The Reality of Living in London

Hi girls,

So Instagram has been getting me down for the last couple of weeks. Most of the time I love the app, I use it daily (probably too much – like us all) and I am fully aware of the unrealistic perfect snapshot that the social media platform represents. However recently it’s been really bothering me that everyone I seem to follow (Okay maybe not EVERYONE) but lots of bloggers, models, ‘influencers’ and friends too are buying their own home or at least moving into a perfectly sized rented flat with their partner in a beautiful area of London and sharing the whole experience on social media. Insta-famous people like Emma Louise Connolly (major girl crush) and Chessie King are doing exactly this and to be fair, I don’t blame them, their kick ass rented flat or newly bought homes do look incredible and I’m sure they have worked hard to get to where they are now. However it just reminds me that I am still living in a flat share with 3 other people and it somehow feels like I’m NEVER going to be able to rent a 1 bedroom flat for just my boyfriend and I, let alone buy one.

I’ve lived in London for about 7 years now, all of that time has been spent living in a flat share. It feels like I’ve lived with everyone and could write a book about my flatmate dramas.
There were the 2 girls I lived with when I was 19 years old, they were about 26 and students while I worked full time (recipe for disaster FYI). One Sunday I was watching TV in the living room when one of the girls came through and wanted to (very sternly) speak to me. I was asked if I could schedule the days I would like to watch television during the week and at weekends and run past my ‘schedule’ with her so that she can essentially approve it and make sure there are days when there is absolute silence in the flat. I just laughed. I thought it was a joke, turns out she was being deadly serious. This was the same girl that when we first moved in ensured me that she will sort out the council tax bill for the flat because she’s a student and she can get a discount for us all (FYI that is not possible). As a young naive 19 year old I believed her. I didn’t think that it was odd that I hadn’t received a council tax bill for over 6 months. Until one day I came home to a scary red letter urging me to attend court because I haven’t paid any council tax for over 6 months. I cried down the phone to my mum (like a little girl – embarrassing) as I didn’t know what to do. It turned out that said flatmate had hidden my council tax bills in her room as she was in the process of applying for herself to be exempt from council tax – only herself.

Then there was the guy I lived with that had an anger management problem and was also an alcoholic which you could tell from the mysterious number of empty 1 litre bottles that used to come out of his room daily. He once offered to make me a G&T, one sip of it and I had to spit it out (there was definitely no tonic in that) and I’m an avid double G&T drinker as well. He once lost his shit at a card name we were playing with my friends that had come over for dinner and drinks (I always included my flat mates when I was having friends round as it’s not fair otherwise). Said flatmate couldn’t deal with the fact that I had one this round and thought it was very unfair as he should have won. He proceeded to shout and swear at one of my friends (who decided I was the winner) of whom he had never met demanding a re-match and to see everyone’s cards. I tried to change the subject by putting on some music and then went to grab something from upstairs. When I came back, my flatmate had my phone in his hands and was demanding very loudly to my boyfriend to give him my phone’s password so he could put on his favourite song. All in all, very weird.
I could go on for days about my flatmate horror stories (I’m sure you all have them too) but I’ll leave the rest for another time.

My point is, I am quite honestly sick and tired of living in a flatshare (aren’t we all!!). I want to make my own home with my boyfriend. I want to buy together pieces to put in our lounge like art and coffee table books without worrying that someone is going to break them. That literally happened a couple of weeks ago when one of my current flatmate’s had some friends over on a Saturday night and one of them spilt what I can only assume is WKD as it was blue and sticky all over both my art and fashion coffee table books and my coffee table (both of which are mine as I furnished our current flat). They also didn’t clean it up. I want to come home after a hard days work and make dinner with my boyfriend and chat about our day and have a romantic evening just us two without two other people watching TV with us and trying to making dinner at the same time. I know, it’s all I want, I want, I want and I should be grateful that I have a place to live with my boyfriend at all in London and I really am. But when I see every day on social media partners moving in together and buying their own homes, it doesn’t exactly make me feel that great.

The reality of living in London is not what Instagram shows. Living in London is incredibly expensive and that’s shit. I love London and I love my friends and I love my job but sometimes it’s really quite hard to live here. I’m from Norfolk originally and my rent or the rent I have paid for the last few years (let alone 7 years!) could afford me a very lovely 3 bedroom house with a garden on the outskirts of Norwich. Yes I couldn’t really have my job back home so I have to suck it up, I get it. We all just have to get on with life and make the best of what we have.
But, we all feel like this from time to time and like with Instagram we all put on a brave face and smile and say ‘yeah I’m great thank you’ when somebody asks how you’ve been recently. It’s so very British to not tell someone how you are REALLY feeling when they literally ask ‘how are you feeling?’. We all just think nobody really cares. But secretly, we’re all going through the same flat mate dramas and worries about how to last the month until pay day in this expensive city. So let’s talk more! Let’s share our worries with our friends who are worrying about exactly the same things. I vow to always be an Instagram account that shares these worries. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved as they say (Sounding like a therapist now – been watching too much Sex Education on Netflix this week! FYI GREAT programme).

I’d love to hear about your flatmate dramas or your worries about living in London or any city for that matter, so get in contact and we can laugh them away together.
Remember girls, Instagram is just an unrealistic ‘perfect’ snap shot and it does NOT define your life.

Lots of love as always xxx

My girlfriends and I ❤

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