London Travel Guide

london-travel-guide

I visited London, UK back in December to visit my boyfriend who’s currently studying overseas. It was my first time in the bustling city and I had such an amazing time taking in the sights (and eating delicious food!). The holidays are such a beautiful time to visit London – the streets are decked out with glittering lights and you can totally feel the festive spirit in the air.

This trip differed from other European vacations I’ve taken, since I actually knew someone who lives there. I spent less time hitting the tourist sights and more time exploring the city from a local’s perspective, which was a nice change.

That being said, you’ll probably find some of the typical London landmarks missing from this list – that’s because I didn’t have a chance to make my way to see them! Things that are still on my London bucket list (meaning I’ll definitely have to visit again) include: going for a stroll along the Thames, taking in views from the London Eye, and riding a double decker bus!

Here were some of my favourite parts from my trip in December and my recommendations for when you visit:

What to Do

what-to-do-in-london

Visit local markets

London is known for its awesome markets, lined with stalls featuring local vendors, authentic food and fresh flowers. I visited Columbia Road Flower Market which was packed with beautiful blooms, as well as Brick Lane Market, which offered cool vintage finds and tons of affordable and delicious food options nearby. Spitalfields Market was a short walk away, where my boyfriend picked up a new coat!

Explore Covent Garden

Covent Garden is full of places to shop, eat and to spend the day exploring. For the holidays, the indoor hall was decked out with a huge mistletoe installation which was so pretty to look at. I recommend stopping for tea and macarons at Ladurée – the balcony upstairs also gives a great view of the street performers down below!

Hit the shops!

There’s tons of amazing shopping in London, from the busy tourist areas to vintage stores and the independent vendors at the market. Spend a day on Oxford Street (the busiest shopping street in Europe!) and hit up all the major stores. I love & Other Stories for simple pieces and jewellery, and Primark for a bargain that can’t be beat!

Spend a day in Chelsea

This was one of my favourite days I spent in London. Maybe because I’m a diehard fan of Made in Chelsea (anybody else?), but also because it was such a pretty area to explore, without the overwhelming crowds found in the more touristy parts of the city. Harrods is nearby, and here you’ll find the pretty pastel houses that are oh-so-instagrammable!

What to Eat

what-to-eat-in-london

Friends of Ours

Friends of Ours is a trendy little spot in Shoreditch serving delicious brunch items with a twist. We tried the Pork Belly Benedict (with candied & coffee cured pork belly!) as well as the Sweetcorn & Beetroot Fritters and they were both amazing.

Wahaca

A cool Mexican spot offering delicious tacos, tostadas, burritos and more, Wahaca is a fun place with cute decor to grab a quick bite. The prices are pretty affordable in comparison to the other restaurants in London, and you’ll definitely leave with a happy belly.

Peggy Porschen Cakes

This is a haven for anyone who loves anything cute, pretty and pink. Peggy Porschen Cakes serves up adorable cookies, cupcakes and desserts on pastel plates that’ll make you swoon. Snap a pic in front of their pastel pink doorway and spend an afternoon chatting over tea.

Sketch

Visit Sketch for an unforgettable experience! This was one of our special occasion meals and it did not disappoint. Sketch is an uber stylish restaurant (a celebrity favourite) featuring four different dining rooms, each with their own theme. We ate in The Gallery – full of everything rose gold and blush velvet and absolutely stunning!

Other Things to Consider

  • Watch. Your. Valuables. I got pick-pocketed while shopping on Oxford Street and lost my phone on my second day in London. Make sure your valuables are safely tucked away (an inside pocket of a jacket is ideal) or carry a purse that’s hard to get into.
  • Find time amidst your food adventures to try some local specialties: fish & chips and a full English breakfast are a must!
  • Pick up an Oyster Card (you can load it up with whatever amount you see fit) and take the London Underground to get around the city. The tube is easy to navigate and the quickest and most affordable way to travel. Walking is also a great option if you’re exploring Central London.

Happy travelling!

 

Advertisements

Last Minute Holiday Gifts for Her

The holidays are here, which means crowded malls and a last minute rush to pick up the perfect gift! To make your life a bit easier, I’ve rounded up my picks for the perfect gifts for her this season:

Under $50:

Diptyque Candle ($45)

diptique-candle

A Diptyque candle is an essential for any girl who loves to pamper herself! They not only fill the room with a beautiful scent, but also add an extra classy touch as a home décor piece. Baies (rose & black current) is a popular scent that’s sure to please.

S’well Water Bottle (17 oz. $50)

swell-bottle

This brand of stylish stainless steel water bottles has become popular over the past couple of years, and for good reason. It promises to keep drinks cold for 24 hours, and hot for 12 hours, while eliminating the need for environmentally harmful plastic water bottles. I love the cute palm leaf pattern on this design!

Alex & Ani Bracelet ($34)

Alex and Ani Bangle.jpeg

Alex & Ani makes affordable, simple jewelry with a wide variety of designs to suit any girl’s personal style. Known best for their adjustable charm bracelets (featuring different symbols, each with their own meaning), you can select a design that will hold relevance to your loved one’s own life and style.

2017 Agenda ($20)

bando-agenda

What better way to start the New Year than with an adorable agenda? Help your loved one stay organized and plan their goals for 2017 with this stylish yet functional gift. I love the agendas from ban.do because of their fun designs (stickers included!), plus the coil bound format lays flat when open for easy writing.

Striped Scarf ($30)

scarf.jpg

Keep your girl warm for the winter with a cozy blanket scarf! Zara offers affordable options for a wide variety of scarves available in different styles, patterns and colours. This striped design is classic and chic, and the neutral colours will go with everything.

Cute Cacti or Succulents ($30)

succulent

Plants are a great gift, as they can last for years if properly cared for. Cacti or succulents are extremely low maintenance and look so cute placed on a desk or bookshelf. Wild North Flowers in Toronto offers variations in concrete planters made by Your Pal, Al and are accented with gold!

Under $100

Fujifilm Instax Mini ($100, currently on sale for $80)

instax-mini

The perfect gift for someone who loves to take photos, the Instax Mini is a modern take on the polaroid camera, creating wallet sized instant prints! The camera is available in a number of different pastel hues, which you can pair with different film designs.

Aromatherapy Diffuser ($75)

diffuser

A diffuser is another gift for the girl who loves to treat herself, but can also have added health benefits! Diffusing essential oils can keep you feeling great, while also making the house smell like a spa. Saje Wellness offers several different diffuser designs, as well as essential oils. This gold version doubles as a cool, decorative accent.

Victoria Secret Flannel PJ Set ($75, currently on sale for $55)

pjs

A classic for the winter time, a Victoria Secret pyjama set is all a girl needs to have the perfect day relaxing in bed. Flannel is warm and cozy for colder weather, and the matching eye mash is an adorable bonus.