Monthly Archives: December 2018

London

hidden London: Exploring the Temple of Mithras

Long before pubs, cocktail bars and gentlemen clubs were available in London, it was temples you went to for a drink or two, some misbehaving without being frowned upon by the Mrs and also to worship the god Mithras. Sadly, the temple isn’t open no more, and even worse it was buried under hundreds of tons of dirt until it was uncovered in the 1950s – after which it was moved away, but has since returned to its original spot for us to enjoy in all its glory.

The London Mithraeum houses the remaining of the Roman Temple of Mithras and a selection of Roman Artefacts. Since it was free I was expecting a cold, minimal hall where you’d be guided through quickly as possible, but these guys went all out with their presentation and used darkness, sound and light to recreate the structure and really bring the temple to live.

Another nice touch was the wall displaying 600 (out of 14,000 found) Roman artefacts discovered in the 2010-14 archaeological dig undertaken ahead of the construction of the office building. Everything from coins to combs and even shoes, all displayed amid a giant art piece depicting London back in the day.

Want to experience this bit of Londinium? The London Mithraeum is located in the ‘City’ (east of the main Picaddily/Oxford Street central area), it’s a 2 minute walk from the Bank station – and the entrance is free, but make sure you book your visit in advance.

Uncategorised

8 things I’m leaving behind in 2018

Just like last year I’m sharing a few things I’m hoping to leave behind this year before I focus on all the possibilities, dreams and opportunities waiting for me in 2019.

My faithful travel mate ‘Hans’ (I cursed it in my 2017 post). ‘Hans’ was a Burton backpack that I got in Germany and who accompanied me almost everywhere for 11 years, but the wear has got to him and the zip almost gave up when I was in Paris so I knew it was time to put Hansie into retirement. His replacement ‘Otto’ (a Patagonia Arbor) has been fine so far, but with so many zips, strings and pockets it all adds up to additional chances for a quicker breakdown. Let’s see how long he’ll last and if I’ll have to make use of Patagonia’s lifetime warranty.

After Georgia, I decided the early/mid 20s budget travel style wasn’t for me any more. I can’t do to cheap quick meals on the go for 5 days, I need to schedule in my down time and I am too old to share one bathroom/shower with 4 others. There I said it.

I also said goodbye to buying new Converse Chucks as the quality has fallen off a cliff. After having bought 3 pairs of the low black ones in less than 2 years I decided to swap them for the greener version of Ethletics. I still have a few high top pairs that are holding in there…for now.

While we are on the topic I’m hoping to leave behind fast fashion. Some 14/19 items I bought this year were green (second hand, vintage or from a brand with a green message). I was either too lazy, found fair things too expensive or couldn’t find an alternative for all of my purchases, but I definitely want to continue and make more ethical choices.

My phone. Not literally obviously, but I’ve wasted too much of my life on there. I’ve enjoyed digital detoxes on holiday, going out without having the urge to check my phone all the time and recently having a no screen at certain times while at home. Which I definitely want to continue with.

The hope of finding a decent hairdresser in London, just an OK one would be fine. One where it’s not too cold, where my hairdresser doesn’t go AWOL for 30 minutes or tries to talk me into buying add on treatments galore. The three times I went this year were just tragic experiences and I’m going to crawl back to my Dutch hairdresser, make sure I schedule them in while I’m in the Netherlands and hope she forgives me for cheating on her.

Dreams and expectations. There is no time to dream these days and I can’t keep promising random things to myself – instead I’m going to dominate those fantasies and start fighting for them so I am going to turn those dreams into plans by setting strict goals and making things happen. But first, I think this needs to go on an inspirational quote poster.

Newsletters…so many newsletters clogging up my inbox and luring me into buying things I don’t really need. Anyone remembers GDPR? My inbox has been the best, sure I did miss a few ticket and exhibition pre-sale announcements, but overall it has been great.

What are you leaving behind in 2018?

Uncategorised

Three Documentaries To Watch After You’ve Watched Stacey Dooley Investigates: Fashion’s Dirty Secrets

vintage shopping manchester

A few months ago my Twitter and Instagram exploded as everyone who saw Stacey Dooley Investigates: Fashion’s Dirty Secrets started questioning the clothing hanging in their closet or even clothes they wanted to buy. Though a few bits of the documentary are questionable (if BBC is looking for a fact checker: hiiii) I am happy it has opened some eyes and led to new conversations.

I do feel guilty about being so easy with booking a flight, buying a chilled plastic bottle of water or just being a basic white girl in certain countries so at home I try to compensate as much as possible and one of those ways is by buying clothes that are ideally produced in ethical environments and as sustainable as possible. Now I am probably in the top 10 least fashionable people and I’ve never seen myself as a shopaholic, but I do love beautifully crafted garments and I want to make ethical choices so I’ve started educating myself on this topic as much as possible and minimalised fast fashion buys. I think I’ve done a good job as only 5/19 clothing items I bought this year are not from ethically produced/sustainable brands or not second hand/vintage (pat on the shoulder)

You’ve seen Fashion’s Dirty Secrets and then you probably saw The True Cost on Netflix. But what’s next? If one of your 2019 resolutions is buying less or going for the green road then I can highly recommend the below documentaries.


Sweatshop

It was after seeing this Norwegian documentary that I decided to try to buy my clothes as ethically and sustainably produced as possible. This film shows the lives of sweatshop workers in Cambodia through the eyes of three Norwegians students and whose perspective is forever altered after a few days of living, working, and speaking with fellow human beings who spend most of their lives working long hours up to 7 days a week for only a few pounds a day in sweatshops.


The Price of Free

In-between all the Christmas movies I watched The Price Of Free and cried my eyes out  as it’s just heartbreaking to see how cruel the world is if you are born on the wrong continent. The documentary follows Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s journey to liberate every child slave in factories. Though this is not only limited to fashion factories it’s a must watch.


Unravel

And to close off with one with a bit different tone. This 13-minute documentary gives a much-needed look into what happens when people in the West throw their clothes away and the Indian recyclers turn the huge bales of clothes into yarns.  The garment recyclers don’t understand where so many, practically unworn clothes come from? Is it water shortage in the West? Or is it because we don’t like washing our clothes?

Is this a topic you’re passionate about? Do you have any favourite documentaries on the subject?

Wales

Big Pit National Coal Museum – Big Pit Big Heart

Last but definitely not least, the Big Pit National Coal Museum was my final stop during my trip to South Wales where I also took in the Caerphilly Castle and Blaenavon Ironworks. Armed with only a flash light and gas mask, this offline, underground experience is the best way to fight your IG habit/addiction and really just enjoy the moment.

It’s half subterranean exploration, half stand-up comedy. The guides/ex miners had me cracking up so much I nearly fell down a pit shaft, but that could have been the lack of oxygen!

Aside from being an interesting location to visit, the stories are really touching and the guides manage to paint a vivid picture of what life was like for the 100s of people who spent most of their working day underground.

Claustrophobics beware! It’s dark, it’s damp, it’s cold, and did I mention it’s really dark. Not being a big fan of small spaces myself, I still felt comfortable and enjoyed exploring as the tour kept a good pace.

The mine might be an impressive 138 years old, but the seabed rock in one tunnel dates back 300 million years – now that’s what I call historic.

Not only was our guide, whose nickname was “Lucky”, a charming storyteller and fact machine, but the whole group of ex-miners were adorably joking around and defusing any last minute stress you might have being plunged into the darkness. It wasn’t much but seeing their enthusiasm and family-type bond was something special that I won’t forget anytime soon.

Have you headed deep underground before?

London

What I Should Do In London According To My Sponsored Instagram Posts

With digital detoxes being all the rage, you might feel bad for spending an evening endlessly scrolling through the world of Instagram, but there might be an upside! Recently I wasted a few hours on the ‘gram but instead of liking and stalking people, I focused on all the London-focused ads that were thrown at me. So here we are, my non-sponsored – What should I see and do in London according to my sponsored Instagram posts?

Visit Honest House Christmas Market
Honest House is London’s newest ethical marketplace and they were advertising their Christmas Marketplace on the 8th + 9th December on Brick Lane. This sounds right up my alley (or lane!) and if my trains are working this weekend I’m actually going to check it out as I’m curious about some brands. #GoGreen

Go To An Exclusive Gigs With Sofar Sounds
I’m actually signed up to them, but so far (HA HA) I haven’t tried to get tickets for any of the shows as the timings have never worked for me. I should look into making it happen at least once, preferably with an amazing band of course.

Staycation at Hotel Kip
Is it just me or does this sound like the dream: stylish monochrome interiors paired with comfy beds which don’t cost you the earth. But sadly I can’t justify a staycation in Hackney when I live so close to the Overground that brings me to my own comfy, less classy bed.

Treat Yourself At The Boutique Spa
When I was thinking about ‘New Year, New Me’ the answer presented itself in the form of an ad for The Boutique Spa and promised to help me with my nails, facials, massage, waxing, teeth whitening, Botox & fillers, micro dermabrasion AND laser hair removal. At the end I’ll be a whole new Tea. Where do I book?

Drinks at Hackney Coffee Company
Can’t say I’d take a train to get a coffee, but their logo is going to stick with me so if I ever find myself hungry in Hackney I might pop in for coffee, cocktails or food. Or all of the above.

Staycation Kimpton Fitzroy
Apparently Kimpton Fitzroy wanted to let me know they’ve opened in London. Sure, I want it, but do I look like I can afford a night at the Kimpton? Maybe I can sneak into Fitz’s Bar for a drink?

Dine at Hot Stone
Hot stone and bowling was a very popular activity for birthday parties when I was growing up the Netherlands (yes we’re weird!). I love it in theory, but wouldn’t it be more fun if you could bowl with the hot stone afterwards?

Book A Secret Adventure
I’ve actually looked at Secret Adventures before, but never got a chance to book anything. I have since subscribed so who knows I might be sailing underneath the Tower Bridge in the future and being smug how little I paid.

Trip to Fictional Country of Belgravia
It’s as if IG knows I’ve run out of annual leave days so they served me with another London hotel for a staycation: COMO The Halkin in Belgravia. Maybe I can pretend I’m heading to the fictional country of Belgravia that’s featured in Netflix’s finest The Princess Switch and they’ll give me a royal suite?

Galleries … So Many Art Galleries
I’m never sure if I want to step into one of those smaller galleries. I have lots of opinions about art, but I wouldn’t win any debate and I feel like you need to be able to when you walk into one. Out of all the ads I’ve seen John Martin Gallery and Hales Gallery tickle my fancy.

And For Days I Don’t Feel Like Leaving The House…
Stay in and watch obscure film via streaming service MUBI or buy DVDs via BFI. Funfact: I’ve been a MUBI fan since attending a party they hosted at Cannes Film Festival years ago, but their Cheesy Christmas Movies selection is zero so I’m going to stick to my gold old faithful channels for my Xmas film fix.