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Monday, 30 April 2012

Taj Ma Brighton

Ever since I set foot in London, I have been itching to get out and see a bit more of England and the United Kingdom in general. It's not as though I don't like London, it's just, that.. I know that there is so much more to England. Enter Brighton.

Brighton's reputation as a free living hippie town has surprisingly made it all the way back to New Zealand. I had always planned to visit Brighton and frankly I am so glad that I've managed to squeeze it in in my first month. Already I cannot wait to return. For those reading this back home, Brighton is like Whangamata. It is laid back, quirky and it has a certain charm that you just can't help but fall in love with.

For only thirty pounds (return), you can catch the train from Victoria right after work and be in Brighton within the hour.  Within two, you can be sitting on the (pebble) beach, beer in hand, eating fish and chips and staring out in to the sea.  Utter bliss.

With my bags packed, I said goodbye to London for 48 hours and headed to the shores of Brighton.  After stuffing my face fill of food (and beer), I absolutely crashed to the sounds of waves and had a proper sleep. No London traffic/noises to be heard....

I awoke early on Saturday and with a hiss and a roar, I was off to explore the sites. But before getting in to it, I needed to refuel- Brighton styles. Don't judge. I told you- It had been a rough week all right?

Tummy full, I was on my way to explore! I headed to 'the lanes' where I managed to find the best lollie shop EVER, the coolest little antique shop and the yummiest cupcakes. See below.


Going for a ride..

Best fish n chips. Seriously a.m.a.z.i.n.g

As I wandered through the lanes, I stumbled across a cupcake shop and of course, I had to go in. I stood no chance in just merely walking by. I was not disappointed- Brighton knows how to bake. No pun intended.

The next day, I wandered around Brighton, headed to the Pier and sat on the beach. It's funny because as I sat there gazing out in to the ocean, I couldn't help but be reminded of home. Though, instead of feeling sad or home sick- I felt a sort of connection- that in a way, I was home. It was nice. 

All in all Brighton is a special little gem and a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of London. The time I spent there flew and I really felt as though I had had a good break.  Already I am planning to go back, when the weather has settled a bit more- so I can conquer the sea and have a swim!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

These are a few of my favourite things...

Ten things I miss
most about New Zealand

10. Squiggles. Possibly the best biscuit that I have ever come across. McVitie's Digestives- you come close, but no cigar. 

9. Good coffee. They don't have long blacks in London. There is nothing more to say.

8. Sheep. Hey- I'm feeling a bit home sick- okay?

7. Shapes. Yum.

6. Coromandel Beach. Utter bliss.

5. Pies. Not cornish pasties. Pies.

4. A quiet street. Seems silly, but you do not have the luxury to stroll along the path, taking your time and taking up space. It can be quite chaotic. People here barge. 

3. Dotti. My bank balance despised you.

2. Friends. Yes I miss you all. A lot. A drink (or two) is just not the same without you.

1. Family. Who would've thought? (Just kidding mum).

Where'd she go...?

I realised today that it has been a while since my last post. Don't worry- I have not dropped off the face of the earth, I am still here and life is pretty good. In my defence, things have been busy with settling into my new job and I find that all of the sudden the weeks are flying by and we are almost in May. Before you know it, I'll be 24 and a half (May 18th people- all presents and cards welcome). Scary stuff I tell you.

Moving on...

As I said, things have been incredibly busy on this side of the world and I am sad to say, my blog has suffered as a result. Sorry blog.  I have been exploring London in between meeting new people with every spare moment of time that I have. And I hate to say it, but it is strange to think that already I have been here one whole month. Only twenty three left.

I came over here with the philosophy to try everything, do as much as possible and say yes to every opportunity that presents itself. I am proud to say that I have embraced London in all of its glory and have pretty much said yes to everything. Aunty Anna- you would be proud. As a result, I have met some wonderful people, gone from one end of London to the other and I have even spent an afternoon paddle boating in Hyde Park. It was one of my favourite things that I've done here and it went down a treat with a g & t.

The month that I have been in London has been full of highs and lows. There have been a few tough moments that have had me question why I came here, but then those moments
have been cancelled out by the amazing people that I have met and the opportunities that I have been given. With the risk of sounding corney, (though I fear it may be too late..) this journey has truly changed my whole view on everything and  it has only fuelled my desire to keep travelling around the world and do as much as possible.

Already, I have had the opportunity to travel to Belfast (courtesy of work) and this weekend I am off to see the infamous pebble beach at Brighton. I can't wait. Next weekend, I'm heading to Paris for a weekend of wine, cheese and more wine. In June- Galway in Ireland. After that, who knows? I've got my eye on Jordan and Morrocco. Anybody keen?

Unfortunately I have settled down on the photo taking front so alas- once again you have had to read through my babble with limited photos to distract you. But, do not worry. There are so many exciting things on the horizon that I will be sure to have my camera ready.  Below are a few odds and ends that I found for you all. I promise that I will go back to Hyde Park and take more pictures as I simply loved it there. Nicole and Jared, it is the British verision of Central Park. Seriously.

Looking over Hyde Park on a Saturday afternoon...

Hyde Park


A small drink after a hard day paddle boating...

Titanic memorial in Belfast (it has been a 100 years you know?)

The below three pictures are from my daily walk over Waterloo Bridge to work. I honestly feel like Bridget Jones when I walk over the Bridge. Haha. No in all seriousness, the photos do not do these sites justice. Every morning (when it is sunny that is), I actually have a wee 'I can't believe I live here' moment as I see St Pauls and Big Ben staring back at me. It is pretty damn cool.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Like a bridge over troubled water...

This week has been one of many firsts.

  • I was offered a job as part of the adjudication team for the NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council).

  • I travelled to Camden solo using the underground.

  • I found a flat and consequently moved in.

  • I went to my dream show- wait for it- WICKED.

All in all, this week has been nerve racking, exhilarating and intense. However here I am, sitting in bed with a cup of tea, thinking about what I have achieved in the last seven days.

The highlight for me was receiving a phone call on Monday after going for an interview at the NMC and being told that I had secured a position as a panel secretary. Not only does this mean that I will have a steady income (and a good one at that) but I am also being given the chance to work as part of a panel in a job that I am truly passionate and excited about. The three days that I have spent in medical misconduct hearings have been insightful and sometimes I can't believe that I am actually getting paid to sit there and listen to the numerous cases and matters being tried. I feel as though I have had more of a legal education in the three days that I have worked at the NMC than what my my five year Law degree taught me. Enough about that though. I just wanted to share how much I am enjoying my work and how excited I am to be given a job that I truly find challenging.

Moving on.

One thing I really love about London is just how big and dynamic the city is. For instance, each suburb (whether it be in the North, South, East or West) is totally different to the suburb before and truly has its own individual identity.

Last weekend, I was able to  spend a few days in Camden after being introduced to the 'trendy' spot by a friend. I loved it so much that I insisted that Sarah join me in visiting Camden to attend their weekly Sunday market. It still blows my mind that every weekend when I visit or explore a new London location, there are millions of people flocking the street. The crowds in London are ever present and you really have to be quite firm and aggressive if you want to get around. Apparently it is not rude to barge over here, it is simply the London way.

After spending a few hours in Camden, Sarah and I made the train journey back home but not before stopping in Clapham for a pot of tea and a Sunday reflection session. I think I've said it before, but Sundays are fast becoming my favourite day of the week.

Now, I'm not sure if you are aware of this, but for the last four years, I have been harbouring a deep dark secret. You know what I'm talking about. One word. WICKED. A few years ago, I stumbled across the book of WICKED and was instantly encapsulated by the enchanting storyline (if you haven't read it, you should). Ever since I read the book, I have been obsessed determined to go to the show and experience it in real life. On 4 April 2012, that dream become a reality. I got to go to WICKED for only twenty-five pounds and my goodness, it was worth every single pound. One thing I love about London is the accessibility of shows being played in the West End and I am really looking forward to going to more!

Super excited!

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, this week has had a lot of 'firsts'. One of the more major ones would be that I have moved in to a new flat in London. It is warm, cosy and already I feel at home. I am excited to finally have my own space (it has been over a month) and I have now graduated from sleeping on the floor in to my own bed. Sleep is such a treat now. It feels really good to have a flat sorted so as I can get myself settled in to my new life. For now, I feel peaceful and satisfied that I have ticked off all the major London boxes and I can finally take a bit of a breather until the next obstacle arises.

Moving day!

I hope you are all well back in New Zealand or wherever you are. I do often wonder what I would be doing if I still lived in Auckland and how dramatically my life has changed. It certainly makes food for thought.

Until next time.....