39. Discovering Treasure in London Charity Shops

For me it’s definitely the thrill of the unknown! The unexpected excitement of discovering something, anything, you never knew you wanted but now don’t know how you could ever live without it! And I am of the opinion that you don’t find it, it finds you. I am an eclectomaniac and charity shopping is possibly my favourite past time!!

I realised the joy of charity shopping in earnest when I did my first stint of community service, a very bright silver lining to a pretty dark cloud. Every Thursday for a year I would go along to the Salvation Army charity shop and help out, and as well as the glow of helping others, I would always leave with at least one bag of treasures.

38. Diverse Dining In London

One of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, London’s vibrancy is reflected in its wonderfully eclectic dining scene. We’re not satisfied with sitting down to a good old British classic in a normal dining room, and are constantly looking for ever more weird and wonderful ways to enjoy our 3 meals a day. From undiscovered international cuisines to weird and wonderful dining concepts, sample some of my favourite restaurants in London for deliciously diverse dining.

37. Grand Days Out in Coram’s Fields

Playing on the site of the world’s first incorporated charity, in London’s first public children’s playground. It seems fitting that in a week when even more allegations have surfaced in the ongoing Jimmy Savile scandal, we should take a moment to consider the legacy of someone who worked tirelessly to advance the cause of deprived and abused children: Thomas Coram.

36. All the little London things in between

  • Some shop names just make you laugh.
There are, of course, certain places I consider my little London gems. Places I go back to time and again.

Scooter caffe on Lower Marsh Street, for example, for it’s quirky décor, cosy basement, resident cats and decadent hot chocolate. There’s the melt-in-your mouth sushi at Sushino on King’s Road and the Latino lounge, Azteca, nearby where I had my first mojito (and the one after that, and the one after that…). And there’s Souk Medina in Covent Garden - my favourite Moroccan cave of tantalising belly-dancing, low tables and delicious tagines where the mint tea is poured from an unbelievable height without spilling a drop. Don’t get me started about all of my favourite places to eat!

35. On Your Bike, Dahling: A Little London Cycle Ride

I like to moan. After six years of trudging my way around London using her myriad of slow bus routes, crammed and overheated tubes and delayed national rail connections, moaning about public transport became part of my daily life. “Sorry I’m late, the tube…” is often enough to guarantee kindly glances from fellow tube warriors.

When my mother finally called my bluff and bought me a tinsel-clad, basketed bicycle for Christmas this year I worried. Then I moaned again. The realization that I would actually have to take to the roads myself made me feel ill. Moaning and being late is one thing, but the certain death of roundabouts, main roads, buses – good god!

34. Trendy, Cool, and Sooo London: Soho

Soho London Pictures from 1973 John Hutchinson
Soho is one of my favourite areas of London. Its history stretches back hundreds of years, however, it is the period during the second half of the twentieth century when it really became the London’s cultural hub that catches my imagination. Back then it was a hot bed for aspiring artists, writers, musicians and fashion designers seeking success and inspiration. People looking to push against the conventions of their times - and explore new ideas in art, music, theatre - mixed together in and around the streets of Soho.

33. Friday Nights Piano Night in London

I first came across the Piano Bar a year ago. After a rubbish day at the office a friend suggested we go for a quiet drink. Several bottles of wine and a rendition of Rocket Man later, we resurfaced on High Street Kensington! With charismatic players, fantastic tunes and decent priced drinks (£16 for bottle house wine) the piano bar has fast become my “go to” location for post work drinks, girly catch ups and first dates.

32. London Eats, for Science!

What's better than food science?

Food made with science.

Molecular gastronomy was an "in" thing thanks to Heston and the Catalan restuarant (sadly closed) El Bulli. Now, I think it's steadily becoming an "out" thing as we turn our attentions to more frugal food, sustainable modes of eating and good old fashioned cookery. You know, like your mum makes.

But because living in London is a little like living in the future, and sometimes a good trend is worth keeping we don't have to entirely wave goodbye to the awesome fusion of science, technology and things to eat and drink. Now, obviously you could buy some NASA space food to eat at the Science Museum, or get tea after seeing an exhibiton at the Wellcome Collection if you wanted to be inspired by science whilst eating, but we can do better than that in the Capital.

31. The East End: The Colours, The Stories, The Songs of London's Life

London's East End, famous the world over for serial killers, slums and venereal disease (and it used to be even worse). But everything I love about London can be seen and felt, not just in its East End, but on this very corner of Whitechapel High Street...

30. Flat Caps at the Ready London: A Night at "The Dags"

Greyhound racing. It’s hardly Ascot is it? Yet it’s a wonderful, authentic part of London that’s slipped gradually away along with jellied eel and the fried egg sandwich. The largest one in Walthamstow, far beyond the perceived edge of civilisation for most of today’s Londoners, shut in 2008 and just three of these once ubiquitous stadia survive in London today (Crayford, Romford and Wimbledon).

Ok so if I’m going to sell this to you it’d better be good, right? After all greyhound races either brings up visions of celluloid gangsters screaming “dags, get the dags!” (a la Brad Pitt in Snatch) or grimy visions of an elderly relative, a sea of flat caps and childhood boredom (a la my actual childhood)...