“Thank you, and by the way your coffee tastes like shit.” That was the line that got me my first real job in London. I spent my formative years working in hospitality. During my early 20’s in Sydney I was waiting tables in Darling Harbour. The money was good and I have fond memories of drinking the dregs from leftover bottles of wine, whilst smoking cigarettes and polishing cutlery at the end of a busy shift.
Today it seems the ever popular mantra is foreigners are taking our jobs. It is heard in every first world city and news headline and this fear has helped bring about historical events such as Brexit in the UK and the election of Trump in the US. However since I have moved to Singapore and started travelling the region, I have been surprised by the number of white people working in low end jobs in southeast Asia. Whilst we let the first world governments stir up emotions and convince us that foreigners are bad, it seems we also feel entitled to exploit the cheap prices and available opportunities of the very countries whose nationals we want to kick out. But is it really bad to steal jobs, or is the movement of people better for everyone?
I was browsing through some old photos recently when I came across an album from when I visited Brighton beach with my friend a few years ago. My friend was an alcoholic and sadly has passed away now, but I had fond memories of her and our trip. We spent a weekend together hanging around the Brighton boardwalk and soaking in the local culture. It was our last good time together.
We drove from London to Surrey one weekend to see the stunning Mayfield Lavender Farm. Waves of vibrant purple lavender stretched out as far as the eye could see however we were disappointed the lavender had very little fragrance. We bought some beautiful lavender products and finished our day with a nature walk around Box Hill and the Happy Valley, enjoying countryside views and fresh British air.
I starting doing the TFL Capital Ring Walk to discover more of London whilst getting fit. The London TFL Capital Ring Walk covers 78 miles of open space and natural reserves circling central London. It is divided into 15 sections that explore some amazing and lesser known areas of the most famous capital in the world. starting in Woolwich.
Whether you are a visitor to London or you have lived there your entire life, the best way to discover all the interesting nooks and crannies of this amazing city is through the TFL Capital Ring walk. The TFL Capital Ring Walk successfully covers 78 miles of open space and natural reserves circling central London, running through some very pretty as well as industrial London neighbourhoods. The TFL Capital Ring Walk is divided into 15 sections with walks of varying difficulty, starting in Woolwich via areas of historical interest and great natural beauty including Crystal Palace, Richmond, Osterley Lock and Highgate.
Section 14 of the TFL Capital Ring walk is from Hackney Wick to Beckton District Park. When I did this walk, I was already very familiar in and around London Fields and Hackney Central (who hasn’t ended up at the Dolphin on a big night out?) but I had never explored the rest of Hackney.
The walk begins at Hackney Wick station. As soon as I stepped off the tube I felt like I was back in Bethnal Green or Shoreditch, but about 10 years ago. It was great not to see a chainstore in sight! We turned left from the station and walked across the bridge to the furthest bank of the canal, passing a lot of cool street art along the way.
I never realised what an awesome place Hackney Wick is. As we walked along the canal toward Stratford, we passed many canal boats converted into pop-up shops and bars, and funky converted warehouse venues serving interesting food and drinks and playing music. The area was lively with people socialising and rowing rented canoes along the water.
Walking along the canal you can see the infamous Stratford Arcelor Mittal Orbit sculpture as well as the Olympic stadium. We kept walking towards Stratford High Street, stopping at the Print House for a quick coffee break. The coffee here was amazing and the staff were very friendly. Particularly because I spilt my coffee everywhere after only one sip and they helped to clean it up and offered me a new latte on the house!
After a quick rest we continued up Stratford High Street and then crossed the Meridian line and took a turn right to walk along The Greenway. Our walk ended in Beckton District park, a lush and and green handsome area only a short walk from Royal Albert DLR station.
Download the map here.
I have lived with all sorts of people, from students to old women, but my housemate from hell was a drunk. I once thought that a mummy’s boy was the worst person you could live because they are not used to doing things for themselves. However my view changed after I had a terrible experience living with a drunk. An alcoholic is an irrational person who spends all their money on drinking and has no consideration for others. Whilst you can teach a mummy’s boy how to wash dishes if you are persistent, the alcoholic will never care to learn.
The budget traveller can only imagine what it is like to fly business class. Flying in business or first class with British Airways is an incredible trip and I feel lucky to have experienced it. The biggest perk is the comfortable seating, especially if flying long haul, so you can get a good quality sleep and you don’t leave the plane achy and grumpy. The second greatest perk is the unlimited champagne. Of all the airlines I have travelled, I love British Airways for its consistency in food and beverage and the great service.
I was an Airbnb host for one year, letting out a spare bedroom with ensuite in Central London. During the first 6 months I hosted 43 guests from more than 8 different countries with the average review being an okay 3 stars. However one too many bad experiences, I decided to hang up my Airbnb keys and retire. I grew tired of the stress of hosting as horrible Airbnb guests taught me to dislike people.
The history of Aldgate East captured my imagination. I’m a huge fan of the tube. Ever since my first day in London I fell in love with its iconic design and the convenience of travelling from one end of London to another so quickly. I found the frequency of the tube very impressive. I came from a city where it was normal to wait 30 minutes for the next train. As they say, you know you have become a Londoner when you become impatient waiting 5 minutes for a tube. Although it is expensive, there is no denying the tube is easy to navigate and has most of London connected.
If I had to recommend just one point of interest to visit when in London, it would be the Tate Modern. Not only does it exhibit cutting edge performance, installations and modern art, but it is a terrific space that spurs both disgust and creative thought. It is also connected to one of the oldest London icons, St Paul’s Cathedral by the chewing gum strewn Millennium Footbridge. The Switch House is a new 10 story extension to the Tate Modern museum and a welcome addition to London’s famous skyline. It officially opened in June 2016 after seven years in the making and whilst it is not the prettiest of sights, it signifies an exciting new phase for the Tate.
I began working my way through the TFL Capital Ring Walk, a series of 15 walks designed by Transport for London. It covers 78 miles of open space and natural reserves circling central London. Section 15-1 of the TFL Capital Ring Walk starts at Beckton and goes through Woolwich, ending in Falconwood. During the walk we saw city buildings, stunning Thames views, industrial sites and beautiful woodland.