Living in London

Living it up in London is part of my accounts for travel and career progression; I have associated exciting experiences with many places to dwell and explore. A journey paved with adventure living in London has encouraged myself to explore my own accountability and habits, a challenge that you may also identify and find applying to oneself. In this article, I share with you a review for making the most out of what London has to offer, if you were to live here for a week, and methods to promote creative charisma in your life to encourage personal transformation to help you achieve your goals.

A week in London

After living in London for over a year, I’ve learnt that 1. There is always something to do, 2. Tickets can sell out fast to events you are most interested in and 3. There are queues almost everywhere but don’t let that stop you from being part of it. My favourite go-to website to find interesting activities to do is Design My Night, where you will find quirky scenes to enjoy from a range of dining and theatrical experiences to ‘something a little different’.

Enjoy bottomless bagels and Bloody Mary’s at the retro Drink, Shop & Do cafe around the corner of Kings Cross station. Your two hour session consists of endless bagels with toppings like salmon and cream cheese, smashed avocado with beetroot and classics like ham hock, each bite to be washed down with free-flowing bubbly prosecco and the perfect hangover cocktail, Bloody Mary’s. A fun experience to share with friends. Bookings can sell out so round up your crew for an unforgettable brunch at £25 per pal!

Cute decor at Drink, Shop & Do in Kings Cross
Cute decor at Drink, Shop & Do in Kings Cross

On Design My Night you can also book yourself an entry, back to the 90’s, to party at Lil Nan’s Rio Bar in Dalston. Through the side door of the Rio Cinema, you walk down to Nan’s delightfully hoarded basement filled with adorable china and an abundance of fun in the funky trove. Fill tea cups and saucers with self-helpings to popcorn and a traditional English pick’n’mix, reminisce back to the days where you filled a bag with sweets at the cinemas.

On a note of films, watching the classic film, Jumanji, on bean bags in the jungle themed Backyard Cinema is top on the list for something a little bit different. There’s a crazy entrance you go through before you enter the playhouse ruins. From the outside you wouldn’t know about the existence of the playhouse theatre as it is subtly established in the corner of the Mercato Metropolitano. Follow the link to read about the mission of this dynamic food market.

The Italian community buzzes down each path in Mercato Metropolitano. Delight in an array of dishes to satisfy any taste buds and find the likes of fresh tuna, homemade pasta and mounds of different cheese alongside hundreds of bottles of red wine.

London has a knack for having wonderful food markets, it’s worth checking out the one in Borough among a lot more for sure. At Borough there is a diversity of delicatessen, fresh selection of seafood (a highlight for me would be the oyster bar!), fresh juices and more. Another particular, found in the Borough district, worth remembering is the Greek stall specialising in olive oils, tea and bee products.

Towards further out East, at the Greenwich markets with more stalls to walk through, you will find a melange of craft, novelty and edibles.
In the historical area, walk the beautiful green park behind National Maritime Museum and university, the Royal Museums enriches Greenwich and if you embark up the hill you will arrive at the entrance to the Royal Observatory. As well as astronomy, you will find a pivotal viewpoint at the top of Greenwich Park; admire London city from this rare angle.
One afternoon, on a free winters day exploring, we ended up at the Royal Observatory for an annual photography exhibition. If planning an afternoon at Greenwich, it is worth seeing what events are happening around the popular spots. Within walking distance there is the DLR line coming up from Lewisham through Greenwich, with a stop at Cutty Sark; a worthy admire as you walk through the vicinity. The Docklands light railway, opened in 1987, makes a stop at Canary Wharf, another prime London location.

Canary wharf lights
Light reflections at Canary wharf one night

In East London, where lies the Isle of Dogs you will find Canary Wharf; a picturesque business district nestled along one of the largest meander of the Thames. A meander is the flow of the Thames beside three masses of land; east, south and west. During the day you will encounter the standard hustle and bustle of London’s city life but when the sun goes down, the spectacular tall buildings light up and reflect off the shimmery waters, creating a scenic area to enjoy a stroll and dine or simply dock. One of my favourite restaurants among the bountiful choices is Sticks’N’Sushi, a warehouse-style restaurant that brings together a fusion of Japanese and Danish culture. Everything on the menu bursts energetic pieces to delight the palette; you choose from selections of fresh sushi, mouth-watering yakitori type meat and other tasty tapas for the table. There were 5 in our group and we opted to enjoy one of the large platters between us. The menu teamed with the staff, creates the harmony of an easy and delicious dining experience. One person in our group is a vegetarian and as a group we were able to enjoy the benefits of social dining regardless of our food preferences.

The best way to enjoy sushi; varied and shared at Sticks'N'Sushi
The best way to enjoy sushi; varied and shared at Sticks’N’Sushi

As well as admiring the Thames from different zones in London, other destinations worth visiting would include making the most out of London’s beautiful parks such as catching the herons at St James Park or feeding the mass flocks of swans in Hyde Park. Surprisingly you encounter many lovely nature reserves when you explore the city of London.

Dreamy winter afternoons in Hyde park
Forever stretching skies, dreamy winter afternoons in Hyde park

London is a great capital to explore on foot and bicycling. On the last leg of summer last year, I enjoyed making time in the shorter days to bike through the autumnal forests among the streets of South West London. I lived within the area of Wimbledon and I have fond memories of riding through parks like Richmond and Bushy, through Molesey and Kingston; along paths scattered with chestnuts and conkers. The types of trees you will encounter in London vary from birch, horse chestnut, sycamore and more, like the hybrid London Plane and pretty cherry trees. The main photo on this blog is a patch of Scot pine trees; photo taken when stumbled upon at Cator park while wandering through Beckenham.

In the thick of the crafty, cultured city I would suggest White Cube, Saatchi and the area of Hampstead station as a few memorable places to go to get a fix of cultivating and gallant art. Try and find Mark Gertler’s house (a painter from the 1900’s).

Wax models of every high profile awaits for your selfie game, prepare yourself to get starstruck if you head to Madame Tussaud’s to see celebrities and other notable characters. It feels like you are walking into an A-list party and you’re part of it. You can find dear old Madame Tussaud herself who was the very talented wax artists to inspire the collection of models.

Summary of things to do in a week in London

Food: Drink, Shop & Do for bottomless brunch
A teaparty at Lil Nan’s Rio Bar for sweets, popcorn and afternoon tea style nibbles
Mercato Metropolitano for a decent food market experience
Borough market
Greenwich market
Best all-around, especially if you love Japanese cuisine: Sticks’N’Sushi
The best Thai I’ve tried: Tip Top in Hampstead and Eat-Aroi in West Kensington

Neck of the woods/Sightseeing
Greenwich park, Observatory and Cutty Sark
Battersea Park, Hyde Park, St James Park, Wimbledon, Bushy Park
The land and rivers; best enjoyed cycling through Barnes and Molesey
Enter the docklands fortress of Canary Wharf

Activities
Backyard Cinema
Madame Tussauds, wax model museum
Art exhibitions at Saatchi art gallery and White Cube
Scope the art atmosphere in the area of Hampstead station

Find more at DesignMyNight

Building castles in air

When I decided to adopt a new routine and move away from my home in Auckland to a temporary familiar in the Big Smoke; I established new commitments, a different social scene and another line of career progression. This was giving myself the liberty to step out of my comfort zone and to enter a zone completely new, exciting and at times uncomfortable.

When life gets comfortable you create habits that form your comfort zone. If you want to develop yourself through personal transformation you need to identify the good and the bad attributions that contribute to your daily routine. You will need to explore and investigate how you can achieve your full potential. I discover a pattern of personal gain when I tick small tasks off my list that contribute towards my goals and in return from my actions, project strategies to get closer to my dreams.

Emanating a passion for travel and festivals after my first OE to Croatia and Outlook, I expanded my goals by encompassing personal values and happiness with a big picture of achieving my aspirations while travelling the world. Staying proactive with this dream using creative methods, such as practising vision boards and writing; were some key tools that helped me encourage my drive.

Vision boards

A vision board enables yourself to design the life that you envision. Use a canvas board to start an iconic collage of photos and words to help express your ideas. Ideas can be portrayed by selecting pictures and writing that charges your emotions with feelings of passion – eventually your design will illustrate your desires and inspire you to manifest those things into your life. It is a creative method of observing the art of manifestation.

The canvas base could be a blank piece of paper or cardboard although it adds more fun if you use a sentimental medium. At the start of 2015, I used an A1 glossy world map to stick cut-outs which interested me. It added sentimental value as it literally mapped out geographic information to help me plan where I could go. Then by adorning the map with idyllic travel photos, festival posters, gig names, career ambitions, poems and quotes, my wanderlust infused with excitement as my poster transformed into a window of real opportunities.

Take some time to adapt some arts and craft time in your schedule. Creating a vision board is a fun way to visualise the results you want to gain in your personal lifestyle.

Writing

Some people can find a satisfying consolation when reading; the skills from a writer can transpire words into deeper meaning and understanding or adopts a vocabulary to fabricate a perception.

When I note my mind onto paper and through typing, I develop momentum with my thoughts and over an eventual course, most of the time it involves trying to make sense of it all and an attempt to thicken the plot, to give my ideas substance.

As part of my personal development I read a short but sweet piece on stepping out of your comfort zone on DailyOm.
The insightful post motivates dealing with the inevitable changes, that challenge the predictive and automatic in your life, with a positive outlook. When you feel like you have reached maximum mental capability and every day tasks become strenuous, you are put in the fateful position to make a choice on how you move forward. I won’t be able to teach you how to make the right choices, as this depends on your values and intentions, so it is important that you awaken to your spirit – what makes you happy? What do your fear? If you had no limits, what would you achieve?
Write down your wonders; capture all your why’s and wheres and who’s. You are the author to your own script and it’s time to give yourself the opportunitity to apprehend the author within.

Creative methods and success

As I travel a lot, I currently use an A5 2017 diary to record notes, reminders and project plans. This is a great way to understand and measure my success (and failures, so that I learn from this).

I am able to use pages in the diary to create mini vision board style collages in some pages and also jot fleeting thoughts as I cover miles of distance going back and fourth within London.

I will leave you with a final note to assess your situation and to find a medium that works for you. Then by encouraging the influence of vision boards and writing – this will enable you to develop habits that you are worth!

 

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