Five Things I'm Doing This February
British Museum exam
St Paul's Cathedral exam
Tower of London exam
Westminster Abbey exam
That's how my February is shaping up, so it looks like I won't be getting up to much unless it involves any of the above! But having said that, it's still nice to give others a few suggestions, and getting a bit envious of all the stuff going on in and around London whilst my head is down revising...
Number One - History
The 6th of February marks Ascension Day, 68 years since Elizabeth was proclaimed Queen. Every year to mark the special event, a Royal Gun Salute takes place at the Tower of London and in Green Park, so if you are in the area it's worth checking out. Perhaps not such a joyous occasion for the Queen, whose father aged just 56 passed away in the early hours whilst she was away in Kenya. Despite being born third in line to the throne, the young 25 year old Elizabeth was now Queen.
Number Two - Eat
There's a few places I need to make sure to try out this month. First is Arome, a pop-up bakery in Soho which uses French techniques with Asian twists. Find them on Frith Street but only until the 7th! The miso, bacon and spring onion pastry has certainly been making the rounds on Instagram, and I'm desperate to try it.
And secondly I recommend China Town! I'm hearing so many sad stories involving the Chinese community here in London, and also that many of the restaurant are struggling with low foot fall. That's ridiculous, so I urge you all to go and show you're support! My favourites include 97 Old Town, Dumplings Legend, Joy Luck, Cafe TPT, JinLi and Baozi Inn. Or how about grabbing some fried chicken to go at Good Friend Chicken, or absolutely anything from Chinatown Bakery on Newport Place.
Number Three - Art
There's a whole load of art exhibitions opening in London this month. From British Surrealism at Dulwich Picture Gallery, British Baroque at Tate Britain, Steve McQueen at Tate Modern and David Hockney at the National Portrait Gallery. Hopefully they'll all quieten down once I get the time to go!
If you haven't been to Dulwich Picture Gallery before, it's definitely worth it (despite the trek). There's also some great street art in the area by the likes of Conor Harrington, Phlegm, ROA and Stik. Dulwich picture Gallery probably have some of the street art maps behind the desk if you ask nicely.
Number Four - Refresh
I'm not a fan of the idea of Dry January, and I loved the campaign Try January, getting people to try something new instead of completely giving up the booze!
But now it has officially ended, it's time to get back supporting the pubs, wine bars and restaurants in London after what I assume has been a quiet month for many!
If you're looking for a pint with a bit of history, why not head to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street, rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666, there has certainly been some characters who have walked through the doors - Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle and Samuel Johnson have all enjoyed a pint here. Or how about feeling you really are back in the times of Dickens by visiting Gordon's Wine Bar just off the Strand.
Number Five - Discover
And to finish off my recommendations of the month, I suggest exploring the Barbican! I'm a real fan of the complex, and in a few days time I'll be able to call it home. But it has been rather awkward telling people and seeing them try to hide their confusion and disgust at why anybody would want to live there!
So here's a few reasons why everyone will fall in love with this Brutalist piece of architecture if you just give it time!
First to mention is the Arts Centre which is not only home to a theatre, a cinema, a fantastic library, exhibition space, cafes, bars and restaurants - it's also a great place to study! I've found myself there a lot recently and there's plenty of desk and sofa space, as well as lots of hidden corners where nobody else seems to know about!
Another highlight is the Conservatory, the second biggest one in London. It's open most Sundays and some Saturdays, it's free, and it's a great space despite being right bang in the centre of the City of London.
And lastly, it may not come as a surprise that I recommend a visit to the Church, St Giles-without-Cripplegate. It's the burial place for John Milton (Paradise Lost), John Bunyan (The Pilgrim's Progress) and other which have given their names to the various towers and blocks in the housing estate.
Heard in London