I flew to London for six days after half a week of landing in Nice. I originally planned to go later but had to push my trip forward so I could be in Cannes for the advertising festival. A dear school friend was super kind to let me crash at his place for a few nights. The place was a two minute walk from the train station so it was super easy to travel around.
The first few days in London I became an independent woman because my friend had to work for a couple of days, leaving me to explore, but it was so beautiful. I did things I've never done, such as sit in a Kentish Town cafe for hours reading a book. Everyone was so super lovely as well to me as they knew I was a lonesome tourist. After a while the kind cafe man gave me a drink on the house and always made sure I was looked after. Small things like that make such a big difference when you're alone in a foreign environment. I am so grateful.
That night my friend took me to a house party where he knew quite a few people from his industry and of course, I knew no one, but that was okay! The English Soccer team (sorry- Football) were playing on the same night and only at an English party will you see more than half the party watch the game, and less people actually partying and drinking. One guy even made himself a cup of tea haha. I met some really cool people that night. One of which I've still been keeping in touch with :) Sorry, but it's hard to wipe the smile from my face.
A day before that I had spent the day with my friend who had the day off and we walked around New Bond Street which houses all of the ultra-high designer shops and I was like a kid in a candy store. We actually stumbled across it accidentally. If I ever get a cat I'm going to call it Harry Winston hehe. We also went exploring down Oxford Street and I did a spot of shopping- grabbing one thing from each major store such as Zara, H&M and Urban Outfitters. London must have known I was visiting because the temperature for the first few days hit the very high 20's. It was just like being back home!
I also met up with two friends of mine who had moved from Brisbane so that was really cool too. I explored Shoreditch which is the 'hip and cool' part of London during the day and it was wicked. Think vintage stores everywhere packed with goodies and food markets to feed a starving nation. I had this delicious turkish pizza wrap thingy with chorizo and haloumi. My weakness! We also went to Box Park and chilled out for a while, which was telecasting the World Cup. I love how sport brings everyone together. Everyone cheering and befriending others when their mutual team scored a goal. Another good thing about London is that there was wifi in most restaurants, cafes, shopping centres, train stations and shops. So helpful for someone like me!
The second half of my trip was spent with my first cousin who I've only seen about 3-4 times in my entire life. Not only because he lives in London, but sadly because of family politics, growing up I never had the chance to meet him and his 2 sisters. It was amazing staying with him and his lovely partner who stopped at nothing to accommodate me, spoil me and show me around. He owns a sports motorbike which we took out and rode around the countryside. Our top speed was 100mph which is approx 160kmph! Crazy! I borrowed his partner's old leathers and looked very badass haha. The day I met up with him he finished his final ever exam for his master's degree so you can imagine there was plenty of celebration and happiness in the air.
The first night of meeting up he organised dinner with his other 2 sisters whom are my other first cousins obviously. I had seen them maybe 1-2 times in my entire life so it was very surreal chilling with my cousins who were actually strangers to me, but it was still super amazing. We went to this restaurant named Hunan which is a Chinese degustation restaurant with no menus- chef's choice only. I was worried because I'm quite a picky eater, but on this trip I tried my best to keep an open mind. I ate every single dish and it was the best Chinese food I've ever had, which is a huge call for me, since I'm part asian and I've had a shit-tonne of Chinese food in my life.
Places I also visited were Primrose Hill, which is like Brisbane's Mt-Cootha, in which you can see a beautiful view of the city, especially at night (at 2am) all lit up on top of the giant hill. Camden was another cool suburb I got to experience some cool bars and intimate music venues. Of course I went to Buckingham Palace and all of that. It was actually in a taxi coming home at 4:30am that I saw the Big Ben and other famous bridges. When I was staying with my friend in the first half of my trip I was catching a taxi back home and the taxi driver was the kindest Romanian man. Instead of driving me directly home, he went along the river and showed me the sights that I hadn't yet seen because I wasn't in London for long. The taxi was pre-paid too and it was his last shift so he was purely doing it out of kindness! I guess my accent and my completely foreign looks just makes me stand out too much? I'm not complaining though! Oh and when I was with my cousin he took me to Selfridge's and I have to say now that it is officially my favourite store in the whole entire world. Yup.
So it's safe to say that I really love London now and not gonna lie, but it's pretty tempting to visit again seeing as so many people that I know are making the move! Until next time... although I would have to drastically acclimatise to their freezing cold weather. Thanks for reading x
All photos taken by me.