Aussie expat Helena Michalak talks life in London

Published August 27th, 2012

London flights are cray-cray cheap right now so for SF Spotlight this week we sought out an Aussie living in London to tell us the best bits about the city. In our search we were lucky to find Helena Michalak, a Media Communications graduate and blogger who is living the dream as a Marketing Executive for publishing house Hardie Grant in ye old London town. From studying in Brisbane to working in Melbourne and then making the move to London, Helena is a traveller at heart – and as she’ll happily tell you, a self confessed foodie. Here she spills the beans on life in London and where to find the yummiest grub in the city.


How many countries have you travelled to?

It took a really long time to work out, but I've been to 17 countries! I'll soon be cruising (literally!) through Turkey and then stopping in New York before I hop on a plane back to Australia.


If you could narrow it down, what would be your top three?
Gosh, this is a really hard question. It's also hard because I haven't spent lots of time in some countries, but I'd have to say Italy (the food really is incredible), Japan (it's really just so different from everywhere else I've been) and Denmark (the food was amazing, the weather was glorious and the coffee was good - so hard to find over here).



Helena and a snowy friend in London

Craziest travel experience?

Going to Glastonbury last year! I'm not much of a camper and won't ever be completely at one with nature, but it was five incredible days of music, friends, mud, food and baby wipe showers!


Why did you choose to move to London?

I guess it was always in the back of my mind because my mum lived in London when she was about my age and she really loved the experience. It was also a lot less daunting than moving to New York (my other favourite city) because some of my best friends live here.


What do you love about the city?

I really love how there's always something to do and you can always find something free too. There's always festivals (food festivals - my favourite!), concerts, shows, new restaurants and bars. London really does cater for everyone.


Share some of your favourites with us:

The best meal I've had in London is… Oh man. If you haven't picked up already I'm a bit of a foodie, so this is a really, really hard question. Anything from Ottolengi, steak at Tramshed, Bocca di Lupo and brunch at Granger & Co or The Breakfast Club or St ALI's. Okay, I think I better stop now!


Best place for a drink… I don't actually go out drinking much, but I do love an outdoor bar (when the sun is shining!) and just your local gastro pub. Shoreditch has some pretty cool bars too.


Favourite sunny day activity... Definitely visiting weekend markets like Broadway - so much better than Borough because you can actually move around and the food is every bit as excellent. Columbia Road Flower Market on Sundays is the place to get gorgeous cheap flowers and Brick Lane Market for some great food on Sundays. Four humungous dumplings for £2.50!


A local shop I love is… Harrods. Or Boots which is like Priceline in Australia. Boots has everything I ever need!


Where are you planning on travelling next?

Aside from Turkey and New York, my next big trip will be to South America. I have some Brazilian friends and would just love to go there with them. Maybe for the World Cup or for the next Olympics!


Lauren Burvill

Australian born but London based, I'm a sucker for big cities and small tropical islands. When travelling, I like eating like a local, dressing like a local, but staying in 5 star style. Have a travel story to share? Tweet me @laurenburvill.