//Exploring London; East To West//

Hello! After visiting Royal Holloway University back in June, I decided that I loved being near London and haven’t explored the capital nearly as much as I’d liked to. To be fair, I do live on the other side of the country to London, but now I’m (almost) and adult, it’s much easier for me to travel. So, this summer I’ve been lucky enough to go to London twice – the first time to East London and the second to West London (hope you got that from the title lol).

Some of you may know that in July, London hosted the Parathletics World Championships at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (built for the 2012 Olympics). My family and I love watching sport and as we hadn’t managed to get tickets for the Olympic Park during the 2012 games, we decided to go and watch some Parathletics, and the Olympic Park definitely lived up to it’s hype – the grounds are beautiful and the stadium itself and the atmosphere from the crowd during the Parathletics was magnificent!

Olympic Stadium
Olympic Stadium
Parathletes lining up for the 5000m race
Parathletes lining up for the 5000m race

As the Olympic Park is located in Stratford,East London, we drove past the East London Docklands – Canary Wharf – and through several areas of East London such as Poplar, Newham and Hackney. Whenever I’ve been to London before we’ve always stated in the centre in the tourist-y areas, so going to East London felt completely different. Although East London is considered to be the more deprived region of London, and many of the streets surrounding the bubble of the Olympic Park were covered in more graffiti than I’ve ever seen before in my life, I loved the feel of the region – it had character and after studying East London in geography, it was so interesting to actually see it first hand.

Canary Wharf skyline from a distance
Canary Wharf skyline from a distance

I really enjoyed the time we spent in East London although we didn’t venture far from the Olympic Park (other than when we were driving there and back). I’d definitely love to go back and explore more of the culture there!

After going to London for the Parathletics, I’d definitely caught the London bug and wanted more than anything to return to the city – I just love how it’s so vastly different in all the boroughs and regions and it’s so full of culture and life. So a few weeks ago me and my sister booked tickets with Megabus to go to London again for the day, but this time West London.

After waking up at 5:30 to get the bus at 6:30 then the Megabus itself at 8:15 (because they Megabus left from Bristol so we had to get to Bristol first) last Wednesday, we spent a lovely day in London exploring Chelsea, Westminster and Kensington. We’d never travelled without our parents before so it was a completely new experience, and it was a bit nervewracking, but I’m so proud of us for managing to navigate our way across West London as we walked from Victoria Coach Station to the Natural History Museum – an area we hadn’t been to for about 10 years.

We did get a little lost on the way there but we eventually arrived outside the stunning museum (I couldn’t get any good photos of the architecture though as there were so many trees in front of it!). There were huge queues for the entrance – and I mean huge I’d never seen so many people queuing for something! But we managed to find the back entrance which had a much shorter queue.

Back of the Natural History Museum
Back of the Natural History Museum

The museum was really interesting! Some bits I remembered from when I went years ago,like the human biology bit, but we went in a really cool exhibit about volcanoes and earthquakes (which kind of made me like geography a bit more) and everything space-y. We went in an earthquake simulator (where I attempted to film it but almost fell over when sorting out the camera because the floor started moving unexpectedly). It was set out like a Japanese supermarket and the lights went out and everything was shaking on the shelves, it was quite scary but having never been in an earthquake I’m not sure how realistic it was.

Part of the earthquake simulator shop
Part of the earthquake simulator shop

We also saw the blue whale skeleton which has replaced the diplodocus that had been in the main hall for years previously – it was really cool! We didn’t manage to look round the whole museum because it was HUGE, despite spending hours in there!

Blue whale skeleton
Blue whale skeleton

After we’d finished looking round, we had about an hour before we needed to head back to the coach station, so as it was sunny and hot we wandered down the road past Imperial College London into Hyde Park. We didn’t venture far into the park but it was so nice to sit in the shade by the Albert Memorial and Royal Albert Hall and relax.

Albert Memorial in Hyde Park
Albert Memorial in Hyde Park

I think my favourite part of the day was walking back to the coach station, as we used Google maps to navigate our way and it took us a different way to we came in the morning. Honestly I felt a bit out of place because we were walking through what felt like a really posh area of London. I mean, there streets were lined with towering white houses with balconies covered with plants and flowers (a.k.a. what I imagine Paris to be like).

Also there were hotels with posh cars outside and chauffeurs. Not to mention we walked past Harrod’s which LOOKS LIKE AN ACTUAL PALACE (we had to look it up on Google maps because we couldn’t work out why there would be a palace in the middle of the highsteeet and then ofund out it was Harrod’s). All the shops were really posh too – I loved this Harvey Nichols window display with suticases with wings.

I was sad to leave the city behind at the end of the day but I was shattered after getting up so early and spend 8 hours in total traveling. However I was so impressed with the Megabus coach service,considering it’s so cheap! We also stopped off at Heathrow airport to pick people up on the way back and as I’d never been before I was overwhelmed by how huge it was! I was glad to get home at last and go to sleep but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in West London,which was so different in comparison to East London, but I enjoyed and loved both visits to the city just the same!
Have you been to London recently? Where’s your favourite place to go? 

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//Why I’ve left Scouts…//

It makes me really, genuinely, sad to have to write this. Scouting has been a HUGE part of my life for the past 8 or so years. I never thought I’d voluntarily stop Scouting but here I am, giving it up. 

The truth is, I never really fitted in at Explorer Scouts. I’ve been at my Explorer Scout unit for over two years now and have seen many people come and go yet I never really felt like I fitted in with anyone there. I just couldn’t be myself around those people which is what drove me to leave in the end. I don’t feel as if I fit in anywhere at the moment, not even with my friends and family but that’s another matter.
So I didn’t see the point of carrying on going to Explorer Scouts when I just felt so out of place and couldn’t enjoy myself because of this. I think  it’s a good time to move on from something when you stop enjoying it, or at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself since I decided to leave.

Leaving Explorer Scouts, however, means that I also have to stop volinteering with Cub Scouts, which is something I love and am deeply sad about giving it up. I do feel like I’ve gained a lot from the past two years I’ve been volunteering there. I’m more confident in my socialising skills for one thing and I like to think that maybe I helped to make those kids lives a little better and a little happier. I’ll miss them all, especially as I never got to say goodbye, but I’ll always remember them.

I do feel as if a part of me is sort of missing now that Scouting is no longer a part of my life, but I am ready for the challenges that my next adventures bring, whatever they may be, and will always cherish the memories and friends I’ve made over the years. I just need to keep telling myself that I am NOT giving up, I’m just moving on to find something that makes me happier, and that’s okay. 🙂

//A stroll by the sea//

So this morning me and my family went on a lovely (but very windy – seriously it took me ten minutes to brush the knots out of my hair, it was sooo painful!) stroll along one of our local beaches. This used to be my favourite of the four beaches near us but now it is always packed with dog walkers which gets a little annoying. However I still enjoyed going there today – I’d never turn down the opportunity to see the sea!

After strolling along the beach and dunes (and getting stones in my hiking boots, no idea how, so I had to precariously lean on a wall and tip my boot out) we decided we hadn’t quite had enough fresh air yet so climbed up the headland. There are some great views from the headland (although it is ten times windier so my hair would beg to differ) which I tried to capture on camera but miserable failed.

We walked along the headland for a bit to my new favourite beach. It’s a pebble beach and it’s really secluded so it is never busy. It is really nice to just sit there and stare out at sea and feel as if you are on the edge of the world.

After that we trudged back to the car and I came home to a pile of revision and homework which even after one week of the spring holidays I have barely scratched the surface of.

And deciding that I could spare a couple of hours (I really couldn’t) I uploaded all the little video’s I took today and made a Youtube video which I also decided needed to have me playing Vance Joy’s Riptide in the background. Here it is, I’d love it if you could take a look and let me know what you think! I’m still not really used to Youtube so sorry if this is awful!

From watching that I have now realised just how weird I look when I’m walking, haha. Also I messed up the guitar a bit so sorry about that.

Anyway, today has been a very creative week to be honest. On Friday I made a banoffee birthday cake for my mum:

And I also made (and fell in love with) a henna jar using an empty jar and sharpies which I am really pleased with and must make more of!!

And I have also got rather addicted to Instagram so lots of photography has been going on this past week!!

So, that’s all for today. Tomorrow I am going into school in the middle of my spring holidays to do half a day of French revision which should be good because I love French so much (although I do have to get up early).

Bye for now! 🙂