The Life of a London Commuter

ItVisit London Application‘s the best of both worlds I was told. Living in the countryside outside our capital city and working in it, and this may be the case if it wasn’t for the commute in between!

The job that began my commuting life I primarily got through creating a tube map for a presentation of a day in London. I explained how quickly and easily the tube could get you from place to place to make the most of your day. Little did I know as I made it I would soon come to realise that things completely change when go from just a user of the tube to a commuter on the tube.

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5 things I learnt at Visit London

Never have 3 months gone as fast as they did during my internship at Visit London, but they do say time flies when you are having fun and that is most certainly what I was doing.

I had an amazing time as an Editorial Intern, not only was I working for a fantastic company, but got to have some incredible experiences; being a zookeeper for the day and seeing Beyonce to name a couple. Plus, I got to visit some great places in London, such as Kew Gardens, Buckingham Palace and the London Dungeons… and best of all I got to write about it.

Unfortunately one negative of an internship is that it has to come to an end, but here are 5 invaluable things I learnt whilst there:

1 – London is the best city on Earth

I have always loved London and known that I would like to move and work here one day; it is such a culturally diverse city, where a wealth of history sits alongside the modern. A unique and vibrant place with so much to see and do. Visit London portrays this and provides you with the means to fully plan your time in London whether coming from abroad and knowing nothing about the city, to living here and finding out what there is to do at the weekend.

2 – There are paid internships

Before I got this internship I went for several interviews for unpaid work, which as great as the jobs sounded there was no way I could afford to travel into London to do. I think the media industry can take advantage of us needing to gain experience and you can end up being used as cheap/free labour to do the jobs no one else wants to do. Not at Visit London. Here you are paid for your work, and feel like one of the team for the duration of the internship, gaining real experience of what it would be like to work there.

3- I love writing

Not that I didn’t know this already of course… but when faced with day after day of constant job application, followed by rejection, and the sole purpose of life is to get any job to earn money, it can be easy to lose sight of your passion. Visit London has helped me regain this, and confirmed for me that this is most definitely the career path I want to follow.

4- Internships are invaluable

I worried, at nearly 25,  I was too old to be doing an internship. I think it is something you associate with doing straight out of school or university, not after you have already had a job.  However, following the completion of my internship I believe they are something you can do at any age. Internships allow you to gain valuable experience in different areas and really add to a CV. Plus, if you don’t like it or you realise that would not be the job for you then it is not forever. If like me you love it you won’t want to leave.

5- Essential skills

Last, but most certainly not least, (and perhaps technically most important) I’ve learnt new skills and expanded old skills, which will be invaluable to me in my future career. A notable experience, in which I learnt new skills, was creating a video (Top London Attractions for Kids) which I had never done before. Whilst challenging, I felt a real sense of achievement when it was completed.

If you have been inspired by my time at Visit London (and I don’t know why you wouldn’t be…) check out the London and Partners careers page for job and internship opportunities.

Scary night in the Dungeon!

Gruesome history has got to be most interesting kind and I love being scared so I jumped at the chance to visit the London Dungeon which, in its brand new location on the South Bank, is bigger and better than before!

Imaginations will run wild underground and half the dread comes from what you are expecting to happen and sometimes never does, which is juxtaposed with tongue-in-cheek humour and impeccable comedic timing – which will have you on the verge of wetting yourself with a mixture of laughter and fear.

Find out more about the Dungeon at Visit London.

West End LIVE!

Fancy trying out top London shows before you pay to go and see them at the Theatre? At West End LIVE! you can, where hit shows are bought to an open air stage.

This annual festival, now in its 9th year, organised by Westminster City Council and the Society of London Theatre, in association with MasterCard took place at the end of June in the iconic setting of Trafalgar Square.

Having a long list of shows I would like to see at the theatre I decided to grab the opportunity and check it out, and I wasn’t the only one  – the square was packed with singing, dancing theatre lovers!

This free event happens each summer over one weekend and showcases the entertainment on offer in the heart of London, with performances from every West End musical. This year included Billy Elliot, Thriller, Matilda, Les Misérables , Jersey boys and The Lion King to name a few.

And that’s not all.. there is also live bands and interactive exhibitions from many of London’s top museums, galleries and cultural institutions. Plus, Glee’s Mr Schuester was there this year enjoying the shows and created a long line of screaming girls waiting to meet him.

West End LIVE is a fun, theatrical day out for all the family! Unfortunately for my bank balance the event has only made the list longer, after having a taste of these great shows I will be spending a lot of the foreseeable future at the theatre!

Zoo Lates!

Been to the zoo, seen the animals and think you have experienced all it has to offer? Think again…it’s time to see its really wild side!

Every Friday night throughout June and July ZSL London Zoo open their gates after hours for Zoo Lates. So, on a sunny Friday night last month I joined hundreds of other party animals to experience a night, at the ultimate urban jungle, for myself.

Don your tiger onesie or have your face-painted as your favourite zoo creature and find out what the animals get up to after everyone should have gone home.

As you enter this adults only event (that’s right it’s time for the big kids to enjoy the zoo) grab a drink..alcoholic of course and embrace your inner child at the adults only play area which includes an adult sized ball pit! Party like a penguin at the silent disco, and laugh like a hyena at the very funny and entertaining cabaret and comedy at Auntie Myra’s Swinging Safari.

Take a look around approximately 17500 creatures great and small, see the much loved and ever popular animals as they head to bed and the nocturnal creatures as they wake up, and with talks at several enclosures get to know them better than ever before!

Plus, like TOWIE’s Lydia and Debbie, take the opportunity to see the zoo’s newest residents, Sumatran tigers Jae Jae and Melati in the Tiger Territory exhibit. Here you can get closer than ever before to one of nature’s most amazing predators .. just don’t get too confident after a cider or three and think it is a good idea to try and get in and give them a cuddle!!

Due to the overwhelming popularity of the event it is now open for an added date at the start of August.

You haven’t truly had a wild night out in London until you have attended Zoo Lates!

  Zoo Lates runs from 6-10pm and is an over 18s only event.

Zookeeper Day!

Recently I got to fulfil a childhood dream and become a zookeeper for the day thanks to ZSL London Zoo.

I excitedly joined just two others for what was to be a real hands-on experience and a unique insight into what life is like for the keepers.

As a keeper-for-a-day you get fully involved with all the key day-to-day duties of a real zookeeper. During our experience we got up close and personal with many of the zoos most popular animals, including; warthogs, penguins, giraffes, lemurs and alpacas… to name a few!

Keeper for a Day is a once in a lifetime experience and a must for animal lovers! To find out more about my day as a zookeeper and how you can do it for yourself see Visit London.

Sculpture in the City

Robert Indiana 'LOVE' Gherkin from Tower 42

Several sculptures have been erected for the third year in the heart of the City of London as part of Sculpture in the City 2013.

I went to the 27th floor of Tower 42 to look down on the area, before being taken on a tour of the sculptures by Sonia Solicari, head of Guildhall Art Gallery.

This year the free outdoor exhibition sees the largest line-up yet, with nine contemporary art installations by world famous artists. Included are two sculptures by Robert Indiana, one being his famous Love sculpture, which is found in cities all over the world and works as an entrance to the site. Also featured is Jake and Dinos Chapman’s ‘The Good’, ‘The Bad’ and ‘The Ugly’, three prehistoric creatures that sit at the base of the Gherkin.

 The sculptures will remain for one year; see Visit London to find out more about them.

Celebrate the Royal Baby in London

Afternoon Tea Many packages are on offer across London this summer to celebrate the impending arrival of the eagerly anticipated royal baby, so I decided to try one out.

I went to the athenaeum, this luxury five star hotel which sits within sight of Buckingham Palace is offering an exclusive royal photography and afternoon tea experience.

We were met by royal photographers Ian Pelham-Turner and Helena Chard as we entered one of the hotels many gorgeous rooms, which was filled with photographs from Prince William as a baby with Charles and Diana, to William and Kate on their wedding day.

The hotel, which was awarded ‘Top London Afternoon Tea 2012’, served up their award winning tea, which we enjoyed whilst hearing extremely interesting stories from Ian.

Ian, curator of the exhibition, has worked with four generations of the royal family over the past 46 years so he definitely knows what he is talking about!! He told us some fascinating ‘behind the scenes’ stories about the royals and his experiences with them.

Afternoon tea included tasty sandwiches followed by delicious, mouth-watering cakes and quintessentially English scones, jam and clotted cream.

“The Royal Child” is available on weekends until 31 August and costs £60.

Whether you are an expectant mother yourself or just want to celebrate our imminent royal arrival check out Visit London to find out what else is on offer across the city.

Alternative Guide to the Universe

Explore an alternative universe through art at the Hayward Gallery this summer.

Alternative Guide to the Universe comes as part of the Festival of Neighbourhood at the Southbank Centre. It pushes the boundries of the art world and our world!

I can’t say I necessarily always understand art, but I find it fascinating all the same. So I went along to the press view to discover a side to it that departs from the accepted way of thinking and crosses the boundries of “normal” art.

           Find out more about the exhibition at Visit London.

Chiming for Change with Beyonce

The Sound of Change

On Saturday I was lucky enough to join 50,000 people at Twickenham Stadium for The Sound of Change. The concert which boasted a star studded line-up of musical acts and presenters, launched Gucci founded campaign Chime for Change.

Co-founder Beyonce headlined the concert and was joined by an incredible line-up including Florence and the Machine, Jennifer Lopez and John Legend.

A phrase which adorned the front of the stage and was repeated throughout the night was “None of us can move forward if half of us are held back”. Aside from the music, it was important not to forget the real reason for being there. Chime for Change campaigns for improved health, education and justice for women and girls worldwide and several presenters including Madonna, introduced short films that illustrated this.

London’s Twickenham Stadium was chosen to host this incredible and overwhelmingly American event for a worldwide charity founded by Italian designer Gucci. I for one think it is an honour and a credit to London that it was chosen to hold such a prestigious event.

To find out more about Chime for Change or to donate visit their Facebook and Twitter pages.

To find out more about the concert go to Visit London