My favourite London

Living in London is like being in a relationship where you fall in love over and over again. It is amazing that after living here for nearly eight years, the city still manages to surprise me, fill me with astonishment, and make me love the place I live. A city that constantly changes, it is a fantastic playground that will always offer new and exciting adventures and experiences.

As spring has brought with it new life and promises of happier days I wanted to share some of my favourite things and places of London.

Going for long walks along the Thames. The tourists might slow you down from time to time, but walking past so many famous landmarks in the matter of a few hours is amazing.

Enjoying the view of the city from Primrose Hill.

Having the cuisine of the world at your fingertips. Whatever you want you can find it.

The rose garden in Regent’s Park. I never knew this existed until three years ago, but now go there every spring when the roses bloom.

Santore on Exmouth Market. My favourite Italian restaurant in London. Try the Rotolo Rustico if you go.

Clerkenwell on a weekend. It’s so quiet and the perfect place to go walking.

Feeding the ducks in Hyde Park.

Camden. Good bars and a fun market.

Angel. A small town within the city. And more good bars!

The sweet shop in Selfridges.

Bea’s of Bloomsbury’s window display.

More to come…


BT Tower decorated in light as London 2012 Olympics are 500 days away

The BT Tower looked exceptionally pretty this evening as I walked home from the office; counting down to the London 2012 Olympics, only 500 days away.

(Sadly I missed the green, red and blue lights…)

I heart Mykea

I admit it – I love Ikea – always have. Every time I head out to the gritty suburbs of London, I am surrounded by a sense of home when I step inside the giant blue and yellow building. Ok, so I am not Swedish. But for most Scandinavians (or just me), this is a haven when you need a fix of modern, stylish, well-designed Scandinavian living. The fact that it comes at reasonable prices is also a bonus.

However, many times my joy of a new purchase has faded once I realise that several people I know have the exact same furniture as is currently in my bedroom. So much for individuality and personal style…

That is now a thing of the past thanks to Mykea. In three simple steps it lets you personalise your Ikea furniture! I know what I’m doing next time I’m adding a piece to my collection.

Expat in the City

For an expat (and perhaps many native Brits too), living in the conurbation that is London can sometimes be a solitary thing. Even when navigating through the buzzing streets, narrowly avoiding colliding with camera equipped sightseers who have suddenly stopped to capture another great memory to show the “people back home” or to consult their maps, finding yourself in the company of thousands of strangers can spark the sense of loneliness.

I’ve had this happen to me many times, not because I don’t like the city or have no friends, but simply because a part of me has realised that I cannot “pop back home for the weekend” (that would take me 3-4 hours in air time alone, not including travelling to and from the airports and waiting for my connecting flight) or that I have no history in this country prior to 2003. And, whether I like it or not, the longer I don’t use my native language on a regular basis, the words will continue to fade. One by one, being boxed up and stored at the back of my memory, getting more and more difficult to find when I need to, slowly removing a part that makes me “me” – my USP if you like.

Luckily some of the above can easily be addressed.

My sense of loneliness will perhaps continue to appear from time to time, but will also quickly pass as I have a great network of really good friends in the city. People I wouldn’t want to be without, people who I consider my London family.

I also have a place I can call home in the city (even if rented!) and I’m excited about the history I will create in the years to come, so the history + going home for the weekend are not really an issue when I think about it.

When it comes to the slow disappearance of my mother tongue… Well that I can fix by starting to write and read more (and not just newspaper e-articles) in Norwegian. So if you from time to time see some weird scribblings at the bottom of my blog posts, fear not. I have not fallen asleep at my mac whilst writing. It will be a translation of the English text. Perhaps you’ll even learn some Norwegian 😉

So yes, among all the problems and joys life brings, being an expat can sometimes add a few more to the mix. But then, this is the life I have chosen, and I am still happy I did!