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

 

The REAL meaning of LIFE

I’m writing this in reply to a recent article published on The Independent’s blog dubbed ‘Eton prepares you for life? Yeah, right.’ This article in which, like so many others complains about the fact that the majority of leaders of the UK have come from a wealthy background and studied at Eton at some period in their lives. The article, written by 18 year old student George Bolton, sparks his argument due from a quote taken from an article written by a 16 year old Etonian writing for The Spectator. The quote reads;

‘”But if I had to guess why Etonians do so well, it’s because the whole school is a sort of dress rehearsal for real life — or the sort of life Etonians can expect to lead”.

Bolton is quick to the mark of highlighting all that is ‘skewed’ with this view of a young 16 year old boy attending private school and harmoniously chirps into a paragraph about growing up in Lambeth and attending an academy which he refers to as ‘growing up in the real world’. And I want to say, thanks George Bolton, you’re kind of right, but you’re also wrong.

I was born into a normal working to middle class family, I attended my local comprehensive which in Northern 90s/00s England was predominantly white and by the time I was at college I was placed onto an Oxbridge programme for the grand total of 3 months before I was told I wasn’t what they were looking for. No biggie, I preferred parties, boys and nightclubs way more than university applications and exams anyway.

My half brother is from a similar background to me, he was brought up in North Manchester, and when he was 12 took a couple of exams (around 20) through a programme recommended by a teacher at his comprehensive school and ended up (it took over 6 months of back and forth trips from Manchester to Windsor) with a fully paid scholarship to Eton. He’s now 17 and has just applied for Oxford. Until he was 13, he spent his childhood growing up in a bubble of Royton and High Crompton and I remember whilst I was at university people would ask me, ‘do you think your brother is going to turn into a knob?’ ‘Do you think he’s gonna be like one of them posh wankers?’

It was only recently whilst talking to my boyfriend’s mother, who herself is a British expat who grew up in 60s colonised Kenya that upon being asked about how my brother has turned out spending his teenage years in a boarding house with 1200 other boys that I realised; he’s turned out just fine. In fact, partially through my brother’s upbringing and schooling he’s turned out to be a young gentleman that I’m extremely proud of.

He schools alongside great grandsons of famous shoe designers and boy’s who’s families actually own Downtown Abbey; and even I had my preconceptions and sceptical comments on the world of Eton before I visited there. Some of the boys there will go onto to Oxford, some will go to Durham, Edinburgh or Bristol. Some will not go to university at all but their parents are paying £30,000 per annum for this to happen through the excellent standard of education the boys receive there.

I had no money thrown at my education, and I went to a top ten university and now work for the BBC. My best friend who is from the same small insular town as my brother has worked at two of the world’s biggest publishing houses and I have friends who work in politics that failed their A Levels first time round.

So ‘being prepared for real life’ and mocking some young boys’ idea that that’s what Eton does for him is pointless. If Eton isn’t real life, then how was attending an academy in Lambeth for you any more real? Or my crappy comprehensive where my best friend got a fag put out on her forehead, is that not real life too? ‘Real life’ is not defined by going through hardships and not being paid to go into private education and writing opinions for the Independent’s blog. Real life cannot be defined by one person’s experiences over another. Real life is not defined by where you go to school. It’s not about where you were born. Real life is the experience of being a consciously living and breathing person.

Why werking and twerking aren’t that dissimilar

Copyright thisiswhyimbroke.com

This is England 90 has kind of drilled it into me that the 90s was pretty fucking shit for the majority of twenty somethings. They were the product generation of their hardworking mothers and fathers who in turn with some political and economical decisions that I haven’t had the time to properly research, ended up unhappy and mostly unemployed.

The generation I come from is different, and that generation is the beautiful generation that saw the introduction of Playstation, Flubber (I was 6 when it came out) and the idea that getting a job was more than putting food on the table and more a chance to get a career, shock horror at something you’re good at, in a field – even more shock horror – that you enjoy! It could even be a hobby that you could…wait for it, turn into money?

Either way, I, along with my friends are successful in the fact that we recognise that not only does hard work pay off (thanks for the nagging mum and dad) but also that we can have careers that don’t really feel like jobs – but just make us happy and earn us money too. But that isn’t always the case, you know. I mean I’m not exactly 100% jumping for joy everytime I wake up for work. Some days I just don’t wanna go at all. I drag my heels from the tube but I need to pay my rent and one day make something of myself.

I have friends who work in catering that love it just as much as friends who work in food PR, I have friends who work in recruitment who are using their resources to network to meet loads of poeple to decide how they want to broaden their horizons in many ways possible.

So why are werk (go on say it without doing a scouse accent I dare you) and a good old twerk not too dissimilar? Because you should have blood fun doing both! So if you’re not in your dream job right now, don’t sweat it, because you’re laying the foundations to do so, and if you are in your dream job, well done and I hate you!

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.

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.