Topping up the travel fund

The raincoat is on. I’ve been back in he UK for almost a month and while Charlotte and I sort out vaccinations, tickets for our round-the-world trip and some other bits and bobs, I thought it was a good opportunity to top up the travel fund by freelancing in London.

Getting into freelancing is brilliant, but due to some new legislation most recruiters need to work with individuals that are part of a Limited company or under an Umbrella company. I decided to set up a Limited company (again). I set up Modest Innovation before my last job and as nothing happened with it I dissolved it.

Fast forward a bit to now and after speaking to a few recruitment agencies — I explained what I did, what I was looking for and they told me what they did and how they worked. I said my rates and they said they’d let me know if anything comes up… after the first week I didn’t hear anything, then all of a sudden — BOOM!

I get a one day gig.

That one day turns in to five with the prospect of more ongoing work — I even had to turn a few jobs down which I don’t like doing but until I perfect the clone companion I’m working on, I can’t be here, there and everywhere…

Anyway, now I’ve had a few ‘official’ freelance gigs and it’s going good, I’m proud to introduce Modest Industries Ltd. My new company!

Freelancing is something everyone should get into if they can. It gives you a sense of pride and financial freedom. If you work hard, you’ll make money. If you don’t, you’ll just scrape by, and that’s the beauty of freelance. Plus, my boss is, like, totally a hottie!

I’ve also started doing this thing which I never used to do, but DAYMN it just makes days waaaay better. I did it a couple of times and now it doesn’t feel right to skip the ritual. It’s also a great way to make sure you’re never late for anything. This is what I do — every morning I have to be somewhere, I wake up extra early and get to where I’m needed an hour before I start. I find a coffee shop nearby, order a coffee and just sit. Maybe read a few articles, check Facebook and Twitter, send some emails and just sip on my coffee and chill.

It’s an awesome start to the day and I find I’m more productive for it and procrastinate a lot less.

I’m excited about the new company. Not just because I’m my own boss but I’ve got some cool ideas for the branding of it. I want to go for this whole ‘evil brainwashing corporation’ type thing. Think BioShock vs. Visioneer with a bit of FallOut thrown in. It’ll be a lot of fun and I think being in a creative industry I’ll be able to get away with it.

I hope.

I’ve got to cut this post short because I’m writing it on my phone and I keep getting WhatsApp messages pop up from my brother who has just learned to make SubWay cookies… (Good luck with your marathon, Steph!).

Home Is Where The Clouds Are

Charlotte leaving Malta

Lexi and Marcus looking dapper

The Shed's Lounge

The Shed's Decking Area

Shed's Kitchen

Charlotte happy in the kitchen

Shed's Comfy Bedroom

Charlotte nomnomnoming

Fine Fields

Misty Morning Field

Cheeky Lex

No Name Street

Sandwich in Sandwich

Charlotte Skimming Whitstable

Charlotte walking by Beach Huts

Seagulls Scavenging

Brum (kind of) car in Whitstable

Signwriting in Whitstable

We boarded a plane drenched in clear skies and sun we landed in what can only be described as a colour – grey. Landing in England is like someone’s sucked the colour saturation out of life. Thankfully I’m starting to see more blue!

We’ve been back in the UK for just over a week now, although it doesn’t feel that long as we haven’t actually been at home that much.

We arrived back on Thursday morning and as soon as we said hello to everyone and dropped our stuff off we were straight out the door again to the shops! The reason we came back was for my cousin’s wedding and as I’d lost a load of weight – I didn’t have a suit that fit. I bought a grey suit from River Island that was okay but nothing special. It was good for a backup if I couldn’t find anything else before the wedding on Saturday.

Charlotte had found this amazing “Rustic Shed” on Airbnb (not sure how it can be called a shed though, it was bigger than our London flat!). It’s based about 10 minutes away from Sandwich – the place, not the food (unfortunately) – which was perfect as the wedding’s reception was taking place over there in The Bell Hotel. We decided to go up a night before and leave a couple days later so we could take our time and enjoy the area. The shed was incredible! It had everything you’d need, an awesome kitchen with breakfast bar and a really comfy sofa which pulled out into a bigger-than-a-bed sofa bed that faced a huge TV with freeview and stacks of DVDs.

Debs, our host, was bubbly, friendly and pretty much me if I was a woman – she was into photography, gadgets, super enthusiastic about everything and an all round really nice person who was easy to get on with and had the coolest little dog.

The best part for me about staying there was the morning views – coming out of the bedroom there’s a big window overlooking a misty field where horses play. There’s some decking with a picnic bench right outside. Eating breakfast there was a highlight (I couldn’t not have sandwich).

I’d recommend going there, meeting Debs and staying in an awesome flat overlooking horses playing in the field.

Anyway – back to my suit shenanigans. On the way up to the shed we naturally pass by Lakeside, a massive shopping mall just off the M25. We popped in there because I still wanted a better suit, Charlotte still needed a dress and they’ve got a good food-court. We got there, browsed a bit and then decided to split up and reconvene after we’ve got what we needed so we could enjoy the rest of our time there at a leisurely pace.

One hour later, Charlotte found her dress and I had turned into the girl. Still trying on suits, still rushing around and then I ended up in Next. Their suit department was massive. I found a really nice dark teal suit that fit perfectly so I reserved that, ran to the car, returned my River Island suit, went back to Next and almost bought the wrong suit! The suit I liked I asked to be put behind the till for later, an when I asked for it back the girl brought back a vivid blue suit. She said “was this the one”, and I was all like “yup” and Charlotte was all like “Are you a moron? That’s a totally different colour and 6 sizes too big” to which I replied “Oh yes, this isn’t the right suit”. The til girl realised her horrible mistake, begged for our forgiveness and of course rectified the problem.

With a suit and accommodation sorted we settled in and then the next day went to Alexi and Kathryn’s wedding. Getting there we must have passed more than 6 churches in the space of a mile and ended up in the wrong one! Luckily we had a few minutes to get to the right one and made it on time to see the bride walk down the aisle (I wish I could say the same for my folks!). The wedding was traditionally English and was beautiful, as was the reception and everyone looked proper dapper. Towards the end of the night some greek music blasted through the speakers. You know it’s good when Zorba the Greek drops and everyone is dancing and clapping and trying to keep up with it.

The morning after the wedding we had breakfast with my family at the pub where they stayed. Getting all the family together in one place at the same time is becoming a rare treat so it’s always enjoyable, especially as the immediate family grows bigger and bigger. After that we went for a walk around Sandwich with Theo, Anna and the kids. It’s a really pretty place and super friendly.

We got back to the shed and Charlotte and I did what we do best. Put on some comfortable clothes and kicked back with our terrible food haul from Tesco (and by terrible I mean amazing), some meat and veg from a local farm shop and watched TV and films for the rest of the day/evening/night. That was pretty great.

On the way home we stopped by the pretty little seaside town of Whitstable (famous for it’s oysters) and took a walk along the pebbled beach and got a 99 flake. Then we went into town – oyster shells everywhere – browsed the boutique shops and left for home.

So now we’re back home about to head out to Hastings and Charlotte’s birthday is coming up on Tuesday and I haven’t got her anything yet. I don’t even have a clue.

Gostra – The Maltese Tradition of Running Up a Greasy Pole

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It’s awesome. The maltese game of Gostra is an age old tradition of greasing up a wooden pole with three flags attached at the end (each of religious meaning) and holding it over the sea. The aim of the game is for crazy brave men run up the pole and (attempt) to capture the flag.

The annual tradition stems back to the Middle Ages where this used to happen all around the islands of Malta and Gozo, but now it’s only held in one place – Spinola Bay – just down the road from where we’re staying in Sliema!

When we got there both sides of the bay were packed with locals, tourists and oversized camera lenses. The people anchored up on their boats definitely had a good view, but without question the best seat (or shall I say bed!) was the guy kicking back on his Lilo floating directly under the pole. DANGGEERR ZOONNEE!

Anyway, the highlight was definitely the nut shots, though the atmosphere when someone caught a flag was pretty cool too.

Then we went and binged on a cous cous chicken wrap, doughnuts and ice-cream.