Staying sane while staying at home

FeaturedPhoto of colouring pencils arranged into a heart shape

Until we can keep the rate of infection less than 1 of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, all of us will have to continue finding ways to love lockdown ๐Ÿ”

While it sucks to be an extrovert right now, the introvert in all of us – however small – is keeping calm and carrying on ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜•

Let’s stay positive and celebrate our wins in these unprecedented times. Each time you choose to stay home and paint your nails, you’re saving lives! ๐Ÿ’…

Stay Sane strategy

To help flatten the curve, and fight cabin fever, these are the activities I’ve been up to since lockdown.

I’ve been trying to strike a balance between socialising and me-time, productivity and downtime, and looking after physical and mental health.

๐ŸŽฎ Gaming on Nintendo Switch
๐Ÿ‹๏ธโ€โ™€๏ธ Keeping fit with Ring Fit Adventure
๐Ÿ“ Blogging again at last
๐Ÿ“ธ Getting through my photo backlog
๐Ÿ—ƒ๏ธ Freshening up my online profiles
๐Ÿ’ป Working from home
๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ผ Mentoring and on boarding staff
๐ŸŽต DJing at ‘the office’
๐Ÿงน Keeping things clean and tidy
๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿณ Cooking for two
๐Ÿฅฆ Getting my five a day
๐Ÿ“บ Netflix and chill
๐Ÿท Keeping Date Night alive
๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿ•บ Living room disco
๐Ÿ“š Not reading enough but still in a book club!
๐Ÿ“ž Keeping in touch
๐ŸŒณ Going for walks in the park
๐ŸŒฟ Tending to a windowsill herb garden
๐Ÿ›’ Guilty of online shopping
๐ŸŽจ Eyeing a drawing tablet to purchase
๐Ÿฆ  Monitoring the situation

Sharing is caring

While I’ve basically sold my soul to gaming, here are some of my favourite things that people I know have been up to during lockdown:

๐Ÿง Group baking by video chat
๐ŸŽ™๏ธ Publishing on YouTube
๐Ÿงต Sewing beautiful garments
๐Ÿงถ Knitting and croqueting
๐Ÿ“ Documenting world travels
๐ŸŽธ Learning a new instrument
๐Ÿ– Flatmate barbecues and communal cooking
โ˜€๏ธ Enjoying the sunshine from backyards and balconies
๐ŸŽง e-learning modules
๐Ÿ’ผ Starting new jobs
๐Ÿ“ˆ Trading stocks
๐Ÿ“– Reading a book a week
๐Ÿฟ Flatmate streaming sessions
๐Ÿšด Outdoor exercise
๐Ÿ’ž Volunteering
๐Ÿ’’ Getting married while wearing face masks

Drawing inspiration

The rest are things I’ve either seen or read online when I’ve been relaxing or engaging with awesome online communities:

๐Ÿ–Œ๏ธ Online painting tutorials
๐Ÿค” Group trivia
๐Ÿ“ฑ Mobile multiplayer games
โœ๏ธ Drawing and colouring
๐Ÿ’ก Watching documentaries
๐Ÿบ Attending virtual exhibitions
๐Ÿงฉ Completing epic puzzles
๐ŸŒธ Origami
๐ŸŽค Streaming concerts, ballet and theatre
๐Ÿง˜ Yoga and meditation
๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ Learning a new language

A sobering reminder

I managed a well-timed trip home by mere weeks before a worldwide lockdown ๐Ÿ˜จ

In that time, I was fortunate enough to catch up with people I love and sorely miss, visited my some of my favourite places in the world, and met my dog Jack for the first time whose been with the family for almost two years.

Thank you for taking care of my family while I’ve been away ๐Ÿถ

Good will come out of these trying times – from a greater spotlight on health and research, to starting a personal project long put on the backburner, or simply stopping to smell the flowers – let’s just hope it won’t take a global pandemic in future.

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Couch co-op games for Switch Club

FeaturedPhoto of nintendo character figurines mario princess peach luigi

The first rule of Switch Club is: You do not talk about Switch Club forget to bring your console ๐Ÿ”‹

Switch Club is what our team lunches evolved into after I became addicted to Nintendo Switch ๐ŸŽฎand decided everyone else should be too.

Switch Club re-introduced me to multiplayer magic ๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™€๏ธ I’d been flying solo – a lone wolf, if you will – ever since I’d moved on from home consoles to handheld ๐ŸŽ’๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐ŸŽ“๐Ÿข

I’ve been on a gaming hiatus for some time. I worked, travelled, dated and changed flats (and countries), and for the most part lacked a couch co-op champ.

I’d enjoyed backseat driving The Witcher, Mass Effect and The Elder Scrolls when my BFF and I lived together in Sydney. But alas, my fellow London lockdownee is more interested in writing code that plays games than playing games himself.

Like a psychocat ๐Ÿ™€

Everyone deserves Switch Club in their lives. There’s just something so satisfying taking out your boss with a pixellated arrow ๐Ÿน, beating your sibling across a virtual finish line ๐Ÿ, or showing up your mates in a digital dance-off ๐Ÿ•บ

Note: Multiplayer player count listed below includes local wireless play – excluding online play.

Overcooked! 2

๐ŸŽฎ Multiplayer up to ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿณ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿณ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿณ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿณ
โ“ Players knead to work together to prep, cook and serve up demanding orders in a chaotic kitchen in time otherwise impatient customers will storm out. The best feature has to be the dynamic kitchen environments which routinely change – monotonous chopping won’t save you!
โญ Best for workmates you’d also take on an escape room with. Both a clear strategy, flexibility and task delegation is vital for a successful kitchen. Best to assign a head chef
โœ… Finished? Who are you kidding, you haven’t finished. But I guess you could try Moving Out

Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

๐ŸŽฎ Multiplayer up to ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ”ง๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ”ง๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ”ง๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ”ง
โ“Expect double the fun with two games in one that’s a fun mash up of classic 2D Super Mario games. The name of the game is to traverse each level as a team, but whether you choose to play chaotically by throwing each other, jumping off their heads and stealing power-ups or with care and consideration is up to you
โญ Best for family fun. Don’t leave Mum behind!
โœ… Finished? Try Rayman Legends


๐ŸŽฎ Multiplayer up to ๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน
โ“ Archery combat meets party game. Matches are equally intense as end-of-match Versus Awards are hilarious: ‘Mostly Harmless’, ‘Happy Accident’, ‘Koala’, ‘Least Composed’ and more. The core mechanics seem straightforward but are deceptively difficult with a mix of gameplay elements thrown in. If you fear you are dangerously close to loosing a real arrow at a fellow player, switch to co-op mode and team up against monsters and bosses instead
โญ Best for workmates again, but this time invite your manager for added stress
โœ… Finished? Try Celeste, a fab single player from the same creators

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

๐ŸŽฎ Multiplayer up to ๐ŸŽ๏ธ๐ŸŽ๏ธ๐ŸŽ๏ธ๐ŸŽ๏ธ
โ“ Take to the digital tarmac to race, battle and throw bananas at your peers for the fun of it. TV mode is recommended to enjoy stunning race tracks, but definitely try huddling around the Switch screen on tabletop for a challenge. To be honest, I grew up with Crash Team Racing (CTR) and will always prefer this Playstation classic (primacy effect), but even I can agree yet another Mario Bros. game is worth the hype
โญ Best for total newbs to gaming. No one is actually ‘good’ at racing games, just press the accelerator button and remember to follow your quadrant of the screen…
โœ… Finished? Try Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fuelled!

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

๐ŸŽฎ Multiplayer up to ๐Ÿ’ฅ๐Ÿ’ฅ๐Ÿ’ฅ๐Ÿ’ฅ๐Ÿ’ฅ๐Ÿ’ฅ๐Ÿ’ฅ๐Ÿ’ฅ
โ“ Variety is rife in this game. There are over hundreds of catchy music tracks and 100 vibrant stages to battle on, and more characters are added to the fray. Brawl your buddies as Nintendo and other iconic gaming characters and try to win by smashing each other off the stage. My favourite feature is Stage Morph – why pick one backdrop when you can haphazardly switch to another mid-battle to keep you on your pixellated toes?
โญ Best for flatmates. It’s a simple solution to deciding whose turn it is to take the bins out
โœ… Finished? Brawlout

Dragon Ball FighterZ

๐ŸŽฎ Multiplayer up to ๐Ÿฅ‹๐Ÿฅ‹๐Ÿฅ‹๐Ÿฅ‹๐Ÿฅ‹๐Ÿฅ‹
โ“ The Dragon Ball franchise has been milked for anime series and video games over the decades so much, I think that says something. This game is a return to 2D side-by-side fighting in contrast to 3D like it’s predecessor Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2. High end anime graphics, crisp character modelling and explosive attacks will wow even non-Dragon Ball fans. It’s an enjoyable assault on the senses that will raise your hackles. There’s also brand new content which introduces you to Android 21 whose creation was supervised by Akira Toriyama. Hoping for a series spin off!
โญ Best for fellow gamers as button mashing won’t quite cut it. You’ll want experienced players to quickly pick up combos so you can enjoy all the graphics this game has to offer
โœ… Finished? Try Blade Strangers

On my radar ๐Ÿคฉ

Games my mates highly rate that I’m yet to try. Thanks, lockdown… well no, actually, thank you for real ๐Ÿ’™

๐ŸŽฎ Rayman Legends Definitive Edition
๐ŸŽฎ Wizard of Legend
๐ŸŽฎ Enter the Gungeon
๐ŸŽฎ Cuphead
๐ŸŽฎ Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

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Gaming worlds to get lost in

FeaturedPhoto of nintendo switch joycons original neon red and blue colours

Chances are you’re not going anywhere anytime soon in these unprecedented times ๐Ÿฆ ๐Ÿ˜ท

As the world continues to come to grips with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s hard to not to feel overwhelmed and isolated.

Yet in a digital era, the concept of community is already changing. It’s even my job to foster them online!

Social media, Netflix watch parties, subreddits and more help open up this locked down world – but nothing is quite as immersive as gaming.

Whether you choose to play online or offline, single player, multiplayer or “backseat driver” player, here are some stunning game worlds to explore for hours and hours ๐ŸŽฎ

Note: I’ve stuck to Nintendo Switch editions mostly – the cherished console I got for Christmas from my beloved ๐Ÿค“Most I’ve played firsthand, others are highly rated from trusted sources ๐Ÿ‘

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

๐ŸŽฎ Genre: Action-adventure, Open-world, RPG elements
๐ŸŽฎ Description: travel across vast fields, through forests, and to mountain peaks as you discover what has become of the kingdom of Hyrule in this stunning open world adventure
๐Ÿ† Ratings: Mine 9.5/10, Metacritic 97%, IGN 10/10
โญ Best for value and sensory immersion. You get at least three games’ content in one and you will struggle to put it down
โœ… Finished? Try a game from the Final Fantasy series

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

๐ŸŽฎ Genre: Action-adventure, Open-world, RPG
๐ŸŽฎ Description: a story-driven, open world adventure set in a dark fantasy universe. You are Geralt of Rivia, mercenary monster slayer. Expect razor-sharp swords, lethal mixtures, stealthy crossbows, and powerful combat magic. Explore a war-torn, monster-infested continent and track down the Child of Prophecy – a living weapon that can alter the shape of the world
๐Ÿ† Ratings: Mine 8.5/10, Metacritic 93%, IGN 9.3/10
โญ Best for: a refreshing retake of the fantasy genre, plus you can relive the story on Netflix. It’s also a great one to watch if you feel like hanging back and enjoying the story
โœ… Finished? Try The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

๐ŸŽฎGenre: RPG
๐ŸŽฎDescription: explore the massive world of Dragon Quest. You are a hunted hero who must uncover the mystery of his fate, with the help of a charismatic cast of supporting characters. Embark on a quest taking you across continents and oceans as to learn of an ominous threat facing the world
๐Ÿ† Ratings: Mine 9/10, Metacritic 86%, IGN 8.8/10
โญ Best for: classic turn-based battles, stunning animation, satisfying dungeon crawling and iconic character design by Akira Toriyama
โœ… Finished? Try Grandia HD Collection

Pokรฉmon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX

๐ŸŽฎ Genre: RPG
๐ŸŽฎ Description: brave the mystery dungeons as a Pokรฉmon and solve the mystery of your strange predicament by befriending other Pokรฉmon and traveling through dungeons that change every time you play. Battle enemy Pokรฉmon and collect treasures to discover as you continue your quest
๐Ÿ† Ratings: Mine 7.5/10, Metacritic 68%, IGN 6/10
โญ Best for reliving your childhood
โœ… Finished? Try Pokรฉmon Swordย andย Pokรฉmon Shieldย or Pokรฉmon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! or Pokรฉmon: Let’s Go, Eevee!

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2

๐ŸŽฎ Genre: Fighting, RPG
๐ŸŽฎ Description: develop your own warrior, create the perfect avatar, learn new skills from mentors and help fight new enemies to restore the original story of the Dragon Ball series. Join 300 players from around the world in the new hub city of Conton and fight with or against them alongside the main cast of characters
๐Ÿ† Ratings: Mine 9/10, Metacritic 75%, IGN 7.5/10
โญ Best for time travel enthusiasts
โœ… Finished? Try Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot

Spyro Reignited Trilogy

๐ŸŽฎ Genre: Platform
๐ŸŽฎ Description: a fully remade collection of the three original Spyro games that started the phenomenon: Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Riptoโ€™s Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon. Play as Spyro alongside Sparx as he torches Gnasty in the Dragon Realms, singes Ripto in Avalar, and crรจme brรปlรฉe’s the Sorceress in The Forgotten Worlds
๐Ÿ† Ratings: Mine 9/10, Metacritic 82%, IGN 8.5/10
โญ Best for platformers
โœ… Finished? Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy or Yooka-Laylee

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled

๐ŸŽฎ Genre: Kart racing game
๐ŸŽฎ Description: Crash is back in the driverโ€™s seat! Go fur-throttle with Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled – itโ€™s the authentic CTR experience plus a whole lot more, now fully-remastered and customisable additions to character and kart designs
๐Ÿ† Ratings: Mine 8.5/10, Metacritic 83%, IGN 8.2/10
โญ Best for wannabe rally drivers and multiplayer
โœ… Finished? Try Mario Kart

On my radar ๐Ÿคฉ

Games bookmarked in my Wishlist or that I’ve downloaded and are waiting for some attention:

๐ŸŽฎ Sword Art Online: Hollow Realisation
๐ŸŽฎ Octopath Traveler
๐ŸŽฎ Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition
๐ŸŽฎ Dragon Ball FighterZ
๐ŸŽฎ Super Mario Odyssey
๐ŸŽฎ Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
๐ŸŽฎ Trials of Mana
๐ŸŽฎ Xenoblade Chronicles 2
๐ŸŽฎ Fire Emblem: Three Houses
๐ŸŽฎ Dragon Quest Builders 2
๐ŸŽฎ Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Special mention ๐Ÿ’ฏ Tomb Raider: Legend

๐ŸŽฎ Genre: Action adventure
๐ŸŽฎ Description: sprawling environments, complex puzzles and fast-paced combat are what defines Tomb Raider series games. Lara’s greatly improved mobility is a particular standout feature of this edition
๐Ÿ† Ratings: Mine 8.5/10, Metacritic 82%, IGN 8.2/10
โญ Best for asking your fellow gamer flatmate to try and kill this serpent boss over and over because it is just so ridiculously difficult and hilariously funny to watch
โœ… Finished? Try Unchartered

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What to pack when you move to London

Featuredsuitcase luggage packing moving overseas abroad

Packing all your worldly possessions in a suitcase isn’t possible, but packing your worthy possessions certainly is!

For some it might seem a Herculean task, for others no big deal. To me it was a chance to shed some layers and leave unnecessary “baggage” behind – much in-line with Scandinavian or Japanese minimalism โš–๏ธ

This is a guide from one expat to another – if you’re flying solo into the unknown in your twenties or thirties, and moving abroad without the support of an employer covering the costs and logistics, then read on! ๐Ÿงณ

Trick post – this photo was taken in Malta, hence the shorts! And sunburn…


Back in the 70s it was actually a Londoner who came up with the perfect solution: the “capsule wardrobe“. Essentially, the essentials – a collection of timeless staples which can then be paired with seasonal pieces. For example:

๐Ÿ‘• Tops: button down shirt, sleeveless top, T-shirt
๐Ÿงฃ Knits: jumper, cardigan
๐Ÿ‘– Bottoms: pencil or A-line skirt, pants (*ahem* trousers), jeans
๐Ÿงฅ Outerwear: jacket, blazer, coat
๐Ÿฉฒ Underwear: about 2 week’s worth of socks, undies and tights
๐Ÿ‘ข Shoes: flats, joggers (*trainers*), low heeled boots, high heels if you must (thicker the heel the better)
๐Ÿ‘Ÿ Active wear
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Sleepwear: 2 sets.

Quality over quantity is key. Leave the Target bargains and synthetics back home and bring your best pieces made from cotton, linen, wool, denim, leather, and silk (you get the idea).

Versatility is also important. With limited real estate in your luggage, and pokey room space in London flat shares, each piece will need to earn it’s place. Opt for staples such as a midi dress which can be dressed up or down for different occasions, or even worn at work. You’ll need something to wear to all those interviews once you’re here!

Remember to practice some self love. If you own anything you haven’t worn in months because it’s uncomfortable or makes you feel uncomfortable about your body, ditch it. Donate it to charity if it makes you feel better about justifying the expense or wastefulness.

London is one of the fashion capitals of the world, so save your pennies and precious checked luggage allowance for the real necessities (keep reading).


Same rules apply as per the above – only the best quality, useful and most versatile items should make the cut so be ruthless!

๐Ÿงฃ Scarf – wool or silk
๐Ÿงค Gloves – wool or leather
๐Ÿ‘’ Hat: beanie or beret and a sunhat for holidays – besides, you never know
โŒš Watch or Fitbit
๐Ÿ’Ž Jewellery – a mix of the classics and truly unique pieces i.e. those rare boutique or vintage finds you won’t find on a messy Topshop stand.


A regret most expats have that I’ve noticed when chatting with friends or lurking in online forums is overdoing it on toiletries ๐Ÿ›€

Unless you have special skin or hair care needs due to an intolerance etc that aren’t aesthetic in nature, then I strongly suggest that you:

  1. Pack travel size toiletries to keep you going
  2. Stock up on the rest once you arrive! You’ll be surprised how cheap some basics are ๐Ÿงด๐Ÿ’„

Tech devices

With a new product or feature birthed out of the tech industry almost daily, I sense this section has potential to date fast – but I’ll do my best to keep it current.

๐Ÿ“ฑ Mobile phone* – make sure the SIM card is unlocked!
๐Ÿ’ป Laptop computer* – crucial, especially in those first few weeks getting your life sorted
๐Ÿ”‹ Portable battery charger – lifesaver
๐Ÿ”Œ Chargers – mobile, laptop, Kindle, Fitbit etc
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Adapters – AUS-UK plus a handy AUS-EU one for travelling
โšก Australian power board – why carry a bunch of adaptors when you can use one for a whole board?
๐Ÿ“ USB stick – yes people still use them, just like you will in your first month. Especially useful for printing at an internet cafe or public library
๐Ÿ“„ Digital documents – have all your important documents backed up and easily accessible on a cloud account and synced to your devices

*There is a case for buying a mobile and laptop over here – it’s highly unlikely your home warranty is valid overseas. True story – I bought my new mobile phone on the day I arrived, jetlag and all!


These really ought to be a no brainer but it does help to have everything in one place:

๐Ÿ“„ Passport with visa vignette inside
๐Ÿ“„ Other forms of ID e.g. drivers licence
๐Ÿ“„ Visa approval letter
๐Ÿ“„ Signed proof of funds document – maximum 3 months old
๐Ÿ“„ University degree / qualification certificate.


As tempting as it might be, you’re very likely to find Australian confectionary in London! Simply look it up or search expat group forums and you’ll have TimTams in hand in no time. When in doubt, go to Clapham ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ

Visitors from Down Under are also great at topping up your stash! Why not ask them to pack an extra suitcase of BBQ Shapes then sell them on Facebook like everyone else does? ๐Ÿ‘›

There’s only one major craving you won’t be able to satisfy in this corner of the globe – Weis Bars. You could always have a go at making your own? ๐Ÿจ

There’s also a fantastic selection of Aussie brunch spots – be sure to check out my top picks ๐Ÿฅ‘

Bits and bobs

In the unlikely event you have space left in your suitcase, you might consider packing:

๐Ÿ›๏ธ Pillow case – some hostels or AirBnbs might not supply them
๐Ÿ› Micro fibre towel – as per above
๐Ÿ”’ Travel locks – these come in handy not just for checked luggage but for storing your stuff with extra peace of mind in shared accommodation
๐Ÿ‘™ Swimwear – you never know, it was the middle of a heatwave when I landed and believe it or not they have swimming pools (Lidos) around.

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Best Aussie brunches in London


Australian brunch (breakfast meets lunch) is world-renowned. Admittedly, an initial fear I had about The Big Move was where I’d find my next banana bread and flat white โ˜•.

After some research, you quickly discover that A) not all the best spots are exclusive to Clapham and B) the British – well, maybe London specifically – have completely elevated the humble Aussie brunch to something that exudes luxurious decadence (think: Breakfast at Tiffany’s).

On that note, that’s not to say that you won’t find an equally snobbish brunch in certain well-to-do areas back home, but it is quite far removed from your typical poached eggs and avo on toast. The below quote sums this up quite nicely:

Bright mashups of foods that are healthy, natural and luxurious all at once … Cafes serve plates of organic porridge with raw honey and grass-fed cream, free-range poached eggs with local bacon and roasted broccoli, and all manner of avocado toast, garnished with everything from pickled onions and hoja santa to sesame seeds and shiso leaves.

The New York Times

You get the idea. Anyway, here’s my tried and tested list of the crรจme de la Chantilly crรจme of Australian brunches in London.


Granger & Co.

All day, neighbourhood dining
๐Ÿ“ Clerkenwell, King’s Cross, Notting Hill, Chelsea
โญ Ricotta hotcakes, banana and honeycomb butter.

Farm Girl

Holistic and honest Australian owned cafes in London serving healthy food and damn good coffee 
๐Ÿ“ Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Notting Hill, Soho
โญ Island Eggs: toasted sweet potato, labneh, avo mash and two poached eggs covered in hazelnut dukkah.


All day Australian brasserie Brought to you by the team behind Brew Cafe
๐Ÿ“ Kew, Putney, Richmond
โญ Peanut butter tofu salad with avocado, cucumber, tomato, coconut cream, green nahm jim, chilli and fried shallots – add poached egg.


Morning – Noon – Night
๐Ÿ“ Clapham Junction, Wimbledon, Wandsworth, Chiswick
โญ Sweetcorn fritters with avocado, tomato jam and lime aioli – add bacon.

Ozone Coffee Roasters

Roastery, Coffee Bar and Eatery
๐Ÿ“ Old Street, Cambridge Heath (October 2019)
โญ Gourmet lamingtons.


A little bit of Australia in London. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner
๐Ÿ“ Shoreditch, Fitzrovia, London Bridge
โญ Buddha bowl with turmeric seed avocado, coconut chilli sweet potato, sprouting sunflower seeds, cauliflower quinoa rice, cashews, spinach & edamame, pickles and vegan cashew mayo.


Indy Aussie inspired cafรฉs in SW London offering quality coffee, brunch
๐Ÿ“ Balham, Clapham Common, Streatham, Tooting
โญ Toasted brioche.

On my radar…

โ˜• Caravan Roastery
โ˜• Department of Coffee and Social Affairs
โ˜• Flat White
โ˜• Milkbar
โ˜• Kaffeine
โ˜• Little Green
โ˜• Wander

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Beat the infamous Heathrow Injection


As scary as the ‘Heathrow Injection’ ๐Ÿ’‰๐Ÿ˜ฑ sounds, thankfully it doesn’t involve anything sharp – quite the opposite. ‘Extra padding’ is something most London newcomers experience after they’ve settled in.

Picture the scene: a summer-like period fades into long dark days, ramping up the desire for nights in with a growing pile of takeout boxes on the kitchen bench ๐Ÿฅก

If, like me, you’ve traded climates ๐Ÿ–๏ธ๐Ÿ›ฌ๐ŸŒฌ๏ธ you might also adopt the after work pub culture and comfort food on the menu (mmm, fish ‘n’ chips) as you adjust to your first UK winter.

It’s not all doom and gloom! London is a thriving city and there’s always things to see, try and do – you just need to find what works for you ๐Ÿคฉ

Walk to work

Actual photo of Londoners walking to work

You’ve heard this one a thousand times, and it sounds almost too easy – but have you actually done it? You might discover a new coffee haunt or local boutique on the way, or someplace to come back and check out at the weekend.

If you’re crossing half the city on your regular commute then aim to get off a few stops early and walk the remaining journey ๐Ÿ‘Ÿ

โš ๏ธ Spoiler alert: despite the drizzly reputation, it doesn’t rain all that often in London.

Shop the high street

Get lost in Camden’s famous markets

Last Christmas, the ‘death of the High Street’ was all any media publisher broadcasted. Basically, online shopping is overtaking in-store shopping as our preferred purchase method ๐Ÿ›๏ธ While a great alternative for time-strapped people, it’s not so great for clocking up steps.

Pick a Tube station at random and guaranteed there’s an interesting local market in the vicinity. Ditch the cookiecutter handbag and hunt for something unique ๐Ÿ‘

Get behind two wheels

Santander Cycles are just ยฃ2 a ride!

London may be a bustling metropolis, but its streets are becoming increasingly bike friendly. There’s even cycling ‘super highways’ popping up all over town! ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธ

Many workplaces have also adopted ‘cycle to work’ schemes – check if your company is already on board ๐Ÿ‘Œ

If you’re more of a leisure cyclist, take advantage of the UK’s longer daylight hours in summer (until 10pm!) and take a two-wheeled tour around your borough ๐ŸŒณ

Unless you live under a rock, you’d also have noticed Santander Cycles docking stations. Find out more ๐Ÿšฒ

Prep your meals

Impress your colleagues with your cooking skills

With chains and meal deals (coupled with an active social life) competing to be your food choice, it’s no wonder we opt for convenience over effort. Sushi ๐Ÿฃ might seem healthy but did you know the rice is full of caster sugar? Not to mention it’s likely white rice, too.

Knowing exactly what you’re eating when you prepare it yourself puts you back in control – not only of its contents, but portion size as well โš–๏ธ

Some of my favourite (and simplest) packed lunches for work are rice paper rolls, falafel wrap, chicken and avocado toastie, and soft tacos ๐Ÿ˜‹

Join a fitness group

From CrossFit to circus, flamenco to kayaking, tai chi and more, there’s an abundance of fitness activities happening in every corner of London ๐Ÿ’ƒ However, prices for anything specialised can make you question whether its worth the pounds (mind the pun).

If you’re after something that combines culture, socialising and fitness like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, then 3-4-1 sounds like a sweet deal! And if you’re after something more casual, the pricey gym membership might not be the best option ๐Ÿ’ธ

Outside of solo runs and cycling, there’s a huge selection of free (or cheap) fitness MeetUp and Facebook groups. *Shameless plug* our Hiking Group is pretty cool! ๐Ÿ‘Ÿ

Up your Insta game

If chasing invisible monsters on Pokemon GO isn’t getting you out of the house like it used to, it might be about time to dust off that Instagram account? ๐Ÿคณ

If you Google ‘most instagrammable cities in the world’, chances are London will make the Top 10. Outside of its classic icons – think roundels, red double deckers and telephone boxes – there’s monuments, palaces, churches, extravagant eateries, historic pubs, quirky street and food art and more! ๐ŸŽก

Some starting points for inspiration are: scenic walks along South Bank, eclectic markets in Camden and Shoreditch, stunning views at Greenwich, and colourful architecture in Chelsea and Notting Hill ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง

Curb your liquid calorie intake

Wine might be the way to go when it comes to sugar in alcohol

London hosts incredible traditional pubs and riverside al fresco spots for blink-and-you-missed-it summer, but there’s a reason a pint or two leaves you feeling full ๐Ÿป I’m not suggesting anything drastic, just to watch your intake. The NHS has a helpful guide on their website๐Ÿท

And then there’s a host of chains offering sweet-tastic drinks – think: bubble tea and smoothies that are more ice-cream than fruit – and sugar-loaded ‘coffee’ frappuccinos with all the latest flavours ๐Ÿฅค

If you need that flavour hit, try mixing your own sparkling fruit juice with soda water and 100% fruit extract, adding mint leaves to a jug of water or swapping coffee for herbal tea ๐Ÿต

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A pizza snob’s guide to London pizzerias


If you know me at all, even by acquaintance, you’ll quickly learn that pizza is one of my life’s greatest passions ๐Ÿคค

Having been to the very heart of pizza craft ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Naples, Southern Italy ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น and sampled the best in the world, I’ve made it a personal mission never to accept anything less.

While sadly I haven’t mastered the craft myself, what I can do is hunt down the good stuff and impart my knowledge of the best haunts ๐Ÿ”

This is a living post that will be refreshed from time to time as I uncover more gems! For now, these are my top picks to satisfy your Neapolitan wood fired pizza cravings in London.

Disclaimer: Only traditional pizza is covered here. If you’re a fan of pineapple, fast food or New York style ‘pizza’ then you’re in the wrong place!


The best

๐Ÿฅ‡ L’Antica Pizzeria

“Real Neapolitan taste. Cooked with passion.”

๐Ÿš‡ Hampstead, High Barnet
๐Ÿ• Caputo flour, low-salt dough, slow-fermented over 36 hours, cooked at 400ยฐC
โญ Go for: date night or with a small group of friends
๐Ÿ‘ Traditional Neapolitan wood fired pizza, accepts table reservations, great desserts
๐Ÿ‘Ž Average service, cramped seating, loud.

๐Ÿฅˆ Homeslice

“20” pizza whole or by the slice.”

๐Ÿš‡ Covent Garden, Oxford Circus, Bond Street, Mansion House, Old Street, White City, Earl’s Court
๐Ÿ• High protein German 405 flour, aged 24 hours minimum, cooked at 500ยฐC for 60-90 seconds
โญ Go for: a slice on the go or a casual walk-in
๐Ÿ‘ Balance of tradition with innovation, flavours split 50/50, one pizza feeds two people
๐Ÿ‘Ž Chaotic service, cramped seating, loud.

๐Ÿฅ‰ Zia Lucia

“Genuine pizza.”

๐Ÿš‡ Highbury & Islington, Hammersmith, Wembley Park
๐Ÿ• Four types of dough: vegetable charcoal, wholemeal, gluten-free, traditional, slow-fermented over 48 hours
โญ Go for: a proper sit down meal with family and friends
๐Ÿ‘ Traditional Neapolitan pizza with a twist – the charcoal base is an experience!
๐Ÿ‘Ž Bookings available for a minimum of eight people.


The rest

… but definitely not less!

Made of Dough

“Pizza. And some.”

๐Ÿš‡ Oxford Circus, Brixton, Fulham Broadway, ๐Ÿš†Peckham Rye
๐Ÿ• Lean dough: flour, water, sea salt, fresh yeast, 60% hydration, cooked fast
โญ Go for: Neapolitan wood fired pizza with mates
๐Ÿ‘ Consistently good, traditional wood fired pizza, great toppings
๐Ÿ‘Ž Casual in food halls and markets – may be hard to find a group table.

Pizzeria di Camden

“The sun on your plate.”

๐Ÿš‡ Camden Town
๐Ÿ• โ€˜00โ€™ grade flour, stone baked
โญ Go for: date night or with a small group of friends
๐Ÿ‘ Great location, great flavours, decent Aperol spritz
๐Ÿ‘Ž Small venue.

Franco Manca

“Sourdough pizza. As it should be.”

๐Ÿš‡ Restaurants in all corners of London as well as around the UK
๐Ÿ• Italian grains, live culture of flour, water and wild yeast, fermented 20 hours
โญ Go for: a decent cheap meal
๐Ÿ‘ Pizzas start from ยฃ5, many locations, walk-in friendly, No. 7 rotating specialty pizza
๐Ÿ‘Ž Average quality, stingy on toppings.

La Pizza Napoletana – Mercato Metropolitano

๐Ÿš‡ Southwark
โญ Go for: a quality pizza option at a varied food hall
๐Ÿ‘ Lots of choice, consistently decent
๐Ÿ‘Ž Long wait time and crowded space during busy periods.

Santa Maria Pizzeria Napoletana

๐Ÿš‡ Fulham Broadway, Goodge Street, South Ealing
โญ Go for: a hearty sit down meal with family, friends or peers
๐Ÿ‘ Consistently good, traditional wood fired pizza, great toppings
๐Ÿ‘Ž Some flavours are questionable – mushy peas base, for instance!


“Like a day in Napoli”

๐Ÿš‡ Tottenham Court Road, Covent Garden, Old Street, Fulham Broadway, Camden Road, Finchley Road, ๐Ÿš† Wandsworth Town
โญ Go for: a social occasion with a medium to large size group
๐Ÿ‘ Neapolitan pizza, many locations to choose from
๐Ÿ‘Ž It has a bit of a chain vibe and the monthly special I tried wasn’t great. Still, I’d give them another go!


“Plant pioneers”

๐Ÿš‡ Camden Town
โญ Go for: a social occasion with a small size group
๐Ÿ‘ The UK’s first ever vegan pizzeria using cruelty free ingredients, serving a variety of traditional inspired flavour combinations
๐Ÿ‘Ž They’re quite generous on the cheese, and if you’re not used to the vegan variety this might not be a good thing.

On my radar…

  • Pizza Pilgrims
  • Sud Italia
  • Voodoo Rays
  • Sacre Couer

Latest posts ๐Ÿ‘‡

Thrifty London life hacks


London’s ranking may have dropped down out of the ‘World’s Top Ten Most Expensive Cities’ list, but this costly metropolis gives new meaning to the phrase ‘dropping a few pounds’ ๐Ÿค‘

Compared to other major cities back home like Sydney or Melbourne, London’s lower wages and steeper costs of living (think: rent, transport and bills you’ve never heard of) will surely shock your system in the first months as you gradually start thinking in pounds instead of dollars.

No, the sting of that ยฃ3 latte never really goes away โ˜• And that’s without a croissant.

To give you an idea, compared to Sydney, in London: there’s 20% VAT added to consumer goods and services (up from Aussie’s modest 10% GST), a meal out is 25% more expensive, and monthly utilities are rarely under ยฃ100 per person.

Setting a budget is a great idea, but let’s be honest that’s a whole new blog post to cover. These London like hacks are a great place to start ๐Ÿ‘‡

Key: ๐Ÿ†“ Free, ๐Ÿ‘› Cheap, ๐Ÿ’ฐ Reasonable, ๐Ÿ’ธ Make the most of unavoidable expenses!

Food and eating out ๐Ÿฅก

In a city with a reputation for exceptionally pricey dining, a cheap meal actually isn’t all that difficult to come by.

๐Ÿ‘› ยฃ3 meal deals at most Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco – enough to get you through lunch break and afternoon tea
๐Ÿ‘› ยฃ3-5 M&S and Waitrose salads and sushi – there’s a decent and healthy variety!
๐Ÿ‘› ยฃ1 confectionery and 2-4-1 cold drinks at Poundland
๐Ÿ‘› Stretch your pence with loyalty cards, locals’ discounts, reusable coffee cups
๐Ÿ‘› Too Good To Go app – save a meal before it goes to waste at a fraction of the cost
๐Ÿ’ฐ Do your grocery shopping at Lidl, Aldi, Asda and Morrisons
๐Ÿ’ฐ Food markets – lots of options bound to suit everyone’s tastes and budget
๐Ÿ’ฐ Lunch menus tend to offer cheaper deals than at dinner time
๐Ÿ’ฐ Discounted sandwiches and sushi in the few hours before store closing time.

Transport and getting around ๐ŸšŒ

London’s transport system is world class service, but you do pay for what you get. Even with fares frozen over the past few years, the Tube network is particularly expensive. Thankfully there’s plenty of options for getting from A to B.

๐Ÿ‘› ยฃ1.50 Hopper fare for buses, and connecting bus journeys are free if you tap on within an hour of tapping onto the first bus
๐Ÿ‘› ยฃ1.50 on Overground journeys as you avoid travelling into Zone 1
๐Ÿ‘› ยฃ2 Santander Cycles hire per 30min journey
๐Ÿ’ฐ Cycle to Work schemes – an employee benefit that saves you 25% or more on a bike and accessories with payments taken tax efficiently from your salary by your employer
๐Ÿ’ฐ Subscribe to emails such as Trainline to get a heads up on cheap fares for spontaneous weekend travel.

Rent and living expenses ๐Ÿ 

Rent is the other necessary evil of living in London. While this topic could easily be another entire blog post (or series) in itself, here’s a few main points to consider:

๐Ÿ†“ Score a free haircut from salons like TONI&GUY as hair models are often sought after by apprentices
๐Ÿ‘› Take advantage of so many competitive mobile plan deals – challengers such as giffgaff piggyback off more established networks, so you get the same coverage for less!
๐Ÿ’ฐ Avoid paying for a useless TV licence and split a streaming service across your devices like Netflix
๐Ÿ’ธ East and South London (for the moment, at least) tend to attract cheaper rent as opposed to their affluent Central, West and North London counterparts
๐Ÿ’ธ Opt to live in an area that’s a 15min+ walk from a Tube station. For instance, Crouch End is a gorgeous spot wedged between some of London’s most exclusive neighbourhoods.

Socialising and sightseeing ๐Ÿฅ‚

A boozy Friday night could quickly leave you out of pocket for the rest of the weekend – or month – if you’re not careful!

๐Ÿ†“ Many of the world’s most renowned parks, museums and galleries are free!
๐Ÿ†“ MeetUp and Facebook groups – learn a new language for free!
๐Ÿ†“ Sky Garden rooftop at the Walkie Talkie is free entry, you just need to book in advance
๐Ÿ†“ Pub theatre performances
๐Ÿ‘› Host a picnic in the park in summer or a dinner party at home (if you have the space!)
๐Ÿ‘› I’ve heard Wetherspoons pubs are great value for drinks
๐Ÿ’ฐ Rush tickets are a great way to secure cheap seats at some of the best theatre performances in the world. There’s an app for that!
๐Ÿ’ฐ Affordable bottomless brunches are few and far between, but you can certainly drink back your money’s worth – and some.

Shopping and activities ๐Ÿ›๏ธ

๐Ÿ†“ Browse upcoming talks and networking events on Eventbrite, MeetUp and Facebook
๐Ÿ†“ Check out a free (or cheap ยฃ5) gig at one of the city’s many comedy clubs, including central London
๐Ÿ‘› Bag a bargain at London’s array of markets and charity stores
๐Ÿ‘› Shop around for cinema tickets – booking online often works out cheaper
๐Ÿ‘› Enjoy a performance at The Globe Theatre with a ยฃ5 standing ticket
๐Ÿ’ฐ Browse offers on Groupon for meals, experiences, classes and services. My trip to Stonehenge was half price in the middle of summer!
๐Ÿ’ฐ Many major retailers offer great membership loyalty benefits. Never pay full price again!
๐Ÿ’ฐ Students and youth card holders also enjoy discounts at food chains and major retailers.

Health and fitness ๐Ÿ‘Ÿ

๐Ÿ†“ Register for free fitness trials – try something new!
๐Ÿ†“ Join a local fitness MeetUp or exercise group
๐Ÿ†“ Walk whenever possible – plus it’s the best way to explore
๐Ÿ‘› Buy in bulk and prep meals for the week yourself – freeze half and rotate the options to mix it up
๐Ÿ‘› Swim at the Lido or Hampstead Heath ponds in summer
๐Ÿ’ฐ Buy a bicycle – there’s an upfront cost but it’s free onwards (except maintenance)
๐Ÿ’ฐ Shop around for the best gym membership.

Holiday travel โœˆ๏ธ

๐Ÿ†“ Learn the basics of a new language using an app like Duolingo or go to a free language exchange session
๐Ÿ‘› Heard of ยฃ9 flights to France? Travel mid-week well in advance to score those fares
๐Ÿ’ฐ Always hunt for the best airfare online – try Skyscanner or Google Flights
๐Ÿ’ฐ Book your flight home to spend Christmas holidays with family on Christmas Day itself, or New Years Day to save
๐Ÿ’ฐ Take advantage of student and youth airfares and travel packages.

Your hacks

I’ve undoubtedly missed a few crucial London life hacks, so I’d love to hear your tips in the comments!

Latest posts ๐Ÿ‘‡

Where I take my mates visiting Sydney


Having lived in this harbourside oasis before making The Big Move ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง, I spent six years exploring Sydney’s postcard destinations as well as uncovering hidden gems ๐Ÿ’Ž

The life of a Sydneysider can leave you feeling both excited and overwhelmed by the endless options of things to see and do. You can imagine the pressure one feels to deliver when your mates visit from out of town!

Here are my favourite hubs to explore that will offer a truly memorable experience for visitors, as well as newcomers and locals ๐Ÿ’™

Circular Quay

Circular Quay epitomises a Sydney postcard and is the world renowned host to spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks.

You’ve got the Sydney Opera House and Royal Botanical Gardens to the left, the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the right, and the iconic green and yellow ferries calling port from all the harbour’s hotspots. You might even spot a seal sun baking on the Opera House steps!

A day in Circular Quay will keep you busy, but it’s certainly achievable. Food options on the doorstep of the wharves are overpriced and average in quality, so I recommend branching out a bit to nearby The Rocks for a meal, or relax in the Royal Botanical Gardens around the corner for a picturesque picnic.

๐Ÿš† Circular Quay
โฒ๏ธ If you only do one thing: sip a drink by the water and watch the sunset at Opera Bar
๐Ÿคฏ Sydney Cove is the founding place for the European settlement of Australia where the First Fleet landed in Port Jackson on 26 January 1788.

The Rocks

Just a short stroll from Circular Quay and at the doorstep of Sydney Harbour Bridge is a European pocket from the settlement days. Wander through this time capsule’s cobbled lanes by day and enjoy Australia’s oldest pubs by night.

For such a compact spot, there’s plenty to explore including modern art and museums. A personal favourite are The Rocks Foodies Market on Fridays and The Rocks Markets every weekend – this is where you’ll find the perfect souvenir!

With a favourable climate year round, any time is a good time to visit. But if you’re after something special, check out Vivid Sydney in May and June when central Sydney becomes a playground festival of light and sound where art meets technology.

๐Ÿš† Circular Quay
โฒ๏ธ If you only do one thing: indulge your sweet tooth at Pancakes On The Rocks
๐Ÿคฏ The Rocks has come a long way since its days of being home to rowdy, raucous settlements of convicts, soldiers, sailors and street gangs!

Lavender Bay

It’s time to cross the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Lower North Shore ๐Ÿจ

Easily spend a whole day or entire weekend exploring this pocket of paradise. Start with the Lavender Bay to Milson’s Point Circuit Walk, then get your adrenaline rush at Luna Park’s harbourside amusement rides, and swim by sunset at the North Sydney Olympic Pool. If you have the energy left, definitely consider your trip back to the city via the pedestrian walk across the bridge.

Another favourite haunt are the Kirribilli Markets happening every other weekend. Here you can enjoy international food stalls, live music, and pick up fashion, art and antique bargains that the cashed up locals wear once and sell here.

๐Ÿš† Milson’s Point
โฒ๏ธ If you only do one thing: explore Wendy’s Secret Garden
๐Ÿคฏ A plaque on Olympic Drive commemorates a convict transport ship’s arrival in 1814 after an outbreak of typhus, of which the epidemic killed 36 convicts, including the surgeon, First and Second Mates, boatswain, two seamen and four of the guard.

Balmoral Beach

Anyone will tell you that Balmoral Beach is one of Sydney’s best beaches. Outside of what you’d expect from a typical Aussie beach – i.e. surfing – here you’ll find little to no waves at all.

Being one of the city’s cleanest and idyllic harbour beaches, you’re more likely to find people leisurely swimming, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkelling or simply wandering down the boardwalk in the sun gelato in hand.

Rocky Point Island is the perfect picnic spot, but there’s plenty more grassy areas behind the beach, as well as plenty of eateries to choose from. A personal favourite is getting coffee from The Boathouse Balmoral and fish ‘n’ chips from Bottom of the Harbour.

๐Ÿš from Wynyard or Taronga Zoo
โฒ๏ธ If you only do one thing: jump into the enclosed swimming area from the wharf
๐Ÿคฏ The beach was named in honour of Balmoral Castle, a large estate house in Scotland known as Royal Deeside and a favourite summer royal residence.

The Spit to Manly walk

This scenic coastal hike offers views and sites worth drooling over – at least, that’s my take on the name! ๐Ÿ’ฆ

In only 3.5hrs, or a leisurely 5hrs, covering 10km (6.2 miles) you’ll discover ancient Aboriginal rock carvings, sub-tropical bushland, secret beaches and more. The path itself consists of paved walkways, boardwalks, bush trails as well as stretches of sand and is easy for any level of fitness to undertake, despite some steep sections.

En route ‘To Manly’, as it’s helpfully signposted, there are several points of interest for a stop, picnic or a swim along the way. Some of my favourites are Elleryโ€™s Punt Reserve, Clontarf Reserve, Castle Rock Beach, Grotto Point Aboriginal Engraving Site, and views from Crater Cove and Dobroyd Head.

๐Ÿš from Wynyard
โฒ๏ธ If you only do one thing: pack swimmers!
๐Ÿคฏ The Spit Bridge was completed in 1958, replacing an old wooden bridge, and is a ‘bascule bridge’ which allows its middle section to raise to let ships to pass through.


When asked about Sydney’s beaches, Bondi will most likely come to mind but Manly will be close behind. You can easily spend a day here, but a few hours is also achievable if all you want to do is look around.

The first things you’ll notice is the sheer size of this stretch of sand, the tree-lined promenade, volleyballers in summer, surfers in the swell all year round, and people milling about the pedestrianised centre of the Corso.

Some of my favourite things to do on weekends are to enjoy the ferry ride from Circular Quay, browse the Manly Market Place and local boutiques for something unique, as well as spend half a day swimming and snorkelling at Shelley Beach (no waves!) just a 10min walk away.

โ›ด๏ธ from Circular Quay
โฒ๏ธ If you only do one thing: sign up for a lesson at Manly Surf School
๐Ÿคฏ Manly is the birthplace of surfing in Australia with early forms of the sport emerging as early as 1908, and the inaugural World Championships were hosted here in 1964.

Palm Beach

Also known by its famous alter ego ‘Summer Bay’ from Home and Away, Palm Beach is situated at the farthest flung reaches of the Northern Beaches and its quiet privacy attracts local and international celebrities for their choice of Sydney getaway.

Palm Beach’s other claim to fame is the stunning birds-eye view of the beach and Broken Bay from the top of Barrenjoey Headland. No stay in Sydney is complete without a snap taken from this Instaworthy spot, as well as in front of the lighthouse.

There’s two paths to the top – one longer and more winding, the other shorter and steeper. It doesn’t really matter which way you go up, as long as you take the other path on the way down to get both perspectives ๐Ÿ‘Œ

๐Ÿš from Wynyard
โฒ๏ธ If you only do one thing: catch the ferry across the water to the next region north of Sydney – the Central Coast!
๐Ÿคฏ Palm Beach gets its name in the 1790s due to the cabbage tree palms growing in the area.

Bondi Beach

No Sydney listicle would be complete without a nod to Bondi, Sydney’s – if not Australia’s – most iconic beach.

Here is where you’ll indulge your ‘Aussie beach getaway’ bucket list – gelato in one hand, a cocktail in the other, sand between your toes and dried saltwater in your hair.

Once you’ve got that out of your system, remember to check out the graffiti wall, Bondi Icebergs ocean pool, weekend markets, open air cinema in summer, and Sculptures by the Sea outdoor exhibition during every October.

๐Ÿš† Bondi Junction
โฒ๏ธ If you only do one thing: branch out and attempt the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk
๐Ÿคฏ Bondi Beach’s busiest summer days expect to attract up to 40,000 beach goers.

Latest posts ๐Ÿ‘‡

Easy day trips from London


London may be the bustling Capital with an infinite amount of things to see, try and do – but there’s a whole island yet to explore! ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง

With medieval castles, crumbling ruins, quaint villages to the English countryside spread around England, there’s bound to be something to suit every kind of traveller just a skip, hop and a jump away.

Here’s my top picks totally worth the train fare to get you started ๐Ÿ‘‡


You might recognise Windsor as the illustrious royal wedding venue of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and preferred place of residence of Queen Elizabeth II.

Windsor castle ๐Ÿฐ has been home to The Royal Family for over 1,000 years and is the largest occupied castle in the world!

The town also shares its name with the British monarchy, and is a tourism magnet due to its proximity to London, historic sites and sprawling Great Park with 500 free roaming deer at the castle’s doorstep ๐ŸฆŒ

๐Ÿš† 30min from Waterloo station
โฒ๏ธ If you only do one thing: visit Windsor castle and explore the Queen’s apartments and St George’s Chapel
๐Ÿคฏ The name ‘Windsor’ comes from Old English โ€˜windles-oreโ€™ which translates to โ€˜winch by the riversideโ€™.


Aptly named after the lovely River Cam, a day trip to Cambridge is a welcome treat as you take in the picturesque backdrop the city has played to films like The Theory of Everything and The Crown ๐ŸŽฌ

Cambridge is also home one of the UK’s world leading universities whose alumni boasts famous actors like Sacha Baron Cohen, Rachel Weisz and Ian McKellen, and brainiacs like Charles Darwin, Stephen Hawking and Alan Turing ๐ŸŽ“

Swap walking shoes for a bicycle as you try to cram a busy agenda in! Some highlights to look forward to are the King’s College Chapel, and of course the university grounds, as well as a mix of things to find and try at Market Square and a view of the town from St Mary’s Church.

๐Ÿš† 1hr from Kings Cross station
โฒ๏ธ If you only do one thing: go punting on the river! It’s the UK’s answer to the romantic canals of Venice
๐Ÿคฏ Legend has it this is where an apple fell on Isaac Newton’s head, becoming the catalyst for one of the most famous laws of physics, Newton’s Theory of Gravity, in 1687.


Dubbed ‘The City of Dreaming Spires’, Oxford is famous for being home to the other of the UK’s world leading universities, as well as its Olde Worlde charm and for having been a favourite haunt for royals and scholars since the 9th century ๐Ÿ‘‘

University or School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? You’ll recognise Christ Church Cathedral’s alter ego as Hogwarts in scenes from Harry Potter โšก which draws in throngs of fans year round. Oxford has also attracted other literary geniuses as the likes of Oscar Wilde, CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien who studied at the Bodleian Library.

Spend the day exploring the university campus, baroque architecture at Blenheim Palace, 1,000 years of history at Oxford Castle & Prison, the iconic Radcliffe Camera and Bridge of Sighs, and get lost wandering the Oxford Covered Market.

๐Ÿš† 90min from Paddington station
โฒ๏ธ If you only do one thing: the university campus gives you easy access to the Bodleian Library, Radcliffe Camera and the Botanical Gardens
๐Ÿคฏ Hitler planned to use Oxford as his capital after conquering England – one of the reasons why it wasn’t bombed.

Surrey Hills

Noticeably different to Surry Hills in Sydney, Surrey Hills (with an ‘e’) sells itself as an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. If you’re after a mix of the natural delights of the English countryside, quaint cottages, crumbling ruins and imposing estates, then it look no further ๐Ÿƒ

Strap on your hiking boots (or wellies if you’re so inclined) and check out trails at Box Hill, Dorking, Haslemere, Leith Hill – whose Tower is the highest point in South East England – and and more ๐Ÿฅพ

Surrey Hills is also where it all started for our Hiking Group in summer last year!

๐Ÿš† 90min from Waterloo station
โฒ๏ธ If you only do one thing: a wine tour at Denbies Wine Estate, England’s largest vineyard
๐Ÿคฏ 40% of the area is covered in woodland and 14% of which is ancient woodland. Keep your eyes peeled for fairies!

White Cliffs of Dover

A little awkwardly dubbed ‘The Gateway to England’ (given the Brexit situation), the White Cliffs of Dover is the first glimpse of the UK (or the last) you’ll see when catching a ferry across the English Channel, and gets its name from the chalk surface which dates back to the Ice Age โ„๏ธ

Hike the coastal path for stunning views (and a glimpse of France ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท on a clear day), brush up on your history and explore the Churchill Wartime Tunnels and the Fan Bay Deep Shelter, and check out Dover Castle on a nearby hill if you get time.

Don’t bother taking a white rock home as a souvenir – the chalky surface will rub off and make a mess of your bag!

๐Ÿš† 2hrs from St Pancras International
โฒ๏ธ If you only do one thing: 2 mile walk to the South Foreland Lighthouse
๐Ÿคฏ Julius Caesar arrived in 55 BC looking for a suitable landing place for a Roman invasion, but after seeing the armed natives protecting the cliffs he returned with reinforcements a year later.


While Canterbury – the setting of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales – is an easy canter on horseback from London, I’d recommend taking the train ๐Ÿด

Wander and wonder at Canterbury Cathedral – a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the world’s most famous places of worship – then visit The Marlowe Theatre and get caught up in the controversy of whether Canterbury-born Christopher Marlowe actually wrote some of Shakespeare’s works ๐ŸŽญ

Originally a Roman settlement, pay a visit to the Canterbury Roman Museum to soak up some history, then soak up some sun by the River Stour, or on foot or cycling down Great Stour Way.

๐Ÿš† 1hr from Kings Cross station
โฒ๏ธ If you only do one thing: shop at the 500-year-old Buttermarket (built on top of ruins and underground tunnels)
๐Ÿคฏ The ‘Canterbury trot’ is named after the way pilgrims rode their horses to the city before night curfew.


The city of Bath gets its creative name from its, well, baths (pun intended). Not only is it home to ancient Roman thermae (baths), it’s also the UK’s unique natural hot spring. Not to mention, there’s also a rooftop natural thermal spa (creatively named Thermae Bath Spa). This must be the cleanest city in the world, right? ๐Ÿ›

Aside from its aquatic appeal, the whole city is a UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts incredible architectural gems like Pulteney Bridge, Bath Abbey and The Circus.

With many a famous Bathonian to its name such as the likes of Jane Austen, it’s also a city where you might be lucky enough to spot a famous face. John Cleese and Johnny Depp have lived in Bath, and you might recognise its streets in films like The Duchess and Les Miserables๐ŸŽฌ

๐Ÿš† 90min from Paddington station
โฒ๏ธ If you only do one thing: drink hot spa water from the fountain at The Pump Room Restaurant – it contains 43 minerals and has a distinct taste
๐Ÿคฏ Pack your metal detector – a hoard of 17,500 Roman coins was found in the foundations of Gainsborough Bath Spa!


Perched on an unassuming hill near Salisbury is Stonehenge, one of the world’s most famous prehistoric monuments. The site consists of a circle of standing stones and remains shrouded in mystery, even after 5,000 years ๐Ÿ“œ

There’s plenty of theories and folklore surrounding Stonehenge’s origins and meaning. Scholars mostly agree that it was used as a calendar of sorts due to its significance during the summer and winter solstice, as well as a burial ground – an estimated 200 people are buried at the site โšฐ๏ธ

In all honesty there’s not a whole lot to do after checking out the stones, but there’s a quiet moment of humility in gazing up at this incredible human feat.

๐Ÿš† 90min from Waterloo to Salisbury and then a bus, but booking a day tour from London is generally accepted as being great value for money
โฒ๏ธ If you only do one thing: pick up an audio guide from the Visitor Centre as signage is limited. Also aim to visit in summer, else you risk being wind blasted!
๐Ÿคฏ A 12th century legend claims that giants placed Stonehenge on a mountain in Ireland, before Merlin the wizard magically moved it to England.


Bristol is a thriving city and a popular residence for university students and expats – especially due to its close proximity to and similarity to London, just in more manageable proportions.

Famous Bristolians include actors like Jeremy Irons and Maisie Williams, literary heavyweight J K Rowling, as well as the elusive street artist Banksy and even the infamous Blackbeard the Pirate! ๐Ÿดโ€โ˜ ๏ธ

Start the day early or consider an overnight stay in Bristol as there’s an infinite amount of activities to keep you busy. From food and fashion, strolls along the Harbourside and through the Old City, to a hike up to the Clifton Suspension Bridge as well as hunting down Banksy’s work all over town, there’s a lot of ground to cover!

๐Ÿš† 2hrs from Paddington
โฒ๏ธ If you only do one thing: check out Banksy’s Girl with the Pierced Eardrum at the Harbourside
๐Ÿคฏ Robert Louis Stevensonโ€™s famous book Treasure Island features many locations around Bristol.

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First impressions of London


If expat life feels like home then you’re doing it wrong.

London seems similar at first – they drive on the same side of the road and speak the same language – until you realise there’s 30+ dialects, they’re football mad (โšฝ not ๐Ÿ‰) and fish’n’chips are eaten away from the beach.

Here’s my list of things that immediately stood out to me in my first months in the UK, but this might just be the tip of the iceberg!

The good

๐Ÿ“ฑ Citymapper is the only way to navigate – it combines Google and TfL data
๐Ÿ’“ Mobile data plans are much more generous (but with mixed reliability)
โš•๏ธ NHS upfront for expats is expensive but the care you receive is unrivalled
๐Ÿš Sitting at the front on the top level of a double decker is the best way to take it all in
๐ŸŽญ A visit to The Globe Theatre makes studying Shakespeare for years worth it
๐Ÿงฃ Wall-mounted heaters, such genius!
๐Ÿท Mulled wine, where have you been all my life?
๐Ÿ• Squash is a thing – even Franco Manca’s signature pizza base
๐ŸŒˆ It doesn’t rain all that much, it just drizzles
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Clapham is overrun by Australians and New Zealanders
๐ŸฆŠ๐Ÿฟ๏ธ Foxes and squirrels scurry around like Pokemon!

The bad

๐Ÿ“ž Telephone boxes are run down and smell like pee
๐Ÿค” Brits use ‘You all right?’ as a legitimate greeting
๐Ÿ“บ You pay for a TV licence you never use
๐Ÿฅฆ Most supermarkets close early on Sundays
๐ŸŒฌ๏ธ Air-conditioning is virtually non-existent, even on public transport
๐Ÿซ Chocolate tastes strange, but Galaxy bars make up for it
๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ There are no power points in bathrooms
๐Ÿ is a necessary evil – watch out for scammers
๐ŸŒ Fresh produce isn’t that fresh at all
๐Ÿ’ฉ The Thames has got nothing on Sydney Harbour and is always brown
๐Ÿ™ Making friends is hard work and you may feel lonely at times.

The ugly

Big Ben will be covered in scaffolding until 2021!

๐Ÿฆ You won’t find a Weis Bar anywhere but you can try an online recipe?
๐Ÿ‘ข People actually wear UGG boots outside
๐Ÿšฐ Hard water is liquid hell, and don’t even get me started on limescale
๐Ÿš† Trains outside of London are privately operated and hella expensive
๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Eating out is double the cost and half the quality of what we get back home
๐Ÿƒ Everyone’s in a rush – be prepared to be bumped, knocked and shoved daily
๐Ÿ›‹๏ธ Some apartments don’t have a living room
๐Ÿšฝ Sharing one bathroom and toilet between five rooms is normal
๐Ÿšจ You become desensitised to news of violence or moped thieves in your area
๐Ÿคง Sometimes there’s black stuff in your tissue after sneezing.

The amusing

Get used to uncomfortable eye and body contact on the Tube

๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ Try dropping some true blue Aussie vernacular mid-conversation, it’s an experience
โ›ฑ๏ธ ‘Beaches’ in the UK
๐ŸŒณ People sun bake in parks in summer
๐Ÿงฅ Australia Day in winter is more brunch than BBQ
๐Ÿš‡ Tube, Underground, Overground, Rail, DLR … can’t we just call it a train?
๐Ÿป Brits who are equally rowdy after a couple of pints
๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ Standing on the right on the escalator but having no clue where to on the pavement
๐Ÿ˜• Brits who pick up on your accent but are too polite to ask where you’re from
๐Ÿคฃ Cockfosters is a legitimate name of a Tube station on the Piccadilly line
โ„๏ธ 10min of snow is enough to interrupt the whole transport system
๐ŸŒ You learn what ‘Antipodean’ means for the first time
๐Ÿฅง Christmas mince pies do not contain mince meat – don’t be fooled.

I’ve got a niggling feeling I might have missed a few things … If you’ve experienced culture shock since moving to London or the UK, do tell!

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Life-changing reads

If you’re a fan of print, you’ll understand the panic mode that hits when you realise you have to abandon your home library when it comes to The Big Move (see below or read more on Instagram).

With an average of 20-something kilos per bag, you quickly realise suitcase space is hot property real estate. That’s when you face the painful process of picking your favourite book child(ren) and sadly part with the rest ๐Ÿ“š

A few ways to get around it are to:

  • Convert to an e-reader and bring your digital library anywhere you go
  • Hit up secondhand bookstores once you arrive. I picked up Rubicon by Tom Holland in great condition for just ยฃ2 at a London charity shop!
  • Ask your family to stuff a bag full of books and goodies from back home during their obligatory visit
  • Scope out pricey shipping options if you can’t live without your 12 volume fantasy saga. Expat Facebook groups are great for recommendations.

Below are some of the titles that I couldn’t bear to part with, and ironically some actually inspired me to move in the first place – like inspirational comets, crashing into my life plan and shifting its trajectory off course โ˜„๏ธ

โ€œA room without books is like a body without a soul.โ€

Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman Orator

Warning: Reading the following books might change life as you know it! Proceed with caution.

Writing and teen angst


Kelley Armstrong, Women of the Otherworld, Horror, Fantasy, 2001

Elena Michaels is the worldโ€™s only female werewolf. And sheโ€™s tired of it. So she left the Pack and returned to Toronto where sheโ€™s trying to live as a human. When the Pack leader calls asking for her help fighting a sudden uprising, she only agrees because she owes him.More info

Before Twilight‘s sparkly vampires infected our lunchtime gossip sessions, I was nose deep this is dark, gritty urban fantasy about werewolf mafia.

The story gets up close and personal, making you shudder with images of gore, and flush red from the abrupt, raunchy sex littered throughout. Armstrong’s writing perfectly blends the supernatural and the adult world, minus the cringey tropes of teen fantasy novels.

After turning the last page, I opened up my Word and immediately started writing my own supernatural saga (because I was such an ‘expert’ by that point). I’d print off every new chapter and bring it to school for my best friends to take home and read. Surprisingly, they enjoyed it and pestered me daily for the next installment. Chuffed that my writing was such a hit in the schoolyard, I decided that being a writer was my calling.

History buff

Mistress of Rome โš”๏ธ

Kate Quinn, Empress of Rome, Historical Fiction, 2010

First-century Rome. Thea is a slave girl from Judaea, purchased as a toy for a spiteful heiress. Now she has infuriated her mistress by capturing the attention of Romeโ€™s newest and most savage gladiator. Reinventing herself as a singer for Romeโ€™s aristocrats, Thea unwittingly attracts another admirer: the charismatic Emperor.More info

The story hits the ground running. Quinn brings imperial Rome to the present through her protagonist’s modern voice and hits you with sensory bursts – colour in rich silks, thunderous applause in the Colosseum, the shiver of the Emperor’s breath down your neck, and the smell of gladiator sweat as they fight it out for their lives.

I picked up Mistress of Rome early on in my uni degree. At the time I was indecisive about first year Psychology and looking for ways to avoid stats. Knowing that I’d have to tackle my numerical demons at some point, I jumped into my imagination’s time machine. The world of emperors, gladiators and lavish banquets was so richly immersive I longed to be a part of it.

And so began my second (and third) academic start, bringing me closer to my Serious Writer dreams and ever so much further away from stats. Seeing the Colosseum in person never fails to snatch the breath from my lungs ๐Ÿ›๏ธ

Culture and cuisine

The Gypsy Tearoom ๐Ÿ

Nicky Pellegrino, Fiction, 2007

Raffaella Moretti is by far the most beautiful girl in the southern Italian village of Triento and she is about to marry the only boy she has ever loved. The last thing she expects is to find herself a widow one short year later, down on her hands and knees, scrubbing clean the layers of dirt from a strange house.More info

I don’t subscribe to the motto ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ – something has to entice you to pluck it from the shelf, right? This little teal book caught my eye and the strange title instilled me with the sudden need to know what a ‘gypsy tearoom’ was.

A chapter or two in, and I’ve been a tragic Italophile ever since. Food, language, art, history, culture, romance … what’s not to love?!

Pellegrino depicts Italy in sepia – picturesque towns and traditions passed down over generations, and a calmness that makes you want to curl up on a sunbed and sip spritz on a summer afternoon by the beach. Hmm, maybe I could live there…

Girl power!

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon ๐ŸŒ™ Volume 1

Naoko Takeuchi, Shลjo Japanese Manga, 1992

Usagi Tsukino is a normal girl until she meets Luna, a talking cat, who tells her that she is Sailor Moon who must fight evil and enforce justice, in the name of the Moon and the mysterious Moon Princess. She meets other girls destined to be Sailor Senshi (Sailor Scouts), and together they fight the forces of evil!More info

Sailor Moon combines most things I enjoy – superpowers, strong females, romance, action, mythology, Japanese culture, the list goes on. The series really kicked off my love for visual storytelling, resulting in many trees sacrificed to my endless ink doodling. Good thing now we have tablets!

Confession: This phase actually started with the American 90s anime adaptation Sailor Moon. This ‘phase’ hasn’t exactly ended yet, and it may have inspired a trip to Japan and led to an obscene amount of merch purchases ๐Ÿ›๏ธ

My interest in the original manga only started amidst the hype surrounding the franchise’s 20th anniversary and the release of the Sailor Moon Crystal anime series. Nostalgia of the fun, quirky show of my childhood came flooding back and I gave the back-to-front illustrated novels a go. After devouring every instalment, plus a few volumes in Spanish and Italian, I went ahead and rewatched the entire series.

Warning: Prepare to have this track stuck in your head all day.

Myths, gods and heroes

The Iliad ๐Ÿบ

Homer, Epic Poem, 800 or 700 B.C.

The darkest episode in the Trojan War. At its centre is Achilles, the greatest warrior-champion of the Greeks, and his refusal to fight after being humiliated by his leader Agamemnon. But when the Trojan Hector kills Achilles’ close friend Patroclus, he storms back into battle to take revenge knowing this will ensure his own early death. Interwoven with this tragic sequence of events are the conflicts between the Gods on Olympus as they argue over the fate of mortals.More info

Homer. Where to even begin? A timeless epic of Greek and Trojan heroes: honourable Hector, god-like Achilles, beautiful Paris, proud kings, egotistical gods, a hidden trap wooden horse, a decade of war and forbidden love, and ‘the face that launched a thousand ships’.

The Iliad is eternal and enduring. It embodies the Greek heroic tragedy, and would pave the way for countless retellings and interpretations across the ages. The story represents storytelling in its richest form and adapts seamlessly across all mediums: oral, written, audio, visual. In my opinion, its only downfall is the repetitive comparisons of every warrior to a lion. How about a wolf, mountain bear or an eagle to mix things up a bit?

The Iliad is my muse, as my well-thumbed copy can attest.

โ€œEvery story I create, creates me. I write to create myself.โ€

Octavia E. Butler

Honourable mentions ๐Ÿฅˆ

Okay, so this post sort of became a shopping list.

  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer, Leigh Bardugo, YA Fiction
  • The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller, Historical Fiction
  • Imperium, Robert Harris, Historical Fiction
  • Antony and Cleopatra, Colleen McCullough, Historical Fiction
  • The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux, Gothic Horror
  • DraculaBram Stoker, Gothic Horror
  • The Aeneid, Virgil, Epic Poetry
  • The Odyssey, Homer, Epic Poetry
  • Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert, Memoir
  • Lunch in Paris, Elizabeth Bard, Memoir
  • Geisha of Gion, Mineko Iwasaki, Memoir
  • The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood, Dystopia
  • The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, Fantasy
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien, Fantasy
  • The Book of Tomorrow, Cecelia Ahern, YA Fiction
  • The Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton, Children’s Fiction
  • Percy Jackson and the Lightning ThiefRick Riordan, YA Fiction
  • Stardust, Neil Gaiman, Fantasy
  • Garden Spells, Sarah Addison Allen, Fiction
  • Harry Potter: and the Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling, Fantasy
  • Eragon, Christopher Paolini, Fantasy
  • Magic Knight Rayearth, CLAMP, Shลjo Japanese Manga
  • Sakura Hime: The Legend of Princess Sakura, Arina Tanemura, Shลjo Japanese Manga
  • W.I.T.C.H, Elisabetta Gnone, Alessandro Barbucci, Barbara Canepa, Italian Comic.

โ€œIf there is a book that you want to read, but it hasnโ€™t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.โ€

Toni Morrison

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