Laura in Tower Hamlets is 31-40 and is a long-distance runner.
Laura didn’t think she was able to run for long distances. She was inspired by an intensive training session with Project Awesome, a fitness club for young professionals who meet early in the morning next to the Mayor’s office for some high intensity workout. Laura soon realises the limitations she has are self perpetuating. Now she manages to run for hours on end, wearing simple sandals and no official running gear.
Questions & Answers
- What's your first memory of London? The sound of the aeroplanes going over to Heathrow and thinking, "That's loud, I'll never get used to that." (I did.)
- What do you miss when you're away from London? Its energy. The ease of public transport and hire bikes. The diversity. The ability to discover places you never knew existed, even after 11 years. The people.
- What's your favourite neighbourhood? This is a difficult one as I was a south west Londoner for ten years and just recently moved east and love it. It's a totally different feel and I love it for different reasons. I do, however, have little spots that I treasure, regardless of where I've been based. I love Highgate and Hampstead Heath and that whole area, with the ladies bathing ponds. I love anywhere on the Thames, especially cycle route no.4, which I used to cycle from Richmond to Windsor. That's beautiful and calm and does a great job of reminding me how green London is.
- What's your favourite building? Hampton Court Palace
- What's your ideal day out in London? Anything that involves the people I like the most. Project Awesome in the morning, a lovely long coffee and breakfast afterward, a walk/explore somewhere I've never been before, lunch in a place where I can linger and read a book, an afternoon in a park or next to the river with friends, then cooking dinner and good chat in the evening.
- What's your ideal night out in London? I don't really go out in the evenings to clubs (early morning runs/workouts don't fit so well after a night on the town) but I recently discovered the new board games cafe in Haggerston, which was cool (despite me not understanding any of the games!). Or just eating good food in a nice restaurant (Polpo or Tibit's are my favourites) with good company.
- What's your most hated building? I don't hate any, really. Or maybe I do but I've not spent any time thinking about it. Erm, there's a very boring grey block next to the Lanesborough Hotel on Hyde Park Corner and it's the most mindlessly boring building I've ever seen. Just a massive grey square with boring rectangle windows. So boring. Thankfully, they've just started the process of demolishing it.
- What's the best view in London? The one from Primrose Hill when the sun is rising.
- What's your favourite open space? Ahhhh! So hard to choose. Richmond Park, I think. But Hyde Park is beautiful too. As is Hampstead Heath.
- What's the most interesting shop? I don't know. I don't really care about shops. There was a chocolate shop in Richmond called William Curley and that shop made me very happy.
- What's your favourite place to hang out? Hyde Park
- What's been your most memorable night out in London? O goodness. I guess one of the silly ones from my student days, like where I climbed on a speaker in a club and thought I was so cool by dancing around on it. Or the time when we all got back to our halls of residence and my friend Sophie was making us toasties and when she opened the toastie maker, there was a staple on top of one of them and she went, "It's our staple diet!" and we drunkenly fell about laughing like we'd never heard anything so hilarious.
- How would you like to spend your ideal day off in London? Doing very little. Cooking. Running. Reading. Writing.
- Where would you take someone visiting from out of town? I guess it depends what their interests are. Most people want to see the sparkly spangly things like Piccadilly Circus and Harrods. I would want to take them to Hampstead Heath, though, to the little old second hand bookshop at the top of Flask Walk in Hampstead and the cafe nearby which does the best soup I've ever eaten. Then go for a swim in the mixed ponds on the Heath. Then up to Kenwood House to look at the beautiful art.
- What's the worst journey you've had to make in London? Nothing too major, as I often just use Boris bikes to get around. But any time I have to use public transport and I've forgotten to take a book is a nightmare!
- What's your personal London landmark? The Gherkin. I can see it from my bedroom window and while I don't actually like the building itself, I am constantly using it to orientate myself around London.
- Who's your favourite fictional Londoner? I guess I love the older books about London, that describe what it used to be like. I loved The Picture of Dorian Gray (that's set in London, right?) and Dorian Gray himself is a very interesting character.
- What's your favourite London film, book or documentary? Easy peasy. Paddington Bear.
- If you could travel to any time period in London, past or future, where would you go? Oo, interesting. I think the early 1900s, when London was still a very different place, but starting resemble the London I now know and love.
- For you, who is the ultimate Londoner? The Queen. She's my fav.