It’s summer in the city and a good opportunity to get out and discover more of our local neighbourhood. We were understandably excited to be invited to an east London spa experience, specifically, to the lovely Spa Experience Bethnal Green.
Our booking fell during the middle of the week, and at exactly the right time – the weather had been hot, work stressful and we were definitely in need of a little ‘me’ (or rather, ‘us’) time.
Cooper and I met at Bethnal Green tube station and wandered a few minutes up the road to the York Hall Leisure Centre which is a huge health, fitness and wellness oasis set admits the bustle of the big city.
You’d never expect for there to be a tranquil spa and baths in here, but happily, there is!
This east London spa experience offers members and guests not only a host of treatments for men and women, but extraordinary thermal bath therapies too, including Hammam, sauna, plunge pool, monsoon showers, ice fountain, hot rooms (Turkish baths) and hydrotherapy pool.
The substantial space means there’s something for all needs (relaxation, pain, detoxification, blood flow and respiration) – you’ll even find a chill-out space with fresh fruit and day beds.
Two of our very favourite skincare brands are put to good use at Spa Experience Bethnal Green – Elemis and Murad.
You can select from a wide range of repair and rejuvenation treatments here, and we had the chance to each try out one of the facials on offer.
Cooper recommends the Elemis high performance skin energiser facial, which makes use of the Elemis lime blossom range that works to balance and repair the skin.
This particular facial is ideal for men. The ingredients used maximise cell regeneration and boost circulation. You even get a scalp massage for deep relaxation [insert smiley face here].
I have sensitive skin so am often a bit apprehensive regarding trying new products. I have used and trust Elemis though, and chose to go for the skin sensitive soother which is perfect for changeable weather conditions (hello, London!), helps to reduce redness, restore texture and moisture levels.
I also enjoyed (fell asleep during) the relaxing scalp massage [insert another smiley face here].
Our expert therapists were Kemelia and Tara, and they shared with us that the secret to beautiful skin is to commit to a series of sessions that will tackle conditions that trouble you, like dry or red skin, acne and other issues brought on my exposure to extreme environments and stress.
This east London spa experience reminded us both of the importance of taking good care of the body, mind and spirit.
As busy working professionals we – like you, I’m sure – are put under a lot of pressure every day. Sometimes you don’t even realise how the body and skin is impacted.
If you’re over our way in east London, take time out to escape to Spa Experience Bethnal Green and talk to the team about the benefits they can add to your lifestyle.
We love our east London hub in Dalston – there’s so much great music, theatre, coffee, art and now… antiques.
I’ve disocvered this amazing and eclectic Dalston cafe and antiques store called Aris – you simply must step inside to experience it, now open in east London (diagonally opposite Dalston Junction train (overground) station).
Most budding young entrepreneurs will agree, Google is an aspirational brand. Similarly, ‘tech’ is an intriguing industry for anyone who has grown up into the contemporary business landscape.
This all being the case, most with a creative longing would jump at the chance, as I did, to hang out at a Google branded learning and working site; did you know, this exciting opportunity exists for anyone living in or visiting London?
It’s not so much the ‘technical’ aspect of ‘tech’ that’s alluring (well, for some it is), but the prosperous growth we’ve witnessed out of regions like Silicon Valley in California.
Potentially, anyone can possess the next cool idea, and create an innovative, internationally successful brand. There’s opportunity for programmers, bloggers, PRs, writers, developers; a whole array of start-ups, billion dollar pitches and those with big dreams. Tech stars are the new rock stars.
As one who is inspired by such notions, I tune into BBC’s Click each week to learn about what’s up-and-coming in cyberspace and the world of technology.
During 2012 from a sofa situated in a far off land ‘Down Under’, I learned of an area dubbed ‘Tech City‘ in east London. Evidently, this thriving centre attracts business start-ups and entrepreneurs from all over the world, and is the UK’s very own version of California’s famous 94027 (or thereabouts) postcode.
The story, as I discovered, got even more exciting, because located within Tech City is Google Campus − for me, a ‘must visit’.
I’m not a computer nerd; merely, a nerd. I can’t program or design. I struggle to maintain the plugins on my WordPress site! However, I love the whole ‘Google’ concept: dynamic, intelligent, creative individuals working together to produce new, cool ‘stuff’. In London, Google offers this space as a way of ‘giving back’ and hopefully assisting other young dynamos to grow into the next influential name.
The facility has been designed primarily as ‘shared office space’ − a concept gaining momentum in our contemporary digital age where more individuals (like me) are taking advantage of modern technology and working for themselves. While there are huge benefits in producing business revenue on your own, it can often be a little lonely and uninspiring. By renting a spot in an environment with like-minded business owners and entrepreneurs, it’s possible to share ideas, energy and collaborate towards a greater good.
I had always planned to drop by and check out Google Campus’ business spaces, but upon browsing the website to confirm New Year opening hours, I discovered a course being held today that was media-focussed and open to the public. Fate! I booked in, and this morning excitedly packed my lunch, port and computer, jumped on a train and off I went.
It was like heading back to school again, except this time I wanted to go!
You don’t have to rent a desk or book a course to get inside this funky London facility though. Any start-ups/entrepreneurial types can sign up for free access to the central hub − a large cafe and shared workspace that generously offers fast free WiFi (and serves great coffee)! Google Campus’ cafe come collaborative workplace was humming all day during my visit, with a preppy 20 to 40 year-old-set networking, sharing ideas and tapping away on laptops. My kind of scene.
Google-esque features include open-plan spaces, funky bookshelves brimming with reads from various academic streams, brightly coloured decor, pool table and pin ball machine, shared work / bench spaces, and community noticeboards.
Now I have my own campus access card, a little extra knowledge (thanks to Tricia from Coffee Shop Communications) and tonnes of inspiration to work on ever more of my own business ideas during 2013.
Whether you’re living in London or just visiting, check the website for networking get-togethers, and courses on offer − you never know what may take your fancy. Additionally, I can vouch for the calibre of information taught over here − it’s definitely world-class and there’s no doubt you’ll take something away from every little experience you invest time and/or money into.
Otherwise, if you’re so inclined, register for free at (CampusLondon.com) and drop by for your own piece of start-up motivation. Thanks Google Campus London for offering such an innovative space for the likes of me to experience, if only for a day.
Are you a geek like me? Have you been to Google Campus? Would you like to go?
As I walk back towards home from Haggerston station after seeing my love (that would be Cooper) off to work, it occurs to me that I probably have very little time left in what has become my new home. Saddened by this sudden realisation, I stop mid stride to take a look around, attempting to record it in my brain. It’s quiet here this morning, all except for a soft breeze and the sound of the 7am trains pulling in overhead. A black and white cat appears by me in front of the Duke of Wellington pub where I’ve paused. She stops to peer up at me as if to assess whether I’m friend or foe; we eye each other for a moment before she nods nonchalantly and proceeds with her morning’s exploration. Going home won’t be all that bad, after all, I get to see my dog again. We sorely underestimated how much we’d miss Harry, ‘our child of nine years’. I’m not a ‘cat person’, but here I’ve even begun to develop a soft spot for these slinky little animals – they’re furry and occasionally friendly – anything to remotely fill the ‘Harry void’. We’d fly him across from Australia, but he’s been in a good home for the past eleven months and we simply couldn’t put him through a long-haul flight and possible quarantine, especially now that he’s in the later stages of his life. So, we’re back to going home. I shouldn’t be sad, we (hopefully) have travelling time ahead of us yet, but I am teary at the thought of leaving this place, my new home where I’ve happily and peacefully settled.
Snapping out of my thoughts as I notice a park-dweller glaring suspiciously at me, I continue on my way. Crossing Queensbridge Road onto Middleton Road, I take special note of the buildings, developed, I read, by Sir William Middleton (a relative of the new Duchess of Cambridge, aka Kate, I’m assuming) at the beginning of the 19th Century. I enjoy walking in this area past these beautiful Georgian period homes that lead into lovely London Fields. Although I know there have been issues with gangs at times in the past, in my experience here I’ve just seen people having fun, BBQs in the sun, dogs playing, Broadway Market action and a generally great vibe and energy that’s made us both happy. Usually we rush about, but in this area we tend to stroll and take in the environment, patting dogs, making friends in the bars and admiring the old architecture of surrounding homes.
No point in being miserable about leaving though, because life goes on, and as far as ‘problems’ go, this isn’t a critical one by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just a sentimental girl (especially when I read my posts from this time last year, as I prepared to journey over here to the ‘Mother Land’ /unknown territory); but I realise I’m lucky to have had the experience in the first place. It’s not been perfect or entirely as I would have imagined, but we’ve settled, lived and conquered London – something I never envisaged as being possible.
Just as I open the gate to our building I see a tiny ray of sunshine finally poking through the clouds following weeks of wind and rain. Hopefully we’ll have some nice days between now and when we leave. With that in mind I’ve resolved to spend some of my spare days recording what it’s like on any given day at the precincts that make this city tick – at tube / train stops around London – stops that act as vital arteries to this city’s existence. Landmarks that see thousands of commuters pass each day, for work, travel and leisure. I want to record what it’s like to sit and watch the Thames in 2011, or what the townsfolk are doing within historical Covent Garden or down by St. Paul’s. I’ll stop at train stations to capture their activity and reflect on what might have been going on there in the past. Each stop in London offers new and exciting parks, pubs, restaurants, cafes and hidden old gems, and being that I’m a tad obsessed by The Tudors at the moment, this seems like a fitting and worthwhile pastime, and conclusion to life as we know it in the UK. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll have the opportunity to come back and compare my musings at some crazy future date like 2031 (if the world doesn’t actually end next year, that is). Or perhaps, as others have come to England and followed in the path of Wordsworth, Shakespeare and Austen, maybe some soul who is a youngster this year, will follow in my steps and add their findings to this entry in the future. Who knows how it will have changed. I do hope the old homes are here though, and I would certainly assume that the Duke of Wellington pub (the same place we saw the historical Royal Wedding of April 29 take place) would still be standing… the pubs always are!
Welcome to Travel Live learn, where we are passionate about living a life full of great adventures. We are Sarah + Cooper: we know life's short, and we're here to encourage you to make the most of it! We have worked in media, communication and creative roles for many years, and have spent over 10 years living and working abroad. Our hottest content topics here are pet friendly travel, house + pet sitting, and designing a life as expats or digital nomads wherever in the world you want to be. Join our community of over 11,000 like-minded adventurers - find out more by signing up for the mailing list and our Facebook Group. Find us on YouTube too. NEW podcast now live: search 'Freedom and Four Paws' on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google podcasts or your fave podcast service provider.