1) Describe your blog
I started The Accidental Londoner back in 2009 as a way to keep far-flung family up to speed with what I was getting up to. Since then it’s become a collection of musings on city-life, urban space, events and attractions and the odd tale of adjusting to life post-university. I cover just about anything which is remotely associated with London – from restaurant reviews to accounts of witnessing protests and security incidents like the Tottenham Court Road siege back in 2012.
2) Why did you create your blog?
Oops, jumped the gun on this one – see above! I have always written in one way or another (although until I launched the Accidental Londoner I’d not done much that was ever read by anyone else), and what inspires me the most is experiencing new places. As a relatively new Londoner I was spoilt for inspiration and content in this city. And I just kept going when I realised people were actually reading it!
3) What is your favourite blog post and why?
Not an obvious choice, because it was tough to write and it’s certainly not one of my most-read pieces, but my favourite post is ‘The man on the platform‘. It deals with an incident which affected me deeply, both shaking and reaffirming my faith in people and confirming something I had long suspected – that sometimes you can be at your most alone and vulnerable when you’re surrounded by hundreds and thousands of people. (I also received a lovely email in response to the piece from one of my best friends, which reminded me how fortunate I am to be supported by so much love in this city.)
4) What are the top 3 things you have learnt from blogging?
1. Bloggers are awesome – they are friendly, open, supportive of one another all whilst often remaining little more than a Twitter handle or email address. Occasionally they become something more though, which is a wonderful bonus!
2. Sometimes people don’t interpret a blog post in the way you expect or intend them to. And that’s ok. Every post you publish is you saying something– and you can control the way in which you say it. What you can’t control is how people read and understand it.
3. Blogging done well takes commitment. It takes time to maintain a regular stream of good quality, interesting content, and also to develop a voice for yourself out there, amongst the millions of other bloggers. You have to stick at it!
5) What is your favourite part of London and why?
Having spent my first few years in London in the South West, I made the move to North London three years ago, and instantly felt like I was home within the city. My favourite bit of London is my own neighbourhood – hidden away between Holloway and Tufnell Park. The area itself is fun and friendly, Hampstead Heath is on the doorstep, and you can get just about anywhere else in the city relatively quickly.
6) How does London compare to other cities around the world?
London has never had the same sort of exciting, fast-paced energy I feel when I visit younger cities like New York or Mumbai. Maybe it’s too grown-up for that! It’s slower, greyer and (sorry to say this!) the people are not the friendliest at first glance. But London is constantly changing; you struggle to be bored here – there is always something new to see and do.
7) What have you found to be the best way to make friends in London?
For many people, making friends in London is a challenge. Londoners are not the most open and friendly people in the world. I’ve met people through work, through friends I had before I moved here and even through blogging – and that’s been a wonderful surprise.
8) If you could give someone new to London one piece of career advice what would it be?
Find a job that makes you feel excited when you get up in the morning, and don’t fret about your long-term career. If you have a role you truly care about and believe in, you won’t resent putting in the hard graft to do your job really well. And then you’ll be surprised at all the opportunities that present themselves…seize them and enjoy!