Back to London: first impressions

Want a life update you didn’t ask for? There you are. So I now I’m 100% back to London, having come initially for three days in August to look for flats. It’s my first time in The Big Smoke since over a year. And, having started as a London blogger, I’ve got an opinion about it – shocker.


I thought coming back to London was going to be super emosh, that I was gonna cry and that everything was gonna work out. I was gonna dance with unicorns, go to bars, fix my phone contract in a flash and find a perfect house for 600 pcm in a second. I was wrong.

I arrived passing through Blackfriars station’s gorgeous river views. I took pictures. Then my Italian phone didn’t work and my British one didn’t either so I had to ask a random guy to text my friend the time it would have taken me to get to Aldgate East. I hope he doesn’t text her. He was nice though.

When I reached Aldgate East my friend told me to meet her at a Pret but I went to another Pret, because we all know Pret A Manger is taking over the world faster than aliens and Prets are popping up all over London so there are 2 in the space of 100 metres. We eventually found each other. Then I went to fix my phone contract. I had the number, but my address was registered to Australia so it took two days – the bank needed to change it, then the contract could start.

Then came the viewings. I won’t go into too much details but no unicorns were found in any flat. I did find weed, dust, mould, darkness and a lot of anxiety though. Also, agents who asked me: “Do you lift?” And “Where did you get that tiny waist?” And “Can I get your number… for after work I mean?” Yay me. Couldn’t wait to have these guys know where I live #blessed.  I hope this post serves you as a worthy example of how lovely flat-hunting in London is. Cause it’s not.

What was lovely – apart from meeting friends and walking the streets if my favourite city – was finding out I was at home. No matter how stressed, anxious and worried I was, I felt like I’d never left. My friends were still there, wanting to see me. My favourite bits of East London had ‘t changed – or better, they had just become cooler. Restaurants were serving my favourite things from Italy, Australia and beyond, as always. People were friendly and polite. I found my heart-shaped glasses (which I broke on the beach) back where I first bought them on Brick Lane. All was well.

Only sad notes (aside from not finding a flat, walking 70 km and screwing up my feet and the creepy agents): some of my favourite bars and restaurants had closed down. Counter Albion, a French breakfast spot in the gorgeous Redchurch street, has been replaced by a sample sale. The Arch, site of many uni drunk nights, also closed down, like Fika, a cute Swedish café on Brick Lane.

On the plus side, Pizza Pilgrims opened in Shoreditch High Street and I got to have my favourite cheese and crispy bacon bagel from the Beigel Shop on Brick Lane. I also got to try Soft Serve Society‘s grey ice cream. I found the veggie Prets I hadn’t seen before and tried a beetroot pink latte at the even pinker Clerkenwell Grind.


All is well I guess, and even if things have closed down, so have some chapters of my life.  Less than a week in, I think I’m ready for London, having come back to a rainy, crazy cold city as a punishment for the double summer I enjoyed this year in between Australia and Sardinia.

I spent my first weekend moving into my new room (a hall of residence, which is weird AF after years of flats, but there you go). I loved strolling down the canal, taking in the sights of Broadway Market and feasting on cinnamon buns from Fabrique or on Crosstown Doughnuts cause I’m a #fitnessinfluencer.

I even ended up dragging my ass far West to check out the Pink Floyd and Balenciaga exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Back East, I managed to indulge in some of my favourite things: wandering around bookshops like the cute Libreria on Brick Lane and taking pictures of street art.

Pictures: Carolina Are


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