Monday, September 18, 2017

London Favorites & a To-Do list

(Neal's Yard, London)

I've been to London upwards of 10 times now, all within the last 5 years - crazy! At this point, I've become familiar enough with it that it feels comfortable to me. There's something refreshing about going to a city that I've never lived in and knowing my way around, having favorite spots I like to visit, and not feeling at all like a tourist (even though I DEFINITELY am, especially when I lug around my massive camera!)

Here's a short list of my favorite things to do in London. No matter how many times I visit, these are staples I always go back to!

Hunt for Street Art 

I adore street art, and London is one of the best cities in the WORLD for it. No matter what city I'm in I always do a Google to see if there are any key pieces I want to look at, but in London that list is endless - and ALWAYS changing. And I don't necessarily mean paint on a wall - there's so many murals, floral installations, and communal art gardens that make the streets extraordinary. If you love photography and art like I do, a street art hunt is a must! (Tip: start in Shoreditch and make your way West!) 

Markets, Markets, Markets 

(Portobello in Notting Hill) 

London is a far cry from the souks of Marrakech or Istanbul, but that doesn't mean their markets aren't incredible. Camden, Portobello, Borough, Brick Lane, Spittalfields - that's not even half of the places you can treasure hunt! Camden Market is by far my favorite, not only for the quirky shops but for the FOOD. HUGE plates of piping hot Indian/Mexican/Thai/Chinese food for five pounds - unreal. Make sure to grab a fresh orange juice from the famous OJ stand to wash it all down (I guarantee it will be the best you've ever drunk!)

(Some incredible street art near Camden Market) 

Afternoon Delights 

(Coffee and cake from Peggy Porschen)

There was a stereotype I heard often enough while I was growing up that London (or, I suppose the United Kingdom in general) had terrible food. Perhaps "back in the day" this was the case but now it is FAR from the truth. London has some of the most incredible, innovative and delicious grub out there. The only issue is that is that all this delicious food, sadly, comes with a high price tag. When I visit I typically stick to street food (which in its own right is amazing!) and then splurge on alllll of the sweet treats. Cakes, scones, biscuits, ice cream - lord have mercy.

Some favorites:
Cake from Peggy Porschen
Hot Chocolate from Chin Chin Labs 
Caramel filled Churros from Camden Market 
Biscuits from Biscuiteers
Donuts from Dum Dums
Chocolate from Hotel Chocolat
ANYTHING from Cutter & Squidge 

(Hot Chocolate from Chin Chin Labs - BEST in the world) 

Special Exhibits

(The entrance to the V&A Museum)

London's museums are world renowned, and most of them are free to visit! But if you pay a little extra, you get in to the REAL good stuff.  The V&A, the Natural History Museum, and the Tate Modern are three of my favorites and always seem to have some incredible new things to see every time I'm in town.  This time around we went to a Pink Floyd exhibit at the V&A that was absolutely incredible (and it seems they have more to come this year - check it out by clicking here!) 

(Inside the Pink Floyd exhibit in the V&A) 

West End

If you find yourself in London and you're even MILDLY interested in theatre, you MUST go see a play or musical! The productions are incredible and it's an amazing way to spend an evening instead of hanging around a bar all night. I've got no photos to show you since generally photography isn't allowed, but the Lion King, Aladdin, and the Book of Mormon are three of my favorites for London viewing! 

My London TO-DO List: 
A couple things I'm itching to do for future visits!

Globe Theatre - I need to see a Shakespeare play in the place it all started!

Tea @ Sketch - Have you SEEN photos of this place? Looks like a dream. 

Sky Garden - Free entrance AND beautiful views? Sign me up. 

Harry Potter Studios & The Cursed Child play - This needs no explanation. HP 4 Life. 

Is there anything I should add? Let me know in the comments! 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Autumn To-Do List

Ireland seems to be holding on tight to the last few moments of summer, but my body is FULLY prepared for autumn. Chilly weather, colorful foliage, scarves, boots, hot coffee, holidays & cozy nights - makes my heart flutter just thinking about it! I'm a Spring baby but for some reason I feel like I thrive the most in the autumn, despite the lack of daylight (which I am NOT looking forward to!)

This summer was unfortunately not great. Being unemployed made for plentiful free time with zero disposable income to do all the things on my summer to-do list, which was a massive failure. I did a grand total of TWO things off of my list - so depressing. First world problems to the max. Hopefully I have better luck in the Fall and can check off my FULL to-do list this time around!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland

This sprawling beauty is one of my favorite places in the entirety of Dublin. Being amongst lush greenery, the smell of blooming flowers and the overall atmosphere of a traditional glasshouse is so relaxing to me. It makes me feel introspective and inspired. That being said, I am a plant lover in general - I may look like I'm in my 20s but I love a garden center just as much as my 80-year-old grandma. My boyfriend on the other hand...not so much. But he was kind enough to drive me up to the gardens last weekend for a wander and I managed to capture some snaps that I wanted to share with you all! 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

10 Things to Know Before Moving Abroad

For those of you who haven't figured it out -  I'm not Irish. Though most of my blog revolves around Ireland, I'm actually Californian. I first moved to Dublin in 2013 to get my Master's Degree and I've lived here on and off ever since. When I moved to Ireland I did it entirely solo - I did not move with a friend, I knew approximately zero people who lived in Ireland, and I have no Irish heritage. I had been to Dublin before so I had the advantage of knowing the city a little, but other than that it was an independant endeavor. So naturally, I get asked about moving abroad a LOT. Not just online, but in my personal life. I hear a lot of "Wow good for you I could never do that!" "But don't you miss home?" and of course the inevitable "WHY would you want to leave California?" Before I had actually moved, statements and questions like those made me feel SO nervous and ill-prepared and I would second guess my decision on a daily basis. So if you are thinking of moving abroad, I've rounded up 10 things that I think you need to consider before taking the plunge that will hopefully get you mentally prepared!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Summer Beauty Wishlist

I haven't mentioned this publicly before, but for the last few months I've been unemployed. I was on a contract with my previous employer and I extended it for as long as I could, but alas, all good things must come to an end. Finding a job in Ireland has been SO much more difficult than I anticipated, so needless to say I've been on a VERY strict budget! I've been having some serious first world problems keeping my wallet away from beauty items, so instead of adding them to my cart I'm adding them to my blog. Putting positive vibes into the universe that someone will hire me soon and my expensive beauty habits can continue (as well as you know, rent, food, travel - the essentials!)