Get the Layered London Life

Thanks DUDELOL.com, you’re hilarious and you know it!

So for a while, I’ve been having this constant internal breakdown where I’m like ‘Where am I? ‘Who am I’? And more importantly, ‘Where am I going?’ And of course, the constant beating in my chest and subsequently my throat are cultivated by the Uber stress that’s bestowed upon me and also in fact that I can’t actually afford half the Uber rides I actually get.

I was about 16 when I decided that after I’d thwarted my way through performance studies at college (free spirited ok?) and spent three years of my life chugging back VKs in Revs at uni that I would move to London. In September 2013 I set off with my little handkerchief tied onto a stick and was driven 300 miles down the motorway by my Stepdad and TalkSport Radio (4 HOUR DRIVE PEOPLE). Pretty soon after I’d landed and since, I’d managed to start a new job, cry at a new job, quit a job, open an overdraft, spend an overdraft, have an interview at Vogue, an interview at Glamour, get rejection letters from both, get a job in TV, realise I like TV, lose my job in TV, get another job in TV, lose my job in TV again, and then gain another job in TV which I’m due to start soon. Amongst all that, I’d ended a previous relationship, started a new one, boarded with crazy people, boarded with friends, eaten at Morley’s Fried Chicken more than once, eaten at a Michelin starred restaurant more than once and still managed on top of all that to be in debt, but drinking Prosecco on a Friday night? Crazy huh?

What’s my secret? Ok guys…I’ll tell you. How can I on the surface have this shiny, happy go lucky persona, my Primark skirt being mistaken for Zara at a glance, my perfectly manicured nails being stick on types from Poundland, and then underneath that is a 2 bedroom flat in Brixton, a meal at Duck & Waffle on a Friday night and a trip to New York in October for my 25th. How do I do it you ask? I’ve got the Layered London Life.

The Layered London Life is not a product you can buy, or a class you can attend, it’s a London way of life which you have to study, perfect and ultimately master in order to balance your life of oxymoron’s and juxtapose your daily routine. Up until 3am getting hammered on 2 4 1 cocktails at Be At One but got a work meeting at 9am? The Answer? Dean Street Townhouse! Avocado and egg on toast for £9! Amazing. You get to eat something that washes the Sambuca out of your mouth and look like you’ve got your shit together! And what’s even better? You can expense it to work!

Got a hot date on Thursday night but don’t have any money to get a new outfit? Don’t ignore those cheap looking pile of shit shops like Risky and Rebel!. They might be gross on the outside, and the inside, but they can re-sell a Boohoo dress with the label cut out for half the price! You might get some D£sign£r heels too for only £6, wow how incredible considering the RRP is £225!

Want to appear cultured and knowledgeable but can’t actually afford the £12 entry fee to the Tate exhibition on rat droppings? Well, have no fear, you can go to all of the free ones instead, and when you’re date/person you are trying to impress with all your knowledge makes a hint that they want to go into said paid for exhibit, distract them with your waving of a BOGOF glass of house white voucher at the local Wetherspoon’s which conveniently looks over the Thames…And if you want to travel back in style, grab the Emirates cable cars, and gawp at the view of London by air for the same price as a tube ride, bonus points if you’re on a travelcard and further bonus points for realising these two spots are nowhere near each other.

It sucks having no money and living in a city in London where everything is so expensive but there’s lots of things worth doing that are free, it just takes a bit of research. It sucks not having any time and living in London. Work can overtake your life sometimes, and although my mum always says ‘You don’t have to do it all now just because you’re young!’ Well screw you mom! Do you think you know better than me because you have 30 years life experience on top of me and have brought up a child genius such as myself? I will do it all now! You know why? Because London is a young person’s game. It might be the golden oldies who sit in their million pound Highgate and Kensington homes and the odd flake from Made in Chelsea made up land, but it is the young people that get away with the shit above because we are young, and determined and a liiiiiittle bit stupid.

You see, the secret to The Layered London Life is in its title. LAYERS. Like Donkey said to Shrek, Onions have layers, and so does London. Use them to your advantage. One day you might be supping on champagne from a glass shaped like Kate Moss’ tit, the next you’ll be paying for a Boots meal deal with your saved up Boots points you had reserved for a new mascara. C’est la Vie! C’est London!

Look at my layers on Instagram @ecarg_h

Laugh at my layers on Twitter g_hetherington

 

16 Things You Learn Living in London

All kudos for this go to the Croydon Guardian and ma homeboi google images

It’s coming up to two years that I’ve lived in the capital and I’ve learnt lots of useful and interesting things about London. It’s perks, its quirks, its pits and its downfalls. Talking to friends, it seems some of them are unanimous to everyone living in London so I thought I’d share 16 (random?) of them. My number 1 won’t work, it’s being difficult, soz.

Sirens are background noise.Whether you live in Kings Cross, Brixton or Finsbury Park, you’ll definitely be hearing your fair share of sirens. They’re just a given. In fact, I struggle to get to sleep without them, which brings me on to my next point…

2. If you hear police helicopters but no sirens.The police are looking for someone and their sirens are turned off to maximise chance of capture. If the overhead buzzing of helicopter is right over your head, lock your windows and your doors.

3. ‘ERROR Seek Assistance’ is both a fear and the bane of your life. Your god damn oyster card is touching the god damn reader so just let me through you piece of shit barrier and stop embarrassing me!

4. If you get food for FREE – TAKE IT. Restaurant blogging, PR events open to public, food samples of new menu? IT’s free and it saves you cooking a meal tonight which in turn saves money. And we like money.

5. If you get drinks for FREE – TAKE THEM. Whether offered as part of a door package, or simply for showing up on the guestlist. Tweet bars, tag your friends, say where you are. And if that dodgy looking bloke offers you a drink – observe that FREE doesn’t always mean SAFE.

6. McDonalds/Burger King are about as gourmet food you’re going to get post 12am. Aint no Michelin staying open for you. Not that you can probably afford Duck and Waffle after a night out anyway and if you can – this blog isn’t for you…

7. The District line is the worst line out of all the lines and you will always be late using it. And even though it’s semi overground – still boiling.

8. The Victoria Line on the other hand is hands down the most efficient line. Well, that is if you’re either going North Zone 3 or South Zone 2….

9. You’ll never not be in awe of Big Ben. Coming out of Westminster station and looking up at that Bad Boy not only takes your breath away, you realise that it looks like a really big lego tower made with the fancy sets of lego that looks like real stone.

10. Peckham is posh now. So is Brixton. They even have cocktail bars.

11. If a club is described as ‘fresh, classy and well priced’, it’s probably a shit hole located on Leicester Square with a £10 entry free and free shot necklace on arrival.

12. Afternoon tea on average costs as much as one month’s council tax pp. I know which I’ll be spending my money on.

13. Tiger is the best shop for nothing but everything since Wilkos.

14. Zone 4 is way too far to travel for one evening. You’ve never seen your friends nice and pleasant house in Manor House because your dingy flat in Stockwell is just so much more accessible from Central.

15. ‘I don’t have any change, sorry’ is in your daily vocabulary now.

16. You currently don’t want to live anywhere else.

3 Free Things to do in London this Summer (because you broke, i’m broke, errybody broke)

Recently I’ve been participating in a lot of things that aren’t free and my recent house move and lack of money anyway have left me in a position where the only way I’m intending to have a social life this summer is by doing stuff that’s actually FREE. Here are 3 things that I’m definitely intending to attend in terms of swigging warm red wine from a Sainsbury’s bag and walking home because I can’t afford the tube.

Going to all the carnivals, all the street parties, all the parties in the parks.

Okay, so obviously you can buy things at each of these places, but the great thing about them is that you don’t actually have to.

Notting Hill Carnival on the 30th and 31st August is completely free to enter, and is a great day out for seeing the famous carnival that started in the sixties as well as listening to different types of music street by street.

Expect to see: Local entertainment in the form of street acts, mental homeless people and the LADS from Surrey who urinate on the street and are arrested by the met at 7pm.

Brixton Splash on 2nd August (rumours of a cancellation, I’m refusing to believe it) has great food which is actually sometimes free in this generous community, great music and great people.

Expect to see: A lot of flags, a lot of vibrant colours and smell a lot of different smells.

Then coming up this Saturday 20th June is Swedish MidSummer, a massive event held unofficially in Hyde Park each year, and is the largest party outside of Sweden each year. It’s BYOB, BYOF, and BYOM (Bring Your Own Maypole) to this delightful and dizzy party.

Expect to see: Gorgeous Swedish people, and not so gorgeous non-Swedish people trying to fit in with said gorgeous swedish people.

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If you want to zig a zig ah, email me grchthrngtn@gmail.com

The 10 Pet Peeves of Living and Working in London

 

  1. Carrying a wet umbrella on the tube. Chances are you also have a million other things to hold, as well as holding onto the bar that keeps you from hurtling down the carriage. Where does your wet umbrella go? Can’t go in your bag can it? Stuck to the side of your leg like a wet limpet, there we go.
  1. Rain in London. The majority of the UK suffers boughts of rain, heck I lived in the rainiest place in the UK for my whole 3 years at University. It’s not a myth that it rains less in the south, and when it does, there just seems to be so so much of it, and it’s defo wetter rain than the rest of the country.
  1. Going into a cubicle a second after someone has come out. This one is more for ladies. Whether you work in a big corporation where the toilets are constantly one in one out, or you’re in a dingy Soho bar with only one toilet, you will inhale the smell of someone’s urine before you, top tip, hold your breath as you go in.
  1. Having to top up, every other day. You don’t get the tube enough to justify getting a monthly pass. You don’t want to put more than £10 at a time on your oyster card if you’re only making a couple of journeys because £££. But then again you still find yourself every other day, stood in the queue behind all the tourists baffled by the Cash Accepted/Cards Accepted ticket machines.
  1. Wearing the right clothes. It’s cold outside, but then there’s a bought of sun and suddenly, your roll neck is cooking you from the inside out. Oh, it’s sunny out this morning, better where that new summer dress from Asos and oh look it’s 3pm, it’s winter again and I’m freezing.
  1. Getting the train back up North. Like anyone wants to go up to Manchester at the weekend after work? Oh look this is the busiest train I’ve ever been on ever and I’m stood next to the toilet door that keeps jamming as it opens and closes and oh god am I smelling shit? Never getting the 7pm from London Euston again.
  1. The weekends go faster. You finish work late on Friday night, but fuck it, you’re still going out with your mates, you don’t care that they live in Hammersmith and it’s going to take you an hour from working in Central to get there? Oh fuck, how is it Saturday afternoon already, god you were so wasted last night, you’ve wasted a whole day! Better watch Netflix for a couple of hours whilst you wait for your pizza to arrive…How are you still watching Netflix at 2pm on Sunday? At least you got your washing done and had a nice bath before, oh your boss just emailed you saying can you be in work early tomorrow morning and it’s 8.45am and you’re sat at your desk.
  1. You spend all your money on 50% off meal deals. Tastecard? Secret Dining? It’s all pretty much a free way to eat out right? Never mind that £30 Ocado shop you have waiting at home, you’ve had a really stressful day at work and that new Thai place is offering 50% for it’s first week opening aaaaaaand it’s halfway through the month, your money’s gone and you’re eating Sainsbury’s basic Tuna out of the can…with your cat.
  1. You find yourself talking to yourself. Are you cursing ShittyMapper? Or GoogleCraps? Or just got a TO DO list as long as your right arm that you start muttering to yourself on the bus, walking home, in the queue for coffee. Don’t worry, this is only a pet peeve to yourself alone, no one else has noticed ‘cos they’re all muttering to themselves too.

And 1. Tourists. They are everywhere. They are in your way on the tube. They are in your way in a queue for your drunken staggering home on a Tuesday night McDonald’s. They are your friend from home who wants to see every single landmark in the whole of London is two days. They are you when you are lost and ShittyMapper isn’t working. They are your parents when you go ‘Meet me at Oxford Circus tube’ ‘Okay is that on Oxford Street or?’ Tourists are one of the main sources of income in London’s society but they are also bloody well annoying.