Hampstead Heath

LONDON – Sometimes sunshine can be so rare in London. Lately there has been a lot of rain although it hasn’t been too bad in my area. I do think that London feels more like London when its rainy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOver the weekend there was a fair bit of blue sky so I took Bus 46 all the way to Hampstead Heath.

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It’s a park that stretches across 791 acres of woodland. It’s rugged and windswept. There are paths and several swimming ponds.

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I took a path to the nearest pond and fed the ducks and birds my leftover bread. They weren’t shy. In fact, it quickly started to feel like a scene from The Birds. The white ones (not sure what their breed is) got really brave as they flew up and hovered in the air less than a metre from my face catching the bread before it landed. In a way it was impressive. But as more and more of them came, and they competed with each other for my old bread, I decided to take a step back and headed up a small hill.

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There were lots of people in the park today. Couples and plenty of families. It was nice to see kids get excited about being outdoors as they balanced on the fallen branches and kicked the dead leaves.

Some other great parks in London that are great to explore:

Battersea Park

St. James’s Park

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Clifton Greens

MAIDA VALE, LONDON - One of my favourite outings for the week is heading off to Clifton Greens in Maida Vale to do my fruit and vegetable shopping.

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Clifton Road is a busy street in Maida Vale that serves the local area with all your necessities. There are several independent shops such as the organic butcher, this gem of a fruit and veg shop, Clifton Greens, as well as some cafes (I love Baker & Spice’s almond croissants) and a beautiful florist.

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In the past I’ve headed to Tesco (I’m weaning myself off of this convenience store in London) and heading to more mom and pop places. I think I overspend on food. And worse, I waste a lot of  food too.  I think I spend too much because I go into a shop to buy milk, but come out having purchased many items that are not necessary but simply wanted.

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So I’m now trying specialist shops and seeing if I spend less and also less frequently.

Clifton Greens has a good selection of fresh fruit. A great deal of the fruit is imported in the UK so you don’t get the quality you want sometimes, but this shop hasn’t disappointed me and as a result, I’m eating more fruit and hopefully I’ll stop reaching for the junk food…i.e. chocolate and pastries all the time! Price wise it’s a fraction more. But worth it.

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Eurostar is stellar

LONDON - Well I’m heading back to Paris! This time I’m travelling by Eurostar. If you book in advance you can get a great deal. When I flew to Paris last time, the ticket cost me approximately £135 and on top of that I still had to buy a train ticket to the centre of Paris. This time I’m heading to the City of Lights and it’s only costing £79 return…nice!

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I’ll be there in May and have already made a list of things I want to do. For instance with the exception of visiting Versailles, I really want this trip to Paris to be about exploring the quiet streets and quaint shopping districts and flea markets. It’s all about mosey-ing. Just can’t wait.

Inside Notre Dame Cathedral

PARIS, FRANCE – The most visited sight in Paris is Disneyland. Notre Dame Cathedral is in the Top 5.

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It’s a free venue to visit and if you’ve read Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, you’ll want to pass by.

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As it’s so popular be prepared to line up outside. But once inside there’s a lot of space to roam at your leisure and find a quiet place to meditate and just look up at the stained glass windows.

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