Moving Out of Old Street Flat

This by far has to be the longest gap in my personal blog updates. As 2017 ends a short Christmas break gives me a chance to reflect on some of the key events of my life in 2017. This blog has always been a place where I can express myself and gather some of my own thoughts together and I am glad to get it going again after so long.

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Walking by the canal in Hoxton/Shoreditch. Only a 5 mins walk from where I lived, absolute bliss 🙂

Ah what a location!

So in October 2014 I moved into a small flat in Old Street/Shoreditch in London. It was a big move for me at that time, initially a very difficult move but eventually one that bought about an exciting new phase in my life of independence. While I only intended to stay in my flat for a year, somehow the year stretched out to nearly 3 years and I only moved out in July this year (2017). I absolutely loved the location as it was in the heart of the city in zone 1. I could walk to Moorgate, Liverpool Street and Bank easily. With a bus stop right outside my flat and Old Street tube station 10 minutes from the flat I was incredibly well connected to practically anywhere in London.

Cod and Chips at Fish Central restaurant near Old Street London.

Cod and Chips at Fish Central restaurant. An absolute delight.

And the location sure paid off, quite literally. A council estate block amongst many in that area, it meant I could get the place for a lower rent. Before I lived in zone 4 East on the central line, far far away from my London tutoring clientbase which was mostly in Tooting, Clapham and Wandsworth. And at the time I tutored a lot in North Yorkshire for residential tutoring (living and tutoring for 2 to 3 days). As such I commuted via Kings Cross station during all half terms and school holidays. Kings Cross was only 2 stops on the tube so that was handy.

Me and my ex-flatmate made a snap decision to pay the deposit for the flat when we viewed it along with more than 10 other groups. We simply offered a slightly higher than the asked for rent and got the place. As such I had no idea about how far the gym would be or any local amenities. It turned out that the gorgeous Shoreditch Park was opposite the road I lived, not only did it have a gym right next to it but also the best health centre I have been registered with. Perfect for running as well since I run regularly.

Shoreditch Park

Nestled among council estates, the gorgeous Shoreditch Park. I went for many runs here in all seasons.

No more travelling tutor

In Autumn 2014 I stopped taking extra work on in Yorkshire which was a tough decision as I had secure work there and not enough secure work in London. I had to expand my client base in London as I knew the way I was tutoring was unsustainable and regular ongoing consistent work in London is what I needed for a more sustainable career. I joined a few London agencies and one agency got me some absolute super clients. Two homeschooling gigs at close commuting distance gave me a big boost in income and confidence. And I went full throttle with my Wandsworth/Clapham clientbase as they recommended me to other families in that area.

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Waiting for the night bus at a quiet and serene London Bridge on a midsummers evening.

The gamble to refuse work for remote work in favour of making space for London work well and truly paid off. Within months I was starting to earn much better tutoring income than ever before. I had 7 years of tutoring experience and that wealth of experience added with the confidence of client testimonials really spurred me on.

The Rise and Rise of Online Tutoring from the home of UK tech

It really was onwards and upwards all 3 years from there. My identity as a tutor now is that of an online tutor of course and that came about after that first year of tutoring in Old Street.

Rooz Studios.

Band practice at Rooz studios. Literally walking distance for me!

Old Street is the home of U.K. digital tech and known as Silicon roundabout, an inspiring and energising place, it has tech startups and many arty types. I fell right into place (skinny jeans yes, but long beard no) and started networking online with other online tutors. I had come into Old Street with a business gamble and seeing the absolutely vast possibilities of online tutoring it was time to take the next gamble. The biggest one of all so far. Fueled by simultaneous technological advances in broadband speeds, professional social networking on LinkedIn and the rise of video calling technology on computers and tablets my next step was to go fully into online tutoring. And in the 2015-2016 year I achieved that.

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Vocal recording in my old room in Old Street.

In fact half way through my tenure I had outgrown the need to even live in Old Street in terms of a career. I could live anywhere I wanted to with no work commute! I had doubled my income in one year after my first year in Old Street. I knew then that my next move out of Old Street had to be out of the rental trap and into buying property. This is still what I’m aspiring to albeit no chance of buying in most of London, so the outskirts of London it will be where prices are more affordable. A part of me even wonders if I should still be living in London or even in the UK given that I can earn UK money from anywhere in the world. That is a longer ponder however.

3 years too long, time to move on again

My room was large but the kitchen was tiny and the bathroom had no shower so we got one of those low pressure plastic attachments. The landlord was horrific at repairing anything, we went by without a fridge for nearly a month. The flat was right outside a main busy road and I wore earplugs at night to sleep properly. All in all it felt like a temporary student flat. I had lived in better student homes in fact.

Towpath Cafe by the canal, coffee with breakfast.

Breakfast at Towpath Cafe by the canal. Absolute delight.

After my first set of flatmates left 2 years in, I became pseudo landlord and had to manage the rest of the flat. It was no easy job and complications in deposit and lack of tenancy agreements from the landlord to the new tenants made the whole stay very uncertain for me. The new flatmates were not bad but were frankly a pain to manage and things got cliquey. I wasn’t able to find a replacement flatmate when one of my new flatmates decided to leave this summer and that was it. The housing market in 2017 was down on 2016 and the landlady decided to knock the kitchen down and make improvements to the flat. I wasn’t ready to move out this summer though. Luckily I had finished tutoring for the year so I moved to my family place in East London without much pain. Most of my things are still packed up in boxes as I wait for my final move to a new property that I will hopefully buy on mortgage.

A few snippets of the good ‘ol times

  • The stunning canal walk and the little Towpath Cafe I used to eat at and relax. I went for many walks there in all seasons.
  • The many times I went for a run at Shoreditch Park, all seasons and a getaway from my life at the computer. And the many times I just went to the park to relax, lie down and occasionally meet up with friends there.
  • Fish Central – A 10mins walk from one of the best Fish restaurants in London. I had many meals there and it was an oasis on a cold winter day when I craved some fish.
  • I did tons of open mic nights, particularly at The Grove Pub in Battersea.
  • I loved hanging out in Islington, especially Upper Street. Initially because I had clients there but later because I liked the restaurants and cafes there.
  • I arranged loads of tutor meetups, starting off a small in person tutoring community that spun off a larger Facebook community. Eventually I was running video call based tutoring communities including a weekly call. This is growing and growing as the ball is well and truly in motion.
  • Visiting my then girlfriend who also lived in central London and exploring the area when I first moved there.
  • Band practices were ace. I have never lived so close to a band rehearsal studio in my life. As a result I had band practice walking distance from where I lived, so convenient. I will miss this :-/
  • The EU Referendum and two General Elections in my short tenure of less than 3 years. Boy the world changed so much so quickly.

Despite the location of Old Street as a party place for nightlife I didn’t really go on many night outs there at all. In that way I underused my location but hey ho I am no longer in that stage of my life being all that bit older.

I’ll remember my three years in Old Street fondly, it gave me new vigour and direction in life and I look forward to living there again once I am a tech millionaire and can afford to live there again…well one can hope 😉

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