Wednesday, 12 December 2012

10 Things I Miss About Living In London

As much as I really do love living in Los Angeles, and as much as I went on that I much preferred living in the countryside to living in London, I have found that there are some things about living in the city I really do miss, which I will be looking forward to getting back to next year. I think it is hard to appreciate the things the city has to offer until you are in another city, they you realise just how amazing London really is!

1. Sunday Brunch in Notting Hill

My favourite, all time Sunday morning activity is rolling out of bed, getting dressed up in something still casual, but a little smarter than usual weekend wear (this usually meant bright lipstick and statement jewellery) and heading over to Notting Hill for brunch with one of my girlfriends somewhere like Granger & Co., Tom's Deli or Ottolenghi's (what I would not do for one of their salads right now..!) There are some awesome looking brunch places in my neighbourhood I'm planning on trying, but nothing will ever beat Sunday morning brunches in Notting Hill for me.

2. London Is A Walking City

In London if you don't want to take a bus, hop on the tube or flag a taxi, you can still walk to so many places. In Los Angeles, walking wise everything is so spread about you are confined to certain neighbourhoods. 
3. The London Underground

Yes, you did just read that correctly. I did just say that I missed the London Underground. If anyone ever, ever again hears me complaining about the rush on the Central Line, all the stairs vs. the stupidly long and crowded elevator wait at Covent Garden Station or about having to top up my Oyster Card again, please shoot me or tell me to shut the hell up. The city of Los Angeles was built for the car. Public transportation, therefore, was an afterthought and it is disjointed, unorganised, slow and illogical to use. 

4. The Selfridges Food Hall

Don't get me wrong, I love all the department stores like Nordstrom here in America, but I think the thing I love most about British department stores, especially my all time favourite Selfridges, is that they have food halls. Nothing beats wandering around, filling their iconic yellow bags with gourmet food, and by god I miss it.

5. The Evening Standard

I promise I'll shut up about the LA public transport system in a minute, but another thing about those buses? Yes, you can look out the window which you can't do on the underground, but entertainment wise, the best you can do is your iPod or iPhone, or the screens playing stupidly complicated mathematical problems for commuters to grapple with during their journey. Maths. I'm not even kidding. Thankfully, I've downloaded the free London Evening Standard app onto my iPhone so I can still read it in transit, but it is simply not the same as getting a free paper handed to you as you walk into the station to pass the time on the tube, with news relevant to you as a London dweller (it actually has quite a good politics sections!) 
The Lumberjack Breakfast at The Diner in Soho

6. The Diner

It may seem silly that while I am in America one of the food places I miss most is American themed, but I really miss eating at The Diner. It may be my Britishness, my overly Europhile tastebuds or that I'm a total food snob about food quality, but I much prefer The Diner food to actual American diner food. And they have amazing cocktails at The Diner. And I missed out on this years Halloween themed menu.

7. Simply Walking Across The Street

As I mentioned in my first column from Los Angeles for The High Tea Cast, jaywalking is illegal in Los Angeles, and I have actually seen a cop on a motorcycle pull over and fine someone for crossing the street when the little man was not white to indicate they could go. Londoners, think for a moment how long it would take you to go about your day if you could only cross the roads at the crossings. Okay, at Oxford Circus if you tried to cross like that you might very well get hit by a double decker bus, but a few meters up the road, crossing between the Argyll Street exit of Oxford Circus tube station and Topshop? No longer a possibility...

8. Beautiful Old Buildings

While London does not have quite as much to offer as my beautiful little hometown of Canterbury does in this department, but now living on the West Coast of America where something that is 100 years old, is considered old, I miss London's beautiful old streets, Ancient buildings and stunning old architecture. Things are simply not just the same when something is made to look old, rather than actually being old.

9. Going Out For Cocktails

This point has a lot to do with the drinking age in America, as well as the American attitude to bars. I really miss going out to places like Circus for cocktails with my friends either before or after dinner, which is something I simply can't do here, because as I am not old enough to drink alcohol  I'm not even allowed into the bar to drink a soft drink, something which in most bars in London I could.

10. London At Night

I think it was seeking some of the sky shots of London at night when I went to see Skyfall the other week that really reminded me of this one. I think I had forgotten how beautiful things like Big Ben and the London Eye are lit up at night, and how beautiful everything is on streets like Oxford Street and Regents Street when all the Christmas lights are up, Somerset House. Los Angeles is beautiful at night when you're somewhere you can enjoy the view like a hotel rooftop, but not a beautiful and magical as London, any time of the year.  

Londoners, (I know from checking my analytics my biggest reader base is in the City of London), what is your favourite things about your city?


  1. I miss doing London things with you! I'll miss Joe and the Juice if I ever moved away, haha! Also, I can't even imagine having to wait at a crossing or waiting for the man to turn green. Madness.

  2. The diversity London has to offer! But I am a fan of Kingston upon Thames, Surrey it has great shops and a wonderful theatre,The Rose.

  3. Sweet Harvest Moon12 December 2012 at 11:48

    London is such a wonderful city!

  4. make me want to go to London! I've hard a lot about Ottolenghi too. Must try.

  5. You must go, it is simply amazing - the food tastes good, but it is even better to look at, especially in the Notting Hill branch!

  6. If you ever do move away you won't miss Joe & The Juice if you come to Los Angeles - we have Jamba Juice here!

  7. The views in London is something I would definitely miss, I stood on Waterloo Bridge today and was the most content I have been in a while. Also, the street crossing thing, oh em gee, crossing from Argyll street to Topshop is something I do all the time before work, without fail. I would be fined over there immediately ... xxxxxxx

  8. Do they have hot Scandinavian guys making juices too?? Haha. Because we know that's one of the main reasons I go there.

  9. Soho pubs, and weirdly right now, the cold weather for Christmas! But you knew this from twitter the other day! Chin up chuck, I'll say hi to london for you when I get back on Sunday! x

  10. Aww, thank you - but why pubs in SoHo, rather than any other part of London?!

  11. Peonies and lilies15 December 2012 at 11:52

    I love walking along embankment at night, it's so romantic and everything is beautifully lit up. I'd also miss the fact that it's such a diverse city, and everything is open late so you can pretty much get whatever you want whenever you want x

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  15. I miss London so much that I put "I miss London" into Google search and found your blog. I remember wanting to leave London after a 4 year stint horribly homesick for Australia and having a feeling finality and joy of leaving the city. Now, a few years later, I find myself missing the city so much. I think we all miss the same things, the ease of transport, the food, the abundance of culture and the cosiness the city had... I felt at home there. Maybe I will go back but I still have Japan and America to go.

  16. it felt great to finally leave London and the chaos.. but now.. now... I miss it so much :(

  17. I genuinely cried on my last day in London.. I didn't want to ever leave!