Friday, July 20, 2012

Life. Countdown to London and a chat with Kat

133 days. In 133 days (minus a few between me writing this and posting this) I will be living and working in a city I have never been to, in a country where I hold citizenship but have never actually set foot on. In fact, I have never even been in the general vicinity of England. Yep, that's right, I am a travel newbie. I went to Thailand a few years ago but that's where my travel experience ends. I am unable to imagine what life will be like for me come December 1st, or what a long haul flight is really like, or what the hell I am meant to pack when moving to another country. It is a little overwhelming, but also completely exciting. I won't go over completely blind though; I plan on absorbing as much information as I can about England.

Miss Made from 365 Days of Made also happens to be heading to England for a year in September and we got chatting about the idea of doing some collaborative posts leading up to our departures, so expect to see loads more of these themed posts over the next few months! We thought it would be fantastic to speak to British Bloggers about their lives in the UK in the hope that it will help us when it comes time to settle in, and considering I love Brit blogs the list of people is fairly long. I couldn't go past Kat from jemima.and.ted for the first post though, her blog is super lovely!

I asked Kat about her tips for life in the UK and why she loves it so much, here is what she told me!

What do you think makes living in England great?
For me, it’s the scenery. England is so pretty – it’s so idyllic and quaint, I often think that and I live here all the time, so I can imagine visitors love it! Some places really are how they’re shown in films. And it’s pretty safe, I love that too. And of course, we have a good highstreet selection of shops!
Is there anything about your home country you wish was different? Easier? What makes life difficult sometimes?
It’s tricky, you always look at other countries and think, I wish we had that! Brands, shops, the usual. But I guess the weather would be something I’d like to change! I like the winters, don’t get me wrong, but a decent summer wouldn’t go amiss! We haven’t had one in years and it does get tiring. That would make my life easier, sun!
What are your top tips for getting through the bleakness, the rain and the cold that England is famous for?
Embrace it! It’s cosy and festive. That’s what I think. Invest in some cute coats, scarves, mittens and enjoy it. The rain isn’t all that, but going for a nice walk in the frost or walking to the pub in the dark one evening really can be lovely.
Say you were a first time visitor to England, where is the first place outside of London that you would visit?
For me, because I’m biased, it would be Winchester which is where I live. It’s a really beautiful, quaint city - not too big but so pretty and you can spend some time looking around the shops as well as the history. Other cities like Oxford and Bath are gorgeous too – I like towns with history!
What are your top 5 London spots/shops/events that are a must see?
As I don’t live in London, I guess I’ll probably end up naming pretty touristy things! But I love, Selfridges, Fortnum and Masons (department stores) Borough Market (an awesome food market), Brick Lane (in East London, loads of cool shops, markets and Asian restaurants!) and the V&A for fashion exhibitions!
Are there any parts of London you would recommend staying away from?
It’s tricky as I don’t know London that well, but my sister lives there and my parents used to work there. There are some places in all directions that aren’t that savoury, but you’ll get that anywhere. Just be aware and if you’re unsure of an area, stick in a group. Generally though, I feel pretty safe in London (touch wood).
Which is the best supermarket chain for groceries?
I’m a real Sainsburys lover I have to say. But the big ones (Asda, Tescos, Sainsburys and Waitrose) are all good, you can’t really go wrong. Asda is sometimes cheapest and Waitrose the most pricey, but it depends where you are and what you’re wanting to buy! I think I just like Sainsburys for their doughnuts!
What are your favourite British budget cosmetics brands?
I’ve recently got into MUA which is a mega cheap brand you can get in Superdrug (Superdrug and Boots are our two high-street cosmetic stores!). They’re make up is good and so cheap. I also like Rimmel and 17 for makeup, and Natural Collection. As for skincare, Botanics (which is Boots own) is fab and Soap and Glory (again Boots!).
Where is the best place to buy underwear and affordable basics like leggings and singlet’s?
It’s got to be Primark I guess. It’s so cheap but not always the best quality! But you can get leggings and vest tops etc there and they’re alright! Underwear I tend to go to Marks and Spencer which isn’t mega pricey, but average and a lot better quality. 

Make sure you go and check out both Made and Kat's blogs!
Have any of you spent some time in London? Tell me about your favourite London place!

xx Samantha Alice

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  1. Great idea! I love Winchester too. I went to uni there and it's a really beautiful place.


  2. I'm super excited for you! I lived in York, England for about 4 months during my college years studying abroad. You. Will. Love. It.
    If you get the chance, hop on the train to York for a day. It's a great little city, where there's lots to do and see (and shop for, oh my!!!) and it's all easy to find on foot. Oh, and it's adorable. The city was built up by the Romans, and you can walk on the original stone walls all the way around the city. Yes, on! It makes you feel a bit like a guard. :)
    I second the suggestion for Sainsburys. Marks and Spencer is the same food for twice the price, and Sainsburys often has its own brand of products that are much more affordable.
    You're going to have an AWESOME time! I miss that country so much. Take lots of pictures!

  3. I'm so excited for you. I know you have been wanting this for a really long time. You are much braver than I. I wish I could move somewhere else new.

    I know you will just love London and have the time of your life!


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