Oh yeah, I’m blonde now.
It feels like a lifetime ago that I started this blog – I was at Uni, had just purchased my first DSLR camera and was taking pictures of all the food I was cooking. It was really procrastination that led me to start writing and documenting recipes, pretty soon I was part of this larger community and it was all-consuming. From the blog I made the leap to freelance food writer (but, in all honesty, I really don’t think I was terribly good at it – lack of routine + masses of competition for paid gigs + definite lack of self-motivation and oodles of self-doubt when left to own devices = poor, sad, lonely Jackie), and from there a bit of an identity crisis and the decision to start cooking full-time, which has led me to where I am today. As such, the blog has changed as I have – these days I post barely any recipes, when I was at culinary school it became a diary of sorts for those 9 months, and following finishing there it’s become kind of an afterthought; when you spend 90% of your time in basements cooking, even entertaining the idea of writing a blog post seems like a mammoth task. Sadly, my once loved blog has seen better days.
London has been my base for all of these operations thus far. Sure, I travelled extensively and spent time living abroad in my younger years (lulz, younger years) but it’s always been London that I’ve returned to – the city I was born in and for the majority of my 29 years have lived in. I went to school in London, made and lost friends, found my first writing jobs, went to culinary school and subsequently worked exclusively in as a chef; and for all of the wonderful things London has brought me, it has also been a cause of great stress, heartbreak and struggle. I have moved house every year, barring 1, for the last 6 years of my life (because renting in London is akin to chopping off both legs and pledging your first born to your landlord), moved jobs countless times since I started cheffing (always with good reason), and poured my heart and soul into everything I’ve done, only to be taken for granted, trampled upon and unappreciated (by and large, obviously many exceptions). And, frankly, I’m exhausted. I still love food, I still love cooking and making others happy through my food, but I’m a little jaded, a little saddened and in need of a little change.
About two months ago TS and I received an email from our current estate agent, informing us that our landlord had decided to repossess our property. On the 26th December. Yeah. I know. After the initial outrage had passed, TS and I sat down in our kitchen to discuss what we were going to do about it – were we going to find another house in London to live in? Were we going to say “screw it” and get out of London, maybe move to Scotland, or perhaps Oxford or Cambridge? Or, was it time to maybe think about moving to New Zealand, a card that had been in our deck for the last couple of years?
For those of you who don’t know, TS is from the South Island and a couple of years ago he took me for a holiday around New Zealand where I completely and utterly fell in love with the country. It was green, it was peaceful, the food was incredible, the people were lovely, and from that moment I had already started to plot our escape, but one thing led to another, TS’ job situation changed slightly, and after discussing it we had decided to remain in London for a few more years, save up some more money (ha! Saving! In London!) and make the move “eventually”.
So back to the conversation TS and I were having in the kitchen. We had ruled out remaining in London and as we started to discuss the logistics of moving we realised that moving to another part of the country was going to be just as much effort as moving to New Zealand, and if we were planning on leaving at some point anyway, why not make that point now?
Friends, if I can say anything about myself, it is that I am very good at taking a terrible situation and turning it into an opportunity.