The Next Chapter


Things have been quiet over at this little corner of the internet for the past couple of months. Which is basically because my world exploded a little bit. That’s a metaphor for everything going a bit mad by the way; my house didn’t tragically blow up. Although there was an incident with a gas leak... but that’s a story for another day.

So where to start?

Well, I suppose we could start way back in September 2013 when I moved away from my beautiful city of Bath and back into my childhood bedroom. For a year max. That’s what I said (lol).

Or at the beginning of 2015 in mid-January, a dark, wet and cold night; I went and met a guy I worked with for a drink. And he’s still here (in my life, not the pub). I don’t think he’s leaving.

Or at some time towards the end of last year when I decided I needed to find a new job. Mainly because my wage packet wasn’t correlating with my life plans.

Yeah, let’s start there.

Because that’s how I ended up sat on the sofa on a Monday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, drowning in snotty tissues because HI COLD and feeling a little like some kind of crazed teenage girl waiting for her crush to text. I’d had an interview the week before and they’d said I’d probably hear back on Friday afternoon, but at the latest Monday.

It was 4pm on Monday so, by that point, I wasn’t exactly filled with hope.  Although that wasn’t stopping me refreshing my emails literally every two seconds, to the point where it was probably a bit weird.

And then my phone rang.

I freaked. Partly because I was like THIS IS IT and mainly, if I’m honest, because I’d put it on extra loud and it scared the actual crap out of me.

I grabbed it, dropped it (an achievement given it was just next to me on the sofa) and grabbed it again before answering in my best professional voice (don’t laugh; I have one).

“Congratulations, you have been selected to win an iPod!”


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Well.

You can fuck right off.


Yeah so I didn’t get it.

That was the second interview I’d had in a month, which I was kinda proud of (despite not actually getting the jobs) because the effort I had been putting into job hunting was minimal to say the least. Working full time and job hunting; what is that about?! No thanks pal.

That first interview; I was told I had it literally moments after I’d decided to take a break from job hunting. Oh the irony.

Deciding to take a break from the old job search came about whilst I was lying in bed in a heap one evening in February, looking at my bank account like um, where is my dolla?

Oh right, I have no dolla. Pretty much a daily occurrence in my life.

And then, I just had this moment. This moment where I literally felt sick SICK of worrying about money. Like achingly, right down to my core FED UP of stressing about the pennies.

Because, seriously, it is boooooring. But what are we to do? We all do it because it is something that stresses you out even if you can take a moment out of yourself and be like, babes, I know London is eating your money but, seriously, change the record.
You know, someone once told me that if you earn around the average graduate wage, you’re richer than 80% of the people in the world. Okay, so I don’t actually remember the exact number - do not quote me on that - but it was something along those lines. Enough to sober you right up eh?

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yeah, deciding to take a break from job hunting. I was sat there, looking at my bank account and wondering if it was something that would change any time soon and then feeling totally fed up of always stressing about money blahdeblah and suddenly told that certain guy from the pub that we should start looking for flats.

Now, FYI, that guy from the pub became my boyfriend and we’d been discussing moving in together for months; I didn’t ring up a random fella and be like HEY BABES IT’S YOUR LUCKY DAY.

That would be weird.

So yeah, we knew we wanted to live together but the vague plan had always been that we’d wait until I’d found another job because I thought I needed more money. Which I really did because we’d agreed to move to St Albans which, ahem, is one of the most expensive places in the country. Told you my wage packet wasn’t correlating with my life plans. Girl got five-star taste, and a two-star income.

But then in that moment, I decided; fuck it. I was searching for a job but I didn’t even know what I was looking for. I didn’t even know if I wanted to leave my current job so soon. And why should we have to wait around? Life is short. I decided I should put the job search on hold and we should just move anyway, regardless of how much I earn. Which I suddenly announced to my somewhat surprised boyfriend. Via text.

Not gonna lie, about half an hour later I was back to dreaming about flights to New York and hating my bank account for not allowing me to live the dream. But the ball was now rolling.

And that was when everything went momentarily mad.


Naturally, the moment I made a decision to put my half-arsed attempt at job hunting on hold, I get a call inviting me to an interview. And then, soon after, I was invited for another one. Cos I is so in demand. Cept, ya know, didn’t get either of them. Although, I did get down to the final two candidates so not failing at life too much. I worked hard for both interviews but, after some reflection, I do wonder whether either of the jobs were really right for me. Like I said, not entirely sure what I’m looking for. I envy you people who are tbh. I’m pretty chilled about the whole experience, apart from the fact that I have to eat about eight cinnamon buns to get through the whole stressful interview process. I still have absolutely no idea what I want or what I’m doing job-wise but I now actually look like a cinnamon bun. FML.

Anyway, in the mean time, on trains to and from a family wedding just after I made my ‘fuck it, let’s do it’ announcement in Feb, G and I settled on a new (lowered) budget and my new mission in life became flat-hunting around St Albans. In between turning myself into a cinnamon bun obvs.

Flat-hunting, I learned, basically consists of standing amongst someone else’s possessions; feeling rather like you have just broken into their flat, nosing at their pictures and deciding if you want to uproot your entire life and go live there. All within the space of 15 minutes, whilst an estate agent stands there and tries to tell you why it’s actually a good thing that the kitchen is so small you won’t be able to cook in it.

It was an all-round surreal experience.

Until, almost like magic, we stumbled upon a little gem of a flat, tucked behind the cathedral and a mass of trees. Then it became totally real because this little flat; inconspicuous at the top of a rickety spiral staircase with its central location, views of the countryside and cathedral neighbour, was IT. It was the fantasy I’d always envisioned, when I'd pretended that I'd one day live in St Albans. And, get this, it was in our budget. Sure, at the top end, but still.

So we took it. Obvs. Even the prospect of trying to get a corner sofa up a spiral staircase didn’t put us off.


Moving was weirdly emotional, which I did not see coming. I spent all of Easter weekend home alone, whilst the rest of the WORLD went on holiday. Or so it felt. I had to pack up everything I own whilst sorting through a lifetime’s worth of crap. I was clearly two bags of rubbish away from being a hoarder. I unearthed a lot of memories. I would list them all but we'd be here all day and nobody got time for that. I will mention the various diaries I’d written over the years, some of which were filled with that shitty text language we all insisted on writing in as pre-teens. I can only assume the reason I was down with such abominations was because it was still technically playing around with words, and I am all about the words.

That and wanting to b kool 4evs.

There was also the emotion that comes with the realisation that I was leaving home; properly, actually leaving home forever. For good this time. Not like when I claimed I was only coming home temporarily after graduation and then, oops, stayed three years. That hit me harder than I ever thought it would. Like proper emotion.

This level of emotion, added to the stress that is always going to come with moving house and the sheer exhaustion I felt after the weekend of the move, left me in a weird haze.

Everyone expects you to be happy and glowing and oh my isn't everything wonderful when you move in together for the first time. I thought that's how I'd feel as well. But I just felt like the rug had been pulled from under my feet.

So add disappointment to the stress and exhaustion, and unexpected nostalgia and emotion at leaving home. It's a hefty list of feels.


It was an emotional rollercoaster but I was naive to not expect it to be. Leaving home was emotional but that’s a good thing. It shows how fond I am of my childhood memories, of my family, how, at the age of 24, I’ll still miss living with them. I never had the feeling of wanting to ‘get out’. What a good job those rents did eh; how lucky am I?

And I don’t know why everyone kept asking me how wonderful it was in that first week. It doesn’t matter how much you love him; no one ever felt glowingly happy when they’re tired enough to hibernate for all of winter and muscles they didn’t know they even had are hurting. Plus living in a land of cardboard boxes is not only bleak, it also makes your hands dryer than the Sahara desert. Assuming I’d be dancing amongst the clouds was unrealistic.

It all passed. And exhaustion does allow you to get away with doing kinda ridiculous things. Like the moment I went out to buy wicker drawers for the bathroom and came back with a waffle maker. Oops.


So here we are.

We have lived in our little flat for 40 days in total. There are two boxes behind the sofa that we probably should open, but other than that, we’re unpacked. Some of the pictures are even on the wall. The cathedral bells never. shut. up. Like, ever. They’re comforting and highly irritating, eccentric and very British; all at the same time. The trees outside have all bloomed like nobody’s business and my mood mirrors them.

It’s feeling like home.

St Albans reminds me of being on holiday all the time; it’s just creates that feeling. It’s busy and beautiful, and the market is insanely good. My favourite times though, are when it all goes very quiet. That’s when I love it the most. It creates this moment of peace that one so rarely gets with London being such a big part of your life.

I still feel like we’ve only touched the surface of this new city. Not scratched; just touched. And I’m so excited to scratch that surface and then dive right in.

So here’s to things not going to plan and feeling a bit confused and unsure, yet okay, about it all, to creating a new haven with your favourite person, and to a whole new chapter of life.




3 comments

  1. Love you girl. This proper cracked me up and made me go awww. So excited to come and play. And babes money ain't everything. 24 you're nailing life in many ways

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    Replies
    1. Yay playdate at mine! So true; who needs money when you got a waffle machine anyway?

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  2. you live near a castle!?!?!?!?!? Oh My Dayz!

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