Thursday, June 26, 2014

Settling in - local sights and new discoveries

Before we moved, I didn't really understand when people described London as a series of villages. I thought it was a quaint way of referring to neighbourhood divisions, where people in NW3 (Hampstead) don't talk to those in SE10 (Greenwich). 

It might refer to that too, but it turns out London is quite village like. Once you move away from the very central areas, there are pockets that feel remarkably like the countryside. We are 15 minutes from central London by train, but if we walk 5 minutes in any direction, we are on tree lined suburban streets that seem a million miles from busy roads and big city bustle. It's very odd. Utterly delightful, but odd. 

Local parks

We have spent quite a bit of time exploring our local neighbourhood, including the nearby parks, pictured above. Centre left is a huge adventure playground of the type I'd have loved as a child. Centre right is a local athletics track. In all of the photos, you will see we have so far been fortunate with the weather.

Highlighting the village feel, on several occasions we've seen local police on horseback. Once they came down our street. Never before have I had police on horseback parade past my window!

Poorly captured police on horses

We have continued to spend quite a bit of time in shops, too. After the whirlwind of our first few days, the shopping settled down, but for a while we made near daily visits to our local hardware shop. We have bought a drill, and we (Mr Bite) have put together a lot of flat packed furniture. Our main living room is still a work in progress, but I thought I'd share some insights into the rest of the flat.


We have a bedroom furnished in white, although the duvet cover is likely to change when we have time to indulge in the luxury of choosing covers in more than 5 minutes. (I think this may be a luxury I pursue by myself. Men and linen decisions don't seem a great match.)


Crucially, the bed has under-bed storage drawers, which will we get good use out of.


We have a new green hall cupboard, which is actually sold as a children's wardrobe, the same one recently purchased by Johanna for her daughter. We are using it to store our vacuum cleaner at the bottom, and to hang winter coats above. As you can see, it also houses suitcases on the top and the side shelves are filling themselves up!


I have a new set of kitchen jars, only some of which are on display.


The others hide in my new kitchen trolley, an essential purchase in order to ensure everything would fit in our kitchen.


Most of the time it lives underneath our bench, and it is proving very useful.


We have also found some time to explore further afield. One of the farewell presents we received was the guidebook Secret London: An Unusual Guide, which holds details of many lesser known attractions. We spent a few hours exploring a selection in the City region, a few of which are captured below.


Far left: Christchurch Greyfriars garden, in the ruins of a bombed-out church.
Clockwise from middle top: Police call box; Bread Box Boy (1688 statue); Samual Johnson's house; wheelbarrow flowers in Postman's Park.

There will come a time where settling in morphs to routine day-to-day living (with jobs and all), but for now, it is pretty delightful making the most of these early discoveries.

Have you explored any new areas near you lately?

29 comments:

  1. Glad you're finding time to explore as well as getting the house sorted. You're definitely right on the village thing. Where I'm based, Marylebone, is even known as "Marylebone village" !
    I love that pretty green wardrobe/hall cupboard, and I have the same Ikea kitchen trolley as you! (though in turquoise).

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    1. I love that we have the same trolley :-) I also love that you're in Marylebone - what a great spot. For some reason I thought you were in Bath (perhaps you're from Bath?) so I didn't realise we were now so close!

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    2. Hi Kari! Emma is studying for her Master's Degree at Bath University so I've been super fortunate to meet her ♥ (and she's just as lovely in real life as she comes across on the web!) I think she's heading back to London later this year x

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    3. Thanks for clarifying Sharon!

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    4. Yes, that's exactly the case! I need to see you again before I leave Sharon!! Thanks for the sweet comments :)

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    5. And I can't wait to meet you too Kari! There should be plenty of opportunity for that when I'm back in London :D

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    6. Thanks Emma :) It would be lovely to meet you in person. Enjoy your last few months in Bath!

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  2. I'm a city girl but I wish I could live somewhere country with the city being a short-ish train ride away. When I went to London I was all squealy at things like parks with the name Common after them, it was all my childhood Enid Blyton books coming to life. Ikea is just awesome when you need to furnish a place!

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    1. Ikea has got serious advantages, yes! I'm glad to focus on one furniture item not being from Ikea (the dining table) after having a fully Ikea house in Australia, but it is just so good for finding things at reasonable prices!

      Enid Blyton come to life sums up some of our experiences exactly :)

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  3. Your place looks great. A very inspiring view out odf the window and unexpected village greens!

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    1. Unexpected village greens is spot on!

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  4. It's fun to see your new surroundings! I visited London for a day a few years ago and hope to return someday. Close to where I live, they employ mounted patrols around The Woodlands Mall (Texas). It's nice to see the horses.

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    1. I think horseback police is really lovely - nice to know they happen near you too :)

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  5. You make me wish I had explored london more when I lived there but I fear I was in awe of the west end and all the amazing history there - though I did fall asleep on the tube once and go to the end of the line but I don't think that counts :-) I did love visiting towns near to london on weekends and am sure you will do a lot of that. Love seeing where you put the green cupboard - ours has filled up but we need a few tubs in those cubby holes I think.

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    1. I think if we lived in the west end, perhaps we would explore less ;) We are definitely looking forward to exploring towns near London - and so many seem to be accessible quickly - and part of me also longs to go to all of the end of tube line stops!

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  6. Your organization and storage is so impressive! I love sorting my kitchen stuff out in jars as well - so practical!

    I love London and it looks like you are having such a wonderful time enjoying the beautiful area you are living in!

    A couple months ago I was out walking with my boyfriend and we came across a gorgeous Medieval Abbey we had no idea was there! So glad we 'discovered' it! The locals always seem to find out about the coolest places :)

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    1. Wow, what a discovery that was! How cool to stumble across that on your walk :-) You're right, locals definitely know the best spots!

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  7. This is so great!! It's amazing how we often overlook our local stops when it comes to travel!! I do love traveling... but it's so great what you can find in your own hometown! :)

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    1. Thanks Cailee, and yes, sometimes 'traveling' at home is the best!

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  8. Your flat looks so cute and cosy and your surroundings are gorgeous too! Glad to hear you're settling in well :)

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  9. It was so fun seeing your new home! I love your jars and kitchen trolley. And yes, I would say boys and linens do NOT mix!

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    1. Boys and most homewares perhaps?! ;)

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  10. Thank you so much for sharing your 'settling in' pictures with us. It's lovely to see how your flat is coming along. It's looking fab!

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  11. It's fun to see you setting up house. It would be startling to have a policeman ride past your window on horseback!

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    1. It was! Also a little bit unbelievable!

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  12. Looks like you're well coped, Kari! Congratulations! I can just smell the fresh air in those photos!

    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

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    1. Aw, thanks Julie! Our fresh air is benefiting from sunshine at the moment - it may be less fresh come winter ;)

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