Comfortable shoes, big enough bag or backpack, good camera, nutritious food and interesting independent magazines are things I take with me on any of my London walks. Here’s the list of some things that make my experience even better. Add your choices in the comments.
None of the companies mentioned in this post has paid me for the mention. The only thing I’ve got for a review was the Zakti Active Mantra Backpack but I wouldn’t recommend it to you, if I thought it wasn’t good or worth the price. I’ve mentioned all other companies, because I’ve tried their products and have been enjoying them or because I find a special value in them. I think they deserve a mention for making our life’s easier.
You all know by now that I love exploring London on foot. I enjoy seeing new places, talking to people I meet on the walks, taking pictures, admiring the beauty of things around me and praying as I walk. It’s my time out.
But I don’t go for a walk without some essentials – clothes that make me feel relaxed, a pair of comfortable shoes, my 700D Canon camera, something good to eat and something to read or to listen. All that need to be packed in an easy to carry bag or a backpack. Without some of them I wouldn’t be able to do the walks and without others it just wouldn’t be a complete experience.
London walks: Comfortable shoes are the priority
There’s nothing worse than doing a walk in uncomfortable shoes. If you do, you concentrate on your pain and get tired easily. As soon as you start feeling a little bit of pain, you stop enjoying the walk and you want to finish it as soon as possible. And that’s not a point of city walking – you need to enjoy it for as long as you want.
Because of that, my walking shoes are usually trainers. They’re perfect for almost any weather. If I opt in for a pair of trainers, I choose between my blue (slightly worn out) Saucony Jazz and no name I’ve got recently from my mum. Both are great.
If I want to feel a bit lighter, I go for balerinas or pumps. For nearly three years I used this super comfortable Leather Bow Boat Shoes from Marks and Spencer. They served well and are still available from the shop but I thought it’s time for a change. As a result I bought this amazing sporty pumps from Clarks. I’ve tried them on a few walks already and can say that I’ll wear them again and again until they’re completely worn out.
London walks: Clothes need to make feel relaxed
To complete my outfit I usually opt for a pair of trousers and a t-shirt or leggings and a tunic. When it comes to clothes I really like classic and simple look. It may seem boring but for me it’s about comfort and simplicity – I don’t like thinking too much about the clothes when getting ready. That’s why I like having black and white t-shirts in different styles and different styles of trousers for all kinds of weather. Like some of these below.
Recently, I came across a young British brand called Monks on Vacation. I like their name, because it stimulates my imagination – do I wear like a monk? what do monks wear on their vacation etc.? But even more I like their clothes – simple yet pretty, made from good fabrics and designed and made in England. Have a look at the outfits below – maybe you’ll find something for yourself.
London walks: Backpack comes next
‘Backpack or bag?’ is a tricky question I ask myself before every walk. In most cases the answer is the former. I usually go for at least a few hours of city walking, so need to pack quite a few things like some snacks and something to read, an umbrella, just in case, and a few other items. The bags are either too small or become too heavy after a short while. Besides, they always get in the way of taking pictures. I was in need of a good city backpack, so I was very happy when Mountain Warehouse approached me and offered this Zakti Active Mantra Backpack.
It’s perfect for my city walks. It feels comfortable on the back, fits my tablet and a few other things and looks really pretty. It never feels too heavy or too packed. The only thing I could complain about is that the opening for the main bag could be slightly wider. Apart from that, it’s really worth recommending.
London walks: What to eat?
Funny enough, when I walk I eat less than I would do if I stayed at home. Often, I take packed lunch or some snacks with me, instead of buying them on the way.
I have my daily eating routine I like to follow. I may carry a travel mug filled with tea with milk and some snacks for mid-morning, plus a lunch and possibly something for the afternoon, if the walk gets longer. The travel mug that I can recommend is from Dutch brand Contigo. I bought it almost two years ago. I have never had a better travel mug than this. It’s pretty, keeps its warmth for good couple of hours and fits well in pretty much every bag. And never spills.
On warmer days I buy water on my way or a juice or a lemonade.
When I take food from home it needs to be something simple – cheese and ham sandwich or peanut butter and banana, yummy.
When I stop somewhere on the way I either go for simplicity and reliability of Pret, if I can find one in the area, or I look for a local independent coffee shop with specialty coffee. Sometimes, those kinds of places actually dictate where I go for a walk. That’s why I read ‘Caffeine’ magazine and their section ‘New kids on the block’ where they briefly review the latest openings in the specialty coffee world.
London walks: What to read?
I usually carry a few things to read and/or listen, when I go for a walk. I end up not using any of them, because I get into walking, time flies by and I need to go back. But there’s always something in my bag, just in case – my Bible, usually in a form of app on the phone or tablet, to limit the things I carry with me, Bible reading plan and a magazine or a book that I’m currently reading. It can be Magnify, Oh, Comely, Kinfolk and when it comes to books, something spiritual or a real reads.
“Magnify” is beautifully published magazine about faith, feminism and fashion. You wouldn’t expect these three things in one place, wouldn’t ya? It gives me a fresh look at life and lots of encouragement. “
“Oh, Comely” brings similar results. I love how different from other women’s magazines it is. They have a theme for each of the issues and look at it from so many different angles. It broadens your horizons so much. They feature people doing interesting things or being special in some way. I love reading their really fresh and thought-provoking interviews.
And “Kinfolk” is a praise for slow life. They publish features, interviews and recipes relating to that. It’s a pleasure to the eye to browse through the pages of magazine. If you’re in London and would like to buy some of these independent magazines check out the kiosk at Brixton underground station or a stall on Great Marlborough Street, behind Oxford Circus station. For Magnify pop in to Brompton Café at HTB Church.
If I listen to something it’s usually on the way to the place where I start my walk and it’ll be either a preaching from HTB, Emma Gannon’s podcast ‘Ctrl Alt Delete’ or a podcasts from Creative Mornings Ldn, a monthly breakfast event featuring an interesting speaker talking on a subject of the month, which is the same for all the chapters of Creative Mornings around the world.
London walks: What else?
Even though this paragraph comes at the end, it actually is about the most important thing – my camera. I’ve been using Canon 700D for nearly three years and I think it’s great. I still need to learn a lot about DSLR photography but this camera allows me to take great pictures already.
Do you have any favourite things you take with you for a walk? Anything you wouldn’t explore London without? Share them in comments – I would love to know what you find helpful and useful. Thank you!
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