Oh, London. The most beautiful city! I forgot how much I loved England until I had the chance to return this past month with my two friends, Ellie and Kendall. Since the three of us had all visited London in the past, we decided to devote this weekend to amazing food and new places. Relieved that we did not have to rush seeing all of the touristy spots in just a few short days (like most other cities we’ve been), our relaxing weekend in London was just what I needed.
Since we decided to try and find a place to stay DAYS before our trip (great planners!), we ended up with an airbnb in the Chelsea neighborhood. On the bright side, we were less than a mile walk from Buckingham Palace – it was a beautiful walk in the morning with the fall leaves falling beside me. We ate breakfast at this cute lil’ café right next to our airbnb that was filled with delicious pastries and cakes, a multitude of great looking wines, and the best of all… AMAZING coffee! I got an almond milk vanilla latte and it was probably the best almond milk latte I’ve ever had (except for Coffee with Bread, of course). Ellie and Kendall ordered iced coconut latté’s and Ellie has been dreaming about it ever since. Amazing! (Currently working on finding the name of the restaurant to add in here)
After boasting about our coffees and complaining about the cold, we decided to hop on the metro and shop in Soho and Covent Garden. These neighborhoods are the definition of a gorgeous city – the buildings are lit up so beautifully, it almost seemed like I was in a fake world… AKA something like Vegas. We couldn’t believe it! The shopping in London is obviously spectacular, except for the fact that we are students and can barely afford anything. That All Saints army-green fur coat I tried on, though, will always have a special place in my heart. I would have to sell my own soul to buy something as nice, beautiful and expensive as that coat. Make sure to take a stroll through Carnaby Street, especially if you are visiting London during November or December. It is decorated beautifully for Christmas-time and the shopping is amazing with stores like Dr. Martens, Nasty Gal, Nars, Urban Decay, etc.
Starving after window-shopping, we attended our reservation at the Tea Room at Sketch – the restaurant where every 20-year-old girl studying abroad takes pictures in their super cool bathrooms. If you want to sit in the tea room or one of the restaurant’s other fabulous rooms, you have to make reservations way in advance. Thankfully for us, Kendall knew about this special spot and put our names in well before we were even committed to going to London.
The tea room was BEAUTIFUL! And yes, I say the word “beautiful” a lot when talking about London. With high ceilings and puffy chairs, this all-pink room felt like a dream. Waitresses walked around in their matching dresses as they brought tea and treats to each table. A live-band played and the ambiance was incredible. Sitting in the tea room is a flat-fee, meaning if you make a reservation, you will pay a specific price to sit there and have their all-inclusive meal. Though pricey, I believe my experience at Sketch was worth it. It is truly something else to sit in that room and pretend to be a princess, sipping rosé and endless tea while snacking on chocolate cakes and cucumber sandwiches. Love, love, love! And, of course… I had to take a picture in the bathroom.
Immediately after Sketch, we visited my aunt at her home in London. This part of the trip was obviously my favorite – it is not everyday that you get to visit your family that visits in London! Even better, she fed us guacamole (my favorite food) and… DOMINOS! I haven’t had pizza since we left the states in September, and it tasted better than ever. She topped it off by feeding us Ben & Jerrys ice cream.
After our second dinner of the night, we moved on to our THIRD. Nearly crawling to the next restaurant, my full stomach managed to make the tiniest bit more room for some sushi and fish at a fancy restaurant called Novikov. The sushi and honey (???) fish here was AMAZING! Though hard to explain because I was close to a real-life coma from my fullness, the sushi and fish was some of the best I have ever tried. If you want a restaurant with some interesting people-watching and mind-blowing sushi, this is the place for you.
The next day, we found ourselves at the one and only Harrods – THE department store of all department stores. Harrods is always a must when visiting London because they have the coolest gadgets. I love going to the entertainment room and gasping at all of the incredible TV’s, speakers and inventions I have never seen before. Though I can afford close to nothing in that store, it’s still fun to explore and imagine what you would buy if you could actually afford something. Before we even got on the plane in Barcelona, the three of us knew we had to go to Chipotle during our London visit. Since Mexican food is my all-time favorite, I felt like I had been waiting for this day for my entire life. If you’re in London and CRAVING America’s chipotle, save yourself the money. We were beyond excited, and the chipotle was pretty disappointing. It did not taste the same as the Chipotle’s at home – the guac and overall bowl was flavorless, the salsa was nothing near spicy, and the chips were extremely unsalted and very sad. Though I’m laughing about it now, I was extremely upset at the time. Chipotle – why did you have to fail us like this?!
Needing a better fix to our Mexican cravings, we decided to go to a speakeasy called La Bodega Negra. YOU MUST GO HERE! The food was incredible, and the fact that it was a speakeasy made it so much better. The outside of the restaurant had strip club neon signs covering the walls. When Kendall said we were here, I didn’t even believe her at first! She confidently strutted through the doors and descended down the dark stairwell into La Bodega Negra. The restaurant is too cool – its dark and underground with exposed brick (my favorite) covering its walls. I felt like we were deep in some hidden war bunkers. Dolls hung from the ceiling and music blasted throughout the joint. We made our way to the bar where I ordered a spicy jalapeño margarita. It was perfect. I love spicy cocktails, and this bartender knew what he was doing. We sat and ordered all of my favorite dishes. When we ordered guacamole, they brought out 2 BOWLS. Yes, 2!!! As a guacamole fanatic, I was thrilled. The grilled corn, ahi tuna tostadas, and crab tacos were so tasty. We topped off our satisfied stomachs with warm churros dipped in hot chocolate sauce.
Short and sweet, our London trip was one of my favorites (even though it seems like all we did was eat)!