Londoners (those both old and new) have a love/hate relationship with the London Underground. Personally, I’m mildly obsessed. Mostly, it’s the history that I love; how the growth of each colourful line tells a story about London’s past and future. Find yourself in town during a Tube Strike and you’ll realise quickly that it truly is the lifeblood of London. Because of this, there’s understandably a bit of etiquette involved. So if you’re new in town or just stopping by for a visit, there are…
To me, nothing beats shopping in Melbourne.
I’m not sure if it’s purely a taste or specific style thing (once a Melburnian, always a Melburnian…) but I’m yet to find the same fashion induced joy as that from my hometown anywhere else in the world. I’ve often
remarked complained about the lack of value for money in London (particularly when it comes to buying shoes), the all too familiar annoyance of spotting at least a handful of people wearing the same Zara top you just bought on the weekend and, let’s not forget, the sheer chaos of shopping on London’s high streets.
But it’s not just about that. It’s about the event of shopping in Melbourne, the actual act of walking the streets and browsing the boutiques (mainstream, vintage and everything in between). It’s about the afternoons spent with friends, about the coffee breaks when your feet need a rest and the mere act of perusing a lot of pretty, good quality and affordable things.
Brunswick Street is one of Melbourne’s gems – full of great restaurants and brunch hot spots as well as a few of my favourite happy places to shop. Case in point:
A stationery and design lover’s dream.
The Fabric Store
My mother is an extremely talented dressmaker so for me, I walk in and see potential clothes.
An institution which needs to be seen to be believed.
Whilst you’re in the ‘hood, you’ll need some sustenance. I recommend checking out Broadsheet for some inspiration.
Spending my days off in one of London’s incredible museums or galleries is absolutely one of my favourite things to do in the whole entire world. Though two years have passed since I moved, I’m more settled and have made some dear friends, I find that my habit (or penchant) for solo dates has stuck with me from my early days in the city. Luckily, London’s plethora of options has me spoiled for choice.
I love the progressiveness of the V&A, the awe-inspiring artefacts in the British Museum and the personality of the National Portrait Gallery. Today, I headed to the Royal Academy (which previously hosted one of my favourite exhibits I’ve ever seen – Abstract Expressionism) to ponder the moody optimism of 1930s America in America after the Fall: Painting in the 1930s.
Between the storytelling and beautiful art, there’s something I find really comforting and humbling about wandering through the galleries with other like-minded souls. This show was small but thoughtful and I left its considered collection feeling optimistic about the concept of the American Dream.
There are so many things I love about living in London but the privilege of being able to escape from the world into these magical places remains firmly at the top of my list.
Part of what I really loved about being home in Melbourne over the past few weeks was looking at my home city through a different lens. I’ve gotten so used to sharing glimpses of my London life with my family and friends back in Australia that it was a refreshing reversal to instead be sharing snaps of my Melbourne home with those back in the UK. It really made me think more thoughtfully about what I was doing whilst I was home. Now that I’m back in London and back to work, I’m so excited to be able to share a few of my favourite Melbourne things with you all as I reminisce.
On that note, many visitors to Melbourne will have heard about the Queen Victoria Market (the largest open air market in the southern hemisphere) however, the perhaps slightly lesser known South Melbourne Market is, without a doubt, my favourite in town.
My ever first agency job was just up the road from the market so I, naturally, have nostalgic connections to it. We used to pop down at lunchtime for famous South Melbourne Dim Sims or hot jam donuts to help us through chaotic afternoons. It was a delightful ritual and one which I’m still a little bit sad to no longer have – but it’s comforting to know that the market is still as buzzing and vibrant as I remember it.
But don’t just take my nostalgia laden word for it – here are five reasons why you need to visit South Melbourne Market the next time you’re in the ‘hood:
1. Pretty Produce
2. Fresh Flowers
3. Local Design
4. Local cafes and pubs
5. South Melbourne Shopping
Plan your excursion here.
Well, I’m back in London! As glad as I am to be back in my second home, it was really bittersweet leaving Melbourne (specifically, all my friends and family) behind. I had the absolute best time – turns out unemployment does suit me after all. I spent the weeks catching up with friends and family, shopping up a storm, seeing Melbourne through the eyes of a tourist and enjoying the remnant sunshine as summer drew to a belated close. But one thing I know for sure is that the longer I’m away from the home, the harder the goodbyes seem to get.
But onwards and upwards! Chapter two of my London life is about to begin – this one, without a definite end date in sight. To be honest it feels more like the fresh start of a new year for me than the 1st Jan did. I’ve returned with new goals and a renewed sense of calm (extended holidays will do that to you) and, god forbid, a slightly stronger Aussie accent than when I left.
In the meantime, I’ve got so many photos and updates of my Melbourne escapades over the past few weeks to share with you all – stay tuned!
Well folks, I’m back in Melbourne. What a whirlwind the last few weeks have been! Hence the radio silence.
At this stage, as I mentioned in my previous post, if all goes to plan I’m home temporarily for a few weeks of sunshine, family and relaxation. Tough life, I know.
Being away from home for an extended period of time obviously gives you a bit of perspective. After almost a year and a half of being away, I’ve really found it surprising how weirdly familiar everything is. Everything from the sounds, the smells, the shows on TV, to the cupboard I keep putting my toothbrush in out of habit. There’s something really comforting about it. Decidedly less comforting was the small rogue lizard which I stepped on the other day in the bathroom. You can take the girl out of Australia…
That said, some things have changed: my neighbourhood has undergone a bit of a transformation, friends have moved, there’s new shops and brands as well as seemingly endless new cafes and restaurants just waiting to be discovered. It’s exciting to walk the familiar streets and locations but still find something new each time.
The past week has been delightfully relaxed – I’ve spent some time at home, visited fabric stores with my talented dressmaker mother, brunched with family and friends and indulged in a bit of shopping. Bliss.
Since I’ve moved to London, it feels like the passing of time just continues to get quicker and quicker. Maybe it’s an age thing or maybe it’s a London thing. Maybe it’s because in media, we’re constantly thinking at least six months in advance therefore often forget to be conscious of the present. Or maybe it’s induced by nostalgic milestones like my impending 10 year high school reunion.
Whatever the cause, I’m so utterly shocked that it’s February 2017 already. In just a few short weeks, I’ll be finishing up work (hopefully, if all goes to plan, temporarily) and heading back home for a few weeks to sort out visas and what not. Anyone who knows me personally will know how preoccupied I’ve been by this whole process over the past few weeks. It’s thrown me a bit – turning me into a bit of an overwhelmed and incoherent mess.
What country am I going to be in six months time? What am I going to do with five weeks of holiday? How am I going to deal with being unemployed for the first time since I was 17? I’m a planner by nature and by profession so to have so many unknowns in my life is as equally terrifying as it is exciting.
Watch this space.
In the meantime, please enjoy an assortment of snapshots from a delightful lunch shared with friends at The Bobbin this weekend.
There are SO many markets in London but I have to say, Broadway Market is top of my list (with Columbia Road an unquestionable second). Unfortunately, the market is right across the other side of town for me so I don’t get to frequent it as often as I’d like – but when I do venture out east, I’m never disappointed.
With it’s array of sourdough donuts, fried chicken sandwiches, duck fat chips drowning in truffle laced mayonnaise, an endless supply of fantastic coffee, independent designer wares and London Fields: I really can’t think of a better (or more delicious) way to spend a sunny Saturday.
Since seeing The Imitation Game a few years ago, visiting Bletchley Park has been on my British Bucket List. So in the midst of January’s seemingly endless grey skies, rain and post-Christmas blues, it felt like the time was right to finally pay the iconic place a visit.
Bletchley Park, for those who aren’t familiar, is an estate just outside of London which functioned as a top-secret central location for the code-breakers during WWII. It was also here that Alan Turing invented the Turing Machine – one of the first ever computers. No biggie.
Aside from some pretty lovely scenery, it’s mind-blowing as you walk the grounds to think of everything that happened there and how it really wasn’t all that long ago. The secrecy that was required and the sheer intelligence of the workers is so impressive and really quite humbling.
But don’t even get me started on the pigeons.
The first time I went to Paris was in 2012. I remember feeling content at the end of the few days that I didn’t really feel compelled to return to the city again. Despite being one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful places I’ve even seen, I just didn’t get the magic of it at the time. In hindsight, this was probably because I had a nasty sinus infection, it was the third stop in a month-long trip, I was tired and it was January so absolutely poured with rain the entire time. Fun, right?!
Serendipitously, I’ve found myself drawn back to Paris no less than four times in the past two years. Most recently, to make like Carrie Bradshaw and pop over for lunch with a couple of the girls.
There’s really not much else to say, other than I get it now. I mean – when you find yourself drinking champagne, watching the sun set behind the Eiffel Tower, it’d be hard not to.
Paris, je t’aime.
My love for Berlin has been more of a slow burn. There’s something cold and quiet about the city that makes it feel, on the surface, unwelcoming and a bit disinterested. It’s not crowded and its best bits are decidedly hidden – but as you come to learn, part of Berlin’s charm is having you discover them on your own.
It goes without saying, but Berlin’s obviously seen some dark days. The history in the city is overwhelming and totally humbling. This most recent trip in late November marked my fourth trip to the city and I can honestly say that every single time I’ve been, I’ve learned something completely new. I don’t think anything I’ve seen in my travels has really had the same impact as when I first stood at the Berlin wall – I mean, they just put up a WALL. It’s crazy.
Aside from all this though, Berlin has so much to offer in terms of shopping, design, food and some of the best coffee you’ll find outside Melbourne. Having now travelled a bit more around the rest of Germany, there’s really nowhere else like it. It’s affordable, quirky and ultimately, such a rewarding place to spend some time.
Until next time, Berlin.