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Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Street Art Near Old Street Roundabout

We’ve mentioned before how we’re happily headquartered in London’s ‘Tech City’, and while the area is definitely the spot for startups & tech industry heavyweights, it’s also home to a strong street art scene. While this seems natural to residents & workers here, just because it’s always been that way, it may be an interesting contrast to outsiders.

The reason for the amount of street art here in the Old Street/Shoreditch area is because this neighborhood was at one time quite inexpensive, and therefore easy to rent property & little care was placed on whether or not a building was ‘defaced’. Those days are long past, as anyone renting office space here can attest, but the artistic impression made here back then remains.

Street art has become a well-respected medium by large swathes of the population, who appreciate the beauty that it can add to an otherwise derelict cityscape, the statements it can make, and the thoughts it can provoke.

Many well known street artists have work displayed in the area surrounding our office. These artists have work displayed worldwide, so you may even see something in your hometown!

Some of the big names in the Old Street area include Banksy, who also has work in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. He has multiple pieces scattered through the Shoreditch area.

ROA is an artist known for painting animals (in various states of decay or distress) that are native to the cities where they are illustrated. He has work in Chicago in the United States, many European cities, and quite a lot in the Shoreditch neighborhood. His style is very distinctive & stands out among more colorful street art.

Stik is a wildly popular street artist in London who has gone from living in a homeless shelter to being able to make a living off his art. Much like Banksy, he is secretive about his identity. His emotive stick figures can be seen dotted around East London, and some have sold for upwards of £6k.

Ben Wilson uses an incredibly unique medium to create his street art. Discarded chewing gum is heated, spread, and painted over to create amazing miniature works of art. He has some lovely work near our office, and we’re always looking for more.

We’ve put together a map to show you some of our favorite pieces nearby. Log into Google & feel free to add pins yourself as you find new & interesting work! Specifically we’ve highlighted art done by ROA, Banksy, Stik, Thierry Noir, and Ben Wilson.

Want to explore around with some skilled & knowledgeable guides? We know of a great guided tour in Shoreditch for street art, put on by Street Art London. They actually meet up very near our office!

We’ve got lots of great properties in the Shoreditch area, the Tech City neighborhood, and the Old Street roundabout: this lovely 1 bedroom flat for £2k a month, this shared room in Whitechapel for £464, and a private double room in Brick Lane for £1600 a month.

image courtesy Flickr

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Mother's Day in London

Mother's Day in the UK is on the 15th of March, and if you're visiting London & staying with FlatClub, it's a great opportunity to treat her to a day out on the town. If you're staying in London on a medium term basis over Mother's Day weekend, this might be the perfect time to schedule a family visit.

Looking for an extended stay in London around March 15th? FlatClub can provide medium term stays in private rooms, studios, and flats.

Afternoon Tea Sailing Along the Thames
What could be better? How about if it was a scant £22.50 per person? You & your mum could sup upon tea, scones, jam & cream, and sandwiches for an hour and a half while you relax & take in the sights of St Paul's cathedral, Big Ben, and Tower Bridge. A true mum's delight!

See a Play
A nice day out in London is made all the more memorable with a trip to the West End to see one of the top musicals of our time. Wicked, Billy Elliot, and of course Mamma Mia (how apt) are all great choices for a Mother's Day to remember.

Sunday UpMarket at Brick Lane
A huge variety of food vendors, antiques, local produce & artisan goods - there really is something for all types of people (and all types of mums) at this market located inside the historic Old Truman Brewery.

St Pancras Spa
There are many spas in London, lots of great ones - but the St Pancras stands out in our estimation. It's a new and spacious spa located conveniently in King's Cross (stop in before you go to Paris?) with tons of treatments - deep tissue massages, full-service facials, and jacuzzis. One great choice for bonding & pampering.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

What Company Should You Intern With

There are lots of internship opportunities out there - so how do you choose which internship is right for you?

Some people choose based on location, others on how much money they may be able to make during their internship, but most choose based off of the company's reputation.

These are 5 of the top places to intern at, with some of the company's that are most beloved, including some feedback from the awesome RateMyPlacement. Once you've gotten that amazing internship with one of these guys, find your perfect accommodation for your medium term stay on FlatClub!

Grant Thornton - UK Chartered accounts, Grant Thornton offers many internships throughout the year. This review from RateMyPlacement is in regards to interning on the auditing team.

"I really enjoyed the year, I could find interesting aspects of the work and found absolutely everyone at the company encouraging, welcoming and helpful." - Audit Placement Student, RateMyPlacement

Interning with Grant Thornton? Stay nearby on FlatClub!

Amazon - The eTail giant has a variety of internship programs.

"I was given lots of guidance by my colleagues. Amazon is a really awesome company to work for!" - Finance Intern, RateMyPlacement

Starting your career with Amazon? Find accommodation nearby on FlatClub.

BAE Systems - This innovative defense, security & aerospace company is headquartered in the UK and has many open internships.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my internship at BAE Systems.It was a great opportunity to see how my degree could be used once I graduate." - System Engineering Intern, RateMyPlacement

If you're working at BAE Systems, we have flats available nearby.

BDO - Providing auditing, tax, and critical accounting services to businesses keeps BDO looking for top quality interns all year long.

"I improved on so many things. They took the time to teach me things I really should have known before I went there. Every day was a school day there, I learnt a vast amount about finances, office environment even computer skills." - Business Restructuring Trainee, RateMyPlacement

Got something going at BDO? Find your room or flat nearby on FlatClub.

Google - Everyone knows Google, and they're a great place to intern for future development work or managerial positions.

"I've been recognized as a full-time member of the team. My project was part of the work being done by the team in general and I did not feel like an intern at all." - Software Engineering Intern, RateMyPlacement

Off to Google's Dublin HQ? We have plenty of accommodation you can book near the Google office.

Looking for more internship info? We've got you covered.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Interesting Facts About The Silicon Roundabout

You may have read before how we at FlatClub are headquartered in the heart of the 'Silicon Roundabout', or 'Tech City', but do you know how those terms came to be - and what that means, exactly?

Silicon Roundabout...Thanks, for the culture!Oh so many years ago, before East London became known for it's enterprising tech startups, the office space was going fairly cheap around the Old Street area. Moo had outgrown their office in Clerkenwell, and settled on a huge space in the Old Street area - in order to make up for the extra costs of such a large office, they invited other company's to share the space. As more and more small, early stage startups & tech companies moved in to the shared office space, a social environment began to build.

Silicon Roundabout...thanks Dopplr, for the name!
Over these drinks in the evenings & summer parties spent together, the term 'Silicon Roundabout' was coined by Dopplr CTO Matt Biddulph, as the space had come to represent a similar tech cloister to what had sprang up in California's Silicon Valley. Starting off as a bit of a joke on Twitter, it soon took on life and became common parlance not only among the techies in East London, but all over the city. It became so popular in fact, that when our old friend Boris Johnson started referring to this area as Tech City, it just never caught on in the same way. Silicon Roundabout as a term was here to stay - sharing space with the Mayor's 'Tech City'.

Silicon Roundabout...who's there?
Tech companies are of course en vogue here, more specifically though - financial technologies, or 'fintech'. Mayor Boris Johnson has specifically encouraged development in this field, and through the entrepreneurship of the founders of these companies & support from the government, East London Tech City has become the fintech capital of the world. Some of the other big names that have came from the area are as mentioned, Mind Candy (who founded Silicon Drinkabout, a weekly meeting for techies & startups) and TransferWise.

Silicon Roundabout...what's next?
Well, we can't see what the future holds - but it's predicted that the UK's technology economy will continue to grow with the help of works from the Mayor's office, more accelerator programs and shared office space to make sure that the costs stay low for burgeoning start ups.

We're excited to see what happens next, and we'll be right here in the thick of it in our Old Street office!

Dare we say that perhaps the next big thing to come out of the Silicon Roundabout will be FlatClub?

Friday, 13 February 2015

Thank You Hosts - The History of LiveDemand

At FlatClub, we create products based off of the desires of our users: LiveDemand was created to empower hosts to search for guests & take a proactive approach to finding guests. We knew that many of our hosts, both new & old, wanted to know about our guest demand. Wet received a lot of questions about it - we realized one solution would be to share with our hosts our guests’ searches.

Google helped us to produce a sleek & informative video:

Instead of asking our development team to build this for us, we utilized Google apps & created spreadsheets & forms and shared it with our hosts. In the mean time we took your feedback for LiveDemand in this form, and noted it for when we were able to dedicate time to build the actual functionality on the site.

That way, our hosts would get the best possible product live on the site, and could use our Google app-enabled suite in the mean time!

There were a few kinks to begin with, and it certainly was not the most beautifully laid out of services - but we worked hard to make it easy to understand & even easier to feedback on. Thanks to the responses from our hosts, we knew that you loved being able to search for guests yourself - but we found out that perhaps there was no need for daily updates on new guests. So, we took that feature out & made it a weekly digest instead. Feedback like this was vital for us to perfect LiveDemand, and add or subtract features depending on our hosts’ desires.

By empowering our hosts to search for guest’s requests, we feel that we’ve greatly improved the user experience on FlatClub for both guests & hosts. This also gives the hosts & guests equal footing, so hosts’ are able to choose the best guest for them, not just the other way around.

Recently, our CCO Matt Chic was asked to share with the Google Developers community how we built our innovative LiveDemand feature ourselves as a beta product using existing tools.

So thank you again, FlatClub hosts, for making this all possible. We’re not finished yet, though! Feel free to continue making suggestions for what could improve LiveDemand, and what we could otherwise build to improve our hosts’ experience. Tweet us, email us, or leave a comment here.

Renting Out Your Flat is Now Legal in London!

Due to changes in technology & the economy this archaic law has now been changed. It’s now official, the 1973 Greater London Council (General Powers) Act, that required all homeowners’ to pay for a council permit before they could legally rent out their flat a period of time less than 22 nights, has been repealed.

This will enable Londoners to participate in the sharing economy and benefit from recent innovations in information technology by letting out either a spare room or their whole house in the same way as other residents across the country,” the government communicated in a written statement.

What does this mean for us all? Well, it's great news! You can now feel free to rent out your property in London for any length of time you wish. Whether you own the flat outright or not...if you’re a tenant you still can rent it out, but you must ask your landlord for permission.

The demand for stays of this length in London is increasing: there are more mobile employees, students, consultants, and interns working from city to city. Rent has become increasingly expensive, and mobile work has become more common; making medium term lets a winner for guests & hosts alike. Interested in hosting? Read more about how to do it on FlatClub.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Chinese New Year Celebrations in London & New York

Chinese New Year is February 19th in 2015, and there is plenty of activity planned in London & New York’s famous Chinatowns. Coming to town for the Lunar New Year? We’ve got nearby London studios for under £70 a night and New York rooms for under $70.

London’s Chinatown near Leicester Square can boast of having the largest Chinese New Year celebration in the world - outside of China, of course. Although February 19th is the official date, London waits until the weekend to really pump up the action! That way everyone can enjoy the festivities, which include special menus across the board in Chinatown, a huge parade, and plenty of stalls selling food & crafts. It’s the Year of the Sheep - does that mean big woolly scarves? Whatever you do though, don’t let being slow get your goat - make sure that you’ve booked in advance for a lovely traditional New Year’s meal. Special menus across the 100s of restaurants & cafes are sure to include amazing dumplings, whole fish dishes, and extra long noodles - symblizing prosperity & longevity in the coming years. Delicious & lucky, what’s not to like?

New York’s Chinatown in Manhattan pulls out all the stops each year - with it’s own landmark parade & amazing food stalls. It all kicks off with the Firecracker ceremony - a tradition to ring in the new year with fireworks continues in NYC in a wholly more organized & stupendous fashion. Some of the city’s best competitive lion dancers, huge floats & fireworks, and a real convivial atmosphere make NYC’s celebration unique. Another exciting option in NYC’s Chinatown is a China Institute course in traditional dumpling making & lantern creation - a great pick for families visiting New York City during Chinese New Year.

Whatever you’re doing for Chinese New Year this February, we hope that you spend it in comfort with loved ones - the most important tradition there is.