Maida Vale, W9

MAIDA VALE, LONDON – My new home is in Maida Vale.

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I live in a council flat, something I swore I’d never do again after my strange experiences on a Pimlico estate where each week I witnessed the police arresting someone new, saw kids sell drugs, watched teenage mums tell their little kids to ‘F’ off and where I found myself running the long way around to get to the front door late at night to avoid groups of teenage boys who didn’t look at all friendly!

But Maida Vale is pretty safe. Thank God.

It is one of the places I always wanted to live when I first arrived in London a few years ago. So when I knew that I had to find a new place to live, I decided that this is where I wanted to be for the next year.

So far it’s been a good move and the commute isn’t bad. I’ve also started running three times a week with a friend  who lives down the road in the early mornings (can’t believe I’m getting up before six) and when I can, I head to the local park to enjoy the outdoors. Feels good to be in Maida Vale. Can’t wait to make it my home.

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Window boxes for green fingers

LONDON – We’re short on space in London and that often means that you don’t have a garden. It makes it hard to grow things, something I loved to do back in Johannesburg. Because of this, I’ve noticed that people are either balcony gardeners, or they are gardening with window boxes.

This Summer, I’ve really enjoyed keeping an eye out for fun window boxes. A lot of people are embracing bold colours or simply keeping it understated with green plants. And a few lazy people are going for plastic. Not cool.

I’ve recently moved to a new apartment near Limehouse station, and we’ve got  a balcony. Right now, the only thing sitting on it, is a bbq, which, weather permitting, will get used this Summer. I’m hoping to introduce some flower pots or window boxes to liven it up. I’d appreciate it if the neighbours did it too because when I see their balconies, it’s festooned in laundry or bikes. Cluttered balconies are another reality of London life.

But on to the pretty stuff.

Here are some photos of what’s happening to London’s windows.

Mmm, can’t decide which one I like the most. Can you?