I shop, therefore I am

Markets are one of my favourite parts about living in London. Really, if you haven’t been to Borough or Portobello, you’re missing out. And you really don’t have to spend a lot of money! It’s really fun just to walk around looking at everything.

Borough Market is close to my heart, mostly because the way to my heart is through good food and Borough has some of the best. You can get fresh locally grown produce, fish, meat (including venison), wine, olive oils, pestos, dips, olives, spices, bread, cheeses, flowers, live herbs, and more.

Not only can you pick up grocery type goods to bring home, there’s loads of street food stalls that you can grab lunch from. If you love food, Borough is a must! Particularly if there is a certain food or spice that you can’t find in the super market, you can probably find it at Borough. You can get to the market from London Bridge tube station. It’s open for lunch Monday-Wednesday, but the full market only operates Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I recommend checking it out on Fridays; it’s bustling, but not overwhelmingly busy like Saturdays.

Portobello Market is most well-known for its antiques stalls, but it also has nice food and vintage clothes sections. It is a must-go for presents shopping (I got most of my Christmas presents from there!) and it’s hard to go and not pick up something for yourself as well. You get there from Notting Hill tube station and pass the blue door from the movie on your way into the market.  First you pass through the antiques section (fancy a 19th century flask or brooch?) and then it transitions into the food area. As I mentioned above, Borough is the go-to for food. Portobello is so huge that I recommend passing through the food quickly, you’re not missing much. Next there is a small section of vinyl records and some African CDs, and then you end up in the vintage clothes. If you like fashion, this is GREAT. For the best selection (before it’s picked over too much) go on Saturday mornings. You can easily spend a day making your way through Portobello’s streets. Just make sure the weather is cooperative first, as it does close for heavy rain! And if you don’t already want to go, I saw Elijah Wood there once. Just sayin.

There are other markets in London that you should definitely explore while studying at King’s, these two are just my personal favourites! Some good ones are Camden, Brixton, and Greenwich. Also make sure to stop by a cashpoint (ATM) before going, almost nowhere accepts cards.

Oh and for all you Yanks, there is a store in St. John’s Wood called Panzer’s where you can get American food like Kraft mac & cheese, Goldfish, that kind of thing. Just because you study in London doesn’t mean you can’t find some tastes from home!

My haul from Panzer’s for Thanksgiving

So you want to be a star

I told you I would write about something fun next, so here it goes! King’s students benefit from its amazing central London location in many ways from cultural events to easy access to world-leading companies. One particularly exciting media outlet is conveniently located in the Waterloo campus’ backyard: the iTV studio.

A few weeks ago I was eating lunch after lectures with friends from my course in the canteen at the Franklin-Wilkins Building when a couple of people walked up and asked if we’d do them a favor and come sit in as audience members on a talk show. Apparently, because of the snow (of which there was maybe an inch), two buses full of people cancelled. So we went off to watch the Alan Titchmarsh Show.

Because we had done them the huge favor of coming to watch a popular TV show live with guests including: Italian singer Andrea Bocelli, singer and former Boyzone member Ronan Keating, Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite, and Dancing on Ice Hosts Phillip Schofield and Christine Bleakley; they gave each of us priority tickets to any show that they put on.
A couple weeks later a few of us went to see The Voice UK recorded. Not only was it amazing to be in the front row close to celebrity judges will.i.am, Jessie J, Sir Tom Jones and The Script’s Danny O’Donoghue, but it was really interesting to see how shows like this are filmed. The number of cameras and lights is overwhelming and the amount of organization and coordination going on behind the scenes is fascinating. Not to mention the dynamics between the judges while the cameras are off… will.i.am texted the entire time and Danny O’Donoghue was loving the attention he was getting from the girls in the crowd! It was so fun to be a part of (they film the audience so look for me in the first episode of the ‘battle rounds’!) Unfortunately, they take your phone as you’re walking in so I don’t have any pictures! And, a lot of us still have our priority booking status so we can get into shows like Jonathan Ross or Graham Norton (US kids, think Leno or Conan).

You don’t need priority tickets to get in though. Have a few hours between classes at Waterloo? Or just a day off from lectures? Check out the iTV website and request tickets if there’s a show being recorded during that time. It’s a fun, FREE way to enjoy living in London and going to King’s.

As always, please feel free to comment, ask questions, and suggest topics for future blog posts!

Library Lazy Days

Welcome to my first KCL blog post!

I am currently at the library procrastinating… I mean studying, yeah, definitely no Facebook-ing or blog writing going on here. To be fair, it’s a Saturday so being here at all is a bit of an accomplishment.

King’s has tons of libraries. Really, I don’t even know where they all are, there are so many. I’m at the Weston Education Centre Library at the Denmark Hill campus. As a management student my classes are based at the Waterloo campus, but I live in a private flat right around the corner from Denmark Hill. That’s one great thing about King’s facilities; as a student you have access to all of them, even if it’s not where your school is. Also, King’s is a part of the University of London system so you have access to the (completely gorgeous) Senate House Library and all of its extensive online resources. With King’s internal desktop you can access all online resources from anywhere you have an internet connection and print from your own laptop to a KCL printer.

So, I was thinking that a good first post should be on something exciting and fun. Something that will make you all want to read my future posts. Something that will blow you all away. And then I landed on library facilities and services. I know, I know, almost too much fun to handle. But don’t worry; you won’t be spending all of your Saturdays in the library. The workload can get heavy, (you do want a world-class education, right?), but it’s completely manageable if you organise yourself well. I’ve noticed that King’s students tend to be a “work hard, play hard” sort of group. Students here are serious about their education, but definitely like to unwind at the student union’s Waterfront Bar or Tutu’s nightclub after a long study session.

Next post I promise to write about something fun… like getting handed priority tickets for any of iTV’s live audience shows. Just one of the many perks of being at King’s.