If London is a watercolour, New York is an oil painting. I can’t remember who exactly said that and I could just as easily google it, but alas, my mind wanders. It doesn’t really relate to this, but hey, it’s a nice way to start. A friend asked me for a journalism project to write down and explain what love means to me. Interestingly enough, even though we all have an idea of what love means to us, I realized that I never put it down in writing or explained it fully to anyone, especially myself. Have I ever been in love? Once, maybe, for a very short amount of time, but I thought it would be interesting to actually write out what love would be for me with another person. As I was thinking I was sure in my head, I started writing. Growing up is very difficult, I feel you have to completely and utterly love yourself first before you can love anyone else romantically and that can take years. For me, the person I would love would know me, really know the depths of who I am. Someone who would accept all my eccentricities and imperfection. Someone who would know when I need affection and when I don’t. Someone who excites me, is fun, and makes me laugh. Very importantly, someone who will show up when I need them. After all of the things I would need, I would give this person the best of myself, for they would deserve it. You have to deserve each other. I used to think that knowing my favorite color or knowing my favorite flower was arbitrary, but someone who wanted to know, who wanted to make me happy with little things like that.. well it turns out that means a lot. It’s funny to put this all in writing, I know people probably won’t read this, but ask yourself. What are you really looking for in another person? When I came to London it was exactly like falling in love, when you know it, thats it. It all makes sense. I fit here, it feels like home. I have loved and lost here, I have also had more fun than I ever have. After all the fun though, I have been left feeling quite empty in a way. You can only have so much fun with people, just fun, until you’re left wanting more. I realize that the situations you put yourself in are what causes your happiness or lonlieness. As passionate as I am, I am extremely rational. I understand why I have not fallen in love again, for love has never been something you can ask for, it has to find you. I do admit, the fun I am having now does make me happy, but I also know that while I enjoy the company, love is a stranger. Just fun doesn’t leave room for someone to know who you are, and honestly, maybe that’s why I have continued a no strings attached lifestyle. What if someone actually wanted to take time out and get to know all the bits of who I am? Leaves me relazing how terrifying love is, but hey, maybe it’s time to be a litte braver. I am not writing this asking and pleading for love, I am writing this because it is necessary to be honest with yourself ever once and a while. This one question my friend asked me for an academic report has led to this overflowing of my mind. I am not the type of person who shares personal things such as this usually, but I thought it was important to let it out and as I sit here alone after a night out on the town with a few friends I figured this was the time to do it. I don’t want the fun I am having to stop, believe me, but it’s refreshing to know what is going on in your own head sometimes. So if anyone has read this far, think about it. Write it down. What would love be to you? Who knows what you will realize about youself. I know this, I have never felt more confident, beautiful, and hopeful in my entire life. At the moment, I feel like I am the best version of myself. I really know who I am, took a while but I truly and completely love myself. There is someone out there who will love me, and I will love them, and it will be an awfully grand adventure.
I have to admit, I am a shopper. Addicted? Possibly.. But I am all about an amazing sale when I can find one. It is no mystery that I am absolutely obsessed with all the incredible markets that London has to offer, from food to frocks. I thought I would share my top three, as I have spent a majority of this beautifully sunny weekend at these places. Here are a few of my favorites.
1. Old Spitafields Market – More info, http://www.oldspitalfieldsmarket.com/
Right around the corner from Liverpool Street Station, Old Spitafields Market changes from day to day, but remains as my favorite market because of the variety of goods. I have picked up jewelry, shoes, and books during my journeys there. Items are decently priced, and of course some bargaining is necessary. What separates this market is the uniqueness of the products. I have never really been one to buy jewelry in large name brand stores, I like to own things that not many people have, things that are handmade. In old spitafields, I have found my calling. It is also a great market to spend several hours in, grabbing lunch and enjoying your company.
2. Portobello Road Market- More info, http://www.portobelloroad.co.uk/
If you adore antiques and colorful buildings, this is the place for you. You can pick up an antique compass, silver spoons, even lace. Located on Portobello Road, it is a wonderful outdoor market and a perfect place to spend a sunny day. It can indeed become quite crowded on the weekends, but that doesn’t take away from the charm of this market. I have found it can be quite romantic, even date material. After all, who doesn’t like to spend time with someone among colorful architecture and cheerful vendors.
3. Borough Market- More info, http://boroughmarket.org.uk/
Now this market is all about FOOD, and good food. I have spent many weekends with friends here to grab lunch after a day around London. Borough Market takes street food to another level, creating a gourmet experience from multiple stalls. From falafel to burgers, salads, cookies, and ice cream, this market is a must see for foodies. You can grab lunch here for around £5 and up, not bad considering the delicious experience you will have. It is a fabulous weekend experience, friendly vendors are happy to greet locals and tourists. I might even head there now x
Established in 1707 by William Fortnum and Hugh Mason, Fortnum and Mason is mecca for an amazing department store experience. It is a place so fabulously British that foreigners and locals alike visit in thousands every day. Well known for its tea, Forntum and Mason also sell sweet treats, wine, meat, cheese, and uniquely beautiful items for the home. My trip to Fortnum and Mason consisted of high tea and a tour of the building located at 181 Piccadily. The staff treated us to a wine tasting and I sampled some of the most delicious wines in the country. I can almost compare it to entering Willy Wonkas Factory, an exciting and delicious adventure. If you are in London for a day, week, or year, Fortnum and Mason is a wonderful British experience for yourself, family, and friends.
Sorry this is a bit late but what a wonderful experience it was to have a taste of China in London this year! I admit that I was not fully prepared for the amount of people that were all piled into London’s tiny China Town for Chinese New Year, but what an amazing experience. It was beautiful to see so many families and children enjoying the festivities for Chinese New Year. I would suggest for anyone who wants to head to China Town for next year’s New Year celebration, to head to the area quite early. The crowds will be multiplying in grand numbers throughout the day, and to fully enjoy the restaurants and festivities, your best best is to come early. I was fortunate enough to have lunch, pre booked at Er Mei (6-7 Lisle St, London WC2H 7BG). Pre booking on Chinese New Year is essential! Lunch was incredible, the food was delicious, and the company was wonderful! If you are ever in the area, check out Er Mei for divine Chinese food. It was a happy celebration, lets hope for all wonderful things for the year of the Horse. x
So it’s been a wonderful mid day and after wandering through museums and markets, it is time to pop into a pub. I thought I would share just a few of my favorite pubs in London. These pubs have become some of my favorite places in the city because they are absolutely breathtaking. They take something simple like grabbing a drink with a friend into a visually enticing experience. So here we go, I will start with my absolute favorite.
1. The Princess Louise. 208 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EP
Located within a few steps of the Holborn tube station (Central and Piccadilly lines), the Princess Louise takes you back into another century. There are so many wonderful corners to get together and enjoy the company of friends and lovers. It is quite a romantic spot, the architectural detail surrounds you intimately. The drinks are decently priced, it is well worth a visit. Weekends are notoriously busy, so if you want time to appreciate the rich mahogany and decorated glass , plan to head there before 4 or 5pm.
2. The Coal Hole. 91-92 Strand, London WC2R 0DW
The Coal Hole is a wonderfully central pub find. It is located on the Strand between Charing Cross and Temple Tube stops. There are so many nooks in the Coal Hole to get aquatinted with. After several hours one day running around the National Gallery, I stopped in for some wine and a quiet place to sit and read in the afternoon. I enjoy pubs that really make you really feel the city you are in. While I sat and became comfortable, I was so aware of the energy and vibrance of this historical city. It is an experience which we need every once and a while, to sit and become present again. What better place to appreciate London than in a place that allows you to feel culture, and good wine doesn’t hurt..
3. The Blackfriar. 174 Queen Victoria St, London EC4V 4EG
I’ve always loved places with character and personality, and The Blackfriar has it in abundance. Columns, sculptures, and mosaics adorn the walls at The Blackfriar, adding such a sense of atmosphere. It is a place that entices you to stay longer, to enjoy yourself among such a beautiful interior. To sit with friends for a round in such an exquisite pub is a wonderful experience. If you haven’t had the opportunity to sit in the comfortable chairs and sample some delicious beer, then get yourself to The Blackfriar as soon as possible. Located within minutes of London Blackfriars tube stop.
Each of these pubs become alive at night and filled with people on the weekends. Should you like to really experience these pubs with a few friends, I would suggest heading out earlier before the big crowds pour in. There are so many beautiful corners in this city, these are just three of my favorites. Check them out, they might become your favorites too. Happy pub hunting!
My interest in running came about quite suddenly. A few years ago I decided to try and run a mile without gasping for aåir. When I succeeded, I decided, why not try two miles. I kept progressing and miraculously, I ran a 5k, a 10k, and a half marathon. I completely understand that running does not sound like the most enjoyable activity for everyone, but I find for those who can find the sense of freedom in running, it is not only the best workout, but an amazing way to let go of the stresses in life. I am currently training for a full marathon and that frightens me more than I would like to admit. I thought I would share some of London’s beautiful running routes that I have found in my training. London is such a beautiful city to run in, every path has their own personality. Check out the routes I have discovered in my training, who knows.. you might just want to take up running too, if only to feel the rush of energy from this gorgeous city we live in now, London.
1. Hyde Park- About 5 miles running fully around that can also extend 3 more miles by running through Green Park.
This is where my first half marathon stared and finished. Hyde park is such a beautiful green space in London, there are also so many paths within if you are just looking for a quick mile or causal jog. Taking the tube to Hyde Park Corner always leaves you with the best options on where to begin.
2. Bridge to Bridge along the Thames- 5 to 10 miles.
This run begins by taking the tube to Westminster station. I start by running from Westminster Bridge along the Thames, to Tower Bridge. Then I run across Tower Bridge and back up the Thames to Westminster bridge. I do not even have to tell you all the sights you are able to soak in while running this route. Everything from Big Ben, the London Eye, and the Tower of London. This is a great run for any time of day, preferably when there aren’t so many tourists.
3. Bushy Park- 6, 12, 20 miles.
Okay, so I recently learned that Bushy Park is just outside of London. This is my absolute favorite place to run because it is so close to where I live. I am currently living in Kingston, part of greater London and Bushy Park is a 5 minute walk over Kingston Bridge to Richmond. Busy is a great place to run for many reasons, great paths, beautiful sights, and its stillness. It is a very large closed off space, you almost feel as if you have been dropped into the country. You will also notice the sign, which as a New Yorker startled me the first time I ran here, that states that wild deer freely roam the park. It is quite something to run past a large pack of deer with antlers on an average day. Mind you, they are completely used to runners and bikers. This is where a majority of my training has happened because it is so easy to loop around the park to increase mileage. To get here, you can take South West Trains to either Kingston or Hampton Wick, either way it will be a short walk to Bushy Park. It might not be technically considered London, but it is a beautiful retreat that is very accessible from central.
Okay so yes, this post is a bit late seeing that the Lord Mayors Show was on Saturday and it is now Tuesday night. Studies aside, this was a rather strange experience for an outsider. I was actually sent to the Lord Mayors Show for class, as a way to understand a museum object when it is taken beyond the walls and onto the streets. The Lord Mayor’s coach, the beautiful gilded gold one (can’t miss it ) is part of the Museum of London’s collection, and once a year it is used in this parade. Not fully knowing the history behind this festival of soldiers, marching bands, and dancing robots, I was taken back by the randomness of it all. Not to mention it was pouring rain and freezing, my feet lost feeling for pretty much the rest of the day. After the confusion and the strangeness of it all, I realized how much fun it was to be part of this wonderfully strange tradition, there is nothing quite like it. From the outside looking at it might not make much sense, but the experience of being surrounded by cheering British children all waving their flags was quite heartwarming. Part of traveling and living among a new culture is living the strange, accepting it, and being immersed in it. What a wonderful thing.
If I can be totally honest, the first time I saw this I couldn’t speak. After years of waiting and wanting to be here, I couldn’t stop staring. Over two months later and it still takes my breath away. I … Continue reading