It's been a while .... back in Finland & re-assessing my life...

Hello all! I did promise when I started this blogging malarkey that I'd try & update as often as possible, but up until the last couple of weeks, it's been a pretty uneventful time in my life! It had just been the usual work, work, & more work - including spending more time away each week (between Manchester, Coventry & Birmingham) than at home in London!

But the last couple of weeks have been busy & have made me look at my plans again, & possibly re-assess them & what's right for me in the short-term.

So, the week before last I had one day in the office (Monday 19th) & that day was spent counting down the minutes until I had about a week & a half off work. I had tickets to see Talib Kweli in London on the Tuesday & a couple of good pals of mine were coming up to London for the gig & to stay at mine. Tom (Comey) & Tom (Rowley) came up in the early afternoon & we spent the afternoon chilling at my place in Woolwich - consuming plenty of beers & going through lots of stories/anecdotes of my time so far in London - mainly based upon my flatmate (you'll understand if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter). Beers consumed, we headed off to The Forum in Kentish Town for some cheap grub & a great gig. It was one of those evenings that made me miss my friends back in Poole & nights out with people who have similar tastes/interests - certainly something I've missed while being in London.

The boys headed back to Poole on Wednesday afternoon & I had that evening & the Thursday to relax & sort myself out before I headed off to see the lil (now quite big) man in Finland!

The standard flight from Heathrow with BA got me in to Helsinki-Vantaa at about 4pm local time - just enough time to head to the ex's & see the lil man for a couple of hours before his bed time. Seeing him at the door made my heart melt (as usual). He'd also really grown - I was last there at the end of October & he was now up & running about all over the place & chatting away to himself - you don't get the full perspective when you're only seeing each other via Skype once or twice a week! As he wasn't too used to me being there in person he was slightly shy at first, but each day he livened up - especially once I got my iPhone out, which he seemed obsessed with - he's also very adept at taking pictures of himself with the camera!

Unfortunately, while there the lil man (as well as the ex) had the flu, so he spent a large proportion of the time being grumpy & feeling ill & wanting his mum, meaning he wasn't too keen on being left with me for any real period of time. It also meant that I couldn't have him at the hotel on Sunday night. A real shame, especially as the hotel had been so accommodating & agreed to get me a crib for him & let him stay for free for the night (Hotelli Kuninkaantie, Espoo).

So despite not being able to spend as much time with him as I would have liked, it was still amazing to be with him again, even if he was more interested in my phone than me. I still tried to make the most of the time there though & played with him as much as possible - which mainly involved him throwing things at me & me having to chase him to get my phone back before it ended up being launched across the room or in his mouth.

My time there has again re-affirmed how much I want to be there. Not only because of the lil man, but also because I now know a few people there & actually had the chance to go out & enjoy myself for once, including a completely random big night out with a load of random Finns, & dinner & a couple of drinks in Helsinki (for the first time) with Henna. A nice way to round off my time there & the brief tour of the city centre was much appreciated!

So having spent 5 days in Finland, I've now been back in London for 4 days & I'm already as broke as a joke. When moving to London, my main rationale was that it would make travelling to Finland easier (which it does, slightly), & would also give me the opportunity to progress my career & earn more money (which it hasn't). When I moved here I got a minimal pay rise & a London allowance. Unfortunately, neither of these got close to covering the increases in my basic living costs (rent, bills, travel etc). So now I'm left wondering whether being in London is really the best place to be, especially when I see my long-term future in Finland. I now need to spend some time weighing up my options & looking at what would be the best thing to do: - Stick it out in London, where every month is a financial struggle & I have no real life to speak of, - or look at moving (maybe back south towards Southampton or Bournemouth), where hopefully my London experience will allow me to command a slightly better salary, while living somewhere that's not quite as expensive as London, & therefore allowing me to have a bit more of a life & for it not to be such a struggle & strain when I want to go to Finland etc.

Decisions, decisions .............

In the meantime, this face will make everything a bit better.....

P.S. My previously mentioned pal, Tom Rowley, is soon off to Africa for a few weeks to help renovate an orphanage. If you're feeling kind, please, PLEASE donate a few quid via his fundraising page: Please donate here.

Until next time, much love!