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Winter in London

Posted 23 Jan 2014 by Nicola Elizabeth

 

Winter in London, this will be my fourth winter in London, and I am excited already. Whilst nothing beats heading home to spend Christmas at my parents with Mum's Christmas dinner, and a blazing fire, I love spending the build up to Christmas in the capital.

The last few weeks have seen the start of the Christmas markets setting up, but if you don't already know, the mother of all the Christmas Markets, Winter Wonderland, has just opened (22nd November), and I cannot recommend it highly enough! Unfortunately, Winter Wonderland is only the mother of all UK Markets; as sadly we all know deep down there are way better Christmas Markets in Europe and beyond, but taking away the price of a flight, you don't get better than Winter Wonderland. Also, a bit closer to home, Kingston Christmas market normally has a great atmosphere and the stalls are great!

But before you even get to the markets, winter starts with the clocks going forward the Oxford Street Christmas light switch on, and if your lucky enough, Boots on Oxford Street will have their fake snow machine on to make you feel even more festive. Whilst you're there you should definitely take a look at all the department store windows, Selfridges are famed for their Christmas window displays, and are definitely worth a look.

Another winter favourite for me is Ice Skating, and Somerset house makes for a great backdrop! Their Christmas tree is a must see, it is so big! I would advise booking though, as it can get very busy, and make sure you don't forget your gloves. Also, don't worry about falling over the first time you go, it happens to us all!

Being in Central for my internship has meant I have had the pleasure of leaving work and walking down South Bank for my train; all the lights in the trees are beautiful and make for a lovely walk after a long day at work. Although it's not as great when it's raining! Eurgh!

Anyways the point of this blog is to say; brave the outdoors this winter, wrap up warm and get yourself fuelled up on mulled wine and roasted chestnuts! Winter is definitely not my favourite season, but it doesn't get any better than spending it in London!

 

You must be wondering what is Fresher's Fair which is what I have always been wondering. No worries! Today I am going to tell you what it is and how much fun you can have if you do attend those days. Fresher's Fair is an annual 1-2 days event held at university. This gives new students an opportunity to learn about various societies as well as being able to sign up for as many societies as the students wish. Fresher's Fair is a free event and it is open for everyone so feel free to go to your fresher's fair. DO NOT miss it otherwise you will miss the real fun. I should have had this blog long time ago but I have always wanted to post something about my placement first. Now is the time to share my dos and don'ts with you guys and I hope you find them useful. Here we go>>>

Dos:
• Make sure you arrive on time. This will give you an opportunity to sign up for societies, get free food and vouchers.
• If you are interested in any society make sure you sign up for it. Societies are great for making friends and keeping yourself updated all year around.
• Find out what a society does and what kind of socials are there etc.
• Don't forget to collect free pizza from the Domino's.

Dont's
• Don't be late. It will be less crowded if you go early. This is my favourite part as you can have all the free stuff before it runs out.
• Don't sign up for all the societies just for the sake of getting free food from their stall because throughout the year you don't want to be bombarded with unwanted emails.
• Don't stress out about going to a new place; remember it's an opportunity to meet new people.
• Don't waste your time finding out information about all the societies; just look for the societies relevant to your course to keep yourself updated of any events throughout the year.

 

So you want to Party? Really want to party? Well I don't know why you're asking me! I wouldn't know a good party if it smacked me in the face with a punch bowl.

I'm much more the 'Stay indoors with a bottle of wine and Strictly Come Dancing' sort of girl. BUT I am a self-proclaimed "Alternative night out" expert - i.e I know the best places to go if raving isn't your thing. Raving isn't my thing. I look awful in neon.

If You Want Some:

  • Seriously Nice Nosh!

I love food! Seriously, Love it! When it comes to eating in Kingston and London I can't actually tell you everywhere I like to go as you don't have a year. However here are some of my favourite eateries

  1. SNOG (http://www.ifancyasnog.com/) Amusing name aside, SNOG offers fantastically tasty frozen yoghurt in three flavours (Plain, Chocolate and Green Tea) and loads of toppings like chocolates, fruits and nuts. AND it's healthy! Well... moderately healthy. The bare bones dessert is but if you insist on covering it in chocolate I'm not going to be held responsible for your waistline. There are five SNOG shops around London, but my personal favourite is just off Covent Garden (I lost a hairclip in there when I was out with my ex on an all-nighter. If you see it let me know. It's got a strawberry on it.)
  2. Kingston Mill  I've already said how much I love this place in a previous blog but since I wrote that, THEY'VE GOT A NEW MENU!
  • Sidesplitting Laughs!

If comedy is your bag for a night out then you can't ask for much better than nights out here. With both well-established comedians and new up and coming artists performing nearly every night, the laughter is out there, it's just a case of finding it.

  1. Kingston SU (http://www.kusu.co.uk/)  Why travel miles when there's comedy at your door? KUSU organise regular comedy nights in the union with acts that have been on telly and everything. Tickets rarely cost more than £5.
  2. The Comedy Store, Piccadilly (http://www.thecomedystore.co.uk/whats_on.php?location=1)  As seen on TV, the London Comedy Store is brilliant for a night out if you like your comedy as a mixed bag rather than a solo act. They do regular improv nights as well as solo gigs. Tickets vary in price from £10-£20 with student tickets available as long as you have a valid NUS card.
  3. The Comedy Hoopla   Excellent mix of stand-up comedy from new performers in the basement of the 'Hoop & Toy' pub in Kensington (literally visible from South Kensington tube station.) This is the place for you if you like your comedy intimate. Not for the faint hearted mind - you could end up as part of the act! Tickets are around £3 booking in advance or £5 on the door.
  • Sound, Screen & Stage!
  1. The Rose Theatre, Kingston (http://www.rosetheatrekingston.org/)  Kingston's very own theatre is located on the Riverside in a mesh of excellent restaurants. The Rose offers a wide variety of shows to suit any taste from Rose exclusives to touring productions and everything in between. Again prices vary depending on the show but it's cheaper if you sit on the floor in the pit (Bring a cushion to prevent a numb posterior!)
  2. The E4 Slackers Club with Picturehouse Cinemas  (student discounts at certain cinemas.)  
  3. Oxjam (Music and poetry in association with Oxfam)
  4. The Fighting Cocks (Pub in Kingston - regular comedy and music nights.)

How to stay in the loop

I realise that you're coming to uni to learn. So there will be some actual lectures and stuff to attend, but when you're free and you find yourself craving something to do there's a few places you should pay attention to so you never find yourself left behind.

ON TWITTER:

  1. Follow @SkintLondon (brilliant events around London for under £10, competitions and freebies. Invaluable for people living in London with no cash.)
  2. @ComedyHoopla (STUPIDLY CHEAP - Like £3 - comedy nights in the basement of a pub in Kensington.)
  3. @kingston_su (Kingston SU Twitter - up to date info about everything that's going on at the union.)

FACEBOOK:

Lots of places have Facebook pages you can like. Sometimes this gives you access to discounts but also you'll get updates on your news feed about your favourite places without any extra effort.

NEWSLETTERS: Some of the venues I've listed above have email newsletters you can sign up to that will keep you in the know about everything that's going on as well as giving you discounts on food, drink and tickets.

So there you go! A little bit of a starting point for your new Kingston night time adventures!

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