mygreatmove

Throwing Yourself into the Game.

Hello world,

My name is Jen and I’m one of the writers of this blog about London, etc. This week, I’ve decided to get a bit more personal and talk about being homesick/lonely in a new city. It’s an inevitable condition even for the most outgoing of people. It’s bound to happen to us all, and I’ve definitely been there before. There are a few ways to lessen the blow and start making your house a home.

One obvious thing about London is that it’s massive, and sometimes massive places can leave a person feeling isolated and more alone than ever. In a fast pace environment, it’s hard to meet people when they’re always going quickly from point A to point B. I’ve talked to numerous people who have experienced this in London and other metropolis settings. I know that I’m constantly working at becoming part of the city instead of just watching it walk by.  It’s difficult.

A way to start remedying this is to force yourself to join an organisation, society or club. Anything that breaks the city down into a smaller, more manageable portion is desirable. This way you actually have the chance to talk to people with similar interests. It sounds easy, but it’s harder to motivate yourself than you’d think. I’ve recently gotten involved in yoga sessions and that has done wonders. Also, really try to get to know your roommates if you don’t already. Sometimes you’ll become friends and sometimes you won’t, but at least you tried!

Another thing to do is to get out of your apartment! It’s so easy to stay on the couch or in your bed and watch TV. Sure it’s safe and comfortable, but you’ll also spend most your time alone. You won’t get to really know your city either. London, for example, is so full of history/culture/everything that you only need to wander to discover something new. So walk around! I like to take strolls around my neighbourhood and explore the surrounding areas. You can find cool new pubs, restaurants and interesting street art, etc. It’s an easy activity that you can do by yourself and you’ll be grateful that you have. Also, go out even if you don’t feel like it, because you might meet the most interesting people. I met my old roommate while standing at a bar, and I couldn’t have asked for a better living experience!

If you’ve done all of this and still find yourself feeling out of place and lonely, then I would advise you to get a pet. They’re adorable and give you cuddles 24/7. If your apartment won’t let you, you can always spend time at a local animal shelter. They need love too! Another option is to pick up a new hobby. I’ve started playing the mandolin. I’ve wanted to do this since I was 8, and I’ve now finally picked it up. So try something new. Do it. You won’t regret it.

Eventually you won’t feel so awkward in your new home. You’ll get to know the place and it’ll get to know you. You’ll find your local hangouts and favourite spots. You’ll even find friends to frequent them with. If you still feel out of place, then maybe rethink your situation. Sometimes it’s just not meant to be. Remember, though, to have patience and give the city a chance. To be honest, I’m still trying to sort myself out and I’ve been in London for almost 6 months. It isn’t even my first time living in a new city, but still It takes time.  Constantly reassure yourself and don’t get discouraged. If all else fails, you can always Skype home for support!


- Jen

Reason to move to London: Day trips to Hever Castle - Often a forgotten day trip from London, but well worth the 40min train! Visit the old stomping grounds of the Boleyn family and (later) the Astors. You can look out the window where Anne sneaked a peek at Henry VIII’s arrival through the front gates. Or, stroll through the gorgeous Italian gardens on a sunny day! Here is more information: http://www.hevercastle.co.uk/

And of course, always check out http://www.mygreatmove.com/ for everything you need to know to make your dream move come true! If you have direct questions–send us a Tumblr message or email us!

Is this home? Spotlight on Clapham Common / Clapham North

We want to help people figure out where to live in London so we are going to spotlight one neighbourhood a week pointing out all our favourite (and not so favourite) spots. 

Clapham Common / Clapham North

Description:

When we moved to London six years ago, Clapham was where you went for a good 80’s club.  You lived there with your best mates if you were just out of university.   If you had a young family or your had made it past the graduate programme in your company, you moved onwards and upwards.  Clapham has blossomed since then!  You will still find the rowdy Friday and Saturday night crowds queuing to get into one of the many clubs but you would never know it come daylight.  This neighbourhood is now home to a good mix of young professionals and young families. It offers one of London’s largest parks, Clapham Common, and a wide variety of bars, restaurants, shops and cinemas.  A mix of bustling activity on the high street leading to quiet residential roads on either side, make this a great place to live.  

Clapham is made up of three fairly distinct areas:  Clapham Junction, Clapham South and Clapham Common / Clapham North (including the Old Towne).  We are going to focus on Clapham Common / Clapham North here and will do another post for Clapham Junction.

Postcodes: SW4 and parts of SW9 and SW12

Clapham is part of Lambeth Council

Things we like:

  • Running, football or just hanging out on a sunny day in Clapham Common
  • The great bars and restaurants
  • Easy access to Gatwick and Clapham Junction
  • Daily quotes at the Clapham North tube station

Things we could do without:

  • Friday and Saturday nights when the high street turns into one big party for the young and scantily clad (yes, we are showing our age)
  • The Northern Line in the morning – it’s so busy that we usually can’t get on and end up taking a bus to Stockwell where the crowd thins out as people disperse to the Victoria Line.  Annoying but only adds about 10 minutes to the commute as there are several buses that go to Stockwell.

 Our Favourite things to do here:

  • Dinner at Osteria Dell’Arte, The Stonhouse or Metro Garden
  • Brunch at Breads Etectera, Del Aziz or Esca
  • Venn Street Market on a Saturday and Clapham Picturehouse for a good film any night of the week!

How’s the commute?

  • Zone 2 (so about £30 for a weekly travel pass on all tube lines, overground trains and buses in zones 1 and 2)
  • Easy access to the city via the Northern Line anytime except 7.30-9.30am on the weekdays (see ‘things we could do without’)
  • Quick change to the Victoria Line at Stockwell (you literally walk across the platform) makes getting around London even easier.
  • Buses to Clapham Junction (about 10 minutes), Sloane Square (about 30 minutes)
  • The Overground loop was just finished and now offers trains from Clapham High Street to Clapham Junction every 15 minutes or take it the other direction and be in Shoreditch in 30 minutes
  • Trains to Gatwick and South / Southeast London from Clapham Junction

Historical tid-bit:

Clapham started off as a small collection of cottages on a hill over 1,000 years ago with the original parish church sitting where St. Pauls is today. 

There are three entrances to WWII air-raid shelters in Clapham. They aren’t pretty but an interesting piece of history!

Learn more about Clapham and other London neighbourhoods at mygreatmove.com/neighbourhoods

 

 

LONDON SURVIVAL: The Tube

We’ve been posting A LOT about the London Underground the past few weeks, and there is a reason for that. One of the main reasons for so much Tube action is that it’s one of/ if not the #1 way to get around in London!

There are a lot to think about when it comes to public transportation in the city. Here is a link to simple tips to help in that area: http://bit.ly/15AAd2O

One thing to remember when it comes to the Tube is this: a lot of the stops are closer to each other than you think. You can save time and money if you just research a little about where the stations are actually located. Sometimes it even takes longer to ride the Tube than to walk! More info: http://bit.ly/jJha

Otherwise, the Tube really isn’t that bad and by other cities’ metro standards…it’s amazing! It moves fast and they make sure to keep them up and running with little backups. The only problem is this: to be able to have the Tubes always ready for rush hour, there are always a few lines closed every weekend. SO, make sure you know which ones they are closing before you set off on a journey. You’ll need to find alternative routes!

Here are the different ticket options to look into: http://bit.ly/Zt2RC8

And remember… HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO 150 YEARS OF THE LONDON UNDERGROUND!!!

Here is an extremely entertaining blog you should follow. For all things London Tube: http://bit.ly/yHsbjt

** Oxford Circus Station decorated for Great Gatsby! Picture not owned by MyGreatMove. 

Keeping Fit in Clapham - Our Favourite Gyms

From 6am bootcamps on Clapham Common (ekk!) to a relaxing yoga class at YogaHaven or just quick run on the treadmill at Soho Gyms after work, Clapham has everything you need to get fit.  See some of our favourite options below.

The Gym Group

What it is: Basic gym with weight room, aerobic equipment and classes. 24-hour access just north of Stockwell Station.

Cost: Daily access from £5 or sign up monthly with direct debit (from a UK bank account only) for £19.99 a month (regular access) with a £20 joining fee

Location: 5 Lett Road, Stockwell, London, SW9 0AF

Website: http://www.thegymgroup.com/why-choose-the-gym/

 

Virgin Active

What it is: Higher end gym with pool, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi.  Weight room, cardio equipment and daily classes in Clapham Old Towne.

Cost: 12 month regular access contract for £84 a month with a £xx joining fee

Location: 4 -20 North Street, Clapham SW4 0HG

Website: http://www.virginactive.co.uk/clubs/Clapham

 

Soho Gyms

What it is: Standard gym with weight room, cardio equipment and daily classes on Clapham High Street between Clapham Common and Clapham North.

Cost: 12 month regular access contract for £65.95 per month with a £xx joining fee

Location: 95-97 Clapham High Street, Clapham SW4 7TB

Website: http://www.sohogyms.com/index.php?page=claphamcommon

 

Clapham Leisure Centre

What it is: Full service gym with pool, weight room, aerobic equipment, daily classes, badminton courts, gymnastics, basketball and canoeing just off Clapham High Street between Clapham Common and Clapham North.

Cost: 12-month regular access contract for £39.95 per month with a £15 joining fee

Location: 141 Clapham Manor Street, Clapham, SW4 6DB

Website: http://www.better.org.uk/leisure/claphamleisurecentre

 

Yoga Haven

What it is: Yoga studio offering hot yoga classes downstairs and regular yoga classes upstairs in Clapham Old Towne.   Sign up for classes online but beware of their cancellation policy – you get charged if you cancel within 24 hours even if they are able to fill your empty spot with someone else!  Not the best customer service model but great classes if everything goes smoothly.

Cost: 75 minute drop in class for £15 (less expensive if you purchase a pass or multiple classes)

Location: 63 Wingate Square, Clapham Old Town, Clapham, SW4 0AF

Website: http://yogahaven.co.uk

 

Hot Power Yoga

What it is: Yoga studio offering hot yoga classes down the road from Clapham Common tube station. 

Cost: drop in class for £16 (less expensive if you purchase a pass or multiple classes)

Location: Hot Power Yoga, Unit 3B, 9 Park Hill, Clapham SW4 9NS

Website: http://www.hotpoweryoga.co.uk/Home.html

 

British Military Fitness Clapham Common

What it is: Hour long fitness classes in Clapham Common taught by current or ex-military personnel.  Give us 20!

Cost: £14.50 per class for 10 class pass plus £25 joining fee.  Try your first class for free.

Location: Meeting point - Car Park of the Windmill Pub, half-way down Clapham Common South side

Website: http://www.britmilfit.com/where-we-train/london/clapham-common

For other sports teams in Clapham Common see www.mygreatmove.com

It's Not THAT Bad...

It’s that time of the year again! And no, it’s not St. Pat’s Day yet–put away that Guinness and green body glitter. Whether you greet February 14th with a smile or sigh, we have searched the web and our hearts for alternative ways to spend the day. So, put on your favourite outfit and get away from the mushy couples (or not). This is London for the non-traditional:

 

Where for art thou mobile?!

After moving to London, one of the first things you’ll need to do is get a mobile phone. You can do this one of two ways—either keep the phone you already have and switch out the SIM card, or get a new phone. It really just depends on now much you want to invest.

If you have a locked iPhone, than you might want to consider just getting a new, cheap phone. To unlock your iPhone it can take multiple days and costs lots of money. You can thank Apple for that! If you don’t have a locked iPhone, than research how much it’s going to cost to unlock it. I would advise going to a corner shop that deals with multiple SIM cards, unlocking cards and cheap mobiles. These shops are scattered all across London and usually double as Internet access points. I promise it’s not as sketchy as it sounds. It’s a lot cheaper to get your phone from here than from actual company stores like Orange, Three or O2.

My advice is to get a pay-as-you-go plan. It’s perfect because you only have to top up minutes when you need them, and a lot of these plans include thousands of text credits and wireless access. I mostly text, so it’s great to only have to pay when I eventually run out of calling minutes. Here are some company plans to research: Three, O2, Orange or T-Mobile.

When I was getting my LG Android unlocked, the man at my corner shop suggested I get the Three SIM card. I just had to pay 15 pounds for calls, and my texts and wireless were unlimited. You can’t get much better than that! When in doubt, you should always ask the men in the local, corner shops. The company stores are more likely to rip you off. 

If you have any specific questions on the matter send them our way and we’ll try to help!