I’ve often remarked that one of the biggest and best parts of London life is taking the opportunity to leave it – and I mean this in the best possible way. For some Australians, they’ll even cite this as their core motivation for moving over here; proximity to ‘the continent’ etc. etc. Personally, I’m in love with this city more than anywhere else but at the same time, I find London life to be a tad claustrophobic at times. After a while, a girl begins…
Sorry guys, I’ve been a bit quiet lately. Seems I’ve been simultaneously lacking in inspiration, preoccupied and melting a bit in the London heat.
That said, exciting things have been going on: Royal Ascot, Ed Sheeran & Take That at the O2 (though sadly not at the same time), a seemingly endless supply of Pimm’s and, as this post’s title suggests, Taste of London.
I blogged about this delightful foodie event this time last year (where has the time gone!?) and my love for it hasn’t waned. Particularly because this year, in contrast to last year’s torrential downpour, we were blessed with one of the most lovely sunshiney days we’d seen in a while. The London skies have now returned to their annoyingly clichéd drizzly grey hue so what better time to reminisce!
A few of my favourites from the day:
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 a few golden rules of riding the London Underground that you need to know before you even attempt to mind the gap:
1. RELINQUISH ALL PERSONAL SPACE.
In any other scenario, it’d almost be considered inappropriate. On the Tube, it’s practically a necessity to get up close and personal with your fellow commuters. It’s totally fine to be breathing down someone’s neck, reading their book or newspaper over their shoulder if it means we can all fit on board. Further to this:
2. PUSH OR BE PUSHED.
Go on, you can fit. Really. Where there’s a will, there’s a way and politeness will get you nowhere except very, very late to work.
3. DO NOT TALK. ESPECIALLY TO STRANGERS.
As much as it pains me, most London commuters would rather chew off their own arm than engage in conversation during their morning or evening commute. You’ve been warned.
4. STAND ON THE RIGHT.
Over two years in London and this rule still baffles me. Australians drive on the left and keep to the left. Brits drive on the left and keep to the right. But whatever. Conform or find yourself the recipient of some huffing and puffing and profanity.
5. EVEN FLEETING EYE CONTACT IS JUST NOT OKAY.
Trust me. Just don’t.
The thing I absolutely love about these rules is that to Londoners, these are all just the way of the world: none of the above is out of the ordinary whatsoever. Most of the time, I find there’s something comforting about the shared lack of comfort – the unspoken acknowledgement of the ways of the Tube. But you know what they say about rules: they were made to be broken by chatty expat Australians.
Sunny Sunday evenings in the springtime are positively one of my most favourite things in the world. After a rather drizzly, grey and intense week last week, both literal and metaphoric sunshine are very much welcomed! Few things beat the contagious optimism which fills London on a summery day.
What I’m watching:
I devoured all seven episodes of Anne with an E this week. I’m such a fan of the original Anne of Green Gables and the new series on Netflix brought me so much joy.
What I’m reading:
Eleanor Büsing’s piece on Real Life in London: 7 Things You’ll Need to Be Ok With To Love Living Here. Though a couple of years old now, it still manages to acknowledge all those moments of London life which are decidedly less Instagram-able in a really thoughtful and optimistic way.
What I’m eating & drinking:
Prosecco and cocktails from the far too cool Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch. When in East London…
What I’m doing:
Lusting after Oliver Bonas’ new collection of summer sandals.
Here’s to a pre-bank holiday week of sunshine and fun! x
Today has been a gloriously sunny Sunday in London. Fittingly, drizzly rain has just descended as another weekend draws to a close but at least I got to spend a few blissful hours in Parsons Green enjoying the dose of vitamin D. Summer is on its way!
I’ve been back in town for a few weeks now and am slowly adjusting back to London life. As chapter 2 of my adventure continues, one of my resolutions is to reinvigorate MissECalwell and keep in touch with you all on a less sporadic basis. London life has taken on a new, more permanent meaning for me and yet I still feel like I’ve still only just scratched the surface of my British Bucket List. So each week, I’m going to share my favourite London links and inspiration in an effort to keep momentum going – and in doing so, I invite you to do the same! Sharing is caring, after all.
So, without further ado –
What I’m watching:
What Olivia Did. I’m so hooked on her videos – I absolutely love her optimism and fun take on 60s/70s style.
What I’m reading:
I’m still recovering from Where Women are Kings – possibly one of the most striking books I’ve read in quite a while. This Aussie’s piece on how relentless London life can be for expats was a weirdly comforting read for me. As much as I love this city, expat life can be tough here and it’s nice to know that I’m not alone in thinking so.
What I’m eating & drinking:
Coffee from Hally’s. A month in Melbourne and my coffee snob ways have returned. Bring on the extortionately expensive hipster brew – I’ve got no shame.
What I’m doing:
To be honest, not a whole lot. To compensate, I’ve been frequenting Another Space trying desperately to get back in shape after indulging in all the foodie delights of Melbourne.
How about you?
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.