London In the Sunshine

The sun has been gracing London recently, and its magnificent rays are bringing me and the entire city to life. London in the sunshine is amazing. 

 

Before I left London last year, I had a glimpse of Spring sunshine, and thought it was the most amazing thing ever. I was sad to leave just as the weather became so beautiful, so you can imagine how anxious I was to experience sunshine this year. The first day that the sun came out in full force this year, I sat in our backyard to soak up the rays for hours, refusing to go in until the cold has started to win over the day again. I’ve decided that feeling the hot sun and a cool breeze on your skin simultaneously is probably one of my favorite things in life. It’s a feeling I used to relate to perfect holidays on the beach, cold beer in one hand and a book in the other. Now, it’s the feeling of Spring, a season that is so beautiful and new to me, and I have totally fallen in love with it. Being such a solar powered creature all my life, feeling that magnificent sunshine and seeing everything in bloom after months of cold is not just wonderful – it’s cathartic! 

I am taking in as much as I can whenever I can. This is one of the joys of moving here. Everything is so new and amazing. People watching while on the car ride to the supermarket and looking at the new stuff in the produce aisle is always so interesting, and my husband finds it funny that I get such a kick out of such a trivial thing. Even something as simple as the trees I pass on my way to my daily gym sessions have become such a source of amusement to me.  I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated how things grow and bloom in the way that I have felt it in the last few weeks, with the exception of that time in 5th grade when I had to successfully plant and harvest a squash to pass a Home Economics class. 

With all this energy and happy vibes coursing through my veins, I’ve promised myself to really enjoy this weather and make a list of things to do whenever it is lovely outside. The weather has been incredibly bipolar, but with gloomy skies most days of the year, you just find so much joy in the days that the temperature climbs up enough to wear your legs out. (Which by the way, I full on celebrated the other day!) I’ve recently had a conversation with a friend who is coming over, who asked for advice on what to wear out here at this time of the month. I advised her to bring light layers, comfortable shoes, an umbrella, and a big day bag to stash them all in. I’ve never had to deal with such incredible weather changes throughout a full day ever before, and even this sun-rain-sun situation has me feeling like a kid on Christmas morning. Admittedly whingey, but mostly giddy and excited. I’m making sure to be ready to make the most of any sunny day ahead.  

 

Dine and Drink Al Fresco Whenever Possible

This beautiful weather combined with my love for food? Yes, please! I love rooftop restaurants, and even more so this season. I enjoy dining with a view, and when the sun touches London, there is no sight like it! Lunch dates with some girl friends have recently brought me to the member’s lounge at Tate Modern,  and a restaurant across St. Paul’s called Madison, both with amazing views of the city. I just can’t get enough of this cityscape. There are many rooftop restaurants, food markets and food festivals that take the spotlight this month, and I am looking forward to trying as many as I can. Even small cafes have quaint gardens that they have assigned as outdoor seating.  The other day, I even had a couple of pints with a friend on a boat docked on the Thames! There are several food pop up events in town as well. On top of this, everywhere in London, people are lighting up the grill and inviting friends over for house parties and barbecues. In this beautiful weather, it would be a crime not to enjoy your food al fresco.  

 

 

Check Out More of London’s Markets

Going around for a wander in London’s many markets is always an interesting activity. My favorites are Borough Market, which has food and ingredients from all over the world,  and Portobello Road, which is a treasure trove of antique jewelry, furniture, and home items. If you want a contact for beautiful jewelry, let me know! Camden Lock‘s eccentric vibe is a must see for artistic types, while Covent Garden is a tourist haven. Exmouth Market and the backstreets of Angel were filled with interesting restaurants and quirky little shops.  I have yet to see Brick Lane Market, Maltby Street, Old Spitalfields, and many more. London is a breeding ground for culture and creativity, and these markets and many more characterize this best. It’s a colorful and inspiring way to shop! 

 

 

So… I found this #hilarious. LMFAO. I’m quite easy to amuse, obviously. @exmouth_mkt #iseewhatyoudidthere ! 😂 

A photo posted by Abbi Gabasa – Stolagiewicz (@abbistoli) on

 

Have as many Picnics as I Can

 A couple of weekends back, a friend invited me to go on a picnic. I haven’t had a picnic in years, and have never experienced one in London. I didn’t know what to expect. Green Park on a sunny day is a sight to behold. As soon as you step out of the station, you are greeted with people lying on the ground, some by their selves and some with a group of friends, getting as much warmth as they can get from the afternoon. A lot of people were even tanning in bikinis or their underwear! We bought some food and a bottle of wine, found a patch of grass, and chatted the afternoon away. My sister in law also invited me to a picnic lunch with her family in the quaint and beautiful West Square Garden, which felt more intimate and relaxing. After a bit of lazing around we went off for a wander and enjoyed  ice cream in the garden across the Imperial War Museum. It seems that the English’s natural instinct to sunshine is to find a patch of grass to sit on, and I don’t wonder why. They are spoiled for choice with the many parks and gardens in town, and this is the best (or only) season to enjoy it. Whether it is for a book and a snooze or a game of frisbee with a bit of booze, this is an experience that I am looking forward to have more of!  

 

  

Try Alternate Modes of Transportation

Riding the tube is the most efficient way of getting around London. The buses can be quite entertaining especially when sitting on the upper level and not stuck in peak hour traffic. The trains are comfortable and can get you in and out of the city in no time. Cabs and Ubers are expensive, but a must when inebriated, which if you are drinking in London, WILL happen.  To most Londoners, sunshine or not, these are pretty much the only ways to get around. However, while staring at a tube map, I noticed a ferry line and even a cable car system (called Greenwich Emirates Airline) that I have definitely got to try. As I said earlier, I am a sucker for good views, so I am not passing this up. There is also the London Waterbus which takes you on a leisurely cruise down the regent’s Canal. 

 

 

The dock from my gym. You can can lose time running on the treadmill just staring out into this view. <img draggable=

A photo posted by Abbi Gabasa – Stolagiewicz (@abbistoli) on

 

Tap Into My Creative Side

London is a haven to many facets of the arts and is the home of many acclaimed artists in history. It still blows my mind that I now live here too. People here have so much appreciation for music, theater, art, literature, film, dance, fashion. Passers by congregate to watch a street artist use the floor or the wall as their canvass, a corner in the underground as their concert stage,  or the streets as their runway. Just outside the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square, artists take out chalk to draw on the floor, or a portable speaker to dance or sing to. It is just awe-inspiring. While this happens all year round, London in the sunshine turns every square inch of this city into an artist’s play ground, and it is at this time that outdoor concerts, festivals, plays, and cinemas pop up everywhere to celebrate and showcase the best talent from London and all over the world. I’d be crazy not to jump at a chance to enjoy them!

 

Sunday musings by the quay. #notebook #justwrite #word #sunday #reset <img draggable=” 

A photo posted by Abbi Gabasa – Stolagiewicz (@abbistoli) on

 

Apart from watching outdoor artists, I also found that being able to sit on a park bench when the weather is lovely gets my writing mojo going. It helps me meditate and center myself so I am able to write more. I’ve recently found a spot by the quay that we live close to that has become a favorite reading/writing spot, or just a spot to stare mindlessly into the water in. 

 

I’m sure there’s so much more to do out there but I’ll end my list here for now. My instagram page (@abbistoli) has been invaded by colorful images of London in the sunshine. I am addicted to it! Get out there. I’ve been told so many times by so many people to get  as much sun as I can because it is good for the soul. There is no arguing that. While life has been coming to such wonderful and joyful moments the last few months, for the first time since moving here, feeling the sun on my skin again has made me feel like I’m home. 

 

Enjoy the sunshine, everyone! 

 

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