I had a week off work this week as I’m in-between jobs. We moved to London just over 4 months ago, after living in Amsterdam for a year. Our home is in Perth, Australia – so it’s been a whirlwind over the past 18 months since we moved away from home for a little adventure that is still continuing. Still trying to catch our breaths.
I was working full time in a pretty serious, head office, large global organisation job in Amsterdam, only to come to a job interview on my first day of arriving in London, straight off the train. The interviewers must have thought I was a little crazy when I told them I arrived just a couple of hours before. I didn’t get that job, but I did get one with the same company I was working for in Amsterdam, in their London office. So it continued.
I have been thinking for some time now that I want a change of direction in my worklife. Wanting to do something more meaningful, more fulfilling, have more passion for what I do everyday, and simply enjoy what I do 80% of the time and not be so stressed. All the same mid-to-late-20s conundrum you hear about all the time. Most of my friends are going through it. Side projects and websites are popping up, people are going back to study full time or quit their jobs to work in a cafe/go to acting school/travel around South America for a year, etc. I did it myself when we decided to leave Australia ‘to travel’ – except we got caught up in work and trying to survive in an expensive city. My boyfriend was studying full time, I was working in a fairly stressful job as the sole breadwinner, and we ended up fairly ‘stuck’ in Amsterdam for most of the year. It’s not a bad place to be stuck in by any means (and we had a lot of good times and met lots of great people in-between it all), but it was definitely tough at times, particularly being so far away from home, with not a lot of disposable cash at hand.
So, after a few months of this job in London, with the same company I had been working with previously – I decided to quit. I figured life’s too short, and I didn’t come all the way to London to be in a job that I felt only mediocre about. I started looking for jobs in a completely new sector that I am interested in – health. And I landed a job with a charity that supports people going through cancer, doing internal communications. I start on Monday, so I’m enjoying a week off, basically cooking and blogging full time, from the moment I wake to the moment I go to bed. It’s been wonderfully exhausting.
I cooked so much food this week that I have completely taken over the housemates’ part of the fridge (lucky they’re away on holiday!). I cooked 39 things this week! I photographed and blogged about all of them! No wonder I’m exhausted. That was a lot of washing up.
It wasn’t all cooking, photographing, blogging and eating… I did fit in some exercise to counter all the food tasting (I admit I did not eat the standard 3 square meals a day…it was more like a never-ending degustation starting around breakfast and ending around midnight). So exercise was necessary – and the many walks to the various local grocers in the neighbourhood to pick up ingredients just wouldn’t cut it (even though it involved lugging heavy bags back up to the flat). I managed a couple of runs around the local park when we got a couple of sunny (but still cold) days, and did a bit of cycling and yoga. Stretching also seemed to help (maybe making more space for more food?).
What’s also nice about being home all week is being able to fit in a mid-morning massage on a Tuesday (much, much needed, after going many months without one and lots of back/neck/shoulder tension), having a couple of sleep-ins, and the occasional long bath. I also managed to wear my boyfriend’s shorts around the house all day yesterday. No one else was home and they were the only comfy things I could find. Yes, I spent the day cooking in my boyfriend’s running shorts, and damn it was good.
I had a couple of firsts in the kitchen this week. I used coconut flour for the first time. It took me 3 hours to perfect coconut flour pancakes, which was a little frustrating and I ate way too many test pancakes in that time. The pancakes that worked out in the end are still sitting pretty and stacked high in the fridge, because I haven’t been game to go near another coconut pancake yet. I bought a packet of chia seeds and made chia pudding, which was the first time I had ever eaten these little black seeds (which I found to be delicious, especially with some vanilla extract, a little maple syrup and almond milk, left overnight to swell up, and topped with some coconut shavings).
We’re settling into a new flat that we moved into just last week, so I am using a new kitchen too. It’s our third move since we moved to London (and I hope the last!). This has been the biggest kitchen we’ve had in London, with a big oven, a gas stove, plenty of pantry space, and lots of kitchen-y things (including a spiraliser!), so I am rejoicing. Here’s a pic of a fresh bunch of flowers from the living room window out onto the park. It’s so lovely!
I can feel a busy year ahead of us. We’re back in Australia next month to visit family and friends for a couple of weeks, but the rest of the year will be about travelling Europe and the UK as much as possible. As well as making new friends, starting a new job, and going back to study part time while working full time (I decided to enrol myself into an online post-grad course to study health promotion). It all excites me, including throwing lots of time at this blog, experimenting in the kitchen, and cooking and writing lots and lots.
Have a great weekend! I’m off to a museum, a belated Australia Day party, to catch up with Amsterdam friends visiting London for the weekend, to see a movie with some girlfriends, and to a leaving drinks party for a friend going back to Australia. Cooking, exercising and hopefully some downtime to read my book in-between all of that (and maybe sneak in another bath!). Monday, start new job! Eek!