The year is 1577. Queen Elizabeth is on the throne – and the Spanish could invade at any moment. Only the valiant English navy, led by Sir Francis Drake, can protect the country. Our Golden Hinde sleepover had begun, and…
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Malaysian food has been riding a bit of a wave in recent years here in London with various new concepts opening up alongside the more established joints. One of my absolute favorites is the tiny eatery based on a side street near Euston Station, Roti King, which specialises in the flakiest, chewiest and moreish Malaysian style roti flatbread in London. Freshly made on the premises, the roti canai comes accompanied with either a mildly spiced curry sauce or dhal, or you can order them with a variety of delicious fillings.
Equally as good are the Malaysian specialty dishes that give the hawkers of KL or Penang a run for their money – from the classic beef rending (dry, slow-cooked beef in coconut) to the umami-heavy classic noodle dish Mee Goreng and my favourite Char Kuey Teow – toothsome fried flat noodles with the unmistakable char of the smoking hot wok.
Prices remain a steal – with mains generally around the £7 mark. Do note they don’t take bookings and there’s inevitably always a queue of hungry Malaysian expats and foodies from all over the city. If you’d rather not spend your time queuing, you can visit their recently opened second outlet called Gopal’s Corner at Market Halls in Victoria. The menu here might be shorter and prices a touch higher than Roti King, but there are a load of other fantastic food options you can mix and match with.
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Sure, London summers don’t get as hot as they do in the United States, but you’d be surprised how warm it can get. Temperatures in the 70s might seem pretty cool to us, but it’s a little toasty for the average Londoner. If you want to experience summer the way the locals do, there are plenty of opportunities to cool off throughout Greater London. Whether you’re chowing down on ice-cold treats, running through water, or finding the coldest spots in the city, here are five ways to cool down during a London summer.
Ice cream is the snack of summer, and there are plenty of options for this sweet treat throughout London. Whether you grab a Cornetto from Sainsbury’s or go out to find some of the best ice cream parlors in the city, there are plenty of great ice cream options. You can try the nitrogen ice cream at Four Winters, gelato at La Gelateria, Filipino Mamasons at Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream, Ice Cream Sandwiches at Yolkin, vegan ice cream at Black Milq, and more. No matter what your taste is, you’ll find ice cream to cool your taste buds.
Granary Square Fountains
Running through water at a water park is a great past time in the United States, but in London you can run through the Granary Square Fountains by King’s Cross and even play a game with them. In addition to the 1,080 coordinated jets that dance and even light up, the fountains have an app that will let you play a real-world version of the computer game Snake. Additionally, the square hosts any number of events throughout the summer, including concerts and street markets.
What we think of as a public pool, there are several outdoor and indoor lidos throughout the city that will give you the chance to cool off and go for a swim. One of the best lidos in London is Tooting Bec, which is also the largest public pool in the city at 90 meters long. If you’re looking for a more natural swimming experience, Hampstead Heath has swimming ponds that were made from dammed off clay pits. The temperature in the ponds is a good bit colder and are separated into men’s and women’s ponds during the summer.
Belowzero Ice Bar
Ice bars are a popular (though cold) place to drink, but many of them are little more than pop-ups or seasonal drinking establishments. Belowzero bills itself as the only *permanent* ice bar in London, but it’s a perfect place for drinks during the summer. The inside of the bar maintains a constant -5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit) and provides parkas for its patrons, but you might want to dress appropriately anyway. Once you get tired of the cold, you can visit the non-icy parts of the bar that include food and Tiki-style cocktails.
If you don’t want to get as cold as you would at Belowzero, you can go underground to the Chislehurst Caves. The caves are actually a series of man-made tunnels and caverns that began over 8,000 years ago and were mined for flint and lime until the 1830s. Today, visitors can take a guided tour of Chislehurst Caves where they will be regaled with tales of Druids, Romans, and even the likes of David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix who once performed here. The tours last for forty-five minutes as the guides take you through more than twenty miles of underground history. Tours go from 10 AM to 4 PM from Wednesday to Sunday, and the ticket price is £5 for adults and £4 for children over 5 (younger children can enter for free).
The London Fiver – Five Ways to Beat the London Heat This Summer – Londontopia – The Website for People Who Love London
I was delighted to be invited to RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2019 on a personal mission to find out what the worlds best garden designers are doing to help get children back outside and inspire the next generation to love gardening and the world around them. This was my first time at Chelsea as I have been busy raising three girls for the last 10 years, and this is not an event you can take your children too. However, I successfully snuck away whilst they were all busy at school and enjoyed a much appreciated day of escapism, wandering amongst the stunning plants and gardens and the visiting celebrities that also attend on Press Day. Gardens provide the backdrop for many happy childhood memories, be it digging up worms in the school garden, searching for woodlice under a log, picking apples in a grandparents garden, or kicking a ball around a lawn. Yet sadly fewer and fewer children are getting the opportunity to spend time enough outdoors, and social media and computer games are proving to be an increasing distraction. As well as providing happy memories, the benefits for children’s physical and mental well-being of spending time outdoors are […]
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…according to George Anderson.
Selling the Big Issue can get you a pretty decent income
‘We buy magazines for £1.25 each and sell them to the public for £2.50. About 80 percent of my income comes from selling the Big Issue, with the remaining 20 percent from my editing and proofreading business. I’m formally registered as self-employed and I don’t get housing benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance.’
It helps to make some noise
‘I very seldom shout “Big Issue!” – but if you’re selling on Oxford Street, you can’t just stand there and say nothing. The person who sells best there is the guy outside John Lewis who shouts “Anybody going to buy one?” But not everybody has that showmanship. You have to find the right way of expressing yourself given the pitch you’re standing on.’
Even basic digs make a big difference
‘I’ve tried sleeping rough. Initially, I sold the magazine outside a Pret, where they would supply me with coffee. I wandered about at night, trying to sleep a little during the day in a library or something. Then, at Charing Cross police station, they told me about a backpackers’ hostel. There were 20 people in the room and mice running about, but it was £7 a night for a roof over my head. It gave me some semblance of a normal life.’
Having a chat can be as important as earning a crust
‘When I first started selling, I struggled to say, “Big Issue?” But now I like being out meeting and engaging with people. It reminds me of working in a bar, when you have regulars who you have little chats and banter with. It’s an easy way to avoid feeling isolated.’
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