Just moved to London? These are the apps you’ll need!

London

Whether you’ll be travelling or moving to London this year (2017),  this post will give you some tips on what are the most useful apps you’ll need during your stay.

Those days when we used to travel “light” with a map and a guide book only are long by now, today our daily lives are made easier by technology and the use of the phone for each little thing we might need is ingrained in our daily habits: from checking the news, emails, weather, transports and bank,  you’ll definitely need your phone, even more, when on a City Trip.

 

The Big Ben at night. Photo By Roman In London

 

  • Uber

A great app to have, it lets you find a taxi wherever you’re at, and you don’t have to deal with the hassle of paying the driver in cash as it’s all taken from your registered credit card. On the plus side, it’s about 30-50% cheaper than a traditional black cab.

  • City Mapper

Simple, sleek, and super helpful, City Mapper provides up-to-date transports times and line updates, the route planner is particularly useful, allowing you to optimise for a shorter journey or fewer changes.

  • Time Out London

You may be able to pick up a free copy of Time Out on the tube or around hotels and cafes. If you don’t find one, make sure you use the Time Out London app for suggestions of things to see. They list the latest events, culture and nightlife and have lots of suggestions for first-time visitors too.

  •  Bus London

Never wait in the cold again thanks to UK Bus Checker. The app will give you live bus times at any London stop so you know exactly when to show up at your stop to catch your ride.

  •   Meetup

If travelling solo or just looking to meet people I find this a very useful app as it gather a wide range of interests and opportunity to meet like minded people to have interesting and fun times

  •   Just Eat

This is internationally known and widely used almost everywhere. If you get too tired after a day touring the City this is a good app to use to get your dinner (or breakfast delivered).

  • Opentable

Eating out in London is quite an expensive business, but there are bargains around if you know where to look. Opentable, which handles reservations for up to 80% of London’sMichelin-starred eateries, can provide restaurant discounts on everything from quick bites to fine dining in over 4,000 UK restaurants, as well as nearby restaurant searches and the ability to book online.

  •  Currency Converter App

If coming from abroad you may not be used to the Pound and might experience the constant challenge of doing currency conversions in your head. Any currency converter app is, therefore, a must companion.

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10 Things Italians living in London may find amusing

tube signs

It has been five years since I’ve decided to take a couple of suitcases with me and wave goodbye to my folks in Rome to start a new adventure in London. As an Italian however, the first approach to the Anglo-Saxon culture can be a bit of a shock (in a non-dramatic, but the entertaining and funny way).

What I’ve always been repeating to myself though, is pretty much ‘When in Rome do what Romans do’ and it worked out well. Embracing a different culture can only enrich your soul and widen up your mind. However, still, there’s some funny stuff that I couldn’t help but share with you – if you’ve ever considered moving – and that’s what most Italians thinks when in London.

TMI

Info overload is a thing in London, Mind the Gap anyone?

Although, admittedly, in few instances, it had actually helped me. In fact, if it wasn’t for the mindful floor sign at the crossroad – that shouts where to look at –  I’d probably won’t have lasted that long in London when first moved (and even now at times, well actually most of the times).

That ‘awkward’ silence on public transports

Memories of Italian’s loud and overcrowded public transports are all long gone by now. Public journeys in London are actually sacred mediums for silence and contemplation. Most people can get annoyed if you are talking too loud over the phone… Beware! Although, rules are rules and those might be slightly different on any given weekend after 5 pm.

 

tube signs

 

Happy Hours don’t actually involve the presence of food

As an Italian, (stereotype alert!) I’m used to drinking wine or cocktails as part of a meal or at an aperitif. Our ‘Aperitivo’ or ‘Happy Hour’ mainly consists of a buffet with all sorts of foods (the more the merrier!)  that you can eat along with your ONE drink of choice.

Which literally means give me more food than booze.

 

via GIPHY

                                      

Being promoted at work

Although it may sound awkward, being recognised for your efforts in Italy is not an easy and so standard process. Working hard could sometimes lead you to actually be even more frustrated than anything else as – rarely – there’s a chance of a big pay rise. Sad truth.

 

via GIPHY

 

Or Actually Having to work

Another upsetting truth is that finding jobs in Italy is not an easy task – nevermind your dream job – so, what has really shocked me (in an astonishingly and beautiful way) was that after moving to London, it only took me a few weeks to find my first occupation.

Without getting into too many details, youth unemployment rate in Italy, even tough recently has decreased is still quite high (36.90 percent). Therefore having to move abroad sometimes is not really a choice but a necessity.

 

via GIPHY

 

Four seasons in a day

Ever happened to you? Entering the tube when it’s sunny and hot and getting out when it’s windy dark and cold?  Well, It definitely has to me and that is NOT so funny. Lol.  Cloudless blue skies can soon part to make way for torrential downpours.

   

 

The fine art of the small talks

Small Talks or “Chit Chat” are quite a fundamental part of the British Culture and at first got me totally unprepared. In fact once happened when being asked, “How was I doing”  that I’ve replied with an ingenuous “Totally shit today!” and got a fearful and scary look in return. Do never do that, for any reason. Whatsoever.

That subtle – typically British –  way of explaining tough stuff by always starting on a positive note it’s a tricky art to master, especially for an Italian!

 

 Canned Spaghetti

Yes, there is such a thing.

canned spaghetti

 The “I’m sorry, not so sorry ritual”

 

Finally, the amazing and multicultural melting pot that this City really is and that I’m grateful to be part of.

 

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Staycation this Easter? Here’s what London has to offer

As spring gets underway, this will guide you through

the best of the calendar this April

 

1. Art & Exhibitions

 

Watch Twelfth Night

In casting Tamsin Greig as “Malvolia”, director Simon Godwin refocuses Twelfth Night. Tamsin Greig stars in the National Theatre’s adaptation of this beloved Shakespearean classic where romance and gender collide with comedic flair.

Tickets from £15 at Nationaltheatre.com.

 

Master the art of the selfie

We all knew it: It was only a matter of time until someone decided that a selfie can be classified as a work of art. The Saatchi Gallery is –  as always – one step ahead of the curve with its pioneering exhibition: From Selfie to Self-Expression.

Free admission at Saatchigallery.com.

 

2. Easter Choccolate Treats

Try a chocolate scotch egg

Decadent cream egg-style fondant. covered in a brownie ganache and then rolled in crushed mini eggs. Is your mouth watering yet?

 

Photo Credits Channel4

3.Things to Do

“The Passion of Christ”

Participate in a mass religious-inspired performance of Jesus’ final days. As every year a re-enactment of Jesus’ final days, via a free performance from more than 100 actors, volunteers and performers. The 90-minute performances  are also projected onto big screens,

Friday 14th April; 12pm and 3.15pm, Trafalgar Square

The wildest egg hunt

An Easter egg hunt alongside entertainment and activities. This Easter Sunday you’ll be witnessing the  ‘the wildest egg hunt in South London’ – with lots of fun and “wild” activities such as magicians, craft activities, performers and face painters. This event is for all ages all day before Midnight Riot Records take over at nightfall for an epic adults-only after-party.

Credits Travioor

Sunday 16th April  at Pop Brixton

Easter Light Show & 500th anniversary at Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace is celebrating its 500th anniversary this year over the Bank Holiday Weekend. This will involve a  live cooking event in the Tudor Style,  and the launch of TimePlays – a series of micro-plays telling the stories of the palace’s rich history.

There is also a spectacular Easter Light Show every evening. hcp500.hrp.org.uk

 

Southbank Easter Fun Fair

Workshops, family activities, dance schools and parties at Southbank Centre, easter Food Market, even a bunny. This is what you wouldn’t really want to miss out. FOMO is bad.

https://southbanklondon.com/our-guide-to-easter-on-south-bank

When 1-17 Apr

 

Tall Ships Regatta

More than 30 vessels sailing along the Greenwich and Woolwich riverfronts for you to enjoy river-themed activities and fireworks.

13-16 Apr

 

Photo credits VisitsLondon

 

Easter Opening Hours and Transport in London

Good Friday and Easter Monday are both public holidays.

Most attractions are open over the Easter bank holiday, but check with individual venues in advance; particularly to find what is open on Easter Sunday in London. Shops are closed on Easter Sunday, Public transport services, including the London Underground, may be reduced between Good Friday and Easter Monday, so plan your journey in advance.

 

 

 

 

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Cerith Wyn Evans at The Tate Britain

Cerith Wyn Evans art Installation. Photo By Roman In London

Cerith Wyn Evans art Installation. Photo By Roman In London.

A neon explosion of glow has recently been installed at the Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries. Welsh Artist Cerith Wyn Evans’s new masterpiece Forms in Space…by Light (in Time) has won this year Tate Britain Commission.

‘Cerith’s installation sits beautifully within the space, unfolding as you walk through,’ explains Clarrie Wallis, Tate’s Senior Curator of Contemporary British Art.

It seems all random when you walk in but it’s not.  As you come closer under the suspended lighting hanging from the ceiling, you can actually notice that there are patterns: cones, triangles, ovals.

There’s a rhythm to this mass of electricity. Apparently, hidden in the design are references to a host sources, from Japanese ‘Noh’ theatre to Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass), 1915-23 (Noh is a traditional form of dance from Japan).  Marcel Duchamp, the father of conceptual art is also an inspiration for the artist.

You can see this installation until the 20th of August

Info:

 Duveen Commission, March 2017.

Address: Millbank
London
SW1P 4RG
Opening hours: Daily 10am-6pm (last admission for special exhibitions 5.15pm)
Transport: Tube: Pimlico/Vauxhall
Price: free
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House n. 4 | Dalston – East London

            Finally I managed to move into the new flat and spend some time around to explore the area and.. here I am to tell what are my first thoughts about it.

When it comes to changes and transitions I’ve always experienced some sort of excitement, but, sometimes,  this excitement does translate to a  bit of stress. Luckily, and as soon as I finished unpacking, I started to feel a little more at ease in the new “Environment”. It definitely didn’t last long!

At first sight, Dalston,  seems to be just a random and chaotic east London Suburb, with a big daily market, few cheap shops and lots of Turkish restaurants (I would also add “an interesting concept of Clean),but although hard to believe, I have to admit that I can see why it has been defined as one of the coolest and trendiest postcode in London.

“You can walk down the road and see everything from Pam Hogg squeezing a melon in the Ridley Road market to a man wearing a sack preaching to the traffic lights,” as Hanna Hanra, editor of the Pix. “Everything is possible. It’s a fabulous, optimistic place.”

Here is a list places that I’ve been to over the last couple of weeks and which I have absolutely loved:

 1) Viva Tapas Bar, Mexican Restaurant

 

image

 

Small, informal and intimate. Decorated with a nice vintage touch,  exposed bricks and low lightings. The big painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe does not intimidates me as soon as I enter the restaurant and I can truly enjoy a fresh tequila based cocktail.

To complete the Mexican atmosphere, I had Nachos with guacamole and a Quesadilla with pork. Delicious!

2) Walk by the Canal 

 

canal-geese

 

Walking down the river can definitely help you in changing the pace of the day. From the busy Kingsland Road to the calmest atmosphere.. it’s, in fact, just a matter of few minutes walk.

I’d recommend heading straight down to the canal and walking in either direction – either to Angel or Victoria Park.

3) Farmers Market – Broadway Market

 

market

Given the fact that I’m a food lover, I couldn’t really miss the opportunity to go first thing after moving to a new areas in search of the best market, grocery shops that it has to offer.

The Broadway Market is open on saturdays in a ittle East End street between the Regent’s Canal and London Fields.

It offers a variety of different tastes and cultures: stalls, shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes.

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Moving to London… which is the best area?

Moving to London? If you are trying to figure out which area could possibly be the best to live in… well… I might have some info for you based on my personal experience.

Having relocated few times already, I had the feel of the various vibes that certain areas of London could give you.

Although, at the time being, many areas of London are undergoing into the process of gentrification and are in constant change – read change as “getting way more expensive”-  this is how I’ve seen London within the last 3 years:

House n.1 –  Belsize Park – North London

When I first moved to London I had the pleasure to live in the lovely area of Belsize Park, where I shared the flat with Eliza (also a blogger ) and Hanna.

Most of the North London area is very elegant and classy. You can find there some of the most popular residencies (and some celebrities too), but the whole package can come up with a pretty high price.

 

 

specialreports_2edb.Belsize-Park-Gardens-London-Boom

 

In fact, Belsize Park is quite central, suburban and the average price of a double room can come to up to £1000. Mainly, the reason why I moved somewhere else.

Best areas to live in north london are:

– Camden (North-West).

Very busy, but with the perfect combination of transport links

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– Stoke Newington (North East)

Very close to Islington but the rents are cheaper. Less pleased with the transport links.

– Islington 

Upper – middle class live here. Pretty area.

If you’re looking for something more affordable, you’ve got:

– Kentish Town 
– West Hampstead
– Finsbury Park 

 

House n.2 – Wimbledon – South London

 

I absolutely loved living in Wimbledon! Leafy, pretty (Postcard Pretty) and with that “small, happy villagey” vibe.

The village is my favourite part, especially during the summer months. These pictures were taken at the Cannizaro House, a picturesque hotel/ park/ restaurant close by to the Wimbledon common park,  which I’ve discovered randomly when I got lost in one of my walks.

 

cannizzaro house mod

 

South London is definitely not only confined to Wimbledon though, but is a very mixed bag of places. Running from the multi milion pound mansions to the poorest and roughest areas.

Streatham and Balham have now improved a lot over the last decade and are getting more pleasant, whilst areas like Nunhead and Peckam are still notorious for being… ehm not the “safest”.

And, if you don’t mind living a bit further out from Central London you can try Croydon. You can get the overground train and in 28 mins ca you are already into Central London, you might just need to remember to catch the last train home or you could be in for a very, very long bus ride!

 

House n.3 – Greenwich – South East London

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Been living nearby Greenwich for almost 6 months now, definitely not one of my longest tenancy.

Very good in terms of safety, less in terms of transportation links (especially if you work nearby east london). In this instance as well, if you miss the last train home there is only one night bus that runs only almost EVERY HOUR, therefore you’d better not.

Accommodation wise is still reasonably priced, and in the future a good amount of businesses will be moving in too.

Greenwich  hosts few antique and food markets and is the set of many London films such as “The Italian Job”.

Neighbourhoods to live in this area would be:

Greenwich
Canary Wharf 

 

Soon to be… House n.4 – Dalston – East London

 

Young, creative? Then Dalston is definitely the place for you. In 2009 Vogue Italia declared Dalston as the trendiest and coolest neighbourhood in London. Will need to update you on this bit once I move in!

Those, in my opinion, are some of the best places to look at.

 

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A first taste of London

Having just recently celebrated my third year in London I thought it’d have been nice to share some of my favourite shots I’ve taken that I believe most represent my relationship with the City…. Here you go!

 

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Emirates O2 arena. Photo by Roman In London

 

An astonishing view of the skyline at sunset whilst riding on top of the Emirates Air Line. Even though that was my first – and only – time I’ve ever used this “unconventional” method of transportation I’d definitely recommend it for the chance to admire the landscape. Perhaps not as terrifying as I thought it would be… (A little scared of height).

 

snow over London

 

This picture features a London covered by an icy and glossy white. You can landscape view is visible from the top of the Hampstead Heath park in north London, and it is one of the highest natural spot that you can possibly find in the City. The hike to the top of Parliament Hill is a must do, especially if you live nearby the area.

Parliament hill

 

And yes, once you are there, why not dusting off your sledges to fly down Parliament Hill?

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