Finding a job to love

My husband and I are relocating from London to West Yorkshire because he is making a career change, one that aligns his day job closer to his values and work that is meaningful to him. He is taking the skills and experiences he’s built over ten years in business and using them to affect positive change in a community. It’s brave and bold and inspiring.

And of course, the move means I need to find a new job too. This is both daunting and exciting. It’s a natural break that allows me the opportunity to pause and reflect on my own working life over the past ten years and identify what’s gone well and what I might want to do differently in the future.

There is an exercise that Tina Seelig, an author and faculty director at the creative and innovative Stanford Technology Ventures Program, has her students do that I turn to in moments like this. She asks them to write a failure résumé. That sounds very American to me now after having lived in England for five years, but stick with me.  Continue reading


My Favourite Things to do in London

It’s normally only when out-of-towers come to visit that I play tourist in my own city, but on a recent, sunny weekend my husband and I visited St. Paul’s Cathedral for no other reason than that it was there and we hadn’t yet been inside. It was magnificent, and the painful climb to the top – all 1,161 stairs – was worth it for the expansive views of a city I’ve come to love.

As a child of the suburbs I always wanted to live and work in a big city. My literary aspirations made New York City the natural choice. The month I spent there while earning my CELTA certification was thrilling and hard, equal measures of dream fulfilment and disappointment. After university and through a friendship with a charming French-American girl, Paris quickly joined the Big Apple as an option as I imagined us strolling along the Seine in the rain, eating croissant in incredibly chic patisseries and writing the next great American novel. Mais oui. 

Then life took a turn. London is the city I’ve called home for five years now. I’ve lived and worked and played among her cobbled lanes and broad avenues, her parks and gardens, her monuments to war and art. I’ve loved the diverse culture and resilience of the people. I’ve hated the overcrowded tube and choking traffic fumes. I’ve made friends and progressed a career.

But that chapter is closing. We are moving north, chasing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and getting fresh air, a slower pace of life and more square footage in the trade-off. It’s exciting and daunting and more than a little bittersweet. I immediately pulled up a list of 101 things to do in London, ready to cram in as much culture and as many urban experiences as I could before we leave. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many of the items on the list I’d already ticked off over the years.

So to celebrate this incredible city and our time here, I thought I’d share with you my favourite things to do in London:

Continue reading

The perfect cup of tea

When I first moved to England, my husband made the tea. Proper Yorkshire Tea. No sugar. Just a splash of milk. There is an art to making the perfect cup of tea, and it’s some blend of science and magic that leads to the desired result. My husband’s tea was strong, but not bitter. Almost nutty and creamy. It was like a warm and comforting hug.

My first attempts to make him a cup of tea failed. At first, too milky. Then, not milky enough. Steeping also proved difficult. Some days, it would be weak and thin, regardless of leaving the tea bag in for five minutes. Other days, even one minute would be too long, leaving me with floating bits of god-knows-what along the top and a disappointed look from my husband.

But I’ve persisted and after five years have almost nailed it. It’s high praise indeed when he takes a sip, nods and says, ‘That’s a good cuppa’.

Continue reading

A sunny day in Brighton

Escape to Brighton

In order to get to Brighton from where we now live in Kent, it’s easier to take a 25-minute cab ride west to a small train station than go into Central London only to come back out again. And so that’s what we do today. It’s overcast and cool, 18 degrees after a record-breaking week of 30+ degrees. And we’re revelling in the cooler temperatures.

We always seems to go to Brighton when it rains. In the past five years, I only have one clear memory of a sun-drenched day on the front when the tops of my feet got sunburned in my ballet flats and my ever-present jumper stayed in my bag the entire day. It stands out as a perfect day because I won at crazy golf – something that very rarely happens – though I still lost every game of air hockey.

Continue reading

What I Learned Working at Agencies

Today is my last day working at a digital agency.

Monday I move client-side, and I can’t wait! However, like the reflective introvert that I am, I wanted to note down what I’ve learned from working at agencies and what I’m taking with me.

A quick tally…eight years, five agencies, two countries and dozens of clients. Roles I’ve held: copywriter, account manager, producer. Industries I’ve worked across: politics, financial services, hospitality, beauty, fashion, travel. Specialisations I’ve developed: direct mail marketing, subscription-based marketing, website design and build, email marketing, social media marketing. Photo shoots I’ve assisted: three. Video shoots I’ve managed: one. Influencer activities I’ve organised: upwards of ten.

No wonder I’m knackered! Continue reading

An introduction to Vancouver

To be honest, I didn’t have time to form preconceptions of Vancouver. We booked the trip at the beginning of the year, then proceeded to move to our dream house in Kent, which had to be fully kitted out, and I pursued a new role client-side (good-bye agency life!). Whirlwind doesn’t begin to describe it. I’d seen a few images of British Columbia, but my knowledge of things to do in Vancouver barely filled a hastily opened Google doc.

And so, we – inveterate planners who ran out of time – committed ourselves to spontaneity and word-of-mouth recommendations for things to do and places to eat and boarded our British Airways direct flight to Vancouver. A mere 8.5 hours later, aligned with the setting sun, we touched down in a city shrouded by twilight and clouds.

And what we found surprised us.  Continue reading