Just outside the door of my flat is the Clerkenwell & Social, an adorable cocktail bar with picnic tables and string lights outside. I haven't had one yet, but they also specialize in gourmet thin crust pizzas. No matter what night it is, this place is always poppin'. It is such a fun social environment to have so close by. Abby and I tried it for the first time last week and made a resolution to make it our regular place. They have the coolest neon sign inside that says "Be yourself, Everyone else is already taken." Good vibes all around.
A couple of other local faves are Marby & Elm, a modern stationery and letterpress shop that is right up my alley as a lover of all things paper and personalized; Workshop Coffee, a craft coffeehouse with unbelievable breakfast food and coffee from the heavens; and Pho (a local Vietnamese chain we went to where Abby and Hannah dared me to eat a chili pepper and I succumbed to the peer pressure... my tongue still burns when I think about it). There are many more local places that I can't wait to try. Still attempting to push myself out of my Starbucks habit to experience more authentic London places.
As for the flat itself, I am in a building exclusively for University students that is a short walk from classes. I am living in a flat with two close friends from Wake, Abby and Hannah, along with two randomly placed guys, Vob from New Jersey and Lorenzo from Rome. (A week ago I would've said they were great, but they're currently on my list for leaving the stove on two nights in a row.) My room itself is getting homier by the day. As a major sucker for decorations, I have been keeping my bulletin board fresh with mementos, postcards and some cute cards I found at a local pop-up shop for up and coming stationery designers.
One of the first things I did to add a touch of home was order some prints with pictures of family and friends (and my dogs). They took a while to arrive, but they finally came this week and I hung them up with my twinkle lights. The design may be slightly crooked but I like to think it adds a touch of character. I was also way too lazy to take them all down and start from scratch. Ain't nobody got time for that.
One of my favorite parts about my room is my little mini cactus. Everyone has judged me for it but I literally don't care because it is like my pet. Even when I am away at school in North Carolina, I always struggle with missing my dogs and for whatever reason, this little friend has helped to fill that void a little here in England. He is like a pet that you don't need to walk, feed or give water. Downside is he is not nearly as good at cuddling as Darcy and Coco.
With the first week of classes finished, I also had to complete my favorite back-to-school task of personalizing my notebooks! Thank God for Sharpies and stickers.