Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Thoughts At The End of 2015

Gosh, can it really be the end of 2015? How on earth did that happen? 2015 was one of the toughest years of my life from a working perspective. There was the complete lack of a work/life balance that lead to An Unexpected Interlude on the blog between February and May and that was followed by An End Is A Beginning where I gave up my job in London for a dream job closer to home in Kent. So am I living the dream?

Not quite. I do have more time now to study, play squash and come home for lunch every day but the hours are extremely long and I’m eternally grateful that I’m not trying to pull this kind of overtime in London with a commute on either end.

On Blogging

Not working in London has given me the time to think about where I’m going with this blog and what I’d like to post about. I realised during my interlude that I was quite over working with PR companies. It all started in January when about fifty bloggers descended on a posh establishment for afternoon tea. It was a cattle market to say the least and the very opposite of what an afternoon tea experience should be.

The tea itself was pretty unusual but in all the chaos, we weren’t even able to establish what it was that we were sampling. I realised that this experience and writing about it gave no value to me, my readers or the other patrons of the venue whose afternoon was ruined by our presence. I never did write about it.

I decided that I’d much rather source and pay for my own adventures and that has been so incredibly rewarding. I went on the Derelict London Tour of Silvertown and the Access All Areas Tour of Charing Cross Station and they were so much fun. I hope to continue sharing my unusual and quirky adventures on the blog.

That’s not to say I won’t continue working with establishments directly – the free museums in London, for example, are very close to my heart and I will certainly be supporting them in future. I’m just not going to be attending a blogger event so I can surreptitiously promote an electronics brand that has nothing to do with London, photography or travel.

On Friends

This blog has been responsible for all of the friendships that I’ve made in London and for that I will always be grateful. During my time away, I realised that I would much rather go out and live my life than sit at home blogging about it. This has led to many brunches, teas and adventures that I probably won’t ever write about because I was too busy chatting with my lovely friends.

This is why I’ve decided to cut down on the amount of time I spent writing posts. I can’t really say how many posts I’ll be posting or how often that will be but it will depend on how much I get done in the time I set aside. I estimate between one to two posts a month on average.

A big part of this decision has been my enduring desire to be a decent blogging friend. I want to read and support other blogs and so need to keep my own blogging to a manageable level to achieve that. I’m sure most of you will have noticed my sudden return to your blogs and I hope you didn’t mind. I’m very much hoping to maintain that when it all kicks off again next week.

On London

During those last weeks in London, I can honestly say that I fell out of love. I was tired and had burned the candle at both ends for much longer than I should have allowed. I guess that is why I’m thrilled to be on the other side now, where I am missing London, looking forward to adventures there and am safe in the knowledge that I will return to work there one day… when I’ve finished my studies.

On Studies

Part of the reason my time is still so limited is my studies and I spend 11-18 hours a week studying. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to explain to people lately why I carry on studying when I can’t really explain it to myself anymore. It is easy at work – in our original team of seven, two are qualified, one has just finished her exams and four of us are currently studying. Outside of work it is difficult to explain the 6am study club, lack of Sunday mornings and entire weeks where I don’t see my husband in the evenings.

Then again, with this last exam I finally reached the half way mark and I know that it is all downhill now as I speed towards the end. I’ll reach the magic designation of “part-qualified” in June 2016 and I’ll be qualified by June or December 2017 (depending on which decision I make regarding my electives). I also know that I’ve increased my employability and will never have to stick in a job in which I’m unhappy again. That makes it all worth it in the end.

On The Biggest Dream of All

When Stephen and I moved to England, we really did think we’d done it right. We thought we’d brought enough money for a deposit on a house and that we could jump on the housing ladder straight away. We were wrong. Taking into account the exchange rate, our utter lack of UK credit history and an international banking crisis, our dreams took a long, long time to come to fruition.

The good news is that we’ve finally done it and we’ve bought a brand new house off plan. It is currently being built and we move in on Easter weekend. I can’t wait to have people over for fondues, afternoon tea and dinner parties!

On Travel

On the other hand, buying a house is slightly costly and you will suddenly notice big gaping holes in your bank accounts where previously there were healthy savings. Needless to say, Stephen and I will not be travelling at all until after we’ve moved and that makes me a tiny bit sad. I tend to notice such instances being improved by repeated visits to the show house to plan my future home.

That’s all my news for now. I’ll be back in 2016 with tales of my quirky adventures to Dungeness, Millennium Mills and Aldwych Station Tour.

I can’t wait to catch up with you all on the other side. As always, contact me if you’d like to join me on any of my adventures. We’re planning ongoing on another Derelict London Tour, Yannick has a brand new Art Deco Tour coming up and I’m dying to go on one of Michelle’s London From Scratch Soho Food Tours.

What are your thoughts at the end of 2015? Do you have any big plans for 2016?

© 2008 - Mandy Southgate | Emm in London

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