October and November Update – Nice, Monaco, Marrakech, Primrose Hill, St John’s Wood…

It has been a long while since my last post (about my six month anniversary with London).  I’m now closely approaching nine months and can’t believe that it has only been this year when I decided to do a massive change in my life and move to the UK.

For various reasons, I chose October and November to be my travel months so that I have some time to settle both in my work and personal life.  In October, I went to Nice and Monaco as well as had a trip to Venice but ended up cancelling due to sickness and November travels involved Marrakech in Morocco as well as a London move!

Nice and Monaco (October)

This was a mixture of travel and ‘work’ with some time spent in Monaco to attend the luxury and creative packaging show, LuxePack Monaco.  Previously I was excited to see their digital programme but the designer in me was more in awe over the numerous creative packaging options the luxury industry has.  It was an amazing peek into a particular area that is no longer in my work sphere and have extended my appreciation over the more ‘tactile’ areas of my professional interests…

Personally, Monaco was quiet an interesting and quiet area to be in.  I decided to try a heli flight when it was time to go back to Nice – mainly because of the amount of samples and materials that I had from the tradeshow but also because it was a good day to have a heliflight and see over Monaco from a unique angle.

Nice was also a very interesting city and it was also my first time in France.  It is a very lovely location to be in and I spent a day just going through the vintage shops of Nice.  I could easily spend more than a week here.

Nice Nice Luxepack Monaco Luxepack Monaco On the way to Nice... Transport from Monaco to Nice Nice Luxepack Monaco On the way back to London from Nice Monaco - view from the helicopter On the way to Luxepack Moanco

Marrakech (and a bit of Essaouira) (November)

Marrakech is a difficult city to travel and being a solo, female traveler in her early 20’s it was a particular challenge for a variety reason.  However, I found Marrakech to be a unique and interesting city but it is definitely not a ‘beginner’s traveler’ destination!  You really need to have your A-game on at the souks and to be honest, have actually found myself being addicted to the souks in the medina – partly because of the shopping, but mainly because of the haggling and bargaining game between myself and the traders.

After arriving in the airport, I met my driver who was organised by the riad to transport me from the airport to my accomodation based in the medina.  Sitting in the back seat while the driver navigated the medina, I was set with mixed feelings of both anxiety and anticipation as to what the next 9 days will bring.  It was noisy and bustling then the driver stopped and motioned that we have reached my accomodation.  Inside the cool interiors of the riad was a Scottish and Morrocan couple who offered mint tea and Morrocan sweets, a run through of how to get to Place Jamaa el-Fna scrawled behind the map of the medina, their contact details as well as some tips and advice to get me started.  I dropped off my luggage inside the room and made my way for the first time in the medina.

It took  me at least a few days until I got accustomed to Marrakech – from the beautiful early morning call to prayer and the amazing craftwork deeply embedded within their culture right through to dealing with the various times I was approached/accosted in some respects by various people each day (within 30 minutes of heading out, I would lost count).  My experience in Marrakech deserves its own blog entry which will come shortly.

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The move from Primrose Hill to St John’s Wood

However, as soon as I arrived back it was time to move flats.  I had my moving date set on November 28th however my flatmate booked the end of tenancy cleaning on the 27th, so l had 17 hours to unpack from my Marrakech trip, repack for the move, find storage space, transport my items and find somewhere to stay for four nights.  The practicalities of it was dealt with as I had most of what I need arranged confirmed before I left, except for having to reschedule the dates, but the most difficult part was dealing with losing a flatmate and a neighbourhood that I have only just started getting to know.

I have spent nearly six months, or most of my stay here in London, over at Primrose Hill and had the luck of not only living in such a beautiful area but to also walk to and from work – through Primrose Hill and then through Regent’s Park.  I have also met an interesting group of people who are currently developing an app, inPrimroseHill.  Living here also played a major role in settling back in London – I may have  mentioned in previously, but I had one of the worst experiences that one could have which involved criminal and fraudulent property owners.   My flatmate was also there in this ‘re-settling’ stage and, I’m not even sure if he reads this blog, just happened to be the poor sod who always has an open ear to pretty much mostly everything that I had to voice out!

Anyway, I will miss Primrose Hill and most importantly, the spring/summer spent in this area!

Primrose Hill Primrose Hill

Alas, I won’t be living too far away from this area as my new neighbourhood (and hopefully my last ever move until my Tier 2 visa expires in 2014…) is St John’s Wood.  I have only been living in this area for less than a week now, it is most definitely different to Primrose Hill but with neighbouring Maida Vale, Regent’s Park and Little Venice I’ll be content for the long haul.