Tag Archives: London

When family come to London

19 Sep

We sat on the second floor of the Park Plaza Hotel staring at Big Ben just across The Thames. The chiming clock showed us the time was 10pm. They should be arriving soon! We were waiting for Bevan, Carol and Lauren to arrive to the hotel from the airport; both of us eagerly awaiting to see their faces in the flesh. The next moment, the mini-bus turns up and out get three quite weary-looking travellers with three giant suitcases. We quickly made our way down the escalators and through the revolving doors and greeted them with hugs and kisses. Man, it’s good to see family!

The next night and day, we happily showed the Edwards’ around London and our own ‘hood. Don’t worry, they had a well-earned sleep in! We took them to what has become our group’s traditional welcome or goodbye curry dinner at Brick Lane; Matt showed off his toys at Park Lane; we spent some well-earned rest in Starbucks (one of the best coffees in London); and the very busy Oxford Street, which we had the pleasure of showing off in very traditional British weather (pouring rain). We had the pleasure of a rendezvous with Bevan, Carol and Lauren in Scotland – we saw the Military Tattoo together – and when they returned to London for six days of ‘rest’, we took in a West End show (Jersey Boys); Westminster Abbey; St. Paul’s Cathedral; the ‘pub down the road’ for a beer and British pub meal; Greenwich; the London Eye by night; Downing Street and Covent Garden. Matt also spent two days sightseeing with them and visited the Wimbledon Museum; Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guards; the famous Abbey Road; among other must-do London sites you just have to show any visitor who comes into town. We never get sick of seeing these things, so we love it too! Us girls also had High Tea at Harrods and Matt took his Dad for a Father’s Day car show – the Chelsea Car Show.

Although the time is coming to an end. As the three jet-setters are touring Europe this very moment, there is only two more sleeps left in London until they are back home and another year until we can hug them again. Skype fills the gaps, but I don’t think myself or Matt realised just how much we miss being with our loved ones. Not even doing anything in particular, it’s just the need to sit down and chill out and catch up on anything that we miss the most. We can’t do that on a computer. Rest assured the countdown in on until I get to see my own family (Mum… the dreaded London flight is beckoning), and then after that, the rest of our family and friends that we are so eagerly looking forward to spending time with again.

That said, the opportunity to live in London for anyone is such a life experience that it’s hard to imagine not doing it, no matter how much the heart misses those we love. We’ll do our time over here, but it’s pretty safe to say that this time next year we’ll almost be back on Australian soil once again…

How I cope with UK winters

23 Aug

As my article goes to print, I am battling the onset of a cold. Pfftt… typical! The temperature drops a little and my body can’t handle it. Is it a sign of things to come? Read on!

Five things… we love about living in London

16 Aug

1. Underground buskers… Get off the train, ‘mind the gap’ and walk the mile (as it feels like sometimes) to our next underground line and in the distance we hear the sound of the bagpipes, or it might be a tune whistled by a very talented guy, or, it’s the strum of a guitar or the powerful voice of an opera singer or the soulful tunes of a jazz musician. The underground buskers are amazing and they lift your mood at the start of another work day. Or, it’s the perfect end on the way home from a night out.

2. A city for walking… and aimlessly at that as you never know what you’ll come across in the diversity of neighbourhoods that make up the great city of London. From fashionable Soho with it’s variety of trendy bars and cafes; to Hampstead and Belsize to rub shoulders with incredibly old and beautiful suburbian London with it’s massive Hampstead Heath; to East London with it’s markets and famous Brick Lane; to Surrey Quays, our home and a not too shabby walk along The Thames. There is nothing more we love than going for a walk on a lazy Sunday afternoon, discovering new gems and embracing what London has to offer.

London 'street art' off Brick Lane. You can find street art everywhere in London - you just have to keep your eyes open for it.

3. The seasons… OK, not so much to do with London, but with the country we’re living in. There are four distinct seasons. Blossoming spring; intermittantly hot and more-often-then-not, rainy, summer; golden autmn and cold and dreary winter. It makes for an interesting year rather than moving from hot to not-so-hot back home to mark the beginning of winter. Even as we approach mid-August, if you look hard enough, some leaves are already starting to hit the ground.

'Our park' along our street. These golden leaves will cover the ground soon enough.

4. Majestic sights… Sitting on red double-decker bus #188, we drive past Waterloo, over The Thames, past London parliament and Big Ben, through the city streets to Russell Square. Look left and you can see the London Eye, look right and there is Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. The dome of St Paul’s cathedral can be seen poking out of the city skyline across the river. Living in such close proximity to these absolutely amazing sights gives us butterflies in our stomachs. We actually live in this city and we can see these most famous sights whenever we please. It’s such an amazing feeling and I think we will miss this when we eventually have to leave the great city of London.

The view from the bus. We'll never get sick of this.

5. Parks… in all their beautiful, green glory. Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Kew Gardens, Regent’s Park, Southwark Park… all beautiful spaces with neatly manicured gardens. London’s parks are home to squirrels who scurry across the path in front of us as we walk through, with gravel paths that take their walker between flowering garden beds and giant trees standing tall and magestic.  Strolling through these parks and gardens is the perfect way to spend a lazy Saturday and the perfect way to get amongst London at its very best.

Hyde Park in Spring.

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life. Boswell

Everybody likes a bogan

14 Jul

One sure way to get our dose of Australia from half way across the world is to play bingo, Bogan Bingo. We went for a laugh the other week (and PS, I won!), but you’ll have to read my article to find out what Bogan Bingo is all about!

It’s too good to be true

8 Apr

Winter jacket – be gone! Beanie and gloves… disappear! For the second day in a row, the weather in London has been perfect. A lovely and warm 20 degrees Celsius tops, and how lovely and sunny it is indeed. People at work are jumping for joy and the people in the streets… well, everyone seems to be smiling and happy. The soundtrack ‘sunshine, lollipops and … rainbows’ can be almost heard in the air as people shed off their winter woollies and embrace the sunshine. (It really does make you feel like singing the happy  song (albeit in my own head) – I expect perfect strangers to join in any time soon and start dancing!)

Yesterday I wandered into Regent’s Park opposite my work and it was literally a fight for any spare patch of green grass that was available as workers on lunch breaks flocked to the enjoy the sunshine (hell, I was one of them). Today was exactly the same and if it wasn’t for our very own private park (where the residences and workers in the buildings along our street can enjoy some peace and quiet without those pesky mortals we call ‘other people who don’t belong to our street of buildings’), we would of had trouble finding a place to catch the glorious rays.

I think we’re both going to enjoy summer in London a lot more than winter in London. The city seems to have come alive – or awoken from a very long and cold hibernation at least! The streets are full of happy people, the parks full of blooms and picnic-goers, and there are afternoons and evenings of people just ‘hanging out until the sun goes down’. The warm weather is a joyous occasion that we are embracing with our arms wide open (insert picture here of us running and skipping happily through the park with our arms wide-spread).

Over the weekend just gone, we spent some quality time with each other enjoying said sunshine and warmth. I met Matt on Saturday after he finished work and we walked lazily up to Regent’s Park. I had just gone through the park the day before on a lunch break and realised that the flowers and blooms had come to life. Knowing Matt would typically enjoy spending some time here to practice his photography, we gathered a picnic from Marks & Spencer and sat underneath the trees, next to the tulips and other bright flowers. We had some fun and Matt took hundreds of photos (you can see a selection of them here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/album.php?fbid=10150224988932067&id=645987066&aid=378213). We spent the next day sleeping in, brunching, and then spending some time at home – resting up and doing a whole heap of ‘admin’ stuff we’d been putting off for ages and ages.

The weekend before was a little more ‘groovy’ after a group of us went back in time to ‘Carwash’ – a 70s and 80s club. We all dressed up in the our favourite fashion from the era and drank (supposedly a little too much – according to someone!) and got down and funky with it until four in the morning. I received some free tickets after I got the opportunity to write a review on the club (which you can read here: http://www.australiantimes.co.uk/entertainment/Carwash—Shiny-disco-balls?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=AT+weekly+05-04-2011&utm_content=AT+weekly+05-04-2011+CID_2940ca27efe5154eefe941f04235ee7c&utm_source=Bluegrass+Mailer+Bluesky+Publications&utm_term=Carwash+Shiny+disco+balls). It certainly was like shiny disco balls. You can see some awesome photos (taken by my photographer husband!) here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/album.php?fbid=10150224367257067&id=645987066&aid=378007). You can imagine the next day, none of us were in shape to do anything remotely exciting. I seem to recall we made the effort to pick up our stuff from Kristy’s (where we had some pre-drinks the night before) and made a grocery trip to ASDA – the British supermarket where us Aussies can buy £1 packets of Shapes biscuits (heaven!!).

So this brings us to this weekend, where we will be ……. Hmmmm. No, I’m not giving it away. Something exciting for sure!

Till next time, that’s all from us in the land where everyone likes to say ‘you ‘oright?!’

M&M

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