The time has come to leave this big, sprawling, exciting, inspiring, busy, smelly, beautiful city.
I came to London in the October of 2011.
Having spent many years moving between the French Alpes and the beaches of Cornwall and the Basque country, I decided it was time to leave my bags unpacked for longer than 6 months at a time.
I finally felt the pull of our capital, a city that I had never wanted to live in until that point.
“No, I don't want to live in London. It's so big and unfriendly. Nobody looks at each other and it takes forever to get anywhere.”
So I decided to give it a year and see what happened.
The first few months were spent living with my dad and his wife Mags, in West Drayton. Not exactly in the thick of things London-life wise! But thanks to my dad and Mags, I had a roof over my head for free.
I was working as the assistant manager in Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports in Stratford. Living in the west of London, working in the east and travelling for 3 hours a day on train and tube was not ideal but I had work and a home.
Skipping forward a few months, I made some changes.
I moved in with my cousin in Clapham and started cycling to work. Wow. What a difference.
Getting about by bike can be a bit hairy at times on the mean streets. However, it gave me the freedom I'd been seriously missing. No longer was I stuck underground for hours at a time.
I was in charge of my travel and I got to explore London from a completely different perspective.
My daily commute took me along the south bank of the Thames, past the houses of parliament, across London Bridge where you get an amazing view of Tower Bridge, through the City of London with its beautiful grand banks and narrow maze of streets and finally along the busy, hectic, Whitechapel/Mile End Road all the way to the Olympic Park and Westfield, Stratford.
On a daily basis I was amazed by the way the city changes from one street to the next. Glass high rise offices to grand old stone carved facades. Wealth to poverty. Old to new.
That was it for me. No more public transport. Me and my bike were firm friends forever!
I then made the jump to move out of my cousin's beautiful home and moved in with a mate East London. I felt I was finally getting stuck into London life.
I stayed in the Shoreditch/Bethnall Green area for the rest of my time in London and realised that big bad city wasn't so big and bad after all. I bumped into people I know all the time. It's true what people say, London really is just a group of little villages stuck together. And it feels like home.
The next challenge was to sort out what I was doing to make a living.
I had been applying for all sorts of roles as a fitness instructor, gym manager, sales agent for triathlon holidays, anything to get a foot in the huge door to the buzzing London fitness scene.
I then got in touch with Heartcore. A fantastic company offering dynamic reformer pilates, TRX and barre classes. I attended an audition and was asked to come back to undertake their training programme to teach Heartcore's reformer method.
After a lot of procrastinating and analysis of my finances, I quit my job at Ellis Brigham and started my training with Heartcore.
This was a real leap of faith. I had no guarantee that I would get a job at the end of our training. I had no savings to fall back on and I knew I couldn't afford to be out of work for more than a couple of weeks.
So I put my all into the training. Three weeks of daily reformer Pilates workouts, theory, practice teaching, brainstorming, observing and sweating later and I was good to go. I taught my first Heartcore class in August 2012. I loved it and knew that I had absolutely made the right choice.
Now they say that things happen in threes. This was definitely the case for me.
During my training with Heartcore, I popped my head into the lululemon Chelsea showroom, conveniently located next door to Heartcore's Chelsea studio.
I was greeted by “I love your tights” and “you have amazing hair!” I was happy!
I had no idea who or what lululemon was so I started chatting to Paula, the showroom manager who filled me in. An athletic wear brand from Vancouver, lululemon had a few showrooms in London, gradually building awareness and a customer base in the Uk before making the leap into opening stores (there are now five stores in London!).
On telling Paula that I had just left a managerial role in retail to train with Heartcore, she offered me a part time job as an educator in the showroom! My role would be to chat to the lululemon guests, educate them on the product, the brand and its philosophy and hopefully sell a few pairs of yoga pants in the process! It sounded perfect so I signed up! And what a great turn of events that was. I stayed with the company for 18 months in which time it went through many changes as it continued to grow in London. I met some incredible people, made some amazing connections in the fitness industry, tried a load of awesome classes from yoga, to barre to bootcamp. A perfect compliment to life as London trainer.
So, on to the last part of the triptic. During the same three week Heartcore-training period, I received an email asking me to attend an interview in the gym at Shoreditch House, a private members club in East London. I had applied for so many jobs, I'd forgotten all about this one. I turned up for the interview with no idea what I was interviewing for. When asked what experience I had, I listed spin instructor at the top and mentioned my love of cycling in the “about me” bit. Just as well really because it turned out that the recruitment drive was for cycle instructors for the US brand, Flywheel. I was successful in my application and next thing I knew I was spending a few hours each day training with six other awesome instructors under the watchful eye of Flywheel's best New York instructors. It was rad. So much fun and yet again, a chance to meet some inspirational people.
The Flywheel studio opened in Shoreditch House on September 17th.
From a scary and bold decision to leave my job with the promise of nothing ahead, I had three amazing jobs for the best fitness companies in London! (not forgetting my stint renting out pedalloes in Greenwich park to earn some well needed cash!)
That was the beginning of what has been an amazing few years.
I stayed with Heartcore and watched the brand expand to include 8 studios across London!!
Flywheel left Shoreditch House and House Ride took its place. Another awesome indoor cycling experience developed by 2 of our existing team members.
Paula opened her own yoga studio, Union Station and I started teaching Pilates there. We had both come a long way since our lululemon days.
I also worked as a personal trainer for TruBe, an on-demand personal training app and as a PT for The Third Space in their Marylebone gym.
And lastly but by no means least, I've had the pleasure of working freelance with some incredible PT clients.
I couldn't have wished for my time in London to have been any better.
I feel very proud of myself for what I have achieved and forever grateful for the incredible people who have supported me along my journey. There are too many to mention here but if you're reading this, I hope you know who you are.
Last week saw me teach my last Heartcore classes, my last House Ride classes and my last PT sessions. Leaving drinks, tough final workouts, fond farewells and not enough sleep! I know that the goodbyes are not goodbyes but see-you-laters. There's no way I'm losing touch with my awesome friends and clients!
I leave London with a happy heart and a tear in my eye! I'm ready for life in beautiful Bude, breathing the fresh air and seeing the stars at night.
I'm excited and nervous and full of ideas to bring to North Cornwall. I'm hoping that I can share my passion and knowledge and love of what I do with as many people as possible.
So... look out Bude, I'm coming!!