Category Archives: London

Been There London That

2nd May 2017

So far I’ve written over 100 posts around London ranging from awesome things I’ve seen and done that you should do too to answers to some questions that might pop up but aren’t bothered to look up and this quiz where you can find out if you’re a real Londoner. Here’s a quick round-up of those posts you can’t afford to miss!

Flights to London can be relativity cheap, but hotels bite a massive chunk out of your budget. So it’s always nice to balance the pain by doing a few things on the cheap. And even for free. Ok, you do need an Oyster to get around but once that’s sorted there are enough free things to do in London and you can read here how to save £200 on your visit and still have fun. I think that last one is one of the best posts you’ll find here, TBH.


Sure, Borough and Camden Market are iconic and essential. But Broadway Market, Brixton and Maltby Street Market are some of my favourite places to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. You can stuff your face with all kinds of treats while at the same time relaxing and watching people go by. I’m actually lying … I haven’t been to Broadway or Maltby Street in the last 6 months, but now winter hibernation is over I’ll be putting on my comfiest shoes and venturing out into the world again.


You can read here about some of the hidden gems of Covent Garden, because yes, even in one of the most visited places in London there are new things to uncover. Though it can be busy in London, you can easily escape to places with fewer tourists. What about going to an underground jazz club in Peckham, having a bite at London’s second most fanciest Nando’s in Camberwell, playing a drunk game of Operation in Kentish Town and taking in architecture heaven in Bloomsbury. Or be brave, go to Zone 4 and visit an Art Deco house and remains of a medieval palace.


The Shard is my favourite place to see London from the top, but I understand it can be a bit expensive so ok … The Sky Garden IS soulless and nothing like the floating gardens of modern Babylon they wanted it to be, but is free and who really cares about ethics when it comes to saving a bit of your budget? What about the Eye, you might wonder? Well I’ve explained here why it’s not worth your money.


Have you ever wondered what an empty London feels like? Well I come close to it during a walk on Christmas morning and you can read about it here.


I have ideas for another 100 posts, but is there anything about London you’d like to know more about?

Awesome Things I’ve Seen & Done In London That You Should Do Too

31st May 2016

london tipsNow the weather gods are smiling down on us Tea has emerged from hibernation and is actually doing things, here are some favourites you should try – on your next visit to London!

london tips

Kikki K – I love Paperchase, but their collections are always a bit hit and miss, which has always been good for my wallet. But then Kikki K landed in London, and I loved the store when I lived in Melbourne. Kikki K has a range of beautiful stationary and organisation items with a minimalist and Scandi vibe. And whether you are looking for a travel journal or wedding guest book, you will find it. They have this Scandi background story, but it’s an Australian brand really. Now can someone bring Typo (another Aussie brand) to the west?

london tips

Cereal Killer Café – I know you can make a bowl of cereal at home for 24p, but then again you can make a pizza for £1 at home too (or get it at ALDI!). I recommend you ignore the price and throw a few coins (£3.50) their way to be surrounded by kitsch 80s cereal boxes, a range of special milks in cute bottles and more cereals than you can shake a chocolate coated stick at.

london tips

Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising – the refurbished museum in Notting Hill is great place to dive in for a few hours. Whereas most London museums are free, this one charges £7.50, but this isn’t too bad. So don some nostalgia shades and go stare at the 12,000+ items on display- you’ll get to see inappropriate war-themed marketing, toys from your childhood (and your mother’s/grandmothers) and there was even a wall of One Direction merchandise (RIP!). And most importantly – you’ll be able to answer the million dollar question – were chocolate bars way bigger when I was a kid?

london tips

SMUG – this quirky concept store hidden in Camden Passage in Islington is the place to find beautiful things for the home. They have stuffed their store with must have homeware, stationary and accessories. Make sure you can hold yourself together because this place will make you want to buy everything.

Shake Shack – the New York burger chain made its way to London 3 years ago which means Londoners don’t have to queue up in New York and waste 4/5 hours for one of their delicious burgers. I’m personally not a big fan of their crinkle-cut fries as they tasted like something you can get at Iceland (the store, not the country) but the juicy patties with the shake shack sauce and their milkshakes make up for that. Although the line (at the Convent Garden location) is almost always long, it does move quickly and is worth the wait, though the queing system (with a special plastic fob) did make it feel a bit like Argos or waiting for a doctor’s appointment.

What was the last thing you queued up for?

LONDON HOOD YOU’LL LOVE: KENTISH TOWN

24th May 2016

kentish town london tips (51)

So, what’s next in my Hood You’ll Love series? Well, I’ll give you a clue…N5. No, it’s not a coordinates on a board game, but it’s the post code for Kentish Town. It might be close to the tourist-fly-trap that is Camden, but it’s far far from it in style, atmosphere and stuff to do. So next time you want to escape Cyberdog, Stable Markets and the remaining punks all you have to do is head north.

kentish town london tips (13) kentish town london tips (2) kentish town london tips (3) kentish town london tips (45)

KENTISH TOWN ROAD

The Abbey Tavern is one of my favourite pubs in London and I reckon I spent 1/3 of my time there when I lived in Kentish Town. If that’s not a great selling point, it’s their outside terrace garden that is the ideal spot for enjoying jugs of Pimms/beers, some food and a board game on a long, hot evening with the gang. Who can say no to a drunk game of Operation??

The Oxford is an ok pub and lunch spot, but what makes it worthwhile are its Puz Quizzes with a twist, clothes swaps and other fun events in their upstairs area. Just follow Wonder Woman and you’ll be in for a surprise.

Craving a bottle of craft beer, or possibly a crate? Well the main street, the imaginitively titled Kentish Town Road is home to two places to get your craft on. Of the two I prefer Clapton Craft, mainly because their logo has a bear, yes sometimes life decisions are very easy for me. And they also do two of my favourite beers from Netherlands. Wish that their location was a little more convenient because I would like to live there and look after the bear they must be keeping in the back room.

And because I haven’t mentioned enough places to drink on Kentish Town Road I have to add cocktail bar Ladies & Gentleman you might fall into at the Y Junction (yes it’s underground). And if you thought ‘HA, that sounds like a toilet.’’ You’d be right, it’s housed in a former underground toilet, but don’t worry, it’s been completely redone so no need to wash your hands, but it’s still chock full of cocks though … cocktails that is.

kentish town london tips kentish town london tips (32)

kentish town london tips (30)

HIGHGATE ROAD
Carrots + Daikon is the perfect lunch (and on weekends) brunch spot and my pick for the best Banh Mi in the city. You can’t go wrong chomping on their lunchboxes and pho with perfect flavour (though I can’t compare it to the real deal) which doesn’t drain the wallet. All in all: Carrots + Daikon pho the win! (Don’t tell me you didn’t see that pun coming).

It’s a bit of an odd location, tucked away in Kentish Town, but that way it feels more like a special secret when you find it. If you haven’t been able to get a table at Pizza East in Shoreditch, why not try the Kentish Town location for a slice of Italy? Fed up of dough? Well, there’s a bunch of antipasta dishes and salads too. Warning – be prepared for food coma.

If you look up as you wander around you’ll likely spot the gorgeous art deco Forum venue, that used to be a cinema in the 1930s and is now a live music venue, sadly the quality of bands there isn’t as reliable as the decor.

Right near the Forum is Dirty Burger, which, you guessed it, serves ‘Murican Style burgers. So if you appreciate a good, quality slice of meat with buns, you won’t be let down if you park yourself here. Their ethos is the patty as headliner and the toppings as a support act- the best combo. I know this sounds like a copy and paste from a press release, but trust me.

kentish town london tips (48)kentish town london tips (34)

kentish town london tips (26) kentish town london tips (28)

FORTRESS ROAD
SK Vintage is a hidden vintage gem of discovery. It’s not extremely pricey like many other vintage places, and it has a large selection of items, though as with any vintage store, it’s hit or miss. What I’m trying to say that it’s basically that dream closet from your old aunt Mildred, but you don’t feel obliged to listen to her story for 100th time and eat stale biscuits.

Cinnamon Village is an organic bakery slash café that’s a healthy lunch spot…or so they try to make you believe. When in doubt go for the scrambled eggs on toast, trust me … they are hard to beat. The downside? The place is popular with young families, so if you want a bit of quiet to quell that hangover, it’s probably best to be avoided on weekends.

You know when as a kid you and your squad tried to keep up with the way cooler girls, but couldn’t? I’m being a bit dramatic, but that’s my take on Rustique, but like just like then you realise being the cooler girl isn’t everything and your squad is all you need in the end. But do give it a shot, if not just to see a coffee table shaped like two giant books – take note IKEA!

kentish town london tips

kentish town london tips (4)

London Alternacheap – how to save around £170 on your next London visit

5th April 2016

sky garden london

London can be a dangerous place for your bank account to visit, but it also can be a fairly inexpensive as well if you do it right. It’s 2016 so good and delicious food can be found on the cheap pretty much everywhere. Flights are supercheap if you book ahead and fly with a budget air line and even non-hostel accommodation can be affordable if you look in zone 3 and beyond. Activities can extremely expensive to absolutely free. I’ve put together a list of free things here and today I’m focusing on how you can save around £170 by choosing alternative and cheaper versions of London’s most famous and overpriced attractions. Talk is cheap, so let’s begin.

Swap the Shard for the Skygarden
I loved the Shard, but I can image you’d rather spend your £30 on Oxford Street or Westfield, so why not visit the Sky Garden. I don’t particularly like the place -you can read here why- but hey, it’s free of charge and that’s all that counts right? Make sure to book ahead, come on time and bring your ID – but leave your picnic for an actual garden or park.

Swap the London Eye for The Emirates Air Line
If there’s one thing I would want to scrub out of guidebooks, it’s the London Eye. If you want to see London from the top on a moving thing then head to the cable car or The Emirates Air Line sponsored by Emirates Airline. You can even use your Oyster and it will cost just under £9. And since no one really uses it it’s unlikely you’ll have to queue up.

Swap the hop off hop on bus for Bus 11 or 24
A hop on hop off tour sounds fun, but you might end up getting distracted by the other tourists, so why not hop on bus number 11 or 24, take your own tour and save £25. These lines drive past the famous landmarks like Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the Bank of England. And the best thing is that they don’t come with that annoying loud family, instead you will enjoy some typical London characters on the bus. One quick thing; buses don’t accept cash, so you gotta reach for an Oyster or contact-less payment card for which a single bus journey is £1.50.

Swap fancy Afternoon Tea for M&S Afternoon Tea
You can’t go to London and not have a classic Afternoon Tea, but what really puts me off is the price (and finding someone who wants to go with you for that price), sure you pay for the experience and you can combine it with a lunch and dinner, but still often the places could be too posh and quiet or a too hip place that will charge you £45 just for breathing their air, so it can be a bit of downer. Well that’s where Marks & Spencer Cafe on Oxford Street comes in handy. They offers them for £6.95. It’s all about scones and clotted cream and M&S knows how to do them. No frills, that makes a difference as the Dutch would say.

Swap the view from St. Paul for the view from Westminster Cathedral
The view from St. Pauls is amazing, but the £16.50 admission might hold you back. Why not visit the Westminster Cathedral – not to be confused for Westminster Abbey – instead? Yes, I know it doesn’t have a Whisper Gallery, but is three times cheaper, they both look impressive from the inside and outside and have a tower you can climb to enjoy looking down like an emperor. Which one would you choose? £16.50 or £5. The landlord, God will love you either way.

Swap The Tower of London for The Monument
I’ve always wanted to go Tower of London as it’s one of my favourite buildings in the city, but from what I’ve heard it’s not focused on about the architecture but more on the fake replica jewels which you’ll have to queue to behold. So instead, I will keep enjoying it from the afar until one day someone will buy it off and put it on Air BnB or something like that. But you know another tower in London that’s much cheaper and much higher; the Monument is an overlooked attraction that happens to also be an old tower that you’ll likely have come across in a history book.

London Eye

Swap the London Aquarium for the Horniman Aquarium
Do you have the urge to queue up and go to the overcrowded and overpriced London Aquarium? This must only appeal to tourists because I literally don’t know anyone London based who has been. But if you want to see some fish for the cheap head down to south London to the aquarium at Horniman Museum for just £4.40, it’s obviously not a big as the the London one, but they have fish, frogs and jellyfish. Plus the museum and garden are worth a visit (and free!), it’s a kitschy museum in the south of London that holds a a collection of dried insects, a lot of stuffed animals, musical instruments from all around the world.

Swap Harry Potter Filmtour for a Harry Potter walking tour
It is magical, but a visit to the Harry Potter Studio will cost you a wand and a half! Well, £35 + a trains ticket. Alternatively you can take yourself on a magical tour of some of the sites which inspired the series. You’ll get to know which street inspired JK for Diagon Alley, you can take a photo at Kings Cross and there is even an official merchandise shop where you can spend all of the money you saved on above and below. I did one with Muggle Tour and enjoyed it almost as much as I did at the Harry Potter Studio.

Swap Madame Tussauds for real stars
I have never gotten the hang of paying to get into Madame Tussauds and take badly lit photos of wax people, why not skip that and go to a premiere on Leicester Square and spot some A-class and D-listed meat in the flesh for free, well you might need to get there early to get face to face with your celeb obsession. You can also go to a TV show recording, TV shows like Graham Norton (chock full of celebrity candy) and Whatever Talent Show is on at the moment need live studio audiences and you can be part of it! Here is how you can get a ticket.

You’re welcome.