Notting Hill

london, Travel

As my time in London comes to an end, I’ve been running around trying to fit in adventures between library sessions. My window to cross things off my London to do list is getting smaller and smaller, so I took a (well-needed) break from the library on what was meant to be a sunny Saturday to head to Notting Hill for a wander.

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Initially my day was going to be a solo adventure (like my search for Wisteria), but my need for outside motivation meant that previous attempts to make it to Notting Hill had been limited to searches on Pinterest and a snoozed alarm clock. To get me moving, I invited a friend to breakfast at Drake and Morgan in King’s Cross before my walk. The day was dreary enough that I could justify a mocha with breakfast.

After, I managed to convince my friend to join me on my adventure, partly to help me take pictures, but also to have a nice chat. (He’d previously joined me on a walk to Primrose Hill, so I knew he’d be interested.)

We hopped the Circle line from King’s Cross to Ladbroke Grove with the idea being to avoid the massive crowds that seem attracted to Notting Hill Gate station. It worked and we were able to make our way up and down Notting Hill without having to fight for our space on the sidewalk.39871962_1991677651124066_1200271706569048064_n

I kept pointing out cute houses painted in pastels and my friend had no interest, but I loved it. Notting Hill is cute, cute, cute. We walked and we chatted and I pointed towards brightly colored doors and mini gardens tucked into corners and stairwells, dreaming of sneaking a peek inside the homes.

By the time we hit Holland Park Avenue and the Notting Hill Gate tube station, we were looking for some more snacks. Fortunately, Portobello Road and Market were just around the corner.

Because it was Saturday, the streets were packed with people and stalls. Music played from bars and vintage shops and food stalls. My personal favorite part was a man playing Dua Lipa on a steel drum. We wandered up the road, peeking into shops and people watching, snapping photos.

39917129_2135476983439104_9064656317909565440_nBy the time we hit the end of the stalls, we were ready for a nap. So we made our way back towards Ladbroke Grove and struggled not to snooze on the train.

Did this adventure write my dissertation? No. But I have a feeling I’ll look back fondly on our wanders, rather than regret spending a day on an adventure.

Study Spots

london

Like most, my summer will be filled with adventures and sunshine and friends, but there will also be dissertation writing. One perk of choosing to do my Masters in the U.K. is that it only lasts a year, but while many students get to spend their summer away from the library, that’s where I’ll be finding myself each week. Though I’m done with exams and classes, I have 15,000 words due at the end of August.

So naturally, I’ve been procrastinating. I keep telling myself I just need to find the right spot to study, somewhere not too loud and not too quiet. It can’t be my room because despite having a perfectly good desk to use, my (semi-)comfortable bed is just so close. I can’t work in my kitchen because the table is too wobbly and there’s too many people walking through. I don’t really drink coffee, so coffee shops are sort of out of the question, especially when I start to feel bad for hogging a table for multiple hours at a time.35922705_10214503902725209_6669531920843407360_n

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The last few months, I’ve been studying in my university’s library. The Maughan Library is one of those beautiful monuments of academia and was perfect for long days reading through endless journal articles. But after a while, the walk there and the uncomfortable chairs just aren’t as appealing. (It’s pronounced Mawn like Lawn, apparently. Have I used the difficult pronunciation as an excuse to not study there? Maybe…)

As it’s now summer and my motivation is fried, I’ve come up with a new trick to get me writing. I’ve searched out some more Instagram-worthy spots. I figure if it’s pretty, maybe I’ll be more motivated to actually get out of bed and get some work done.35733525_10214503894365000_508092002596814848_n

Thanks to the interwebs, I’ve begun complying a list of adequate places, starting with the British Library. I stopped by for four hours on a random Tuesday and while it was busy, it was calm enough that once I plugged in my headphones I had no problem getting to work. (Though I did have a few quick study breaks to watch random tourists wander through and take pictures.)

In two months, you may be hearing from me again, complaining about how I ended up back in the same spot in my university library all summer, but for now I’m adding a little bit of adventure to my academia.

Wish me luck (and send me recommendations, please)!