A version of this story first appeared in Issue 88 (August 2022) of the Orient Magazine by the British Chamber of Commerce Singapore. Click here to read it.
I wake naturally to the golden light of dawn, streaming through the open windows and kissing me gently on the cheek. There’s no better way to start a Monday morning – and seeing the brick rooftops of Holloway reminds me that I’m in dear old London for the next two weeks to set up Redhill’s new UK entity, which makes me pumped to roll out of my four-poster bed and tackle the day head-on.
Arming myself with a huge cup of steaming hot tea, I mentally brace myself and confront my Outlook inbox. It’s overflowing with seven hours of missives from Southeast Asia (SEA), where my team and the Redhill HQ is based.
My routine is usually to have focus time in the mornings for big work, but while I’m in the UK, I only have a smaller window to speak to my team during working hours due to timezones – which means their needs come first. So I truck through the mountain of emails and sign not one, not two, but THREE contracts. Whew!
I jump on a Teams call with some of the team to check on how they’re doing with two big pitches that are coming up in the next week. Emails and texts save time, but there’s nothing like real conversations for efficiency and to foster genuine connections.
I work closely with my Senior Account Managers in Thailand and Singapore to refine the deck and by the end of an hour’s hard work, everything looks great. Can’t wait for the presentation – they’re sure to kill it.
Managed to put out some fires and get some planning work done before it was heels on and out the door to catch the Tube down to Soho for some meetings. Today I sat next to the only girl in a group of four that wasn’t wearing green, and sent them all into hysterics when I asked her if she was sitting next to me because she didn’t get the green memo. Interactions like these make my day.
Comfortably ensconced in my favourite spot at the Blacks Club, which is a reciprocal club to Mandala Club in Singapore and has been my base of downtown operations for the past seven days.
Hospitality here has been sensational, and I have hosted divine reconnections with wonderful journalists and cracked on with my work at large whilst listening in to film deals being crunched and NFTs being sold.
Speaking of reconnecting, my lunch date – a highly talented freelance journalist – just showed up. Must remember to order the amazing fries for the table.
COVID-19 has made me realise how much of a luxury it is to be able to do in-person meetings again. There’s nothing like face-to-face connections – I had the best time speaking to my journalist friend over lunch, learning all about her content creation journey and discussing potential business opportunities from her network. This is how business is done the world over.
Said goodbye to her with many kisses and hugs, then popped my earphones in and hopped on to the global business unit head call. Had lots of exciting London updates to share with the rest of the Redhill leadership team.
It’s strategy mode off, networking mode on as I pack up my things and Tube it across town to Andaz London, a beautiful Liverpool Street hotel where I’m supposed to meet my next appointment – a highly promising candidate to helm the UK office.
We’d spoken virtually while I was in Singapore, but connecting with him in person and exchanging stories about work, life and everything in between was a joy. We had tea, we had wine, we had chats, we had resonance. I’m incredibly inspired.
Climbed up to a rooftop warehouse in east London to poke my head in at a video shoot for an edgy, brilliant brand I’m starting to work with and was greeted by a tidal wave of exuberance and affection. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face if I tried.
Sat and watched creative geniuses at work bringing their visions to life, then caught up with old connections I hadn’t seen for years like it was just yesterday. There was definitely some London magic in the air.
Finally peeled myself away from Dalston and zipped back into Soho to meet a dear friend and sensational PR professional for some Japanese-Peruvian cuisine she’s been insisting I try.
The place is buzzing and conversation flows like dry reds into our glasses as we talk about writing, business, and her twin daughters over plates of fresh salmon sashimi. She’s an amazing writer and is definitely up for working with us, which I’m so excited for. Minutes, then hours tick by, but the atmosphere never gets less buzzy and neither do we.
After treating ourselves to a post-dinner jaunt in Selfridges and emerging with a haul of MAC makeup, it’s time to part ways and I find myself on the Tube for the last time tonight.
Signal’s not the best underground so I spend that time composing notes to myself on my phone for tomorrow and people-watching from my seat. Some well-dressed people chatter to each other about the actors and the theatre show they’ve obviously just come from, while others set their briefcases between their legs and lean tired heads against the window as our train rattles through the night.
I remember London’s end-of-day face well, and the sight is somehow comfortingly familiar.
Housemate’s still awake when I get home, so we have a 20-minute debrief of our respective days over a half bottle of a nice red before I say goodnight and head upstairs.
I scan a few quick emails, get in my 10-minute yoga session to de-kink my spine and go through my nightly routine – skincare is a must, everyone – before finally slipping in between comfy sheets and settling down to rest.
Goodnight, London. I can’t wait to do it all again tomorrow.