Sitting in a Pret sipping on a coconut hot chocolate, I am watching people crossing the street on a busy London road.
A year ago I came to the magnetic city of London that has completely changed my perspective on life.
I don’t know when I started to immerse myself into the London way of life, but I have and now I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Since my arrival I worry about the things I put in my body and exercise more which has boosted my self confidence.
Here I was little old me from Yorkshire, rocking adult braces, unsure about everything yet oddly determined to make something of myself.
At first I was lost, but something about London made me want to chase my dreams and live life to the fullest.
From chilling at the park to the hustling and bustling professionals, students and tourists, everyone is out doing something.
Culture and vibes
I couldn’t mention London without a shout out to the many cultures that make it a vibe.
The way London is set up, everywhere you look there is diversity, it’s so multicultural and inviting.
There are over 300 languages spoken in London, more than any other city in the world.
It’s the first and only city in the UK that doesn’t make me feel like a foreigner.
But the biggest vibe of all is the Nothing Hill Festival, Europe’s biggest street festival. In fact, London hosts over over 250 festivals annually.
You are spoilt for choice, with three out of top ten museums situated in London and boasting 857 art galleries in total.
It’s the London look!
When I first arrived in the big smoke, I was mortified by the sneakers and backpacks. Everyone in London wears them, oh and AirPods.
Londoners just exude cool, their street style is vibrant and individual.
Though my personal style is minimalistic with a hint of masculine, in London I started dressing more feminine.
London is the city that allows you to express yourself freely.
You could wear a sequinned blazer and cycle shorts to breakfast and no one would blink an eye.
Thats why I make an actual effort and am more daring in my ‘smart casual’ work gear.
People genuinely compliment you on the street or at work!
Last but definitely not least, London Fashion Week..the fashion event of the year.
Food and health
Seriously! Everyone is so health conscious in London. It’s refreshing.
People openly talk about mental, physical and emotional health.
This city taught me the meaning of self-care, and how important it is.
Coming from a black family, I was raised with the notion that mental illness is something we don’t suffer.
I now focus on my mental and physical health much more and wellness is an important aspect of my life.
London offers more Vegan restaurants, gluten free menus/options for those with food intolerances than anywhere else in the UK.
Public transport (once you figure it out)
The most confusing thing about London is the underground or the tube as Londoners call it.
I have to admit I still use the underground map in my diary to navigate my way around.
That being said it’s the best thing about London, it’s so efficient and once you understand it, a lifesaver.
But, there is always a but, only when it’s working. If it’s not functioning your whole day will be ruined.
Everyone in London is willing to help… if you ask!
Since arriving in London, I have mastered the art of networking, attending events and building industry contacts.
As a career changer, I had no contacts in the journalism world. My very first contacts where the people on my journalism course.
I quickly realised it’s best to just put yourself out there, especially in London where all the big media names are.
In my industry free events are quite rare, so when I spot one or get invited I jump at the chance. You can never network enough!
There are events happening across the city almost on a daily basis, whatever your profession, there is something for you.
Everyone is extremely motivated and I think it comes with the big city dreams.
Of course no city in the world is absolute perfection…
But London would be a clear winner if not for pollution, over population, societal disproportionality and extortionate cost of living.