London Living: The Commuter Toolkit

It’s June now, and that means I’ve officially been a London resident for 6 months which is crazy. It’s flown by but I absolutely love living in this city, especially in Greenwich, and I feel like I’m on my way to being a fully fledged Londoner – when tourists ask me for directions I can actually help them now!

I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about how to get around and make life easier in such a busy place so I’m going to start doing a series of posts which are tips and recommendations from a relatively new Londoner and a culmination of what I’ve learnt in the past half a year. 

As the whole reason I moved here was to make getting into work more bearable, I thought my first London Life post would be about my ‘commuter toolkit’. I guess you don’t have to live in London for this to be applicable, but this is a breakdown of everything I am armed with on the daily commute to be prepared for what can be the WORST part of the day!

First things first you need a good sturdy bag.

Rush hour is intense, people are ruthless and you need something that can fit all the essentials in as well as being compact enough to squeeze into the nooks and crannies of a crowded Jubilee Line carriage. My Cath Kidston backpack is my best mate on the way to work. It’s not huge, but it fits a lot in and it’s comfy with lots of little spaces to put things as well as being secure. 

Now for the contents of Cath…

I’m going to go through clockwise from the top right in the above picture and break down what I swear by on a daily basis and what every girl should have in their bag when they’re embarking on the journey to work or are on a visit to LDN.

1. Hand Sanitizer Tubes are gross. Buses are gross. TFL is generally full of germs, so always have hand sanitizer on you to keep the nasties away.

2. Brolly I’ve made the repeatedly foolish mistake or not carrying a brolly lately. Serves me right for having too much faith in the Great British Summer. Whether it’s July of November, always have an umbrella (mine is from Tiger).

3. Vaseline Chapped lips make me sad anyway let alone chapped lips on the tube.

4. Tissues In the winter I have a cold, in the summer I have hayfever, so sadly I never have the option to leave the house without these!

5. Oyster Card (holder) Oyster cards are compulsory for getting around in London, but they’re pretty ugly so grab a nice Oyster card holder (mine is from Cath Kidston) to make it a bit prettier.

6. Glasses Obviously I wouldn’t recommend packing these unless you actually have glasses, but for me there’s no hope of reading the Evening Standard or NME comfortably without them.

7. Headphones Obviously listening to music is a popular pastime on the commute, but I love a podcast instead! I might do a seperate post about my favourite ones.

8. Diary For keeping track of appointments and plans AND WHEN THERE IS PLANNED CLOSURES ON YOUR ROUTE TO FLIPPING WORK.

9. Flask I used to spend £1.20 everyday at the station kiosk buying a tea and then I invested in a flask….savingzzz.

10. Pen Because if you don’t pack one you’ll probably end up needing one.

11. Compact Mirror So you can check if  you’re looking acceptable when en route from work to the pub.

12. Bloggers Journal My post ideas always come to me in the strangest of places, and it’s also good to use the time spent on the tube constructively by planning stuff for my blog. My Bloggers Journal is from Paperchase.

13. Keys Last but not least are my keys. Essential because there’s nothing worse than getting to your front door and being stuck on the front step. Big fluffy keyrings are handy and make keys easy to find in a bag full of stuff like mine!

Last but not least, when I’m not listening to a podcast I like to have a book with me. It’s amazing how many books you can get through sitting on trains and it’s sad that I rarely ever read when I’m not on one. My most recent read is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer which was fantastic, heartbreaking but lovely all at the same time. 

If I’m going to spend between one or two hours in a day travelling, I like to put it to good use. Commuting is a crappy part of the day but it’s a fact of life and a small price to pay for getting to spend our days in such a lovely city. So let’s embrace rush hour, have flowery Oyster Card holders and make the most of it.


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