Just down the road from where I am living sit a row of the prettiest cars in the world. I can picture myself behind the wheel of a baby pink version, or perhaps a sophisticated mocha colour, or even minty green... hmmm decisions decisions...
Yesterday my oyster card got its first outing as a group of us hit Oxford Street. First stop, Topshop (of course).
I love the flagship store, but would never shop for clothes there; rails of clothes stretch into what seems to be a never-ending distance, and the crowds of fashion hungry shoppers can make for a somewhat stressful shopping experience. Instead, I love exploring the ground floor accessories department. I love the huge walls of bags and scarves, and the hosiery department always sparks an unnaturally strong desire for thick wooly tights, over the knee socks and packs and packs of black opaques. When it comes to jewellery the concessions are my favourites, from Butler & Wilson type bling from 'Mikey' to delicate and pretty brand 'Orelia'.
After hitting Oxford Street we headed to an incense scented café on Carnaby Street where we drank coffee on comfy leather sofas and chatted well into the afternoon. Being back on Carnaby Street felt like coming home. The Cosmopolitan offices are based just around the corner, and as I sat with my new friends I couldn't help but think about the time I spent at Cosmo last summer and then again last November. It felt strange to walk down the street again but not be going to work there. I miss it.
Also on Carnaby Street is Liberty, one of my favourite shops (and places) in the world. I didn't think it was possible to fall deeper in love with this beautiful landmark. That was until I saw the photograph covering its back wall.
Today has been an unusually active day for me, and I have loved it. Yesterday morning my flatmate and I went for a wander and stumbled across a tiny patch of calm amongst the busy streets: Regent's Canal, banked by trees and littered with boats, which led on to the leafy Victoria Park.
Whilst in London I am keen to stay fit and healthy, to avoid a diet purely consisting on tinned food and bread and to get out and about and active too. Thankfully it seems I'm not the only one. Exercise is far less fun on your own, so this morning I set off for a jog with 2 other girls, Beth and Lucy, from my halls. We walked and chatted our way to Victoria Park, then did two laps, enough to leave me close to collapsing. Perhaps it was a bad idea to go jogging with a regular runner and a dancer...
Despite the stitch and unattractive scarlet face I felt energised, so much so that Lucy and I then headed down to Londonfields lido for a swim and to join up as members.
The lido itself is just around the corner from our halls, and boasts a huge pool and brand new changing facilities. Membership is as cheap as chips and the pool was lovely. With a grey, drizzly sky above and a cool wind blowing I braced myself for arctic temperatures, but I was pleasantly surprised. The water turned out to be far warmer than the shower I had yesterday morning. (Joy of joys our hot water wasn't working so it was an ice cold shower for me yesterday. Today, however, I spoke to the halls manager and came home to the fabulous surprise of hot water. Stepping into a shower you expect to be freezing to be greeted instead by warmth = BEST SHOWER OF MY LIFE.) I loved the swim and will definitely be back soon.
When I told people I would be living in Hackney I was met by anything from the slightly concerned, to worried to downright shocked. Perhaps my bedroom does look over a graveyard (complete with open tomb beneath my window), perhaps our bin area outside is home to several tramps and perhaps I wouldn't dream of going into the small park opposite our building, but it's certainly not all bad.
Ever the over-enthusiastic new student I have already signed up at the local library, which although being 'rubbish' according to the Londoners that live in my halls, is 5 times bigger than my local library back home and in my eyes, fabulous. They even have books in different languages. Wow. The streets around here are heaving with little shops where you can buy any kind of fruit and veg you could ever need for a fraction of the cost you would pay at a supermarket. The lido is just around the corner, Victoria Park is beautiful, and you know what... it just feels like home. And I've only been here 3 days...