One of the reason’s I wanted to move to London was to get involved in all of the amazing things to do. I’ve always felt like people in London had access to so many cool events and interesting activities that people who lived outside London did not. It is a shame that’s the case, but that’s a whole other conversation. I factored this into my £25k threshold. Not in the same strict sense that I carefully considered my rent and travel, but more casually. I didn’t move to London to work 24/7 or spend all my time outside of work stuck in my room. I wanted to live in London.
The prospect of having so much to do, was so exciting to me. So much so, that right before I moved, I booked an event while I was still in Newcastle. It was a live podcast for a podcast I listened to regularly, Ctrl Alt Delete combined with a book signing with a blogger turned writer I loved, Katherine Ormerod author of Why Social Media is Ruining Your Life. For that particular event, it was £16 (including a hard-back copy of the book, which I ended up getting signed!). It lasted two hours with a welcome drinks at the beginning. To me that pricing felt fair.
This month, I booked another event, another live podcast in collaboration with Tu, Sainsburys’ for their #allboobswelcome campaign promoting their new bra range. The structure of this event was slightly different as there was a panel, so the audience got a little boob testimony from each panellist. Although it was a 9:30am start, I had a fab time. It cost me £6, of which £5 went to a woman’s aid charity. Each person also received a £10 Tu voucher to spend on lingerie. All that for £6 is a bargain, no?
Other mundane things like eating can also be a bit of a treat in London. So many markets and food eating spaces that offer more of an experience than your average sit down, table arrangement. Mercato Metropolitano is one such place, literally described as a ‘vibrant space’ and that it is. There’s a food stall for almost every cuisine, plus bars and loads of big tables for communal dining. They even have a learning hub where they organise cooking classes, one time I saw a Ethiopian cooking class – very niche but very cool! It sounds simple, but when you’ve not had it before, it’s all very exciting. It makes grabbing a drink and a bite to eat after work that bit special and it’s not even overpriced. I met a friend there last week and we shared an £8 pizza and got a £4 cider each, less than a tenner each.
I also bit the bullet and invested in a gym membership after a lengthy protest. Gyms in London are so expensive. They just are (I’m still processing this). £30 a month is the normal monthly rate. Coming from paying a more than reasonable monthly rate of £15 in Newcastle, you can imagine my horror. I ended up finding a gym near me for £25 a month. They sold this to me as a special price-point because it just opened. It’s not a fancy, private gym, it’s your average chain and in 6 months’ time, it too will be £30. At which point I will have most-likely gotten over the price and more than likely commit that extra £5. I will say though, as a classes girl (as opposed to do your own session), I did notice the classes are longer at 45 minutes to an hour as opposed to 30 minutes back home so that’s helped take the £25 edge off, kind of.
For Londoners, these things probably aren’t that amazing, but for me it was a part of London-living I was really looking forward to. And although I wouldn’t eat out or attend an event every week, it’s fun to do it every now. And to do these things, no matter how fairly priced they are, they do cost money. Money I wouldn’t have without my wage.