This week marks our 5 year anniversary of living in London. When we moved all of our stuff down from Leeds, it rained so heavily on the M1 that we couldn't see the car in front of us. I thought this might be an omen telling us to forget it and turn back around but we stuck it out and made our obscenely small studio flat (basically a small bedroom with a sloping ceiling) in West London our home for the next 6 months. We then migrated south of the river where the promise of cheap rents and leafy streets lured us in, and we got a one bedroom flat with a bit of concrete outside that we could call a garden! But then everyone else did the same and the cheap rents became really quite unaffordable along with everywhere else in London. Kent, anyone? 

The Shard

Along with most Londoners I have a love/hate relationship with this city, it's given me good jobs and plenty of opportunities and I have met so many like minded people that I am very fortunate to call my friends.
However, I do feel that something has to give. We can't afford to buy a home or really move out of this flat because the rents have gone up so much that we'll probably have to live in zone 6 and then give up our jobs because we can't afford the travel card in to Central. But this isn't anything new, we are in the exact same situation as so many people I know. I have absolutely nothing wrong with renting but because there is no control on it, each year our rent goes up it means we are being pushed out of the area we live in. I do feel very fortunate to be living in this city and that we have made it work for us and I am very proud that we didn't turn back on the M1 that day...or even 4 months later when I was still unemployed but we stuck it out and London is our home. I feel quite reflective about London at the minute and what it is I am getting out of living here anymore...but I guess that comes with being in it for 5 years. Some days I feel like it's a stagnant relationship where we're both sick of each other and I'm done. Some days I find myself smiling at the things that make this city spark - like the view from Blackfrairs bridge I have every morning on my commute or the TFL announcers wishing us a lovely day.
It's quite scary how quick the past 5 years have gone by and I am so glad we moved here and have had the chance to experience London. But come on London, sort yourself out for us normal folk. 

I was searching through my old hard drive to find a pic of our first London 'flat', and the one only I could find was this... there's the bed in the corner, behind Steven taking the picture was the kitchen (a 2 ring hob and a microwave that didn't work) and next to me is the sofa...cosy! I think you can tell how happy I was. 


  1. Lovely post Jo, happy five year anniversary! I've been here over ten years now and have seen the city change so much. I'm totally with you on something having to give. London is home for us now and I still do love it, but I can definitely see a point in the not-too-distant future where we will have to move because we can't afford to upsize in this city. A shame, as I could happily live here for many years to come! xx

  2. Aw I love that picture - it's all these stories and pictures that are the best to look over and your kids will lol at this one...until they have to do it themselves!

  3. Happy Anniversary! 5 years was my limit in London, I enjoyed my time so much and have so much love for the city, I loved being a Londoner so much, but at the same time I definitely felt it was time to get out. I spent my whole time in a 3 person house share in Wimbledon paying a silly amount of rent, I knew I'd never be able to afford to live there with my boyfriend so moving to Newcastle to be with him was definitely the sensible option.

    Sometimes I really do miss it though!

    Chloe x

  4. so well written Jo!! AAAh London - you are such a little minx, lure us in and then make us wonder what to do with you when we catch you! x

  5. Happy anniversary Jo and great post! I can certainly relate to a lot of this, particularly as we've properly started to look for somewhere to buy in this uncompromising city! Your studio flat looks like it was very...cosy (I have nightmares that that's the only size space Mitch and I will be able to afford!) X


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