Tuesday, 17 January 2017

3 Things I've Learnt From 3 Months in New York

Despite only arriving in New York at the beginning of November, I like to think I've already learned a lot about life in this crazy city. Here are three things that have stood out to me thus far...

Top, jumper and jeans: H&M | Coat: River Island | Necklace: Topshop | Shoes: Kurt Geiger

1. It's not as scary as you think

One thing that has really surprised me is how safe New York feels. So far I've lived in both Brooklyn and East Harlem in Manhattan, and though there have been times when I've been kept up because of shouting on the street outside, in general I've always felt secure in my apartments.

I've also never had any trouble getting from place to place. The subway is a strange place, where you'll encounter people asking for money, blaring music, singing, and even conducting impromptu dance-offs. But these quirks of the New York subway just go on around you. I've never felt singled out by someone on the subway. If you're not one of the loud ones on the train, you're probably just keeping to yourself, head down, eyes fixed on your iPhone. Not to sound terribly anti-social, but that's the way I like it.

2. It's hard as hell to get noticed

In a city of 8 million hustlers, how do you stand out? The harsh reality is, a lot of the time, you don't. Whether you're trying to bag a job or a guy, it's not as easy as brushing up your resume or swiping right on Tinder. There are countless opportunities here, but to get a look in, you'll have to play the numbers game. Send hundreds of resumes and you might just get your foot in the door of somewhere special. Just don't get discouraged. Keep on hustling and I promise you'll find the perfect fit eventually, whether you're looking for a career, apartment or date.

3. It's not just bigger, it's louder

Everyone from Europe knows that in America, bigger is better. Bigger serving sizes, bigger buildings, bigger cars. What I didn't expect was how much louder everything is here. In fact, it's my main gripe with this place. If you as much as look at an approaching car, expect said car driver to beep the bejesus out of their horn. At any hour of the night, you'll hear beep after beep of impatient, trigger happy drivers.

And then there's the emergency vehicles. Apparently, it's not enough that the sirens of the fire engines here can be heard from space, they'll blare their horn for added effect. Noise pollution is a huge issue, so if you're a light sleeper, I'd definitely recommend earplugs.

Ah, the ol' Big Apple, hey? It's loud, it makes you feel small, but it's not actually that scary. Have you been to New York? What surprised you about life here? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Thanks, 2016

Let's be real, in a lot of ways and for a lot of people, 2016 has been the worst. But this post isn't about all the god-awful things that happened this year. Instead, it's a chance for me to reflect on my own personal highlights. To remind myself that despite the terror of this year, there's still a lot to be grateful for. Self-indulgent as ever. Well, what did you expect? I'm a self-declared lifestyle blogger. It's all rainbows and butterflies in this world.

Side note: If you're looking for rants about politics and the state of the world, you're more likely to find that on my Twitter.

This has been the year I made one HUGE change: making the move to New York. But there was also lots of smaller, life-affirming steps along the way. As usual, most of it revolves around travel, it really is what I love most. Let's take a look back at my 2016...

2016, thank you for... My first ever solo trip abroad

With a camera around my neck and a book in hand - aptly, David Ebershoff's The Danish Girl - I had everything I needed for my weekend break in Copenhagen. I was flying completely solo, and I loved it! I could wander wherever throughout the day, with as many pauses for photographs as I wanted: my kind of holiday.

I wish I could travel everywhere twice. Once on my own and once with a companion, because both experiences are worlds apart, and even the atmosphere of the city feels different depending.

Thank you for... The job that took me around the world

This year I was thrilled to have attended two of the conferences in the Web Summit family, RISE in Hong Kong and MoneyConf in Madrid. I was a Content Coordinator for Web Summit, and so, I got to go to the events to create some kick-ass content.

Work hard, play hard. That's my motto and that's certainly what it's like working on one of these conferences. The work is tough - I was interviewing people and turning around the articles within the hour - but when you're getting the chance to talk to your tech idols it's all worth it. I've learnt so, so much from working those conferences, not least how to perform under pressure. And I also got to see a little of both Hong Kong and Madrid in the process. Loved it.

Thank you for... A taste of Croatia

Croatia was a simple girl's holiday all about catching rays and bopping to tunes. It might not sound like much but it was glorious. I think it's because I was in desperate need of a holiday by the time summer rolled around. With the out-of-office auto reply doing its thing, I switched off my work mode entirely. A blissful time was had.

Thank you for... The move to New York City

Wow. I'm in New York City. More than that, I'm settled. It doesn't feel like a holiday, it feels like my life. It's surreal and amazing and scary and countless other emotions that I can't even verbalise. I am grateful that I'm here, and that my family and friends all supported me in this big move. No wait, my family and friends have been incredible, they deserve their own shoutout...

Thank you for... My family and friends

I don't think any of us could of gotten through the insane year that was 2016 without our support network. Personally, I relied on all of my family and friends in one way or another this year, and they were all there for me. They were there for me when I needed reassurance, or a hug, or even just a laugh. So to them I say thank you. You keep me going.