Last month, when I was in London, I of course couldn’t leave out a visit to Lola’s cupcake counter in Harrods and Bubbleology in Soho. They’re some of the few places I’ll go to every time I’m in London. As it was afternoon (tea) time and my friend’s and my feet started to hurt, we were looking for somewhere to eat and drink something and, most importantly, sit down. Because we were shopping in Harrods, I got the idea of paying a little visit to the Food Hall, the Lola’s cupcake counter in particular. I bought two Red Velvet cupcakes, but my friend didn’t want cupcakes and we couldn’t find anything to sit down, so instead we went to Piccadilly Circus with the tube. There’s that small Japanese supermarket where I always wanted to go to and as my friend loves Asian food we went there to get her something to eat. I had no idea what all the things they sold were, but everything looked pretty delicious so I bought..well, something (maybe someone knows what those things in the picture above are). My friend got Dorayaki’s, Japanese sweets that are quite a bit like pancakes. From there we went to Bubbleology in Soho, just a 5 minute walk from Piccadilly Circus. My favourite Bubble Tea store, looking very much like a mad scientist’s lab.
1. Hampstead Heath and Primrose Hill: They’re not very far apart and both give you a panorama of London which you’ll never forget. The Heath will always be my favourite park though, with its ponds (the Viaduct pond is très belle), Kenwood House and the Pergola. It’s perfect for picnics, long strolls alone or a walk with the dog (lots of dachshunds there!). I’d say Primrose Hill is perfect on New Year’s Eve and Bonfire night, but it’s mayhem up there. So many people, it’s crazy. However, if you’re looking for somewhere to go sledding with your children in winter, Primrose Hill is the place.
2. My friends flat in Belsize Park: It holds so many lovely memories for me, like sleeping on an air mattress under a table (don’t ask), eating a lot of cupcakes for breakfast and Tesco sushi for dinner, laughing with my friend about the weirdest jokes, watching TV or playing Wii with her, stealing her laptop for hours and the amazing view of Belsize Park I had every morning when I looked out of the bedroom or kitchen window (it’s funny to watch the people outside).
3. Camden Market: Shopping…need I say more? Camden is my shopping heaven on earth where I will always find something to buy, no matter if I need it or not. Vintage fashion is something I love and Camden basically is nothing but vintage fashion. Every time I’m there, I find about 20 new dresses I’d immediately buy if my wardrobe space allowed it. I always joke with my friend that if you live anywhere near the market, you don’t need to leave Camden your whole life, because you can get almost everything there. The food there also is great and very unusual – have you ever tried liquid nitrogen ice cream (at Chin Chin Laboratorists) for example? I spent most of last summer sitting in the grass next to the canal, eating cupcakes and ice cream.
4. Harrods: I know a lot of people who say they prefer Selfridges to Harrods – and I don’t get it. If I could choose where I’d rather go shopping, which I can, I’d definitely choose Harrods. I’ve always loved it, since the very first time I set foot in it (not that long ago, actually). The intèrieur is fantastic. Every single corner gives you that feeling of luxury. I could spend days in there; no wonder if you consider that it has over a million square feet of selling space (thank you, wikipedia). My favourite department is the Food Hall, especially the Lola’s Cupcakes counter!
5. Burlington Arcade: I can’t help it but think ‘Diagon Alley’ whenever I’m there. The Guardian described it as ‘the posh people’s equivalent of Diagon Alley from Harry Potter’ and if you ask me, this is exactly what it is: a real life Diagon Alley. Except, of course, that you can’t purchase owls, wands or potions there, but accessories, jewellery, fashion and a lot of other things. I will always get that ‘magical’ feeling though, and who knows, maybe one day I’ll find a wand in one of the Lulu Guinness handbags there…
6. Lulu Guinness Ellis Street store: I simply love the Lulu Guinness store on Ellis Street! It’s eye candy through and through. When I want to buy a Lulu Guinness bag, I always go there, because it was the store where I bought my first Lulu G. bag. I want to stare at the lips clutches and collectables for hours. The lovely Lulu team is always nice and helpful. They know exactly which bag suits me best. I’ve been to the Burlington Arcade store only once, but maybe from what I’ve seen it has a good chance to become my new favourite Lulu store.
7. Bubbleology, Soho: I’ve tried my first Bubble Tea on a trip to Berlin last year and was delighted when I found out that there’s a Bubble Tea store in Soho. Bubble Tea became my new Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino – something I drink almost every day. The fruit juice bubbles and jelly are just so delicious with the (Caramel, Coconut, Cocoa, Apple, Strawberry etc. flavoured) tea. The store is cosy and almost always full of people.
8. Richmond: It’s not exactly in London, but still part of it – and a very beautiful one. It’s well endowed with a lot of parks, lovely houses and green spaces, located by the Thames where you can find lots of houseboats. The view from Richmond Hill is breathtaking, especially in spring and summer. It’s a really picturesque little town and even Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt seem to love Richmond.
9. Hamleys: Yes, I mean the toy shop on Regent Street. I’m a big child and it’s still a magical place for me. I know Hamleys must feel and look like wonderland to children. You can try out so many things there! My favourite part of the store is the ‘Harry Potter corner’. It looks a teeny bit like Ollivanders Wand Shop. They even sell writing quills (so cool!) and the Marauder’s Map. I’m sure the people working there absolutely love their jobs. I’d love to work there!
10. My Old Dutch Pancake House: Pancakes, pancakes, pancakes! Delicious, warm pancakes with maple syrup & butter, berries, nutella or mozzarella, italian herbs, halloumi and olives! The prices are reasonable and the pancakes are the best I’ve ever tasted. Have a look at the menu and tell me it doesn’t sound delicious. One of my favourite restaurants to eat. You have to try the Italian pancake!
It’s the little things in life that often make me smile the most. For example, I saw a man this morning, standing on the pavement right in the middle of rush hour with a huge bunch of flowers in his hand, glancing at his clock every now and then, and it just put a huge smile on my face. I’m sure the flowers brightened up the day of whoever got them. I had an idea and made a list of things I love and everytime I feel depressed, which is quite often at this time of the year, I’ll look at it and it makes me feel that little bit better.
Things that make me feel good:
The smell of flowers and my favourite perfume, Black XS by Paco Rabanne. The thought of the weekend on a Friday morning (‘only one more day’). When I wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning and think of how I can still sleep for another 3 hours. Cuddling with my bunny. An early morning in Central London (drunks who pass stupid comments not included!). Watching the sunset on Primrose Hill on a warm summer day. Strolling through Hampstead Heath. Cupcakes, decorated with little things like sugar roses or strawberries. Looking at shop windows, no matter if I can afford the things or not (eye candy!). Bubble Tea in my favourite Bubble Tea “lab” in Soho (Bubbeology on Rupert Street). Trying on dresses in Anthropologie, just because I always get the biggest fitting room. Spending afternoons in Hamleys (makes me feel like a child again). All kinds of photoshoots (especially history themed ones). Taking photos of everything and everyone, because it’s sooo much fun. Putting on red lipstick; don’t ask me why, I just like it. Going to Musicals with friends. Evenings/Nights of watching (horror) movies while eating chocolate and drinking coffee to stay awake. Being outside in the countryside at night, listening to all the noises. Watching the stars at night. Listening to piano music. Getting a task for the boss done. Giving little presents to friends because I feel like it. Walking through the streets of London. Bateaux mouches on the Seine and the Eiffel Tower at night. Walking barefooted through the sand on the beach in summer. Carrying at least 5 shopping bags, containing lovely new stuff, while walking through crowded streets. The lilac/white striped bags you get when you buy something at Lulu Guinness. The smell when you enter a bakery (not all of them, but some smell like chocolate cake, mmmh). The sigh of relief I make as soon as I get out of a plane (yep, nervous flyer..). The memories I share with my friends. Ice cream with weird flavours.
There are loooots of other things, but those are the ones I could think of when I made that list, and they’re enough to make me feel happy again.
2011 has been an utterly fantastic year for me. I’ve travelled all over Europe to amazing places and countries like France and Italy, and my little inner Shopaholic definitely got her money’s worth as shopping as something I did every single month of the year. I can look back at an absolutely wonderful and successful 2011 and look forward to a 2012 full of adventures.
I started the year, celebrating on New Year’s Eve with my family in Germany, which means I basically started the year eating. I started writing this blog in January and want to thank you for the 1,610 views it has so far. I also went shopping in Dresden in January. Otherwise it was a bit unspectacular and quiet in Jan.
A friend of me came to London and I went on a sightseeing tour with her, showing her the best places in London for shopping, relaxing etc. We ate sushi on the stairs in Trafalgar Square. I went shopping with a friend, a friend of said friend and the cute son of said friend’s friend. Frozen yogurt. Hampstead Heath. Shopping for a new purse at Lulu Guinness. Camden. Fantastic Victorian history photoshoot near Harrods, with champagne. Meeting Prince Harry. Going to Hamley’s with my friend (she wanted to move there). Primrose Hill walk.
Sitting at the lake near my parents house in Germany and watching frogs. First try to bake cupcakes. Cuddling with my bunny. Drawing. Beautiful sunset in Dresden. Drinking tea at Steigenberger Hotel de Saxe. ..And shopping.
Watching the Royal Wedding on the big screen and crying. Getting a Crystal Heart from Swarovski. Walking in the park. Eating dinner at a sea themed restaurant. And, of course, shopping!
Paris. Marvelling at the art in Montmartre. Having a fantastic view over Paris on top of the Eiffel Tower. Versailles. Walking through the garden of Versailles. Shopping at Louis Vuitton. Buying Karl Lagerfeld coke and seeing a huge replica of my little bottle in the Coca Cola museum. Seeing a wedding in front of the Eiffel Tower. Buying Minnie Mouse ears at the Disney store. Attending the opening of the Abercrombie & Fitch store on the Champs-Élysées (naked guys, yum). Bateaux mouches on the Seine. The Louvre. Eating cake in a tiny little café in a backstreet.
Visiting a friend in Berlin. Hotel Adlon. Bubble Tea in Berlin. Shopping in Dresden. Travelling to Prague. Seeing the Czech ambassador.
Seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in the cinema in London in 3D at 3am after coming back from Germany. Walking through London at 5am. Shopping in Camden and in Harrods. Lola’s cupcakes. In Richmond with the boss. Bubble Tea at Bubbleology in Soho. Lulu Guinness. Berlin Fashion Week. Shopping for hats in Berlin. Walking through the rain. Enjoying the sun in Camden. Gossiping with the boss. Buying my Chanel 2.55 bag.
Travelling with the car through Germany, Austria, Italy and Slovenia to Croatia (over 7 hours!). The mountains in Austria. Small streets in Italy. Sunset in Croatia. The yacht harbour. Eating ice cream every day. Staying at a great villa. Eating weird fish in restaurants. Seeing Jon Bon Jovi on his private yacht. Travelling with the yacht to Venice. Shopping at a shop which sold vintage Chanel in Venice. Pigeons on Piazza san Marco. Drinking a cappuccino in Café Florian on Piazza san Marco and paying 6€ for it. Diving in the sea. Sitting on the beach, enjoying every single minute.
Going to Prague again for research for my book. Drawing fashion sketches. Being at home in my bed.
Picking up cupcakes in West Hampstead, made by Karine of Ohlala Bakery. Shopping in Camden. Legally Blonde, the Musical at the Savoy Theatre. The Luxury Wedding Show at the Saatchi Gallery near Sloane Square. Catwalk. Vivienne Westwood. David Fielden. Candy Anthony. Amazing wedding dresses and cakes. Champagne. New Lulu Guinness bag.
Staying at a hotel in Germany for the weekend. Berlin. Spending a day in Tropical Islands near Berlin. Swimming in the ‘sea’ and the lagoon. Amazing flowers and animals. …And (what else) shopping.
A new nail colour every day. Spending Christmas with my family in Germany. Fireworks. Celebrating the new year with friends. Being overdressed at the New Year’s party. And…SHOPPING!
I wish everyone a Happy New Year 2012!