Category: Life

A Whitstable weekend

seagull oysters fisherman For the bank holiday weekend me and Henry hopped on the high speed train to Whitstable. It’s only an hour and a bit away from London but feels like somewhere much further. The air is fresh, it’s super pretty and very English. It isn’t tacky at all like a lot of British seaside towns (though I do love tacky…), I’d say it’s much more charming and old fashioned. The whole high street is mainly local shops and it feels like a very creative little place. We stayed in the best little cottage/glorified beach hut(?!) ever. Everything inside was to the best taste; beautiful gold copper lights, House of Hackney pillows, Habitat dining chairs, David Hockney books…
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Istanbul pt. 2 – Hagia Sophia and The Blue Mosque

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There are mosques everywhere in Istanbul, and when I say everywhere, that’s no exageration. Our flight arrived to Istanbul just before midnight, so to save money on the first night, we stayed in a cheaper hotel. I was having The Best Sleep Ever, when I was woken up to the super loud call to prayer from a mosque which was right next to our bedroom window! Kinda weird to wake up to when not expecting it, but also amazing.
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One of the activities that all Istanbul guides in existance say is: visit Hagia Sophia and The Blue Mosque. So we did…
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Istanbul, Turkey – Bosphorus, Soho House Istanbul & lots of delicious food

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Phew! I’ve finally edited all my Istanbul photos and now I’m wishing I was still there drinking beers in the sun! It’s such an amazing city, all based around the beautiful Bosphorus stretch of water. It’s actually bigger than London which surprised me during my pre-trip research. There is so much to do, and during our 5 days there we definitely didn’t cover everything! Highlights were the Galata tower area, a Bosphorus river tour (totally do it), exploring the Mosques (post number 2 – to come), eating all the foods and the Grayson exhibit I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.

Istanbul is certainly a product of it’s geographical location culturally. It feels very middle eastern in lots of ways, which I love: the people, the mosques, the food. But then it feels very western: the galleries, the little shops, bars, the younger trendier kids everywhere! For example the area around Galata tower feels a little bit East London or Berlin. But then it’s really unlike anywhere I’ve been in Europe, yet not quite as strict and influenced by it’s religion as the Middle East.

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Henry kindly took me for my birthday and we stayed at Soho House Istanbul which was the best hotel I’ve ever been to! You’re not really allowed to take photos in the Soho House buildings but it was incredible place, a 19th century palace. The food was also super nice in there. Though in Turkey, most of the food is AMAZING… I’d get obese if I lived there for sure.
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My top 10 tips for renting in London

Renting in the capital is a nightmare. Firstly, it’s horrendously overpriced which means most people in their twenties have a lot of restrictions on what they can actually afford. Secondly, estate agents have a terrible reputation and from my experience I would say that reputation is more than well deserved. Those two things combined can make the whole situation way more stressful than it really should be.

As I’ve rented in London for around 7 years now, I’ve definitely learned some tips and tricks to ease the pain, slightly. I’m moving again in a few weeks so I thought I’m probably able to give some fairly decent advice for anyone thinking of moving house in the capital. Also I’d say I’m quite good at this house stuff, maybe because I’m a pro internet stalker… ha.

Here are some things I’ve learned for anybody thinking of renting in London:

1. The internet is your best friend

Don’t bother going into physical estate agents. It will be a waste of time. If you know some agencies in the area you wish to live in, send them an email and ask to be put on a waiting list for any new properties that fit your criteria. Sometimes they will email you properties before they go up on their website or in their office.

The sites I would recommend for flat hunting are: Zoopla, Gumtree, Nestoria, Rightmove, Moveflat. Be prepared to spend half your life on them, if you see properties as soon as they go live, you’ve got a better chance. You can now set up alerts on Rightmove too, which is probably the most depressing thing ever.

2. Location – the more you know, the more chance you’ve got

Know the postcodes, streets or areas you would like to live in. The more you know about an area, the easier it is to search for. You will get more relevant properties if you do this rather than just searching the borough eg. Hackney, Islington etc. Searching  E9 5EN for example, you’d have properties near that street, it just narrows down your search which is time saving.

Also research the area and check if there are any specific housing estates that rent too. A lot of the time they do not advertise, it’s a matter of finding out if they exist and then contacting them. That’s how we found our new place.

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German Shepherd puppies!

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Over the bank holiday I visited my family in York. My parents breed pedigree German Shepherd dogs and Poppy has just had a litter two weeks ago. They are so so cute, hopefully you’ll agree! Over the 4 days I was there, they had already grown a lot. I’ll be going back to see them again in 3 weeks and they’ll be around this size! So exciting. Get ready for some puppy spam… (exit now if you don’t love dogs!)
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