ok, next topic: HOUSING.
So, as soon as I got back from Zagreb, back in January - I knew I wanted to move out from my lovely aunt's and uncle's place. They were nice enough to host me for a couple of months, when I was just a fresh Londoner, but I truly wanted to experience an independent life as soon as possible. I haven't moved to the other part of Europe, just to find that someone is still cooking my meals. So, the flat hunt began...
Anyone that has ever tried to find
a flat room in London (and possibly other European cities, but I wouldn't know about that) how gruesome the process is - nudging everyone you know if they know anyone who knows anyone to ask anyone who has someone whose friend's girlfriend's cousin just moved out of a pretty little room somewhere that is not Zone 892. Okay, yes I'm exaggerating but that's basically how it starts - people you know and people they know. So, the first stage was quite unsuccessful for me - probably due to the odd time to find a flat (end of January), and not due to the lack of interest spread by my peers (I love you all).
STEP 2: Visit every online page devoted to finding you a new place to live. Gumtree, Zoopla, Spareroom, and even a couple of visits to Craigslist (which resulted in more imaginary sex activity than my prudish self has ever imagined). This part of the search was only partially successful. I contacted probably about 100-150 (not exaggerating) people through the pages above. Maybe a dozen got back to me, and I got to see 4 places to live in total. Spoiler: they all looked absolutely horrible, severely tiny and quite odour-y. A big part of this was my budget. Yes, I come from Croatia, and I wasn't born with a Silver spoon falling out of my mouth. I did start to earn money from the age of 15 (or maybe even earlier), but I was never a saver. From forever, I was a lover of stuff and places so I mostly invested my money in travelling and buying things (most prominently clothes, shoes & accessories). No, I'm not sorry for that although another scenario would help me live completely carefree, but it also most probably wouldn't result me in having a blog and working in fashion. So, the equation has worked in another way. But back to the budget - I knew I wanted to find a flat for the maximum of £600, due to the fact I had just recently got a job as a receptionist and my monthly pay was roughly around that amount. See, in normal places, £600 a month would get you a nice studio flat; in Zagreb - that money would get you a house in the city centre, but in London - it gets you stinkin' little room. Or that's what phase 2 made me think.
STEP 3: If anyone ever says social media is stupid, useless, and a waste of time - please shush them right away. If You are one of those people, prepared to be shushed. As the 1st of February was dangerously approaching, and I was more and more aware that me moving out into a nice place was not quite on the horizon, I got more and more anxious. I'd like to think I'm a person that's always hoping to be more positive than pessimistic, so it was quite a difficult period, a period that was also the time for my Uni hand-ins, which didn't quite make it easier. But, I lived through it with a smile on my face - thanks to my amazing family and friends. However, my amazing family and friends, combined with a smile on my face weren't quite going to find me a place to live. At the proposal of a lovely college mate (thanks Saloni!) and as I was spending tons of time on Facebook - both for school and leisure purposes (FTW for exam/hand-in deadlines!), I started searching for Facebook groups that involved housing in London. I joined probably around 7 of them, all boiling with both too-good-to-be-true (hence, they ARE NOT TRUE) and harshly realistic ads. To make the story short, I was spending all of my free time scrolling through those groups - the best ads were taken in several seconds, the worst ones were left to hang - without a comment or a like. And then, one evening - I stumbled upon an ad about an adorably messy room in Northern London. An adorably messy room that ended up being my huge and adorably clean room that I love so much. And all that for £524 (including bills!).
I absolutely understand I've been incredibly lucky, but I just want to encourage everyone to look and search, have an active mind and a yearning set of eyes. Do not fall for scams, but also do not take pieces of cr*p for gold. Yes, there are tons of sh*tty places, but there are some reasonably priced corners around London (and every other place on the world) that's waiting for you. Also - be ready to pay for a deposit, but that's something that's (pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease) going to be back on your account by the time you move out. GOOD LUCK!
ps. I'm still not completely happy with how my room looks (decoration wise!), but as soon as I will be - I'll share some pics here. If you're really eager, go to my Instagram account and keep and eye on the constant progress and personal corners.
|Photos taken by my designated SBR photographer Ali Baïlon, in the back yard of my amazing flat|
|Wearing a vintage scarf I got from the LMB recyclying centre thanks to the Love Your Clothes initiative, a stripy H&M long-sleeved shirt, Zara linen floral trousers, a 70's polyester-suit jacket that looks like it came from the Brady Bunch rack but cost me £1 at the Mile End poundsale, Giant Vintage sunglasses, a Daniel Wellington watch & a pair of Northern Cobbler ankle-boots|