My current favorite bronzer? The Maybelline City bronzer! I bought this product when I visited London and was afraid it would be too dark. Why? Because the lightest shade was sold out everywhere and on my fair skin most medium to deep bronzers end up looking muddy and weird. So I was a bit skeptical about this at first. But now that I have tried it, it instantly jumped to the top of my list. Read on to find out why!Read more
Day 3 of my trip would be devoted to more walking and plenty of shopping. I hit up Oxford Street and Soho and ticked off plenty from my fashion wish list to make a shoplog once I get back. So keep your eyes peeled for that but now let me just tell you what I exactly did on Day 3.
My day started with a crowded subway ride during London’s rush hour. Perhaps not the best idea, but I was a girl with a mission: hit up Primark before everyone else did. I took the tube to Marble Arch and since I had never been able to take a proper picture of that monument I decided to go ahead and do just that before going to Primark. Luckily for me Primark was quiet when I got there and so I could browse to my heart’s content without having to step over people or be pushed around by crowds.
After Primark I hit up some more major store chains, which is what you do when you shop on Oxford Street. I went to Forever 21, TopShop, Urban Outfitters and Monki (in Selfridges). I found green pants (yay!), not 1 but 3 (!) bulky sweaters and two really cute dresses. I had also found out where the MAC Pro Store was located (in Carnaby Street) and browsed around there too. As I now found myself in Soho, I walked around some more into the general direction of Leicester Square and also found Make Up Store AND Illamasqua shops located in the Carnaby Street area. So, if you like make up and you are shopping in London, go to Carnaby Street!
Since it was only 4 PM I tried to see which movies were showing at that time, but again found nothing good playing so I just got onto the tube again and headed back to the hotel. My feet desperately needed a rest and I just watched some TV while reading blogs and writing a few of my own (including this one). I decided on having sushi for dinner and going to bed on time to get ready for my final day in London.
And so that was day 3. Not much to say unless you want the entire relay of my shopping experience. It’s just high street shopping, which is something you like or you don’t. I loved hitting up the vintage stores and markets in East London a few days ago, but also the boutique style stores in Covent Garden on Monday. Oxford Street has all major chains with some flagship stores (Primark & Topshop) which are huge you feel you’ll get lost.
Shopping high street stores is a beast on its own and my only advice is to go there early enough before major crowds show up. If you plan on shopping London’s Oxford Street I can highly recommend starting from Marble Arch and working your way eastward towards Tottenham Court Road. You’ll find yourself coming across Primark, Forever 21, H&M (several times), Dorothy Perkins (several times), Pull & Bear, Aldo, Topshop, Urban Outfitters, Super Drug, Boots and department stores such as Selfridges, Debenhams and House of Fraser. In case of a rainy day, you can also go to Westfield Shopping Mall at Shepherd’s Bush. It has most of the stores you will find on Oxford Street, but you won’t get wet.
Where do you prefer to shop: vintage stores, boutiques or the high street?
Day two in the English capital turned out to be a great day. The weather was amazing, with a slight breeze but plenty of sunshine making it perfect weather for walking. And walk I did. I set off from my hotel around 9 AM. My first stop was the Twinings tea shop on The Strand. It’s the only official Twinings-only shop in the world and they have many varieties that aren’t available in Holland. Argyll Square – View from my hotel room
After picking up nearly 10 different teas including a ‘vintage’ Darjeeling I walk about for a bit as I wanted to go to Temple Church but it wouldn’t open until an hour later. I found myself walking along the River Thames and found a bench bathing in sunlight. I sat there people and boat watching while listening to music and waited until I could go to Temple Church.
I had heard that Temple Church would be difficult to find and while trying to find it, I figured why. The church is surrounded by other buildings that are part residential area and part offices. It is completely encased and I found it by walking into a narrow alleyway. If I hadn’t I would have most likely walked passed it. Temple Church is quite a strange place. It’s only a stone’s throw away from the heavy traffic of Fleet Street/ The Strand, but yet it’s so quiet and peaceful when you walk into the courtyard. It doesn’t even feel like you’re in the middle of London.
Temple Church is famous for being round on one end rather than having the shape of a cross. In the round part of the church you will find the famous effigies of the Knights Templar as featured in The Da Vinci Code. The ones you see in the picture above are actually plaster casts of the original which are on the other end of the room. The casts were made during the Victorian era for the World Exhibition and placed in the church after the originals were badly damaged during The Blitz in WWII. The Church is still active which is why it is only open at specific times a day.
After the Church I walked via The Strand to Trafalgar Square and had a pit stop at Starbucks and Superdrug where I picked up some make up by brands that aren’t available in The Netherlands. I then went to the National Gallery where I walked around for a few hours viewing mainly Impressionist and Dutch 17th century art. The museum houses art from the 1200s till 1900 and since it is huge I picked two categories to go and see because I didn’t want to spend such a lovely day indoors all day.
The National Gallery is definitely worth a visit. If art isn’t your thing you should just step inside to see the interior. It is hands down one of the most majestic buildings I’ve ever been in, without it being preposterous. It’s a beautifully designed museum, especially the room called Central Hall and the rooms directly adjacent to it. Unfortunately you are not allowed to take pictures inside the museum so you’ll just have to believe me or go there yourself. The museum is free so just stop by and pop in to have a look whenever you’re near it.
After viewing Monets, Renoirs, Rembrandts and the like I felt hungry and had lunch outside in the sunshine with a delicious salad. With it only being 3 PM and having gone through my plans for the day already, I set off towards Leicester Square to see if I could catch a West End musical. Unfortunately nothing struck me as remotely interesting and there aren’t many movies out right now that I think are worth visiting so I decided to take a beeline toward Covent Garden. There I found the most amazing shoe store on Floral Street called United Nude. It was too pricey for me, but nevertheless these shoes are eyecandy in its purest form. The shoes seem to be a combination of design and architecture and seem impossible to walk in.
I had quite a browse around Coven Garden, bought a few things here and there and headed west again along Shaftesbury Avenue towards Piccadilly Circus. There’s a Waterstone’s nearby as well as an HMV (I like their book section there too) and plenty of food places. So I bought some books and quite exhausted found a table at TGI Friday’s as I was craving a burger. I finished my meal with an Oreo sundae icecream and took the Underground back to the hotel. My feet were killing me after walking around for nearly 12 hours, but that’s how I like London best: by foot.
Stay tuned for more blogs about my London trip later this week!
How is your week coming along?
Yeah baby! When you’re reading this, the count down is seriously on: in little over 24 hours I will be hitting up good ol’ London town once more. I will only be gone for a few days, but since this is the 4th year in a row I’m going there, I think that is plenty to get around. I do have a few things I want to do. Some are completely new, others aren’t, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be fun. Care to know what I’ll be up to (and will most definitely write blogs about)? Then keep on reading!
First of all this will be the first time in a long time of going to London when it’s not spring or summer time. The weather will therefore be an interesting factor on this trip. The forecasts so far are pretty good, with major rain not coming in until Wednesday which is when I’ll be leaving. The rest of my stay will see some scattered showers, but overall it should be dry and sunny for most of it. With London you can never tell though. I’ll just bring an umbrella and make the best of it.
My actual plans involve some of the ideas I had when I first booked the trip. I have plans for hitting up some museums as well as some shopping and seeing a musical. I have never been to the National Gallery so I’ll be going there. It’s still only February so I’m thinking I’ll be safer inside than outside to begin with. I’m also going to visit Temple Church. It is a place with very limited opening hours and needs planning ahead of time. I have looked up all information I need on their website, so I should be good and will not end up standing there when it’s closed.
I will also go to a part of the city I have never been to before: East London. The Brick Lane area to be specific. It’s this very hip and happening place (apparently) ever since artists such as Damien Hirst and his colleagues started setting up shop in the area. Rough Trade has a record store there (great resource for indie music) and also located in the area is Spital Fields Market which is a good place for shopping vintage clothes and accessories. I think it will be an interesting part of London to visit as it borders onto the borough where many Bengali immigrants live so there will be plenty of curry/ food places around methinks.
A museum that I plan to revisit is the British Museum. I went there way back when in 2004. At the time though I was sick and air conditioning made everything worse, so I only stayed inside for less than an hour and saw nothing but the Egypt section. Since the British Museum is huge, I definitely plan on devoting most of one of my days to it, depending on how interesting it is and which exhibitions they have. In the worst case I will just wander about for hours looking at all the prettiness of ancient cultures and then some.
Naturally I will also take out time to go shopping. I’m thinking of just going to Oxford Street and Covent Garden as I know from experience those places have everything I’m looking for. There’s the Primark flagship store, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, Selfridges, TopShop and many more to keep me entertained. I’ll be looking mostly for clothes this time round and there are a few specific items that I hope to find while I’m there. Another shop I will definitely visit is the Twinings shop on The Strand. They sell all kinds of different teas not available in The Netherlands and to top things off I received an email saying they have added new green teas to their selection. I’m curious to try those.
So there you have it: my London plans. I’m just going to see how everything works out. If the weather is nice I will definitely spend a lot of time just wandering about and popping in and out of places as I’m walking around. These plans are by no means set in stone, neither are they intended to fill up my entire day in one go and I’m all for unintentional and spontaneous visits to places. I may or may not go see a West End musical or maybe I’ll just go and see a movie. Who knows! I’m curious to see what my hotel will be like. It does come with free Wifi so I hope to keep this blog going live from London. In any case I know I’ll have a blast.
What are your plans for the weekend?
I started this year with an overview of what the new year would bring for me. One of my plans includes doing some traveling again. By now I have arranged most of my trips and so I thought it would be fun to inform you about them: what hotel I’ve picked out, what I plan on doing there etc. And of course if you have any suggestions, feel fee to leave a comment and tell me what I shouldn’t miss.
My first stop this year will be London and I’m excited to say that I will be going there in less than a month! I am gonna go for only four days during springbreak, but ever since I went to London in 2009 (after years of not having been there at all), I fell in love with it so much that I have been going back every year. This year is no exception. By now I’ve seen most of the touristy stuff, so I will be doing some sightseeing, but my main plan is just to browse around the city as much as I can (weather permit).
I’m staying at a very simple hotel as I’m not planning on spending much time there. The hotel is near King’s Cross Station and I was staying in the same area last year so I know a few pubs and places around, so even if the hotel is a horrible mess I can just hang out there. The hotel comes with breakfast and is close to public transportation and that’s the most important thing to me. I’m flying into Gatwick so I’ll be able to catch a train which takes me straight to St. Pancras and my hotel will be just a 5 minute walk, another plus!
As far as plans are concerned I honestly don’t really have any. I may want to try to hit up Temple Church, but that has very limited accessibility so I will have to look into whether it will even be open during my stay. Another thing that I might do go to a museum. This is mainly on the list for a rainy day. I’m thinking of going to the National Gallery or The British Museum. I’ve never been to the first one, and the last one has been ages since I last went there. I also want to go see a West End musical. Preferably I’d like to see Legally Blonde as I tried to go last year, but didn’t manage.
Other than that: there are no plans. I may want to go to Brick Lane as Rough Trade has its main store there and it’s apparently a very vibrant part of London. I will naturally be doing some shopping, but I’m not planning on doing a huge amount of spending. Last year my wishlist was huge, now: I have nothing on it. So we’ll see how it goes. I think I will just let my plans depend on tips from locals and whatever the weather is like. One thing I love about London is that by just walking around you’ll find something new regardless, so I think this trip will be fun.
What are your travel plans for 2012? Would London be on your list? Anyone planning on actually going to the Olympics this summer?