Julie Falconer is a London-based travel writer and consultant. She writes an award-winning travel and lifestyle blog, A Lady in London, for which she has traveled to over 90 countries. Julie’s writing has featured in the National Geographic Intelligent Travel Blog, Time Out, Lonely Planet, and other publications. She also lectures and teaches classes on social media and blogging. You can read her blog at http://www.aladyinlondon.com.
LLO: Where are you from originally, how long have you been in London and what brought you here?
JF: I am originally from San Francisco, and I moved to London in 2007 after leaving a career in finance. I wanted to see a different part of the world and decided that London would be a good place to do that!
LLO: Tell us a bit about your blog, A Lady in London – an introduction to those who are unfortunately not yet acquainted!
JF: I started A Lady in London in 2007 when I moved to the UK. Originally, it was a way to keep in touch with people back home, but over time I started writing for a much broader audience. I have now written the blog as a full-time job for over three years, and I write about travel all over the world with an emphasis on food and culture.
LLO: Your career path started in finance. What’s your story? How did you end up as a blogger, a travel planner and a teacher of social media classes, etc?
JF: I left finance because I felt burned out and I wanted to do something different. Moving to London provided me with a lot of great ideas for things to write about on my blog, and it attracted a following over the first two years. When I started working on it full-time, I added the travel planning services as a natural extension. A couple of years later, I was asked to speak about social media in travel, and that spawned the teaching and lecturing. I also work with businesses on social media strategy, which resulted from the blog as well.
LLO: Having travelled to some 90+ countries (even before you turned 30!), what are your favourite and least favourite travel destinations so far? How does London compare?
JF: It’s always hard to choose favourites but I like different places for different things. The Maldives is a great beach destination, and I love the food in Spain and Thailand. The only places I have been to that I don’t like are the ones that are really touristy, but that’s usually my fault for staying in the wrong place. London compares favourably to many destinations, as it is a world-class city with a lot of great history, culture, and attractions.
LLO: Where else have you lived and what are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a serial expat? Most rewarding moments?
JF: I have lived in San Francisco, San Diego, Providence, Prague, Nice, Paris, and Brussels. The biggest challenges are always the ones that come with getting settled in when I first arrive, and the rewarding moments come once I get a chance to really explore a city beyond the major tourist attractions.
LLO: What’s the best thing about living in your postcode and why?
JF: I love living near one of London’s largest parks. Being in an urban environment is great for a lot of things, but I need to get my outdoor fix to remind me of the natural world beyond the city.
LLO: Tell us about your favourite London discovery.
JF: One of my favourite places in London is the Chelsea Physic Garden. It is a tiny garden near the Thames, and it has a great variety of plants and flowers. It is really peaceful and not many people know that it is there.
LLO: Best place to go for an afternoon tea in London? How about a Sunday roast?
JF: I have had great afternoon teas and Sunday roasts all across London, so it’s hard to narrow it down to just one of each. For a classic afternoon tea ambiance, I love the Corinthia Hotel and for a great ambiance for Sunday roast, the Holly Bush in Hampstead is perfect.
LLO: Give us your top three London restaurant recommendations.
JF: My favourites are Kitchen W8 in Kensington for great food and service in an understated atmosphere, Ottolenghi for great salads and light fare, and The Grazing Goat in Marble Arch for good pub food.
LLO: Favourite way to spend a Saturday in London?
JF: It depends on the weather. If it’s warm, I will be in a park, and if it’s not, I will be in a pub!