An Essential Guide To London

Lately I’ve been asked a lot from my lucky jet setter friends, ‘what are the essential things to do and see in London?’ I usually reply with ‘depends if you want to see the touristy London, or the real London?’ And whilst I only lived in London for a year and am still no expert on the real London, here’s my list of awesome things that you must see and do in the fabulous city of history and culture, LONDON!

Don't be afraid to do some sight seeing at night! You get a beautiful different perspective on things minus all the tourists.
Don’t be afraid to do some sight seeing at night! You get a beautiful different perspective on things minus all the tourists.

Photo Ops

1. Big Ben. Of course.

2. The Red Telephone Box. Again. Of course. And don’t worry, they’re EVERYWHERE!

'Ello Govna
‘Ello Govna

3. Piccadilly Circus TDK neon signs. Kind of unmissable if you venture into the city.

4. Tower Bridge. So much history and beauty. Get a good shot from the Southbank.

996021_731518820196469_1823809950_n 5. Buckingham Palace. Obviously.

Culture

1. Camden (Markets). Pretty much one of my favourite parts of London. You can walk around aimlessly for hours and find a good feed and bargain along the way. With music, buskers and weird and wonderful things everywhere, it’s a must see. Plus an amazing music scene! Amy Winehouse ring any bells? This was her territory.

Camden with my girl
Camden with my girl

2. Brick Lane. Possibly one of the coolest places ever. Located in East London and just a short walk from Liverpool Street, Brick Lane is a hipsters paradise. Amazing pop up food stalls, underground vintage markets (I bought my pair of Converse from there for 20pounds), street performers and AMAZING Indian cuisine. If you want cheap and authentic Indian then this it the place to go. Hidden between the high rises of Liverpool Street, it really is a hidden gem.

3. Covent Garden. Beautiful restaurants and a few little markets hidden around, conveniently located right in the middle of the city.

Food

1. Carnaby Street. Lots of cute little restaurants and bars scattered along the street it’s a great find and a lot of fun.

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2. Any markets. Camden, Brick Lane, Southbank, Notting Hill, Borough Markets…

3. Browns for High Tea. If you’re in London then you must indulge and have a high tea experience. I was fortunate enough to go with some family members and it was a simply divine dining experience.

Expensive but beautiful little cakes
Expensive but beautiful little cakes

Galleries and Museums

1. The British Museum. I went here about 4 or 5 times and still didn’t see everything! Make sure you don’t miss Cleopatras Mummy or the Rosetta Stone.

2. The National Gallery. Prime location, overlooking Trafalgar Square. Again, a day simply is not enough but my (biased) recommendation is checking out the Romantic’s artwork.

3. The National Portrait Gallery. Adjacent to the National Gallery, it’s worth the detour to spend an hour or two here. When I visited, there was an exhibition on Miss Marilyn Monroe and I was in love.

Chillin in Trafalgar Square
Chillin in Trafalgar Square

History

1. The Tower of London. If you want to dive deep into 13th Century London, this is the place to do it!

2. Shakespeare’s Globe. If you’re a poetry/literature nut like me then you’ll probably swoon when you see it. If you’re not too keen on paying super high prices, every now and again they have deals on tickets.

3. John Keats House in Hamstead Heath. Again, if you’re an English Romantic Literature fan… you CANNOT miss this. I studied John Keats in English at high school and have since had a fascination of him and his work. Being at his actual house and in the surrounding neighbourhood was so inspiring and overwhelming, I may have shed a tear or two.

Swooning over Mr Keats
Swooning over Mr Keats

A Little Something Extra

1. The Heron Tower. Located just near Liverpool Street tube station is this fabulous 40 floor tower. If you dress up pretty nicely and say to the guy at the door ‘I’m just going up for drinks’ then he’ll let you past. Press number 38 and you’ll shoot up in a glass elevator. Up the top of the building is something spectacular. An amazing 5star bar, a sushi restaurant and a fantastic view (which is free). I’ve been up there a few time and not purchased anything, just to check out the view and it’s splendid every time. If you feel like splurging, why not enjoy a glass of wine whilst overlooking the spectacular city.

Some of the view from the Herron Tower
Some of the view from the Herron Tower

Things to give a miss

1. The Tate Modern. OK if you love modern art… go for it. Even with my open mind, I still didn’t get it. Any of it.

2. The London Eye. Look at it from a distance. It’s not worth wasting the time in the huge line or money.

3. Changing of the Guard. I never went and I’m glad I saved myself a few painful hours. There’s waaaaaay too many people, you can’t really see anything and it’s all rather uneventful.

Do you have any recommendations?

xxx A

15 Things I Want to Achieve in 2015

So yes, this is a little New Years resolution and I figured if I put it down in writing and post it to my blog, then maybe I’ll feel obliged to actually stick to them (yay). For a long time now, I’ve always set goals (short and long term) and I find by making goals, I then develop plans to achieve them and actually do it. So this is my hit list for 2015!

Exploring Bondi Beach with my Dad
Exploring Bondi Beach with my Dad

1- Read everyday – I love reading a good book and feel accomplished and enlightened when I finish one. There’s a million amazing books out there that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

2 – Write in my journal everyday – For as long as I can remember I’ve kept a handwritten journal that I try to write in as often as possible. Throughout the past couple of months though it’s completely slipped my mind and now I don’t have any entries from October onwards. So I want to commit to writing everyday (minimum every week) so that when I’m old and grey, I can flick though the pages and think of the funny little things that happen everyday.

One of my favourite books I read this year! A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
One of my favourite books I read this year! A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

3 – Spend less time scrolling – When I’m bored or killing time, I always seem to find myself mindlessly scrolling down my Facebook Feed, Instagram, Buzzfeed etc and after an hour disappears, all I’ve learnt is that my friend got a new car and 10 inappropriate outfits of the week (thanks Buzzfeed). Instead, I can use this time more productively – i.e read, write, and I think I’ll be a lot happier if an hour slips away because I was reading Oscar Wilde.

4 – Renew my gym membership – In August I joined the gym at uni and believe it or not… I’m missing it! Never thought I’d say that about a gym! My goal is to go to the gym 3-4 times a week. I find that by going to the gym and being physically active, I am then more motivated to eat and cook healthier. It’s a win win situation really.

5 – Do yoga at least once a week – I LOVE YOGA! It keeps me balanced, relaxed and flexible. I walk out of class feeling like I can take on the world.

Having memorable times with my friends
Having memorable times with my friends

6 – Reduce the amount of alcohol I drink – Don’t get me wrong, over O Week next year, I’ll definitely indulge in a few beers, however throughout the year, I’d like to reduce the amount of alcohol I consume in one sitting and how often I drink. Because at the end of the day, it’s expensive and hangovers are not my friend!

7 – Save Save Save! – I’m currently saving my money to go on exchange in 2016 and that will be a very expensive adventure. Therefore, by cutting back on alcohol etc and being super strict and smart about my savings… I can make it happen!

8 – Be productive and prepared for uni classes – Much easier said than done, but this year I wish to maintain my high standard of work and keep up to date with assignments and essays. In the end, it will all pay off!

9 – Hike Mount Kiera – I’ve lived in Wollongong for a year now and I still haven’t hiked up Mount Kiera yet! Mainly because the days people seemed to go hiking were on extremely hot days, but this year… no excuses! It must be done!

10 – Launch my new section of A Worldly Addiction where I’ll be discovering new and wonderful local cafes and posting all the details and photos as often as possible. Watch this space for updates in 2015!

COFFEEEEEEE!
COFFEE!

11 – Be an avid environmentalist – Recycling paper and plastics, donating my old clothes, not using the clothes dryer, turn lights off… Anything I can do to help our planet out more!

12 – Continue having coffee dates with my family and friends – If I’m going to keep up to date with all my uni work, then I’m going to have to keep up with my coffee hits. And what better way to do that then keep catching up with all my coffee buddies at uni and exchanging gossip, troubles, concerns, advice and friendship!

13 – Go camping – I went on an awesome camping adventure this year and it was AWESOME! So, this year I definitely need to do it again! Preferably on a nice, hot, sunny weekend where we can camp near the beach or go hiking around waterfalls. Either way, an escape from reality and technology with some close friends and sleeping under the stars sounds awesome to me!

When I had a weekend away in Sydney with my boyfriend
When I had a weekend away in Sydney with my boyfriend

14 – Have a weekend away – I haven’t been on a plane all year and I’m craving the excitement of landing in a new and exciting place! I’m thinking of either spending a weekend in Melbourne or on the Gold Coast, with a close friend and just explore and have fun for a weekend!

15 – Share something with you guys at least once a week – 2015, expect to get lots of notifications saying that I’ve just added a new post! Whether it be more photos, quotes, attempted poetry, my opinion on something, a report, tips, memories… I’ll be sharing it with you! So be sure to subscribe, so you don’t miss out on a single post!

And one last big thing which will keep me going throughout the whole year… BE HAPPY! Be with my friends and family as much as possible and always with a smile on my face and warmth in my heart!

What are you hoping to achieve next year?

xxx A

Parlez-vous français?

French. The language of love. Featuring in T.V shows like Madeline since we were little, kick starting my obsession with everything French. And I know what you’re thinking ‘oh you’re just like every other girl who loves the idea of France and Paris…’ well… I’m different (of course). After visiting Paris 3 times last year, it’s only enhanced my love affair with the City of Lights more. I’m currently studying French at university and one day, want to speak it fluently! So, this is a way for me to a. share with you some reasons that I love the French language and all things French, b. to write some more in my blog, and c. a major form of procrastination (my french exam is next week). So this is what I LOVE about the french language!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvyMG0z0FZY The Music – Carla Bruni is definitely my pick when it comes to French music. Sweet melodies and meaningful lyrics (once you decipher them), I always have her music playing in the background and find myself humming along! If your music style is a bit more upbeat… try Stromae (to party and dance to), or Yelle (the French equivalent to Katy Perry). Listening to French music helps familiarise yourself with certain vocabulary and you sound pretty cool if you can sing a song in another language!

A Jazz band I saw at a Brasserie. The guy playing the trumpet kept taking swigs of something from his flask. Very entertaining!
A Jazz band I saw at a Brasserie. The guy playing the trumpet kept taking swigs of something from his flask. Very entertaining!

The Films – French films are renowned for their romance and quirkiness. Amelie is one of the most well known French films, highlighting the beauty of Paris and French cinema’s unique traits. Les Intouchables is a lovely feel good movie with drama and comedy, Un Secret is about the Nazi Occupation of France and Amour,  a beautiful love story where you’ll use a whole box of tissues.  These French films are some of my favourite and I’d highly recommend them. Watching French films helps you become familiar with the phrases, speed and intonations, all of which you can’t really learn in a classroom. The Drinks – Whilst one would assume that France (Paris) has good coffee, you are seriously mistaken! Instead, don’t miss out on happy hour cocktails! Usually 5 euros and they’re delicious! The more cocktails you drink, the more confident you get in your French speaking skills, an opportunity not to be missed!

Lovely cocktail in my favourite brasserie, Le Chat Noir, Montmartre
Lovely cocktail in my favourite brasserie, Le Chat Noir, Montmartre

The Food – If you order food/drinks in French, you’re waiter will be a million times nicer to you than someone who points at what they want. And if your waiter is nice to you, then the whole experience just becomes delightful! Also, don’t forget to tip! When You’re Lost – The amount of times a bit of basic French helped me get out of sticky situations, losing my way around Montmartre, can’t find the exit in the Metro, and asking how to get to x, has saved me a lot of confusing time! Make sure you scrub up on your directions before going! Les garçons! – And of course don’t forget about the most important reason why you’ll need your French skills up to scratch, the number of cute French guys you’ll see around.

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Some Common Phrases You Might Need

Hello = Bonjour

Goodbye = Au Revoir

I would like = Je voudrais… (you can then point or pronounce what you’d like to order)

Please = S’il vous plaît

Thankyou (very much) = Merci (beaucoup)

The bill please = L’addition s’il vous plaît

I’m lost = Je suis perdu

You’re cute (for the french boys) = Tu es mignon!

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir? (just kidding)

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So if those spectacular reasons don’t motivate you to start learning French I don’t know what will?!

Bisous x

A

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My favourite Eiffel Tower picture to date. Taken from the Sacre Coeur, Montmartre

My Secrets to Confidence

Confidence comes in all shapes and sizes. Hopeful of joining a gym, courageous to apply for that job, brave to deliver a speech, bold in your outfit and fearless in life! Confidence is a key element that we’re all expected to have, yet why is it that we talk ourselves down and doubting our ability? We all have insecurities, we all have weaknesses, yet it’s how we accept them, deal with them and conquer them so that nothing, especially yourself stands in your way.

I would describe myself as a confident person, yet from time to time I give in to those dark uncertainties and it can all get a bit overwhelming really. However, I have found some ways to help me be more confident in my thoughts and actions.

Slow down every now and again to embrace beauty around you
Slow down every now and again to embrace beauty around you – Rome

Smile – It instantly makes you feel a little bit better I promise! Also laughing or singing helps break down those nerves and negative thoughts circling your mind. It will also make people around you feel more comfortable and relaxed. A smile really can go a long way!

Think about your strengths and skills – Take a moment to think about all the wonderful and exquisite things you can do. Maybe you can play all of Ed Sheeran’s album on guitar, a really fast reader/typer, good at remembering people’s names, keeping things tidy/clean, taking initiative or responsibility… the options are endless! If you’re ever in doubt, focus on your skills and strengths and how you can use them to your advantage to help you achieve what you want.

Embrace what you love – Personally, I love writing, listening to music, going to the beach, going on coffee dates with my friends, travelling… the list goes on. It’s important to take time out and focus on yourself, what you want and what you love. Engaging with these activities will also give you that motivation and self-confidence that will automatically make you happy and feel better about yourself and your capabilities.

Surround yourself with positivity
Surround yourself with positivity

Accept and grow from your weaknesses – We all have them, I’m not the most committed student when it comes to exams, I try and take on too many tasks at once and cannot for the life of me keep my room clean! (that, I can’t change). The first thing is to be aware of aspects of your life you can improve on and how you can do that. For example, trying to go to sleep before midnight, having a diary to write all of your due dates in and focusing on things your truly passionate about. Even if you take baby steps, at least you’re closer to growing and moving on.

Think Positively! – Whilst it might be hard to stay positive sometimes, I strongly believe that positive people attract positive energy.

‘Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.’ ~Peter T. McIntyre

Set Goals (and make them BIG) – I find it helpful to set goals to work towards. All throughout high school, I just wanted to go to Paris, and I made that happen by getting a job, planning, investigating and being absolutely determined to make it happen! Like the quote above says, be fearless! Go out and grab life! Like the classic cheesy quote ‘if you miss reaching for the moon, at least you’ll be among the stars.’ Opportunities are everywhere if you have the courage to seek them.

Take the plunge – Yes it might be scary, seem impossible, be overwhelming etc. etc. etc… but what if… it works? What if you accomplish your dreams? And what if you take the world by storm? You cannot truly gain without a little risk. Put yourself out there and just do it!

xxx A

Take the plunge!
Take the plunge! – Greek Islands