Category Archives: London

London

The Things I’m Really Really Really Looking Forward To Doing On A Regular Basis Again

With ‘the new normal’ and the speed of things changing here in the UK I’m not sure when and how, but these are some of the things I’ll be looking forward to doing on a regular basis.

Go Swimming

It’s not like I went swimming every week, but every once in a while when I needed to clear my head I would go to the pool and do a few laps. Initially I just missed it, but since swimming has been added to Animal Crossing I’ve been longing for some front crawl so sooooo bad. The pools are re-opening from next week on, but the hassle of having to shower at home and having to walk with wet hair is putting me off. Maybe when it’s sunnier?

Thrift Shopping

Sure there is eBay and all the apps. But on there I only tend to search for the brands and sizes I’m familiar with to avoid mishaps. All I want is a kilo sale and the sounds of hangers being moved, feeling the fabrics and rummaging through boxes for that hidden gem. But again, not anytime soon.

Visit a Historic House

I save these for Spring and early Summer, so I get to enjoy the flowering gardens that usually come with. And I can’t wait to go explore historic houses, palaces and castles. With the ‘season’ being very short this year I need to start planning. Ham House, Fenton House and William Morris Gallery are top of my list and I’m keeping an eye on when and how they return.

Go on a Walk

This is the one I need most. I’ve walked every street in this neighbourhood and haven’t spotted anything new in WEEKS! I really feel like getting back on the bigger routes like Green Chain Walk, Jubilee Greenway or Capital Ring. Now they really want to get us back on public transport, this one should be crossed off real soon.

Hit up a Food Market

I can get a lot delivered and have been enjoying making a lot of things, but nothing beats going to a food market, looking around at the different stalls and trying to decide if you’re going for something familiar or new while keeping an eye open for a dessert to fall in love with.

What things are you looking forward to doing again?

London

Lockdown Walks in Camberwell + Surrounding

Since lockdown began I’ve been going for daily walks around the block for a break from the screen, a bit of fresh air and to see some green, and then on the weekend I’d do some bigger walks to the surrounding neighbourhoods.

I initially just walked to and around a nearby park, but once the lockdown kicked in it got too busy to keep distance and enjoy, so I switched to exploring side streets and some smaller local parks. The last week or so, the streets have become much busier so the charm might have worn off now, but we’ll always have the photos.

Looking back to when it all started, it still seems so surreal to me. Like when these banners started popping up, then shops in the area advertised their toilet paper range and then anything you could possibly use as outdoor work-out equipment got barricaded.

I keep forgetting that behind the main busy streets there are some boujee houses in my area. There are the cute coloured houses but also a 5 million villa that looks like it’s something that belongs in LA, a converted church tower loft and then this dream of a house. I’ve looked at the listing photos so often that I feel like I know every corner of this place.

Some proper dystopian feels on a 7 AM walk was going past an Army Reserves Centre and the scary looking trucks while a fog covered Central London was in the background. And a bit further up was a street where five houses were for sale, now I want to know what is going on there!

Hidden gems I keep forgetting about or didn’t even know existed: a mews I accidentally stumbled upon, a little park behind a church and the cutest library. I hope they don’t demolish this one to make place for flats.

Other random things I spotted were ‘take me’ spots that started popping up, this one was initially started as a book swap, but later I saw tinned food and even seedlings, then this street art that brought me home for a second or two and an obligatory photo of the local ‘Instagram car’.

Seeing the flowers bloom week by week was something that kept the walks more interesting and you were never sure what colour you would find the tree or bush in. Though I enjoyed wild flowers a lot, this house is the clear winner.

Have you explored your neighbourhood during lockdown or quarantine?

London

Here Is What You Missed From the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams Exhibition

It’s been well over a year since the opening of the Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition at the V&A. The exhibition was sold out in no time, the duration was extended and even broke visitor records. I previously wrote a post about my visit and how you could get tickets at the time. I thought I’d share a photo-filled post with everything that you missed at the exhibition.

The exhibition showcased the evolution of House of Dior and spans from 1947, when Christian Dior opened his couturier, to today via the six designers who succeeded him.

What was very interesting about the setup was the immersiveness as well as the set-up: rather than showing the collections chronologically, they were grouped together by themes and highlighted examples from each of the designers.

New Look
Once you got through all the different kinds of queues you were introduced to Christian’s life through a timeline. You then entered the first room that pays homage to the Bar suit that set the New Look off: an ensemble of an hourglass jacket and full skirt which came with shapes and silhouettes. This shaped the brand and set him apart as the design was different from the boxer look which was popular at the time.

Dior Line
This darkened room displayed an overview of garments in mirrored boxes lined with bright white light that showed the different shapes and silhouettes Dior introduced to us. This room was just one big celebration of his craftsmanship and legacy.

Dior in Britain
You then arrived at a section dedicated to Dior’s love of Britain and its culture. It included the famous dress that Princess Margaret wore for her 21st birthday portrait. Also it’s actually a skirt. The room also included exclusive pieces from the Christian Dior London line. This section was for the UK only and I believe it won’t travel to the exhibition in the Hague.

Historicism
The Historicism room showcased the influence that the Belle Époque era had on Dior’s designs – think Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette style. While the dresses in the previous rooms were behind glass, from here on the dresses were openly exposed meaning it was easy to see the details. And details they gave us!

Travel
Next on came the travel room that consisted of dresses from different travel themed collections. It included Asian, African, and South American influences. The designs here were the least Dior-like and there is the question of cultural appreciation, but it was interesting to see how the different designers combined the fabrics and silhouettes to fit Dior.

The Garden
This scented room with paper wisterias spilling from the ceiling and floral inspired pieces on display, including the dress Natalie Portman wore for the Miss Dior campaign, was everything. As someone who loves a good floral dress, this room was so dreamy and I love how you could see the styles and fabrics of the dresses reflected in today’s collections.

Designers For Dior
Since Christian Dior passed away in 1957 there have been six creative directors: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri. They all got their little corner highlighting the contrasting styles and vision of each designer who also abided by the traditions of Dior.

The Ateliers
My favourite room was the floor to ceiling exhibit of toiles (prototype dresses) where you get to see the garment in its purest form before any of the fabric and extras get added and the effort that goes into making each item. Very inspiring.

Diorama
The Ateliers lead you through the Diorama, on one side it was covered with magazine covers featuring Dior garments and on the other side a colour-coded glass cabinet that showcased the accessories. Everything from costume jewellery, hats and shoes to bags, archive lipstick and perfume bottles.

Ballroom
I’m glad I got some photos because I did not know where to look in the Ballroom. How do you display 70+ years haute couture evening wear? With an over the top projected light show that transported you to another theme every 5/6 minutes. The room included the golden dress Charlize Theron wore for the J’adore perfume ad as well as red carpet dresses worn by Rihana, Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o.

And to close it off there was a dress displayed in a mirrored box and designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri, who created it as an homage to 1950’s Dior and that beautifully shows how the legacy of Dior comes back in full circles

Before it went to London, the exhibition was shown at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and you can catch it from October 2020 on at the Kunstmuseum in The Hague.

London

Favourite London Gardens, Conservatories and Nurseries

London offers a great selection of places to go out and admire them or take a moment to stop and recharge your mind. Here are some of my favourite gardens, conservatories and nurseries to feed my green addiction.

Make sure to check the safety measures each place has before you go out and visit.


Chelsea Physic Garden
The Chelsea Physic Garden is London’s oldest botanic garden and has been an apothecary garden since 1673…so you can imagine they know their plants and how to display them, all 5,000 of them! I loved the Mental Wellness corner that encouraged you to smell and touch the plants and to sit down, close your eyes and listen to the sounds. I also learned that there are way more chillis than I thought – so I need to work on my chilli pepper game. But the highlight of course is the little section dedicated to the elixir of life: tea.

Barbican Conservatory
The Barbican Conservatory is a botanical dream! You’ll find species of trees and plants as well as a special cacti and succulents corner, all against a concrete backdrop which gives you the idea you escaped (or got lost in) a dystopian world. Many of the outdoor gardens are not active during the colder months so the Conservatory is the go-to place that allows you to enjoy the beauty of plants, trees, and flowers throughout the year.

The Crossrail Place Roof Garden
Among the towering buildings and power suits of Canary Wharf you’ll find a green oasis. Designed to display and conserve plants from the eastern and western hemispheres to reflect the indigenous to countries visited during the 19th century by trading ships, this place is really a haven from the madness of the city.

St Dunstan In The East
Head on over to London Bridge and you’ll stumble upon St Dunstan in the East, a green space that’s built around the church that was damaged during the Blitz. If you are visiting London you might want to skip the place during lunchtime but if you come before or after that, you can have the pretty garden nearly all to yourself – except for a photo shoot here and there or a school class stopping by for a demonstration what happened at the place during the Great Fire.

The Hampstead Hill Garden and Pergola
If flowers and trees are your thing, the Hampstead Hill Garden and Pergola is the place to be. Story goes that a rich philanthropist wanted to build a pergola for his garden parties, but sadly he passed away before it was finished, so in his spirit lets all go hashtag him while you spam our Instagram #Leverhulme. And while you’re there why not watch the sunset at Hampstead Heath? If you manage to cough up some change with all the money I’ve saved you, get cheese and a bottle of finest M&S red and enjoy.

Phoenix Gardens
The Phoenix Garden is where I used to escape the chaos when I worked in Holborn. And one of my observations is that a lot of people seem to walk into the community garden when they spot the Stik graffiti wall and stay for the range of urban wildlife the little place offers.

Dishonourable mention – Sky Garden
You don’t really go here to escape or enjoy the plant selection, but the SkyGarden (located on the 43rd floor of the Walkie Talkie building) offers one of the most beautiful and free views of the London skyline. Though the green bit seems to reduce every time I visit it, so enjoy it while it lasts.

London

Top London Attractions I’ve Never Visited And Why

You guys! London is slowly re-opening bit by bit and I still haven’t decided what I want to do on my first day out. Do I want to return to a favourite place or go somewhere I haven’t been yet?

This planning led me to good old TripAdvisor, which then inspired me to write a post on some top recommended places in London that I haven’t visited yet and why.

Tower of London – Would you believe if I said that the Tower of London is my favourite London landmark to look at? It’s true, but despite that I’ve never been inside the grounds. I’m kind of afraid it will disappoint, so I want to plan my visit properly.

London Eye River Cruise – It’s probably a combination of price and a river cruise having a bit of a dusty image. Now I come to think of it, I have never seen London from the water. Should change that at some point.

Churchill War Rooms – Same as for many others: the price, combined with queueing and so many other alternatives. Eventually I will go to compare it to my own wartime bunker in Bosnia.

Westminster Abbey – I’ve always preferred St Paul’s and nothing and no one has ever tried to convince me to go inside. I’ve seen many other Abbeys and at some point I’m sure I’ll make my way there. Just not yet.

London Transport Museum –
Take public transport to pay money to go into even more trains and buses? I’ve actually wanted to visit and see how bus and train carriages looked throughout history, but I just haven’t been willing to pay for it. Yet.

Chelsea FC Tour –
I mean… they are not one of my favourite London clubs, so I’m not in a hurry. At all.

Buckingham Palace – For someone who used to visit a palace / castle a month it’s weird I haven’t been to the summer exhibition of Buckingham Palace. I just never got around to booking and going.

Royal Air Force Museum – I keep forgetting about the other IWM museums. Will I get to the Royal Airforce Museum? Who knows? Maybe when I run out of all of the museums to explore I can go to this one.

Arsenal Emirates Tour – Because I’m waiting for my Brother, so we can experience it together and bond in shared love of Arsenal.

Leake Street Arches – I think I wanted to walk here once, but from what I remember it didn’t look too welcoming, but now I see all the street-art I might have to give it another try.

HMS Belfast – Another attraction that’s way too expensive to commit to and for some reason I imagine it being a small and narrow place and I’m not a big fan of that. Also, the fact we are so spoiled with all the free museums means the threshold to pay for entrance is high.

Abbey Road Studios – Am I a music barbarian? NW8?! That’s too far … is what comes to mind every time I see Abbey Road Studio. In reality, it’s not that far, so maybe one day I will cross that zebra crossing. Keep an eye on my Instagram for the winning photo.

Cutty Sark – Many moons ago I wanted to visit and learn more about this tea clipper, but backed out when I saw how much it cost. To be fair it was when I didn’t have a fulltime job, so who knows in the future I might go and see what they have to say about the tea trade.

Harrods  – I’m not sure why this is listed on Tripadvisor and I don’t know what I would need to do there? I imagine I can only afford a keychain, but I guess I would have to go to test this, or maybe the food market will appeal.

Freemason’s Hall  – I’ve seen the Freemason’s Hall in so many movies that I feel like I HAVE been there. Despite working around the corner from it for about two years, I just never managed to go in and have a look.

Gods Own Junkyard  – This neon light art gallery is on top of my list, but it’s soooo far out to go for just one thing. For me it would take over an hour on two different trains and so far I could not have been bothered.

ArcelorMittal Orbit  – This 114.5 metre sculpture slash observation tower slash slide is something I’ve HAVE been wanting to go to, but so far I haven’t found anyone who is willing to pay the £15.

Kensington Palace – This is not something I’ve not gotten around to yet as there are so many other palaces, manors and castles that seemed more interesting to me. Maybe wait for an interesting exhibition so I can combine the two.

Apothecaries’ Hall – This is something I actually did not know existed, even though I’ve walked past it often. I’ll be making my way there at the next Open House as it has my name all over it.

All in all … I’m cheap or don’t think some organisations deserve my money and attention!

What has kept you from visiting certain attractions near you?