Life in London@humansofgreaterlondon

Inspired by HONY, we're celebrating the humans, life and magic to be found in the 33 boroughs of London - Britain's capital city.

https://www.facebook.com/humansofgreaterlondon

"I was just now walking along the road and thinking about the moment when I first woke up. I was 2. We were having our regular Sunday picnic on the beach in Aruba - which was just a sleepy little island back in 1956, not the 'paradise destination' it is now. We'd all just been to church. All the food was being laid out, I was surrounded by all the mothers, my father was just over there. My feet were buried in the whitest sand, I was looking out at the clearest water, and I just....woke up. It was like 'WOW! I'm here! What IS this?!' I was in AWE!
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But just now I was asking myself 'Is it still there? Have I still got my awesome 'wow'? I have felt it for most of my life - I've always been hyper-active, really happy, laughed a lot, enjoyed people, really appreciated the beauties and the subtleties and the differences. But the past year or so it's been kind of 'Unngghh' - because I really, really want everyone else to wake up! WAKE UP! We're just wrecking it. Being alive was meant to be a beautiful experience, not this - all this bashing each other about, being threatened by our differences, forgetting that we're all human beings and we're all in this together. I'm thinking maybe I need to spend some time getting back in touch with my own 'wow' now."
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Jean, met on Railton Road in Brixton.
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This is a throwback to exactly a year ago, March 27, 2017, as Facebook flagged up a reminder of Jean's post and when I re-read her powerful words they inspired a re-share.
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#celebratinghumanity #hogl #streetportrait #wisewords #wow #wakeup #beingalive #allinthistogether


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"I've gone from being a captain of industry to a Devon beach bum. For 18 years, I was running my own company in Kent, working a 70-hour-week, staying in endless hotels, watching mogadon TV with a bottle of wine, my phone always on and with me, 24/7. Then our kids left home and we bought this dilapidated shack in a little village on the Devon coast, and started coming down every weekend to fix it up. When we finally moved down there full-time, 2 years ago, there was still so much to do, including stopping it raining in every room, and I'd feel stricken with guilt if I wasn't doing something constructive, so I was still working 70 hours a week
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Now most of it's done so it's much calmer and we've been having more fun - swimming, surfing, paddleboarding, mountain biking, yoga, pilates, beach cleaning. I sleep fantastically and when I wake up in the morning and look out at our beautiful sea view I keep doing this victory stretch and going 'How marvellous! I can choose exactly what I want to do today.' We hardly watch TV any more. We'll spend our evenings reading, listening to the radio, conversing, looking at the fire, socialising.
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Everyone's very encompassing there - I've never felt a sense of belonging in such a short space of time before. They're always saying 'Come round!', or offering to include you in whatever activity they're doing. I've found giving people a bloody good listening-to helps them relax when they first meet you and can't quite identify what box you fit into. I've also learnt to say 'Yes' to everything in the first instance. Occasionally you might go 'Ooh, maybe a bit too exciting for me' but you can always not-go next time. I never thought I'd be happy to live in a little shed above a beach, but I am. I'm really enjoying it."
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Ben, met in Avenue Gardens, Acton.
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#downsizing #retiring #devon #morefun #newlifestyle #happy #belonging #londonsnow #streetportrait #hogl #celebratinghumanity


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"I'm a big fan of the Thursday Flea Market at Old Spitalfields Market - I've been trawling its aisles pretty much every week from the day it started about 13 years ago. Now there's this exciting new Silk Series project led by Meihui Liu. Artists, artisans and designers are being offered free stalls every Monday to Wednesday to bring the spirit of the East End into the space. "To my great joy, I was chosen to be the face of the launch. I brought a significant part of my art flat to the market and set up shop. We had an over-the-top Colour Walk, filled the market with pizzazz, and I gave an impassioned speech. We're anti-fashion, anti-labels, anti-beige. We celebrate individuality, wild creativity, and we live outside the box. Hell, we don't even know how to find the box!" Sue Kreitzman at the Colour Walk and Exhibition in Old Spitalfields Market which launched the Silk Series on 21st February. March's monthly Colour Walk is happening there right now if you're nearby & fancy popping into the Market to find them. .
#colourwalk #pizzazz #vivid #creative #selfexpression #outsidethebox #celebratinghumanity #celebratinglife #proud #eastend #hogl


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"This Colour Walk has been the first time I've worn something really extravagant without feeling that people are looking at me in a weird way. I'm a Central Saint Martins BA Fine Art 3rd year student and I'm from Paris. In France we're good at wearing clothes that are very chic but not ones which show a lot of our personality, because you tend to feel judged for looking different there. In London you feel free to show the person you truly are through your clothes, and everybody accepts you, which feels really generous. .
"My outfit is one of Anne Sophie Cochevelou's designs. She chose it for me and I found it suited me perfectly. I love that when you look closer you see that it's all made out of found objects. Wearing it has made me feel really strong and empowered and proud. I haven't felt at all ashamed or ridiculous. I feel I'm wearing haute couture clothes, that I'm a princess for a day."
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Agnès, met at the Colour Walk and Exhibition in Old Spitalfields Market.
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#colourwalk #silkseries #colour #creativity #strongwomen #centralstmartins #paris #empoweredwomen #princessforaday #proud #celebratinghumanity #lifeinlondon #oldspitalfieldsmarket #hogl


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Today is International Women's Day, so to celebrate that, and the power of sisterhood and vibrant, fertile creativity, here's the first of a little series on some of the gorgeous women who were part of the Exhibition and Colour Walk at Old Spitalfields Market on 21st February. •
"Kathleen's vivacious and timeless. She never ceases to amaze me with her beautiful and interesting clothes and her passion for life. Although we're very different, we share that. Life is meant to be played with, and Kathleen's spirit of fun is intoxicating. We're both also so inspired by colour and we run at it headfirst. I had the honour of meeting her a few years ago through Diane Goldie, another of my inspirations, who says 'We're part of a tribe who've come together to support each other's creativity and individuality'. Kathleen and I are both strong women who support and care for each other and lift each other up."

"Deborah inspires me to keep smiling through whatever life throws at us. She has so much compassion, wit, humanity and talent and, most of all, such LOVE for her family and all those of us she considers to be her friends. She always looks amazingly cheerful too, even though I know that she's been through some incredibly tough stuff and that's not always the case. I love her zest for life and the way she knows exactly how to make others feel good about themselves. We all need a Deborah in our lives, to encourage us to be strong, brave and courageous!"

#internationalwomensday #sisterhood #colour #creativity #passionforlife #strongwomen #brave #celebratinghumanity #lifeinlondon #hogl


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Here's another cracker for our Life in London album. •
'Finally!' - spotted & captured by Trisha on Regent Street. •
#streetphotography #candid #candidphotography #lifeinlondon #celebratinghumanity #submityourbestshots


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A lovely moment captured by Trisha, somewhere between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square.

Trisha's been shooting some wonderful candid street photography recently so I'll be adding my favourites regularly to our ongoing 'Life in London' album on Facebook from now on. •

There'll be many more classics shots of London life to come, from her and others, so if you love beautiful street photography, watch this space, submit your own classic London candids, and see our album grow...

#streetphotography #candid #candidphotography #lifeinlondon #hogl


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"I'm from Nigeria. I came here to study in 2013 - to do a Bachelors Degree and a Masters in Business Studies. I just finished school a few months ago. But now I'm working as a traffic marshal for this building company, stopping traffic when the trucks pull out of that site over there. I came here legally, the right way. I worked hard, I saved money, and I paid over £7,000 for my course fees and my visa before I came. The reason I went to school is because I didn't want to do this kind of job, but here I am. So now I feel I've wasted my money and my time. •
I've sent at least 150 applications but every time you have to tick that box to say you don't have the right to stay, and once you do that no-one will consider you. The immigration policy has gotten too strict. I wanted to give back, to contribute to the UK, but the policies here, all the anti-immigration rhetoric, are stopping me doing that. Now I've got less than 6 months left on my visa and I'm thinking of leaving next month because I can't wait until the last minute. I don't like living on the edge and I don't want to stay here illegally. Nigeria is where I belong but life is very hard there. It's not a place I would recommend to anyone else, and I'm not happy about going back like this. I wanted to make a soft landing, not a hard one. I've made my peace with it though." •
Abuchi, met on Bollo Lane, Acton.



#portrait #HoGL #humansoflondon #immigration #visa #nigeria #businessschool #contribution


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And here's another winning submission for our 'Life in London' album, taken by Anita, who says: "I spent years battling anxiety, agoraphobia and panic attacks. Photography has changed everything for me, it gives me something to focus on when I feel the panic begin to rise. With the support of my very understanding partner and our son I've managed several trips into London now, and this one was taken during half-term week in October 2016. My son and I had come to London for the day and found ourselves in Trafalgar Square watching a street performer. I turned around to see this lovely chap enjoying the warmth of the Autumn sun on his face whilst resting on his stick. I only took this one shot of him. I hope you like it as much as I do."

If you'd like to submit some of your best candid shots taken in London for possible inclusion, fully-credited, in our ongoing 'Life in London' album on our Facebook page, just email them, along with some words about their context & location, to humansofgreaterlondon@gmail.com.
#streetphotography #candidphotography #lifeinlondon #celebratinghumanity #photographycompetition #humansoflondon #HoGL #portrait


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"My mum and dad both worked hard from when I was small and taught me that if you push yourself, aim high and work hard, you can have an amazing life. Now I'm teaching that to my 2 girls too, as well as teaching them to be strong, independent women. We have good food, good clothes, everything we want, but they know there's lots of hard graft behind that. They're 7 and 9 now and they're amazing children. They're so well behaved. They don't argue or fight. Of course they'll bicker every now and again but they really are best friends. They also eat everything, all their fruit and vegetables, and they sleep well. I couldn't have picked 2 better kids by computer. I've also got a dog, a little chihuahua. She's like the first baby of the house and she's amazing too. She walks off the lead, she stops at the road, she comes to work with me, walking quietly by my side. I don't know how I've done it, managed to get such good kids and such a good animal. We're a little tribe."

Natasha, met by Richard in the Rebel Rebel flower shop in Spitalfields (2/2)

#hardwork #graft #strongindependentwomen #perfectkids #chihuahua #littletribe #portrait #lifeinlondon #HoGL #humansoflondon


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"I suffered some sexual abuse as a child and then became a very rebellious kid who got into some minor criminal activity in Hackney. My parents finally threw me out when I was 15 and I became homeless so I had to find a job. I went round all the local shops asking if they would give me some work experience and got 2 months at this flower shop in Broadway Market. Then they gave me a part-time job, and here I still am 15 years later!
I was born with Lupus SLE so I have ongoing health problems, and right now I'm in the process of divorcing my kids' dad which is pretty painful, but it's very hard to come to work in a place that's filled with beautiful sights and smells and think sad thoughts. I think that's why, although I've had several other jobs over the years (an estate agent, a beautician, a hairdresser, a nursery nurse, a cleaner, working in Primark), I keep coming back to floristry. It's creative and I think it's my therapeutic escape." Natasha, met by Richard in the Rebel Rebel flower shop in Spitalfields (1/2)

#portrait #londonlife #streetphotography #spitalfieldsmarket #floristry #lupussle #creative #therapeutic #HoGL


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