4 handy commuter tips for BritMums

London Underground Sign

On the best days, commuting in London is like a bit of an assault course. On the worst days it’s like a full on triathlon. Those that regularly commute in and out of the city will know what I mean when I say that you need to be nimble and quick on your feet. So with that in mind I thought I would pass on a few of my commuting tips and tricks in case it’s useful for any of my fellow bloggers travelling through the city to BritMums Live this Friday. Follow my 4 tips and you might just make it through the city without hardly breaking a sweat: 1. Always have your pass in the most accessible place in your bag or jacket so that you can grab it just before you get to the barriers. Β Definitely load up an Oyster or use a contactless card for your trip. Why fumble with a ticket when you can swipe and go without breaking your stride. Stopping and standing in front of the barriers to rummage through your bag for your ticket is like sacrilege to the everyday commuter. Don’t do it. Just don’t. 2. Walk with purpose and conviction, never breaking your stride and never EVER making eye contact with anyone. If you walk straight on and without looking at anyone except where you are trying to get to, you’ll find that people will naturally move out of your way. The moment you make eye contact with someone you’ll find yourself bumping into people or doing a waltz in the middle of the station. I don’t know why this works but it does, take my word for it. 3. A basic one but nevertheless a good one to remind people of and clarify. Escalator rules. The right hand side is for standing, and when I say standing I mean one person per step, not side by side so you can have a conversation with your new blogging bestie. Commuters in London won’t think twice about asking you to move out of the way, whilst huffing and puffing and making a big fuss about you not understanding the unwritten rules. There’s nothing more that will kill your blogging conference buzz than a rude commuter so get it right. The left is for walking, and when I say walking I actually mean almost running. The left side of the escalators is pretty much a mini workout for all of us commuters stuck in an office all day. The fact that it is moving just adds a level of intensity to our brief albeit satisfying workout, so make sure your up for a short, sharp brisk workout if you’re going to enter the fast lane. 4. Actually getting onto the tube is a whole other ball game. First of all there’s the complex queuing/scrum system on the platform, which depending on which tube station you are in, you either queue either side of the doors (a la jubilee line) or spread out along the platform where you have to take your best guess on where the tube doors will stop, elbowing your way (ahem) I mean edging your way closer to the doors once the train arrives. You can tell who the regular commuters are, they’ll be the one confidently pitched on the platform in what seems to be a random spot opposite a poster. You could pick a commuter and stand behind them, but for those that want to get ahead, and not look like they are tailing a random stranger, there is an app (Tube Exits) that tells you exactly where the tube doors are on every London tube station platform. Pure genius! Once you’ve finally managed to elbow your way onto the tube, get off at precisely the right place on the platform, out of the barriers with a quick swipe and out of the station without looking at anyone, you should find yourself safetly at BritMums Live just in time for that all important morning coffee! Are you going to BritMums this year? What are your best commuter tips? Share them all here!

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Five things to do when stuck on a train

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This morning I made a concerted effort to get out of the house that little bit earlier with the intention of getting into the office that little bit earlier. Because I know it’s going to be one of “those” crazy days. Not only will I need to catch up with what I’ve missed in the office from my two non work days last week, but I have a course first thing in the morning. Oh, and I wanted to go to the gym and at some point squeeze in some lunch. So yes, it’s definitely going to be one of “those” days. The plan was to sneak in early, get everything set up and maybe check a few emails before my course. But right now, at the time that I should be pretty much sauntering into the office, I am still stuck on my train. Because it seems that train network too is just having one of “those” days. So if I have to be stuck on here I want to use that time productively, and with that comes a list of five things to do when stuck on a train!

1. Catch up with your emails and texts. I don’t know what it is, but I pretty much always have an email or text that I’ve forgotten to go back to. So all this extra “free” time being held captive on a train is a great time to catch up with them.

2. Blog. Well, I figured I may as well blog about this unforeseen, everyday situation. But you could also use this time to check your stats or catch up with your favourite blogs.

3. Sort out your photos. Urgh. The limited memory on my iphone is the bain of my life these days. I forever have an alert reminding me that I have just about no memory left, and I know that if I just sorted out some of my photos I could fix this. But I just never seem to get round to it. Since I’m stuck on a train I suppose I could go through them *sigh*.

4. Have your breakfast (I would if I had it with me), do your make up (I don’t but plenty of others do!), paint your nails (if you’re feeling ballsy enough) or whatever it is that you would usually do first thing when you get in the office that you could do on a train. If you’re feeling gutsy or pissed off enough you could claw back some of the precious time that the train company has stolen off you.

5. Catch up with the news. I love reading the daily mail online. At one point I was even a bit addicted to catching up with its trashy news reports. I can’t help it but I love it. I definitely have a good excuse to read it now, what else am I going to do once I’ve finished actions 1 – 4?!

So there you have it, five things to keep you occupied when your local train provider decides to hold you hostage. At least today we have decent air con, aren’t packed in like sardines and have 3G – it’s practically first class, NOT.

photo credit: psiaki via photopin cc