also filled with incredible opportunities and experiences when you open your eyes and mind to them.