GUEST POST :: LONDON BY BEING ERICA

Hi Polkadot Pink readers! when Donna asked me to share some of the things I love about my “hometown” of London (I’m actually an ex pat Australian, but am on indefinite loan here in the Big Smoke), I really, really was at a loss as to where to start and what to share. London Love is not a new thing by any means, and although I am someone with more than enough respect for my new city, and try to not take the things around me for granted, it just seemed like a bit of a…. well, a pretty daunting task! how was I supposed to narrow down all of the incredible things about this city and condense them into one measly post?
 
well, it got me thinking (ouch); what is it that I love about London? do I love the tourists and the busy streets and the hot garbage? no. do I love the noise, the pollution and the rude cabbies? no. so what? well, for me, it’s all the little things. the unexpected things. the secret things, that people don’t really know are there until they find them. that I didn’t know where there until I found them. things that, now I know are there, I will continue to go back because they are a little slice of heaven in an incredibly overwhelming and all-consuming city.
 
let me share some of my secrets with you…
The Skip Garden in King’s Cross is a little slice of paradise nestled in amongst the city’s noisy industrial estate. build out of disused skips and containers from abandoned building sites, this allotment garden is thriving. there’s even a café on site that sells 100% organic and home-grown foods from the many vegetable patches and herb gardens scattered around the allotment site. a wonderful way to spend a sunny afternoon; exploring the treasure trove of flower beds, skipping through the poly tunnel, and sipping an organic juice from the café.
The Dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park are just something a little bit obscure, but an easy way to spend a few hours if the weather is nice. grab a picnic blanket and a little hamper of goodies, and head on down for a wander amongst the prehistoric predators of the South East. a short stroll from the train station too, which always makes getting there that little bit easier if – like most Londoners, you don’t drive. also hidden in the bushes is a wee naturally-grown maze – if you fancy getting lost in nature, then this is right up your alley…
Street Feast in Dalston Yard is only around for the summer, but there are a number of them popping up all across the city so if you can’t make the one in East London there is another Street Feast in Lewisham, and there are also Kerb Street Feast locations in King’s Cross and on the Southbank. plenty of ways to feast on the street this summer! the ones in central London are open nightly and free to enter, the regional ones have a small entry fee after 8pm, but lots of delicious tasters to make that worth your while. the traders turning up at these street locations are some of the most up-and-coming restaurateurs in the game, looking to try recipes out on the public before they launch – so there’s a lot of promise at these events! om nom nom!
The Basement Tea Rooms in Camden are another little slice of tranquillity; nestled in amongst a second hand book trader and a second hand record seller and a second hand clothes shop underneath Camden’s infamous Stable Markets, is the basement tea rooms. at first you’ll only know you’re there when you realise the shop you thought you were in is actually a perfectly curated and recreated retro lounge room – often complete with your very own pianist playing hits of a bygone era on the full-functional piano hiding behind the vintage wardrobe full of sleeping jackets and hunting hats. you can pick up a full cream tea for about £15 (for two), and a bloody mahoosive jug of Pimms for no more than eight of your Great British Pounds. that’d barely cover the amount of fruit inside, trust me. if you’re ever lost for somewhere twee to eat in Camden, or just want to avoid the tourists for an hour or so, head there. once you’re by the downstairs loos, you’re just about there. ask around if you get lost. trust me, you will.
Musical Bingo is a night out in London that you won’t ever forget. set up like regular bingo, this is an interactive club night that you won’t ever come across again. instead of dodgy number and bingo wings, players are asked to listen to clips of music and identify them to win their rounds. with themes like “Disco Divas”, “Pop Princesses” and “Golden Oldies”, you’re definitely in for a sing-along. then there’s the Wheel of Death that dictates suitably embarrassing and appropriate dares and games for players who share the same answers. this thing is a monster, and will make or break your night. but, with main prizes including toasty machines, microwave cookbooks from the 70s, and a host of stale biscuits, what’s not to play hard or go home for? check their website for a night near you – you won’t regret it (and no, I don’t work for them!).
 
so, hopefully I’ve inspired you to see or do something a bit different next time you’re in the capital. if you do check out any of these things, I’d love to hear about what you thought of it! you’re all more than welcome over at http://www.imbeingerica.com, or give me a shout on Twitter @imbeingerica – I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks Erica, I never need much persuading to visit London and I’m sure a visit to the dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park is definitely on the cards. I’m looking forward to sharing with you all the reasons to love Berlin on my return. Remember folks to swing by Erica’s blog, with daily posts packed with personality and cuteness…the search for your new favourite blog is over!