On Thursday, I did something I am incredibly proud of – I went to London on my own.
To most people, this probably isn’t any big deal, but to me it was a massive deal. My family know that I do have a tendency to get a little worked up about things. I do tend to joke about it, but in all seriousness I do get incredibly anxious and worried about things like this, to the point that I’ve turned down opportunities because I just get too nervous. I worry I’m going to get lost, that I’m going to be late, that something is going to happen, and it is ridiculous.
I’m 30 this year, and I need to get a grip. I don’t want us to miss out on any more opportunities because of my silliness.
The event, which I will be blogging about soon, was a ‘baby shower’ hosted by TV presenter and nutritionist Lowri Turner to promote Bio-Kult Infantis – a range of probiotics for children. It was held at the Flemings Hotel in London.
I had been booked onto a coach leaving Birmingham Coach Station for 8.45am. The coach station is literally fifteen minutes from our house on the bus, even in rush hour, but me being me left at 7.30am ‘just in case’. Being late for something makes me really anxious, and I would much rather be an hour early for something than even a minute late. I got to the coach station with plenty of time to spare, giving me chance to grab a Starbucks and a magazine, and chill out for a few minutes before boarding the coach.
I spent the journey, which took just under three hours, reading my magazines (and cringing at a story about a woman having a relationship with a tree called Tim – where do they find these people?!) and doing some blog post planning and writing. Once we got into London, I just sat and looked out of the window. I saw places that I’ve read about in countless celebrity magazines (Notting Hill is amazing!) and examined everyone’s faces to see if they were a celeb!
We arrived at Victoria Coach Station at 11.30am, giving me an hour to get to the venue. I’d researched the route multiple times and written it down step by step. I also had Google maps downloaded, which was actually useless as I can’t read a map (yes, I know!). The route was supposed to be straightforward, and about 1.5 miles long. Because I wanted to see as much of London as I could, I’d decided to walk – it should have taken me less than half an hour – down the road, across Green Park and down another road. Simple?
Well, it turns out I can’t even follow my own directions. I got completely lost and that 1.5 mile walk turned out to be almost three miles according to my pedometer. However, my rather scenic diversion meant I saw the changing of the guards, something I’ve always wanted to see.
I also got to see the beauty that is Green Park – who would have thought there could be so much greenery in the middle of London?
Even though I was totally lost and knowing that I was probably going to be late (two of my biggest fears!), I managed to stay calm. I asked policemen and blokes carrying briefcases for directions, and eventually found the hotel, with literally a minute to spare.
I had assumed that it would be a fairly large event, where I could remain in the background – it turns out there were just a few other people – the lovely Sanna from Wave to Mummy and the rest were journalists from some well known magazines – eek! Lowri was there, along with two experts from Bio-Kult. If I’d known it was going to be such an intimate affair I would have probably been too intimidated to have gone!
I was thrown into the deep end and introduced to Lowri as soon as I walked in. She was so lovely and down to earth that I found myself relaxing immediately.
We sat down round the table and listened to Lowri and a presentation by some of the experts behind Bio Kult – I’ll be writing more about that next week – and then chatted over lunch. I was relieved to see it was an afternoon tea rather than a meal. Less chance of making a mess. Eating in front of strangers is another big worry of mine. I am the world’s clumsiest eater, but even I struggle to create too much mess with finger sandwiches and macarons (how delicious are they?!!). I did manage to drop a nut in my coffee, but apart from that, I managed to get through the event without making too much of an arse of myself. I even managed to ask a question!
The way back to the station was much more chilled out. I had an hour and a half to get back for the 4pm coach and I found the way I should have gone in the first place. I had a mooch around the souvenir shops and picked up some nice tacky giant pencils for the boys and took a few touristy photos.
I found the departure gate at the rather large and busy coach station without any problem – apart from shrieking rather loudly when a pigeon flew into the back of my head – the bloody things were flying around inside the station!
It took us a little longer to get home, hitting a bit of traffic getting out of central London and a delay on the motorway just before Birmingham, but it was nice to just sit and relax for a few hours.
I am incredibly proud of myself for going yesterday – and even more so with the fact that I stayed calm even when I was lost – I’m not going to be turning down any opportunities any more!