Sunday, 15 February 2015

Abandoned underground station in London

 Being a London student ambassador has its perks and I recently was given the opportunity to visit an abandoned underground station in London which had once been used as a World War II command center and had also been used as a shelter by Winston Churchill and his war cabinet.
Photo credits :https://ptegblog.wordpress.com/2010/04/29/down-street/


The informative afternoon began with a presentation by David Leboff, a London underground enthusiast and famous author. My fellow ambassadors and I learned all about the history of the London underground while seated comfortably in a presentation room at the Transport for London headquarters at the iconic 55 Broadway building.


Later that afternoon we headed to the rooftop of the exceptionally historic 55 Broadway to soak in some sun sunshine and enjoy the marvelous view. The TFL headquarters will be relocating and this building will soon be converted into a residential complex for the super-rich in 2015!


Next we were on our way to experience what very few people are even aware of. One of London’s abandoned underground stations. It stands lost and forgotten in-between Hide park corner and Piccadilly Circus. Wet, cold, dirty and possibly haunted this was one of those experiences that gives you the creeps yet the thrill keep you going. This was a secret location but thanks to Google image search I now know I was at down street tube station! 


Some secrets are meant to be shared, if you’re a student or tourist or a Londoner with a fancy for the unusual this should definitely be on your 'Places to see in London' list !


Monday, 5 January 2015

Liebster Award ❤



Thanks to my friend and fellow London International Student Ambassador Audrey Faltin for the nomination.
 http://takeawaytidbits.wordpress.com/


So without any delays, let's begin by going over the rules.

The Rules  

  • Link back to the blogger who awarded you 
  • Reveal your 5 blog picks with less than 200 followers to nominate
  • Let them know by leaving a comment on their blog 
  • Answer the questions asked to you by the person that nominated you

Why did you choose to study in London?

Apart from being a gorgeous city, London is one of the only places that offers a master’s programme in Obesity PREVENTION. Another reason for my choice was the scholarship I received from the University of Roehampton. Supporting myself in one of the world’s most expensive city wasn't going to be easy without a scholarship.  The open door policy in my University, the lovely lush green campus, living so close to the heart of London and yet sheltered in the greenery of Richmond. I love it! 

 
My beautiful University 

What is your favorite song to dance to?

 Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off"...This song is so danceable

 

What is the first app you use each day and why?

My sweet sweet mother has finally learned to use what’s-app(an instant messing application) .. That’s the one app I can’t live without, it keeps me connected to everyone, especially my family. 


Why were you given your name?

After great debate my mother finally decided based on a number of factors. I think the book "The Divine Romance" by paramahansa yogananda influenced her decision a lot. She initially wanted to name me after a goddess. 


What was (or is) the best job you've had?

I have always enjoyed writing and have a passion for healthy eating.. getting paid to write a heath awareness and inspiration books is amazing. 

If you could repeal one law what would it be?

The Caste based reservation system used by some educational institutions aggravates me. I am not a minority nor do I specifically fall into any specific cast or religious categories as I'm the child of an inter cast marriage. Even though society is very open minded today it needs to revise such stupid laws. Out of 12 seats for a master’s programme 10 were allotted based on casts and minority. One seat was in house (for the students of that university). Therefore more than 1000 applicants competed for 1 seat!  I know in a way it’s an effort to uplift the lower strata of the society but this is definitely not equality of opportunity. What a shame !



What is your comfort food?

Focaccia with Hummus..I absolutely love it and it never makes me feel bloated. 
Photo credits - http://ablendedlife.com/2014/07/17/avocado-hummus-dip/

And a very recent guilty pleasure of mine are the cheese fries at  shake shack
Photo credits - http://www.foodspotting.com/places/246-shake-shack-london

What is the best book you've read this year? Ever? 

Ever - Has to be the "House of night series by PC Cast". These books filled me with wonder and imagination as a teenager. It’s nowhere close to a classic but still will be my all-time favorite series.

2014- "Jars Filled with Gold by Ruby Malshe" The story is one of survival. The Hypocrisy of a community that does not acknowledge a daughter. Growing up the daughter of a Zoroastrian woman and a Hindu man can be challenging, I think this book needs to be read by many. 



If you had 10 minutes on a popular TV talk show, what would you talk about?

Modern day slavery.. Educated people with full time jobs should not have to struggle to make ends meet. 



What type of exercise do you most enjoy?

I like cycling and practicing power yoga. 


  
Nomination -

https://csillakt.wordpress.com/
http://londonartgmt.wordpress.com/
http://buxbaumorbixby.tumblr.com/
http://no2blog.wordpress.com/
http://www.londonplusone.tumblr.com/
http://londonporridge.wordpress.com/

Your questions are:
1. Whats it like to study in London?
2. Is Living on a student budget a struggle ?
3. Should international students work part time ?
4. whats the best thing about being an international student ?
5. Describe your best day in London so far? 
6. Favorite place to shop in London ?
7. How has the international experience contributed to your Life ? 
8. Whats your favorite city in the world? 
9. An book/movie that has had a great impact on your life ?
10. An inspiration Quote that can lift your spirits ?

Trafalgar Square #LONDON FOR FREE


There are certain things in life which stand alone and simple but have a great depth to their existence. One such sight in London of simplicity with a history is to be seen during Christmas time at Trafalgar Square. 



It is here that every Christmas, stands a beautiful tall Christmas tree well light for the sightseers pleasure. Ordinarily one may assume that it is an ordinary Christmas tree with lights on it to celebrate the occasion of joy, new birth and giving.

However when one dwells in the history of this tree it speaks a different story. Every year since 1947, a Christmas tree has been given to the people of London from the people of Norway in gratitude for Britain’s support for Norway during World War II. 

(photo credits : http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/andrew-matthews/10-best-christmas-trees-2013_b_4371032.html)

If one is visiting London during Christmas, one can see this tree standing tall until just before the 12th night of Christmas season after which it is taken down for recycling.


So there you go, stand under this world’s most famous Christmas tree and click a picture to cherish for ever or still better take in your heart not just as a symbol of love but also gratitude.


Thursday, 1 January 2015

LONDON FOR FREE - BUCKINGHAM PALACE


 BUCKINGHAM PALACE 



If you wish to have a look at the place of state occasions and hospitality in its royalty, you could make way to the City of Westminster where the Buckingham Palace is located.


Originally built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham, the palace has gone through a few structural additions.This grand architectural structure is known to have fared badly during World War II as it was bombed no less than seven times. It still stand magnificently surrounded by greenery and London's royal parks. 


If you are not the kind of a person who wants to peep into other people’s homes then a look at this magnificent stone building from the outside, is in itself a wonderful free experience of royalty.



The palace is surrounded by green lawns people can walk past to enjoy the sight of squirrels happily munching on nuts while taking in the breathtaking Victorian memorial made of white marble. What a great piece of art. According to me the history of a nation cannot be understood more beautifully than in appreciation of its art . 


I sit gazing at the statue of the longest running monarch of Great Britain Queen Victoria, wondering to myself what she must think of the millions that gather every year to appraise her beauty and the work of Sir Thomas Brock. Then I remember her renowned words "The important thing is not what they think of me but what I think of them" 

Sunday, 28 December 2014

The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk #London for Free #St James's Park


A Saturday afternoon couldn't be any more calming, sitting under the canopy of a 100 year old Scarlet Oak Tree with a sandwich and a hot coffee. I called home to speak to my family and they asked why I was calling them from a park sitting in the cold when I could have been in the comfort of my cosy room. I laughed agreeing that my room was indeed warmer but the charm of London wasn't in there, it was in a nippy winter with a warm coffee swathed by the rich history of a place that was home to the much loved, Christina Rossetti.

 Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I but when the trees bow down their heads, the wind is passing by.” -Christina Rossetti.


I was homesick and lonely as most international students get during festive breaks, I quietly observed the pelicans while they moved around gracefully ruffling their feathers. A pelican can live up to 54 years in captivity but only 25 years in the wild. Their food is provided for, there are no predators, there is no interspecies fight for matting rights, and they are cared for. Seems like a good life…


A year back my life was similar to a royal pelican. I was an overprotected child.


“I stood surrounded by everything, but in reality, I had very little.” ― Jennifer Lauren's  

Today after months of living, studying and working independently in London. I realise that nothing can be more rewarding and liberating than finding ones independence. Truly being free is to expect and depend on nothing and no one. Freedom isn’t given, but claimed by a courageous heart that desires more than a safe life.




The tragic irony of life…. A majestic bird that breeds in a royal park is still a prisoner in all his supremacy. 

Friday, 26 December 2014

♫ Spend a day in London’s bohemian Market #Camden #London For Free ♫

A londonist once told me "London for the happy hearts is all about Camden" 

After visiting Camden Town a number of times I now realize what he meant..This hippie hub has everything one could want, need or crave. 


The exquisite markets are bursting with garments, art, funky gothic accessories, decor and cuisine from all over the world. Independent small stalls attract a lot of tourist and locals as they are cheap and the quality of products is good. 








It is very well connected by bus, tube and rail. 





This vibrant little district sometimes looks like a painting come to life. 






The Buck Street Market.- over priced and frankly nothing out of the ordinary, yet walking through this one can be delightful. bargain bargain bargain bargain...Overpriced 

The Lock Market - be sure to bargain 

The Stables Market- It has a lot of vintage clothing and some amazing art.. don't forget to check out Cyberdog.

 Amsterdam of London, Resurrection Records. -These shops are worth mentioning.. For those who like a good smoke and amazing tunes


My Advice : Don't stop and shop, just walk - After the initial fancy and glimmer I realized that high streets are everywhere but Camden can be more than a shopping trip.. 

Camden is not necessary a shoppers paradise but it is a music loving liberal dreamers nirvana 

 Walking through the city streets offers insights into the history, life, beauty and passion of the people of Camden and London. And this experience is preciously priceless yet free   




Thursday, 25 December 2014

LONDON FOR FREE


For a student coming from a weaker currency, London is certainly too expensive a city. However, sensible budgeting is what a student needs to understand in order to experience joy in spite of empty pockets. 

If you wish to enjoy life with a lot of good food and travel then certainly that’s not the way. Unless you learn to shop and travel cheap you are certainly going to be broke. In fact, travel in 2015 is going to get even more expensive.

When you go food shopping, you must be able to identify shops with good food cheaply priced rather than the other way round.  This of course is only learnt with a little bit of experience and pain too.  Such as one gradually learns that buying at Liddle fills bags with not as good quality stuff than at Waitrose. Finding a balance at Asda then is what the student must learn with experience. As someone has rightly said that ‘Experience is the best teacher, but the fees are too high’.
Until therefore one gets in touch with the teacher Experience, one is left with very little money to explore this beautiful city.

Waiting for the bus after shopping at ASDA


Stocking up for weeks

To make travel expenses cheaper, a student could go in for a one day pass travel pass costing £10. Otherwise what I suggest is that students then must focus their trip of happiness in simple things such as taking a walk by the South Bank looking at the river Thames. The breeze coming over the waters appears as if it wants to kiss your soft skin welcoming you to this new land where you have come to spend a precious time of your life.

" Buckingham palace or a walk by the Thames" I asked my Mum "

She chose to be a traveler not a tourist 


During the Christmas season it’s not essential that one needs to buy a lot and over load oneself with a lot of useless gifts just for the sake of several advertisements which lure you into buying. One could instead walk through the markets without being tempted into buying and simply enjoy the colour, the music, the lights and the general ambiance.  One need not visit any special entertainments which would certainly rip you economically but instead enjoy the various street entertainers. There is music in the air and one needs to open up ones ears to listen to it; it’s just that simple.


Spending a day at Camden stables market  

All Christmassy at Convent Garden



Walking past a tea party at Camden 


Trafalgar square 


Winter Wonderland at Hyde park 



You could also get yourself indulged in a hot cup of coffee by the St. Catherine Docks and then walk by the Tower of London, admire the London Eye and look up to the Big Ben and watch out for the good times waiting to arrive in your life soon. 

Admiring the London Eye 


Relaxing with a cup of coffee at St. Katharine Docks

                                               
                                                    Enjoying a sandwich at St. James Park 

                                                       
 After obsessing over the Tudors and Jonathan Rhys Meyers I decided to spend a day at tower of London. " there is an entry free but this can be reduced if you by a ticket online in advance 

If you are the artifacts lover then the Museums are free.

 And after spending a lot of viewing time in those long corridors you could gift your hungry stomachs a £3 delicious meal at the China Town in Central London.


Nom Noming at China Town 





Bravo! You are done seeing and experiencing London if not for free at least for cheap.