I blearily cracked open an eyelid – my proper first view of a London morning was framed by the bright red struts of a dorm room bunk bed. I was finally here, and I knew my first job was finding a flat to rent in London. Disclosure: This post was commissioned by Nestpick, who work with more than 1 million listings from 100 trusted partners to provide expats with the biggest selection of mid-to-long term furnished apartments for rent on the internet.
When I arrived in the UK 13 years ago, I had booked my (relatively expensive) temporary accommodation in a hostel on the recommendation of my Travel Agent for a couple of days of as a stop-gap, so that I could start to get my bearings in the city.
My Dearest London,
I feel like I’ve said why I live in London a hundred different times and in a hundred different ways. After all this time I utterly adore you. Even when you drive me crazy. It’s all your fault.
After exclaiming at my British accent (for some reason I seem to be at pains to tell people I am of antipodean origin) people always ask me how I ended up living on the other side of the world. It’s a strange combination of a gypsy soul, an obsession for old buildings and the unusual feeling of homecoming on Heathrow tarmac despite never setting foot on English soil before. But the reason for staying is you (plus a bloke and green-eyed cat which are both definitely your fault.)
In some respects I have a ridiculously long memory: flavours, kindnesses, lyrics to 90s pop songs, houses that have friendly cats. It’s also in respect to restaurants that I fancy visiting. and Galvin at Windows is somewhere that had been on my list for more than an age.
We just hadn’t quite gotten around to booking a table, but luckily my Mr Kiwi has an even longer memory than me (or is just more susceptible to hints) so for my birthday, he treated me to a million dollar view over London – and a Michelin starred dinner to boot.
We’ve all done it. Booked a crazy early flight, or a flight that lands so late that you’ll struggle to get the last train from Stansted Airport and across London to get home. It’s taken me years not to trust the ‘oh, it’ll be ok’ thought when booking and settle on one hotel where to stay near Stansted Airport.
I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to step off a plane late at night and walk through the foyer of the Hampton by Hilton hotel. Or, wake up early in the morning between the crisp, fresh sheets and meander over to the Airport check-in desks.
One of the best things about living in London is the ability to travel around the world by simply hopping on the Underground and crossing beautiful restaurant thresholds. Take for instance Bombay Bustle in the heart of Mayfair – on paper their Samosas Dosas and Mimosas brunch menu is intriguing, but once you pick up your fork, it’s a whole new world of brunch flavour. Disclaimer: We were guests of Bombay Bustle, but all enthusing is entirely my own.
My toes haven’t yet made it to the exotic subcontinent of India, but I do so adore exploring the flavours as often as possible by way of utensil – it’s become by far one of my favourite fares.