London. A city with a million opportunities, things to do, people to meet and places to see.

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All of the above are expectations andluckily – the reality of London. However, this amazing city isn’t always what you expect it to be.

Don’t get me wrong: London is still my favourite city in the world. Although I am yet to visit some other cities, and despite living here for well over a year, I have a deep feeling that it will always remain my favourite. It is home to me, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

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But here are a list of things that I expected to happen when I made that big move to the city… But maybe didn’t quite pan out as easily as I thought.

 

  1. BEING GOOD WITH MONEY

There really is a cost to living in an exciting place like London *no pun intended*… it is pretty god darn expensive here. You need to take time find out where to shop, how to travel around, and where to eat inexpensively. If you were to go on an exciting-very-english pub crawl, for example, I would save that for a country village or town outside of London. It is easy to spend way too much money on food or drinks in the city.

 

2. I’M GOING TO CYCLE EVERYWHERE

This is actually something I originally wanted to do when I arrived here. There are so many cyclists around London, it must save a bucket load of cash just riding everywhere rather than using the bus or tube. It is also much greener. I’m still undecided on what made me change my mind. Maybe it is because I remembered how cold England is for most of the year. But the more likely reason is that most of us would rather pay for a tube than put our lives in the hands of London’s loony drivers.

 

3. I WILL ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL FOR THE TUBE

Coming from a small town near the countryside, I know exactly what it is like to miss a bus and have to wait another hour in the freezing cold for the next one.  “I will always be grateful for efficient London transport” I said… then only a few months in and I find myself cursing when I have to wait 6 minutes for the next bus. I am now part of the blood-thirsty-London-mob-crowd that you will find standing on the yellow line, whining about a technical error leading to a 5 minute tube delay. Impatience in London is contagious.

 

4. RENT CAN’T BE THAT BAD IN LONDON

It is true what people say about living here: for the price of a cosy flat here, no matter how swish it may look on the inside, you can probably get a castle for the same amount elsewhere. It is ridiculous really. This aside, however, I do personally feel that the quality of life is better here – especially if you are a young adult. If I had the choice of a huge house back in my small hometown, or a cosy apartment in London, I would still choose the latter. Every time.

 

5. MY LIFE WILL BASICALLY BE THE LONDON VERSION OF SITC

(Sex in the City – FYI)

This is probably the most laughable of them all, isn’t it? Alright so I never thought it would actually be like this really, but I did think it would consist of cocktail nights every single weekend and constant dinners in central London with my girlies. But it turns out that we all have budgets and most people opt for the cheaper student nights (understandable). Nonetheless, I do lurrrrve my cocktails and when we all get the chance to, it is the perfect way to spend a night out in the city. Just try to visit on happy hours if you are on a budget and want to keep your bank account happy.

 

Despite all of the above, I absolutely adore London. The past year and a half has probably been the most fun of my life and I have made friends for life.

I won’t be leaving anytime soon.

 

 

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On a cold, frosty morning, I can’t imagine anything better than hot, steaming coffee and a warm brekkie.

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On Friday, me and my friend headed into East London for a change (we live in South West London). We have a little ‘breakfast bucket list’ and Sunday in Barnsbury has definitely made it to the list.

This place truly was way too good to not share it with you…

 

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Do not be fooled by it’s location: a pretty, quaint little London street surrounded by iconic town houses. It may not be in the middle of Piccadilly Circus or Shoreditch, but this teeny café is as busy as any other central London restaurant. We arrived at 10am and had to queue and wait for about ten minutes, but the delish food we had coming for us was well worth the wait.

 

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Once sat down at the somewhat cramped, yet cosy table, we were brought water and menus. I knew straight away what to order: French Brioche Toast, Cream, Bananas and Salted Caramel. My friend opted for a savoury brekkie and had the Eggs Florentine.

 

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Looking out onto a sunny London street with a warm coffee in one hand and a forkful of caramel French toast in the other, it is probably one of the best ways to start a morning in London town.

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With a full stomach, we were ready to start the day.

Strolls around Barnsbury and this area of Islington is surprisingly pretty, especially on a sunny day. And this day, the sun had decided to show its face (although the cold, frosty air remained…)

Go to Caledonian Road Station from here and take the train one stop down towards Camden Road, where we decided to spend the rest of the day in the markets. Just remember to ‘tap in’ on your oyster card, me and my friend forgot here and got charged the maximum fare… duh.

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Perfect Fridays.

 

WHAT: Sunday, Café

WHERE: Barnsbury, Islington

WHEN: Everyday except Mondays (because who does Mondays anyway right?!)

PRICE: Small meals = £4+, decent sized meal = £9+ , Coffees = £2+

 

 

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Christmas hangover period. Otherwise known as: January. It has always been, for me, the least appealing month of the year. Christmas is gone, the trees have been taken down, and the feast and treats of December seems forever ago.

The gloomy weather (at least in London anyway!) often defines January.  Christmas is in the past and Spring feels like the only thing we are all impatiently waiting for. It is so easy to fall into a dull routine of work, nothingness and just “getting through the month”, but this isn’t exactly the sort of way we want to begin a new year, is it?!

Make sure that this January you aren’t simply hating on the season and waiting for Spring, because lets face it – this cold weather isn’t going anywhere for a while, so we might as well do what we can with it!

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DECLUTTER

I’m a bit of a hoarder. And generally, I always find that after Christmas I am left with too much stuff that I have either bought in the rush of the season or simply useless things that I have collected and not bothered chucking the year before. This season can often be the least motivating of all seasons, so it is hard to get up of your arse and do some spring cleaning (it’s called ‘Spring’ cleaning for a reason, right?) However there is nothing worse than coming home from a day out in the gloomy rain and coming back to a cluttered, messy room. Clear out the junk from 2015 for a much clearer mind. Even if it’s simply to make way for 2016’s future clutter…

GO GREEN 

With the trees outside currently resembling skeletons and the ground being muddy pathways, there’s no better time to buy yourself some greenery for your room or home. I am a bit of a lover of flowers – how cliche of a woman – and it can instantly brighten up an otherwise gloomy room.  Boost the oxygen in your home and revitalise your indoors. Some greenery has been proven to both ‘de-stress’ and even reduce the risks of colds by 30%… can you beleaf it?

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WORK OUT

Okay so I know this is typical of a New Years resolution. But I’m not saying, go book yourself into the best gym and become the next Kayla Itsines… What I am saying is, we’ve mayyybe all pigged out a bit too much over Christmas and some working out during this dark month is best for both physical and mental reasons. Don’t do it just to “lose weight” but instead to simply release endorphins and maybe make you that little bit happier. You can even work out at home or go for a run. I’ve started going back to the gym this month, and even if it isn’t really doing that much for me physically – I feel like I’ve really achieved something with all of these darker mornings we have to face!

MAKE PLANS FOR THE YEAR

A 2016 agenda; must-dos; must-sees… whatever you want to call it. Making a list of things to look forward to this year can really help you feel more motivated. Whether it be a holiday, travelling, career plans, whatever makes you excited or happy: its pretty necessary to have some something to be looking forward to this year.

EAT WELL

Sometimes when you get home from a long day it might be difficult to drag yourself to the stove and create a healthy, creative meal. It’s easier to shove a ready meal in the oven – but too much of this is not doing much good for you really. You probably already have enough ingredients hidden away that you can use to create a quick meal, check out Pinterest for quick yet healthy meals or read Eating Well.

BE SOCIABLE

Finally, don’t hide yourself away. It can be tempting to hibernate when it’s cold outside, but being cut off from everyone can worsen your mood. Get out and about – even if it is raining – I’m sure there are plenty of things you can do that doesn’t involve freezing to death outside. Even if it’s just the cinema, or going for a coffee or drinks.

 

Looking back at 2015 like...

             

Looking back at 2015 like…….

 

 

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New year. Same you. Better lifestyle.

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Lets be honest, new years resolutions can only ever sink or swim. And, more often than not, they can slowly sink… then before we know it its March and our new gym membership hasn’t left your purse at all this month… And we are still drinking wine on weekdays… And so on.

It hits January and we are all trying to either ‘quit’ everything or throwing ourselves into new things we are unaccustomed to. When really, (although it is a good thing to do) a gym membership isn’t going to suddenly make us happier… what you might really need to change, to make yourself happier, is something so simple. Your mindset.

So! I’ve set a list of things that I believe can be easily done (and its free!) to both physically and mentally improve your life this 2016.

  • Clear your mind of negativity – you will never live a positive life with negative thoughts. Everyone has worries, stress and concerns, however being negative about everything is the first step to feeling down. Stop letting all of the little things in life bring you down. Your train is late? It’s raining? Cancelled plans? So what, it happens.
  •  Compare less – comparing yourself to others will only bring you down. Whether on social media or in reality, remember you only see a tiny part of everyone else’s lives, and no one is perfect or has a perfect life.
  • Make time for friendship – I don’t just mean going on nights out and getting drunk, but actually spending time with your friends or family and having a laugh is the best medicine. As we get older, some often find less time to spend time with friends, so make the most of this time to get out and do things with them.
  • GIVE… without strings attached – there’s nothing better than giving someone you love something without expecting anything in return. It doesn’t have to be expensive: even compliments, flattery, and simply being a nice person is good enough. Sometimes I even get excited for other peoples birthdays when I’ve found something I KNOW they’ll love…
  • Spend time alone with yourself – relaxing, chilling out and donating some ‘me-time’ to yourself is often the best way to wind down and let yourself think. With a book, some television, a walk outside, or anything – it is necessary to leave some time spare in your life for only you for a healthy mind.
  • Go outside, embrace nature – too often we let ourselves be dragged into the life of social media and television or work. It is always 100% necessary to go outside and actually embrace nature sometimes, even if you can’t find the time to do this all of the time. Every now and then, put your phone down and go outside.
  • Travel – I can’t imagine a year without travelling to at least one different area or country. It doesn’t have to be expensive (I’m a student, and also on a budget!), but if you can work hard, and save a little money – you can go anywhere. I feel like everyone has wanderlust, and that its in our human nature to crave new places and explore. I’m planning to spend over a month this summer travelling America, and I already can’t wait!
  • Let go of anything you can’t control – it is a myth that we are all in control of our lives. Well, to some extent anyway. Most often, things happen that we cannot control. It’s life. We must live with it and adapt to it. Everything happens for a reason.
  • Forgive more – Lastly, leave any anger or resentment back in 2015. Often when you’re angry at someone, you’re only harming yourself. The Buddha once said ” holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal and throwing it at someone else; you are the one that gets burned”… so learn to forgive, forget and let go of any negativity. I had to do this last year – best thing I ever did! Be the bigger person and just live your own life.

Happy New Year! And lets make 2016 a gooden.

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Staying in my hometown, Kent, has been the nicest way to spend the holidays and this Christmas. Although it has now come to an end and I am ready to head back into city lifestyle in London, I thought I’d post an appreciation post on the countryside near where I live.

Last week, we awoke to a chilly morning and decided to head into the countryside near Sevenoaks. After a short drive we found ourselves driving through green forestry, and we had arrived at Ightham Mote.

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A charming, medieval manor house and garden, it was like walking through an English fairytale. This is exactly what I love about the English countryside.

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Originally dating to around 1320, it is the most complete small medieval manor house in the country. We paid only £6 for entry to the building and the grounds, although it is free for all you National Trust members.

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So, if you’re in the South East of England (or near London) and thinking that there’s really nothing to do here – think again. Look up other places that are part of the National Trust – some places are truly amazing.

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