London has and will always have a special place in my heart; it excites, challenges, consumes, surprises, comforts and fulfills me all at the same time. With all things new and exciting the novelty can wear off, but this never happened with my London love affair, even after almost ten years living there.
Those of you that know me know that once I set my sights on something I want it to happen yesterday! Four months ago the seed was planted to move out of the city and get back to my roots in the West Country. As of two weeks ago I’m proud to announce I am a Somerset girl once again… So bring on the Thatcher’s, the Wurzels, and the gorgeous sunsets! I’m already picking up my West Country twang again!
There is such a divide between country life and city living, and having enjoyed the perks of just visiting the quiet life for the last decade I’m still getting used to the switch. People living outside London and looking in seem to have a negative view of the city, believing it to be some big bad monster that would swallow them up. Part of me almost feels like I have let it down by coming back to the countryside; and those critics will think they were right about my old friend London. In fact since I have been back I have had many comments of ‘..had enough of London have you?’ and ‘…I could never live in London, I don’t know how you stuck it out for so long…’. But I loved living in London and there are loads of things I will be heading back for on a regular basis as I miss them already!
London. Is. Huge. For the average tourist it must be daunting and there are so many wonderful little places and unique opportunities that they probably miss out on. Part of its beauty is that it can be whatever you want it to be. If jumping on the Underground to Waterloo and taking a ride on the London Eye then heading for a swanky dinner and a cocktail at the top of The Shard for a breath taking city view, before finally hitting Leicester Square for some celebrity spotting and casinos is your idea of an evening in London, then you have all of that at your feet. But the city is so much more than that, and I want to share with you one of my favourite ways to spend an evening…
I love going out for dinner in Brixton Village. It’s a sensory overload, a melting-pot of different people and cultures, Independent cafés like Federation Coffee and restaurants serving every type of food you can think of. Two of my favourites are pulled pork in vanilla-smoked brioche buns from The Joint, and the Massaman beef Thai curry from Kao Sarn – wow! After dinner, catching a flick at the cozy Ritzy Cinema (you can take a glass of wine in with you!) is a favourite of mine, and when the film is done, just jump on the 37 bus to Peckham and head to Frank’s. Following random neon signs past art installations through a disused car park will be confusing at first, but when you step out onto the roof it will all make sense as the view of London from Frank’s is one of the very best. I really like the festival-feel with big communal tables under canvas and the cool breeze wafting around while I’m enjoying a night-cap!
An amazing website I frequently use is www.greatlittleplace.com. If you are ever visiting the capital do yourself a favour; forgo the tourist attractions, avoid the crowds of people, dodge the underground (there are many other less stressful ways to travel), and write yourself up an itinerary of things to do solely from this website! From secret cinemas and pop up restaurants to quaint little tea rooms and beautiful scenic walks; you will see London in a whole new light, I promise you.
Now having moved away from the city I am very much looking forward to getting my teeth stuck into London again and enjoying it with a renewed sense of excitement when I’m just visiting. It may sound strange but sometimes you have to make the decision to step away from something to really appreciate it. I am making my album in London and will of course still be gigging, visiting friends and generally spending plenty of time there. It will be like I never left! But for now this West Country lass has returned to start a new chapter exploring a new city, Bristol.
So with a glass of Thatchers cider in hand I want to propose a toast: To home… wherever that may be.