Viktor Wynd’s Museum of Curiosities | London

The Last Tuesday Society

Halloween is creeping up on us so what better time to take you to a dark basement in East London, right? More precisely, we’re going to Hackney. There’s this strange-looking pub on Mare Street, with a black front and curious knick-knacks haphazardly displayed in its window. Inside the atmosphere is suitably lugubrious. On the ground floor, the Last Tuesday Society is a pub like no other. As your eyes get used to the poorly lit environment, you may notice that patrons may look rather strange… Yes, you’re seeing that right, it’s a rather menacing stuffed lion wearing a top hat sat at that table! Now as much as this is definitely the most intriguing drinking institution I’ve been to, I’m actually here to tell you about what lies beneath it…

The Last Tuesday SocietyThe Last Tuesday SocietyThe Last Tuesday Society

Mention the museum to the bartender and you will be shown to a gaping hole on the ground where a staircase spirals down to a red-glowing mouth. Hold tight to the banister, a few more steps, please, please mind that one, and you’ve landed in Viktor Wynd’s Museum of Curiosities. There, a couple of rooms are lined with glass cabinets filled with so much stuff you don’t know where to start. There’s a lot of taxidermy as one expect from such places but the specimens are arranged in strange scenes, sometimes placed alongside surprisingly mundane objects. For instance, there’s this striking stuffed two-headed lamb standing right next to Dora the Explorer.

The Last Tuesday SocietyThe Last Tuesday SocietyThe Last Tuesday Society

The associations are mesmerising, you feel like you’ve just tapped into Viktor Wynd’s stream of consciousness. His interests are strangely intertwined behind the glass windows: tribal art, erotica, taxidermy, celebrity culture, Happy Meal toys and the flashy world of dandies. With his personal collection mixed with donations, Viktor Wynd wishes here to “recreate a 17th century Wunderkabinett with 21st century sensibilities”. The idea is not to educate but to leave the visitor with a sense of wonder. Undoubtedly, some pieces are awe-inspiring such as the perfect dodo skeleton, the precious glitter suit of celebrated dandy Sebastian Horsley or the predator bones lurking behind the bars of a cage at the back at the museum.

The Last TuesdayThe Last Tuesday SocietyThe Last Tuesday Society

But mostly, this little shop of horrors is deliciously facetious. A closer inspection to the book covers will make you blush, with titles like The Naughty Nun or Mrs Thompson’s Water Domination (!). And look at that angry stuffed chihuahua taking cover under the giant crab! It’s also well worth reading the labels on the various pots and jars exhibited on the shelves. There are some very puzzling spontaneous donations such as Russell Brand’s pubes (which are actually beard trimmings sent by his hairdresser), Amy Winehouse’s (fake) poo and Russell Crowe’s (actual) wee. The world of Viktor Wynd is undoubtedly fascinating but what you make of it is the added reward.

The Last Tuesday Society
Practical Information

The Last Tuesday Society,
The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities – website

11 Mare Street
London E8 4RP

Opening Hours
12pm – 10.30pm (Wed-Sun; same hours as the pub)
Tours are also organised

Admission
General £5 / Concessions £3 (includes a cup of tea & a guide book)

Bus
26, 48, 55, 106, 254, 388

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Summer Days in London

Summer Days in London
Last month I went for my annual trip to London and as always I had the best time exploring my favourite city. I only stayed a long weekend and this time I felt like taking it easy and didn’t pack as much as my last trip. A lot of time was spent in parks just basking in the sun, it was wonderful. I thought I would write a quick and casual summary of what I was up to during these few blissful day because there were a few great London discoveries that were made.

When your breakfast spot has the prettiest facade on the street 💕
Day 1 started with a lovely breakfast at Well Street Kitchen. I opted for the granola and greek yogurt topped by a deliciously tart berry compote. Portions were generous and everything was well done and fresh (bar the OJ that tasted like it was cut with concentrate juice which was slightly disappointing). The digestion phase was spent sitting in the nearby park and observing the people passing by. It always strikes me how close-knitted the East-end community looks like from afar, everybody seems to be talking to each other.
Summer Days in London
Summer Days in Dublin
Next I hopped on a bus to Islington High Street. I had briefly window-shopped there before, it’s quite a vibrant area with an interesting mix of shops. I took advantage of being in the area to check out Home & Pantry, an independent Interior Shop I had long wanted to visit. But the real reason I was in the area was to go to the Victoria Miro Gallery to see the Yayoi Kusama exhibition. This was first on my ‘London wishlist’ this year as I really didn’t want to miss it before it closed. I had previously seen Kusama’s work before in the Tate back in 2012 and absolutely loved her universe. This time the exhibition seemed to focus on reflections, ripples and pumpkins. It was a completely mind-blowing experience to stand in the room of ‘All the Eternal Love I have for the Pumpkins‘.
Summer Days in London
Afterwards, I went to Spitalfields market where I had a late lunch at Leon. I had heard of their sweet potato falafel box and thought it sounded like a great combination. It turns out it was a tad bland, it was nice but nothing to write home about. I immediately got luncheon remorse when I noticed that Pilpel was just outside the market hall. Oh well, you win some, you lose some… I wanted to wander in the area to take pictures of the old Georgian streets. I went back to Folgate Street where stands the molto brilliantissimo Dennis Severs House and explored Fournier Street and Princelet Street for the first time. These were honestly two of the most beautiful streets I had ever trod on, pure film set material.
Summer Days in London
The day’s explorations ended with a walk along Brick Lane and a quick look to the facade of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. It was unfortunately closed by the time I got there but it’s a fascinating place, full of history, as it is here that Big Ben and the Liberty Bell were cast. I definitely need to come back during business hours.
Summer Days in LondonSummer Days in London
On Day 2, I went to Sutton House. This I will need to write a post about but it is a beautiful Tudor manor, the oldest residential building in Hackney actually. It used to belong to Ralph Sadleir, a courtier of the terrifying Henry VIII. You can visit the many rooms but if you don’t care much for history there’s also a tea house and a cafe. The inner courtyard is a wonderful little place to sit down and have a cuppa.
Summer Days in London
And on the final day, I went to Camden Market. I hadn’t been there in years! Even though my recollection of it was the most crowded place in London, I’m pretty sure it managed to get even busier since the last time I was here. The market stalls expanded quite a bit too. The food variety would make anyone’s head spin (especially if you suffer from option paralysis like me). Unrelated question but does anyone know what happened to the group of punks who would always hang out by the bridge? Did the crowds make them run away and hide? Is punk dead?
Summer Days in LondonSummer Days in London
Following that, I was in dire need of a quieter and greener place so I took off and headed to Primrose Hill. But first, I stopped by Wholefoods to get a few snacks for an impromptu picnic. Another overwhelming place for little old indecisive me but I managed to get out with some interesting quinoa crisps and novelty pop corn as well as a refreshing cold-pressed watermelon juice.
On my way to the top of the hill, I crossed a couple walking 5 dachshunds. Their little stumpy legs were working hard! Incidentally, this is not the first time I see 5 dachshunds on a hill!
Primrose Hill offers fantastic view over the London skyline (although I think I might prefer the view from Hampstead Heath). The wind was strong at the top and some kids were flying kites. Which meant I had Mary Poppins Let’s Go Fly a Kite looping in my head all afternoon!
Summer Days in London
I noticed the hill was not too far from Little Venice so I hopped on the canal pathway and lazily wandered along the water. I’m actually not sure I even went through Little Venice (?), I walked until I met a dead-end. It was such a pleasant stroll, the canal was bordered by grandiose-looking manors. Back onto the streets, I found my way to the nearest tube station. Next stop: Westminster!
Summer Days in London

Summer Days in London
I hadn’t seen Big Ben in years! It still takes my breath away and fills me with nostalgia, bringing me back to being a teenager discovering London for the first time. I’m forever impressed with this city’s grandeur, the Houses of Parliament look like it was chiselled from ice and the Thames so strong, ploughs through the city like a thousand concrete-coloured stallions. Just as I was crossing Westminster Bridge, I noticed a group of Asian couples in the middle of a wedding photoshoot. It was just the weirdest thing, the brides wore sneakers under their beautiful tulle dresses and gave their best smiles to bossy photographers.
I patiently waited for them to finish their shoot and headed to that little tunnel under the bridge to take that famous framed picture of Big Ben. Unfortunately the light was pants but as I crossed to the other side of the bridge, I was welcomed by the warm golden hour.
Summer Days in London

This was the perfect ending to another successful trip to this city I love so much. It was great to chill and revisit old favourites. I’m quite chuffed with the new places I saw too. But now it was time to go to the “Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning” and bid good bye to London. Until next time old friend!

Columbia Road Flower Market | London

Columbia Road Flower Market

I’ve well and truly been bitten by the Springtime bug, fawning over every bloom I pass on the streets, getting teary-eyed over shedding cherry-blossom trees and sniffing lilac like there’s no tomorrow. Spring in Dublin is magical but I have to say I get a teeny pinch in the ticker when I see all the flowery London snaps on Instagram. I mean, have you seen the #wisteriahysteria hashtag?! And did you know that the shops in Chelsea are decked with hundreds of flowers in honour of the Chelsea Flower Show? I can’t help being a tad jealous of the floral fete London is experiencing at the moment. So I thought it would be the perfect time to reminisce over a lovely Sunday morning I spent at the flower market in East London last Summer.

It was my first time visiting the Columbia Road Flower Market despite seeing it featured countless times in blogs over the years. Truth is, waking up early on a Sunday morning was rarely on my list of priorities in my twenties. Especially when visiting my favourite city. But with the thirties come wisdom… or at least a great urge to see flowers arranged neatly in buckets.

Columbia Road Flower MarketColumbia Road Flower MarketColumbia Road Flower Market

The flower market is a great little slice of London life. You’re surrounded by the colourful accents of the sellers hollering at the passersby, elegant women who look like they could single-handedly organise a party of 150. Others who quickly scan the stalls like resolute captains of their gardens and then there are the girls who look for a little bouquet to brighten up their small rentals. When the clock strikes 11, the street gets so crowded you can hardly move. I managed to go up and down Columbia Road a few times to take these pictures. It was one of the most intense photographic exercise for me. There’s people literally everywhere, the sun was shining bright on one side of the road while the other was plunged in the dark, shaded by the street houses. I generally like to take my time when I take pictures but I had to act quickly, constantly changing settings and trying to be discreet in order not to disturb anyone. I enjoyed snapping the pretty posies – roses, peonies, sunflowers and hortensias were in season – but also the patrons carrying their loot and their cute dogs!

Columbia Road Flower MarketColumbia Road Flower Market

Becky from the blog ACCOOOHTREMENTS shared her brilliant Londoner tip in the comment section:if you get there between 3-3.30pm, the sellers that are left are often doing very good discounts (last week I got 2 gorgeous bunches of tulips for £5!) :)

The market is not the only appeal of Columbia Road and its area. There’s a cute flea market in a nearby courtyard and so many beautifully curated shops on the street itself. Three especially got my attention: A Portuguese Love Affair which will remind you of a minimalist A Vida Portuguesa if you’ve ever been to Lisbon, Mason & Painter offers a great mix of vintage and new homeware, I absolutely adored their aesthetics and finally Choosing Keeping, a very chic stationary shop that made me want to have an army of pen pals.

Columbia Road Flower MarketColumbia Road Flower MarketColumbia Road Flower Market

There’s also a great selection of eateries, bakeries and places to get refreshments. If you’re in need of coffee, which let’s face it is more than likely seeing the market’s time window, I heartily recommend the little coffee stall located in The Royal Oak‘s backyard. I’m not a coffee connoisseur by any means but their flat white was so smooth I completely skipped the mountains of sugar I usually dose my caffeinated beverages with. The pub itself is actually a great spot too, I loved its old London charm and creaky floors.

All in all, Columbia Road is one of the most charming areas I’ve visited in London and I would love to go back, maybe this time on a weekday so I can give more attention to all the beautiful shops and the street architecture.

Columbia Road Flower Market

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Columbia Road Flower Market – website
Columbia Road
London E2 7RG

Opening Hours
8am-3pm, every Sunday

Bus
26, 48, 55 (Queensbridge Road stop)
8, 388 (Barnet Grove stop)
67, 149, 242, 243 (Kingsland Road Waterson Street)

Tube
Bethnal Green (Central Line)

Overground
Cambridge Heath

The Geffrye Museum | London

Geffrye MuseumGeffrye Museum
Exactly a year ago, I was spending a few days in London and I visited the Geffrye Museum in Shoreditch. I was lured in by the promise of period rooms. I already briefly touched on it in a previous post but basically the museum explore the evolution of English homes over 400 years. I wanted to delve a bit deeper into it today as their annual Christmas Past exhibition is back on.

Eleven rooms are dedicated to the recreation of the living spaces of the middle class and how they would celebrate Christmas from the 1600s to the present day. The food on the table, the ornaments and the traditions evolve as you change rooms. Watch Mince pies, colourful jelly, parlour games, mistletoe, tree decorations and everything that is quintessentially English make an apparition as you go further in the exhibition. It’s like a trip in the Christmas tardis.

Geffrye MuseumGeffrye MuseumGeffrye Museum
Geffrye MuseumGeffrye MuseumGeffrye Museum
Geffrye Museum

Unfortunately, the garden was closed when I visited but it looked gorgeous from what I could see from the window of the conservatory. That room was actually my favourite, it looked like something straight out of Mary Poppins, the pastel walls reminded of the underworld of Bert’s chalk drawings. The circular shape, of the merry-go-round, even the horse on the wall had the distinctive Disney long muzzle.

The museum is located in former almshouses that were destined for the poverty-stricken pensioners of the Ironmongers Company. It was built in 1714 by Sir Robert Geffrye, Master of the company and Lord Mayor of London. Facing the building lies a park where it feels good to take a break from the busy road outside.
Geffrye Museum
Geffrye Museum
Geffrye Museum

In one of the wings, two of these almshouses have been left in their original state and they are now open to the public on certain days of the week. Compared to the cosy Christmas rooms in the main part of the museum, they did look spartan but it was a very tangible way to picture the conditions in which the retired of the Iron trade and their family were living in the 18th and 19th century.

Geffrye Museum
Practical Information

The Geffrye Museum – website
136 Kingsland Road
Shoreditch
London E2 8EA

The Christmas Past Exhibition is on until Sunday 3 January 2016

Opening Hours
10am – 5pm (Tue – Sun; Bank Holiday Mondays)

Admission
Free (there’s £4 entrance to the Almshouses, check the museum’s website for tour schedules)

Overground
Hoxton Station

Bus
67, 149, 242, 243 & 394

Rococo, Finnish Trolls and More Pizza | London, Day 6

Shut the front door! Has it been really a month since my last post?! This is just a bit ridiculous, I’m not sure how that happened, time has slipped through my fingers….
Well today is the day I’m finally coming at you with the tale of the last hours I spent in London this Summer. This is how it went.

The Wallace Collection
THE WALLACE COLLECTION

First I headed towards the fancy area of Marylebone via the dreaded Oxford Circus. It wasn’t too bad actually, I’ve seen worst crowds (namely Oxford Circus on the 23rd of December 2007… never again). There, I came to visit The Wallace Collection. How to explain the Wallace Collection to you if you’ve never heard of it? Take a good dose of silk tapestries, all the colours of the rainbow, if available, add gold in large quantities and tons and tons of majestic paintings and there you have it, the stuff rococo dreams are made of. Needless to say, I pretty much had an eyegasm. There was so much stuff to look at, you can tell from the pictures I took that my senses were overloaded. Not one picture is straight. Oops. I will show you what I can salvage from them in a later post. This place certainly needs a whole post dedicated to it.

Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN
http://www.wallacecollection.org/
Covent Garden
COVENT GARDEN MARKET

Then I walked to Covent Garden Market with one goal in mind. The Moomin Shop! Back in 2008, I went to Finland and as well as bringing back bringing brilliant memories, I bore one regret: not buying a Moomin mug. I was too worried it would break as I was backpacking, you see. So London was my chance to send back that regret to oblivion. Unfortunately, it wasn’t so as I got out of the shop empty-handed. I just couldn’t justify the price, especially with the steep conversion rate. Dramatic Face. It was a damn cute shop tho!
Neal's Yard
NEAL’S YARD

I forgot all about my moomin mug misfortune and mooched around Covent Garden, gawking at all the pretty windows (Ladurée <3) and went to Neal's Yard for my final stop of the day… well, of the trip. I had never stepped foot in the colourful courtyard before. It's quite a surprising space to stumble upon right next to London's busiest streets. My stomach led me straight to Homeslice for I had heard only good things of their pizzas. I went for a slice of Margherita and I had a bit of shock when I was handed a portion pretty much the size of an actual pizza. It's definitely great value for money and it was SO delicious!

That’s it for my trip to London this Summer folks, I hope you enjoyed the account of the few days I spent there. I do have a few more Summer memories to tell you about but I think it’s time now to switch the blog on Autumn mode, don’t you think? x

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5

A doomed poet, breathtaking views & grave stones | London, Day 5

For one of my last days in London, I decided to go to Hampstead, a green, and may I say, rather posh area in the North West of London. I’m not completely unfamiliar with this neighbourhood. Many moons ago I got lost walking up and down its hills, looking for Highgate Cemetery… without a map. Needless to say, I never found it but I liked what I saw, all of a sudden London felt like a village.
It was time to come back, this time armed with GPS, I wasn’t going to be defeated. Especially as I had accumulated a rather long list of places I wanted to check out in the area. Most of them stately homes, which you know by now my love for them. Unfortunately, my ‘holiday piggy bank’ was considerably depleted by then so I had to pick one and went for the most affordable one of the bunch.

Keats House
Keats House
KEATS HOUSE

I have to come clean with my ignorance, I really didn’t know much about John Keats. I vaguely knew he wrote poetry and that he went through a tragic love story, which is probably very common in the profession anyway. It probably explains why for so long, I kept confusing him with Dylan Thomas in my little ditzy head. Yep, poetry is really not my forte.
I’m glad I got to know him a bit better through pacing the floors of the house he once called his own. I will depict it and touch on his short life in an upcoming post.

10 Keats Grove, London NW3 2RR
website
Hampstead Heath
HAMPSTEAD HEATH

Keats house is handily located next to Hampstead Heath. I needed to cross this beautiful park to get to my next destination. I lingered on its paths, gushed at the cute dogs being walked and watched, bewildered, the locals paddling about in the murky ponds.
I climbed at the top of Parliament Hill, singing Kate Bush to myself to be stopped abruptly by the magnificent view that rolled at the top. I stood there for a while and admired the London skyline surrounded by Londoners, all of us equally oblivious to the rain that had started to pour. But it was time to start on the last stretch of my journey if I wanted to catch the Dead before the closing of the gates.
Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery
HIGHGATE CEMETERY

You will have guessed it by now, this time I had made it to Highgate Cemetery. I had longed to see its ivy-covered grave stones more than any other cemetery in the world. It was every bit as creepy and mysterious I had imagined and I finally got to see the tomb of one of my favourite writers. It was so teeny that I very nearly missed it. But that’s a story for another post!

Swain’s Lane, London N6 6PJ
http://highgatecemetery.org

And that’s it for my penultimate day in London. Hope you’re enjoying the series so far and that you found a place you’d like to visit. In case you missed any of the previous days, here is Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4.

Flower market, pizza slices & tower blocks | London, Day 4

Columbia Road Flower Market
COLUMBIA ROAD FLOWER MARKET

Sunday mornings are made for markets, right? One I had been meaning to check out for a long time is the Columbia Road Flower Market. That weekend, I finally managed the early rise necessary to enjoy the market before it gets too crowded.
I’m not a coffee drinker but that morning, I really needed a caffeine fix. I was on full Zombie mode. Luckily, Jane knew a great cafe stall, which was located in the courtyard of the pub The Royal Oak (on Columbia Road). The coffee there was so smooth, I swear, I didn’t even need to put sugar in it! Thank the Lord, I don’t live anywhere near that place, I would have started down the dangerous slope of caffeine addiction at full speed.
I enjoyed the market a lot, I walked back and forth several times to look at all the flowers and to get all the shots I wanted. The light was quite stark, the sun shone brightly on one side of the market while the other one was in the shadow. Switching from one side to the other, in between the people, was a great camera exercise. It forced me to remember the settings and not to rely on my screen anymore. I feel like I made some progress that day! I’ll show you the pictures in a later post where I’ll talk more about the market and the surrounding shops.

Columbia Road, London E2 E7RG
http://www.columbiaroad.info

The City of London Police Museum

After the market, I mooched around in Shoreditch. It’s such an energising area. So many incredible shops and eateries, one can easily lose track of time… and money. I took note of two beautifully curated shops on Calvert Avenue: O’Dell’s and Luna & Curious. My stomach reminded me of its presence and I went on a food mission. I ended up grabbing pizza slice in the snazzy Voodoo Rays. It was pretty good and it gave me the energy I needed to walk all the way to…

Barbican Centre
THE BARBICAN CENTRE

If you’ve never heard of the Barbican Centre, it’s a housing estate slash arts centre slash music and drama school slash conservatory… I probably forgot something but it’s an imposing structure and walking among its halls, I felt like I was on the set of a working-class film from the Sixties. Again, I’ll talk about it in more detail in a later post.

Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS
http://www.barbican.org.uk/

Leadenhall Market
Leadenhal Market
LEADENHALL MARKET

The rest of the day was spent walking in the City of London, which is a district I’d never really explored before. I took my sweet time, nose in the air as usual, getting lost sometimes, but always inspired by London’s great architecture and its different variations. And speaking of astounding architecture, my last destination that day was Leadenhall Market. It’s one of the oldest covered markets in London. It dates back from the 14th century. If it looks slightly familiar to you, it is probably because you’ve seen it before in the first Harry Potter film. It is a bit magical, even in real life, even on a Sunday when the shops are closed and the galleries deserted.

London EC3V 1LT
http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/visit-the-city/eat-drink/leadenhall-market/Pages/default.aspx

And that’s day 4 over! Only two more days left of my trip to London to tell you all about! If you missed any of the previous days, here is a recap:
Day 1: Audrey Hepburn & Ice-Cream along the Thames | Day 2: Spicy falafel, Totoro, golden gates & confettis | Day 3: Canal walk & neon signs

Canal walk & Neon Signs | London, Day 3

Hertford Union Canal
Hertford Union Canal
HERTFORD UNION CANAL

Saturday started with a peaceful walk along the Hertford Union Canal, which is the canal that goes along Victoria Park and reaches the Olympic Park. Thanks to my friend Jane, I discovered that London has quite an extensive canal system. It’s something I know very little about and I think it’s an area that still feels a bit secret about the city. Isn’t it fantastic that you could cross the whole of London following a canal route?! That’s something I’d really love to explore more next time I visit.
I very much enjoyed looking at the beautiful inhabited barges and the colorful graffitis along the canal. Hertford Union is quieter than Regent’s Canal but it feels like it’s on the verge of turning into something as buzzy, judging from the few eateries, pubs and cafes in cute shacks sprinkled along the bank.
I walked until the Hackney Marshes where I jumped on a bus towards one of the most incredible places I’ve ever visited…

God's Own JunkyardGod's Own Junkyard
GOD’S OWN JUNKYARD

This ‘neon sign graveyard’ had been on my bucketlist for the longest time. The reason was that it’s located quite far in the East of London. I’m so happy I got to finally visit it, the experience was unreal! There wasn’t a bit of wall in this warehouse that wasn’t covered with a colourfully-lit sign. I absolutely adored it and as you might expect, I took one million pictures and plan to dedicate a whole post to the place. Sorry about the teaser, but that’s all you’re getting from me today!

Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall St
Walthamstow, London E17 9HQ
http://www.godsownjunkyard.co.uk/

Thanks for checking in today! If you missed the previous days of my trip in London, here are Day 1 and Day 2. See you tomorrow! x

Spicy falafel, Totoro, golden gates & confettis | London, Day 2

Portobello Road
Day 2 was a Friday and I kinda got that itching of going back to Portobello Road. I hadn’t browsed the market for years and back when I was living in London, it was one of my favourite ways to spend a Saturday. Even though it’s super touristy and crowded!
I don’t think I’d ever visited the market on a Friday and it was definitely more chilled. I also went the furthest I had ever been along the Road, past the Westway flyover to check out the Falafel King (pictured above). I googled for the best falafels in London and this is one of the places that came up. This was the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone!
I enjoyed their falafel pitta and fresh lemonade in the blinding sun and made my way back, after my tongue recovered from the hot sauce (I made the mistake of asking for all the toppings, including two types of hot sauce and a chilli pepper… greedy, me?!).
Portobello Road
I then noticed on my right a cute little shop called Lavender Home (pictured above) where I found the meaning of the word ‘Kawaii‘: Japanese Stationary, artworks, postcards and various knicks and knacks were stocked on the shop’s shelves. I wanted everything, especially all the Ghibli merch. I managed to restrict myself to a fluffy little purse, which I’ll show you in a second.

The rest of the afternoon was dedicated to wandering about in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. I wanted to see the St Luke’s Mews which are located just next to Portobello Rd. They’re those cute colourful houses converted from old stables, I’ve seen them featured on Instagram so many times. There are many mews in London but the light was so stark that I didn’t manage to capture any on camera. All I have is that little bridge view below.
Kensington & Chelsea Kensington & Chelsea
Kensington & Chelsea The Churchill Arms
I kept walking northward as I wanted to go window-shopping on the posh King’s Road. On my way, I made sure to stop by The Churchill Arms (see picture above), a pub famous for its incredible floral display. It looked like hundreds of flower bombs exploded on its facade.
I also took a breather in the beautiful Kensington Gardens. I sat on the grass to look at people go by and admire the intricate gilded gate of the Palace. I really wanted to visit it but couldn’t justify the price, especially after converting it to euro. Gulp. Looks like you’ll have to hold on to that change for a little while longer, new purse!
Kensington Palace & Gardens Kensington Palace & Gardens
Kensington & Chelsea Kensingon & Chelsea
As the sun was setting down, I finally made it to King’s Road. The remains of a wedding ceremony stopped me in my tracks. I looked down at the pretty confettis then headed to Anthropologie, a homeware shop, so I could day-dream of what I would do when I finally get that winning lottery ticket.

If you missed Day 1 of my trip in London, here it is! Hope you’ll come back tomorrow for more x

Audrey Hepburn & Ice-cream along the Thames | London, Day 1

I’m just back from a long week in London and it was fantastic as per usual. I got to tick off so much from my ‘London Bucketlist’! I couldn’t wait to tell you all about it so I thought I would post everyday this week with snappy rundowns of each day spent in my favourite city. And in the hopefully not too distant future, i will write more in-depth posts about some of the places mentioned. That way, I’ll also be able to talk about places that would have never made the cut. I want to quickly add that everything here will be budget-friendly. The pound was incredibly strong compared to the Euro so money was flying through my pockets even more so than usual. I tried to be wise and eat at home most of the time thanks to my friend who was putting me up (if you’re reading, thank you again Jane) so I’m afraid the recommendations for eateries and restaurants will be few and far between. But without further ado, here’s day 1 of my stay in the Big Smoke.

National Portrait Gallery

AUDREY HEPBURN, PORTRAITS OF AN ICON @ THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY

First port of call was the photographic exhibition on Audrey Hepburn. I used to be obsessed with her and whatever films she played in so when Jane mentioned it in an email, I knew it had to go on ‘the list’.
The exhibition recounts her life in pictures, from her mischievous smile as a child to her UNICEF work in Africa. Did you know she was born in Belgium by the way? #proudpatrioticmoment
In between, there’s quite a few publicity theatre and film shots, I was delighted to discover that a couple of her films escaped my Hepburn madness era. But there’s also incredible portraits by renowned photographers such as Cecil Beaton, Mark Shaw and the technicolor-wizard Norman Parkinson. I was so absorbed I didn’t even notice Gok Wan was in the same room, haha! The exhibition comprises of three rooms (and a half), it’s quite small but the pictures are full of interesting details. My favourite one was by Mark Shaw where you can see queen Audrey from three different angles in a mirrored dressing room.

Audrey is the most intringuingly childish, adult, feminine tomboy I’ve ever photographed. She’s many women wrapped in one.

Mark Shaw

PS: Photography wasn’t allowed inside, I even got shouted at for taking the picture of the entrance above -_-

2 July – 18 October 2015
St Martin’s Place, London WC2H 0HE
http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/hepburn/home.php

South Bank

SOUTH BANK

After wandering on the different floors of the National Portrait Gallery (which is free by the way), it was time to head out and soak up that hazy London sun. Direction: South Bank! Even though it’s quite a popular destination for both Londoners and tourists, I had actually never visited the area. When I lived in London, I really liked the bit of the bank from Tower Bridge and Eastwards. I’m glad I finally remedied to that ‘London faux-pas’ because it was a really pleasant walk. I watched the skaters rolling around in the skate park, browsed through a second-hand book market, made a silly picture in front of the National theatre, looked at the leaflets to see what was up in the Southbank arts centre and ate a strawberry ice-cream while watching people and seagulls.

It was then time to go home to go grocery shopping and on my way to the bus stop, I got to cross the Millenium Bridge for the first time, the view on the beautiful Saint Paul’s Cathedral was insane! How can one ever get tired of London?

Hope you enjoyed Day 1! Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for Day 2 x