Reflections on Three Years in London

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My Outfit

& Other Stories Coat (last seen in this post) | Boden Tights | Everlane Boots | BaubleBar Earrings (old sadly!)

It’s been a little over three years since my husband and I made the life-changing decision to move to London and quite frankly, it’s hard to imagine a life anywhere else. Yes, even on the rainiest days, I’m still in love with this city.

Looking back on all the places my husband and I have lived together it’s so funny to think that London is the place where we’ve lived the longest. And that our two American cats have lived more of their lives here than back in California where we adopted them!

Without a doubt, moving here has the best decision of our lives and to mark the milestone, I thought I’d reflect back on the past few years with some questions to myself. A fun exercise that’s filled me with so much gratitude towards this city and the people and places that make it so special.

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What I’ve Loved Most

It feels like home | After growing up near Seattle, I’ve lived in several places including San Francisco and visited so many more, but none has ever truly felt like home. When I’m in London, I’m not dreaming of what life would be like someplace else, I’m simply content, happy and appreciative to be here.

How easy it is to get around | Until I lived here, I never realized how difficult getting around was in every other city I’ve lived in. Public transportation was minimal at best, and I never quite felt safe taking it alone, especially at night. And while driving in London isn’t easy, it’s so nice that it’s not the only option. Meeting up with friends is simple, even if they’re on the other side of London (looking at you, Lindsay!). Going for drinks? No need to worry about who’ll drive everyone home.

It’s a little thing, but makes this city so livable.

The people I’ve met | Without a doubt, London has been the easiest place for me to make friends as an adult. It seems like people here take work-life balance really seriously and make a conscious effort to be sociable after work. It’s evident especially in the summer months when you’ll see groups of people lining the streets outside of pubs or in the parks, just socializing.

Whether through work or the blog or even Instagram, I’m so lucky to have made some really wonderful friends who’ve made my life infinitely richer.

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Speaking of friends, the photos in this post are all taken by my friend Supal. She’s recently become an Airbnb Experiences host, where she runs a Colourful Notting Hill Photo Walk. Last weekend, Lindsay, Jessica and I signed up and Supal took us all around the neighborhood, pointing out streets, buildings and details that despite living there, I’d never encountered.

It was so timely to see my old neighborhood with fresh eyes and even more special that Supal takes photos of each guest as a way to remember the walk. I’d really recommend it, even if you’re local to London

The parks | From the wild, countryside feel of Hampstead Heath to the manicured grounds of Regent’s Park, these green spaces make London so special. They’re tranquil hideaways when you need an escape from the hustle of the city. We love to bike through Hyde Park, walk up the mound in Richmond Park and sit in the green and white striped chairs of Green Park.

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Best Moment

Buying our first home | I’ve been saving for a house since my first job, so this would have been a special moment no matter where it took place. But the fact that it’s in a city that truly feels like home makes it all the more memorable.

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Biggest Struggle

Those first few months | Upon first moving here, we lived in a neighborhood I didn’t love, in temporary housing that really wasn’t too nice—two people and two cats in what was essentially a hotel room with a kitchenette. I didn’t know anyone and didn’t yet have a job. I felt completely out of place and it put a strain on our relationship and my well-being. It was tough.

But we persevered and everything fell into place when we moved to an apartment and neighborhood we loved. Finding a job a little later on where I was able to meet friends of my own helped me to feel more settled than anything else could have!

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Favorite Spot in London

Queen Mary’s Rose Garden in Regents Park | I’ve mentioned it countless times on Instagram and even here on my blog, so it’s no surprise that this little spot remains my favorite. I could sit for hours on the benches, surrounded by the beautiful varieties of roses (and I have!). It’s where I go when I need a spot to think or if I’m having a particularly stressful time as it always seems to bring clarity and peace of mind.

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Best Meal

Nopi | I’ve had at least three birthday dinners at Nopi now and the service is always what I love most. So considered but still relaxed. When Lindsay and I went for our LINDA dinner club, they’d even marked up a menu prior to our arrival with all the vegan options (and how they could modify different dishes for us).

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What I’m Looking Forward To Most

Everyday life | Back in August, when we were waiting to hear whether or not our visas would be renewed, it filled me with so much dread, because my biggest hope was to continue living in London. Now that we know that we’ll be here for (at least) three more years, I’m honestly looking forward to continuing our everyday life in the city. Discovering new spots, revisiting old favorites, spending time with friends, meeting new people, making quick jaunts to Europe with my husband, admiring the architecture, going to the parks, hopping around the city on the tube, and so much more that the list could go on and on (but I’ll stop there!).

Until next time,

Brenda