Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Uncanny Sausage!

Good morning!

As promised, a few photos from yesterday's adventures. Lotta and I took the overground to Hampstead Heath where we wandered about for a while, enjoying the wast nature in the middle of the city. It's basically a massive park (320 hectares) with for example ponds where you can swim and fish, an athletics track and a zoo.
People let their dogs run around unleashed, and there were so many cute ones! I almost fancied taking one home. Finders keepers!
If you climb up on Parliament hill, you have good views of much of London. It wasn't very easy to get a decent photo of it though, so I apologies ...
Afterwards we walked from the park, through Kentish Town, down to Camden where we had a late lunch, and I had an even later all day vegan breakfast. I could not believe the sausage! It was so real. I haven't eaten a sausage made out of meat in years, but this one looked, felt and almost tasted exactly like one. I forced Lotta to have a bite just to make sure. If I hadn't known the restaurant is completely vegan, I would have been certain that someone was tricking me into eating meat. Anywho, good food!
The sausage!
It was warm enough to eat outside by the canal.
(Well, it got a bit chilly after a while, but hey, you don't waste a sunny day!)
Nourished, we continued our walk along parts of Regent's canal I hadn't seen yet, and having walked through King's Cross, ended back home in Angel. A pretty good Saturday walk!

In the evening I watched football with my flatmates and submitted my first uni exercise, the monologue. On Wednesday we'll see if a did a good job or not.

Have a great Sunday!


Saturday, 29 September 2012

Will Mr Rochester be there?

Good morning!

It's a sunny day in London and I might be going for a walk at Hampstead Heath today with Lotta. Just the word heath takes me straight to the Brontë sisters. Longing to see a bit of nature! (Being trampled by hundreds of other Saturday walkers I'm sure ...)

I had a moment of neat freakiness when I woke up and colour coded my tiny London book shelf/window sill. That's unfortunately the only thing I have to show you right now.

 Oh no, actually! I also made soup! (Living dangerously on a Friday night.) It turned out rather well, which is good because I'm going to be eating it for the next week.

Hopefully there will be lots of  Heathy pics by tonight!


Friday, 28 September 2012

A few familiar faces

Hello peeps, London calling!

Yesterday I saw my third play in the West End. It was Our Boys by Jonathan Lewis. I really enjoyed it, they tackled some serious subjects with humour and compassion. It was only their second show, and the official opening is next week, so I think it will get even better once they become completely comfortable. Who knows, I might go again later on to see how much has changed.
(Click on the photos if you want to see them bigger ...)

Some of the actors were familiar, for example Matthew Lewis who played Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter, and Laurence Fox who is DS Hathaway in the crime series Lewis, set in Oxford.
From the left: Matthew Lewis, Arthur Darvill, Laurence Fox, Cian Barry, Lewis Reeves,
and Jolyon Coy. 
Before the play started I wandered around a bit and found my way down to the river. One of the bridges gave me a good view of some of the sights.

Some pubs take their flower arrangements very seriously ...

I'm also doing some playwriting of my own. My uni group had our induction meeting on Wednesday, and while most of it was introductions to the library and Moodle, we also had some time to chat and receive our first assignment; a 1-2 page monologue with certain criteria. Deadline Saturday, midnight. I've put down a first version of it, but it still needs a lot of tweaking.

Hope you have a lovely Friday and weekend!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

A bit of Finland (good and bad)


It's been a long day. Well, two long days, containing Finnish and English bureaucracy. I got my student card (with a hideous, hideous photo), managed to open a bank account, received a letter exempting me from council tax, and told the Finnish government that I have left the country for a couple of years, but would still like to remain within the Finnish social system.

The small square at my campus. 
It hasn't all been forms and applications though. Yesterday I met my brother who was in England on business. It was strange to meet up, have a coffee and a chat, and then say goodbye a couple of hours later like it's something we do every week in London. But it was also very lovely to see him again. I couldn't help feeling a bit blue afterwards.

Today, I had more contact with my home country. I managed to find the Finnish church in London which has a small shop selling Finnish foods. It's very pricy, but so worth it!

In the evening Lotta, who I stayed with for the first couple of weeks, came over to see my new home. We still live fairly close to each other so it's easy enough to pop by and have a coffee.

Tomorrow I have my first class with the screen- and playwriting people!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

A tad emotional?

I think the last two weeks are beginning to catch up to me. (Or it might just be hormones ...) Visiting a fancy design shop, I got all teary eyed when I saw an Iittala saucepan. Not my usual reaction. Finnish design is rarely good enough or bad enough to cry over.

I didn't get the saucepan, but I did get a colourful, birch wood tray that I for some reason fell in love with. I imagine it carrying a cup of tea and a sandwich or maybe a large cinnamon bun down to my room, as a nice break in all the writing. (Yes, it does sound like it has legs of its own, but I believe that would've cost extra.)

I love walking around my neighbourhood and finding new shops and cafés and pretty residential streets with typically british townhouses along them. I hope I can stay as curious as time goes by. There is so much to see!

Have a nice Saturday evening!

Friday, 21 September 2012

I'm in!

Drum roll please; today I moved into my new home!

I'm really pleased with the room, it has new floors (they were literally put down earlier today) and plenty of storage, and it's very quiet despite a busy road close by. I just need a few more things and then it'll be perfect.  

Sorry, tonight you only get the view from my window. Plenty of small outdoor spaces on different levels.


Me and my new flatmates went out for dinner. Hot dogs and fries! It's what you need after a hectic day of moving. Tomorrow I need to go food shopping and get all the normal stuff. Now that I have a kitchen I'll have to start cooking proper meals again. No excuses!

Hope you have a brilliant weekend!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

What's blue and yellow and makes you walk in circles?

 IKEA is like a never changing parallel universe. Where ever you are in the world, just say the magic bus number, and you will be taken there.

Having taken two buses and the tube, I ended up at Ikea Tottenham, which just as well could have been Ikea Espoo or Ikea Vantaa. The building looked the same, the merchandise was the same, and the food sold in the restaurant was the same.

The only difference was the Ikea lady who handed out yellow shopping bags once you came up the stairs, we don't have those in Finland. The ladies I mean, we do have the yellow bags.

Despite the almost identical layout to all the other shops I've visited, I managed to get lost. It's the almost that does it, I think. You get lulled into false security. I've been here before, I know this, you think, and bam! they've set up the kitchens before the storage units, instead of vice versa, and suddenly all pre-learnt logic is lost.

It's a sort of comforting and scary place at the same time. Had I been in London for longer than 2 weeks, I would probably have become more sentimental than I did this time around. Maybe next time I'll shed a home sick tear over the Swedish meatballs and cinnamon buns (which I could not resist this time either ...)

Main point; I got what I needed and the journey there was surprisingly easy, despite the many stages. The journey back wasn't as pleasant as I dragged two large blue bags up and down stairs, through narrow gates and over large men who had boxed me in on the bus. But hey, at least I won't freeze this winter with my lovely warm duvet! (Okay, I probably will, but that's not the duvet's fault. Don't mess with my duvet!)


I put my lungs on the table

I've been fighting a cold the last few days. I thought I'd gotten over the worst when I went downtown yesterday to buy some things for the move tomorrow. But ...

I had a bit of afternoon tea in a café. It was rather full so I shared a table with a posh looking, older lady. It was all very nice and civilised until half way through when I had a massive coughing fit. My eyes started watering, my nose turned on like a tap and I just couldn't stop. I felt horrible about destroying the woman's tranquil moment with my disgusting table manners, and that of course, only made it worse. Finally I had to get up and leave, heading for the bathroom to compose myself. Naturally, as soon as I stepped away from the café, I felt perfectly fine again, but that was just too little too late, I was not going back in.

Other than that the shopping trip went well, I got some of the things I needed and today I'm doing the one thing I promised myself I wouldn't do this time around; I'm going to Ikea. Maybe they have some magic Swedish flu pill I can buy ...

See you soon,

Sunday, 16 September 2012

No sign of the crime scene


Having visited my new home yesterday, I took a stroll along a part of Regent's canal, situated only a short walk from the flat. The footpath was filled with other worshipers of sun and Saturdays, and canalboats floated slowly by sporting names like Blue Jewel and Narrow Escape.

Some of the boats were proper homes, moored along the canal and often creatively decorated.

Other boats were tiny cafés, painted in kitschy colours and serving alternative foods. How about some Slovakian sage and onion soup? 

It was interesting to watch boats in the locks, patiently waiting for the water to fill up so they could continue their journey. 

The canal's surroundings are a mix of old and new, and covers many different parts of London. It's a rather peaceful way of experiencing the city, although only a few days ago someone took a leisurely walk and was greeted by a severed head in the water. Apparently the police had found the matching body some time earlier and suspected that it was the victim's brother who had committed the crime.

I however, saw only swans and relaxing people, so I encourage you to have a stroll if you ever find yourself close to a part of the canal.


Saturday, 15 September 2012

Home Sweet Home


I am the happiest camper right now. I've found a home!

Next week I'm moving into a flatshare in lovely Angel, close to my university. Yes, I started out looking for a small flat of my own, but after some research and keeping my options open, I decided I'd rather share a nice flat, in the area of my choice, than take just anything that was within my budget.

(... And had a landlord who allows students as tenants. Here in England students are frowned upon in the rental market. Some landlords refuse to rent to students, while the rest demand either a UK guarantor or 6 months rent in advance, plus the deposit.)

My only concern was that I might not find flatmates I'd feel comfortable with, but I shouldn't have worried because the three current people in the flat all seem really friendly and welcoming, and I'm sure we'll enjoy each others company.

I also had a sunny walk along parts of Regent's canal, and I'll post some photos tomorrow, but now I need to sleep!

Have a great Sunday!

A high flying job

Good morning!

It's been a busy few days flat hunting, but it's slowly beginning to sort itself out and then I'll be able to focus on more fun things. I'll tell you more about the progress a bit later. 

Until then, here's a man I found in my current back yard yesterday morning. He's either a gutsy window cleaner or a very bold peeping tom. Either way, my inner Health and Safety nut, demanded a harness. What if he lost his footing?!

Next time I looked, he had gone one floor higher up, to the top of the ladder, and was taking a phone call. Young children were inside the flat pounding on the window and making faces. I can imagine their life long trauma had he startled and fallen down. 

As I said, more interesting, touristy stuff coming up once I've dealt with today's practicalities. But here's a blog entry so you know I'm still alive. :)

Take care!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

No means no!

One of the biggest culture clashes so far has been the pedestrian traffic. I am a bad jaywalker, in the sense that I don't usually walk against a red light. I find it the most idiotic way to die.

- The man in the red light says you might be hit by a car.
- Oh right, I'll just cross then.

Here everybody walks against red lights. You have to walk against the red light or you will look like a stupid tourist. Old people do it, mummies with prams do it. And I just stand there like the law abiding Finn I am. (Granted, people do jaywalk in Finland, but at least they have the decency to look a bit guilty or do it in a sprint.)

Of course for me there's the added risk of the British traffic system. Cars keep coming from the wrong direction, or I keep looking in the wrong direction, either way. The day I feel completely confident I can cross the street during a red light, without getting run over half way, I will call myself a Londoner.


Sunday, 9 September 2012

Day number 3

Yesterday was a hot day, so I stayed close to home. After a slightly frustrating morning of flat hunting, I ventured out for a walk and a light lunch. 

Tomato and basil soup and a scone. 
Back at the flat I made a few phone calls, but no cigar, so I spent the rest of the day reading, writing and chatting to my "flatmate" who came back home in the afternoon.  In the warm evening air, we sat on the balcony and watched the clouds go crazy shapes and colours. 

(Oh and we had a brilliant kebab dinner, but I don't have a picture of that.)

Have a good Sunday!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Venturing out on my own


I've had a cup of tea and put up my feet after a day of adventure.

I set out on my own this morning to look at a few potential living areas. After some scrutiny they still seem like good choices so now I just hope to find a flat that fits my budget. Unfortunately there weren't any properties for rent on this adorable street in Kentish Town. I could definitely live in a pink or yellow house!

Brisk walking made me hungry so I grabbed a quick, but nourishing lunch in Angel. That's a really nice area close to my university with lots of cafés and small shops, but there's no chance in Santa's cave  I could afford even basic accommodation there. (But you can always dream ...)

Back at my friend's house I did a bit of lazy studying on their sunny balcony. I'm on my own in the flat until tomorrow evening so it's my chance to pretend I'm a London home onwer. I really can't complain!

More adventures tomorrow!


Thursday, 6 September 2012

And so it begins

Good morning!

I've just woken up to my first day as a person living in London. (I don't know if I dare call myself a Londoner yet ...)

The trip over went really smoothly, the plane was on time, all the luggage arrived at Heathrow and I even got a vegetarian meal!

I'm staying with friends until I've found a flat of my own. Like myself, they love Finnish rye bread, so I decided to bring some over. I don't know how I'll manage in the future, unless someone sends me a pack of bread every week or I find a "Finnish" shop in London selling rye bread to extreme prices? Or I go back home on a regular basis and bring back huge amounts.

Anywho, this was the view out of my bedroom window here in Stoke Newington this morning. Yesterday was really warm and sunny so I'm hoping for something similar today. (See! I'm already talking about the weather!)

Today's work is to start looking at flats with the intention of calling up the estate agents and ask for a viewing. Then it's the daunting task of actually going out there and finding the agencies and flats. Fingers crossed!

See you later!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Every gram counts

That's me, dressed in an old teddy bear nightie, one of few pieces of clothing that is not coming with me to London.

I'm leaving tomorrow! Wednesday, 2pm, my flight is supposed to leave towards London, Heathrow. There are butterflies, massive butterflies in my stomach.

I've spent the past few days at my grandmother's house, flooding her home with my stuff. Now I'm supposed to pack up for the last time.

I hope my gran's scales are somewhat in line with the ones at the airport, because  at this point, it's a question of grams. For the first time in my life, I'm preparing myself for the humiliation of going over the limits and paying the fees for excess luggage. What can you do? I'm moving to another country for heavens' sake!


See you soon!