Monthly Archives: November 2014

Things to do in London – December

DecemberEach month, I scour the web to find the best and most unique things to spend your free weekends doing in the big smoke! This month – its all about Christmas obvs.

1. Outdoor Ice Skating: This is something that I did a couple of years ago now. There’s just something about ice skating outdoors around fairy lights and christmas trees that just gets everyone festive even if they aren’t much of a Christmas person. Previously, I’ve ice skated next to the Tower of London, this year; I’m thinking the Natural History Museum. Somerset House seems to be the most popular and is pretty much booked up already so perhaps plan that one for next year! Book tickets here.

2. London Architecture Walks: Again, something that I’ve experienced before. A training architect guides you around all the Christmas lights through the streets of London starting in Trafalgar Square. It’s something a little bit different but is an amazing thing to learn about – you even feel like a little bit of an expert by the time you’re finished! I went on this tour at least 2 years ago and I still remember the facts today! Plus the tour guide was so lovely! Find out more here, tickets are £15pp and well worth it. It is something that does get booked up fairly quickly so be quick!

3. The Enchanted Woodland: If you can’t tell already, I really enjoy wandering and exploring places. Which is why, I was completely sucked in by the pretty lights of the Enchanted Woodland at Syon Park. All the gardens are lit up with lights and you could end up wandering around for hours exploring. I think it’s perfect for those wanting to get out of London for a little bit – but hurry because its only on until the 7th December! Find out more here, the nearest tube stop is Kew Gardens and it is £7 a ticket.

4. Craft Day making your own Christmas Crackers: I love a bit of craft now and again, I’ve even challenged myself to either make or personalise all my Christmas presents this year! So to get the ball rolling, I’m going to attend the ‘A Cracking Wallace Christmas! at Wallace Collection’ and even better – it’s completely free! You get to make your own Christmas crackers – this may be targeted at little kids but I am a child at heart! Find out more here.

5. Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park: How could I not mention this. My first Christmas in London,  I feel that I should go to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. I’ve had a few friends go now and they all love it. But Victoria Park is also having its own ‘Winterville’ if you prefer the alternative. I comes complete with a Town Square, a Market Place, Downtown areas, a pop up pantomime, a mini nightlcub, live music, comedy, cabaret and a bunch of food stalls. Need I go on?

Christmas Shopping in London

Firstly, apologies for this late post. I have been battling a cold and sore throat this week so haven’t got round to writing this post. Since its now less than 5 weeks till Christmas *gulps I thought it would be nice to find out where the best places are to shop around London apart from the obvious Oxford Street which I imagine can get quite hectic around Christmas time! So I hope you like my recommendations!

The one for when it’s raining outside – More often than not, in England its raining especially in these Winter months. As nice as it is perusing all the boutique shops, having to constantly put up and take your umbrella down gets a bit tiring. So sometimes you just want to hide away in a large shopping centre, forget about the weather outside and stay warm. And I think the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford is perfect for this! It has pretty much every shop you could want plus lots of nice restaurants so you can spend the whole day there and get the majority of your Christmas shopping done!

The one for market stalls – If you want lots of market stall types then my best choice is Spitalfields market. In my honest opinion, sometimes I do find some market stalls to be a bit boring because sometimes they can all be a bit same-y. Whereas, I’ve found that Spitalfields just has so many stalls that there really will be something that you’ve not seen before! Plus there are still some boutique shops nearby if there isn’t everything that you want in the market.

The one where you want boutique and high street – I headed down to Russel Square where I was pleasantly surprised. I think its a bit of a hideaway in London because when you’re there, you don’t feel as if your in the middle of the City. It has a small range of high street shops as well as some food stalls. But if you wander a bit further out, there are some really cool little shops – they are amazing to look at but probably somewhere where I would never actually buy anything! Maybe in the future!

The one to get in the Christmas mood – I think Covent Garden truly offers the best of both worlds plus you will never forget that its nearly Christmas with all the large beautiful decorations! There were even some reindeer there the weekend I was there! I think its the perfect place if you’re with your family because there really is something for everyone there. I love all the little shops but don’t confine yourself to the square around Covent Garden. Venture out to the streets off Covent Garden like Long acre road and you’ll find some bigger stores that suit everyone! IMG_0220

IMG_0217IMG_0213The one to visit after work – The Southbank Christmas market near Waterloo station has lots of stalls but isn’t very big so it’s the perfect size to stroll around after work – plus there are some amazing food stalls that you must take advantage of! The views are amazing along the river and walking through all the Christmas trees makes it really festive. There are some interesting stalls but mostly its made up of jewellery and candle stalls but I recommend trying out the Thunder Toffee Vodka stall!

One of my favourites part of Christmas is being able to buy everyone special gifts, I have to be careful and not start too early otherwise all I want my family to do is to open their presents way before Christmas! If you ever get too tired trawling the shops then there’s always online shopping from the comfort of your own sofa in front of the TV!

How to survive your telephone interviews!

Whilst I’m working away in the ‘real world’, I have a few friends who have managed to remain in the student world through masters degrees. They may get as many lie ins and nights out as they want, but it also means they have to go through the torture of endless online applications, telephone interviews and dreaded assessment centres. So in light of that, here are my top tips on how to do well in your telephone interview! Remember, I’m no expert, I’ve just had some experience in taking part in telephone interviews.

Preparing for the Interview

RESEARCH the company in detail. Its not just about knowing its vision as a company but what are its main challenges in its industry at this point in time. What are its strengths as a company? If you are able to link these to the reasons you want to work there, then this will only provide more evidence to the person interviewing you.

KNOW ITS VALUES. Almost all companies will have a set of values/behaviours that they work by, make sure you can demonstrate how you fit in with these values. These could be anything from ‘seizing responsibility’ to ‘trying something new’. In a phone interview, I like to have these in front of me but don’t do this if this will distract you.

PREPARE some questions for them. This only emphasises how eager you are to work for them!

Just before the Interview

SMART CLOTHES I’ve found that if you dress up smartly, you are in a much better frame of mind. And remember, every little bit helps. It might be the difference between being successful and unsuccessful!

TIDY Wherever you decide to have your telephone interview, set out the table you’re sitting at. Set out any notes that you want to have during your interview, but get rid of anything else you don’t need. My best tip is to make sure you have a glass of water incase you get a dry throat with all the bigging yourself up that you’re going to do!

ORDER OF SILENCE Make sure everyone else in the house knows that you’ll be having an interview so that they don’t disturb you and make sure you have enough charge on your phone!

During the Interview

SMILE All the interviewer has to judge you on is your voice. So put some effort into it, and its simple to do this. Just smile and naturally your voice will sound happier and more upbeat. Imagine listening to someone talking on and on in a monotone voice!

BREATHE Before answering any question, take a couple of seconds to just breathe and think about the 3 key points you want to make in your answer. (So you’re not rambling) This may feel like a long time on the phone but it’s not! Hopefully, this will make your answers have more clarity and it will be easier for the interviewer to understand the key points.

KNOW THE QUESTION If you’re unsure what they are asking, ask them to clarify the question. I like to write down the main parts of the question quickly so that I don’t forget mid way through my answer what I’m trying to say!

None of these tips will guarantee you success but hopefully it will help someone this year in their phone interview! Good Luck!!

A Weekend with the Girls

Last weekend, my best friends from University came to visit me and check out my new London home. Here’s a little run through of what we got up to!

Saturday

Obviously, I must begin with breakfast! I put on a full on spread of bagels, yoghurt, fresh fruit, granola cereals, toast, smoothie, juices, coffee – as much stuff that three people could eat!

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Breakfast

We’ve done Oxford Street shopping enough to get it out of our systems! So instead, we headed for Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford for a calmer experience! We also took advantage of being so close to the Olympic Park and took a short walk around the park. It was a bit of a grey day and there appears to be a lot of construction work going on – but it brought back all the memories from when I was there during the Olympics of 2012!

After stripping Primark of its cutest dresses and warmest jumpers, we were starving! For lunch, we headed to the ‘Real Greek‘ which was so good that I completely forgot to take any photos! All three of us shared 8 meze dishes which was super good! My favourite dish was definitely the Hummus, something so simple but it was so much better than any of the kinds that you can buy in your local supermarket!

I shall skip straight to dinner because that’s the most interesting! We hadn’t booked anywhere for dinner so didn’t have much choice. Eventually, we headed to Byron Burger near Covent Garden. There is also one near where I work, every time I walk past it, I ponder over everyones food and it just looks so inviting so I couldn’t resist it! The burgers were so good and it kept us satisfied whilst we wandered around Covent Garden late into the evening.

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Burger at Byron Burger

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Covent Garden

Sunday 

After wandering around Hyde Park for a few hours, we headed to Portobello Road in Notting Hill. It has always been one of the places I’ve wanted to visit since moving to London, mostly because of the film! I can hand on heart say, it’s been one of the most interesting places I’ve been so far in London. It’s so different to the rest of London – I had to remind myself where I was! I loved all the small boutique style shops, the people, and all of the crazy little things for sale!

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Hyde ParkIMG_0188

 

Notting Hill IMG_0189

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Boutiques

We also headed to Portobello food market where we tried Venezuelan food. Instead of bread, they use a mix made up of cornflower and water and fry it. Once its cooked through, they it in half and fill it to the brim with chicken, cheese, beans, fried banana and avocado sauce. (I may have missed a few ingredients!) It was delicious and well worth a try!

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Venezuelan food

Overall – it was a great weekend! As always, mainly revolving around good food and good chatter! Again soon?!