Friday, January 25, 2013

foodie fridays

today can be described in a simple, single word: tasty.

caryn and I took our day off to explore the borough market we had heard such great things about. after deciding to walk our way down to the south bank, we became casually confused and walked over the tower bridge rather than the london bridge but ended up enjoying every minute of the wind-swept stone arches and blue steel details!

after arriving at the market, we officially declared we were never leaving. rows of food stalls lined the area of every imaginable flavor you wouldn't even think to dream about. we opted out of buying much after filling ourselves on samples of the finest cheeses and chocolates around while chatting with local vendors about whether our american accents were more california (me) or new york (caryn). we bought mulled cider to warm our hands, scored a deal on some strawberries and fell in love with the cute english guy selling dark chocolate covered honeycombs...

and in case you were wondering, chocolate wine (yes : chocolate wine) is not as good as it doesn't sound. some samples are just simply worth passing up...

starting our trek across the tower bridge 
the bridge from the tourist hot spot : the tower of london
the entrance to borough market
one of the pork shops on the side
just outside the market, seems like my kind of place!
you know your fish is fresh when it still has eyes
mountain of meringues at the stand with the best homemade brownies 
 a pop of color
outside the market : the happiest street I think I've ever seen 

notting hill

this week I found myself a few tube stops west of usual in notting hill for internship interviews. after getting off at westbourne park I thought I was certainly lost as I looked around seeing railway tracks, aesthetically-challenged architecture and seemingly abandoned cafe windows... I thought notting hill was fancy pants?

after talking with the production assistant at preen by thorton bregazzi, I took a second look at the neighborhood and realized I was a block away from portobello road market (though it was closed) and a block from relik vintage. so after an hour spent roaming the racks of chanel jackets, alexander mcqueen clutches and yves saint lauren thirties cocktail attire, I was feeling a bit more posh. 

a couple days, a few streets south and another interview later, I found the rows of white town houses, colorful shops and expensive taste I had imagined notting hill to house... I strolled down westbourne grove enjoying the designer clothing displays as much as the shop exteriors. I happened to instagram almost every step: 

this way to the temperley london store...
my favorite finds in relik
kensington gardens square : my new dream address 
the colorful shops down westbourne grove
gallery across the street from the shops : new always looks best with old

Sunday, January 20, 2013

winter weekends

some days your plans just don't play out... friday morning caryn & I woke up early to catch the changing of the guards ceremony at buckingham palace - made it there with time to spare, caught a central spot overlooking the whole ordeal, wrapped our scarves a little tighter against the snow and waited. and waited. and waited. eventually we saw the two regiments march/horse-ride past but were completely underwhelmed. we decided our toes couldn't take it anymore and started back towards the tube when we saw the smallest sign behind the gates: "no changing of the guards ceremony today." london really does shut down in this weather.

friday night we made our way to the national gallery since it's open late though I have to admit I spent more time looking at the building than the renaissance art. once I found the impressionists I didn't want to leave : monet and van gogh could have kept me occupied for hours. my favorite find was definitely seeing van gogh's cheery sunflowers in person! 

today (sunday) was blizzarding as bad as ever so we opted out of our market-strolling plans and made our way over to harrods! impossible to give everything its proper attention in one go, I walked through the chocolate room then spent the rest of the time picking out my dream wardrobe of oscar de la renta, tibi and chanel...

 guards leaving
 guards arriving
the national gallery after dark

 looking up in the entrance to the national gallery

taking the thames to greenwich

on saturday, our school organized a boat trip down the thames to greenwich. though not quite sure what I would find there, I bundled up against the snow and headed to the official site of the naval college, the prime meridian and the queen's house. we stopped in the greenwich market to grab lunch and I came out with a spinach & mushroom crepe along with an assortment of fudge from the local mr. humbug candy shop... (I cannot be helped when it comes to chocolate and vintage candy stores!)

we hiked up to the royal observatory, the official meeting spot for the eastern & western hemispheres but passed up the cliche photo-op of one foot on each side to watch the local kids sled down the slippery slope. my favorite spot was the queen's house built in the 1600's to house Queen Anne of Denmark and Henrietta Maria. though my history is a little rusty the grand black & white tiled floors, painted bedroom ceiling and the tulip stairwell were well worth a daydream! I've already planned to host a ball when I move in... 

on top of the tour boat
the group grabbing an assortment of grub
nautical gates to the national maritime museum
attempting a giant anchor/delta gamma pose

 the royal observatory and the sledding hill
top of the hill and the back of the queen's house
my favorite part : the tulip stairwell 

Friday, January 18, 2013

wandering through week one

I would call this week my official first week in london as I finally started classes, made time for a bit of random wandering and drank more cappuccinos than probably necessary... 

on monday I visited the tate modern gallery and enjoyed the soothing shapes of picasso, kadinsky, pollock and matisse though I was entirely perplexed by some of the installation pieces. a rather cold and rainy day, we stopped on the fourth floor cafe for coffee.

tuesday and thursday were reserved for classes but wednesday I escaped to covent garden to wander around some shops and stop in a cafe for a few hours to read a book for class. I naturally found kate spade & stopped in to look at their new merchandise (obsessed!) and found sass & bide, a cute store of girly knick knacks. 

the view from the top of our dorm/apartment building
trafalgar square on the cab ride into london

my new favorite lunch spot : hummus bros 
st. pauls from the tate modern

the thames on a rainy day at the tate modern

cute shops down in covent garden 
cappuccino at bill's lunchspot while wandering covent garden

Sunday, January 13, 2013

seeing sights

like the tourists we still seem to be we took a bus tour of london today to see the sights. with camera & map in hand I attempted to track which way we were ever heading & quickly gave up to gawk out the window at the tops of each street. the mixture of old old old and brand new architecture left me daydreaming about opening my imaginary fifth floor apartment window to my impossibly small balcony with only just enough room for a pot of my favorite flowers... 

favorite find : albert memorial in kensington gardens adorned with an impossible amount of gold

 albert memorial 

 between big ben & the london eye

  gates at buckingham palace

westminster abbey : hello will & kate!

windsor & eton

I have barely been here a full five days and the mixture of jet lag, confusion and a jam-packed schedule has left me equally exhausted and excited to start the semester! on saturday we went on a bus tour of windsor castle and eton college (the boys school will & harry attended!). both towns had quirky old houses that looked like blocks of wood compared to the castle! how royal would it feel to live next door to the queen's weekend home? 

favorite find : st. george's chapel