I wanted to post an apology as well as an update, for the lack of content in recent months. This is largely due to me staying inside to limit the risk of catching the virus before seeing my family, and also a big loss of motivation as a result.
Maybe this lack of motivation has helped me behave and stay indoors for as long as I have. So I can’t be too mad at it.
But the time has come to head home. I have had lots of holidays that I haven’t taken this year, and for this I have the rest of December off. I will stay with family until the end of the month, and head down to London again on New Years Eve.
I had a breakfast, double checked I had my things and headed to Kings Cross.
When I say breakfast, I actually broke my year long McDonald’s ban. Got so close to a year without a single meal from here!
But it’s what I needed to get me up and out, and walking through Kings Cross was surprisingly quiet. I thought more would be making the journey back home. The Harry Potter attraction was back, as was the photographer. I chatted to him for a few minutes, he told me a few businesses had to sadly close in the station, and that of course the lines for the 9 3/4 trolley was no where near what it used to be. I of course had to take a selfie, pretty standard routine now.
I wore a mask throughout, and didn’t want to risk travelling closer to Christmas as it could be very busy. My train is very quiet thankfully. It is a dilemma for me as I do not want to promote travel or reckless behaviour that could increase the spread, but I know that I haven’t been out during the easing of the second lockdown, despite it being allowed. I have also had two negative covid tests. London only went into a full lockdown yesterday, but I refrained from going out to ensure I was safe on the journey up, as well as for my mum and sister and everyone I may encounter. We are also sticking to the three-house bubble the government has recommended the country sticks to.
I am going to post here at least once a month I think. This will be achievable and enough time to get enough content to post about, if next year starts how this one ends. There will always be things to post about in London even if we are still forced indoors, so I don’t worry about that. However I apologise for not having much on here recently.
But I hope every single one of you has a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and please stay safe and sensible!! It won’t be easy for most of us and we have to tread lightly, but let’s all think forward to how great 2021 could be and not dwell on how bad this year was.
Thank you to everyone that reads this and continues to view my posts, I really appreciate it.
Hello everyone, I have had a little break from WordPress in December but that will be coming to an end the moment 2020 hits. I have a plan, I have lots I want to see and do and I want to hang out with you all. I have missed you.
2019 has been fun. I spent the beginning of it overheating in a Brisbane summer…
Followed by a colder winter working in Melbourne.
Now, spending Christmas and New Year exploring London.
I am really excited for 2020, but in this post I want to thank you all for helping make the last 12 months so enjoyable. Blogging has helped me get through hard times and helped me find what I enjoy in life. Writing, photography and exploring the world. Your support and interest in my blog has motivated me more that I can put down in words and for that I will try my best to deliver interesting posts for as long as I can. Thank you all so, so much.
I will keep this short, as I am sure many of you have better plans this evening than to read this. I hope you all have a fantastic New Years Eve and a great start to 2020. Happy New Year to those that have already seen it hit midnight, and I am thinking of you all in Australia with those wild fires. We are seeing it on the news constantly and it looks awful. My thoughts are with you all in the country I have called home for the past two years.
Stay safe everyone, be the best person you can be in 2020 and don’t let the year go to waste!!
Today was the first day I walked over London Bridge since it reopened. Maybe because I have done a dozen times already and I don’t actually need to. Just for photos. Maybe it was the uncomfortable feeling I still have inside me about this specific bridge following the recent stabbings. Probably a combination of both.
December has been pretty uneventful for me. London looks stunning at Christmas (I posted here about the Regent Street Christmas Lights), but a combination of flying back home and needing to buy gifts leaves all my exploring and discovering until 2020. That being said, I have been able to see some friends and enjoy the winter markets.
This is Ola, both heading for the mulled wine after a crazy shift. This was in a rotating bar in Winter Wonderland, a huge Christmas market I will link at the end of the post. It is great for all ages… families and grown ups with no kids. Rides for those that love a little dose of adrenaline often seen at your local fairground, cute little stalls selling everything you would want to find in your Christmas stocking.
And massive people…
A whole Christmas dinner in a burger…
More huge people, this time a hillbilly enjoying a bit of VR. I dread to think what’s playing…
London is full of mini versions of this market too, all dotted around the city. Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, South bank and all the ones I haven’t found yet. I am not sure if they are all owned and organised by the same people but they look pretty similar. Not that I mind, there is only so much they can do to stand out. A cosy wooden hut selling mulled wine from a cauldron, what more would you want?
This is Marcio and Maiana, a beautiful couple I met in the UK a good few years ago. My then flatmate and still very good friend Paul had them stay over our place when they visited the UK, travelling Europe and taking some time to visit out small corner of England. Paul and Marcio met during an event in Disneyland Florida. After spending a very fun few days showing them Newcastle, Durham and our regions castles I was very grateful to be a guest at their wedding in 2016 (they even gave us a shout out during a speech!) in their home of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
This time, we met in London.
And back to my post title. What I love so far about London is that it is such a popular destination for both Brits and international visitors, anyone that I have met on my global travels will probably visit this city if they come to the UK. It would be weird if they didn’t. Being as hectic and crazy as it is some people think it is too much, and this is something I hate about London. For those making a first visit to the UK this may be the only place visited, and if they don’t like it’s fast paced, car honking, crammed, occasionally rude and expensive nature, this is the perception of the UK they take back home. But the UK isn’t one city, even if it is by far our biggest. Whatever you don’t like about London, another British destination is begging for your attention.
But I am pleased we have London. For everyone that doesn’t like it there is a million that do, and it’s attraction is a very good reason as to why I have seen some people I probably wouldn’t have if I was living elsewhere.
Above is my friend Laura. We met when I started working at Sofitel in Melbourne, she recently moved to Sweden and waited in the UK as her visa was pending. She got it and off she went. I was also meant to meet my a colleague from Brisbane however unfortunately my shifts wouldn’t allow it. A couple of other friends are heading this way in the next month or so too which is great. I hope to see them.
As I have said in the past, what I love about smaller cities is that it is so easy to make arrangements to see friends. A reason why I loved Brisbane so much. Every possible meeting place is relatively close by and it isn’t unusual to bump into friends in the street. But these are people already living in the city. I never expected to meet so many friends from outside of London, in London in just a couple of months. I had a coffee chat with my previous manager from Newcastle last week as well, now working just a couple of Northern Line stops up from me near Old Street Underground Station. Bumping into people in the street is rare among the millions of tourists. But in this age of social media meeting up is easier, especially in one of the worlds most visited cities.
No matter where you are, take a moment to check social media. You never know who is around the corner!
Thank you for reading, and I hope your lead up to Christmas is more merry than manic. Let me know what you’re up to, and I will see you all in the comments!
Named after the Prince Regent, the street was built in 1819 under the direction of architect John Nash and its Grade II listed facades represent some of the most distinguished architecture in London. When built, Regent Street was the original shopping street for the capital and has grown into a world-renowned destination that curates year-round memorable experiences that go beyond the world-class shopping.
So with the Christmas lights being turned on, this was a better time than ever to take a visit.
Crossing London Bridge was beautiful that night, the moon was the brightest I have seen it in a long time. In these shots the moon is in different locations, I assume the third photo was taken on the way back home later that evening.
First, I went to my work place just before the commute, to drop off some things before my morning shift. I left my place near Borough Station, headed to work, jumped on a Jubilee Line train at Southwark Station to Green Park, got off and onto a Piccadilly Line train one stop to Piccadilly Circus.
It seems a lot, but the actual travelling doesn’t take too long at all. There are trains every couple of minutes and is a great- and sometimes crowded- way to get around the Capital.
Just off Piccadilly Circus is Carnaby Street, another popular street for similar reasons. It seems like many streets in the surrounding area are really putting in the effort which is great to see.
And it isn’t just for Christmas. Looking at the above decorations it is clear to see an ocean theme, and Project Zero (seen in the sign) is a movement trying to save our oceans.
I just took a look at Project Zero, and have linked the movement at the bottom of the post.
They state on their site:
Project 0 is a global movement supported by renowned scientists, business leaders, campaigners, culture makers and ocean experts, who are all working together to awaken the fight for the ocean.
The greatest threat to our planet is climate change and if we don’t take action now, the collapse of civilisation and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon. The ocean needs safe havens where it can replenish, and fortify itself against climate change, overfishing and pollution. That means strongly protecting at least 30% of the ocean by 2030, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, coastal to high seas areas and everywhere in between.
I am always happy to see such a movement, and knowing how many people will walk underneath this and google it like I have is great to think about.
Liberty department store is one I hadn’t heard of, but went into and was really impressed. Again, just round a corner (I was getting pretty lost at this point and every corner was new to me) but walking through this building I could tell it was a store with a big history. It was founded in 1875 and is situated in a gorgeous looking building decorated with the holidays in mind. I should have taken more shots in here, but as I wasn’t expecting to be wandering around a department store I was taking it all in before walking out another exit and back onto the streets. Next time perhaps.
Here is a somewhat blurry shot from outside, Liberty being the Tudor building with the Union Jack flying outside of it. This wasn’t the reason I took this photo, instead I wanted to capture that amazing moon again.
Take a look, you can see the whole row of street lights and the moon is just above it… and just as bright!!
Now back to Regent Street. The decorations were plain to see, just not lit up. But the moment they turned on I realised they weren’t just any high street Christmas lights.
The street celebrated the evening with fireworks, set off the moment the lights came on. You could hear the crowd (including me!) gasp in union as the fireworks lit up the sky. I wasn’t expecting it and I am sure many others weren’t either. Was it tradition, or because this was the streets 200th year? I am not sure but I don’t care. It was great.
It was an incredible sight on one of London’s most beautiful streets.
The crowd went as far as the eye could see. For obvious reasons traffic was closed for the event and people took advantage of the open roads. Further down Regent Street a stage was set up for what I assume was a mini festival of music, or maybe carol singers. It was obvious that people weren’t going to leave the area after the fireworks came to an end.
The displays mainly consisted of angels, arms out looking a little like an acrobat about to catch another midflight.
These angels lined the roads, with the lights flickering and lighting the wings up in a sequence. You can see the changes in the shots below.
Smaller displays lit the way down smaller streets, some of these streets offering hot buttered rum (which was delicious) and churros free of charge to keep the hands warm and hunger satisfied.
This night really got me into the Christmas spirit. People were happy, the classics were playing, the lights were shining. And it made me want to see what else London is doing for the winter season.
Now London is huge. I know all of these shots pretty much consist of the same lights however this is just one area of a city full of very cool areas. In fact I have already seen other areas I want to visit properly and blog about, one being Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Apparently it’s awesome and for all ages.
I shall blog about some of these places soon.
And I am preparing my blog posts for 2020, I have mentioned I will be putting the destinations to vote on Instagram and the winning places will be visited and blogged about. Until then I will probably blog about everything Christmas that’s going on in London and grab a couple more of those hot buttered rums.
Below is a shot taken of a band performing that night, I wish I got their name. They were performing a great cover of I Say a Little Prayer and I hope I bump into them again on my wanders. I will upload a small clip of this as well as the shots to my Instagram shortly.
Speaking of Instagram, I have changed my website a little and added the clickable social media icons to the home page. I felt like it needed a little change, but wanted to keep the photographs as the focal point of the site. I did like the look of one theme that had a layout similar to a book (some of you may have noticed it briefly as I was trying it out), however my mum provided some feedback pretty much straight away telling me that she loved being able to look at the photos on the old theme and find older posts easily. So thank you mum, I have changed the theme with that in mind.
My Insta, Facebook and Twitter isn’t doing much right now, but as I build momentum and begin to post more frequently I will be using them more. Feel free to add me over on these channels, I would greatly appreciate it and promise that they will come to life very soon!
Thank you for reading, and apologies for not posting so much since returning to the UK. My mind has been all over the place with moving and sorting documents etc and I have honestly just felt a little flat. But I am very excited to get back into the swing of things and really looking forward to the year ahead!
Oh and Happy Thanksgiving to my readers in the USA too. I am sitting opposite a bunch of Irish folk bringing the holidays a little closer to home with an epic roast, and I don’t blame them. From now on I feel like celebrating other countries and cultures holidays a little more… why keep it inside the borders? If it’s and excuse to be merry and have a little fun I am 100% on board.
And I will leave you with this question- what’s your plans for 2020? Anything exciting? Let me know and I will see you in the comments!
It’s weird being away from home at Christmas. Feelings of loneliness are a big symptom, along with a bit of guilt for not being home and confusion as to what to actually do when you don’t have the annual festive routine with family to enjoy. But you know where I am and that I’m away from home, so I want to ask about your Christmas break.
Did you stay at home or travel and who was it with? Are you currently travelling overseas yourself? Did you do something different this year or stick to tradition, and what does Christmas usually consist of for your family?
Everyone is different, due to my family being spread all over the UK mine is typically with my parents and sister in the home, and every now and then we would see other family members if we got the chance. Mainly grandparents. My dad died in 2013 and since then it has been with my sister and mum, although we have made the effort since to see family located nearby. I believe the Christmas after dad died in November we spend it with my cousins and their family 40 minutes north in Newcastle. I lived and worked in Newcastle by this point after moving out of the family home in Durham and had to work Christmas Day, so it was easier for my mum and sister to come up to see me and the rest of the family that live here. It was a lovely Christmas and the first one I recall being away from home since the 90’s.
So let me know what you got up to, again I hope you all had a great day and it would be nice to hear what this day consists of for you.
Thank you to everyone that I have engaged with this year. To those I have known for years through this site and those that I have only just got to know, thank you for making my experience as a blogger so enjoyable. I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and New Year.
I look forward to continuing this hobby throughout 2019 and to keep growing as a blogger and sharing my experiences as I spend my final months in Australia before making my way home.
This morning I checked out of my current hostel and into a new one as it was way cheaper for this specific week. I am working later today too so I got packed early and made my way there, roughly a 15 minute walk up the road. As I was crossing the final set of traffic lights towards the hostel I noticed a girl walking from one of the rooms externally towards the reception. She was alone in a red dress and it looked like she was crying. I was unsure however and as we were coming from two directions I made it into the reception before her. I didn’t want to turn around and just stare at her to confirm this but I did glance over after putting my heavy bags down at the desk as she walked towards the elevator in the lobby. As the doors closed I could clearly see she was crying and was looking directly at me. I didn’t know who it was, or if I would see her again. I wondered what it was about, but I strongly assumed that she was missing her family back home.
As I was checking in with the receptionist the elevator doors opened. She walked back out and stood in line behind me. Now knowing she was clearly upset, I asked if she was okay. She simply nodded whilst holding back the tears. She wasn’t British, however could speak it but because she was upset it was hard to tell how much she knew. I asked her if she was missing family and she kind of confirmed it by nodding again and telling me she was travelling. I knew she was in a safe environment and was about to speak to the reception desk (the person behind the desk looked like a manager to me) so I simply told her I hope she has a Merry Christmas and that I hope she was okay. She said Merry Christmas back to me and I headed back into the CBD, where I am typing this now.
It was very sad to see and because I didn’t know her I didn’t really know what else to do. I feel better knowing that I spoke to her instead of just ignoring her sadness and there isn’t really anything I can do to help anyway. I am heading to work now but would have probably asked if she wanted to hang out. But knowing hostels, people are very sociable and friendly in nature anyway, and I imagine especially on Christmas. I will probably see her again at some point in the next seven days, hopefully.
It is a very hard time for some people, especially people traveling without family and possibly for the first time. But hostels are filled with people doing the exact same thing, which can be a big morale booster. In fact I am looking forward to working today because I will be with friends, all in this same boat together. I try to remind myself as well that although I am away from my family this Christmas, they are safe. There are always people having a much worse Christmas than us and having that perspective helps me to be grateful of the life I have. News of the recent Tsunami in Indonesia is a very recent and tragic example, sometimes the worst moments strike at the times we want to be happy the most.
So with that in mind, I am extremely grateful that my family and I are well. I am working today, but I have a job. This job provides a roof over my head. Today’s technology means that despite being so far from home I can talk to them the moment I finish work, as if they are right there next to me. It must have been very hard to spend Christmas away from home back in the day, or during a war. We are very, very lucky.
So to the girl in the red dress, as sad as you’re feeling right now today is a great day, even if it doesn’t seem so at this moment. You are young and healthy and despite not being with your family they are there waiting for you. You will see them again and it will be awesome. Today is the one day that will hit you harder than most on your travels, but there are 364 other fun days that you are currently experiencing on a trip that you will remember for a lifetime. Sometimes the sad days are a small sacrifice for a much more enriched and lived life of travel and adventure.
And as much as I do miss my family in this Christmas period, they are coming out to see me in January. I have always thought that instead of going home for Christmas, them coming out to see me will be a much more fun experience. Again, not seeing them today is a small sacrifice in the long term. We are all about to have the holiday of a lifetime.
Sometimes it is best to see life this way. Certain decisions seem like bad ones in the present, but over time will prove to be the right one. It is hard to change our mentality with this in mind however knowing that the happiness and benefits of this decision await us is enough to see us through.
And with that, have a very Merry Christmas and if it isn’t so merry, think of a time coming up in which you know it will be. And if you can’t think of one, there is no better reason to work towards one today.
Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!
I’m back in Brisbane! I had such a good trip to Sydney and Melbourne, especially Melbourne as I have never been before and I cannot wait to be back again next year. I don’t know if I have mentioned already but my mum and sister are coming out in January to see me, so I am going to be back on a plane very soon. This time, Sydney and Cairns. I didn’t really take many photos last time I was up in Cairns so I will make up for that this time. It can’t wait to see them, it’s been over a year!
But back to my question. Like I said I am back in Brissy and I was walking through Queen Street recently and came across this scene. A group of people taking photos and petting a reindeer whilst a group of protesters protest in the background. There were vocal making sure they were heard.
A link to one article regarding this over at news.com.au states that a group, maybe this same group I am unsure, protested outside Queensland Children’s Hospital whilst sick children were having fun with the reindeer. This has led to angry responses towards the protesters as children that will be in hospital over the festive period were trying to enjoy the experience.
Now I am in two minds here. First, I am not really a fan of zoos or animals kept in enclosed spaces, however as this is clearly temporary I do not know how the animals are treated or live the rest of the year. The animals didn’t seem to be stressed, not that I know what a stressed reindeer looks like, but they were rather chilled and approached passers by. But I do like that people are constantly trying to increase the quality of life for animals, and I do not mind a peaceful protest. But is it immoral to protest outside of a children’s hospital? I guess if they see it as animal abuse and exploitation, exceptions cannot really be justified. Exploitation regardless of who wants to see them, right?
So I wanted to ask my readers what you think, if anyone in Brisbane has seen them and what side of the fence are you on? Is it okay for these beautiful animals to tour the city and provide a bit of happiness to passers by at the animals expense? Is it justified if it is only over the Christmas period? Should protesters remain silent if it could potentially upset the sick children who want a small dose of joy and fond memories to look back on?
Thank you for reading, let me know and I will see you in the comments.
Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!
Hello beautiful readers, it’s no longer Christmas Day here and considering I’m so far from home, I had a great day. It started with a 5k run to the beach, which despite being cooler was still pretty busy. It was fascinating seeing people opening presents on the sand with surfers on the waves. Not my usual December 25th!
Thankfully my extended family in Sydney allowed me to stay overnight with them. It was fun watching their two young kids open presents, it reminded me of what it was like to be a kid in the festive season. My favourite Christmas present has to be a Nintendo 64 with Goldeneye… I’ll never forget unwrapping that present… I think in ’97. Ah, 20th century gaming, the nostalgia!
Anyways, I hope all of my readers and followers had a fantastic Christmas, and if it is still Christmas where you are, enjoy it! If you don’t celebrate it, have fun doing whatever you are doing. I also hope you have the best start to the new year, I will aim to blog as much as I have been and post some exciting updates throughout the year.
What did you all get from Santa? I’m about to find out myself as I have waited to speak to my family in the UK over Skype whilst I unwrap.
Happy holidays and thanks for all the support you guys have shown me!
Sometimes emotions hit me in waves. Today this was the case, I suddenly realised it is Christmas Eve and that I have left my family back home to live on the other side of the world. I haven’t felt Christmassy at all in 30+ Celcius temperatures, so it is a feeling that has crept up slowly and only really had an affect in these hours before Christmas Day… Making an appearance as I watch the stores close, roads empty and hear family conversations and arguments from the open windows of the neighbours homes.
As I waited for the train today, sweating like crazy in the humidity and starting to feel slight regret for not being at home with family, I considered whether it was the right decision. Was it selfish to leave my loved ones despite them being happy that I am doing what I want to do? On one hand it is the time of year that families get together. That also means that a lot of families spend plenty of time apart, and I have been lucky to have lived very close to my family when I was in the UK.
On the other hand, it is just another day. December 25th is no different to January 15th or June 29th. It is just one day. If I miss being with my family for this 24 hour period, it gives me 364 other days to make up for it. Also, my family will try their best to make the trip out to see me early next year, the country my mum has always wanted to go to. Travel has not been as much of an interest for my mum since my dad died, so helping her find that spark again would be fantastic.
I’m tried of having to sacrifice time with my loved ones to pursue a travel goal. But if it was that easy everyone would do it. Nothing gives me more motivation to be successful however than the thought of being able to afford to have my family travel with me. This is what I want more than anything.
So Christmas Day without my family will be a blessing and a curse. It’s hard, but it makes me want to try my best to prevent it happening in future. To be able to do what love with the people I love without sacrificing one or the other.
There was a big police and media presence on Circular Quay yesterday, it looked like Sydney Police issued a statement, although I am not sure what that was exactly.
Anyways, it made for a very interesting shot, so I got my camera out.
I watched multiple cameras film the police walking up the harbour in a staged walk…. I say staged as they did it purely for the cameras. I think the reason for this was to highlight the fact that police will be armed (or more armed perhaps) during Christmas and New Year.
It is a shame that they have to be. Is this something you welcome, or does armed police make you feel uneasy? For me, it makes me feel safer. I am not saying cities should be filled with such scenes, however it doesn’t bother me seeing them. There are plenty of nations with oppressive regimes, so in a way being reminded that I live in a country that has a police force willing to take a selfie with me is quite nice. If they are friendly and not pointing the gun in my direction, I am cool with it.
I often find myself thinking of the negative aspects of life. The bad bits and how many of those negative aspects will be eliminated as time goes by. What will we be able to banish in the next 300 years… Disease? Terrorism? Natural disasters? It is very exciting for me to consider. How will we be seen to those people of the future, learning about the lives of people way back in the year 2017 on some futuristic version of YouTube? The ones that got a message from the Queen if they made it to 100 years of age, the people that had to wear seatbelts in cars because of the horrible death statistics on 21st century roads. Will they freak out? It isn’t so bad to think the glass is half empty if the aim is to fill up the other half. If I didn’t think like this, I wouldn’t want to write a book to share my opinions or blog my thoughts.
I also spend a lot of time thinking of how great the world is, hopefully this is seen in some of my posts. I just don’t want to do this all the time, as that would mean I am content with how the world is. I am sure I am not the only one that would love to see a few changes here and there!