London, United Kingdom
Daria, 33
Head of PR at BT
see her London city guide

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a bit about Daria

What do you do and why do you do it?

I work at BT as the Head of PR for Business and Public Sector. I do it because it's amazingly challenging, thrilling and interesting!

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had and why was it so effing bad?

When I was in college, I spent one summer working at a family-run restaurant in a small town in Indiana, USA. I was doing all kinds of jobs - dish-washing, cleaning, cooking, waiting tables... Once, a random visitor stopped by to have lunch. I wasn't serving his table but another waitress asked me to bring him water as she was busy serving other people. I brought him a carafe of water and walked away. When he was leaving, he gave me a 20-dollar bill as a tip, for no obvious reason. The owner told me I could 'do my dirty business' outside of her restaurant. 12 years have passed, I still see her sweaty face in front of me, bursting with anger.

Were you born and raised in London? If not, where did you grow up and what brought you to London?

I was born in Mykolayiv, in Southern Ukraine when it was still part of the USSR. At the age of 15, I left home to spend a year in the USA as an exchange student. After that I came back to Ukraine to study at a university in the capital city of Kyiv. After graduating, I lived and worked in Kyiv for another 6 years. In 2015, I was awarded a scholarship to study at King's College London, while my husband was promoted at his job and, subsequently, relocated to London. We moved to London in summer 2015 and 6 months later brought our son to join us. We have been enjoying living in this great city as a family for the last 2 years.

What’s your current hood in London and what’s the best/worst thing about it?

We live in St Johns Wood which is, IMHO, the best residential hood in London. There are numerous 'best' things about it, and I cannot even think of one which could be the 'worst'. Here is the list of my 'pros': 15-min slow-paced walk to both Regent's Park and Primrose Hill; Tesco, Boots, Barclay's, Pret, Drycleaners, Library, Post Office, tube station - all within a 5-min walk; international community; several prestigious private and excellent public schools within a hand's reach; Vue and Odeon, Sports and Leisure center, and a gigantic Waitrose are within just a short bus ride up the Finchley Road. The hood itself is just a beautiful oasis.

What kind of music do you listen to and what kind of music do you absolutely HATE?

My #1 band is U2, #1 female singer is Beyonce, and #1 male singer is... I am still hesitating between Sting and Robbie Williams. On long Christmas nights, we turn on just a random smooth jazz station on Sonos. My personalized playlists usually consist of the songs I randomly Shazam on my phone. My musical guilty pleasure is the Eurovision Song Contest hits.

You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?

Before we got married, me and my husband had had a major breakup time. I listened to three tracks pretty much night and day - Love is Blindness by U2, Kite by U2, and Drive by R.E.M. Obviously, all three were and still are associated with Him.

Name the best TV shows of all time, and what makes them so good?

Surprisingly for me, The Great British Bake-Off is one of my all-time favourites. I had never ever watched cooking shows until I encountered this one and my heart melted. I have no clue how the British do it, but they got me hooked! And the second one which I used to indulge myself into was a series of documentaries on BBC Three called Stacey Dooley Investigates. I think I just love Stacey's accent and whatever she does just gets me thrilled.

Name some spots in London that are good for a Tinder date.

A walk down Thames's Southbank might be a neutral space for the first date. However, I have never used Tinder, so might not be the best one to advise here.

Who’s your hero and where in London would you take them out for a serious hang?

My Daddy, my husband and my son are my three heroes. It's probably not very original but it is true. Once, I took all of them for a luxury Afternoon Tea treat at The Shard's Ting lounge bar. They all appreciated it in their own ways.

Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?

I used to buy 90% of my clothes at Banana Republic but since they have shut down their stores in the UK, I shifted focus onto TK Maxx in Covent Garden, Coach and COS.

What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?

Rooftop yoga classes!

Where do you go in London for a casual night out?

Last year we discovered a place called Shikumen in Shepherd's Bush and it completely subverted my idea of Chinese restaurants. If we have guests from abroad staying over at our place, we take them to the Duke of York pub in St Johns Wood. It is THE BEST gastropub in London, I have never had better gourmet burgers before!

Where would you go in London to celebrate some freaking good news?


What’s your choice of transportation in London and why?

Although I am entitled to a company car at work, nothing beats the tube on busy mornings to get to work. On weekends I try to avoid getting on the tube too much - we can walk pretty much everywhere in the center of the city, but also why leave our hood at all?? When I went to King's for lectures, I used to get on Bus 13 for a ride home. It used to go all the way from Aldwych to Golders Green, and I would also be the first passenger on the route riding shotgun on the upper deck. Was cool in any weather and much less stressful than taking the tube!

What are the London spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

Tate Modern and the National Gallery, my favorite museums in the world!

What are the London spots tourists should run from screaming?

Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square

Tomorrow’s your last day in London. How do you spend it?

To start off the day, I'd go to the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, Winner of Top Coffee House 2016, for a cup of flat white. Then, I'd take a walk through Chinatown and Covent Garden to the National Gallery. For lunch, I would go to Homeslice for the best pizza of all times, which will charge me with enough energy to make it to the Somerset House and across the bridge to the Southbank. A walk along the river will terminate at Tower Bridge. I will enjoy the view from the Riviera near the Mayor's office. I will enjoy dinner and cocktails at Butler's Warf Chop House.

What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?

I am torn between Las Vegas, Dubai and Tel Aviv. I love Vegas for the great weather all year round, great shopping and great shows. I love Dubai for the real luxury, comfort, food and serviced beaches. Tel Aviv has got the best coffee, FOOD, and liberal spirit.

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