Tag Archives: London

Two Thousand Twelve

30 Dec

Can you believe it… 2013 is just a day away. It brings about reminiscing the year that was 2012, and what a great year it was. One of the best. For us, there were many personal milestones (travelling the world) and professional ones (taking the next steps in our careers back home) with lots of very special moments in between. We’re so very grateful for all that the Universe has given us this year and the promises that 2013 brings. Here are our highlights of 2012:

London Night Out

Canary Wharf Pub

{Hanging out with good mates before they jump on a plane back to Australia.}

Paris

{Spending our second wedding anniversary in Paris, one of the most romantic cities in the world. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate it.}

D&M Hens and Bucks

{Celebrating others’ milestones and friendships – there were plenty during 2012, including Derrin and Mariska’s wedding.}

Our London Home

{Our London home was so special to us during 2012 as we tried to soak up as much as we could of the city and our suburb during the last six months of the year.}

St Paul's London

London at night

Olympic medal!

{Being one of the first to run in the London Olympic Stadium.}

London Egg Hunt

{The Great London Egg Hunt and the interesting trips into streets and suburbs we hadn’t even stepped foot in.}

Amsterdam

{Our trip to Holland in the Spring. We will never forget the ‘amazingness’ that is the tulip fields of the country. Just stunning.}

Banstead Woods

{Our trip to Banstead Woods. The first time we heard of the bluebells that pop up in these woods, we couldn’t resist making the trip to take a look for ourselves. In the shade of the dense foliage, the bluebells make for a pretty sight.}

Ministry of Sound

{Experiencing a night at the famous nightclub Ministry of Sound.}

With Mum at Harrods

With Mum in Edinburgh

{My Mum making the oh-so-long plane trip to see us in London and experiencing Scotland with her.}

Matt playing at St Andrews

{Matt experiencing a game of golf where the game itself started… St Andrews Golf Course in Scotland.}

Melk

{Seeing one of the most beautiful monasteries in the whole world, Melk Abbey in Austria.}

Chelsea Flower Show

{Visiting the famous Chelsea Flower Show.}

London Summer Days

{Soaking up the very first Summer day rays in London for the year from one of the most beautiful spots in the city – Primrose Hill.}

David Guetta

{Seeing David Guetta at Alexandria Palace – an amazing DJ and an amazing venue.}

Diamond Jubilee

{Being in London for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.}

Wimbledon

{Going to Wimbledon.}

Saying goodbye to London

{Saying goodbye to friends we were leaving behind in true British style… by dressing up in the Best of British.}

Friends

Matt at Aston Martin

{More goodbyes as we say farewell to work and our amazing colleagues.}

Last day in London

Tower Bridge

{Spending our very last day in London by revisiting those sights we will miss the most. Such a sad day!}

{The amazing countries we travelled through on our trek back to Australia…}

Prague

{…Prague.}

Krakow

{…Krakow.}

Budapest

{…Budapest.}

Slovenia

{…Slovenia.}

Croatia

Dubrovnik

{…Croatia.}

Rome

Lucca

Bologna

Venice

{…Italy.}

Noni and Gez Wedding

{… including witnessing and celebrating the wedding of Noni and Gez in the Cinque Terre.}

Egypt

{… Egypt.}

Jordan

{… Jordan.}

Dubai

{… Dubai.}

Singapore

{… and Singapore.}

Flying over Toowoomba

{Flying over Toowoomba on our flight back home.}

Sunshine Coast

{Going back to visit the place we use to call home – the Sunshine Coast.}

Family Christmas

{Spending Christmas with our family again.}

HAPPY NEW YEAR from M&M x

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To market, to market…

16 Apr

There are so many amazing markets in London, all of them full of colour, character and people. With so many to choose from, you could spend a whole weekend frolicking from one cobblestone-street market to the next, and still leave you wanting more. We visited two of London’s best markets over the weekend…

[Borough Market, London Bridge]

If it’s good enough to feature in Bridget Jones, who fictionally lives right next door above The Globe pub, then it’s definitely good enough for us. Crowds are attracted to the Thursday-Saturday market, which first started over 200 years ago! Come here to taste the most delicious British and international foods, purchase the freshest of the fresh fruit and veges, cheeses, jams and preserves, fish, poultry and a variety of other meats from around the world.

[Columbia Road Flower Market, East London]

A feast for the eyes and the nose, Columbia Road Flower Market is THE place to go to pick up a bunch or two of your favourite flowers. You can get everything here from herbs, exotic bulbs, flowering pots and plants from the UK and abroad. The flower merchants compete against for each other to get your custom, but whether you’re here to buy or just to gawk, it’s worth a visit. A charming street lined with equally charming cafes and shops, it’s definitley the go-to place to spend a lazy Sunday…

How it feels to be an Olympian for the day

10 Apr

Read about the day I crossed the Olympic finish line in Australian Times !

The theme song to Chariots of Fire plays from the speakers, pushing me on. I must keep going; I’m almost there. I can see light at the end of the long tunnel I am running through and as I come into that light, thousands of people are cheering. I can’t help but smile and it’s now I realise how incredibly lucky I am to be here. My excitement grows ten-fold as I approach the last 300 metres of my five-mile run in the new London Olympic Stadium. Despite being one of 5,000 runners chosen simply because my name was picked from a ballot, the feeling I’m experiencing is one of adrenalin, achievement and pride. This must be how the real athletes feel.

Feeling, if only for a mere moment, what it must be like to cross the Olympic finish line is pretty special. I’ve just run on the very track where many talented sports people will be sprinting, urging and willing themselves across the finish line in four months’ time. In a bid to make the most of my five minutes of “athlete” glory, I can now say I beat the 2012 athletes to the punch. The run itself was a fantastic insight into the Olympic Park for me and my cheering friends, and I’m sure many others, who won’t have the chance to get near the Games during the summer. To run past the iconic venues of this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in what was the first staged event to be held there, made me wish I had been born with enough talent to make it to the big time.

Yet even living in the host city and knowing full well that I was about to embark on a run that over 40,000 people entered to take part in, I never really felt the connection to the Olympic Games. I’ve seen the hype on the tele, of Boris’ team ‘cleaning up’ London, the unveiling of the athlete’s kit and even had a sneak peek at the Park from the Stratford Westfield after many a shopping trip there. But after actually running in front of the cheering crowds and feeling inspired by what the athletes are going to experience in front of a fully packed Stadium, I feel more excited about the Olympics now than I ever have, and probably ever will. The 2012 Games will be a great boost, not just for Aussie patriotism when our green and gold medal hopefuls land in the UK, but for British pride too – it’s inflated mine that is for sure. Look out London, Olympic fever has officially hit!

Five things… we love about spring in London

27 Mar

As London slowly warms, off come the outer-outer layers and up come the bulbs in parks and in gardens around the city. Spring is a lovely time to enjoy London, but it also means our time in the UK is coming to an end. We’re soaking up as many of the warm sunrays and experiences as we can around London town during this beautiful season.

{Daffodils can be seen popping up in parks and gardens around the entire city, all as if from nowhere. They really do bring a sunny disposition to the city streets}

{Dusk gets later and later as we delve deeper into spring. The clocks have turned forward and there is sunlight now as we walk out of work in the evenings. It’s so nice to walk home from the tube in the beautiful twilight}

{Outdoor activities become more and more frequent with the warmer weather, especially on Sunday afternoons when the need to drown out thoughts of work the following day become necessary. You can always count on a friendly backyard BBQ – no matter how small – to do the trick}

{It gets extremely exciting when the sun comes out – it means you’re able to shed those outer layers. Sure, you still need a cardy but at least you can feel a weight off your shoulders with that bulky winter jacket gone, just don’t put it out of sight yet as the weather is still unpredictable!}

{The end of March marks the beginning of having only three months left in the UK! Our room is scattered with travel guides as we read up on all the amazing countries we’re set to visit on our travels home. I’m not sure if I should be crying saddness or sprouting happy smiles at the thought of leaving! Maybe this blog will shed some light…}

The countdown begins

25 Mar

Ok, take a deep breath. Breath in slowly… breath out. Breath in slowly… breath out. Here goes… as the end of March approaches, Matt and I have come to the stark realisation that we have only three months left in London. Yes, we knew we were only going to be here for a limited time but where did that time actually go?? Last we checked it was Christmas and we were on a sleigh getting pulled along the snowy ground by mighty husky dogs in Sweden and saying ‘six months left’. It seemed like forever. Now, all of sudden we’re researching shipping companies to ship home our accumulated goods, looking into renewing our travel insurance for the last time and making plans for the trip home. We’ve even booked our flights back to Oz (shock horror!) and now there’s no turning back. Or is there?

Lately we’ve been thinking about how lucky we’ve been in our lives in the UK, or more specifically, London. London has given us throngs of possibilities, opened doors for our careers and thrown us into some of the most memorable experiences we’ll ever have, all without even asking for it. I don’t know how people feel back home, but I don’t think Toowoomba, or even Brisbane, is going to live up to the benchmark that London has set for us. Where in Brisbane will we be able to meet a Prince, shake hands with celebrities on more than one occasion, walk past the most beautiful century-old buildings on the way to work (hell, I even work in one!) and experience exclusive ‘London only’ opportunities like running in the brand new London Olympic Stadium (six days to go!) and to be official photographer at some of the most prestigious events for one of Britain’s ‘2012 CoolBrands’. For some reason I’ve walked across Waterloo Bridge quite a lot recently and every time I look to the skyline and see the magnificent dome of St. Paul’s cathedral, I sigh and feel sad about the thought of leaving a place that is so stunning and that has been so good to both of us.

But then I think of what awaits us back home. Without a doubt, the one key thing about going home is the chance to see all our family and friends again. We have four babies to meet – some yet to be born – and missed witnessing the marriage of friends. There’s no explaining how much we have missed these experiences and more importantly, the very important people in our lives to the point that we feel it has really come time to leave. We are also excited about the possibilities in terms of work – our CVs have been enriched by our experiences here and we cannot wait to settle down and make a home for ourselves again. For the chance to drive and to visit the beach and to experience sunshine for more than one consecutive day in the row will be absolutely lovely to make part of daily life again.

However, I cannot help but take notice of that nagging question still running through my mind… what if we stayed just a little longer? Now don’t go getting all ‘up in arms’, you don’t have to worry, of course we are coming home and I don’t think we would change our minds at this stage. I just think that it’s taken this long for us to actually feel part of the city and we’ve gotten to know it quite well. Sure we’ve merely scratched the surface of things to do here but it takes time to immerse yourself into a city and to set up a life. Only now do we feel that we’ve gotten to that point and it makes me wonder what our lives would become if we were here for a couple more years. Where could London take us given the chance? I guess my consolation lies in the fact that we could always come back, alas not on a working holiday visa, but perhaps if we get to the point where we could be ‘highly skilled immigrants’. The enticement of further possibilities in London will mean that we may never really rule that possibility out. At the moment however we are on that plane back to Australia and are very much looking forward to it. But in the meantime, we’re making the most of our last three months in London and we cannot wait to make it the best three months ever!

London at Night!

11 Mar
Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Tower Bridge Lifting

Tower Bridge

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

Hungerford Bridge, Waterloo

Hungerford Bridge, Waterloo

London Eye and Houses of Parliament

London Eye and Houses of Parliament

Embankment along the River Thames

Embankment along the River Thames

Westminster Bridge, Big Ben and Houses of Parliament

Westminster Bridge, Big Ben and Houses of Parliament

Big Ben and Westminster Bridge

Big Ben and Westminster Bridge

London Eye and County Hall

London Eye and County Hall

St Pauls Cathedral

St Pauls Cathedral

An update from London Town

30 Nov

It’s been a while since we last wrote a blog. Perhaps this is an indication as to just how much we’ve been up to of late and how we always seem to find ourselves out and about doing something in London. So I’ve spent my entire tube journey to work to update you all on the happenings in London town.

A big occasion happened with the departure of Kristy when she felt the need to pack up her bags, post a massive box of personal possessions home via boat and fly back to Australia. We ended up at Opal, the same bar we went to for ‘hello’ drinks when we first arrived (yep, it was the very day we arrived and we walked along The Thames to get there and the weather was beautiful!) We were happy for our friend to be moving on and getting set up back at home, but there were some tears as the realisation hit that our time over here is coming to a quicker than quick end and all the travel and mischievous fun we had as a group was now going to have to continue minus one prominent member.

In the lead up to Kristy’s goodbye, we found ourselves busy every weekend while we tried to make the most of our time left. We celebrated Halloween in style at Canary Wharf (I’m sure you’ve seen the Where’s Wally pics on Facebook); I partied (sans Matt) and finally experienced the institution that is The Church (don’t ask); we did what every Australian loves to do to celebrate the very English tradition of Guy Fawkes night and set off our own fireworks. We also lit and released floating Chinese lanterns with wishes of good luck and heartfelt goodbyes written on it for Kristy (we got off to a rocky start but we didn’t set anything within our surrounds on fire so we think it was a success!). To keep celebrating, we also saw the most fun fireworks display money can buy in London at Battersea (they are professionally choreographed to music); and for a double-whammy celebration, we went to Roller Disco for Amy’s birthday as well as another ‘must do before we say farewell’ for Kristy. Yes, you skate around to disco music into the wee hours and there is even a bar with alcohol – dangerous much? But with all the neon clothes, it’s fun to dress up and try to dance while on skates. It was such a busy month, I’m not sure how we managed to fit in work, and sleep for that matter.

Most recently we’ve been busy once again with numerous work events and social outings to keep us occupied. I’ve started back on the running following my aversion of it after completing the Wild UK Challenge (doing no exercise was my reward!) I am again building my fitness up for an 8km run around the new Olympic Park come March – I was lucky enough to have my name chosen as one of 5,000 that get to run! I’m really enjoying a good run around London with Jaime and Amy. Funnily enough we always run to a cafe and reward ourselves with brunch and coffee before heading back home – it’s a great incentive to keep running until you reach delicious food! And Matt is busy as usual with his camera’s view finder almost permanently glued to his eye. He upgraded recently and is learning all new settings and ways of taking photos with his new D7000. He will have to learn quickly with a travel photography course he’s set to do this weekend.

And before we know it, it will be the night before Christmas and we will be snug as can possibly be in the heart of Finnish Lapland, where we will also be spending Christmas Day with Amy, Troy, Jaime and Gerri. We are busy making sure we have as many warm layers of clothes we can carry in our backpacks to make we don’t freeze in the sub-zero temperatures. It will be the trip of a lifetime! We hope everyone’s Christmas will be just as magical!

Till next time,

M&M x

today was meaningful

a collection of thoughts, life lessons, and days full of meaning.

Liv Hambrett

An Australian Writer in (North) Germany

I am the world's oyster

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Love for hand-knitted & -crocheted beauty. Proud designer & founder of LN|Beanies and LN|Andes, my two knit brands, my two loves.

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