Living in London definitely has its perks. You get the social life of a recently graduated student, plus the sophistication of actually being a real life worker in an architecturally wonderful city. I have always lived close to London and the majority of my school trips would take us into the city, but actually living here is quite different altogether. The walk from my house to work isn’t the prettiest, but Balham High Street itself has proved fruitful with nice shops, especially food places, a large library, two big supermarkets and some cool bars too! Slowly getting used to using the tube everyday and accepting that there isn’t always room to breathe, but the lack of exposure to the wind, rain and snow, by being underground so long, is worth the tight squeeze!
- The Devonshire, Balham – Local pub, with nice interior, reasonable drink prices and lots of seating!
- Avalon, Clapham South – Very busy and nice looking inside, expensive cocktails and not a lot of room to move, but a great roast dinner, although also pricey.
- The 3 Monkeys, Balham – karaoke downstairs, small bar upstairs, friendly staff (very generous measures on NYE!) but no real dance floor.
- The Alexandra, Clapham Common – A huge and busy pub for young people, good prices, huge bar.
- Infernos, Clapham Highstreet – bit dodgey inside and pricey – £10 entry! but it is the only club in the Clapham area.
- Artisian & Vine, Clapham Junction – cute place, multiple rooms/floors and large dance floor, slow bar service but reasonable priced for cocktails etc.
- The Black Dog, Clapham Common – cute little cafe for coffee and cakes, really friendly staff and excellent quality food!
- The Loft, Clapham High Street – awesome cocktails and swanky interior, packed on a Saturday night and a great atmosphere…just a shame there is no dance floor area!
- The Clarence – a cool little pub/cafe that does a brilliant breakfast menu of eggs benedict and fry up, a perfect Sunday cure!
The common is nice, but much bigger than I realised, and actually really hard to cross with fences and roads criss-crossing here and there, so you end up having to walk a large way around it just to get to the other side! Not being a lover of running, I had to find alternatives for exercise and came across the Balham Baptist Church, which on Wednesdays has a zumba workout session for an hour that is really good. I also decided to get into swimming again at the weekends, and there is a council run pool just off Clapham high street, so that’s also useful! – so I end up spending about £8 per week on exercise, which works out at about £35 per month; similar to an average gym membership, so pretty good!
I currently work in Southwark, and before my interview I don’t think I had ever been there before. I often used to get off at Waterloo and head straight to the Southbank for the bars and restaurants, or even the IMAX, but never towards Southwark. Exploring the area has proved a very pleasant surprise; the office is just a short walk from the river, which is a nice surprise, and then there is the lovely food market just up from Waterloo in an area called Lower Marsh, not to mention Borough market only being a 10 minute walk away. There are lots of shops around me and a nice strip of unique bars and restaurants just behind the station on Isabella Street. I have yet to explore here myself, but am looking forward to any drinks after work that will undoubtedly head there for convenience. One opposite in particular, the Lord Nelson, has proved very popular. It’s a cooky and hilariously decorated pub with weird and wonderful objects all over the walls and a really fun vibe.
I haven’t just stuck to areas around home and work though, I have visited Covent Garden for restaurants like Benito’s Hat and bars like Dirty Martini, Oxford Circus for snazzy restaurants like the Riding house café, as well as the Portland at Great Portland Street for scrumptious roast dinners, and even Hyde Park for all sorts of Winter Wonderland based fun and spring time sunshine.
Even managed to take in some culture by visiting museums and galleries. The late night at the science museum, zombie themed I might add, was hilarious! And the Lichtenstein exhibit at the Tate was fantastic!