Tag Archives: work

How long is your commute?

london underground tube train how long is your commute

It turns out that New Yorkers are just as obsessed with commute times as Londoners. Like Caroline from A Cup of Jo, the first three questions I’m normally asked (or asking!) at a party are ‘where do you work’, ‘where do you live’ and ‘what’s the commute like?’.

How long is your commute?

My commute is an hour each way on a good day. I guess that’s quite a long commute, but that’s London for you. It’s often quicker to travel from the suburbs into the city than it is to travel from one side of London to the other.

I have my commute down to a fine art. I know which chipped sign to stand next to in the morning so I can squeeze on the first of my two trains. When it comes to getting on the second train, I always wait for it to arrive at the other end of the platform so I can secure a speedy exit at the station closest to the office.

I know that there’s a faster route to work that would shave four minutes off my commute time, but I rarely take it. A seat trumps being squeezed in like a sardine any day, at least when there’s only four minutes in it.

An extra working week for every month

I recently calculated that for every four weeks of work I spend another working week travelling to and fro. That’s a cool 40 hours a month ‘wasted’ on a train.

Except I don’t think having a seat on a train is wasted time. It’s only wasted time if you’re not enjoying it. Since doing the sums I’ve tried to up my travel game, finding new ways to make the most of my time. My journey is mostly spent underground so a lack of Wi-Fi (and a broken iPod) has pushed me to think beyond the obvious.

At some point I’d love to use that time to learn a foreign language. At the moment though I use it to read short stories, listen to podcasts and catch up on long reads. Sometimes (like today) I manage to write a blog post too.

The best commutes though are the ones where I lose myself in stories. I’ve loved listening to Serial and reading articles published in the New Yorker, like Filter Fish by Oliver Sacks.

I’m just trying to make those 40 hours a month count.

I’d love to know more about your commute. Do you walk to work? Perhaps you travel by boat (like Alex when the tubes are down)? Do you feel like it’s wasted time or do you have a clever way to make the most of it?

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Love what you do

Instead of, “do what you love,” perhaps the more effective mantra for the entrepreneur, the linchpin and maker of change might be, “love what you do.”

If we can fall in love with serving people, creating value, solving problems, building valuable connections and doing work that matters, it makes it far more likely we’re going to do important work.

Seth Godin

Hercule Poirot

Came across this photo of me dressed as Poirot and I couldn’t resist sharing…

During the World Cup we had a dress down day at work for charity. We all pulled the name of a football team (usually known as a country) out of a hat and dressed up appropriately.

Although initially stumped when I got Belgium (waffles! Chocolate! Beer!) I later had a brainwave and decided that I would be Poirot for the day. Complete with moustache. And yes, the train journey home was kinda awkward. What I’ll happily do for charity.

Hercule Poirot

A day in the life of a London civil servant

 A Day in the Life of a London Civil Servant

A day in the life of a London civil servant

When my alarm goes off at 5:30am I’m usually already awake. I get up, shower, put on a suit and by 6am I’m sitting in the kitchen with a cup of tea and a bowl of porridge. If the paper has been delivered I’ll read The Telegraph whilst I eat, otherwise I’ll read The Times on my tablet.

I leave the house around 7am and walk the three minutes to the station. At this hour I usually get a seat on the Central line so I spend the time reading my kindle and listening to music. At the moment I’m rereading my favourite book, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, and listening to the new Elbow album.

At Stratford I’ll change onto the Jubilee line to get to Westminster. During tube strikes, of course, I have to change my route, but that can be fun – especially if I can get a boat from the Tower of London to Westminster.

At 16 I did three week’s work experience at the House of Lords and got to use the private exit from Westminster station that takes you straight to the house. Using the private exit was a thrill, but the government department I work for doesn’t have its own private exit and I don’t miss it. I’ve worked in Westminster for six years and the pride I feel every morning walking past parliament doesn’t fade. During November the Abbey grounds have a memorial field to the dead of WW1 and 2, which is a really humbling experience.

I work 10-12 hours a day and lunch consists of a sandwich from Pret or a tin of soup. I used to walk around St James Park most lunch times but I don’t have time anymore. I’ve recently discovered the College Green at Westminster Abbey which is just round the corner from the office; when work calms down in the summer I’ll be there eating my lunch as the weather warms up.

A few times a week I’ll meet former colleagues or friends after work. I like traditional English pubs like St Stephens Tavern in Westminster or the Princess Louise in Holborn. I also like modern bars such as the Holborn Whippet or the Covent Garden Cocktail Club. In the summer, I love walking down to the Albert Hall from work, meeting my girlfriend and seeing one of the Proms. People think classical music is elitist, but for £10 you get a seated ticket in a beautiful venue. Much better value than a concert at the O2!

If I’m heading straight home, I’ll walk to a tube station a mile or so away, like Holborn, to stretch my legs. It’s a great walk up through Soho. Sometimes I walk all the way home, which is roughly 12 miles. My route takes me through the West End, Soho, the City, Clerkenwell, Hackney and finally close to the Olympic Park. It’s a great way to see how London really is just lots of villages thrown together and connected by the Tube and the buses.

Whenever I get in I try to read some fiction to switch off before bed, but sometimes I’ll cave in and watch some TV – my current guilty pleasure is Modern Family. If I haven’t been out I’m asleep by 11.

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sunday selection

Sunday Selection

Happy Sunday doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as Happy Friday, does it?!

Although I’m mourning the end of another weekend that has flown by, I’m pleased to say goodbye to this week which has been long, stressful and emotional for a number of reasons.

On a positive note I have a million blog posts up my sleeve including another three restaurant reviews, some facts about your Starbucks drinks and a review of a new food product. Oh, and I’ll throw in a few bits and bobs about London too in order to remind you that I am in fact a London lifestyle blogger, not a wannabe foodie expert.

Here are some links I’ve loved this week:

Edgy and great light. Plus tattoos. I love tattoos.

London is tiring. And nothing beats a cup of tea, Somewhere in England

Walking in London

Finally, a reminder: The things you take for granted someone else is praying for

Have a great week ahead,


Lloyd’s of London Building

The Lloyd’s building at 1 Lime Street is one of my favourite buildings in London. One of the most controversial buildings in the City, and is currently home to Lloyd’s of London.

Designed by architect Richard Rogers, Lloyd’s shares similar design features with the Pompidou Centre in Paris. It took eight years to build and 33,510 cubic meters of concrete, 30,000 square metres of stainless steel cladding and 12,000 square metres of glass were used during the construction.

The building has many notable features, with all lifts, staircases and toilets to be found on the exterior of the building, conserving space within. There are 12 external glass lifts and apparently all offer a great view across the city.

3 way to visit the Lloyd’s of London building

  1. Lloyd’s generally participate in the Open House programme which takes place in September each year.
  2. A number of private tours are conducted each year – but you have to meet certain criteria to stand a chance.
  3. Start studying finance and land a job at the insurers.

Alternatively, take a virtual tour.

What do you think of the Lloyd’s of London building? Post-modern genius or sore sight on the skyline? 


The Scottish Widow

Have you heard of the Scottish Widows? If you are UK based you have probably seen her figure grace your screen at some stage or another.

I was at a conference yesterday and one of the speakers is a former Scottish Widows employee. He spoke about the importance of market research, and used Scottish Widows as one of his examples. He also let something rather interesting slip…

Although the Scottish Widow changes from time to time, certain things about the new ‘Widow’ always remain the same.

The Scottish Widow is ALWAYS 5’11”, ALWAYS has size 7 feet and ALWAYS has a 34C bra size.

Interesting, huh?