London is somewhere that feels very much like a second home to Gary and I. Over the years, we’ve had many happy trips there – for concerts, events, relaxing, shopping and catching up with friends. Sometimes we’re even booked a stay ‘just because’! So it only felt right that we mark our 14 year (!!) anniversary by hanging out there.
I often compile these Scrapbook posts as a photo diary from our adventures, and also to serve as a mini travel guide – in case any of you guys are thinking of visiting a place yourselves. So, even though I’ve shared a London Scrapbook in the past, we did visit quite a few new places on this trip and I wanted to share the details…
Where We Stayed
On this particular jaunt to London, we stayed at the Citizen M hotel at Bankside, instead of our usual haunt in Hoxton. Staying in a new area was brilliant, and it was really well-placed to either walk or hop on the tube (London Bridge station) to anywhere we wanted to explore.
The hotel itself was beautiful – with sleek, contemporary design and fun amenities. Also, the bed was RIDICULOUSLY comfortable – it might not seem like much, but it’s a total godsend if you’ve been walking around all day and want to relax!
It wouldn’t have been a trip to London without hitting a couple of stores. I love the well-merchandised stores and specialist boutiques in Carnaby Street – it’s such a pretty part of the centre of town. We stumbled across We Built This City by accident, but we were very glad we did. With its bright, airy interior and massive range of independent designers (including Scotland’s very own cutie, Karen Mabon) it’s well worth checking out.
I really enjoy popping into stores that we don’t have back home – Selfridges and Liberty stock almost everything you can imagine, and I picked up a cute flamingo tee from high-street chain, Monki.
We also hit Shoreditch (of course!) a couple of times during our stay and visited favourites like Tatty Devine and Beyond Retro. As you might already know, I also took a fun-filled tour of Lush Oxford Street – you can check it out here!
What I packed
The day before we left, I got a new Canon DSLR camera and this trip gave me a great opportunity to get familiar with it. It’s super lightweight and has an excellent zoom – ideal for shooting from the hip and taking quick snaps on the go (like the two photos above).
You never know what you’re gonna get with hotel toiletries (unless you’ve stayed there before), and when I travel I like to know I have good-quality beauty products with me. This ace travel set from Gordon Castle feels and smells amazing – and I reckon that has something to do with the fact that some of the ingredients come straight from the gardens at Gordon Castle itself. I’ve been keeping a tube of their Flower Garden hand cream in my bag lately and at under 100ml, it was also ideal for hand luggage (and silky soft paws!).
Markets We Visited
We arrived at lunchtime on a Sunday, which gave us plenty of time to check in, freshen up and head back out. On a Sunday, Brick Lane and it surrounding streets really comes alive with its vibrant markets.
Old Spitalfields market is also a must-visit, and has a really eclectic mix of fashion, crafts, food and much more.
A stone’s throw away from our hotel we found Borough Market, which was mainly food and flower-based. Crowded with hungry locals and tourists, it was also home to Chegworth Valley’s fruit, vegetables and fresh juices.
Street Art Spotting
I’m a sucker for anything colourful and creative, and London is brimming with unique and intricate street art. I couldn’t resist taking a few snaps while I was there.
What We Ate
Gosh, what DIDN’T we eat?! I won’t share every single morsel but I recommend checking out a few places – mainly for your breakfast and brunch needs!
These include The Breakfast Club (I’ve mentioned my love for this place before, too!) for breakfast, brunch, dinner, drinks – anything really; Cereal Killer Cafe for retro kitsch and cereal concoctions; and my new favourite, The Table for – are you ready? – sweet potato, almond and toasted coconut pancake with Valrhona chocolate sauce! I could happily eat this bad boy all day…
We also hit The Diner with our gal pal Erica for milkshakes and a catch up – hooray!
Once we heard about the Elvis exhibition at the O2, our mission was clear! We spent our anniversary day snooping around The King’s clothing, vehicles and other memorabilia at this excellent event. It was difficult to take clear photos inside the exhibit due to how low the lighting was (and we weren’t allowed to use flash), but it was a very impressive collection and we had a lot of fun checking it out.
For the rest of the day, we relaxed, ate pizza and went for a lovely walk along Southbank in the sunshine. Bliss!
Coffee n’ Donuts
Brooklyn Coffee in East London does the most delicious coffee – I grabbed an iced latte to keep cool in the sunshine, and a yummy glazed ring from Vicky’s Donuts who had a pop-up in the store. Dum Dum Donuts at Boxpark are also well worth cruising over to as well if you can’t get enough of the sweet stuff!
Phew! I think it’s fair to say we had an awesome time celebrating our anniversary, and I’m sure it won’t be too long before we are back in London again. If you seeing a bit more of where we went, you can see more of our Happy 14 fun times on Instagram (under #happy14).
I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of my Scrapbook series, and if you are planning a London adventure, that it might inspire you to add a few places to your itinerary list. And if you think there is somewhere I must visit next time, let me know!
‘Til next time, London,