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Multicultural London

By Nancy Carranza

London is one of the biggest multicultural cities in the world. People from all around the world come to visit and some even stay. Everyone brings a little of their culture with them, which is why London is such a diverse city. Food, language, culture, all differs, depending on the area you come from. Certain areas are known by the people that live in it. For example, Camden Town-North London is known as the ‘punk area’.

When you think about Camden Town you think, punk culture, tattoos, piercings, spikes, studs etc. It is a very lively community, the people are friendly and it has a very energetic and positive atmosphere. If you live in Camden then you’ll pretty much know everyone that lives in the area as it is a very close community. Camden attracts a big number of tourists, not only because it is the home place of the late Amy Winehouse but because of its food stalls, eccentric scenery and its lively atmosphere.

Spanish/Latin American culture seems to have become very popular amongst people in Camden as there are hundreds of Spanish tourists that visit every day. There is a Cuban restaurant/bar in the Stables Market and you can hear salsa playing from a couple stalls too! The Spanish culture has had a major influence in how Camden is perceived. So if you are ever around Camden and come across a Spanish person and don’t seem to quiet understand them, not to worry, Spanish translation services is always at hand!

Another place in London where culture has become a big influence is in Brixton-South London. Jamaican culture has become a big part of Brixton. The music, the food, the market stalls, the people, all contributes to how Brixton is nowadays. In every corner you’ll find a Caribbean restaurant or a Reggae music shop. When walking down the market you will always here Patois (Jamaican dialect) being talked by people.

Brixton can be described as loud, colourful and very busy.  It also has a very energetic atmosphere and hundreds of people reside in it. Brixton is such a popular place that every year ‘Brixton Splash’ is hosted, where people from all over London get together to celebrate Jamaica’s Independence Day. There is a lively carnival atmosphere, great music and beautiful food. Definitely not one to miss!

London has many, many places where people from different backgrounds have come to settle in, bringing their culture with them. Another popular place where culture has made a big difference is in Tooting-South London.  In South London, Tooting is known as ‘Little India’, although not only Indian people live there. The Asian culture has become very popular in Tooting. There are many shops around that specialise just in Saris, Asian foods with many spices (only try if you can handle spice!) and just Asian culture itself.

Tooting also has a very lively and busy atmosphere as it is surrounded with market stalls where people visit every day.

These are only a few places in London where culture has had a big influence in them. London is a huge city and has millions of people living it. So stay tuned and find out where else culture has had an impact, it may be your area!

It’s Not Just Another Cup of Coffee in Another Cafe!

by Azelea Bakrie

I have to admit – I am not new to England. I have lived here for a year when I was 10 (my parents brought the family along from Malaysia as they did their Masters). As fate would have it, I have just recently married a lovely English man whom I met at random when we were both travelling around South East Asia, and now I find myself somewhat returning to ‘Old Blighty’.

As any migrant would tell you about moving in and out of the UK, the visa is THE big issue. One of the things you have to do before coming here to work, or live, is the English Language Test. The other is the process of application and its waiting time. Trust me, I’ve been forced to sit quiet for over four months for this.

So, what this basically means is that I have lots of free time – and I’m not the very patient type. But I have been meaning to read a lot of books that I just never got round to, and now’s the time to do it!

Chit Chat Talk or Banter Session Anyone?

This also means that I’ve made it a habit to bring a book with me wherever I go, and stop by at every different coffee shop, patisserie or restaurant for a chance to sit down and read while enjoying a cup of coffee, and maybe something sweet to go along with it. While I am selfishly gaining more literary knowledge, caffeine, and weight, I also became more aware of how I am not the only foreigner around. It is through the coffee shops that I realise how diverse the society really is in London! At first, whatever that went on around me was perceived as blabber, noise and distraction, but now it seems that I can’t help but to ‘accidentally’ eavesdrop on conversations that are either nearby or just plain loud. The more I was exposed to this, the more I unconsciously develop an ability to somehow tell what language is being spoken, recognising and loving the different words, intonation or ways being used to describe the typical coffee, cake or muffin in either Italian, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Indian… and even the occasional other Malaysian. There was once I couldn’t help having coffee rushed out of my nose, when one lady from one end of the room shouted to her friend who was ordering at the counter at the other: “Kita duduk kat sini okay, ada mat salleh kacak kat meja sebelah” (We’re sitting here okay, there’s a good-looking guy at the table next-door)!

Of course, this has not made me want to be able to fluently speak all languages of the world, or becoming an ambitious, world-renowned international translator of a kind. But, I thought it would be nice to be able to carry a little conversation in every other language (and slowly does it) don’t you agree? Does anyone here want to share some commonly used phrases in different languages here? Come and share some with us!

Crude MONIN fizz

By Jon Searle

For people who like to travel and enjoy trying new things,  I think that this post may interest you.

It took me to get to my mid twenties before I realised that I was bored of the taste of beer and cider. In my teens I chose my drinks by how easy they were to carry and the price, because of the lack of funds that working in a garden centre brought me. I am now a 24 year old man, who is quite proud to say that warm beer picked off the shelf in Tescos 10 minutes before, just doesn’t cut it anymore.

I now tend to try and invent myself a cocktail or research and then adapt them. My two favourites at the moment are ‘Gin and Iced Tea’ and an ‘old fashioned’. The first is quite obvious and the second can be researched by yourself, it is a strong whisky drink.

The reason I am writing this post now however is the new discovery of ‘MONIN Syrups’. These are the kind of thing which you see behind the counter in a coffee shop or perhaps a bar. At 0% alcohol they offer only flavour and sweetness, but isn’t this all you need? Flavour is what I want, the alcohol itself can be found with Vodka and white Rum. The possibilities are endless with these flavour syrup’s, if you look on their website there are many different types, so you can buy for your own tastes.

The drink which spurred the passion for this is the ‘Crude MONIN fizz’ (I invented the name myself – can you tell)
Ingredients are: MONIN Lychee syrup, Sparkling water, vodka and throw some pomegranate seeds in there too. I won’t patronise you with a ‘how to’ with this, it should be blindingly obvious. Using sparkling water makes bubbles of carbon dioxide cling to the seeds, which makes them float! This looks very impressive and I got lots of comments on the weekend when I unveiled this drink. It also tastes amazing – I understand that everyone would say their own drink tasted amazing, but just try it. Although not necessary the Spanish grown fruit made all the difference to the presentation.

Teabag Enthusiasts beware NSFW

By Jon Searle

I have always been a lover of different drinks rather than the more common love of food. Now I know what your thinking, this does not just mean alcoholic drinks! I enjoy different types of hot drink like tea and coffee.

Over the past few years green tea seems to be becoming more common. If you just look in your local supermarket, you will see what I mean if your weren’t already aware. I started off with a popular orange and lotus flower flavour and have progressed; after reading a few reviews, onto Matcha green tea. This is stone ground green tea which can be seen in matial arts films being drunk by the monks and samurai’s. This is probably one of the main reasons which entices me to buy it in the first place. I got it from the unusual source – Ebay. It came in a sealed foil package with chinese writing on the front (Prehaps it would have been safer to use a translation agency to decipher it before I drank it??).

The idea is to add a spoonful of this green Matcha powder to hot water and whisk to create a foam. The result was surprisingly tastey.

I just felt that all you tea lovers out there were missing out. Most websites will tell you massive health benefits from this tea, but I don’t believe it. It just tastes good.

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