Today marks exactly 1 year since I stepped foot on London soil! I actually can’t believe how time has flown by or how things have turned out compared to what I expected. It’s been a bumpy journey to say the least and I thought I’d share with you what the last 365 days have been like as a lot of my followers have expressed how they miss reading my blog posts so here goes… Grab a mojito it’s going to be a long one!
So I just arrive in London on a cold spring day, I didn’t know a single person and my first instinct was to find other like-minded South Africans to ask advice from and gain knowledge on the London living lifestyle. Boy… was I shook! Now we all know how straight forward and abrupt South Africans can be however the ones here in London / UK seem to think they’re in some way better than everyone else. So here’s what happened in a nutshell – I joined a Facebook group called “Saffas in South England” asking for advice on where to live, if anyone wouldn’t mind putting me up for a week or 2, salary expectations etc. and the response I got was rather pessimistic and arrogant.
A lot of the responses I got were from South African’s that didn’t even live in the city, but on the outskirts. So to compare it: London city = Tamboerskloof vs outskirts = Caledon. A lot of them shut me down by saying things like I’d never get the salary I want or I would never be able to live in the areas I want, it’s just not attainable. But that was their unattainable and not mine! I will be honest and say I had a little rant on Twitter saying that the South African groups in the UK are so unhelpful and negative and one of the minions from the Facebook group (hello, if you’re reading this) took a screenshot of my tweet and posted it to the group. This is what the group members had to say:
Since they blocked me from their silly little group, here’s my 2c
@ Celeste – despite your opinion of me being a leech, I’ll have you know I worked hard for everything I’ve achieved in my life, no one helped me get to where I am and I’m doing pretty good! Check my LinkedIn profile for reference… And yes I am an opportunist! How else do you think I made such a success in my career in the last 12 months here hun 🙂
@ Carina – I left South Africa to get away from individuals like you that give a bad reputations for SA all over the world
@ Yo – I grew up with no parents and no university education. Trust me when I say I have life experience
@Lee-Anne – Been here for 12 months now and still not homesick 🙂 Kinda think I’ll stay here forever you know! Also made it to the top WITHOUT your Facebook cult group
@ Ruben – Fuck you too 🙂
It got so bad that I moved far away from the South African saturated areas of London just so that I wouldn’t have to be surrounded by a pessimistic atmosphere who thought they were never capable of achieving more. Don’t get me wrong, I have 2 South African friends here in London and I adore them but damn most of them have let this UK life go to their heads. Neeeeeeext……….
Also I went on my very first Tinder date and it turned out to be a nightmare! You can read about it HERE but I’ve since been on a few more dates (about 5) but it’s just one failure after the next. If it’s not that the guy is a complete weirdo by asking me on a first date if I can iron shirts then it’s that he is a complete fuckboy and trust me when I say that the majority of London men are that way… There’s very much a culture of “I’m just here for work and my career, not looking for anything too serious as I’ll move back to my hometown at some point.” So in terms of me finding a partner worthy of my time, well that went out the window!
At month number 3 in London I had just about used up all my resources and was running out of funds quick! I had still not found a proper full time job, I was feeling despondent and like a complete failure! I had contemplated one too many times about just packing up and going to South Africa and although my friends and family were quite supportive of whatever decision I made I knew in my heart the huge sacrifice I made to make this move happen. If you know me personally you’d know how driven I am to make a success out of everything I do and giving up wasn’t going to be that easy.
At the very end of month number 3 I managed to secure a temporary contract job at a major insurance organisation – top 3 financial services companies in the world! Finally the breakthrough I had been waiting for and I knew that I had to make the very best of this opportunity. Fast forward 9 months later and exactly 1 year in London, as I write this I have 3 job offers in front of me from some of the biggest names in the industry. To think a year ago I was unemployable and now I have all these opportunities which I never imagined possible when I first arrived. Having said that the company I currently work for has offered to switch my contract from temporary to permanent as I’ve displayed a good character and work ethic and have proven over and over what an asset I am to the company. *Celebratory drinks later*
Can I also just say how being a beauty blogger has helped me in my professional career? I’ve since went on to become an industry ambassador promoting careers in the insurance industry and often do talks at schools and provide advice on social media strategies. I don’t think I’d be able to offer this skill set had it not been for my experience as a beauty blogger. I hope this explains why I’ve had to neglect my beauty blog for a while but will do another blog post on this at a later stage…
I’ve made some really good friends as well! I remember when first moving here I found it quite intimidating trying to make friends. I’d been so caught up in my circle back home that I didn’t even know where to start in terms of looking for new friends. Like how does one even make a new friend without having any to begin with?! Luckily for me I had joined a festival Facebook group (trust me to be in the party groups LOL) and had met a Danish guy who had introduced me to his group of London friends. He’s since moved but I still got to remain friends with the group and now they’re practically family! We do girly lunches, concerts and dinners – I honestly don’t know what I’d do without them!
It’s not all roses and smiles though, London is known for flat sharing and if you’ve ever flat shared you know that it could go one of two ways: tolerable or absolutely fucking terrible! When I first moved here I lived with 2 guys, an English and Irish guy. Contrary to popular opinion living with guys was a walk in the park. No drama, no issues, and just an easy going environment. It wasn’t until I switched homes and decided to live with 2 girls that my entire idea around flat sharing changed! I’m not sure if it’s because they both came from wealthy privileged families or the fact that they just lacked in maturity, but I’ve had possibly the worst flatmates I could imagine! It’s hard to think that girls can be lazy, messy, don’t exercise personal hygiene, eat junk food and lay in bed everyday, leave shit stains in the toilet, be inconsiderate with orgasm noises when bringing a boy over, I mean the list can go on and I’m not even half way yet! I’ve since learnt that you cannot really say one sex is better to live with than the other, it merely boils down to the level of respect your flatmates have for one another and some people are just simply put, how us South African’s like to say it: morsig!
Then let’s not forget about my lawsuit where I nearly got sued for £20,000 for writing a bad review on a beauty salon I visited! You can read about it HERE. I laugh about it now but it’s disgusting how companies in the UK threaten and intimidate people with lawsuits for writing honest reviews. My case is a prime example of why you should stand your ground and challenge companies that act unethically. Don’t let them walk all over you because I’ll tell you this – and that’s if a company is trying to sue you for writing a negative review on the services they’re offering, then they probably know what they’re doing is wrong and want to conceal the truth.
With all of this I’ve had to put my blog on the back-burner unfortunately. I had to completely reinvent myself, my career and making sure that I had a constant income and therefore my career had to take priority. I hope now since I’ve taken up a permanent position in my company and I’ll be moving into a new home this weekend, that my life will become a bit more settled instead of a daily stress train. The fact that some of you still slide into my DM’s from time to time saying how much you miss my posts keeps that fire burning inside me to keep this blog running – and it will! All in good time 🙂
Thank you for sticking around for this long!