Life lately: London

The past few weeks have been a brilliant blur. After spending a lazy fourteen days caravanning near a quiet west coast village, I found myself careening down the motorway on a Megabus. Squashed around a table with a family of three, I self-consciously inserted my earphones. A calming male voice spoke Watership Down into my lugs. This was going to be a long nine hours.

Needless to say, I was collected at dusk by my uncle, by which time I had already booked a train back north to Edinburgh. (Megabus toilets are a no-go, and I’m a bit of a lavatory snob. Some things are just essential, and by that I mean clean loos). I found myself in the heart of London, its northern districts spreading round us as the car cut through civilisation.

I’ve spent the last week interning for the biggest monthly women’s lifestyle magazine in the UK. I owe it all to a lovely lady from my sleepy village. After a busy week at uni, I was standing behind the cheese counter at work. She handed me three neatly cut-out pages of the publication. ‘Don’t feel like you have to apply…’

Well, it was just up my street. Two weeks of media experience, submitting articles, ideas… And the first five days have been fantastic. The staff are super welcoming too, and I’ve been able to suggest ideas (I’m working on getting some travel pieces on the website) and I already have some writing online.

Meanwhile, when I’m not too terrified by rush-hour Tube traffic, I’ve been exploring London. Here are my favourite places so far.

  • Soho. My office lies in this buzzing area of buildings, restaurants and businesspeople – and I love it. After sticking to Pret for lunch, I decided to veer off course down to Wardour Street. One of the best things about large cities is that the choice of food goes far beyond fish and chips. I found Hummus Bros, which is a smallish café which specialises in… you guessed it, hummus. It’s served on round places which are coated in the thick chickpea mixture, onto which toppings are added. Choose from chicken, guacamole and falafel. I’m going to seriously miss this place.
  • Green Park. I wandered down here one day after work to meet a long-lost school friend. Cutting through the glitzy facades of the Burlington Arcade, I was spat out its gullet just left of the Ritz. Google Maps hadn’t told me about this. I remembered looking up at the TV screen as Hugh Grant and his crew zoomed around London after Julia Roberts; I must have been about twelve…
  • St James’ Park. There’s nothing I like better than a woodland wander, and in central London this was as close as I was going to get. For a city park the wildlife was quite impressive: ducks splashed by the lake, squirrels perched unfazed atop fences, swans came to greet passers-by. Plus, just above the trees the London Eye stared down at us and Big Ben scrambled skyward from the leaves.

There’s still a week to go, and although I’ve also squeezed in Hampstead Heath and the lovely city of Oxford, there’s just too much to see. As I explore more of the city, and continue enjoying my internship, the prospect of living in London seems more attractive than I ever thought it would. The only downside is of course rent, and the incessant rush of daily life.

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