Essential reading

Here is a very good book on historical curiosities about London.

I never knew

I got it a couple of days ago, but I will soon post some anecdotes from it as I almost finished reading it!

Can’t wait for Christmas!

Usually I am not particularly fond of Christmas, but this time, after discovering Fortnum and Mason’s shop windows I am totally looking forward to it!

The shop, established in the 18th century, is amazing, and the magic of its displays just makes you feel like a child in wonderland!

Here are some pictures I took:

Besides, its history is quite representative of the British one, including its monarchy, empire and expeditions. As you can read on its web site, it used to have important links with the East India Company, thus importing excellent quality tea, it was quoted by Charles Dickens in his works and it was chosen to provide quality goods, such as canned fois gras and champagne, to the 1922 expedition on Mt Everest… classy!

The piece of news you need after paying your tuition fees

Article from LSE news:

As far as I am concerned I prefer not to go into much detail about how this is calculated!

LSE is best of the social science specialists finds world university comparison

LSE is ranked as the world’s top specialist social science university in the World University Rankings 2009, published today. 

The rankings, compiled by educational analysts QS and Times Higher Education, compare and assess 621 universities around the world. They examine data in six categories – research excellence, teaching excellence, the proportion of international faculty, the proportion of international students, academic peer review and a survey of employers. 

The league table of specialist universities is a new category, introduced in part because of concerns that the main table does not fully reflect the excellence of specialised institutions like LSE. 

In the main table, LSE is ranked equal 67th , a position similar to 2008 and 2007, but one which the School has vigorously argued is unrealistically low because of incomplete methodology used to draw up the rankings. 

In contrast, the most recent Research Assessment Exercise found LSE  had the highest percentage of world-leading research of any UK institution. 

Harvard was rated the world’s best university in the QS/THE  ranking and also topped the table of those judged best for social sciences, with LSE in fifth position. 

More information, data and context about LSE’s performance in university league tables is available at http://www2.lse.ac.uk/ERD/LSEinUniversityLeagueTables.aspx |

8 October 2009

My new toy

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A lovely present I received to make my stay in London sweet and warm :)

Check out sales at Whittard of Chelsea!

Drop the weapons campaign

his_gun_portrait

This poster catches you by surprise while you are waiting at the bus stop and it suddenly rolls up the billboard. It is part of a massive campaign launched by the Metropolitan Police on 30th September.

The campaign answers a worrying rise in the number of young girls, especially of african and afro-caribbean origin, convicted of hiding or carrying weapons on behalf of their boyfriends, friends and relatives, and targets six priority London boroughs: Brent, Hackney, Haringey, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark.

A larger campaign aiming at reducing the number of weapons circulating in London is being carried out. A very interesting interactive video on knife crime and its consequences allowing users to make life-changing choices  can be found on the website.

For French speakers

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A friend lent me this pretty cute book to discover London in an unusual way.  Sounds fun!

Pub crawling in the Borough area

Being in a students hall has a great number of advantages: you pay cheaper rents, you test your adaptability both to physical constraints (here I should upload a picture of my shower room) and cohabitation, you develop your investigative skills (still trying to find out who “took” my cutlery) and in cases like mine, when heating is limited to 18°C, you even get to burn a higher amount of calories per day.

But above all, you get to meet both people from all over the world who are as eager as you to visit and discover the city, and locals who can actually take you to the places they like and introduce you to the culture of your host country.

One of the nicest aspects of my hall of residence is the vivacity of its social life. Last night’s event was a lovely a pub crawl/guided tour of the area that I advise you to take if you live in Southwark.

  1. Visit the spot where Romans used to party (top of Tabard St.)! Discovered a few years ago, this is the place where the most ancient inscription of London’s Roman name was found.  The slab refers to  the trade in Champagne that used to take place with the French city of Reims. Besides, a gladiatrix grave has been found in this area. The archeological findings are now in the London Museum and new buildings have covered the area, but still, it is quite cool to start a pub crawl in a place where people have been partying for more than 2000 years!

  2. See London’s Oldest Inn: the debate over the oldest pub in town is still raging, but the George Inn is worth a visit for its quite singular atmosphere.

  3. Find Bridget’s Jones house and the restaurant where Hugh Grant and Colin Firth fought for her, just next to Borough market (which is instead worth a detailed visit at day time).

  4. Head to the Anchor Pub for a beer by the Thames (as long as the weather is nice). You can also try the typical fish and chips here, but I haven’t so far (to be continued).

  5. Have a look at Shakespear’s Globe Theater, extremely charming by night, as it has been built to be as similar to the original one as possible.

  6. End the night sipping a beer by the Thames at the Old Thameside Inn. Not only you will keep having a nice view on the river, but you will be in front of the exact handcrafted replica of the Golden Hind, the galleon used by Sir Francis Drake to circumnavigate the globe. This boat has equally sailed the world and has featured in a number of movies.

Extremely reliable sources (a.k.a. my Irish flat-mate) maintain that a real pub crawl must include at least 5 pub stops, 12 at Christmas time, but I tend to prefer this mix of nice, interesting spots and beer.

If this wasn’t enough for your first pub crawl design your own @

http://www.pubvite.com/pubcrawlplanner/ and share it!