A new chapter

The sun is out. I repeat, THE SUN IS OUT.

I just sat outside for an hour. I’ve used the washing line for the first time in months. This morning, I put sunscreen on my shoulders. Trivial, boring things that I never realised meant so much to me.

It’s been six months since I’ve seen the sun in London. Turns out, I missed it.

And with the sun shining, everything here seems a bit more magical. Flowers are blooming. Kids are playing on the grass outside the little brown brick house. The ice cream truck just did a lap of the street. And as I soak in as much Vitamin D as I can, I can’t help but think that I’m about to embark on a new chapter of this chick lit adventure.

The new job starts on Tuesday. I am beyond excited.

And I don’t know if it’s the sun, on the prospect of meeting new people, or just the simple fact that I’ll be earning money again, but I suddenly feel like anything’s possible. That I can make this story whatever I want it be.

On Saturday morning, I was struck by an urge to be spontaneous, adventurous. Two hours later I was on a train to Stratford-upon-Avon to celebrate William Shakespeare’s 449th birthday.

It was brilliant.

I took hundreds of photos of beautiful Tudor buildings. I got strangely emotional about marching bands and Morris dancers. I ate scones in the sunshine. I got a bit tipsy and watched the best Shakespeare I’ve ever seen on the banks of the Avon.

And, at the conclusion of ‘As You Like It’, when Rosalind, Orlando and company celebrated the changing of the season, I did too.

I’ve survived my first London winter.

It wasn’t easy. I’ve experienced cold I’d never imagined. I’ve set a world record for the number of pairs of socks worn by one person at any time. I’ve successfully navigated icy pavements without falling on my bum. And I’ve learned that hot chocolate with a sneaky shot of Bailey’s in it can be the secret to surviving any sort of outdoor event.

The winter is finally over. And from here on, things for this chick are going to be pretty different.

Bring on Part Two!

Rolling with the oldies, Stratford-style.

Rolling with the oldies, Stratford-style.

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A novel idea

I’ve always identified with the main girl in the chick lit novel – but I guess that’s the point, isn’t it? She’s always a little bit insecure, unlucky in love, unconvinced about her appearance and prone to emotional chocolate binges. An every-woman, I guess.

She’s also usually a writer – most often, she works for a chic women’s magazine, but very occasionally, she’s a journalist. Just like me!

When I decided to move to London, the chick lit coincidences seemed clearer than ever, and this blog was born. It’s a bit of a scary concept – who knows what the next year of my life will bring? And, will any of it be interesting enough to share with the world?

But the first day totally went to plan. Wearing a floaty dress and stylish sunnies I strolled down gorgeous, flowering London streets, finding a cute little pub across from a park and setting myself up with a salad, a gin and tonic, a great view and my iPad. Searching for jobs and feeling fabulous, I drew the attention of the barman. A charming, friendly guy who offered advice on where to live, filled me in on his travel adventures and engaged in some mild flirting. Perfect! Perhaps not the one I’ll end up with at the end of the book, but definitely a great supporting player – and one with the potential to give me free drinks!

So far, so good. I was just starting to think this really could be a chick lit life, when a headline this morning took my breath away. Flicking through a magazine, I stumbled across the article, ‘Has the Gap-Year Killer Struck Again?’

Crap… I hope I’m in the right novel.

Prologue

I’m not the world’s most adventurous person. I don’t have a tattoo and I’d never jump out of a plane. Let’s face it – I haven’t even tried tuna (it smells bad, OK?).

So when I decided I was going to quit my awesome, stable job and move to London for a year, people were surprised. Perhaps me most of all.

But the fact was, I needed a change. Last year sucked. I had my heart broken and found myself morphing into some sort of sad couch potato, watching hours upon hours of Gossip Girl and eating sliced cheese for dinner. I was so busy feeling sorry for myself it took me months to realise I’d been handed an opportunity. No one to tie me down, no one to tell me what to do. No one to consult if I wanted to pack up my pink shoes and have my very own adventure.

So now I’m taking charge. I’ve got a ticket booked and my passport ready. It’s the stupidest, craziest thing in the world but I’m going to do it. Even if it’s awful. Even if I end up starving, lonely and crying myself to sleep in sub-zero British temperatures.

It’s like the start of every good chick lit book I’ve read. Heartbroken girl off on a scary and exciting new adventure. Will I meet a host of zany characters? Probably. Will I embarrass myself in dozens of awkward ways? Absolutely. Will I meet the man of my dreams??

You never know… I might even try tuna.