Winter is on its way out and Spring is almost here, meaning that London is coming into full bloom. The appeal of warmer weather, an abundance of gorgeous flowers decorating the busy streets and the promise of longer days all make our city incredibly popular in Spring – just make sure you know how to deal with lily pollen stains if you’re heading for the parks!
Whenever you’re heading to London, it’s always a good idea to get some tips from someone who knows it well before you go. This is where I come in! As a Londoner, I’ve put together some of my top tips to help you make the most of your city break.
Avoid Rush Hour
If you’re travelling on the tube, bus, train or any other kind of transport, always, always avoid rush hour when you can. These times tend to be from between 7.30AM-9AM and 4.30PM-6.00PM. It gets super busy so avoid at all costs!
Plan Your Day
Before heading out, make sure you’ve planned everything. The places you’re visiting, the right tubes to get there, food places nearby – knowing what you’re doing and when will make your days a whole lot smoother.
Get an Oyster Card
If you’re planning on using the tubes and buses, definitely get an Oyster card. They make travel much easier and will save you a whole lot of both time and money! Head to a tube station to pick one up for free.
Buses Don’t Accept Cash
Our city buses are completely cashless, meaning that if you want to hop on you’re going to need either an Oyster card or a debit or credit card that uses contactless payment. We really are living in the future over here!
A Free Day Out
If you want to save some cash, there are plenty of things that won’t cost you anything in London. Pop to museums such as The Natural History Museum, The Science Museum or The Victoria and Albert Museum which are all free. If you’re lucky and the weather is good, take a stroll in a park. There are a lot to choose from: Hyde Park, Regents Park, St. James’ Park, just make sure you know how to get rid of lily pollen stains if you’re going in Spring or Summer!
We’re Not Big Tippers
Sometimes a tip will be included in the bill in London, but if not then around 15% should be okay. Staff won’t get offended if you don’t leave an exact percentage, though. A restaurant meal is the only time you should always tip, really – they won’t expect it in a bar, taxi or café, though it can be nice if you’ve received good service.
Avoid Shopping on Saturday
I would definitely stay clear of Oxford Street and Regent Street on a Saturday if you can help it. It gets super busy and your relaxing shopping trip will turn into more of a crazy ordeal. Check out quitter places like Redchurch street in Shoreditch for some quirky shopping spots you won’t find anywhere else!
Travel on a Bike
Boris Bikes are a cheap, eco-friendly and fun way to get around London. You can rent a bike from one of the many docks scattered around London and then pop it back into another one when you’re done.
Check Out Markets
We have loads of great markets that are on throughout the week, including in Camden and Brick Lane – two hot spots for lovers of all things alternative and indie. Check them out online and find one that appeals to you, whether you’re more into fine food, stylish clothing or quirky finds!
Places to Explore
If you’re in need of some inspiration of places to explore, here are a few popular areas of London that could be right up your street:
• Notting Hill
• Covent Garden
Don’t forget to take lots of pictures and enjoy your trip!
Written by Guest Writer
She has worked as Editor at SHIFT London, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London and has a Bachelors Degree in Fashion Journalism with London College of Fashion. PLUS a features and fashion editorial intern for PAUSE Magazine and HEARST MAGAZINES UK
Both children and adults alike have been enraptured with Arthur Ransome’s classic tale of adventure and friendship, Swallows & Amazons, since its release all the way back in 1930.
With a thrilling narrative that combines treasure hunting, swashbuckling and the carefree exploits of childhood – the story has undoubtedly stood the test of time, even receiving a film adaptation as recently as 2016 starring Andrew Scott (Sherlock) and Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire).
One of the main draws of his writing are the vividly beautiful environments he describes. The best part about this? You can visit them!
An admirer of the Lake District and its natural splendour, Ransome combined aspects of many places including Windermere and Coniston Water to craft the vivid world the protagonists of his novels explore.
Read on to find out how you can cast off into your very own Swallows & Amazons adventure.
Today I went on a road trip to a small town not far from Merredin. Just for something to do on a Saturday! It was about an hours drive and stopped off for a morning coffee at a cafe in Kellerberrin.
I had a great time roaming the small Main Street and was astounded by the feel of the place. The town has a heart feeling feel and I enjoyed looking at all the old architecture.
There is many historical information on just the one town!
I grabbed a brochure of the map of the place and had a look at the local history of books in the visitor centre.
My dad had to do an outside broadcast for RadioWest at the Town Hall, so during that time I went antique and book shopping!
The building is just magnificent.
This was inside the Town Hall building……
I just love looking around!!!!! And across from this building was an antique store. I want to share with you some pieces and findings!
This piece is a part of the Paragon collection. I still prefer Royal Albert and have the set of Old Country Roses, but Paragon still has its place.
And from becoming a royal fan this caught my sparkling eye!!!
This peice is enchanting and valuable.
And this is even better and personally a valuable peice.
I then went to Berkley – a bookstore where the fire brigade is. I didn’t buy anything but here’s a few shots of books that caught my eye.
Considering my interest in royalty, I would love to read this book for information on Queen Elizabeth I. I have an interest in reading on many topics, but this just sprung at me! I can’t wait to visit this bookshop again! It has a great range in History, Classics and Literature.
This just looks stunning…… And I ABSOLUTELY want to buy!!!!! 😍😍😍
What’s on my DEFINITE list is this…… My eyes popped when I saw the author, or writer I should say of Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes has written a novel!!!!! This is definitely on top of my list.
Okay, that wasn’t a “few”….. But if you’re reading this I am sure you understand my love for reading and literature…..
Antiques and books is what I’m sticking to, to keep my life occupied!
I hope you enjoyed the photos I took on my day trip and have a lovely weekend!
It’s wednesday,….. And I have arrived in Cairns….. A three hour sleep felt like several hours! I didn’t feel so tired anymore from road tripping through Western Australia. I got tired by the time I got to Perth airport, and I felt I needed a mist spray for my face! I felt wrecked! Haha!
I shopped at the airport, of course, and bought The Little Paris Bookshop (which has had raved reviews and is an international bestseller) but not many shops were open at 11 o’clock at night! I was travelling with my Mum and we had Original Pizza at The Dome with tea for two. It was delicious and hit the spot before boarding for Cairns.
When arriving at Cairns it was humid and muggy and I wasn’t used to the weather! We got picked up and drove to Port Douglas. Yes! Another holiday in Port Douglas as per my previous blog in 2013!
We had breakfast at a local cafe and I admitingly had TWO lattes! We then went back home and I have been lounging about in my white and orange casual dress watching television and doing random activities such as reading magazines and adult colouring in!
Welcome to Port Douglas!
The laid back city and country place in the Northern Tropics of Queensland. It is just paradise! And has a totally different feel to WA!
Have a look at my bedroom! 😍
It is so cosy and homey – I love it!
Thursday = shopping in the mall.
I bought three favourite beauty products!
I have already been snorkelling, submarine riding and helicopter riding, so I don’t mind if I don’t do all that! This holiday I just want to shop, have coffee and see the beach!
I have eyed out a few books in Whileaway Bookshop and cafe (my favourite possy!!) and want to buy so much!!!! As per usual! Here are a few things I want to get:
I am DYING to see the film, Me before you. My mum saw it in Bunbury and she said it is a bit of a tear jerker. It looks like my kind of romantic movie……
There’s also this novel that has intrigued me as its my dream destination!!!!!
It looks ssssooooo good!!!!! Well, there’s a “few” items I want. I am trying not to buy so much as its a bad habit of mine! Maybe I need to learn on budgeting…. And heed to financial advice!
I have already done the Sky Rail (I’m going to let my parents do it on their own!) I am going to just do coffee and the beach, and take in all the scenery and enjoy till Tuesday!
This is my Aunty Jenni’s house – it is like a resort!!!!! And I love the pool- I had a swim yesterday!
P.S. An extra added Beauty Product I have bought today is the Maybelline New York Colossal Go Extreme Leather Black Mascara.
Plus! This is what I’m doing now!
Along with a delicious Cherry Ripe ice cream from Wicked Icecreams to top it off!
The Easter long weekend was a lot of fun! I was involved in an event, an Easter Egg Hunt for “Give me five for Kids” at Apex Park in Merredin, and there were 310 children registered!! There were a few prizes, and not one kid left without chocolate in hand….
This year I thought I wouldn’t have as much chocolate, but someone bought me quite a few, so I couldn’t help but indulge!!! Chocolate is a favourite thing of mine, and is probably on my top 10 favourite foods list!
On Tuesday I headed to Perth for a nights stay at the 3 star Rose and Crown Hotel. It was a three hour drive as per usual, and was glad when we finally arrived! I have stayed there before, but this time was on the ground floor. It is located in Swan Street, Guildford, and is located in the Swan Valley region of Western Australia. It is quite a popular hotel and is cited as one of Perth’s Top 20 destinations by The Sunday Time’s Escape magazine. You can hold corporate functions there, and weddings, and Christmas events also. Check out the website for Events and What’s On – which includes things like LIVE Entertainment.
The room I was in had FREE WI-FI, television, mini fridge, and tea and coffee making facilities. The best part for me was the free wifi so I could search the internet, AND work on my blog! There was NO LIMIT of hours – you can just log back in once your time is up! For lunch I caught up with some friends, and ordered garlic prawns, and had chocolate and vanilla gelato with honeycomb for dessert.
I went back to the motel room, and that night I went to ACE Cinema in Midland with some friends and watched “My Big Fat Greek Wedding Part Two”! MY, what a movie! I thought it was fantastic, and it was almost even better than the first! It was full of laughs, and fun, and more laughter!!! The next time I go I want to watch either “The lady in the van” OR “London is falling”…. anything to do with London, and I am there! Zootopia looks great too!!!
After that we headed back to the motel with hot chocolate in hand from a place called “Alfred’s Kitchen“, and it was perfect for the night.
The next day, which is today we had complimentary breakfast – Bacon and scrambled eggs. It was delicious!!!! and I had a look through the place, and took more photos!!!
The Rose and Crown was established in the 1800’s so the building was exquisite, with dark floorboards, gorgeous chandeliers that I wanted!!!! and cream painted walls. It was beautiful to look around, and I enjoyed myself taking the photos!!
It was the most fabulous day, and if you’re ever in the east of Perth, don’t forget to check it out! It also has a swimming pool, but I didn’t have time for a dip! I was enjoying the establishment and had fun looking around.
Travelling here was fun, and it was nice to head back home though! It was paradise when we ate in the beer garden in a gazebo! It would be very fun to have a jazz band play in the background we thought!
I went to Spotlight and bought a new bedspread which was actually called “Princess”!!! hehehe it is like a dark cream with an ivory filigree pattern on it. It came with 2 standard pillow covers so it felt luxurious when I made my bed when I got home!
And when we were in Mundaring, I checked out “By the book” bookshop in the village, and bought “The Red Queen” by Phillipa Gregory – about an heiress to the Red Rose of Lancaster, Margaret Beaufort – I am a sucker for historical romance! This shall keep me busy and entertained for the next couple of days! I love her writing….
Travelling has been so fun, but now that I have this book, and a new quilt, I just want to snuggle up in bed with a cup of tea tonight, and just relax. It has been a wonderful couple of days! Full of adventure……….. and exciting things.
Have you been on a holiday at all this year?
This summer has been one of the best Summers I have ever experienced! Every year our family would go to Phillip Island when we lived in Melbourne, but coming to the west side of Australia there has been more to do and see because it is such a bigger state!!!
I went to Lake Bandee which apparently “looks” like Hawaii!! And we swam in the lake which was a new experience for me!!
Yesterday me and my family spent the day in Point Walter which we just sat there and had a marvellous view of the river……
I wore some jeggings with a striped orange and white singlet perfect for the day. I took my bathers but didn’t end up swimming, and I watched family play a bit of volleyball.
If you’re looking for that perfect summer dress there is a sundress on the Lover website which is an apricot sort of orange colour and is $695. It is called Lover Cotton and would be lovely to pair it with some gold bangles. It is a feminine piece which surely will have heads turning!!
I haven’t really gone shopping this summer to be honest, if I were in Melbourne I would be found on Chapel street or Bridge Road at this time of year!! Melbourne, as I have said before, is the best for fashion!!! And I miss that place dearly!!
But I have been travelling through Western Australia which has been quite fun!! And have captured some beautiful moments.
Summer days is all about comfort and simplicity, and if you’re looking for a laid back, summer read I recommend “Those Faraday Girls” by Monica McInerney. It is on my to read list and will get stuck into it as soon as I finish this blog!!!
Don’t forget to grab your copy of this Summers issue of InStyle!!! With the stunning Drew Barrymore on the cover. There is a section where she speaks as a confident woman saying “I am who I am – and I just don’t have a bikini body”. This captivated me as I used to be conscientious of my body in my early twenties but now that I am nearing thirty, I am learning to embrace my womanhood. Being skinny doesn’t make you a better person. It’s learning to embrace how you are, then you’ll realise just how blessed you are with what you’ve got.
I am also interested in Drew Barrymores book, Wildflower. I am totally intrigued and they mention it in the interview.
Anyways, I hope you have had a wonderful start to the new year!!!!! 2016 is MY year and I am looking forward to creating new goals and New Years resolutions. I have a few goals in mind, but no deadlines. I am taking life as it comes.
May 2016 be a prosperous and healthy one for you!
How was Christmas?
Have you been travelling this summer?
What are your goals?