The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day Two

Today was my second day in London, and it was a combination of being a new resident, reminiscing over my previous life in London and doing touristy stuff with my friends.  I visited Brick Lane, in London’s East End, where I lived for three months back in 1998.  I remembered how unhappy I was living there, but smiled at how it never put me off living here.

Where Brick Lane is trendy and hip, Bethnal Green is not so cool.  I lived just off Brick Lane, but Bethnal Green is where I used to go for food shopping.  Walking along Bethnal Green Road today, I felt glad that I’m now living in a better part of London, which is beautiful and leafy, and has a really good feel to it.  I know I’m going to enjoy living here, and I can’t wait to get to know the area better.

My new room is starting to look more like home now, as I unpacked most of the clothes I’ve brought and hung them in the massive floor-to-ceiling wardrobes in my bedroom.  Tomorrow I’ll be heading back to Lincoln, to collect the rest of my stuff and say my last few goodbyes, before returning to London on Friday.  Before the end of the week it’ll be time to go hell-for-leather applying for jobs, which will mean the end of my student life, and the last of having my days free.  But I can take credit from the fact that I started the next stage of my journey before the end of this challenge.  Because things do happen, if you believe that they can.



The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 15

As I type the number 15, it hits me how 15 days is only just over two weeks.  Two weeks until this challenge is finished; two weeks until I am released from the obligation to report to you folks every day how I’m doing in regards to finishing up my degree, and preparing for what the hell I’m going to do after that.  I have to admit though, while at times it’s been difficult to force myself to write that blog post before the midnight deadline (and occasionally I have missed the deadline for numerous reasons), I’ve enjoyed the challenge.  It’s given me the obligation to write every day and that is something I have really needed to do.  I want to be a writer, and I need to be able to write, whether I want to or not.  If this challenge has taught me one thing, it’s that I can write when I need to.

So where am I with my big plans?  Well, I’ve been working on essay number two, about Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, which is due in tomorrow.  There’s a lot to do, and not a lot of time to do it in, but I will get it in.  Re-reading the novel and making notes has taken a long time (it’s a long novel, almost 500 pages, and the type is very small!).  It hits me that in just over 15 minutes, it will be a week and a day until all of my essays will be in, and I’ll be free.

It’s strange to say that I’ll be free, as though my degree has been holding me back.  In some ways, it has.  Having to suspend my studies halfway through my final year wasn’t fun; nor was the prospect of staying in Lincoln another 18 months.  But I’ve done it, and it’s nearly time that I can say it was the best thing I ever did.  I can’t imagine being able to finish had I stayed on, and I can’t imagine what kind of person I would have been if I’d had to face the world this time last year.

With regards to that life that I can finally chase, a few days ago I placed an ad on one of the property websites I’ve been using to search for houseshares.  I’ve had quite a few replies, several of which haven’t read my profile, which states my need for a catflap for The Bish, or have ignored the title which includes the words “with cat”.  Yes, I’m talking to you, woman who rang to offer me a flat on the 13th floor in Bethnal Green.  Although to be fair I’d never go for anything on the 13th floor; despite the fact that my Dad always tells me it’s unlucky to be superstitious.

I have seen one or two places which would be suitable, and I’m contemplating another jolly to London to view them.  While I’m aware that the next week has to be focussed on essays, I’m keen to have accommodation sorted when I’ve finished.

With regards to jobs, I’ve not applied for any more recently.  I get daily alerts from several websites, and I always check those, but nothing has taken my fancy, apart from a job as a Medical Secretary in Saudi Arabia, which I contemplated for about 10 minutes before deciding that me being a Medical Secretary would be far too dangerous.

Anyway, I’m feeling more positive, which is ironic because today I got my period.  I guess I had my PMT days last week, but it’s good to know that once that’s out the way, I can be pretty calm and focussed.

I guess the main thing to say is that I can feel the excitement bubbling underneath.  My time is nearly here, and I for one cannot wait to take my new life for a spin.

The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 24

Whereas yesterday was a busy and productive day, today has also been busy and productive, but in different ways.  Yesterday I was involved in general ways to improve my life, by jogging and gardening, but today I have concentrated once more on the areas where I need to achieve results sooner.  I did work on my essay, I have applied for several more jobs, both temporary and permanent, and have also made enquiries about a flatshare in London.


Most of the people I have spoken to (family and friends) believe that I should wait to find a job in London before moving there.  That would be the sensible option, but since I’m looking at temp jobs now as well, I don’t know how well viewed I will be seen by recruitment agencies trying to fill roles when I live 143 miles away.  Having done temp work before, it’s quite possible that an agency will phone you up and ask you to start the next day.  While I have a statement on my CV that I am willing to relocate “immediately”, the practicalities of this are somewhat not as conducive to this idea.

Of course, it’s a huge risk moving to a big city where rent and bills will be at least double and possibly triple what I pay now, without having a job.  But I do believe in taking risks, otherwise I wouldn’t be where I am today.  The rebel in me thinks I should do the exact opposite of what everyone else says, because, of course, I know best.  But do I?  Everything I’ve been through in the last few years has taught me that you have to strike a very delicate balance between taking a risk and thinking things through carefully.  Where the line is in this scenario is yet to be decided.

The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 33

Well here I am, back in Lincoln, after more than a week of travelling.  I have mixed feelings about being back; glad to be back in my own bed, but I know that I won’t be here for long.  The seeds of the future have been planted, and now it’s time for the last push, to get uni work finished, to apply for jobs and work experience, and to start preparing myself for the next chapter of my life.

While my time in London was useful in re-familiarising myself with the city I used to live in, and re-acquainting myself with friends old and new, I realise that there is much to be done before I can get there.  But with effort and perseverance, I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to call it home, maybe not before this challenge finishes, but not too long after that.

For now, it’s time to sleep.  After a nice warm shower, I feel relaxed and ready to close my eyes, before tomorrow arrives and I begin to put Mission: London into action.


The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 37

Firstly, I’m going to apologise for the lateness of this blog, which was not done yesterday.  I’m now in London, and met with a friend who is now living here.  As someone who is now living a working here, and was a mature student himself, it was good to have a tour of his workplace: the BBC studios.  Although it’s taken him time since he graduated from university with a first-class honours in Film and Media Production, he’s now working in the industry that he was aiming for when he started at university back in 2005.  While he’s still a long way from his dream of directing films, he is at least on the pathway towards that dream, and I wish him all the best with that.

We caught up over a few drinks last night.  I started on the Malibu and coke and finished on Peroni; he started on the beer and finished on the beer. He did treat me to a Bloodshot in Garlic and Shots, a Soho bar that supplied the down-in-oner that contained garlic, tomato juice, vodka and chilli.  Although I thought I might balk at it, it actually tasted quite good for the split second it slid down my throat.  It was warming on a cold night, and since we hadn’t eaten yet, I could at least fool my body into thinking that I’d eaten some kind of meal, rather than drinking on an empty stomach.

I did some research yesterday into jobs here in London.  I’m hoping that I’m going to be able to find at least a temp job fairly quickly, although my friend reminded me of the realities of the current job market, and warned that I may struggle to find something.  I still need to speak with some temp agencies to discuss my situation with the people who work in recruitment, but I hope that there won’t be too much of a delay.  I really hope I’ll be able to find a job I’m happy to do sooner, although I guess I have to accept the fact that it may take time to find that, or even to find my way on the path to it.

Since my plan is to become a writer, and really I am just looking at a day job until I can be a paid writer.  I’ll keep on writing this blog, as a record of the tough times, and the good times, because yes, there are some.  Occasionally it will be late, like today; I had intended to write the blog last night, but after a more than a few drinks by that point I fell asleep.  This morning I had no internet access until now, so now is when I’m posting it.  I’m not going to apologise for it being late.  This is me, I’m not always perfect in what I do.  Sometimes life gets in the way of what you want to do.  But the important thing is to carry on, doing what you do, and hope that in future, technology, or other obstacles, will allow you to do what it is you want to do.

The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 42

Today, to all intents and purposes, I did my best to both apply for jobs and work on assignments.  But I guess it was one of those days where it wasn’t going to happen.

On the train to visit my mum, I read The Cambridge Companion to Crime Fiction, as part of my project on Janet Evanovich’s series on female bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum.  When I got on the train, I sat at a table, where it looked like I was going to be the only one sat there.  I started to spread my stuff out a little bit.  Then a group of people got on, three men sat at my table, and their two lady friends at the table opposite.  From their conversation, they were going on holiday, and were in a very holiday-y mood.  Which was nice for them.  Not so nice for me, who was trying to work in the tiny space I had.  They were laughing and joking, which was fine, but it didn’t leave me wanting to look all swotty on the train.  Even after they got off at the first big stop, another mother and daughter got on and sat opposite me on the table, and I decided there wasn’t much point in doing anything in the half hour I had left until I had to change trains.

Tonight I decided to have a search online for some jobs, and I found one I like the look of.  It’s only part-time, but the money’s good, and could leave me with time do writing or another job of some sort.  I decided tomorrow would be a good time to do my application, since I’d had a glass of wine with dinner, and was just finishing a Tia Maria with lemonade., is enough.

I kind of feel like I don’t really know what to write in today’s blog.  Maybe I’m winding down for the Easter weekend, or maybe I just haven’t done anything particularly worthwhile today.  But it’s good not to be feeling down.  To be looking to the future, with positivity, is enough.



The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 43

I’m reluctantly typing this blog post before bed.  It’s not that I don’t want to do the blog, it’s just that my head hurts from drinking too much mulled wine.  Yes, I know it’s not Christmas.  But it was leftover from Christmas, or rather two Christmases ago, and we found ourselves dusting it off and cracking it open to accompany our lasagne, once the bottle of rose wine I’d taken home from Wetherspoons last night had been finished.

I have also been drinking water and coffee, so I’m hoping tomorrow won’t be too bad, but I already have a headache, so the signs aren’t good.  As long as I don’t see my dinner again, today will have finished a good day.

After the hiatus of the last few days, I managed to get my arse back in gear, and both applied for jobs and did some reading for my next assignment.  I can tell you’re impressed.

The job was somewhat of a surprise, and came through on one of the daily listings I receive.  After being told the other day that I need some publishing experience, I’ve started to think about how I could use the experience I have to help me towards where I want to be.  I have twelve years’ experience within NHS administration, and a total of 16 years’ admin experience, so why not try and use that medical experience to my advantage?

The job I’ve seen is a writing job, although still based within the health service.  I’m hoping I might have more chance of being shortlisted for a job like this, with the experience I have.

As well as applying for jobs, I’m headed down to my nation’s great capital next week, in a bid to do some research into jobs, housing and get a general feel for the place.  I’ve put feelers out to my friends down there to see them, and who knows, maybe I’ll make some new ones.

It’s funny, after making the decision not to go to China, I’m actually looking forward to going to London and spending some time on my own.  I remember how much independence I had when I lived there before, as a shy 19 year-old; I went to the movies by myself, swimming by myself, random walks, sightseeing.  You get the picture.

Anyway, I’m waffling now and I just remembered that my head hurts, so I’d best get some sleep.


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