Woodbridge- A beautiful market town in Suffolk

Since returning from my writing hiatus, I’ve committed to writing more on my favourite places in the UK, namely coastal Suffolk. You might say this isn’t relevant to a blog on urban escapades. On the contrary, every city dweller needs to escape the crowds and indulge on some pollution-free air every so often.

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Woodbridge’s historic Tide Mill is the town’s icon and seems to grace the front of all tourism brochures. It sits on the River Deben and is just a short walk from the train station. I still haven’t been here yet but plan to visit on my next weekend break here.

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It’s been a while…

So it’s been a while since my last time blogging. When I set this blog up well over a year ago now, I was just about to start my MSc and was, frankly, killing some time at my parent’s place in Idaho. I can’t believe how much has changed since then. Since August 2015, I have:

  • Completed my MSc in Environment and Development at the University of Edinburgh- with a distinction, I’d like to add ūüėČ
  • Travelled to Belize for five weeks for a research project
  • Got engaged on top of a Mayan ruin to the most amazing and supportive person I know- I’m not usually cheesy like this but Jamie’s proposal was actually amazing and I feel like I’m forever indebted to him
  • Thrown an engagement party for 20 of my nearest and dearest, including making all the decorations, drinks and food myself- thank you Pinterest and wedding blogs for inspiration (and for absorbing hours of my life…)
  • And moved to London and got a real grown up job working in Westminster (and unfortunately house hunting was more traumatic than I remember it being when I lived in London before- thank you Brexit and housing market uncertainty)

I must admit that I’m amongst the most cynical of bloggers. As I write this, I can’t help but think how self indulgent this blog¬†is and how much people won’t really be bothered about what I’ve been up to since my last posts (not that I had many when I first started the blog in 2015). It’s also quite presumptuous of me to think I have readers.

But, I’ve come to realise how cathartic it is to write. The last few months have been quite stressful, as I’ve tried to figure what I want to do with my life (again, I want to vomit with how pretentious this sounds and I recognise how lucky I am to have so many options). Rather than regretting my choices that have led me to London, where I’m away from my fiance all the time, pay so much of my salary on rent, and live in a highly polluted and overcrowded city, one of my goals is to be more positive.

And I want to make the most of the time I’m still here in London.

Therefore, I’ve decided to pick this blog back up again as a way to chronicle my adventures to focus my mind on the positive things in my life. I don’t care how many readers I get, if any, but I feel hopeful¬†as I write this that I’m getting back on track to enjoying my life again. Here’s to the next few months of blogging!

20160912_184559My first walk to work in September.

Viewing London From Above

If you’ve been wondering where to get the most spectacular views across the city, then look no further. Here’s my list of the best (and the rest….) views for every tourist’s budget. Of course, most¬†of these are¬†weather-dependent so bear that in mind before you hike up some crazy tall building just to view England’s omnipresent clouds buffered up by some misty fog.

Attribution at bottom of post.

Attribution at bottom of post.

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Kew Gardens

Having studied in South Kensington for the past four years, I’ve always lived in West London. When tourists typically think of the glamour associated with London, they normally have West London in mind, conjuring images of the picturesque townhouses and mansion blocks (old, fancy-looking apartment buildings), the splendour and extravagance of Harrods and the leafy streets of Chelsea. Even though I love the quirky nature of the East End, it historically was where the working classes and poor people of London lived (however, due to gentrification and an outrageously expensive property market, this is no longer the case)- the houses are more modest and the neighbourhoods have a less luxurious feel to them.¬†In general, West London is a bit leafier and just generally snazzier (and more expensive, unfortunately for students living here). Though the more central parts of West London (Knightsbridge, Notting Hill, Kensington and Chelsea) are popular with tourists, there are some great attractions and activities in the western suburbs, including Kew Gardens, one of the Royal Botanic Gardens.

The area of Earls Court is full of beautiful Georgian townhouses and Victorian mansion blocks, typical of wealthy West London neighbourhoods.

The area of Earls Court is full of beautiful Georgian townhouses and Victorian mansion blocks, typical of affluent West London neighbourhoods. Attribution at bottom of post.

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Chicago- Old Town and Lincoln Park

Since I’m a native Chicagoan and¬†am proud to say I lived there for 16 years, I thought my first post about a non-London city should be about my hometown. In general, American cities are enormous and can be very intimidating to tourists, particularly those from Europe who are used to smaller buildings and quaint windy streets. Despite its sprawling size, I find Chicago¬†more manageable than somewhere like New York because many of the tourist destinations are mostly within a walkable distance (at least for someone like me who gets everywhere by walking)¬†and there are so many parks to dilute out the enormous skyscrapers (a Chicago creation). TimeOut Chicago¬†has a great list of the top tourist destinations, including some amazing museums and parks all around the city. I can definitely recommend most of them, except I would avoid Navy Pier. It’s an overpriced tourist trap with boring shops and terrible food, although its only redeeming feature is the ferries wheel.

There are great views of the Chicago skyline over Lake Michigan from the planetarium.

The Chicago skyline over Lake Michigan. Just above my head is the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, the tallest building in the city with 108 floors.

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Wilton’s Music Hall

Even though I’ve always lived in West London, it seems like most things I like to do are in the East End (so hour-long tube journeys usually seem to be involved…). Continuing on with the East London theme, I wanted to share one of London’s best kept secrets, Wilton’s Music Hall.

Welcome to Wilton's, one of the world's oldest surviving music halls. Photo attribution at bottom of post.

Welcome to Wilton’s, one of the world’s oldest surviving music halls. Photo attribution at bottom of post.

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Columbia Road Flower Market

If you’ve ever been around East London, specifically the Shoreditch/ Hoxton area, on a Sunday morning/ early afternoon, you’ve probably seen the odd person¬†wandering around with enormous bouquets of beautiful flowers or an irritated guy stuck carrying his girlfriend’s new tree (yes, I definitely convinced my boyfriend to do that once…). Both Londoners and tourists flock to¬†Columbia Road Flower Market¬†on Sunday mornings, a floral haven amongst the quirky¬†and sometimes sketchy¬†neighbourhoods of the east end.

Welcome to Columbia Road. Photo attribution at bottom of post.

Welcome to Columbia Road. Photo attribution at bottom of post.

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My First Post- Memories of My First Night in London

I can’t believe my blog is finally up and running! It has definitely been a long time coming. Ever since moving to London,¬†I’ve tried to use every ounce of spare time to dissect this incredible city and discover unique and fun activities to do with friends and family.¬†I love to get out and explore my surroundings and I’m definitely somone¬†who cannot sit still. Several people over the years have suggested I start a blog to chronicle my adventures around town, and after recently being asked by multiple American friends where they should go to in London, I thought it was time to get my act together.

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