London Life: House shares

Thursday, 27 March 2014


Let's talk house shares. Having lived in London house shares for almost 4 years I thought I’d pass some wisdom on to any of you newbie’s out there.


A London house share can be a daunting experience, especially if you are new to Town. House shares in London are the norm; the majority of young professionals are living with random people they have met through spareroom.com or easyroommate.co.uk. So even though your friends back home might not understand and think you are weird, it’s going to be ok. Everybody’s at it! 

I have been extremely lucky in my house shares and can honestly say that some of my best friends in London are girls I have met through spareroom.com.

Here’s my top 5 tips for a happy home


Cost


You need to get over this – pronto. It’s never going to be enjoyable paying around £650 a month for a room in a shared house. Never work out how much you could have saved in a year or naively go on Rightmove to see the mansion you could be renting in Manchester for the same dollar. This will just have you running back to mum and dad within a month.

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Research


Are you cool and trendy (East London) or a sporty graduate with your first job in the city (Clapham)? Ok, that is a total generalisation but it’s likely you will enjoy your house share more if you go to an area of London where you like to spend time. Clapham, for example is an extension of a student life. It's filled with young professionals, playing sport, eating out and partying. Do your research.

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Location


If you like an area but can’t afford it then go a couple of tube stops away so you’ll still be
 close by. Can you get there quickly on a night bus? If no, then don't live there. 

If you want Clapham then try Brixton, Balham or Tooting . 
If you want Highbury then try Finsbury Park, Arsenal or Archway. 
If you want Shoreditch then try Hackney or Stoke Newington.

You get the idea.

If you want Covent Garden….. then lower your expectations, princess! 

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Be picky


There are LOADS of people hunting for house shares in London and it’s really competitive so be prepared to face an interview style panel when viewing houses. Don’t let the pressure push you into making the wrong decision. Hold out for great house mates.

A swanky pad with people you have nothing in common with will not make you happy.
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You must have a cleaner. 


This rule will save endless rows. A cleaner split between 4 people is nothing but the dirt of 4 people is disgusting. If you are a clean freak then you will end up doing all the cleaning and living in constant frustration, and if you are a filthy animal then your housemates will bad
mouth you.
Save all the hassle and get a cleaner. You’re welcome!

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To finish, I’ll share a little story:

Let me set the scene, you come downstairs in the night to use the loo. The bathroom door is shut with the loudest rumbling sound you have ever heard coming from inside.
 

What could this be?! A bear? A train!?

You wake up your housemate for backup. She seems a pro at this and grabs a coin to undo the lock. Inside you find your drunk housemate slumped on the toilet, pants around her ankles snoring her little heart out. She’d been on a first date and obviously filled herself with the courage of the Dutch!! She never lived this down! 

Now if hilarious midnight adventures like that don’t make you want to live in a house share then I don’t know what will!


Always remember, London is the greatest city in the world so it’s all worth it in the end. If you choose well, you’ll get a great bunch of new friends and a lovely home.

Good luck. Now off you go my lovelies and find your piece of home in the Big City!

Little London Girl x


The Ginger Pig

Monday, 24 March 2014

Once upon a cold December evening, me and Jane were tucked up in a cosy pub eating what must have been our 3rd pie that week when we decided enough was enough and a pie promise was made. From that moment on we would only embrace pies for the month of December.

Why such a silly promise you ask!? Good question.

Well we felt that our love of a pie was in fact so great that we were ruining any chance of bikini ready bodies, by filling our bellies with delicious stew wrapped in pastry. But alas there are some rules which are made to be broken and when a Ginger Pig butchers opens a stones throw from your bedroom window..literally, then it is a sign from a higher force not to be ignored.


Here they are, my lovely new neighbours. And don't they look handsome. Ginger Pig butchers are located in various trendy spots across London, but now we are lucky enough to have one in Clapham. They provide meat to the best restaurants, notably Hawksmoor, who potentially need to partially thank Ginger Pig for their title of "the best steak restaurant in London".


I love the look of the shop, very classy. I'm always a bit intimidated going into a butchers on my own, surrounded by all that meat and not quite sure what to ask for. Or what if when told the price it is ridiculously high and you don't want to show yourself up so you just pay anyway. On my few visits to the Ginger Pig they have been so friendly and welcoming and the price has been very reasonable. You can ask them for cooking advice too which is a real bonus.


The Ginger Pig doesn't just sell raw meat, they have a deli counter (which holds the pies!) and they also have chutneys and other delicious looking treats.




On my recent trip I took myself straight to the deli counter, I knew what I was looking for. A Beef Bourguignon Pie, which are huge for the value price of £5.50. I couldn't have been more excited!


Look how delicious it is!! I cooked it for 30 mins at 180 degrees. I was clock watching the whole time as the tempting red wine and steak smells escaped from the oven.


And then it was ready!! 


One quarter for me......


And 3 quarters for DG!

It was 10/10 as pies go. Crunchy pastry, not soggy in the slightest and delicious meat inside. 

I think the Ginger Pig is definitely worth breaking the pie promise for but next time I'd better share it with Jane so I don't feel so bad! They are most definitely not healthy!  

Little London Girl x





Fatal Attraction: A Bunny Boiling Good Show!

Friday, 21 March 2014

The film that coined the phrase “bunny boiler” is back following adaption for the West End and I was lucky enough to go along to one of the preview nights. Thank you Jamie Lee and your amazing connections!

A cheap dinner was needed this evening. We are all tightening our purse strings to get our bank balances back on track as Jamie Lee has just bought a house, and sadly all I have bought is too much food!! Tuna baguettes all round, yum yum. Thankfully the theatre tickets were free so we kept to our austerity measures! After dinner, we excitedly skipped along to the Theatre Royal Haymarket. I’ve never been to this theatre before and it was beautiful. No photos allowed unfortunately.
For those of you who haven’t seen the film, Fatal Attraction centres on a married lawyer (Dan) who has a casual affair with a woman (Alex) he meets in a bar, leading to her complete obsession with him and the slow and painful destruction of his family life. Well if that isn’t a lesson to you boys, then I don’t know what is!

We were extra excited because Fatal Attraction is where Kristin Davis (Charlotte from Sex and the City) makes her West End Debut, as Beth the unsuspecting dedicated housewife. Starring alongside Kristin are the wonderful Natascha McElhone as Alex the psychotic singleton and Mark Bazeley as Dan the cheating scoundrel.
  
The play is set in modern day New York. Mark’s American accent was questionable from the start with a a couple of awkward moments of pausing to remember his lines but he soon settled into his role as a man you'll be disgusted by. Natascha was fantastic. Her portrayal of Alex was powerful and moving.

In comparison to the film, you feel quite differently towards the characters, I felt compassion for Alex’s craziness throughout the play and disgust for Dan’s “why me, why me?” attitude and complete lack of remorse. Unfortunately Kristin’s character didn’t really give her room to shine but the slap is very enjoyable!

A real negative for us was the scene changes hidden by blinding blue fluorescent lights which we felt were unnecessarily bright and looked outdated. Perhaps a nod to the original 80’s production?

Overall a great production, slight changes to the original storyline in that he is well and truly destroyed by the end but the key scenes still remain. Let’s just say the bunnies of London will be quaking in their hutches!    

Fatal Attraction, directed by Trevor Nunn, opens at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on 25 March.

Get yourselves down there; bring a boy if you want to give him nightmares!

For tickets contact:
Theatre Royal Haymarket
18 Suffolk Street
London
SW1Y 4HT
Box office: 020 7930 8890

Have a great weekend.

Little London Girl x


Irish eyes are smiling

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

On Sunday over 100,000 people ascended on Trafalgar Square, sporting any item of green clothing they could find, in search of the good craic! St Patrick’s Day is celebrated hugely all across the world and London was not going to let the side down.

Now I’m not one to miss out on any sort of occasion, so I grabbed the girls and headed on down. The sun was pounding as we mingled in with the pale skinned, red haired, freckled crowd, I’ve never felt so at home. Sun cream was a must for about 90% of the crowd I imagine and I had my factor 30 on!




The day consisted of bands, Irish dancing and some clowns climbing up on and jumping off the fountain. I'm sure A&E would have had a few more coming through their doors last night than a usual Sunday.







It was a great day, drinking cider and revisiting my old Irish dancing lessons. My nan would literally have loved it but there's no way I'd get her through all those crowds. She had her own party at home to celebrate though, she's more party girl than me!

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you embraced the Irish in you this weekend, I'm sure there's a little bit in all of us!

Remember you can follow me on Bloglovin to make sure you don't miss any new posts.

Little London Girl xx


Patty & Bun with Fun & Sun

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Today I met up with the preggo one (Sammy), to continue our quest for the best burger in London. And on our second attempt I think we nailed it! Chosen burger joint of the day: Patty & Bun.  


Patty & Bun lives at 54 James Street, just off Oxford Street. The sun was shining and the queue was pretty long. The waiting list is well managed by friendly, enthusiastic staff. Luckily the turnaround is quick so we only waited for about 20 mins but we didn't mind as we got to soak up some of that rare London sun. We were both starving as I'd come straight from the gym and Sammy had decided to walk the miles from Camden, probably a bad idea with a big baby wriggling in your belly! 



We both ordered the Ari Gold Cheeseburger and a side of chips with rosemary salt. 


The restaurant is very basic and small. They really cram everyone in so its an intimate vibe where you'll end up sharing a table with strangers so you need to be the chilled out type, which luckily we are. All customers were gobbling down their big juicy burgers and seemed very content. Its definitely more of a fast food joint than a place where you'd spend hours chatting over a long lunch. 


No cutlery or plates in Patty and Bun. You just have to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in. 


When you unwrap the packaging, you get this beauty inside!! How good does that look!?

Usually when I have a burger, I spend time dissecting it to remove gherkins, add ketchup etc but this burger was literally perfect. I didn't have to change a thing. Although Sammy was a different story and was crying out for gherkins. That might be the baby's request though. It was cooked perfectly and very messy to eat. Meat juices were dripping everywhere so you need to just accept it, eat up then clean up afterwards! 


We decided we'd give Patty and Bun 8/10, which is an amazing score from us two picky people! Reasons for score deductions: the bun was a bit wet from all the meat juices which ruined it slightly plus the quick service style reduced the score as you felt you needed to eat and move straight on. All in all though, a great burger, amazing Patty and Bun mayo and a reasonable price. The burger isn't too big either so you don't feel uncomfortably full afterwards. We think we might have found our "Number 1 Burger" on our second try, how good are we!?

Patty and Bun -
Cost: £10 p/head for burger, fries and soft drink
Food: Fast food burger joint
Address: 54 James Street, W1U 1HE
Type: Quick lunch/dinner, fast food style 

After lunch and a quick shop with Sammy, I headed over to Putney to visit Claire. Claire has done what every Londoner hopes to achieve and bought herself an amazing flat. I've only been to Putney once to visit Fez Club (a cheesy bar with light up dancefloor!) so it was the perfect opportunity to head on over for a tour from a local and a chance to soak up some more sun by the river. 

There was a rowing competition going on so there were loads of people pottering around, carrying huge boats, taking boats apart, wearing very tight lycra! Unfortunately it was all women though! Putney feels like a seaside town so with all this going on it really felt like we'd escaped London for a day out by the sea. 


We wandered along the river to check out Fulham Palace. There were families and groups of friends out in force enjoying the sunshine. 



These cheeky guys were soaking up the sun from their own private fountain!

Then we went down to nosy around the boat race to see what was happening. Putney is the place to be if you are interested in rowing or if you want to hunt down some rowers!






I've had to include this picture, just because we couldn't figure out how this would ever happen. We ended up in a bar called the Boathouse which wasn't great, then we completely ruled it out from any future visits when we saw this loo! Sort it out Boathouse. 



It was such a fun day out in London. The sun makes everyone so much happier, all the girls are in cute floaty dresses and all the guys have their tops off. What more could you want? Let's hope the sun sticks around for a bit. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Little London Girl x


Little Miss Dean's Big Day Out

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

There’s nothing more exciting than a friend coming to visit for the weekend. Especially when its one of your university friends who you miss terribly, and who is celebrating their birthday! This weekend, Little Miss Dean came to stay and I was too excited for words. 


We planned an ambitious day out of London fun starting at 11am and ending at 3am when we crashed back into my flat with aching feet.


First StopChoccywoccydoodah 

If you haven’t heard of these guys then you need to check them out. They are amazing artists who create the most beautiful sculptures out of chocolate. And excitingly once you crack through the sculpture there is a cake inside. How good is that?





I first came across Choccywoccydoodah during a weekend away in Brighton and was wowed by the cakes. They have a café in the shop which has a whole range of chocolate treats on offer. I was so excited when I stumbled across the London branch, just off Carnaby Street, but every time I have been the queue is huge so we set off early to make sure we got in.

Here's the birthday girl! 

We chose the dipping pot to share and washed it down with refreshing pink lemonade.


Then had a little wander around the shops.



Next Stop: The Monument. We’ve already visited most of the tourist attractions in London but we haven’t climbed The Monument and as the weather was so lovely it seemed the perfect day for a good view.

It was built between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London and to celebrate the rebuilding of the City. The Monument has a whopping 311 steps and stands at 61 metres high (202 feet) – the exact distance between it and the site in Pudding Lane where the fire began. Its not often that you get a history lesson on my blog, eh!?



311 steps wouldn’t defeat us, and we started our climb. The view at the top was amazing and definitely worth the effort.




Who needs the Shard when you can come here for £3?






New stop: Boris Bikes. Me and Little Miss Dean love a bike ride so every time she comes to stay we grab some Boris bikes and hit the streets. Today we used them as our mode of transport from Monument to Shoreditch High Street.


Next StopBox Park, Shoreditch. Boxpark opened in 2011 and will be open for 4 years (so not long left). It’s a shopping mall made of shipping containers, creating a venue of low cost and low risk pop up shops.


There was a mix of fashion and food stalls but considering the low cost, low risk promise for the brands, we didn’t see any low cost products that we could actually afford. However the sun was shining and the music was pumping so we still had a good time soaking it all up.


Bunnychow featured in Time Out recently but we were too full after all the chocolate to test it. A good excuse to come back though.



Next Stop: Home for a quick outfit change. Now it was party time! T and Catherine joined us for the next stage in our day of fun. Venue of choice was DSTRCT. It’s a small club in Piccadilly Circus which is expensive! Not one for a cheap night out. Entry is £20 but we managed to sneak in for free, work your lady charms. You are given a rose on arrival by a naked hunk of a man, then a free drink. Plus there were cupcakes for eating everywhere, very strange, but we weren't complaining.


The pictures stop from this point on as we were preoccupied with the dance floor.

As you can see the drunk eyes were creeping upon us!

Hope you all had a great weekend and enjoyed the sunshine. Let me know of any exciting places you've found on your London travels. I would highly recommend The Monument for anyone who has a few £1's in their pocket and can handle 311 steps. Coming down was actually the hardest part! 

Little London Girl x


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