Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A trip to the Camden markets

A day off. The sun is shining. It's a little bit chilly. Not to worry, this is the perfect day to visit the Camden markets. Pip and I have been once before. It was a rainy day, we were poor and we went with my friend Campbell. This time we had some cash, time, and it was Wednesday so not so crowded.

We stopped at the local Camden 'Eat' cafe first to get our caffeine fix. It wasn't as good as the 'Eat' in Knightsbridge. We then meandered around, through and between the stalls, shops and rooms full of everything from vintage clothing to fish foot baths. I managed to find a nice new cheese cutter hat and a tweed coat, Pip came away with a nice 5 pound top. We also had the most amazing pizza for lunch. It was an Italian place which made the pizza in front of us. It was delicious and possibly the best one since we've been in London. Another great find was in an area that was closed, this random cafe which I took a picture of.

The little cafe we found inside the Camden markets.
If you enter this place it's like a cornfield made of t-shirts.
Pip tries on some head gear.
Pip looks out at the Camden Lock.

Camden Lock.
An overhead rail at Camden.
Pip shops in the Camden markets.
Pip makes yet another difficult decision at the Camden markets.
Pip got this for just 5 pounds. And she's pretty happy about it.
I finally found a hat.
The windy paths in the Camden markets.
Not too many people on a Tuesday.
Waiting for lunch.
Fantastic pizza.
Om nom.
Om nom.
My new get up.
Pretty wall sheets.
Sit down, have a bite and a smoke.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Good job

Yesterday Philippa and I both received great news on the job front.

Here is my news:
Pip and I headed into Kensington to sample a Cafe that I had spotted a couple of days prior. The Cafe is called 'Montparnasse' it was ok... It really could have been something special as it had many qualities that we like in a Cafe. Unfortunately it lacked a few things. No music/atmosphere. It came across as dirty and the decor and furnishings seemed only half properly thought out, and even less frequently maintained. But it was cosy, and outside was cold.

Almost cool. Montparnasse Cafe.

After this we went shopping at Urban Outfitters. Well not so much shopping, as we had no intentions of buying, but they really do have some neat things for sale. Clothes that are cooler than Topman/shop (with a price to match) and heaps of random nick nacks of which the majority are actually worth buying. Anyway, I had a missed call from my Cafe manager. When I checked it, there was a message to come into the office as soon as possible to meet with the Dryland manager... Ok... We were only a block away from my work so I went straight in, leaving Pip to peruse the clothing racks at Topshop.

I was taken to our first-class meeting room where the boss said that she was promoting me to joint team leader with my colleague Laurent. We would now be in charge of leading the team, keeping consistency, calling the shots on the shop floor and pretty much being the eyes and ears of the Cafe manager Marie. PLUS a 2 pound an hour pay rise effective 2 days prior! What great news! I know it's going to be a big step up for me as I am still new the the whole industry but it's a great opportunity and will make things easier on the back pocket.

To celebrate, Pip and I went to a Cafe around the corner from work called 'Exeter Street Bakery' which had been talked up as good... It wasen't really, the flat whites were weak and tasteless and the food, average at best. But, the day became better still that afternoon.

Exeter Street Bakery was a bit of a let down.
Here is Pips news:

So after celebrating Steve's good news at the cafe, we went to M&S for some quick Christmas wrapping paper shopping, then kissed goodbye as Steve headed of to work and I jumped on the tube home.

When I got back to the love-shack I opened my emails and found one from a lady named Rachel, who had interviewed me a few days prior for a press relations role I was quite keen on getting. The email contained good news! It said they were very pleased with me in the interview and would like to offer me the job!

Of course I gladly accepted. Press Relations is a direction I've been wanting to take with my career for a while now, and the extra money will make things so much easier for Steve and I.

So with Steve's promotion and my new job, I'd say that was a pretty prosperous day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Living in London

I'm writing this post from the dwelling where Pip and I hope to call home until July next year. It's been two and a half months of housing madness.

Our first experience with living in London came in the form of St Giles hotel near Heathrow airport. The idea was to sleep off some jet lag at a easy to find hotel close to the airport. The picture below was the room that we were in, although even if everything in the room was the same as the photo, I can't work out why the place seemed so run down in real life. It was hot and the air was filled with the aroma of cigarettes. After 30 hours flying, we didn't care too much.

Nights stayed: Two

St Giles Heathrow didn't actually look as good as this.
After we slept off the jet lag, we moved into a lovely little place in Westminster called Lidos Hotel. It was small but cute and was quite a nice little roof over our heads while we took in some sites.

Nights stayed: one

Pip enjoys our hotel in Westminster.
As was stipulated in an earlier post, our arrival in London was quite the experience. House number three was situated above a beautiful old English pub in Oxford. The Trout Inn turned out to be a winding maze of revolting, unlivable mess.

Nights stayed: one
The Trout inn hides a dark secret.
Dwelling number four was called Dylan Apartments and was located in Earls Court. It contained a lovely infestation of bed bugs... so we got moved to a bigger room.

One of many bed bugs found in our bed.

Nights stayed: one

The YHA hostel in Earls Court was the stop-gap sleeping arrangement for one night because we couldn't move into our new home until the next day. I had to sleep in a room full of inconsiderate travelers who kept everyone awake all night.

Nights stayed: one

The YHA, a savior for the homeless but a bit outside the comfort zone.

30 Chatsworth road came about after a meeting with Britbound put us in contact with Accomodation London. We were desperate and this was the best we could get. Located near a tube on the top floor off a house that was about to be demolished, we were awoken several nights by a three storied waterfall caused by the hot water cylinder outside our room. Plus cold showers and people who smoked inside made this two month lease a wee bit too long.

Most annoying thing: 3 flights of stairs to make the morning coffee, and doing it all again when you forgot the spoon.

Nights stayed: Two months worth

Moments later, the table and chairs were taken from our room...

Decent sizes wardrobes marked the first time we'd moved out of our suitcases.

The view from 30 Chatsworth Road.
At the time of writing, we are still with Acomodation London. Slightly further out, paying a bit more but at least we have everything. A nice home for winter for Pip and I as we get our London lives sorted. We are happy here for now and plan to stay until the price rises in July next year (Olympic time). We sort of left the whole house searching thing until the last minute so we were forced to make a decision. After all the websites we used turned out to be scams, this seemed like the best way around it. A place to ourselves is all we really wanted and now we have it!

Nights stayed: Until further notice

From the outside. It's a flat out the back of a house of flats.
The lounge and part of the bedroom.
The kitchen.
The bathroom.