Never too late for Christmas shopping

Each year it is the same rush, race, organized chaos for Christmas shoppers and sales assistants/shop owners.

For Londoners, the choice is vast.

Christmas shopping London

Christmas shopping London

There is also the alternative: the mighty internet… However, this is not the same experience.

There is a certain beauty to go out and to enter a carefully decorated store – whatever the size – to feel that unique atmosphere of Christmas.

For some reasons, people want to buy expensive and big presents. Sometimes it is a real headache for sellers and buyers. It is about guiding, giving support and directing customers towards the right gift. In other words, there is no room for error! No one wants to have their Christmas ruined.

Have people lost the actual sense of Christmas?

It can be worrying/surprising to see decorations for 25th December in some shops from late August.

Technology is taking over nearly everything. From toys for toddlers to gadgets for adults. There must be WiFi, USB and other mandatory connections. Some are after the latest tablet or perhaps the newcomer that are wearables!

So, now time is running out. Just a few days to go and some are literally running after work to some shops looking for THE present(s). Late night opening and Sunday extra hours seem not enough to reach the “golden ticket” which will make that December day special.

Stepping back from the mayhem, all can look slightly over the top. We do have 11 months to plan that day. But… the last minute thing is currently part of our “busy” lifestyle. How can we be so busy? Technology is supposed to help us to have a better and easier life?!

We certainly are spending too much time on social media sharing this and that with other followers, friends and contacts.

Let’s scrap this for a short time and concentrate on the most urgent task to complete then eventually “instagram” the moment. There is always a solution to purchase something for someone. What is important to remember: it is all about the thoughts and not the price tag or the size of the Christmas gift. Everyone is after a little something! It can be a book instead of a Kindle, a voucher instead of a garment.

In the recent years some people have decided to orientate their choices towards hotel stays or fishing holidays in order to give something different and usable whenever it is convenient for the recipients. Tastes are changing and receiving a pass for a holiday or leisure park is certain to please everyone and there is no worries to have about sizes, colours…etc

What does this mean?

No need to stress, rush and panic as in most cases the simpliest things will please everyone. A Christmas present is not just for Christmas… but for the entire year.

Keep Calm Christmas Poster

Keep Calm Christmas Poster


London: Tube strike and The Ashes 2015

Living in London is great when all means of transport are running.

So now, 8th July 2015 a Tube strike is on the map and it is going to disrupt workers, tourists, cricket fans going to The Ashes in Cardiff.

You may ask what is the link between The Ashes and London Underground!?

There is not just one strike action. It is indeed, a double movement including FGW trains and London Tube.

It is all starting at 6.30pm this evening.

Trains will be on standstill for 48 hours and London Underground for 24 hours.

The most affected are the passengers travelling between Wales, the West Country and London, of course.

There is one alternative route to reach the destination: National Express who will have extra buses and seats to help everyone going from A to B.

When it is all happening at once it can be rather frustrating but the only way to go through it is with the smile. Stressing and being angry about it won’t help. It is about stepping back and just accepting what RMT Union is protesting about doing.

In the News, the main advice is to postpone your day of travel. How can this be rational when your FGW train or Tube might just be a connection for another journey?

We mustn’t forget that it is also peak time for the Summer holidays. People have worked and saved for months and when it is departure time, there is even more tension. As if this was needed. Maybe not the right time to go to a family holiday park in sunny Devon. Or just decide to go away on a later date outside strike actions, as long as we know the potential dates well ahead!

Those workers who are not happy about their working conditions know exactly what they are doing! It is about having the maximum impact and being heard by as many people as possible. However, is this the best they can do? Will they obtain what they are after?

What is sure is that Boris Johnson has made clear that he is rejecting the attitude of Tube drivers (read The Independent full article HERE).

It is as well the moment where tennis fans want to make their way to Wimbledon!

What to think of all this?

Maybe make everything easier for yourselves. Either work from home (if you can or if your employer gives you this possibility) or decide to walk through London (weather forecast is looking pretty good). An opportunity to spread the word through twitter #WalkLondon.

Click on map for larger version

London Tube map - walk London - by AryJoe creatives

London Tube map – walk London – by AryJoe creatives

Affairs, Design

The Queen and Buckingham Palace

After the birth and christening of Princess Charlotte and the forthcoming second birthday of Prince George (22nd July), Buckingham Palace could have a few quiet months.

BBC News has announced that the Royal Palace is in need of strong maintenance work regarding the actual structure and safety of the building.

…the palace needs new plumbing and wiring, with some rooms last decorated in 1952… Source

Some are laughing and others are worrying about the future of the property.

Queen Elizabeth II and most occupants of the iconic landmark will certainly have to relocate. But this shouldn’t be such an issue. It won’t certainly be at the nearby Travelodge or Premier Inn?!

The British Royal Family has various properties to stay safe and sheltered for the length of this heavy refurbishment.

At least there is no asbestos anymore since the end of last year. A big relief when we know that such material can be lethal.

At now 89, The Queen could do without this extra worry. But sometimes things need to be done and no choice is really given.

The estimated amount of this gigantic work could reach £150m. Indeed this is a lot of money but also a true commercial property investment to keep the business running smoothly. There are thousand of visitors each year, so it is essential to have a solid and not dangerous structure above your head (More facts HERE).

To deal with such building site and manage the undergoing work The Crown Estate will certainly be involved.

It all sounds slightly scary when reading what spokesmen are saying, as this is without a doubt a rather hefty architectural project.

According to a previous article published in the Express, Buckingham Palace last major restoration took place in… 1913! (read full article HERE).

So, there is no way back or hesitation to have, especially when seeing a few images and hearing some reports. Windsor Castle being not that far, it shouldn’t become a nightmare neither for The Queen and her family nor for the members of staff. Overall a good alternative base, avoiding a lot of stress and hassle when moving out (temporarily) from the royal mansion.

London Buckingham Palace with scaffolding

London Buckingham Palace with scaffolding

After all, is it such a disgrace to accept or show the general public and media the truth behind the close doors?

It is obvious that running an estate like this is expensive. Consequently, general maintenance and plumbing, as an example, can be a long task which can end up being longer than expected and with a substantial cost too.

Nevertheless, this shouldn’t be seen as an obstacle but more as a positive step forward to keep this London tourist attraction in good shape.