London life

So it finally happened, after years of yearning to live in London I finally moved. I feel like the commute coupled with how incredibly unhappy I was in my last rental has made the streets of London look even more beautiful than I thought possible.

As you may or may not know I had been commuting to work for exactly a month when I moved which I will actually miss in part. I enjoyed having what I called ‘free time’ in my day to read and watching London from the heights of the top deck was soon one of the highlights of my day. However, all things taken into account, I’m pleased to say that this admittedly arduous and tiring part of my day has been replaced with a short walk to the office. The move has also freed my social calendar substantially. While commuting I knew that staying any later than 5.30 would mean I wouldn’t get home until 8 and any time after 6 meant my key wouldn’t turn in the door of 144 until at least 9. Naturally, this deterred me from doing pretty much anything after work. But now… I no longer feel like Cinderella, running for the bus at the risk of my commute being turned into a pumpkin.

The freedom to make plans in London is something I’ve been looking forward to, more so in the last month, but low-key for my entire life. However, London is notorious for its head down attitude so making new friends seemed daunting at first. But thanks to 21st-century methods like Tinder I’ve slowly been attracting like minded people with my new bio ‘Interior designer new to London looking for companions to drink and explore with’.

Keep reading That Libby Girl to hear about my adventures in London, regular updates on my job as a junior interior designer and my endeavors to make new friends, also keep track of my ongoing Twitter commentary #officetalk.

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to get more regular peeps into my life.

 

Bangers on a Budget

People all too often assume that students can’t cook and as a result live of quick, easy and unhealthy meals, but that isn’t always the case and it certainly doesn’t need to be the case. I was lucky enough to grow up in a foodie family so I had a pretty good repertoire of meals I could cook when I went to uni, but if you don’t there’s a whole host of student specific cookbook. These books, unlike other cookbooks, contain less complicated recipes that don’t require an extra parsley garnish or a sprig of rosemary which cuts the cost of ingredients considerably.

Building up your cupboard stock can be really helpful when cooking, it makes the range of recipes you can cook much wider and enables you to play around a little more with the recipes you chose. Sometimes the twist of a substitute ingredient can turn a regular recipe into a regular favourite. Soon you’ll find your own ways of cooking meals, I’m not sure if my mother was proud or offended when I started putting soy sauce in my bolognese instead of HP, which she had always used. Cooking should be fun, so don’t feel like you’re doing it wrong if you take out or add in an ingredient.

Cook on students, prove the stereotype wrong.

‘Life, People & Friendly Cats’

Now, I would blog about the house I live in, but then people would see where I live. It seems the stereotype of dingy student housing, every surface piled high with washing up and beer cans, doesn’t seem quite so character and memory building when you’re living in it.

But a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of staying with my brother in his charming split level flat in heart of lively Brixton.

The interior is a quirky combination of fresh out of uni trinkets and a tasteful collection of mismatched furniture. The flat, although lived in by 3 bonified adults still contains the playful hints of millennial living such as the dart board and a range of objects salvaged from skips or garage sales. It seems that Brixton has a huge ‘give away’ community, a surprising amount of houses had stacks of old records or books on their front wall free for the taking.

I think the most appealing aspect of the flat was that each room came with its very own picturesque view of London, almost hung like a personalised poster on the wall, framed by classic sash window frames.

Brixton, despite being a young and fresh part of London, emanates an old, friendly vibe. It’s older residents walk around hand in hand with their children or partners while taking in the crude displays of free things on offer and old architecture towering over them. The younger generation dart around the streets like atoms, drinking in the novelty of all things cool in Brixton. (One of these cool places will be featured in a later blog post so keep your eyes peeled)

I was lucky enough to be exploring the very streets that had worn the holes in my brothers Nikes, with my brother. And everyone knows exploring with a local means you get to see all the secret places only those who know, know. Brixton market was first on our hit list of places to visit. The small covered part of the market was packed with shops, standing shoulder to shoulder, spilling sweetly packaged soap and other handmade trinkets onto the bustling main thoroughfare. The surrounding area was bursting with fresh vegetables, fruit, artwork and more trinkets.

On of my favourite things to photograph is contrasting textures and, it appears, brickwork; both of which are rich in Brixton. The architectures patchwork facades, partnered with classic features add to Brixton’s immense charm.

On my way back to the tube station I dragged my feet, thinking of everything I’d seen and how much I craved to be surrounded by such intrigue all the time. Out of the silence came my final comment on Brixton ‘This place is everything I love! It’s full of life, people and friendly cats’. My brother laughed…

All Hail Halls

I can’t help but look longingly at my old flat as I walk past now, I made a lot of memories and friends in flat 38. And while it wasn’t hard to say goodbye to the messy kitchen, campus security and the weekly fire alarm check, it was certainly a chapter of my life I will look back on fondly for many reasons. Here are some of the perks of living in halls

1. Being close to your lectures. One thing I miss already is being able to blurry eyed note the time as 9.30 and know I would still have time to get ready and make it to my 10am with enough time to make myself a tea for the walk.

Living close to your lecture halls, or studio for me, also comes in handy when you have to carry in half your art supply.

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2. Campus, despite housing thousands of people and being almost constantly occupied by hoards of drunk people past a certain hour, feels incredibly safe thanks to campus security. Also on hand if things so south are the Resident Assistants, friendly third years who live on campus and respond to the less urgent matters like friend/flatmate disputes.

3. You’ll meet some of your best friends living in halls.

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4. I can’t speak for every university campus but University of Hertfordshire has a very well equipped campus. It hosts an impressive; pub, club, launderette, doctors, pharmacy, gym, sports courts, doddle, art shop, restaurant, SU shop, library and even cleaners for communal areas in halls. You can also get your hands on a mean meal deal in most of the buildings.

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5. Living in halls is a very cushioned entrance into adult life, allowing baby steps towards independence, rather than being pushed straight into the world of paying bills and wearing every hoodie you own before putting the heating on you get to live in a cosy pre paid limbo.

6. The parties. Enough said

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7. It’s probably the nicest flat you’ll have for a while, and it gets cleaned for you.

8. Theres also a real community feel that comes with living in a large flat. One girl in my flat, Emily, was extremely involved in almost everything the uni had to offer, woking in the SU, captain of the ultimate frisbee team and at one point candidate for Vice President of Student Activities. It was warming to see the whole flat support her. We stood by as our kitchen was turned into FRESHHerts headquarters. Pizza and cupcakes being churned out of our kitchen (not the worst part), tea being thrust at us in stamped take away cups as we left the flat in the morning to promote the cause (also not an awful side effect) and all 12 of us sporting posters in our windows.

 

It’s also nice to be surrounded by the tireless support and understanding of your fellow students. Yes, you’ll all want to rip each others heads off during deadline week but they’re always there when you need help. It’s surprising how much better a mutual look of despair can be, no words required.

9. Food Freedom. It’s really exciting to finally be able to eat what you want, when you want especially if – like me – you like cooking. That also includes drunk cooking when you get home from a night out.

10. However, despite all of the above things I think the thing I’m going to miss the most about living in halls is that it means I’m no longer in first year. I envy the year the freshers have ahead of them, may they make the most of it.

 

 

Mission Move House

Like all good things my summer at home had to come to an end. Unfortunately the move, something I wanted to be exited about, was marred by unforeseeable and seemingly continuous complication. Our landlord had rung us a few weeks before our August move date to inform us the house we are renting had flooded in July and unfortunately, as no one had been living in the house, had created an almighty damp problem which could only be rectified by an extensive drying process and redecoration of the ground floor.

The five of us are now living in our local Travelodge until our house is habitable.

I’ll keep you posted on the ongoing saga that is Mission Move House

Wonky Wivenhoe

Moving home for the summer can be exciting but unfortunately you’d be naive to think that your summer there will in any way mirror the previous. You soon learn the hard way that people move on with their lives; people you once called friends are now preoccupied in new relationship, busy working, off travelling or plain disconnected from you now. It can get lonely when you’re sitting on your sofa slowly scrolling through your contacts for what feels like the millionth time, vetoing almost everyone for one reason or another. Thankfully, theres always family to fall back on when social prospects are looking glum.

Thus followed Libby and Mumma’s Adventure to Wivenhoe, a little town not too far away from my home town, for a spot of lunch and a nose around.