1 week ago, on the 17th of November, we celebrated our 3 months’ in London.
Less than a year ago we were only just talking about coming for the London 2012 Olympics. Less than a year ago we were laughing about the notion of getting married. Less than a year ago we were celebrating our engagement with dear friends and family over Christmas and New Years in New Zealand. A month later our trip to London had turned into a honeymoon and we were planning a wedding. In April of this year we were juggling work, settling a house flood claim, trying to sell our cars and belongings, trying to find a home for our beloved cat, packing up our house, coordinating a wedding and planning the most elaborate honeymoon we could afford.
What can I say… we like to keep busy. Aside from a few months’ time off in Lyon, France, we have recharged our batteries and have been running around London like bees in a hive. Like children in a sweet shop. Like crazy newlyweds.
We have been bowling for a friend’s birthday, went an Oktoberfest beer festival at Ascot Races and samples amazing food from markets in London (my favourite is currently Borough Markets).
For the moment we are still stranded in London, waiting for the return of our passports and replacement workings visas. But considering how much London can offer, and we might only have two years here, we have been cramming as much as we can into every spare moment.
We had a wonderful few days the weekend my parents visited from France. Celebrating their arrival on the Friday night, we enjoyed a fantastic meal (and champagne) at Jamie’s Italian, one of the restaurants owned by renowned chef, Jamie Oliver. Luckily, the next morning, the November rain (drizzle) held off long enough for mum and I to go shopping on Oxford Street, before we met up with Dan, dad and cousin Hayden at the local pub in time to watch the end of Arsenal dominating their arch rivals, Tottenham (5-2), and the Australian Wallabies beat the England 20 – 14.
After a few beers we strolled past the Tower of London and Tower Bridge to St Katherine’s Dock where we shared a very nice Indian meal together. It was wonderful to catch up with Hayden and we hope to see him again before he returns to Australia in the next month.
The following morning we briefly visited Columbia Road Flower Markets and Brick Lane markets before heading to the Natural History Museum for the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. The exhibition was incredible and I hope that Dan and I can get back there soon for the dinosaur exhibition (perhaps when there are not as many kids around). Exhausted from our big weekend Dan and I were thankful to settle down for vegemite toasties on the Sunday night after we saw mum and dad off at the train station.
Last Thursday a group of us laughed our way through ‘Laugh or the Polar Bear Gets It’, a Friends of the Earth charity comedy gig at the famous Apollo Hammersmith Theatre. We were lucky enough to see a line-up of 10 international and local comedians which included Stewart Lee, Ed Byrne, Charlie Baker, Danny Bhoy and a hilarious Francesca Martinez.
On Friday and Saturday we enjoyed a few nights out with new friends in Clapham Junction and Clapham Common. As always, we missed the last tube home on Saturday night and found ourselves on a bus trying to get home just before dawn. Not wanting to spoil the opportunity, I quickly convinced Dan and our friend, Nadav, that we had to watch the sunrise from Sushisamba at Heron Tower, in the City of London. The Heron Tower is around 202m tall, making it the City’s 3rd tallest building after One Canada Square in Canary Wharf and the newly completed Shard, on the south side of the river. I had heard that there was a 2 month wait to get on the list for dinner and had been disappointed to miss out such a view during the summer months.
We took our chances were guided to the high-speed glass lift that shot us up to the 39th floor. The lift is for Sushisamba customers only and has a strict checking-in procedure at the street entrance to prevent joy-riders. Suffering only slight vertigo, we discovered the most breath taking panoramic views of everything in London including the Tower Bridge, the curling Thames, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Gherkin and the Shard across the river.
We scoffed down the most delicious (and reasonably priced) English breakfast as we watched the most spectacular sunrise, on the only clear day in weeks, over London (except for Dan who decided that the yoghurt and fruit was more appropriate in our setting). It was truly one of the most surreal experiences and I could only think that we are some of the luckiest people around (despite broken feet and stolen passports).
After such a wonderful weekend I was grateful to have such a lovely team at work to return to on Monday morning. 3 weeks ago my contact as a Personal Assistant ended and I was able to secure an extension until January as a Marketing Development Manager in the marketing department of the same company.
Things are looking up for Dan too! He started a temporary entry level position on the phones with a marketing company two weeks ago, and just yesterday had a second interview for a 6 month office position with a private University.
While we are loving London life, obviously this is not the kind of lifestyle that we can keep up. I am also interested in finding out all of the things that you can do in London on a budget (for an upcoming blog entry). So this week we started the £100 challenge.
The rules are simple: we have a £100 each (which is actually very reasonable) for the entire week. No more. Since we have paid our monthly rent this will only have to cover everything else. Of course we have made it into a competition so I will be updating the blog with our progress…
I must say that I was a little worried last night when I went out to dinner with a family friend to Wright Brothers, a cosy oyster bar in the heart of Borough Market, near London Bridge. I had a minor freak out when I saw one main on the menu for £118, but realised that the rest of the menu seemed very reasonable… I was treated to a lovely drink and entrée and have the mind to take Dan back for a special treat one day.
Tonight we have a leaving dinner and drinks in Clapham Common for our friend Kat who is moving to Brisbane next week. Considering this is only day 2 of our £100 challenge hopefully this won’t break the bank!
We have so much to look forward to in the coming weeks and months. The silly season has only just begun!
First Published on: Nov 27, 2012 @ 14:55 #12monthhoneymoon