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sunnuntai 6. syyskuuta 2015

No place like London

Another trip behind me. My 3rd time in London. I love London. I also love Paris. Now I've been to both three times. I loved Los Angeles too though. And I hope to see it again one day. Plus about every city in America but well... Until I manage to snag myself a millionaire husband or win the freaking eurojackpot, that's not happening in a while either :D

London, oh my sweet city. I noticed a few mainly irrelevant things on my trip too. London underground smells less worse than Paris metro. London City airport has to be a busy one because we were sitting in Kensington Gardens at night and counted at least ten planes in the sky. Also I ate a bug there cause we were surrounded by some flying bugs. Plus they lock the parks at night. I didn't know this but now I do. No panic though, we made out way out. And the final thing: it's rather easy to take a daytrip from London to somewhere else but you need to book your bus tickets early.

Now, let's start then. London has always been one of my favorite cities cause it's easy to get to - it's actually rather cheap to fly there and back but everything else costs a lot. We had reserved the same hostel we had back in 2010 - Smart Hyde Park Inn. It's only a small walk from underground and it's affordable and it has done some improvements during the years! Last time we visited out private room was so small we could just about turn around in it and the wifi was working only in the lobby. This time the rooms were bigger, we also had ensuite rooms so we had our own toilet/shower. Also the wifi worked in rooms too. Though in our first room, the top floor (view was so great!) it was kind of going on and off all the time. The connection was better when we switched rooms after we were joined by Rosa.

I actually started my trip on Monday when I traveled to Helsinki and slept over Kipa's place cause it was easier to leave to the airport in the early morning. We had our morning coffee at Starbucks and then stepped to the plane. We made our way to Gatwick airport and took a bus to Victoria Station. I've only visited Gatwick shortly when we flew through it on our way to Los Angeles. And I can still say I prefer Gatwick over Stansted. After we got to our hostel, we took a short nap before heading out. I had made out some plans - as in what we'd do each day, with a flexible schedule of course. On our first day we went to check out Harrods and enjoy all the good things it gave us!

We spent a good 2,5 hours in Harrods, looking around and enjoying ice cream in Ice Cream Parlour. It was so big and so good even the two of us had some trouble consuming it all but we did it!

 Harrods Food Hall is absolutely one of my favorite places on earth. It's changed a bit during the years too but it's still so beautiful inside and out. I don't usually even drink tea but I would love to buy all the teas and chocolates and candies just to get the cute boxes and jars they're in. This time I bought quite a few candy jars (seen in the last picture) to my apartment cause I tend to have a knack for those.

After Harrods we walked to Leicester Square to Visit M&M's World and popped by at Fortnum & Mason at the same time. After that we headed back to out hostel and picked up snacks from the Sainsbury's store near to the Bayswater underground station.

Day two started in New Bond Street when we headed to Victoria's Secret Store. We had out morning coffees/breakfast at Starbucks before that (as you can see I use Cara as my name while I'm abroad; sometimes it's written with K, sometimes with C). So yes, our first two days consisted of shopping or well - at least strolling around the shopping streets and department stores. From VS we continued to Oxford/Regent Street where I found this amazing makeup store called Kiko. Sephora has always been and will always remain as my favorite but Kiko comes in as a good runner-up. The cosmetics were really good and affordable, which makes it even more tempting to buy every kind of lipstick and lip gloss - I rarely use any eyeshadows and I'm pretty set on my foundation too so I usually just skip to the lip department. I don't use mascara either cause I have lash extensions so that's quite enough. Funny enough, I have never really used much makeup but I've started to become obsessed of having lip glosses and lipsticks with me wherever I go. So I have a bunch of them and I hogged a couple of more from Kiko.

After shopping a while on Oxford Street and walking it from one end to another, we had our lovely lunch at Selfridges. I was surprised how much variety they had in food! Lebanese, pan-asian, burritos, pizza, rotisserie, salads, indian - everything you could imagine. Desserts too. I picked sweet and sour chicken from the pan-asian kitchen and my god that was the best sweet and sour chicken i've ever had!

 On thursday we were supposed to take a trip to Cardiff but unfortunately the ticket prices were hella high at the station so we decided to leave it. Luckily Rosa agreed to go with us and we reserved the trip for another day. So... time for a new plan then, right? We strolled back to the hostel so I could figure out a plan for the day and after I got it, we headed over to Portobello Road and strolled it for a bit before heading to Covent Garden. We found all the cute candy shops and I'm crazy about everything old and retro. That means I love all old candy jars and tins and I found my heaven in Hardy's. We also popped into this lovely candy store called Sugarsin and we were delighted to find some Finnish chocolate there! After that we headed to Covent Garden Market and ate a little dinner at Punch & Judy's. That's also where I discovered my new favorite cider: Old Mout Cider. Passionfruit & apple. Though I also tasted kiwi & lime and strawberry & pomegranate. I'm not a frequent drinker but I don't usually drink any ciders or beers so this was a nice surprise. We also shared a plate of little bites and that was actually really good!

On our fourth day, Friday, we took it easy and slept quite long before heading out to the Tower Bridge for our afternoon tea cruise. But before that we stopped to have our morning coffee and a little bite - which ended up to be a cupcake from the absolutely best bakery I know - Peggy Porschen cakes. If you don't know who Peggy Porschen is, you can check out the website. I strongly recommend that if you're traveling to London, please go enjoy a cupcake over Peggy's. I also bought one of Peggy's absolutely amazing books (and no this is not an advertisement, I just happen to love this place!) and I can't wait to start baking at my new apartment. The parlour itself is small, but very cosy and absolutely adorable - let's say it was pretty much how I imagined my personal heaven to look like.  We didn't want to eat too much so we'd be able to digest all the afternoon tea food so we had one cupcake each. 

I have been in London three times yet this was my first afternoon tea. There was breads, petit fours and scones. I was surprised that I actually found the scones more tasty than the petit fours but I liked all of them. There was some seafood/fish breads which I gladly gave to Kipa, since I don't eat fish or seafood in general. I took a leap of faith eating this unknown bread but apparently it had pickles so it wasn't that bad :D It looked more suspicious. We enjoyed the cruise in sunshine. Before the cruise we enjoyed the company of two very lovely Canadian ladies and chatted all the way to the boat. In the evening we stopped by Whiteleys mall, which was right next to our hostel and ate some yummy sushi (or inari sushi and teriyaki chicken since I don't eat fish). The desserts were really delicious too!

On saturday we prepared for Rosa's arrival and we visited Peggy Porschen once again since we wanted to welcome her with a cupcake. Then we took her to the hostel - we had already taken our baggage to our new room since we occupied twin room and had to switch for a four bed dorm. We also paid for one extra bed so we had the whole room to ourselves. We took a short break until we headed out to Leicester Square where we met her godmother and had some dinner at this Italian restaurant. After that we strolled along Green Park and ended up in Westminster Bridge at dark and then headed back to the hostel to get a goodnight sleep, because...

THE NEXT MORNING WE WERE OFF TO CARDIFF! We booked our tickets from Megabus, they were £26 return. Of course the ride took about 4 hours but it was worth it. I can now officially say that I've been in every part of the UK (well, excluding Northern Ireland). The landscapes were so beautiful. It kinda felt like I was in Ireland again and to be quite honest I got a bit "homesick" (for Ireland). When we finally got to Cardiff it rained hard and we made our way to a mall nearby, eating some breakfast at one of it's many cafes. 

We also did a little bit of shopping, I visited Primark and found a ton of cute t-shirts and other stuff (so naturally I had to buy it...). Then we headed to the Cardiff Castle where I also participated on the house tour. We took a quick look around and then finally I went to the tour while Kipa and Rosa continued their shenanigans on the premises. The house tour was super interesting too! The Winter Smoking Room with norse gods in windows, times of day in every corner of the room, zodiac signs in the roof, hidden cigar safes and when we left there was a demon over the doorway to make sure that no woman would ever step into the room (guess he failed the job, eh?).

The tour continued to the nursery all through the castle, to the roof garden and back downstairs to the Library which was used in Doctor Who episode 7x11: Journey to the Centre of the Tardis. I recognized it long before cause I have definitely seen Doctor Who a few times! 

After we had spent the whole day in the castle, we headed back to the centre for some food. We ended up in a pub near Castle Street and I got half roasted chicken while Kipa and Rosa got fish and chips. It was certainly good! After the lovely day we headed back to the bus stop and headed back to London.

On Monday we headed out to the Natural History Museum but the queue was so long we decided to figure out another plan. We headed to Camden, which I hadn't seen yet either. It was a very lovely place indeed, lots of alternative clothing stores (I love vintage/retro myself) and I found the cutest little hat from a store called Lily J. After that we headed for Harrods once again - I bought some macaroons to take home with me and I might've bought some other cute candy jars too. We had to do some packing so our evening was pretty much covered with that.

The day of departure came sooner than I thought. Before the trip I was kind of wondering if I'd find places to visit for a whole week since I had spent 6 days in London before and during that trip I was heading from a place to place in a very fast pace. But I did and I certainly would've loved to do some more day trips to Nottingham and Bath and Brighton, but I'll cover them later, I'm sure! On our departure day we took Rosa to see the Tower Bridge and took the Tower Bridge experience too. We saw the glass floor and the whole thing - wow! After that we headed to the Whiteleys Mall near our hostel, ate and sat at Yo! Sushi until it was time for me to leave to Victoria and from there to Gatwick Airport. I was sad to leave but I'm sure I'll be back... lots of times!


4 kommenttia:

  1. Points for the Sweeney Todd ref!
    Also, what a wonderful mountain of delicious photos! Travelling is so much fun~

    1. Oh I know! I really love traveling as you know darlin <3 Waiting to go somewhere with you again!

  2. This trip looks so fun & lovely. Plus your photos are gorgeous!! Also, Harrods, absolutely love it there!! xo

    1. Thank you so much! Harrods is probably one of my favorite places in London, especially the Food Hall (cause let's be honest, until I find a millionaire husband I won't be able to afford anything in there). I also enjoyed Camden and Portobello very much!


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