Cozy and Crazy in London

Despite the cold, the weather here in London has been surprisingly cooperative – and dry!  I've been exploring the surroundings with Linda from IslandMomma.  We've already been to one pre-World Travel Market blogging event and have more planned.  And we are sharing a cute apartment in Hackney, courtesy of


cute sofa

"Keep Calm and Relax"


I have brought the big camera with me, but am avoiding carrying it around on the underground.  Planning to use it more once I get to Scotland (can't wait!).  In the meantime,  here are a few peeks at some things around London, as seen via smartphone. :)


Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum, unnatural crowds.


Since museums are free (except for special exhibits) in the UK, and since we are both museum geeks, we planned to go to the Natural History Museum.  We got off the tube to… chaos.  It was "half term", meaning school break time, meaning haggard parents were bringing their hyperactive young to any and every activity to get them out of the house.  To top it off, the annual outdoor skating rink had just opened in front of the museum.  We passed.


Bad Chinese.  Well, ok, mediocre.

Mmm…  tastes like fried.


We went to the Camden Markets instead.  I am on a shoestring budget and had been pretty proud of the amount of supplies I'd been able to purchase at the grocery store for £7.  Despite being famed for the food stalls and affordability, I managed to pick a very mediocre Chinese place with so-so prices.  I think we were paying for the fact that there were tables and chairs, since most folks stand.  Paid nearly the same amount for one meal as I did for a week's worth of groceries, sheesh!

Still, people watching and window shopping at Camden is always fun.  Worth the price of admission!

blurry busker

Underground tunnel with a soundtrack.


Zooming around the tube system as we were, I was pleased to come across one of the only things I really like about the underground: a busker.  Cork is THICK with buskers and I absolutely love it, even when they are out of tune.  The tunnels under London have some great acoustics, so you can hear the music before you see the musicians.  Little kids (and me) were tapping their feet, wiggling, and clapping as we approached this guy.  Linda dropped a coin in his guitar case and he gave her a smile and a nod of thanks.  He was pretty cute and I think Linda appreciated the smile, heh.


sage advice

That's why we're here, no?  In London and on Planet Earth.


We met with Linda's two sons, one of whom lives in London, while the other is visiting, for some coffee and chat.  The older had just arrived after an 8 hour bus ride and was looking a little glassy-eyed, poor fella.  The younger works here and was chatty and smartly turned out in his work clothes.  Well, except for his shoes.  He was wearing running shoes to save wear and tear on his work shoes and his feet.  Linda, coincidentally enough, was wearing running shoes, too.  It's how I knew they were related, you see. 

After that, we headed back to our cozy, warm apartment to thaw out after the London evening cold.  I noticed this sign over my bed and have to agree.  After all, doing that is what led me to be here in London in the first place.


Are you doing what you love?


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  1. Wish to visit London one day! Nice article, shared it on my networks.
    Love the design of your blog – the share buttons as stamps are fabulous.

    Best Regards

    1. Aww, thank you, Vesna. Saw you followed me on Twitter, too. Will go follow back right away. :)

  2. Haven’t been to World Travel Market for a while… Is it still as exhausting as it used to be!

    Liked your pics… Somewhat bemused by the fact that despite living in London for quite a lot of my life and having walked past the Natural History Museum several hundred times over the years I failed to recognise it!

    The chinese takeaway looked a bit grim… You should come to Peru next time and have some Chifa, our Chinese Peruvian hybrid. Pretty good!


    1. It is quite mad, Justin, though I found this year to be MUCH more enjoyable than last year. Having the apartment, looking forward to meeting friends, planning appointments in advance, and giving myself permission to not attend/leave early from any function in the name of sanity went a long way toward making this year fantastic. In short, I embraced the madness rather than let myself be overwhelmed by it. ;)

      1. ps: HUGELY curious about this chifa business! You must tell me more. :D

  3. London is a great place to visit and there’s so much to do for free. Even if it is just sitting on the steps of a museum and watching the world go by. There’s something special about London that no other city has.

    1. It’s true, though I will admit this is the first time I’ve really enjoyed London out of the last 4 visits in as many years. I’m not making it up when I say that having your own apartment to come “home” to every night makes a huge difference! :D

  4. THX for sharing! looks great and I like to go to London. With warm regards, Ruud.

    1. Thanks, Ruud. Thanks for all of your recent support. Greatly appreciated. Maybe I’ll see you at WTM next year. ;)

  5. Would have loved to have your services when I lived in Europe in the sixties………excited to learn more……GR8LISTENER

    1. Hey, Mary Helen! I’ll do my best to keep you amused and informed. Great connecting with you! :)

  6. Dennis Coble says:

    Nice post. I shared on all my links. I have yet to leave the states for a visit to Europe, but I have it on my bucket list.

    1. Thank you, Dennis. Greatly appreciated. Let me know if you make it across the pond to Ireland. If I’m home, maybe we can grab tea or a pint. :)

  7. bemused boomer says:

    You probably already know this, but I think the phrase on your London apartment pillow, “Keep calm and relax” is a take-off on a phrase on signs that were posted in London as WWII began, which was “Keep calm and carry on.”

    1. I must admit, I did not know that. I figured it was either something historical or a spoof on an ad campaign. It’s been a very popular meme of late. Thanks for the context!

  8. Wha?! It takes place in Ireland and is all about a busker/musician. Really good. But please watch it in maybe 6-8 months from now.

    1. Ok, but why 6-8 months?

  9. My most comfortable trip to London was when staying in a friend’s flat in St’ John;s Wood. I miss it!

    1. Accommodations do my a huge difference when you travel, don’t they? I know some folks who are happy sleeping anywhere out of the rain and I envy them. As for me, good company, quiet, and privacy really have an effect on my overall experience.

      Hope you make it back to London soon. :)

  10. Nice! That flat does look cosy (see that?!).
    I am so positive you’ve seen it….but I love the film “Once.” You had me at Busker. :)

    1. I am so sorry to disappoint you, Lisa! I have not seen it. If you promise to keep speaking to me I’ll add it to my list. ;)

  11. Oh that does look cosy. I like the tube pic and red sofa. :) Camden’s great too, not been there for years, misspent much of my cash on records and ill-fitting clothing once upon a time!

    1. This was my first visit to Camden in 4.5 years. Would like to go back in warmer weather – and with a bit more cash!

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