Here Lucy gives an “outsider’s” perspective on London. Lucy moved here from New Zealand a few years ago. I had the good fortune to live with Lucy for several years when she first arrived. She uses her time in the UK effectively, and has seen so many things and acquired so many funny stories. She’s the kind of person who talks to strangers and ends up becoming BFFs with them…
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Neighbourhood North London up until my recent migration to live with the rest of Antipodeans in South West London.
I live in London because… it’s so alive, there’s always something going on – whether it be the crazy guy blessing me on the tube, the pug with the extra long tongue in Soho Square trying to lick my shoes, or an amazing show where I get to see Helen Mirren up close. I love that this place never sleeps.
London is at its best when… it’s the summertime and you’re at one of the many green parks it has to offer. I love how Londoners make the most of parks; out comes the coal BBQ, the picnic rug, the football, the many different cider varieties and you get to lounge in the sun with your mates, who are likely to be from anywhere but London originally.
My ideal day off in London would be… breakfast at The Birdcage on St John’s Hill, the morning absorbing one of the new exhibitions at one of the many museums, afternoon in the sun at Battersea Park then dinner at some novelty restaurant where you eat your steak blindfolded or something.I absolutely love this little-known place…Molly Moggs in Soho: it’s a tiny corner bar featuring a sharp-tongued, self-deprecating and hilarious drag queen host every night of the week who pokes fun at the crowd and introduces various karaoke acts, which include a few quirky regulars (I’ve had the privilege of being serenaded by the elderly Elvis – hand holding included). It is the ultimate pick me up place – you’re always guaranteed a laugh and it’s always a supportive crowd… no matter how screechy the singing.
The best night I ever had in London was… hard to pick – but one from most recent memory was going to the special effects-packed Muse gig at Emirates where an acrobat did ribbon work from a giant hot air balloon in the shape of a lightbulb. Afterwards we spent the evening exploring some great little bars along Upper Street in Angel, topping off the night singing my lungs out with friends at Lucky Voice karaoke – all within walking distance, which made it that much better.
My favourite restaurant is…Trullo in Highbury, Islington – this place has amazing atmosphere, service and even better food. The chefs travel to Italy each season to handpick which ingredients they are going to source for the menu. It’s even been voted best Italian restaurant outside of Italy!
If I had £2000 to blow, I’d spend it all in... probably a cheaty answer, but Selfridges. I love going there (once I get past the incredible window displays) and looking at all the amazing designer stuff or handcrafted potions and lotions.
My favourite museum/gallery/theatre is… the National Portrait Gallery. I go to the BP Portrait Awards Exhibition every year and it never ceases to astonish me how talented people are – many of them younger than me (which I find depressing; I’ve well and truly passed the prodigal talent age). They capture people so beautifully and differently. The other exhibitions at the Portrait Gallery change around regularly, too, and are generally free. If you’re lucky you might spot the sleeping video of David Beckham by Sam Taylor-Wood (apparently celebs do sleep?!) or the artist who drains a few pints of his blood every few years to make a floating sculpture of his head…
One thing I didn’t know about London until I moved here is… how safe it is. I honestly feel pretty safe walking around at night by myself and I swear that’s not naivety, as I used to get scared when I first moved here, but learnt through experience it was actually fine. There are so many well-lit areas, and because there are always so many people around you do feel safer than I ever expected.
London is great, but one thing that really annoys me is… how dirty the air is. Black snot is gross.
I’ll leave London when... I want more peace and quiet and the tug of friends and family back home gets too much.