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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

How To Survive Nursing School

How To Survive Nursing School
Wednesday, 9 August 2017
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Second year is over and as relieved as I am, I'm not going to pretend I know everything about what nursing school is and has in store for anyone who plans on going through it - which is much less now the government have taken away our bursaries..But, I can impart some tips on how to survive, of which I will be using all of them in my final year..

One
Prepare yourself in all senses of the term. It's going to be tough, prepare mentally, know that you will find some things hard and this isn't an easy course to take, make sure everyone around you knows you may be running around pulling your hair out at some points of the year.. Prepare yourself in theory, get ahead of the game, read some books related to nursing before you start, get set with biology or calculations if you're particularly bad at them. These will stand you high up in class and on placement and will make your life easier in the long run.

Two
When you start your first term of your first year don't worry if you feel overwhelmed, it gets easier believe me. I remember thinking 'but how do we know what to do' in response to fixing a patient problem, but now it's all second nature and the more you learn the more it all fits together in the end - especially by year 2.. In the same way, don't be scared to ask questions if you don't understand or you do feel overwhelmed - everyone loves a student who actually asks questions and looks interested rather than one who glances at her phone every 5 minutes and nods along to all the nurse is saying.
Three
Since half of your time will be spent at university and half in placements, make sure you try to do all the work set for your theory, because in reality the stuff your learning in uni isn't useless information.. you can actually put the theory into practice throughout the year. Try not to get behind on work, this is sometimes inevitable and you will end up with so much to do at one time just because that's how your lecturers decided to do it, but don't stress, make a list of everything and prioritise.
Four
Ask why. This is extremely important when on placement and I do this a lot in order to get more detail and information from nurses, doctors and whoever I'm with to understand what's happening. They're have been multiple occasions when people say 'to put it simply' or 'you won't understand the details' to me, and I have then told them to tell me in whatever way they usually tell someone - most times it's a doctor and trying to 'put it simply' just infuriates me because nurses are intelligent and can understand complex things..

Five

Smile. Possibly one of the most basic skills in history. If you don't smile people will think you're a moody grump, so even if you are on you're third night shift in a row and feel like death, you can still force a smile out for patients, parents and staff who may also be having a bad day..

Six
Be organised, plan your years, your days and even your hours if you're on wards knowing what you need to get done each hour is incredibly helpful. Being organised is among the most important skills a nurse can have - I mean without a plan patients wouldn't get medication, they wouldn't even be discharged so yes very important.

Seven

Sleep and get enough rest, a tired nurse or student doesn't make anyone's lives easier and now since there are less nurses, students unfortunately need to be on the ball and take some responsibilities of a qualified nurse - which is not how it should be but that's what the reality is. Be prepared to lose some sleep though, switching from exams to assignments to 12 hour shifts and days to nights throughout three years means your sleeping pattern may be a little off for a while - just like a qualified nurse though.

Eight

Involve yourself in university life or any nursing related activities to make yourself stand out. If you're going for a job at a certain hospital and there's 5 applicants all with Nursing degrees, do you pick the ones with just the degree or the one who was a student representative, part of the nursing society and also volunteers. Obviously that person may be a complete shambles as a nurse and that's what the interview is for, but on paper you look more employable.. so get involved if you can.

Nine

Enjoy it. Because soon you'll be qualified and learning more and more until you're that matron you were once terrified of..

Thanks for reading! 

Em x

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Sunday, 25 June 2017

A Year in 35mm

A Year in 35mm
Sunday, 25 June 2017
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Over the past year myself and Tom have been on a lot of adventures and have taken a lot and I mean a lot of photos. More recently we have had the photos from his 35mm camera developed. If you don't know what a 35mm is and you're not a camera nut, basically its an old school photographic film camera that as you'll see here, takes some pretty cool photos. The photos span from London to Cheltenham to Brighton to Sussex and beyond, literally wherever we went throughout the past year. As its the first roll of film to be developed, they'll be plenty more of these coming over the next year as well.

So, here's a compilation of my favourite photos from this set, enjoy!...















Thanks for reading!
Check out my new Facebook page for updates and new blog posts and check out Tom's Instagram for more photography..

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Em x
Friday, 23 June 2017

My Summer Goals

My Summer Goals
Friday, 23 June 2017
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Welcome to Summer everyone, it's officially here for all of 3 days. The sun has finally started to come out in the UK, and in London we've been having temperatures up to 33°C - so as you can imagine like any self respecting British person does I have been complaining about the heat. OK, so luckily its cooling down a bit now and I guarantee by the time my last 4 weeks at uni are up we'll be back to rain and clouds. Enjoy the sun whilst you can and don't turn into a tomato (just to clarify, you are not too cool for suncream.. and yes, you do burn)
So this week as I continue to be jealous of those already on holidays I tend to think more about what I want to do this summer - which is mostly just doing nothing but I have some other ideas too. 

Number one on the top of my list is something I have procrastinated, hated and tried a couple of times to start again. That thing is driving. Lets face it, I am rubbish and I don't like it, but I've re-passed my theory test last week and booked lessons and my practical test for the summer so it looks like this is it now - fingers crossed ha. As it gets closer to graduation next year I started to realise I am definitely going to need a car if I'm going to get a job and I'm not staying in London. So, there was the decision to hit the nail on the head and just do it even if I don't like it and I will be bad - possibly the record to most times someone has stalled? Broom broom..

Number two is to earn and save as much money as possible - self explanatory really. I'm a poor student who lives in London and is about to pay for driving lessons, I need money. 

Number three of course is to blog more, by the end of July I will have much more time to sit and write and do other stuff, so even though its been a bit lacking the last couple of months there are exciting things to come and I have a lot planned for this!

Number four is to restart my couch to 5K app, its a great app if you ever want to get into running. For me personally on my bucket list is running a 5K (and then half marathon and marathon). The reason for doing this in summer is so I can focus on it and have time - whereas at uni there is virtually no time for this. We'll see how it goes..

Number five would have to be a compilation of all the other stuff I get up to during the summer. This usually includes but is not limited to: bonfires with friends, BBQs, nights out - both big and small, pub crawls, camping, more camping, hiking, sunbathing, holidaying and a lot of general relaxing before I begin dissertation, final placement and then finding a job...

Thanks for reading!
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Em x
Monday, 12 June 2017

Isle of Man: Travelling Chronicles

Isle of Man: Travelling Chronicles
Monday, 12 June 2017
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During May I was absent for 2 weeks because I had been away from London and in the Isle of Man. That's a small island in the middle of the Irish Sea if you didn't know - do not confuse with the Isle of Wight. I wasn't shipwrecked or banished don't worry, I actually chose to go there for an elective placement in the hospital. I also didn't spin a globe around and go to the first place my finger landed on - I was born here and have family so yes, a holiday disguised as a placement was the perfect plan. 

I elected to have my placement in the Neonatal Unit of the hospital, (these are newborn babies), and as you can imagine such a small island does not have many ill babies that are serious enough to be in hospital but are not serious enough to be transferred across to the amazing medical services in Liverpool. So, there was  total of zero babies my first week so I got to see lots of other pretty cool things including my first C-Section - which is insane by the way. Overall, a fab experience and I couldn't have wished for anything else.

Working in the hospital was great even if a little quiet, but as I was on holiday as well I decided to enjoy it while I could. Here's a compilation of what I got up to..



The Isle of Man has beaches everywhere, so obviously many trips to the beach including ice creams and a lot of wind (being in the middle of the Irish Sea wreaks havoc on your hair). From the North of the island to the South all the beaches are different - sandy, shelly, rocky, seaweed filled, some just plain dangerous with cliff edges and hard slate to comfort your fall.

I mean there are beaches in Britain but these are just better and there's one for each of your moods. I don't tend to go to the beach too often in the UK unless I'm on holiday, I'm more of a forest and trees kinda outdoor person, so the tons of beaches in the IOM felt like a good change. 





Something that myself and my parents always do when we visit the Isle of Man is take the electric mountain railway up to the top of the mountain. It doesn't sound too scary until you realise that the train is 100 years old and the track is on the side of some steep cliffs. There's something inside me that always thinks we are of course going to plummet to the ground - but come on, the train has been going up and down that mountain for a 100 years and so irrational thoughts are not necessary. You can also take horse trams up and down the Promenade in Douglas, however much to our disappoint the horses were taken ill by a virus so we had to scrap that plan until next year. Personally I love the horses because they're called human names like Andrew, Phillip and Charles - maybe they're royals who knows.



One of my favourite places in the entire world is on this island, and that is Glen Maye - there's a waterfall, forest, river, an abundance of rocks and pebbles and finally a gorgeous opening that leads to a secluded beach. We spent this years trip searching for whale vomit, bear with me - it's actually worth a ton of money apparently. Unfortunately we were not lucky enough to be rich, but we still have time ha. That's it for the IOM until next year when we return to go the TT - most dangerous motorbike racing the world, bring on June 2018.

Thanks for reading!

Em xx

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Saturday, 10 June 2017

Sunny Saturday in Kew Gardens

Sunny Saturday in Kew Gardens
Saturday, 10 June 2017
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Recently as my schedule has been Monday to Friday rather than the usual 12 hour shift I've had the weekends to relax and explore. Mainly relax but since the weather has finally come back to being sunny after multiple rainy days obviously going outside is the only option. This weekend was time to visit Kew Gardens, it's gorgeous don't get me wrong but because it's so expensive to get in you have to pick your day (and season) carefully. 

Kew Gardens is a botanical garden which has some of the most amazing and diverse collections of flowers, plants and trees (with the odd animal). It's got tons of greenhouses that are HOT in summer and I mean I started to walk up the stairs of the greenhouse and had to backtrack - heat rises and in a greenhouse its like being in an actual oven. I learnt my lesson and we walked up to the treetop walkway instead, apart from being unfit and stairs being dreadful it was worth it of course for views of trees and it's just trees - does what it says on the tin. As well as that there's lakes, ducks, geese, lizards.. and various other attractions. The one thing I would warn you about is if unless you want to pay £7 for a sandwich - definitely take your own cute picnic. Here's a look at some of the pictures from this super hot day in London:










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Em x
Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Where I Am and May's Music Picks

Where I Am and May's Music Picks
Wednesday, 31 May 2017
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As everyone finishes their year at uni and starts thinking about the long summer they've got ahead, I'm entering the hardest part of my year. Some would think that these 8 weeks of placement that are left are easy for us student nurses, but in reality they are the most difficult to get through. Purely because of the fact we look on as everyone enjoys the sun and has time to relax and do things they love. It's hard but if you want to be a nurse you've got to get on with that.

Anyway, my point is I wish I had more time for blogging right now, as this blog gets more and more sluggish with the passing months. Sometimes you cannot do it all, but in 8 weeks, I will be free for another year and can focus on doing it all.. So I suppose stay tuned, and don't panic I haven't dissolved into a ball of mush.

In other news, it's almost June (tomorrow technically) and that means my May playlist has been given the run around about 1000 times and it's time to move onto a new month. If you didn't know already I do a monthly music playlist at the end of each month - simple as that I know. Have a listen to this mini playlist with the link below and think about all the sunny weather we've yet to enjoy.



1. Skin - Rag'n'Bone Man
Another song from the Rag'n'Bone man, if you get time, look up and read the lyrics.


2. Money For Nothing - Dire Straits
An old one but a good one, who doesn't love Dire Straits singing about microwave ovens.


3. Back in Black - AC/DC
Maybe a strange addition to this playlist but as I spent 2 weeks in the Isle of Man, where they're preparing for the TT (motorbike racing), and AC/DC are the soundtrack to bikers everywhere haha.


4. Dreaming of You - The Coral
You've probably heard this song before, but it's funky and I like it, therefore goes straight into my playlist ha.


5. Talking to You - Izzy Bizu
6. White Tiger - Izzy Bizu
Izzy Bizu is in the charts at the moment with Talking to You but I remembered that she had another song as well. Both are helping me through placement and will get me to summer, somehow.


7. Upside Down - Jack Johnson
Again, probably one of the most summery songs, its just happy.


8. Could It Be Another Change - The Samples
If you've never heard of The Samples, definitely check them out if you like that kind of music.


9. Don't Look Back In Anger - Oasis
This song has become the one the public sang after the Manchester attacks, so I feel it was fitting to add it here. There's nothing I can write that would make anything better, but showing solidarity not just in the UK but in all the attacks over seas as well is key to show these disgusting people that we aren't scared and they will not terrorise us. Be safe out there. 

Happy singing!
Em x
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Monday, 1 May 2017

Her Name Was April - Monthly Music Picks

Her Name Was April - Monthly Music Picks
Monday, 1 May 2017
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Ding dong. It's me. Hi. So a month has past since my last post. I have completed (mostly) all my exams and assignments for 2nd year, just one more essay left!
I mean don't get me wrong I still have 12 weeks of university and placements left, but for the most part I am done with second year haha. So back to regular blogging (we hope) - if you fancy reading about why student nurses make the worst bloggers read my day in the life of a student nurse.


As it's the 1st of May and continuing my monthly music picks, here my April listens and if you understand the reference in my playlist name - you are brilliant. (If not, you're still cool don't worry). This month was busy as hell, and we all know music is the only way to get through hell..


1. Pleaser - Wallows 
If you have Netflix, and you've not been living under a rock for a month then you'll know that 13 Reasons Why is a thing. That guy Clay Jensen? Yeah, the actor who plays him has a band. I know right, who knew ha? But this is a pretty good song (surprisingly)

2. Lust for Life - Lana Del Rey and The Weeknd 
 As a scroll through the charts, just to see if theres anything worth listening to more than once, I came across Lana Del Rey's new song. And I've never really been a fan to be honest, a few of my friends were obsessed with her in school and I couldn't stand her. I guess I've either gotten over my annoyance of her or this is a good song (you decide..)


Right, so the next 4 songs are on my playlist because my favourite musical went on it's 20th anniversary tour this year - RENT. And oh wow it was incredible. Even though I could have added the entire soundtrack I've picked my favourites (hard choices), which also seem to be the most dramatic ones haha. 

3. Seasons of Love - RENT 
4. I'll Cover You - RENT 
5. La Vie Boheme - RENT 
6. Take Me or Leave Me - RENT 

As I mentioned earlier, 13 Reasons Why came out on Netflix this month. It's intense but so so amazing, as with every other series I watched it all in a couple days - binge watching is key to the survival of students. And yes, Selena Gomez was producer of this, who would have guessed! Her version of Only You is creeeepy though.

7. Only You - Selena Gomez 
8. Into The Black - Chromatic 
9. Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division 
10. The Stand - The Alarm

A short playlist this month because of the intense month that I just had, but don't fear, highly exciting adventures to come in May. Follow me on Spotify with the link at the top if you like!
Happy singing!

Em x

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Friday, 31 March 2017

March Monthly Music Picks

March Monthly Music Picks
Friday, 31 March 2017
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Welcome back to my monthly music picks for March. Ed Sheeran released his album this month and I could have added every single song to this playlist.. so I'm impressed I manage to restrain myself. In the same way I could have added ALL the Beauty and the Beast songs because I'm more obsessed than I was when I was little. So I've only included my favourites off both of those albums. Enjoy!



1. Rhythm Inside - Calum Scott
Acoustically perfect for a chill evening or morning, or anytime.
2. Move - Saint Motel
You gotta listen to the whole album, it just makes me happy

3. On + Off - Maggie Rogers
Tom's been listening to this song for weeks.. so it's been included.

4. 19-2000 - Soulchild Remix - Gorillaz
Bringing back this classic once again.

5. It Ain't Me - Kygo and Selena Gomez
Very pop, and Selena Gomez reminds me of Wizards of Waverley Place.

6. The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song - The Flaming Lips
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

7. Sunday Morning - Maroon 5
I'm thinking of calling an SOS on this one because I've become reobsessed with this song.

Like I said earlier, I've added my 3 favourite songs from Beauty and the Beast(the new one), Gaston however is my absolute favourite one and Josh Gad just makes this. 
8. Gaston - Beauty and the Beast
9. Belle - Beauty and the Beast
10. Be Our Guest - Beauty and the Beast

Here we have my favourite 4 songs from Ed Sheeran, there's a bit of an Irish vibe going on here but we're gonna go with it. If you haven't listened to his album on repeat all month then who even are you - it's amazing, as usual it is Ed Sheeran so what do you expect.
11. Galway Girl - Ed Sheeran
12. What Do I Know? - Ed Sheeran
13. Bibia Be Ye Ye - Ed Sheeran
14. Nancy Mulligan - Ed Sheeran


I've added the playlist in Spotify at the top of this page if you'd like to check it out or follow me. Let me know in the comments of any other songs I should be listening to.
Happy singing!

Em x

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Friday, 24 March 2017

A Day In The Life Of A Student Nurse

A Day In The Life Of A Student Nurse
Friday, 24 March 2017
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As some of you may or may not know I am a student children's nurse. Lot's of people are not sure what goes into this course. Firstly, it's a degree and professional qualification. Student nurses balance theory and practical work, working 12 hour shifts and doing essays at the same time - it's difficult but worth it in the end. I thought I would give you a run down of a typical shift during the day - we work nights and weekends too, to give you an insight into our crazy lives... Enjoy!

5.30 am
It's still dark outside. The rest of your nursing housemates aren't on shift today so it's deadly quiet. Your alarm goes off and after not much sleep from your 12 hour shift yesterday you hesitantly get out of bed to start another long day. All the while dreaming of when you can get back into your cosy warm bed. That'll be in about 16 hours you think to yourself.
Dragging yourself to put on minimal makeup and roughly tie your hair up, you make sure you've got everything you need. Usually including uniform, lunch, sign off documents and most importantly pens! You scoff as much food at your body will allow at 6.00am and head out the door onto 2 buses (because it's the cheapest route), and travel an hour and 15 minutes to the hospital you've been allocated.

7.30 am
Arriving on the ward is strange. Most the patients are still asleep, sometimes there's a faint cry of a baby. The lights are off and you see the tired looking night staff wandering around. Handover from the night nurses starts at 7.30am, where you get a run down of all the patients on the ward and what needs doing today. You are allocated some patients with your mentor and as a second year are given 2-3 of your own to care for. For the next 12 hours you'll be their main port of communication with other doctors and nurses, as well as the reassuring and friendly voice that helps them when they need it most.

11.00 am
After a busy morning, of organising when medications, and observations and various other things need to be done you take a 15 minute break. Being a student is lucky because you can take breaks because you are supernumerary (extra to actual staff) whereas another staff nurse might have to eat on the go or not at all because she's got too much to do. After your break, you get back to writing the morning notes on each of your patients, making sure everything is written legibly and worrying that you may have forgot to mention something. Each time you go to write a sentence, a phone call, a worried parent or an emergency arises and you must see to it. 

15.00 pm
The afternoon has been extremely busy, your mentor has given you many things to do, including liaising with dietitians and speech therapists on the phone, even taking over some of their patients needs whilst they go on break, all the while keeping on top of the growing list of patient's needs and trying to learn as much as you can from everyone. But in the end once your jobs are done for now, you are allowed to go on your lunch for an hour. It feels odd, you can't stop thinking about what needs to be done after you return. What if something happens whilst I'm here and I'm out of the loop, you think. Then remembering you're only a student and the staff nurses are more than capable you can relax slightly.

18.00 pm
By 6pm, some of my patients have deteriorated, and some have improved. More calls to the doctors to urgently come and assess them. Patient's returning from operations need extra attention. Observations every 15 minutes means you barely have time to do anything else. Rushing around fetching water, clean linen, food and snacks, and tending to basic needs. Taking phone calls, when you mention you are a student nurse, they say they will only talk to a qualified or 'actual' nurse. Trying to find that 'actual' nurse is harder than it seems and you feel bad about interrupting them. You hope your mentor, who's been watching you all day and questioning you about theory you learnt months ago, doesn't hate you and will hopefully sign of your documents at the end of the day. You worry you are being 'annoying' asking questions and not knowing where or what a certain thing is. Before you know it, it's time to write the evening notes about how your patients were, which ones went home or got worse, what needs doing and what you got done. Before thinking about going home you hunt down your mentor to co-sign everything you've written and documented throughout the day, and finally they sign off your hours for today - 11.5 in total.

20.00 pm
Finally leaving the ward for the day, you think about everything that happened today. The good and the bad, and how you felt about certain things that had happened. How you were pushed to your limits but you know it's for a good reason. Sometimes leaving the ward you feel extremely happy because a certain nurse said you'd done a good job today and they thanked you. All you can think is, you did your best, your exhausted and your feet feel like falling off, and it was all worth it. Trying not to think about the 2 essays you need to complete you make your long journey home again, all to do it all again in 7 hours.

Hope you enjoyed that recount of what a day on shift is like for me, being a student nurse is difficult and stressful, but we still do it because in the end we want to care for people (specifically children in my case) when they are in such dire need of it, and no matter how tired and stressed nurses are, they will always look after you. #savetheNHS

Thanks for reading!
Em x 
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Wednesday, 15 March 2017

London's Unusual Coffee Fixes

London's Unusual Coffee Fixes
Wednesday, 15 March 2017
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If you're like me, coffee is your saviour, you cannot function without it and often get slightly too excited by Christmas themed drinks... For me, iced coffee is my favourite. Winter or summer I will be drinking it, and after seeing some pictures of these weird looking and interesting coffee shops online, I decided to hunt down the most unusual and blog post worthy ones in London. Here's my round up:

Number 1 - The Attendant, Fitzrovia

Officially the weirdest place I've drank a coffee. It's based in an old Victorian toilet, no joke they have actually transformed this underground loo, urinals and all. It's quite a small space as you can imagine but works, each little table is surrounded by a urinal (haha), it was a little weird to think someone once peed where you are sitting but I got over it pretty quick, maybe too quickly. I got an iced mocha (shock), it was yum of course. It's quite an experience and it's a cute little cafe with nice brunchy foods, so definitely give it a go if you're in the area and want to drink coffee in a male toilet without looking crazy.


Number 2 - The Waterside Cafe

Now, my next coffee shop is located in Little Venice - an area of London near Paddington and Maida Vale with a bunch of canal boats. The Cafe is in one these boats and has a cute atmosphere about it. Around Little Venice there's also a Puppet Theatre Barge, which wasn't open when we visited but I think it's a good idea for kids, then there's a few picturesque bridges and just generally nice scenic boats. Walking round it's not like being in London, it feels like you've stepped into the countryside for a few hours. I'd recommend visiting here, if not for the unusual cafe boat but it's  nice area to explore and have a walk around.


Number 3 - Tide Tables Cafe, Richmond
This one is a relatively recent find in a converted arch underneath Richmond bridge this cute vegetarian/vegan cafe lies. The inside is rather small, but the true highlight of this cafe is sitting outside in the open with your feet hanging over the wall watching the many boats that come through. Just a little down the way is a boat stop for rides to Hampton Court Palace - a must in the summer. A beautiful spring day is perfect for coming here, as it's not too busy but warm enough to enjoy a hot drink watching the river go past - pure bliss.



Number 4 - Ziferblat, Old Street
The concept for this coffee shop is simple, everything is free except for the time you spend. So, by paying 5p for every minute you are there, you can get free coffee, snacks, cereal, anything you like really. It's like a big living room, full of books and games, sofas and armchairs and even records to play. There's only one in London, but this is a chain with loads across Europe - really creating a big community of people, working, playing relaxing, literally doing anything and everything, people even have meetings here. A must visit if you're on the lookout for coffee shops to do your work in.


If you get a chance, then have a visit to any one of these places, and even find your own because London has the weirdest and best coffee shops ever. Have some adventures at the same time, these cafes are based in some pretty interesting areas.

Happy exploring!

Em x  Follow my blog! Follow
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