Wednesday, 7 October 2015

London Postcodes

At first glance, a London postcode looks so odd.  They comprise of numbers and letters and have a space in between.  Now that I've been here a few weeks I've kinda worked it out.


London is neatly divided into different areas - the city centre and then radiating out from there are postcodes starting with N(orth), E(ast), and W(est).  There are further breakdowns such as NW, SW, SE.

Here's a postcode I made up:

N1 8JK

N1 refers to the area just north of the city.  Strangely enough, these postal code areas don't seem to align with boroughs (think 'groups of suburbs' in Sydney speak).  For example in the area in which I live (Angel), most of the suburb has a postcode starting with N1.  However there is a part of the suburb towards the southern end that uses the city postcode EC1.  I'll discuss city postcodes later.

There is then a space to indicate a break between the general area and the more specific area.

The letters after the space seem to be a random combination of letters and numbers that literally identifies the street in N1.  In London all you need to do is know the street number (let's say 12) and the postcode N1 8JK and it's possible to find out exactly which building it is.  Oh but of course there are exceptions.  One street (depending on the length) might have a number of different postcodes.

Because postcodes are so specific, there is no need to list your 'suburb' or 'borough' on your address.  London addresses commonly look like this:
Mrs Jane Doe
Flat 8, Amber Court,
London N1 8JK

City postcodes
I expected the city postcodes to start with C.  Instead, they are broken down into EC (East Central) and WC (West Central).  There is no C (Central).

Taxi Drivers
Apparently these guys go through intense training and have to sit multiple exams in order to work as a cab driver.  They are tested on the aforementioned postcodes.  Cab drivers will know from memory, exactly where to take you if you say '10 N1 8JK'.  Insane.

Outside London metro
As you can see from the diagram above, once you leave the London metropolitan area the postcode prefixes become less neat and orderly.  They do, however, stand for what the area is called.  For example above N is the postcode EN which stands for Enfield which is the area just outside London metro to the north.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015


A few days ago I was able to move into a flat and finally unpack after living out of my suitcases for the past 9 weeks.  Relief is a huge understatement.  Never before have I appreciated having a towel rack to hang my bath towel or hangers to hang my clothes up in my wardrobe.

The flat is a 2 bed/2 bath so I get my own bathroom.  The room itself is smaller than any room I have lived in in Sydney but decently sized by London standards.  There is a TINY built-in wardrobe, a bed, a chest of drawers and shelves.  There is no way I could have lived like this in Sydney but having almost nothing in terms of material possessions in London, the storage in the room is more than enough.

The bathroom is absolutely huge, even by Sydney standards.  I love the mirrors, the generous benchtop space, the stone tiles and the heated towel rack.  

I bought myself this acrylic makeup storage from MUJI as a little housewarming present to myself.

The flat is in a gated area with concierge (who signs for all packages and I just pick them up whenever).  There is also a Virgin Active in the complex so when I start earning pounds I will probably sign up.  I really would have no excuse not to go to the gym given it would take me 20 seconds to get there.

I've moved to an area called Angel which is about 4km north of the main financial hub in the city where I will (hopefully) likely be working.  I should be able to walk to work in 35 mins or so.  The closest tube station is a 7 minute walk down the road.  Being so close to the city also means buses are aplenty (and much cheaper at £1.50/ride instead of roughly £3 for a trip on the tube).

Angel itself is buzzing with activity.  There are 2 supermarkets within a 30 second walk from my flat.  There's a multitude of shops - H&M, GAP, French Connection, Marks & Spencer, Accessorize, MUJI, Reiss, Boots, Argos (which is a department store on crack).  There's a few cinemas, I think 5 supermarkets in total, markets on the weekend, and a ridiculous number of cafes, bars, pubs, and restaurants.

Saturday, 26 September 2015


  • They don't lay-by here.  Fullstop.  They don't even understand what the concept is.
  • Poundland only sells things for £1, unlike the Dollar Shops in Aus
  • "Hi, how are you going?" is ALWAYS met with a blank stare and silence.  They don't know what you're asking.  Try "Are you alright?" instead
  • UK gogglebox is terribly unfunny compared to the Aussie version.  Also no eye candy.
  • Online shopping here is set up so well.  You can buy online and pick up instore, you can have it delivered next day or elect a specific time and date for delivery.  You can get your groceries delivered.  You can get refunds for most things no questions asked.  If you need to return anything there are multiple ways of doing this and they are all free for the consumer.
  • For someone who is petite with wide feet, I can actually buy clothes and shoes that fit me well here.  A number of retailers have petite lines of clothing and wide fit shoes.
  • Food in general is pretty bland.  For a good feed I'll choose an ethnic restaurant (any ethnic restaurant from Chinese to Lebanese to Thai).
  • Coffee is rubbish.  I'm trying (slowly) to switch to tea
  • I know I've said it before but public transport here is reallllllly good and efficient and quick
  • You can pay for public transport by just tapping your credit card instead of tapping your Oyster card on the card reader things
  • Always take an umbrella.  Always. Take. An. Umbrella.
  • There is so much on - every day.  I absolutely love that.  I've always been a big city person, can't ever imagine myself living in the country.  And I often felt like even Sydney wasn't big enough.  On a rainy weekend there wasn't much to do.
  • Oreos taste better in London.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

London shopping list

I'm not buying anything at the moment because I would have to pay for it I AUD at the current horrendous exchange rate, but I've been collecting a list of things to buy once I'm earning £ (please employment gods let that be soon).

New Look Faux Fur Parka £39
Asos Petite Ultimate Parka $55

Miss Selfridge Khaki Parka Coat £69
Black wedge sneakers:
Nike Dunk Sky Hi - £85 but seems to be sold out in London so I might have to stalk ebay
Ash Bowie suede wedge trainers £175
Long down jacket:
Uniqlo long down jacket $79
Long wool coat:
No idea yet - just a standard long wool coat in a boring neutral colour

PS - it seems we can finally post non square photos to Instagram. As much as I've been waiting for this day, now that it's come my OCD has kicked in and I want them all to be square #ocdlife

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

London: the good, the bad and the downright ugly

First impressions count.  And unfortunately my first impression of London is lukewarm at best.

The Good:

  • Public transport - between all the different modes of transport London has got this down pat.  You can literally get anywhere in London using public transport.  It's easy, quick, reliable and reasonably-priced
  • Consumer's dream - customer service is much better here than Australia.  With most online retailers you can get free shipping or pickup from one of their stores.  Their sales are more impressive too.  Not to mention a lot more variety/options.
  • Public spaces - they have loads of parks and public spaces where you can sit and eat lunch/read a book/people watch.  Just a shame that it's not park weather for most of the year :(
The Bad:
  • At the current AUD/GBP exchange rate everything is soooooo expensive.  From my AUD$7 small takeaway coffee to my AUD$850 500 thread count sheet set (also - bedding is hideously expensive here - no idea why).
  • It's cold.  Yes I'm being a baby about it.  But I caught a cold one week after summer ended.  What is up with that.
The Ugly:
  • Ok.  Where do I start.  I am currently living in a room in a flatshare.  I'm paying £330/week for a room that's half furnished, about 3m x 4m, in a flat that doesn't have hot water or wifi, has a broken (ie warm) fridge and broken furniture.  Oh I forgot to mention the toilet that's blocked/when you flush it, it comes back up the shower drain into the shower.  A fortnightly cleaner was promised who hasn't come in 6 weeks.  The door to my room is broken and I can't close my bedroom door.  I'm sharing the flat with an inconsiderate couple who have not washed their dishes in about 5 days, who leave yoghurt and ham out for days on end, who have made the floors in the flat black with god knows what.  Not loving real estate agents right now.

Friday, 4 September 2015

New City, New Hair

If I'm honest, I'd been wanting bright pink hair for some time. And what better time than when you move country and have a month off in between (so your investment banker manager doesn't have to reprimand you for the inappropriateness of your hair colour).

It was a DIY job and by that I mean I have an awesome sister who DIYed it for me. 2 rounds of peroxide and a jar of Manic Panic later....

Of course the colour faded after only a few days. By the time I reached the end of my month off, it looked like this:

As much as the pastel pink and peach hair was actually growing on me, I knew it was time for the chop.

Had an interesting experience at the hairdresser. In London if you don't make a reservation you can just walk in and ask for the next standby appointment. I only waited a hour or so (went shopping and came back). Instead of paying the full £66 (haircuts in London are fucking expensive) I just paid £28. Not bad for a consult, wash, head massage, blow dry, cut and style.

Fresh to death and ready to attend job interviews with my lob!

Monday, 27 July 2015

It's only 24 hours

This is what I kept telling myself to get through Saturday.

Saturday was the day I was meant to walk down the aisle.  It was the day I had been planning towards for over a year (and really, my whole life).  I secretly hoped it would be rained out and freezing cold.  At least that way I could pretend to be happy that I wasn't getting married in the cold and wet.  But no it was a gloriously beautiful winter's day.

I intentionally planned things for the day to distract me from thinking too much about it.  But it was hard.  The first thing I saw on facebook that morning was a friend had gotten engaged.  I felt like a selfish bitch that my first reaction was hurt/pain/sadness before being happy for her.  I knew I shared my wedding date with 2 other ladies and it was SO hard seeing happy wedding pics on facebook that day.

I ended up avoiding social media at all costs and instead read a book (this is something I should electively do more often and not only when people are getting married).  And whenever I started lamenting about "what could have been" I just told myself that the day would be over in 24 hours and I could get through it.

Luckily I was tasked with taking my aunts (who are in town from HK for said 'wedding') around Sydney to see the sights.  It actually worked out well because it gave me an opportunity to say goodbye to Sydney myself.

There was residual sadness yesterday but now I'm in the final week at my job and counting down the days/hours.  My departure is getting scarily close and I just have SO much to get done before I go.